Documentary Filmmaking

Documentary Filmmaking is different than the usual project for Savvy. Documentary filmmaking is capturing real life, it’s not scripted or pre-determined. The best thing a filmmaker can do while making a documentary is have a clear vision, stay organized and communicate.

Since June 2017 Savvy has been producing, shooting and editing a short documentary for the Chester County Food Bank. As a result, Savvy has loaded and logged hundreds of hours of footage from several shoots. To manage the workflow and data, it’s important to keep the drive and files organized. Savvy remained concise and consistent through each data dump by naming the main folders with their date and location. The footage was further organized into ‘Broll’ and ‘Interview’ footage. This helped the editor stay organized and browse footage quickly. Also, with this amount of assets, it is imperative to back up the project on a separate external drive; Savvy backed up all files after every shoot and major edit sessions.

Along with the hundreds of hours of footage, there is hundreds of hours of planning and scheduling. Savvy and the Food Bank collaborated closely from the inception of the project. The Food Bank asked Savvy to capture their everyday interactions with volunteers, farmers, and partners.The Food Bank and Savvy worked together to create a shooting schedule in correspondence with activities around the Food Bank. A shooting schedule like that means planning a shoot, getting clearance at a location, and securing interview subjects a month in advance; or sometimes in three days. When shooting a documentary it’s about being in the right place at the right time and most of the time those moments are unplanned. Either way, it is important to stay flexible with scheduling, when possible, and keep communication between client and production open and constant. Due to careful planning in pre production, Savvy was always prepared with Broll ideas and questions for every interview subject.

Some of the many other hurdles with documentary filmmaking are weather, capturing good interviews and audio, and working without a shot list. Everyone knows sunlight is the best light, but when shooting outside there should always be a plan B in case of inclement weather. Documentaries capture real life, and people get sick or double-book themselves in real life too. As a filmmaker, it is good to have several interviews lined up at one location instead of relying on one person for a story. Most of the time, locations are not pre-scouted by production; meaning filmmakers have to be prepared for any lighting and sound situation. It is good practice to always have ambient sound with Broll footage using an on-camera mic, and to mic interview subjects with both a lav and boom to ensure good quality audio. There are no pre-built sets for documentaries, and not every location is well lit, this hurdle requires the skill of filmmakers to design and capture a shot on-the-spot.

Savvy is currently in post production for the Chester County Food Bank’s short documentary. Overall, this project is successful because of client-filmmaker collaboration and the skill of the production team to make a organized but flexible schedule. Savvy is expert in non-profit and corporate video production. Check out Savvy’s website for examples of work and get in contact for your companies next marketing video!


Video Integration in Digital Marketing Part 2

Second half of Savvy’s two-part blog series about how video integration in marketing enhances companies marketing effectiveness and why video is needed now more than ever to promote a brand or product. Here are the second five reasons why a company should invest in video content. These are the last five reasons why Savvy believes it is imperative to integrate video content into digital marketing such as social media and blog posts. When looking to higher a production company/ video experts, consider Savvy Production; Savvy has expertise in every aspect in production from script writing to editing.

6. Stronger Customer Attention

With customers limited attention spans, creative marketing strategies are tricky than ever. The goal is to capture and keep the audience's attention. Some people may say there is a “content overload” these days, which may be true, so it's up to the marketer to take the audience's attention from another piece of content onto your own and video can do just that. Video is currently the most effective technology and strategy to convey a message is this fast-paced and technology driven era.

7. More Video- Favored Technology

With the increase consumption of video and the resulting rise in production, it’s no wonder social media sites like Facebook or Instagram have begun integrating auto-play in their video based content. Meaning, as you scroll through your newsfeed and come across a post with video, it will start to play without any prompt from the user. A moving image is proven to catch the attention of a viewer more so than a still image. It’s hard to argue that a status update or a link to a website will catch the viewers attention like a video will. When posting video content on your website, social media page or in an email campaign, consider enabling “auto-play”.

