Case Study: Exercise Video

Working for a health clinic on a series of healthy lifestyle videos, we needed expert analysis from some cycling pros at a bicycle shop. This local business had established a reputation in the community for friendly and helpful customer service, and had experience with all levels of cycling activity, from kids to competitive adults. After arranging for the shoot, we knew they would contribute great insights to the video.

And this is what happened next...

Before the day of the shoot, we often send to the interviewees a Video Production Brief. The brief contains only a few questions or key points they may want to highlight about a business, product, or experience. We sometimes receive requests for a brief because some people feel better prepared and more relaxed about what to expect the day of the shoot. Most of the time, however, our objective is to make sure that the interview comes across natural and not rehearsed. Plus, we prefer those interviewed to arrive relaxed and not have to worry about memorizing a script word by word. Simply having a conversation with an individual can make for a very powerful and successful video!

We knew we wanted to shoot the outside of the bicycle shop and near the trail that is used for customers to test out the shop's line of bikes. It was a cold, windy day in late autumn, but we really wanted this shot for the opening scene -- particularly the scene of the old rusty bikes decorating both sides of the trail. With their towering business sign and soaring grasses fluttering in the midst of the bike decor along the path, we knew what the perfect piece of equipment for this job would be: Our camera crane. Although this is one of our heavier pieces of equipment, it is always well worth hauling for specific shots. After all, even in video, first impressions are very important!

When we arrived at the bicycle shop, elements for the background had already been put in place. Composition is an important factor in video. It is important that the background isn't distracting the viewer from the main focus point. In addition, if background elements or props are used, it is important that those props are not perceived by the viewer as out of place. Hat tip to Lora and Sean of Recyclist Bike Shop for a perfect composition!

Part of this video included interviewing an expert health coach. One important message for this video is that of safety. To strengthen the message and add an extra important element to the scene, a bike helmet was placed near the interviewee. Sometimes foreground props add visual interest and can really make a message that much more powerful. It is important, however, to make sure that the size or the amount of props don't become too much of a distraction and cause the viewers eyes to wander away from interviewee for the entire video. Hat tip to Jennifer for bringing her bike helmet!

Key Factors

  • Determine if this is the type of interview where unscripted would work best.
  • First impressions are important! Bring the appropriate equipment for the job.
  • Remember to compose the background elements fittingly.
  • Decide if a foreground prop(s) will strengthen the message.

Technology Used On This Project

  • 12-foot Camera Crane
  • Canon XF300
  • Canon 5D MKIII
  • Canon 7D
  • Rode NTG3
  • Linco Flora
  • Final Cut Pro X