Tag: production company in los angeles

Why Your Company Needs A Video Series

A video series can accomplish much more than a one-off video where a viewer may never return to your company after watching it. A web series that’s relevant to your audience will help you build a relationship with them. And that’s the number one reason why your company needs a video series.

Related: using natural light for your documentary video production.

The 3 main types of video series you should consider:

  • Documentary, also called docu-style or docuseries
  • Narrative, a scripted drama or comedic series or a combination of the two
  • Talk show

What’s the best format for a video series?

The best type of episodic video series that might be best for your company depends on your product or service and what exactly you want to accomplish.

A video series can have a limited number of episodes like 5 or 6 or be on-going. How many episodes would be best for a docuseries or talk show completely depends upon your situation.

Scripted narrative series with actors cost much more to produce and more time to organize, so the number of episodes are usually limited.

cutting hemp paper in an episode of a video series on hemp
Erica Halverson cuts hemp paper in an episode of the docuseries Hemp Already directed & produced by Greg McDonald

Documentary or Docu-style series

A docu-style series is a very popular format and probably the best format for a lot of businesses. Docuseries are huge right now and have been for awhile. They’re all over networks, cable and streaming services.

A docuseries follows a person around or a group of people like the shows Duck Dynasty or Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Or a docuseries can center around a business like Pawn Stars. The idea is to document the lives of the people involved and to give the viewing public an inside look into their unique world.

Related: Hemp Already video series.

How does the Kardashians apply to my business?

You might be thinking, ‘well that’s great but how can I apply a show like the Kardashians to my company?’ Easy. Docuseries are simply a day-in-the-life.

First decide who’s point-of-view would it be best to tell the story from. Would it be best to feature an employee or a partner? Or would it be best to feature a customer and show how they use your product or service in their daily life to make it better.

Related: aliens and selfie addiction on Amazon Prime Video.

Docuseries example

For example, maybe you’re a fitness equipment manufacturer and you want to document a customer’s 6 week journey to better health by using your product. So you film them throughout the 6 weeks, releasing 1 video a week. The show’s story arc would feature your customer’s progress from week to week with the finale showing the dramatic change by week 6.

woman at the beach in an episode of a business video series on hemp

Or you’re in the customizing car business and your chief car technician is a rock star in that world. You have a never ending stream of unique cars that come in the shop along with the interesting characters that own them that you want to feature throughout the year.

So you film on an on-going basis and release 2 videos a month. Each episode featuring a different car and owner and aspect of customization.

As a great example, the credit card processing company Square produced a fantastic docuseries a couple years ago.

Each episode featured a different customer success story about how their business improved and helped their local community. I highly recommend you watch an episode or two.

Narrative video series

A narrative video series will be the most costly to produce but can also potentially pack the most punch. I believe BMW was the first company back in 2001-2002 to do a dramatic episodic web series called The Hire.

Although it was branded content, it was produced like a high-end TV show and directed by well-known directors. Clive Owen starred as “The Driver” and each episode highlighted the performance aspects of various BMW cars.

It really was a brilliant idea and it got a lot of attention. Although generally, it will cost more than a docuseries or talk show, you don’t need to spend that kind of money to have a successful narrative web series.

husband and wife in scene from a training video
A scene from a scripted narrative video series about wireless networks I directed and produced

The secret is to doing a narrative drama or comedy video series, is to think of a premise that would grab your viewers’ attention and gives the opportunity to incorporate your product or service in each episode.

Talk show

A talk show is something just about everyone should be familiar with. Who hasn’t seen a daytime or late night talk show? A talk show usually features a host that interviews different guests each episode.

One of the most important success factors for a talk show is choosing the right host. You may need someone who is an expert in your line of work or perhaps not. In either case, the host needs to be likable and charismatic.

a talk show with two business people
Talk show for a video series on finance I directed & produced by my production company Gate5

What guests you bring on your talk show is crucial too. They have to be reputable enough in your industry to entice viewers to tune in for each episode.

