Coronavirus restrictions: How to make video without filming on location
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Coronavirus restrictions: How to make video without filming on location

Author: Sam Willet | Posted on: 16 June 2020

An empty road


This week, I thought I’d post in response to a question we had recently from a client: 

“Due to the Coronavirus restrictions, we probably won’t be able to send video crews round the country for another few weeks/months yet – I wondered if you had any other formats which might work instead?”

Here are a few ways you can produce video content without filming on location.

Record a video call

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, video conferencing applications were being used to produce videos. We’ve found that they work well for testimonial and even documentary style content in cases where you just can’t get to your interviewee. So, it’s useful under lockdown restrictions, but also in normal circumstances, where the client or expert you want to interview is based in another part of the world.

I’ve had good experiences with Webex Teams and Microsoft Teams recently, but you can also record using Skype and Zoom. For now at least, Zoom allows the host to record a meeting using the free version, but please be aware that in general this is likely to be functionality that requires you to be a paid subscriber. 

As I mentioned, this approach works well for testimonial content. Authenticity is more important than quality here, and many users now have a sufficiently fast internet connection and good enough hardware to deliver clear audio.

That said, the video footage you get from a video call can be pretty uninspiring, if for no other reason than it’s usually someone looking at a computer screen from their spare room. So, that’s where I’d recommend using animated graphics to enhance it. Here’s an example:

For a testimonial, 60 seconds is an ideal length. However, if you have more messages to get across and have your heart set on something substantial, you can do that too.
Use animation
Even if you want to base your video on an interview, you can go for a fully animated video which uses the interview as it’s narrative. See what I mean with this example:  



One word of warning here – the interview will have to be either partly or completely scripted, and the interviewee will need to be prepared. This is so you get a nice clean version to structure your animations around, rather than natural conversation speech which usually contains lots of breaths, mumbling, and hesitation.
You can of course just have a standard voiceover like you hear on most animated videos. Here’s an example of the kind of animated explainer video we can produce:


Use mobile devices

So far I’ve touched on interview-led or explainer style content, but what if you have an audience you need to make more of an emotional connection with?

Well, the answer could be to get your target audience to record footage for you on their mobile devices. One example of this is this day in the life video produced for Birmingham City University:



You can see that the majority of the footage shown is shot by the students themselves, providing a more authentic look into their experience. Granted, we did also shoot a good looking interview for this project, but you don’t have to – again, you could interview the contributor on a video call, or ask them to record scripted audio from home using audio recording software such as GarageBand, ZenCastr or Audacity. There are lots of options, but I’ve mentioned those three as you should be able to access them for free, even if it’s just for a trial period.

This is one to try, without putting too much pressure on the results. You could even use your social media accounts to cast for your video, by asking anyone who’d like to be involved to get in touch.

Though your results might end up a little more rough around the edges relative to videos you’ve produced in the past, these three methods are all great ways of communicating social proof and useful information to your audience. So, don’t be afraid to give it a go.


Related content:


Author: Sam Willet

Sam Willet gravatar avitar
Sam is a Producer and Client Manager at Ember Television. He has worked in online media since graduating with an MA in Film and TV from the University of Birmingham, and loves a good human interest story. You can contact him at [email protected]
Coronavirus restrictions: How to make video without filming on location



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