‘Business as usual’: a phrase set to take on whole new meaning over the coming weeks.

Most of our clients and contacts have moved beyond weeks of COVID-19 preparation and firefighting and are turning to equally complex issues. How can they keep employees engaged and productive and stakeholders informed? How can they create real, human connections when audiences are miles, not metres, apart?

Self-isolation has limited our choices when it comes to reaching people. Film, however, remains one relatively easy way to continue engaging employees and customers alike. With the rise of virtual working, people are becoming increasingly tuned-in to visual mediums, too.

But even film isn’t unaffected. If people can’t be within two metres of each other, how can teams create engaging and effective films? Here are some quick-fire tips and work-arounds.

Animation is a great way to deliver powerful and emotive messages and perhaps the easiest way to continue communicating when everyone is working remotely. Films around mental health, tips on staying connected, exercise regimes or messages from CEOs are all particularly well suited. 

We’ve seen a huge trend towards clients choosing animation over live action. It’s logical: they don’t need actors, a crew or set, so can be created remotely. They can be caption-led, meaning they’re easy to translate into multiple languages – perfect if you have international employees or customers. Alternatively a voiceover can give them a human touch. Which leads me to my next tip…

VO artists working from home studios. Many of the voiceover artists we work with regularly have their own home studios – ‘working remotely’ is entirely normal for them. It’s also easy enough to dial-in to recording sessions to offer feedback in real-time. In terms of mixing the audio, many sound studios are also able to work remotely so quality isn’t an issue.

User Generated Content. If you need to get your people in front of the camera then user generated films can be a great choice. Most people can film HD footage on their smartphones. Normally we warn against user-generated films (quality tends to be an issue, particularly when it comes to audio) but seeing leaders carrying on safely at home could offer comfort. 

The trick is to turn the nature of user generated content into a feature of the communication. Make the the content feel personal and authentic – after all, these are the best attributes of user generated film. Most editors will be set up to work remotely, so editing your UG footage into an effective film isn’t a problem. 

Using Stock footage. If your content needs additional imagery to help land the narrative, then stock footage is a great way of enhancing your message without shooting anything new. A talented editor can combine existing and stock footage with voiceover, music and animated caption graphics, and it can go a long way.

How things look right now – here in London, certainly – are very different from how things looked this time last week. Change will continue to be a daily thing in the months ahead – but what shouldn’t change is our commitment to finding new ways to talk to those that matter most during one of the most challenging times we’ll ever experience.

 

If you’re looking for help communicating through film, do get in touch. In the meantime though, stay safe.

 

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