Top tips for shooting corporate video that keeps clients coming back

Videographer Simeon Quarrie on his video best practices when shooting for big-name corporate clients, from pre-production to finished edit.
A man with a Canon Cinema EOS camera on his shoulder by a riverfront.

Filmmaker Simeon Quarrie uses both stills and video to create powerful multimedia pieces for a range of commercial clients. © Simeon Quarrie

Corporate video can be a rewarding business. Whether it's shooting a product promo or creating content for internal corporate use – or externally for clients – there are a host of opportunities to use your skills to drive success. But how should you prepare for a shoot? Are there any classic corporate video mistakes that you can avoid making?

"When working with a potential client, I always try to understand what success looks like," says filmmaker and photographer Simeon Quarrie, who runs immersive storytelling company VIVIDA and has worked for big-name clients from Burberry to Google. "I ask, 'If we do a great video, what effects could this have?'"

Simeon says a lot of early-career videographers make the mistake of charging based on time rather than value. "You need to appreciate the benefit to the customer of you doing your job in the right way," he explains. "If your video drives visitors to a company's website and generates lots of sales, what is the value of those sales? When you understand that, it makes it easier for you to work out how to successfully help a business – and it makes for an easier conversation when you come to talk about your fee."

Here, Simeon offers his top seven tips for shooting top-quality corporate videos and developing a seamless process from pre-production through to the finished edit.

1. Be clear about the scope

Corporate video production can quickly become complex, particularly if you're working with a large business that has a lot of interested stakeholders. Simeon recommends being really clear about the scope of the project right from the start to make sure you're on the same page and to avoid problems further down the line.

At the outset of any project, he suggests getting an agreement in writing. "Doing so means if there's a big change of scope, you can decide if it has changed so substantially that you're going to potentially incur costs," he says.

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"It can also be useful to create a little bit of pre-production in advance that clearly outlines what the deliverables are," he says. "How many videos will there be? How long do they need to be? It's important to have something written down, even if it's just a one-page description of what it is that you're delivering."

Three men shoot a scene for a corporate video using a Canon EOS C700 FF camera.

Simeon in action with the large-sensor Canon EOS C700 FF. This cinematic powerhouse contains a 5.9K full-frame CMOS sensor, offering low noise, wide colour gamut and a wide dynamic range of 15 stops for beautifully rich imagery. © Simeon Quarrie

2. Choose the right kit

"You can shoot corporate videos on most cameras, but there are a number of things to think about," says Simeon. "For a start, are you going to be shooting by yourself? How quickly do you need to work? And how much pressure are you under? You can then choose your camera accordingly."

Simeon started out using camcorders for corporate video, before moving to the Cinema EOS system, including the Canon EOS C200 and the Canon EOS C700 FF, which he teams with both Cinema and EF lenses. The Canon EOS C200, a compact and versatile body capturing sharp 4K 50p images, has offered Simeon a balance between quality and ease of use. "I want nice production values – a bit of blurry depth of field, but with the face still in focus – for as little work as possible," he says.

"Choosing equipment that is adaptable is a real benefit," Simeon continues. "With my Cinema EOS cameras, if it's really bright and I need to shoot outdoors, I can use the ND filters. I can have more than one microphone for sound, and I can use the Clear Scan capabilities to adjust the frequency if I have a TV screen in the background of a shot. These options give me the flexibility to deal with any situation."

A man filming a dance class with a Cinema EOS camera on a gimbal.

When Simeon created content for a leading fashion chain, he relied on a body rig to give him freedom of movement while shooting with a Canon EOS C700 FF. © Simeon Quarrie

3. Capture additional relevant footage

Simeon often turns up to a shoot with a single camera or two matching bodies. "With the very large shoots, you tend to work with one camera," he says. The only time he uses a separate camera for additional footage is for speed's sake, "where I need to put it on a gimbal or make some special type of rigging," he explains.

"Rather than having a separate B-roll camera, I'll often shoot the B-roll after I've shot the interviews, using the same camera," he says. "The purpose of B-roll is often to illustrate the points mentioned in the content, so I'm always listening and learning when I'm recording an interview so I can get the right B-roll afterwards."

If the brief does require an additional camera, using two matching bodies gives you the opportunity to seamlessly cut from one angle to another when you shoot an interview, while also making it easier to match the look of your B-roll footage.

A close-up of a man filming with a Canon EOS C70 camera.

