Live action video at Sprout is centered on empathetic storytelling, compelling human-centered messaging, and elegant cinematography.
Video is one of the most powerful mediums to convey a thoughtful, strong message. With Sprout’s brand positioning as our foundation, our discipline serves to elevate and humanize our product, brand and team. We work with partners to create compelling video stories that help exceed their business goals.
We mostly live in two spaces — scripted live videos and documentary interview-based videos. Scripted live videos are most powerful for ads/promos that need to convey a strong message within a time limit. Documentary style videos are most powerful for creating an empathetic human connection with our audience. However, videos don’t always fall neatly into one category, since every project is different based on goals and needs.
These videos are based on a written script, delivered either by on-camera talent or a voiceover, and driven by b-roll visuals, graphics or animations. We use this style to create teasers, social ads and promos for marketing content. They should feel smart, thoughtful and inviting.
These videos are interview-based, driven by sound bites and akin to a documentary look and feel. We usually use this style to produce Sprout’s culture/career videos, case studies and general company videos. They should feel authentic and human-centered, bringing our audience into the worlds of the people we feature.
We have also been venturing into creating bigger campaign videos that incorporate both scripted voiceover and soundbites. These videos are larger scaled productions that drive trunk campaigns.
These are guidelines for shooting live action video with our two Sony A7sII cameras.
- 24fps, 1/50 for standard video
- 60fps, 1/120 for slow motion
- Shoot interviews in 4k, all b-roll lean towards 1080p
Always include subtitles for accessibility. We use a Premiere Pro Subtitles plug-in that automatically generates subtitles from an SRT file. SRT files are created through YouTube.
- Font style: Proxima Nova Bold
- Font size: 65px
- Background: Aqua 1100, 100% opaque
- Position: 1920px, 2046px
- Y-value is variable depending on video. Generally, subtitles live right above the safe margin. See the image below.
- Apostrophes and Quotation Marks: ensure that the correct apostrophes and quotation marks are always used in subtitles. Here are the “quotation marks” and here’s the apostrophe.
- All footage should be shot either in Cine2 or S-log on Sony A7SII
- Shoot as flat as possible to maximize color potential in post
- Lean towards customizing white balance when shooting to maintain consistency
- Use FilmConvert’s presets for the Sony A7sII a a baseline.
- For color correction, lean towards more cinematic moody colors—low contrast, lower saturation, warmer, etc.
- 1-cam or 2-cam, but shot in 4K to crop if needed
- Subjects should look natural in their environment, looking off-camera
- Use natural light whenever possible, and then set up lights to motivate
- Smart casual for outfits—it should feel real yet professional
- Lean towards medium to close-up shots over wide shots
People interacting with technology
Whenever we film b-roll of people using technology—on the phone, computer, etc—it should feel natural and in their environment. Light artificially only when necessary. We should see them in action, not staged in a set-up. They should be doing their jobs, on the go, collaborating with people.
- Shoot with layers in the foreground to make audience feel like they’re part of the action
- Never shot straight on when it comes to phone or computer screens, the scene shouldn’t feel like we are staging a product shot
People working in spaces
We often film people working in office spaces for our b-roll. This can feel stuffy if the office isn’t aesthetically beautiful. To create more dynamic visuals:
- Establishing shot: use movement to establish subject in their space. This can look like tracking shots with the gimbal as the person is walking through or into their office.
- Shooting someone working at a desk can be boring. Make it fun! Shoot with layers in the foreground, from different angles, from behind the laptop, etc. Help the audience feel like they’re right there in the room with them.
These guidelines are for video on our social channels, particularly Instagram and Facebook.
- Videos on social should generally be shorter in length and feel more “behind the scenes”
- They should feel intimate, leaning more into tighter shots as opposed to wide shots
- IG Stories: Videos can be shot in 16:9, but with intentionality for vertical video (9:16)
- IG/FB Posts: Videos can be shot in 16:9, but with intentionality for 1x1 video
- Length: 15 - 30 seconds, nothing over 90 seconds
- Camera specs are the same as live action video except for dimensions
- Always film on your iPhone with a stabilizer. It can be the tripod or the gorilla pod.
- Double check that your focus is accurate on your subject and/or scene.
Interview shots on IG stories
- Find a location with minimal distraction and clutter for interviews
- All interview shots should be close-up, where the face takes up almost half of the frame
- Make sure to leave a bit of headroom above subject to they are not cut off
- Subject should either be looking direct at phone camera or a little off camera
- The iPhone should be at eye-level so the subject isn’t looking up or down
- Find available natural light and make sure subject is facing the light
- Avoid any distracting backlights, do not film subject with back against window
- If filming an event at night or in a dark space, use the Manfrotto light in the DIY kit
- Font: Proxima Nova Bold
- Font size: 80px
- Background: Aqua 1100, 100% opaque
- Position: 540px, 1568px