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Manufacturing From Process to Picture

Updated: Mar 14

In the manufacturing industry, it is crucial to showcase processes, products, and the intricacies of industrial operations effectively. Video and photography have the power to transform the perception of manufacturing from complex and inaccessible to engaging and understandable.

Throughout the various stages of photography and video production, we will share practical tips and best practices, guiding you from the initial planning and preparation in pre-production to the method of filming on-site. These insights are designed to help utilize the full potential of visual media in showcasing the innovation, precision, and dynamism that is inherent in the industrial and manufacturing world.

Whether you’re looking to enhance your brand’s digital presence, engage with a wider audience, or simply document and share the inner workings of your manufacturing processes, Shift Visuals can make it a reality.

Man in hardhat in industrial manufacturing environmental portrait
Utilizing unique camera angles and lighting can take an image from good to epic driving more engagement in the end.

Pre-production - Laying the Groundwork for Success

The Importance of Planning and Preparation

Pre-production is not just a preliminary step; it’s the foundation upon which the entire project is built. Effective planning and preparation are crucial for ensuring that the filming runs smoothly, efficiently, and ultimately, successfully. The tone set in this stage prevents expensive mistakes and time-consuming reshoots.

Steps to Take Before Filming

1. Understanding the Objective: Before anything else, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve with your video or photography project. Are you aiming to showcase a new product, highlight your manufacturing process, or create a corporate documentary? Your objectives will guide every decision you make in the pre-production process.

2. Creating a Storyboard and Shot List: Once your objectives are clear, the next step is to create a storyboard and a shot list. A storyboard is a visual representation of how your video will unfold, shot by shot. It’s a crucial tool for pre-visualizing the sequence of events and ensuring that your story flows logically. Alongside this, a detailed shot list outlines every shot you plan to capture, including the type of shot (e.g., wide, medium, close-up), the subject, and any specific details or movements.

3. Scriptwriting: If your project includes narrations or dialogues, scriptwriting is a vital step. The script should align with your storyboard and shot list, ensuring a cohesive narrative that effectively communicates your message.

Tips for Scouting Locations and Setting Up Equipment

1. Scouting the Right Locations: Choosing the right location is critical. The location should not only be visually appealing but also practical and safe for filming. When scouting, consider factors like lighting, background noise, space for equipment, and any potential disruptions to your manufacturing process.

2. Conducting a Site Visit: A preliminary site visit allows you to assess the location’s suitability and identify any challenges you might face during filming. This is the time to take note of lighting conditions, electrical outlets, and any other logistical considerations.

3. Setting Up Equipment: Based on your storyboard and shot list, determine the equipment you’ll need. This includes cameras, lenses, tripods, lighting, and audio equipment. It’s also essential to plan for any special equipment like drones for aerial shots or stabilizers for smooth tracking shots.

4. Safety First: In a manufacturing environment, safety is paramount. Ensure that all crew members are briefed on safety protocols and that equipment setup does not interfere with the safe operation of the manufacturing processes.

5. Communication with the Manufacturing Team: Effective communication with the manufacturing team is crucial. They can provide insights into the most visually appealing and essential aspects and help coordinate the timing of specific action shots.

By meticulously planning and preparing in the pre-production phase, you set the stage for a successful manufacturing video or photography project. This preparation ensures that when it comes time to shoot, you can focus on capturing the best possible footage, knowing that all the logistical details have been taken care of.

Production - Capturing the Essence of Manufacturing

Best Practices for Filming in an Industrial Environment

1. Adhering to Safety Protocols: Safety is the top priority in any industrial or manufacturing environment. Ensure that all crew members are equipped with necessary safety gear and are briefed on safety protocols specific to the location. It’s crucial to respect the space and its operational procedures to avoid any disruptions or accidents.

2. Effective Communication: Maintain open lines of communication with the manufacturing team. Their insights can be invaluable in understanding the process and capturing it effectively. They can also alert you to key moments that should not be missed.

3. Minimizing Disruption: Be mindful of the client’s process and aim to minimize disruption. This might involve working around the schedule of the facility or using compact and mobile equipment to quickly move and adjust as needed.

Tips for Capturing the Manufacturing Process Effectively

1. Understanding the Process: Before we start filming, we always make sure to take the time to understand the manufacturing process. This knowledge is crucial in order to anticipate key moments and ensure that I capture them effectively.

2. Dynamic and Varied Shots: Use a mix of wide shots to establish the setting, medium shots to show the process, and close-ups to capture details. This variety adds interest and depth to your footage, providing a comprehensive view of the manufacturing process.

3. Capturing the Human Element: While machinery and processes are important, don’t forget to capture the people behind the manufacturing. Show workers operating machinery, inspecting products, and engaging in their tasks. This humanizes the process and creates a more engaging narrative.

4. Using Natural Lighting: Whenever possible, we try to take advantage of natural lighting because it adds depth and realism to the shots. However, always make sure to have additional lighting on hand to counter any harsh shadows or uneven lighting conditions that are common in industrial environments.

DJ and Mark on set filming in an industrial cheese manufacturing facility.

Techniques for Getting the Right Shots and Angles

1. Steady and Stable Footage: Use tripods, gimbals, or stabilizers to ensure your footage is steady and professional. In a dynamic environment like manufacturing, stable footage is key to maintaining a high-quality look.

2. Creative Angles and Perspectives: Don’t hesitate to experiment with different angles and perspectives. Overhead shots, low-angle shots, and tracking shots can add dynamism and interest. If possible, incorporate moving shots that follow the flow of the manufacturing process.

3. Time-Lapse and Slow Motion: Utilize time-lapse to showcase longer processes in a concise format, and slow motion to highlight specific actions or details, adding a dramatic effect to your footage.

4. Monitoring Audio Quality: In a noisy environment, capturing clear audio can be challenging. Use directional microphones and consider recording voiceovers or using subtitles to ensure clear communication of your message.

5. Reviewing Footage On-Site: Regularly review your footage on-site to ensure you’re capturing what you need. This allows you to identify and rectify any issues immediately, rather than discovering them during post-production.

By following these best practices, tips, and techniques during the production phase, you can effectively capture the essence of the manufacturing process. This approach ensures that your final product is not only visually appealing but also accurately represents the intricacies and dynamics of the manufacturing environment.

The Power of Visual Storytelling in Manufacturing

Visual content transcends language and cultural barriers, making it an incredibly powerful medium for storytelling. In the manufacturing sector, where precision, innovation, and quality are paramount, showcasing these elements through video and photography can significantly enhance your brand’s credibility and appeal. It’s not just about showing what you make; it’s about sharing your company’s story, ethos, and commitment to excellence.

Final Thoughts and Encouragement

The journey of integrating video and photography into your manufacturing business is an investment in your brand’s future. It’s an opportunity to connect with your audience on a deeper level, to showcase the intricacies of your work, and to stand out in a competitive market.

Remember, every great journey begins with a single step, and there’s no better time than now to start creating content that resonates with your audience and elevates your brand.

Reach out to us today and take that next step.



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