8. Higher Retention Rates

These days people's attention spans are shorter and shorter; unlike text-based content, 65% of viewers watch three fourths of videos. If you can manage to get the point of your message across in the first half of your video, the viewer is more likely to retain your marketing message.

9. Rise in Accessibility

When video production first started it was expensive, time consuming and people knew little about the production process. More recently, video can be produced quicker and with less technical hurdles, thanks to evolving technology and accessible knowledge in the subject. Savvy Production LLC can help you make a quick and relatively inexpensive video for your upcoming marketing campaign or launch of a new website!

10. Increased Customer Conversions

Last, but maybe most importantly, video content in marketing converts more customers than any other type of marketing. 71% of marketers say video conversion rates outperform other marketing content. Its as simple as that.

Video Integration in Digital Marketing

Savvy is introducing a two-part blog series about how video integration in marketing enhances companies marketing effectiveness and why video is needed now more than ever to promote a brand or product. Here are the first five reasons why a company should invest in video content.

1. Improved Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine's unpaid results. It’s safe to say that every company or product needs a website in this technology age. The higher your webpage is listed on a google search result improves the chances of customers or consumers visiting your website. Did you know that having video content on your website improves the SEO? Adding video to your website can increase the chance of a front page google search by 53 times, according to Cosmo Score.

2. Higher Engagement

Weather it be on a social media post or on the company website, once the viewer/customer has their attention on the post, a video is more likely to get the customer engaged with the content. Engagement can be anything from commenting, posting or sharing content; with video, audiences are ten time more likely to engage.

3. Greater Optimization Opportunities

Strictly text blogs or social media posts are fine, but it is almost impossible to track how much of the post the audience consumed, if they re-read parts of it, or if they shared it with friends. Video content solves this problem. Video has a feedback loop built in; allowing the owner to measure click-through rate, drop-off points or number of times the video was viewed. This allows you to know what is working and what is not, so you can focus on the marketing strategy what really works for you and your audience.

4. Better Email Click-Throughs

Email is one of the most effective and fastest forms of communication. Getting emails right, without grammatical errors, takes time and no matter how well it is written recipients still may not take the time to read it. The use of video in emails has been shown to double click-through rates leading to more effective emails and in turn increasing the chance of your message resonating with audiences. The next time you send out a marketing email, integrate video.

5. Stronger Emotional Connections

Video is the most powerful way to evoke emotions both online and through a television screen. This is true because video offers different attributes beyond traditional text-based content; such as, tone of voice, facial expressions and music. Without emotion, the point of an advertisement can leave the audience's mind within minutes; however, with emotion through video, the message of the content is likely to resonate with the audience later in time, usually in a subtle or subconscious way.

These are just five reasons why it is imperative to integrate video content into digital marketing such as social media and blog posts. When looking to higher a production company/ video experts, consider Savvy Production; Savvy has expertise in every aspect in production from script writing to editing. Stay tuned for the next five reasons according to Savvy Production.


Pre-Production Steps to Help Your Video Project Run Smoothly

Pre-production plays a huge role in any motion project.  It is the necessary step (and step with most work to do) that compiles the necessary information for both parties involved-- crew and client.  Since most of the work is done pre-production, it can help keep a tidy outline that keeps your project organized and running smoothly.  Here is a list from a blog post we stumbled upon that nicely highlights the vital steps in video making:

  • Brainstorming
  • Research-Primary-Secondary
  • Proposal-Pitch(Synopsis)
  • Production Schedule
  • Budget
  • Storyboard
  • Location Recce -Risk Assessment
  • Contingency Plan -Back Up Plan
  • Shooting Schedule
  • Call Sheets
  • Production-Film Shoot -Shot Blog
  • Offline Edit -Rough Cut
  • Watch-Review=Online Edit


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Showcasing Your Company | Using Web Marketing Video Production to Explain Your Brand

Who is your company? What are your company's values? What makes your brand "THE BRAND" for people to choose?

These are questions you should ask yourself when deciding how you want to showcase your company's message.  This type of video will give audiences insight on your company/brand's personality and what makes it stand out to its competition.  Whether it's corporate or non-profit, a company video can show what your company's values are what drives you to do what you do.

