On Saturday, May 6, we filmed training video footage for a local Portland area valet parking company, Premiere Valet. Several times each month, the company deals with training new employee hires for valet service and going over correct procedures covering everything from parking to customer service to sign-in sheets. The goal of the video project is to create tangible training video collateral for future use so that employees can refer back to the video, which strengthens the company’s customer service efforts. Additionally, it provides an easier way to demonstrate correct procedures compared to using company staff time exclusively for each training session. As a company, we have produced a number of training video materials for different industries from food services to medical equipment to concierge duties.
For the Premiere Valet project, we intend to use both live-action filming materials and white board animations to complete a comprehensive training video presentation. For filming, we used two Canon 5Ds, a Mark III (“B” camera) and a Mark IV (“A” camera). Having the Mark IV always on a tripod and the Mark III always on a fig rig (handheld stabilizing device) allowed for faster shooting during production and multiple angles of most actions. The shoot itself was entirely B-roll driven, with voiceover to be added later, so we didn’t need to capture audio or hire actors, which is a savings for the company. We used an LED lighting kit to light the car interior shots, because of the kit’s battery-powered capabilities and nice output for a small space.
The biggest challenge of the day was the natural lighting conditions because the shoot was conducted entirely outdoors. As any resident or local filmmaker knows, Oregon is famous for bipolar weather, so at some moments we had direct sunlight and others complete cloud cover, and occasionally a mixture of both. We even had several rain delays as 10-minute stretches of light showers interrupted the filming. During one take, I had just adjusted the camera settings manually to capture a great image, called action, and half-way into the take the shot went from complete cloud cover to direct sunlight, washing out the shot almost completely. In such situations, you just have to laugh about the challenges and try again. I adjusted the settings for sunlight, then shot a take, and by the time the take ended, we had cloud cover again and shot it once more with re-adjusted settings.
For outdoor filming, cloud cover is ideal because it serves as a natural “silk” or defuser, so it avoids harsh direct sunlight and blown highlights on white surfaces or light-colored skin. If I could film every outdoor scene with cloud cover, I would be happy as a videographer, but the weather cannot be expected to cooperate with our filmmaking needs, unfortunately. Although filming corporate videos in Portland has its challenges, a well prepared crew and the right equipment can overcome any obstacles. By the end of the shoot, we had captured more than 170 shots from both cameras combined in what will turn out to be a great training video resource for Premiere Valet, I believe.