How Location Helps Us Tell Impactful Stories in Video Production

We have all heard the old adage; location, location, location … usually applied to retail or real estate. Well, we think it rings true for creative video production. We work hard to identify and secure locations that help us tell our narrative, make sense logistically and meet the production budget.

Believe it or not, though, scouting locations isn’t just about finding someplace fun or cool to shoot. We’re looking for striking environments that help us tell the impactful stories our clients want to tell. Take for instance, the brand film we created for 8×8, a communications technology company that enables real-time collaboration from across the globe.

When scripting out this project, we began with the idea of ecosystem and harmony as an allegory for how perfect communication happens in an environment where everything is working together. So of course, big sweeping views of natural beauty were a must.  But we also wanted to convey how the client’s unified communications solutions can help harmonize even the most complex of distributed enterprises.

This meant we needed to scout out locations that would not only give us a big look with arresting visuals, but that would also help us present the client’s message in a clear, effective way.

The right person in the right place

We chose to tell the 8×8 story through three main characters all working collaboratively, in real time and from different parts of the world, to create an alternative energy firm. We put the characters in different environments, each chosen to provide aesthetic beauty as well as to communicate visual information about the character and their story.

The designer – The opening scenes of the designer on the stunning cliffs at Point Reyes help illustrate how she receives her inspiration from the natural world. We also filmed her working in a non-traditional office setting while communicating with her team.

The researcher – The idea was to depict the researcher traveling around the world and seeking out sites for the firm’s alternative energy project. To that end, we put him on a boat in a beautiful marine setting and then on a scooter in North Beach, a location that provides an environment with a distinctly European feel.

The CEO – We filmed the CEO at night in an attractive high-rise office building in downtown San Francisco that boasts majestic views of nighttime city lights. This location helps to portray the importance of the CEO’s character in the story, and the nighttime setting emphasizes that he’s in a different time-zone than the people he’s speaking to on his computer monitor.  

Together, these three distinct characters in three different locations help tell the client’s story of collaboration and communication across the globe. Yes, we could have used a green screen to show the skyline of a different city outside the office window for each character, however it wouldn’t have had the kind of visual impact we wanted for this particular project. The wide sense of realism provided by the sweeping visuals of the locations serve to ground each character in their environment, authenticate the client’s message of unified communication, and make the film aesthetically pleasing.

So yeah, location matters.

The right place at the right time

At Corduroy Media, we’re serious about the details of every project we do. What that means when it comes to location is that not only do we know where we need to go to get the stunning visuals our clients expect from us, but we also know when to go so that the light is exactly right when we get there.

For this, we use Sun Seeker: 3D Augmented Reality Viewer, a rad app that helps us plan for optimal light conditions and find exact sun exposure for any location. It’s a fun tool that allows us to be as detailed and precise with our production timeline as we like to be. This kind of precision is what keeps our projects on target, our budgets on budget, and our clients coming back for more.