Another consideration is location. When you think of a talk show most people envision a studio. Most companies don’t have a studio nor do you need one. Find an interesting location within your facilities or another place that you have access to. Better yet, mix up the locations if you can to keep the visuals of the show interesting.

Grow your audience organically

Every time your audience watches an episode in your series, they interact with and become more familiar with your brand. In addition, by putting out a series of videos, you automatically establish yourself as the expert in your field. That’s how you build trust and credibility which will then lead to more customers. That’s why your company needs a video series.

About Gate5, a Los Angeles video production company

Gate5 is a creative video agency and full service video production company in Los Angeles producing high quality video content for the web, your social media outlets, kiosks and broadcast television.

We conceptualize, write scripts, secure locations and permits, cast actors, direct, film and edit commercial videos, narrative films, branded content, product and promotional videos, TV commercials, episodic content and live video streaming production.

Click here for Gate5 video samples.

If you have a commercial or a narrative project where you need a director and/or a video production company, feel free to contact me to discuss it to see how if we can work together on it.

Check out my photography here.

Using Natural Light For Your Documentary Video Production

Quite often using natural light for your documentary video production is your only option. Bringing in lights and a lot of equipment and taking time to set everything up just isn’t feasible on many documentaries or docuseries.

That’s true for both feature documentaries and business docu-style videos where you’re filming interviews with busy executives and/or customers and you have a very short window of time to get your shot so you better move quickly! In these situations it’s essential to master the art of ‘using what you got’ which means making the most of natural light.

I seem to do a lot of shooting in natural light. Check out some of my photography.

Related: why your company needs a video series.

Making use of window light in a documentary video production

There are many aspects of using natural light, each deserving its own post. So in this article I’m going to focus on using window light. Why? Because a docu-style video is probably the most common and widely produced format of business videos. And what do just about all of them involve? Filming interviews in a room with a window!

3 different looks with window light

Depending upon where you place your subject and camera, you will be able to get 3 different looks using the light from the window. No matter the look you’re going for, you usually don’t want direct sunlight. That is, sunlight that comes through the window and directly shines on the subject. Unless of course, you’re going to use direct sunlight for a specific look.

Generally speaking though, you want indirect light which will give you the most pleasing results and provides more versatility, not to mention no additional exposure issues. The three lighting setups below are based on indirect lighting.

Side light

Side light enables you to create more form in the image as it produces the most shadows.

A man gives an interview to camera in a corporate documentary style video
Subject is lit by a big window on the right and is augmented by a soft light. An edge light is added on the left behind the interviewee

The subject has one side toward the window with the other side away. Depending upon the amount of light and where exactly the subject is placed will determine the amount of shadow.

Rotate the subject from 45° toward the window to parallel with it to 45° away from the window to attain the degree of drama you’re looking for.

Related: Hemp Already video docuseries.

a candid photo of a redheaded woman after getting her makeup done
In this shot, the window is on the left side with heavy shadows on the opposite side

Front light

When front lighting, the subject faces the window. The cinematographer or photographer has their back to the window, In other words, you’re between the window and the subject.

This set up creates very few shadows on your subject. When facial features aren’t defined by shadows it’s called “flat” lighting. Flat lighting may sound like a negative but it’s often a desired look like in beauty videos so you can see the makeup clearly. It’s also desirable in a corporate video production that wants a bright and happy feel.

Flat lighting is created when the subject faces diffused window light that is directly behind the camera

Backlight

In backlit set ups, the window light is behind the subject and the camera faces it. This often results in the window light being blown out in the final image as the window light will be much brighter than the subject.

You can easily fix this by either bouncing light back on the subject with a reflector or by using a light. For interviews I usually don’t use a backlit set up and if I did, I would only do so when a more subtle backlight could be achieved.

Related: how to shoot beauty at the beach.

