Purpose films are the icing on the cake of a purpose project. It is the first moment where you really get to see that purpose unfold and come to life. But in order for that to happen, many components have to come together to make a purpose film both successful and inspiring. One of these components, and arguably one of the most important, is capturing real moments.
When we create a purpose film, we are trying to inspire employees — from the factory floor to the C suite. We know that the shots that are going to make the film special are those where people are being themselves: real moments. And in order to capture those special moments, you have to hunt them. To be a real moment hunter you must be quick and quiet. You have to stay far enough away from the subject, and pretend that you are not shooting. Little do they know that you never stopped rolling!
Trying to stay far enough away to not ruin the moment.
Many times when we get to our “sets” (the factory, the store, the employee’s house etc.) the first thing we do is to scout the place. We have found that in that moment, when there are no cameras, people are doing their best performances. You see those moments unfolding and it is almost painful to not have a camera with you. You have to be conscious about the fact that you are shooting real people in their working environments. These people are not actors; they’re not used to cameras or being filmed. You have to read each person to find out how they react to the camera.
In most cases, people react in 4 different ways:
1. They get really nervous and start acting unnaturally.
2. They are really upset that you are there and they don’t want to be filmed or cooperate with you.
3. They get super excited that you are there and want to look straight at the camera, smile and have fun, some of these moments will make it to our films.
4. Then, there is my favorite kind of reaction, the ones who don’t care that cameras are there. They are just working and interacting with their coworkers in a way that you can’t miss. When you are shooting them, you know those shots are going to make it into the final cut.
A small group of super-excited employees posing.
There are also disappointing times where you won’t find these real moments. Or you find them, but they are happening in places where the light or composition is not ideal. Or you need to get a specific shot because the concept demands it. At this point, you have to be ready to set the action up, and it is all about knowing how to direct people. You have to make them feel comfortable, and be very clear as to what action you want them to perform.
In many cases this works and it can feel as good as a real moment. However, in every shoot you have to make sure you get the real moments first before you set up the ones you need. In one of our most recent projects, we decided to have two films crews on the same location at the same time. One focusing on capturing real moments and the other setting up shots. We were able to find a balance between the two and create a powerful and inspiring purpose film.
Setting up one of those all-important shots that the concept requires.
Every purpose film requires different creative approaches, but without a doubt what makes our films special (aside from the great editing, music and script), is what happens on the screen. We capture the real moments where real people are being great at what they do and making the world a better place.
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