"Audio is often a massively important aspect of corporate work," explains Simeon, who has put the Canon EOS C70 and its RF-compatible lenses to work on shoots. "With a case study interview, it makes my life easier in post-production if the audio and picture are synced together at the time of filming. So being able to plug a professional microphone directly into the camera often ends up being my preferred method of working." © Simeon Quarrie

4. Record good quality sound

If your corporate video involves an interview, then you're going to need an efficient way of making a high-quality audio recording. Canon XA and XF series camcorders feature XLR inputs for professional microphone support, but, as Simeon explains, one of the things that can really catch you out early on when you're shooting on location is background noise.

"The sound of air conditioning units or lifts opening and closing are things that clients don't necessarily think about," he says. "If you want to shoot in the reception area, are the receptionists taking phone calls every two minutes? Are there roadworks taking place outside? You're probably putting a great deal of thought into the visuals, but as you're walking around the location with your client and looking where might be a good place to set up, put your camera down and listen. Stand there for 30 seconds and think about things that might become issues."

Canon Cinema EOS cameras set up on tripods in a studio.

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wo men behind the scenes on a corporate video shoot.

When shooting a corporate video, it's important to create a calm environment for interviewees, who may not be used to being in front of the camera. "I find that saying something along the lines of, 'Don't worry, this is digital and we're never going to run out of film, so let's take our time,' can help make people feel comfortable," says Simeon. © Simeon Quarrie

5. Get the best from interviewees

When you shoot a corporate video, you're typically not working with professionals in front of the camera. "Whether you're producing a case study with a client's customer, or working with an individual from within the business, the chances are that they may feel nervous when they're on camera," says Simeon. "Every time they say something wrong and you have to start the shoot again, their confidence drops lower and lower. So, your job is to put people at ease.

"Do your best to reassure them, saying, 'That was really good, I love what you said there, and you know something? I think we've got what we need. But would you mind going one more time and seeing if you could include this bit in there?' Over time, you bank these phrases and use them in every shoot."

Simeon also suggests getting extra assistance if there are aspects of the shoot that you feel less comfortable with. "If you need to supply a script and you haven't had much experience doing that yourself, you can always invite a scriptwriter into the production," he says. "Ask them how long it will take to create a two or three-minute script, and build that into your cost. Likewise, if you're not a people person, you could bring someone else on board to conduct the interview."

A man filming with a Canon EOS Cinema camera, surrounded by children looking at the equipment.

Simeon's work has taken him across the world, where he has shot video with a range of Canon cameras, including the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II (now succeeded by the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III). The EOS-1D X Mark III is a versatile workhorse for shooting both stills and video, offering 20.1MP, 20fps with deep learning AF, 5.5K RAW and 4K 60p movie capture. © Simeon Quarrie

6. Have a clear review process

In order to avoid being drawn into endless rounds of editing tweaks for a corporate client, it's important to confirm your approval process in writing. "One thing to set out at the beginning is what your expectations and limitations are," says Simeon. "You might explain to the client that there are two rounds of changes allowed. Ask them to watch the video, provide as much feedback as possible, and then you can act on that and have a further round. You can then tell them that you'd be happy to do anything beyond these two rounds, but it will be charged at an additional hourly rate."

Simeon suggests harnessing technology to streamline the review process. "A video hosting and sharing platform should give you access to a review function that allows people to play a video and click at specific times to leave a comment. That's certainly easier than receiving an email with lots of timecode written down."

A man holding a Cinema EOS camera on a tripod over his shoulder on a quiet street.

Simeon advises you to track the success of your videos. "Find out if a client's social media engagement increased by a certain amount when the video was posted, for example. Or perhaps the client's sales team now utilises this video because it provides a consistent way of explaining things. This kind of detail allows you to explain your value to your next potential corporate customer," he says. © Simeon Quarrie

7. Think long-term

"The great thing about working in the corporate space is that it's rarely only one job," says Simeon. "My first projects were talking head videos, but very quickly the relationship developed, and I did a brand film for the client. All of a sudden I went from shooting a corporate video to creating a commercial advert that had aesthetics designed more for TV."

To build that relationship, Simeon recommends taking an interest in tracking the effectiveness of a video that you've previously shot for the client. "Your job doesn't end with the delivery of the final edit. In order to really drive success for the client, and also actually for your business, follow through and find out how the video is doing. What have its positive effects been?"

Marcus Hawkins

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