What I Learnt Behind the Scenes at a Video Production Company

By Niki Hodson

When I started my internship at Sort Of…Films, I knew next to nothing about the film industry. It all seemed to happen as if by magic to me – I didn’t have a clue what went into producing a film or video. I assumed it involved what most people probably think of when they think about film production – shooting, and then editing. However, there is so much more involved in the process. The role of my internship was to create a marketing strategy for Sort Of…Films – a brilliant opportunity to take what I have learnt during my Masters in marketing and apply it to a business setting. To be able to do this though, I needed to understand the company and so I assisted Ed (Managing Director) on a number of shoots to see what went on behind the scenes.

Before I was able to help on shoots, I needed some training. Ed was incredibly patient with me throughout this process, despite me reeling off the wrong names of all the equipment when tested. I didn’t realise how much there was to memorise, or how quickly you had to move when shooting! Lenses have to be changed as rapidly as the snap of a finger. Ensuring that the set is safe is also extremely important – people tripping over loose wires is certainly not ideal!

The amount of planning and management that is needed to run a film and video production company efficiently and effectively is huge! Managing the extremely packed out calendar alone to ensure the work will be done in time for a client, is a job in itself. To ensure that the best possible film can be produced, careful consideration into possible shooting locations is carried out. Everything needs to be thought about – the lighting, both natural and artificial, how busy the location could be, whether there are any power sockets available and if the overall feel of the location is appropriate for the client’s brief.

From shooting to editing, no corner is cut. Back in the post-production suite, a lot of skill and effort goes into selecting the appropriate piece of music to accompany the film. Music can be a crucial element of the project and can impact how well the client’s messages translate, so getting this right is incredibly important! Occasionally, a client may want animation on their film, voice overs, or subtitling. Ensuring this is of a high quality involves consistently researching and keeping up to date with technology and equipment.

What really impressed me during my internship with Sort Of…Films is how they keep the client at the centre of everything they do; from ensuring the end result is something the client will be really thrilled with, to making sure everybody feels happy and comfortable on shoots, particularly as being in front of a camera does not come naturally to a lot of people. I’ve learnt a lot during my internship and have corrected a lot of my original naive assumptions: it’s not magic at all, it’s a painstaking and complex craft.