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Lights, camera…masks! Live video production in the new normal

At our core, we at Centerline are storytellers. And while there are a variety of alternative formats to telling our clients’ stories remotely when necessary, more often than not there is nothing more powerful than live video production to build brand awareness and motivate buyers. It’s what we’ve always done best. From swelling, emotional narratives to energizing animation and everything in between, the creatives at Centerline have mastered the art of bringing our client’s stories to life.

As the pandemic hit and events first started to shift to digital experiences and major corporations implemented travel restrictions, how our agency handled production had to pause for a beat. As more information became available and business and communities began to adapt, we were able to start filming again—albeit with a few tweaks to ensure a safe filming environment for our clients and crew.

One of the most important aspects of live video production is the real-time feedback clients and agency partners provide. In the current environment, it’s not safe to have a crowd of people on set providing that feedback. But their input is still critical. So, to make sure it’s included we have started incorporating live remote viewing into our process. Clients can log in and watch the set from wherever they are and communicate directly with their agency partners on set through live-streaming technology.

We pride ourselves on our team members’ can-do attitudes and willingness to jump in and help. But right now, we’re channeling that positive energy into maintaining our safety protocols. We’re very diligent about equipment cleanings and only specific people on set are authorized to touch cameras, microphones, booms, and the like. This both keeps us safe and keeps us accountable to our clients, our employees, and our crew.

Unexpected roadblocks can be the best breeding ground for innovation. We look forward to the day that a video shoot can run like it used to, but we also think a few elements of this new style of production like live-streaming and increased documentation could be applied to a post-COVID world to strengthen and streamline production at Centerline to make for an even better client experience.

In the past, a standard shoot could involve quite a few people on set. In addition to cast and crew members, hair and makeup teams, and craft services, there are typically a handful of few people from the client company alongside the agency’s client engagement team there to make sure the brand was being represented well.

Now and for the foreseeable future, we have cut down on the number of people on set and implemented a handful of safety measures including shifting certain elements such as wardrobe to virtual calls. We have successfully reduced crew size to meet local guidance for group gatherings onsite at one time with minimal client and agency presence thanks to live streaming. Everyone involved in the shoot is required to follow local and CDC guidance— including wearing a mask unless they are on camera.

While many of Centerline’s new protocols make for very different experiences from the video shoots our team was used to, from the client’s perspective the process is as smooth as ever and the results just as beautiful and compelling.

This business has always been about the stories we tell and the relationships we build—and this experience has helped us strengthen both skills. In this “new normal” it’s our creatives’ and account teams’ time to shine.