Film-making not for the faint-hearted!

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A month ago I delved into the unknown world of film-making.

But it’s not like I hadn’t ever recorded anything before. Taking your phone out to record something mildly interesting is somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction in today’s world of smartphones.

For the first time I was responsible for filming something work related and a tiny bit more serious. (I say serious, but you can decide that for yourself.)

I walked in thinking I had it all handled and it would all be done in a quick afternoon. However, one of the first obstacles that held me back was the schedule. In order to get everyone together I had to arrange a time that was convenient for each member of the team. I soon learned that it was going to be something that was going to require a lot more planning.

Here are some things I learned the hard way:

Take 20!

You may be lucky enough to work with someone who gets it right the first time of asking. Those that only need one take. But the one thing that I regret during my directorial debut was not asking them to do it again. It doesn’t matter if your subjects have the natural abilities of Jack Nicholson or Meryl Streep on film. It’s up to you to be Stanley Kubrick in this situation and do multiple takes.

A quick look at what you’ve just recorded may look completely different when brought into the editing screen. This is why it’s important to have a few options to use. In fact one of the clips I did had to be recorded again because we didn’t take the weather conditions into account (more on that later). You might also notice that not all takes will look identical to each other which gives you a wider variety of footage to work with.

Keep the cameras rolling!

Sometimes what you find on the cutting room floor is what makes it on to the big screen. It was the reason this genius clip made it into the final cut.


What started off as a bit of miscommunication between myself and Damian turned into an amusing few seconds which ended up appearing in between everyone’s answers. It could easily have been something I decided to cut out but this tiny mishap is what gave the final video it’s comedy element. You’ll find that people are themselves those few seconds before the camera starts rolling so be sure to start recording before you shout “ACTION” in order to capture those moments.

Speak Up!

It’s always great to have the correct equipment when you’re out on a shoot. When it came to recording I used the video function on my digital SLR. Whilst there is definitely more professional equipment out there to do a recording the SLR recorded at 1080p which was more than adequate. However one equipment that I wished I had purchased before the shoot was a microphone. The one I used was built in with the SLR. This worked wonders during the indoor shoots but the outdoor ones were quite challenging. We would have to reshoot because of background noises such as cars and windy conditions would often ruin the take. So a good microphone that muffles out that background noise can go a long way towards more quality video material.

Prepare your answers

Have you ever watched an interview on shows like Conan or Jonathan Ross? The interview always seems to flow so smoothly. The presenter asks a question and the celebrity answers it with ease (often mixing it up with personal anecdotes plucked out of thin air). However did you know that most of these interviews have been rehearsed beforehand? Perhaps not rehearsed word for word but the questions often asked have been screened by the celebrity beforehand meaning he/she can answer it without any hesitation. If you are doing a similar type of video then there’s no shame in doing a rehearsal before you get down to the real thing. Maybe even record it and see how it all looks before going ahead with it. You’ll be surprised at how different things look on screen compared to what’s written on paper.

That’s a wrap!

When I had completed my video shoot I felt like all the hard work was finally done. I couldn’t have been more wrong! The hard work came afterwards. The sifting through files and files of videoclips. Trying to pick out which ones to keep and which ones to delete. Trying to decide whether something would work or if it needed re-shooting. And then came the actually editing work. Trying to make it all flow at the same pace, whilst keeping everyone interested was a more difficult task than I could have imagined. Originally the brief had been to capture the Happies answering a question and show it in a visually appealing way. However, the more I worked on it the more I started getting ideas. The doodles were something that I decided to do later. In short, you shouldn’t underestimate the time taken in editing your video content. At times this can be the more time consuming task.

Hakim Shujaee is a Creative Thinker and Designer at Happy Creative, a full service marketing and creative agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to

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