Thursday, 15 May 2014

The Corporate Swagger Way

Before working with Swagger, I didn’t have much experience with corporate videos, besides what I had learned in school (and what I had seen in life). I was more used to work in fiction short films or TV productions in Venezuela, so this was kind of new to me.

When I got here, I was surprised to see how broad and interesting the corporate media field could be. I spent a lot of time getting to know different clients, their expectations, learning the corporate video essentials, their post-production workarounds and workflows (Swagger’s favorite corporate word). After a while, I realized these projects had some aspects in common, and once I managed to feel comfortable with them and the Swagger Way to handle them, I could finally say: “I was IN”. I GOT CORPORATE!

So, what exactly is a Corporate Video? A corporate video is an audiovisual piece made to be used (often internally) by a company, business or organization. It could be an overview video about the company itself, their services, products, promotions, trainings, safety procedures, employees and events.

Here’s an example of our corporate video work: Charming Charlie - HR Video.

Now that you are familiar with corporate media, I’m going to present some of the characteristics and aspects of our Swagger Way of producing and post-producing corporate videos -or basically how we manage to create corporate videos with Swagger-:

1. Multi-Camera: If a corporate video includes interviews on camera, we usually set up at least 2 cameras:
·       CAM A: Wide angle.
·       CAM B: Tighter angle or close up.

When we want to spice it up a little bit and make it more dynamic, we set up a 3rd and 4th camera:
·       CAM C: Camera set up on a dolly or a slider, to give the sound bites an interesting movement.
·       CAM D: A floating camera for hands movements, gestures, and other details.

You may be asking why would we set up so many cameras? Let me tell you: first, this will make the video look much more interesting. And second, it will help us get cleaner cuts, especially if we need to cover a cut between sound bites, stutters, mistakes, etc.

The Swagger Way: Always try to get at least two takes of each question or statement, if possible. It’s better to be safe than to find ourselves missing a good sound bite.

2. B-roll & Stock: I’ve learned through experience that b-roll helps us deliver a message in a more powerful way, because it accompanies the speech while illustrating it. If the client is open to incorporating b-roll, so be it. They may have some of it already shot for us to include it, or we might need to go out there and get it. It depends on what the video is about, and if it’s logistically feasible for us to get it.

Then, if the subject we’re trying to demonstrate is not realistically possible to shoot, we can always rely on the stock option. Stock footage or photos are usually very helpful for illustrating something we don’t have b-roll for, but we still want to exemplify.

The Swagger Way: Always try to look for stock clips that are not that cliché (that are not the same 10 clips we have all seen already on other commercials and other corporate videos). If we think we’ve seen it before, we’ve probably seen it before. That’s why we keep looking, modify our keyword search or tags, and try to think about different and creative ways to represent the theme in question.

3. Graphics: This may not sound like a MUST on corporate videos, but here at Swagger we personally believe that business communication in general is significantly more effective and engaging when supplemented with branded graphics that reinforce the company’s voice and personality. The graphics we implement in corporate videos include:

·       Title Slides: used to display the video title. It generally involves the company logo, and other important information like date and place (if the video is about an specific event, for example).
·       Lower Thirds: lower bars that identify interviewees’ names and titles.
·       Text Graphics: text slides that point out or highlight certain information throughout the video. We use them to show bullet point lists, definitions, quotes, etc. They can either be full-screen or side bar slides, depending on what we want to communicate.
·       Charts: these are particularly helpful when we’re trying to picture growth, progress or simply data analysis of a particular business.
·       Animations: 2D & 3D animations are also a great and creative tool that we like to use when featuring a company’s facility tour, activity, characteristic, or subject.

The Swagger Way: Follow the company’s branding guidelines when designing our graphics to keep it consistent. This includes color palettes, fonts, and logos, among other elements.

Before moving forward to the last element, I wanted to share a great example of how graphics and animation can creatively illustrate a company’s service. This is the video we developed to showcase our own Swagger GRASP service, the key to effective Knowledge Management. [Shout out to our awesome Animator & Graphic Artist, Nathan Bayless, for his amazing job on this one!].

4. Music: When I first started doing some research about corporate music, I didn’t expect to find whole libraries named “corporate” and “motivational”, full of tracks that almost make you feel like you’re in a business fairytale. Corporate videos generally have background tracks that could be either upbeat or more of an ambiant style, but at the same time inspirational and stimulating (depending on what the client envisions, of course). Even though you might think background music is not going to have much impact in the video itself, you can be surprised on how inspiring a piece can turn out to be once you find the right song. That’s why we never underestimate the power of music.

The Swagger Way: Look for many different options, following the client’s vision and your own instincts as an editor. We aim for tracks that align with their brand and their voice. Once we feel we have enough options, we let the client pick their favorite and then work our post-production magic to put all the pieces together!

I hope this post helped us introduce you to the world of corporate videos and our Swagger Way when developing them. Now tell us, what do you think of our corporate Swagger Way? Are there any other corporate elements or characteristics you think we should keep in mind? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the comment section below or on Twitter @Swagger_media!

And remember, if you ever need help on scripting, producing or post-producing a corporate video, reach out to us at or (832) 831-7592.

¡Hasta la próxima!


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