Corporate Video: A Learning Experience

An opportunity in corporate video

Whenever companies come to House of Sticks with a simple corporate video request, the EP (Executive Producer) gives most of the control to his associates who recently graduated from film school in order to offer opportunity… and make some money. This is their way of developing talent and trust. For this production, I was lucky enough to act as producer on set. I learned a lot from the two film graduates, acting as Director and DP, and a lot about production management.

Even though the production was not as complex as the other shoots I assisted on with House of Sticks, the framing and the lighting in each shot were chosen with care.

Before this shoot, I didn’t know that you usually hold a fill light perpendicular to the camera to avoid lens flare.I learned that when you do this, the light fills the entire frame instead of just a portion of it.Also, I recognized the importance of reflecting it off of the ceiling or wall to disperse the light. If you point it straight at the subject, harsh light and shadows appear. Lens flare and harsh light may be desired in particular movies and commercials but not in corporate training videos.

Framing is vital

I also recognized the importance of framing an interview. We filmed at one of Coldwell Banker’s offices and a multi-million-dollar house the company will sell. In the office, we set the interviewee in front of a blue painting the client selected. Then, we placed a lamp in the corner to create a soft warm glow. It took a bit longer than I expected to make sure that the interviewee was lit properly while maintaining the color in the painting.


Later, we moved to the other location. I was shocked at how hard it was to set an interview in such a BEAUTIFUL HOME.The house had many modern sleek lines and neutral colors which made hard to find an interesting, colorful, and well-lit background.

Finding a new location for the second interview proved a bit trickier. We could not find another window that overlooked a shaded colorful part of the yard. I went through the house with the client to find a painting or patterned wall that would work instead. However, the client could not find a background she liked. Finally, we noticed a window that was a bit hard to get to, but which overlooked beautiful bright greenery and flowers. The client loved the background so we made the space work.

Looking at the whole frame

I soon realized the importance of shade. The lighting outside did not match the lighting inside. We lit the interviewee with very bright lights so that it would match the intensity of the sun on the outside. That way, the camera could see the face of the person interviewed and the green and red colors outside of the window. I was surprised that we spent so much time choosing and properly exposing the background even though it was not in focus. It helped me understand that EVERYTHING within your camera frame is important, not just the vocal point.

In working with the client, I recognized the importance of time management. The client worried about having enough footage of the interviews and the b-roll to make an impressive video. When I managed the schedule, she relaxed and exerted more creative control. I did not anticipate that having someone who watched the time and managed the set would do so much for the client.

Overall, I had a great experience on set for Coldwell Banker. I realized the importance of proper exposure, fill lights, framing, and color. I also recognized the importance of production management. It was neat to be one of three people in the production team on set because I could easily as questions and work one on one with the client. It will be an experience I never forget!