However, backlit shots are great for b-roll or other footage or images needed in your project. I certainly make use of them when the opportunity presents itself. For example, in the frame below we were filming a documentary video production about a musician at magic hour. The sun created a beautiful backlit scene for the conversation that was taking place.

The sun is behind the subjects and to the right, backlighting the scene and creating cool flares

So there you have it. Next time you’re scrambling to film your corporate video production with busy interviewees use the situation to your advantage and make use of natural light for your documentary video production.

About Gate5, a Los Angeles video production company

Gate5 is a creative video agency and full service video production company in Los Angeles producing high quality video content for the web, your social media outlets, kiosks and broadcast television.

We conceptualize, write scripts, secure locations and permits, cast actors, direct, film and edit commercial videos, narrative films, branded content, product and promotional videos, TV commercials, episodic content and live video streaming production.

Click here for Gate5 video samples.

If you have a commercial or a narrative project where you need a director and/or a video production company, feel free to contact me to discuss it to see how if we can work together on it.

Check out my photography here.

No Words, a video poem

What do you do when your filming options are still very limited because of the restrictions on working and gatherings of people due to the Coronavirus pandemic? You make a new video out of existing footage and other assets you have available to you. I made No Words, a video poem out stuff we had laying around, a poem and footage I had already shot.

No Words is a 1.5 minute short film about nature and our neglect of it. The poem was written and voice by Lorraine DuRocher. I supplemented previously shot footage with a couple shots filmed by cinematographer Roberto Correa.

Related: using natural light for your documentary video production.

Get creative with your existing assets

Even though small media shoots have been deemed essential businesses and have been allowed since the beginning of the shut down as long as safety and CDC guidelines are followed, many companies are still apprehensive to schedule video shoots. Big budget filming, which was not deemed essential and was shut down is starting to come back with extensive new safety guidelines.

With the current environment, making new videos and repurposing your existing assets like footage and graphics is still a great way to keep your content flowing and to save money on production costs. Read my post on Gate5’s website on using existing asset to produce new videos.

a man on a bike and two other people look frozen in time at a city street intersection while they wait for the light to change
Scene from the video, No Words

The poem No Words really spoke to me. Nature takes care of itself instinctually without words and without thinking about it. Nothing in nature instigates its own self-destruction. Why do we?

When I re-read the poem recently (I read it years ago when Lorraine wrote it), I thought what it says is very ‘right now’ and thought it could make for a nice little cinematic piece. So we dusted it off, recorded the voice over and I went through old footage to go with the narrative.

Fun fact: the idea was to make all the footage of the insects, bees and of our parrot, Fast Eddie to look like it was shot in a forest but it was all shot on our porch and front yard.

Read about my short films about aliens and selfie addiction on Amazon Prime Video. Watch me introduce The Selfie That Changed The world at the La Jolla Int’l Fashion Film Festival.

The time to pay attention is now

In a macro sense, No Words speaks to what we have been and are currently doing to our environment. Now that we’ve destroyed it and have brought it to the possible point of no return with climate change, we’ve become aware of it.

The time to pay attention is always right now. You can’t eat the hamburger today and pay for it on Tuesday. Wimpy’s old saying from the Popeye comic strip, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today” is where we are as a country and as a global community.

Come Tuesday you know Wimpy is not going to be able to pay, Well, environmentally speaking today is Tuesday. It’s time for us to pay up for our past consumption but the problem is we ain’t got no money.

Related: read about my video series, Hemp Already about helping to save the planet by using sustainable and ecofriendly hemp.

On a personal level, No Words speaks to how we treat our bodies. We get caught up with the hustle of the today and our day-to-day business and we ignore our bodies until it’s too late. My intention with No Words, a video poem was to use the human body as an allegory of the environment.

Let’s learn from nature and from animals. Stay in tune with your body and environment which is an extension of our body and let’s take care of both of them today.

Watch my after party interview at the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival.

