Three things to remember for a successful content shoot

This is a post from PRISM’s Social Army – regular briefings on topics aligned to our business or close to our hearts. Today’s entry is from Ivan Castro, Creative Lead at the Ford Asia-Pacific Content Factory.

More and more agencies are being asked by their clients to create content to fill social media channels. Depending on client objectives, content in late 2016 is done in many formats, applying many techniques, and using different styles. Leaving format and creative approach for another day, here are 3 things to remember when shooting ‘Capital C Content’.

1. Platform
Platforms dictate what the content needs to look like and how the viewer experiences the work. Before any shoot, it’s important to define a clear platform strategy. Ask the relevant questions: Is this square, 16:9 horizontal or vertical? Are we using sound to tell the story, or do we need captions for autoplay-without-sound platforms like Instagram and Facebook? Does the platform have infrastructure for backend captions – especially useful if the content will be used in multiple markets – or will you need to add hard subtitles to each output? Does it need to be shot in HD? What formats can it be? If a gif, will it loop on the platform? Are there file-size limitations?

The list goes on and on. The takeaway: think about exactly where and how your content will be used before picking up a camera.

2. Light.
Every professional content creator has their own approach to creative and planning, but there is one thing that is important across all styles and formats: lighting.

Start by asking: Will I control the light or not?

If you are in a studio or in a set with a large crew, professional teams will handle lighting set up – so all you need to do is work closely with them to make sure they are executing your creative vision accurately.

If you’re not shooting in a controlled environment, you need to stack the deck in your favor in any way you can. Can you use natural light? Bright sun is bad, but dark days are difficult to work with as well. The ideal – for most shoots, though not all – is a cloudy, bright day. But there are key moments worth taking advantage of in any condition, including golden hour before sunset and blue hour at sunrise, that offer the best chance of great natural light.

You have to use a lighting rig? Make sure you have enough. Always bring some back-up lighting kit as most locations don’t have enough natural light or will have the bane of office workers worldwide: horrible fluorescent lights. Also key is consistency throughout – avoid mixing yellow lights with white LEDs, for example.


3. Expect the unexpected.
Branded content will always have to find its place amongst conversations already happening – not to mention cat videos – and will go head-to-head against the everyday, immediately relatable content from your friends, colleagues and family members. When shooting, keep your eyes open and your creativity sharp; sometimes people might be more interested in your experience than the finished product. Real user-generated content is always good for the brand, and being on set is a great chance to capture epic cool content that can be used later. Take Gimbal Ninja, for example – some would argue that the behind the scenes cut of this bona fide gimal ninja at work outshone the Nike commercial it produced.

 Ivan Castro 

October 27, 2017