Most famous for his role rattling around Tatooine in an R2D2 roasting tin, the recently deceased dwarf actor Kenny Baker played many memorable parts, including that of Fidget in Terry Gilliam’s 1981 fantasy Time Bandits.
In possession of a map of the universe stolen from Ralph Richardson’s Supreme Being, he and his diminutive crew navigate their way through history by way of holes in space-time. Pursued by a scary chap called Evil they locate, and appropriate for criminal gain, artefacts of unimaginable value.
You and I, however, live in the real world.
We don’t really understand the concept of space-time fabric (does it mean shell suits are back in fashion?) and we haven’t got one of those maps.
So, in honour of Kenny, here we explain how to make your video when time, in the form of a looming deadline or super-tight schedule, appears to be an impossibly constraining factor.
When the question is,
“I’ve got an event or campaign coming up very, very soon. I’d love to do it justice. Am I too late to plan and make a video that won’t feel like an afterthought?”
This is not really a guide to cutting corners.
This is how to compress and accelerate every stage of the process.
10 ways in which you can work quickly and efficiently without compromising on your objectives or your ambition
1. USE A TRUSTED SUPPLIER
Or find a partner who has experience in your sector and get to know and trust them quickly.
Pay at least the going rate. As in, "You can have it cheap, fast or good. Pick any two."
2. DEFINE SUCCESS
Strategically: Set out the purpose, audience and platform(s) for this piece of video communications. Who will see it, where and why?
And creatively: Share visual references that help convey your vision.
3. DIVE IN
Start with a top-line brief.
Then, invite your supplier for a session in which they will look to immerse themselves in every aspect of the project - how it relates to your brand and the rest of what your team and your business is doing.
Afford them every opportunity to interrogate you and for you to re-shape the brief collaboratively.
4. BE READY
Block out time for yourself and for your stakeholders.
Grant access to company collateral and brand guidelines. These will be used when creating text and intro/outro slates.
5. TRUST THE CREATIVE PROCESS
Most importantly of all, don't compromise on creativity.
Don't cripple the ideation process by rushing to route number one.
Be thorough and be brave. Grant “creative concepting” its due portion of the schedule.
It may turn out that what was conceived as a series of interviews shot on location becomes more effective when re-imagined as a voiceover accompanying b-roll footage. Or that what proves difficult to convey in a literal sense is better when expressed conceptually.
6. MAXIMISE WHAT YOU HAVE
Don’t neglect to think about the bigger picture. It may be that the reason for the project is borne out of an imminent need, but don’t isolate the rationale for this video to this moment.
Instead, take the time to think about the longevity of the content and expand the scope of the brief. Small increments in the shoot and edit resource can result in a wealth of valuable multi-functional material for multiple audiences and user cases.
For example, consider who is due to be on or around the shoot. Grab the opportunity to capture vox-pops interviews that can be used at a later date.
7. ADOPT A WAR ROOM MENTALITY
Commit to the project personally, facilitate co-operation and be the motivating influence for your troops.
Make the most of your network, get your hands dirty and help with 3rd party controlled issues (permits, access, people) where you can leverage your inside influence.
8. STICK TO A TIMETABLE
Pre-agree timings and stick to project milestones. Don’t wait for stragglers to hold up the process. Divide up the time you have available according to this ratio:
· 50 % planning and pre-production
· 25 % the shoot
· 25 % Editing and feedback
9. BE SMART
Choose an idea that lends itself well to your time frame and is not disaster prone.
Accept that there may be limitations on the type of creative approach you might take. This might mean avoiding:
· Complex animation as a creative route
· Talent or subject matter without guaranteed availability
· Elaborate set-builds
· Hard to source props
· Shooting in the 4K format (which is slow to transcode)
10. BE PATIENT
At edit stage, you’ll get to see the results of up to three rounds of amends.
Don’t cut corners here. Gather the views of your colleagues and provide clear feedback.
This process combined with the polish of post-production (colour-grading, sound-balance, music and graphics) can be transformational.
Hopefully there is enough here to inspire confidence that truncated lead times ought not necessarily impact on quality.
Please let us know if you have an idea or project you’d like to discuss.
RIP Kenny Baker 1934 -2016