About Gate5, my Los Angeles video production company

Gate5 is a creative video agency and full service video production company in Los Angeles producing high quality video content for the web, your social media outlets, kiosks and broadcast television.

We conceptualize, write scripts, secure locations and permits, cast actors, direct, film and edit commercial videos, narrative films, branded content, product and promotional videos, TV commercials, episodic content and live video streaming production.

Click here for Gate5 video samples.

If you have a commercial or a narrative project where you need a director and/or a video production company, feel free to contact me to discuss it to see how if we can work together on it.

Check out my photography here.

Aliens and Selfie Addiction on Amazon Prime Video

Two short film written and directed by Greg McDonald of video production company Gate5 in Los Angeles are now available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.  If you’re into aliens and selfie addiction, you’ll want to fire up the popcorn maker, plop down on the sofa ( oh wait, you’re already on the couch because of the lock down aren’t you?) and watch them.

You need a break from Facebook anyway

During the stay at home quarantine, it’s good to mix up the ways you pass the time. You can’t spend it all on Facebook. I mean, how many distorted close ups of peoples’ faces on webcam videos can one person stand? So hang up on that Zoom meeting and mosey on over to Amazon Prime Video and check out these short films.

Related: the shortest horror movie in the world.

The Selfie That Changed The World

a selfie addict gazes at her image in a mirror wearing sunglasses in a fashion comedy by Greg McDonald
Christine Wood in The Selfie That Changed The World on Amazon Prime Video

Take a peek inside the mind of a selfie addict in the comedy fashion film, The Selfie That Changed The World. Based on a true story. 

A woman I follow on Instagram who posts thousands and thousands of selfies where she looks exactly the same in every single one of them was the inspiration for it. If you feel I’m talking about you and that I stole your life’s story without your permission or compensation, I want you to know it’s based on the other selfie addict.

The film stars Christine Wood as the selfie taker and Brandon Bernath as the coffee shop screenwriter. The film was shot by cinematographer Roberto Correa.

Watch my after party interview at the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival.

‘Selfie’ was nominated for Best Creative Concept and Best Narration in the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival and  Brandon Bernath was nominated for Best Actor in the CinéFashion Film Awards broadcast on the Cinémoi cable channel.

Watch the interview with Greg McDonald and Roberto Correa at the after party at the La Jolla Int’l Fashion Film Festival on Gate5’s site.

Nowhere In The Universe

a man and alien meet in the desert in the sci-fi fashion comedy, Nowhere In The Universe
Nowhere In The Universe, streaming on Amazon Prime Video

An alien becomes lost in a desolate area of the desert and discovers that no matter how desperate you are, even if you’re going to die from starvation and dehydration, some lines can never be crossed.

The sci-fi fashion comedy, Nowhere In The Universe stars stars Kaitlyn Clare as the alien and Brandon Bernath as the man. Thirati K created the alien special effects makeup and produced it. 

‘Nowhere’ won Best Comedy Film and the Audience Choice Award in the LA Underground Film Forum. Although technically not based on a true story, it’s based on a true story and most women will probably relate to its universal theme.

Read more about the shoot and watch a short timelapse video of part of the alien makeup being applied by Thirati K.

Now you have no excuse to stay on Facebook the rest of the day. Get on over to Amazon Prime Video for your aliens and selfie addiction fix.

Need a break? Of course you do! Take 1.5 minutes and watch No Words, a video poem. A short film about nature and our neglect of it.

About Gate5, my Los Angeles video production company

Gate5 is a creative video agency and full service video production company in Los Angeles producing high quality video content for the web, your social media outlets, kiosks and broadcast television.

We conceptualize, write scripts, secure locations and permits, cast actors, direct, film and edit commercial videos, narrative films, branded content, product and promotional videos, TV commercials, episodic content and live video streaming production.

Click here for Gate5 video samples.

If you have a commercial or a narrative project where you need a director and/or a video production company, feel free to contact me to discuss it to see how if we can work together on it.

Check out my photography here.

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