Here is a video Savvy shot for Philabundance:

Showcase your responsible endeavours
Corporate Social Responsibility is a big part of many companies’ culture and ethos. Showing what initiatives your brand spearheads or takes part in is a great way to show potential clients and customers a little bit more about who you are and what you stand for. Many people take a companies’ ethics into account when choosing who to do business with, so showing what you do to make a difference in the world is a good way to build trust.
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Product Demo Video | "How do you use this?"

There is no better way than to show how your product works than to have visual proof of someone using it.  Whether it's more helpful to see someone's interaction with the product, which buttons to press and when, or even simply how to properly pick it up, having a visual moving image can help audiences understand better than plain words can.  And because most people are visual learners, it will give them quicker insight on how your product can be used most efficiently. 

Here is a product demonstration video for Soniclear:

Product demonstration videos
After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online* so instead of crafting compelling but long-winded product descriptions why not use video to showcase the product or service and how it works? This is especially effective if you have a lot of different features that can be hard to explain. Videos of this type can feature an actor or employee showing the product, an animation or even a whiteboard animation style video.
Google Chrome created a heart-warming video to showcase how the extensive features of Chrome can be used to document the life of a loved one. Whilst this video doesn’t go into all the finer details of Chrome, it gives enough of an insight for anyone wondering what the interface looks like and how it can be used. It’s also exactly the type of video content that is likely to get shared, spreading knowledge of the product even further.
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Brand Video | Your Message in Motion

A branding video is a condensed collection of information and visuals that give your audience a quicker, more efficient idea of what your company is all about.  This can be a video about your company's personality, how your products/services work, customer/patient satisfaction, or a combination of all three.  Your targeted audience will understand your brand in a simplified and short video rather than paragraphs of information.  

Check out life's little uncertainties in this branding film for the insurance industry:

This is the video that should sit on your homepage or About Us page. It needs to encapsulate your brand in one short, catchy video. You could use it to tell your brand story, highlight your values and what you stand for, or simply state what you do, why and how you are different from your competition. This should be the flagship piece of video content that communicates clearly to your customer who you are and why they should be looking at your site.
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Testimonial Videos

Video testimonials are key to successful marketing for your brand. The majority of audiences are visual learners and nothing is more reassuring than real facts, real experiences, and real interaction from your patients/clients/customers.  For the healthcare market, this is an example of a patient testimonial Savvy produced for The Spine Institute of North America:


"You must have lots of great feedback from your clients and customers, raving about your products and services. Maybe they’ve provided you with case studies and quotes which you already share with other prospective customers. A great way to make this testimonial even more compelling is to film it. You can do a simple piece to camera where your clients answer questions about how your product or service helped them. You can also use text or animation to give important information and data about exactly what benefits your brand bought them. These testimonials can then sit on your website, ideally above the fold on a key landing page to help persuade viewers of your credentials. You can also use them in sales pitches and marketing emails."
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Scripting | & the Importance Behind it for any Video Production

Script (n.):

the manuscript or one of various copies of the written text of a play, motion picture, or radio or television broadcast.               (


One of the most important elements to creating an engaging video is writing the script.  To start, think about what the message is that you are trying to say in your video. 

Scripting is key for organization for all roles within the film-making process .  It will save time and money and ensure a smooth process in planning, shooting, and editing your video.  A script is a sure way to compact all the vital information you want for your branding message; Relying solely on candid thoughts is a gamble and it might not coincide with the message you truly want.

Helpful tips to create when preparing your script:

  1. Keep it Simple: Don't overload your video with excess information.  Introduce the problem, your solution, how it works, and a call to action-- all things your brand can promise.
  2. Benefits: Talk about the benefit a consumer/patient/viewer can receive from your brand in a concise way.  Quicker, more defined thoughts and statements stick with the viewer better than lengthy explanations.
  3. Representation:  Make sure when preparing the script, you keep in mind the talent-- is this a voiceover? who are the actors that will appear on screen? etc.  It is important to think about who (on or off screen) is representing your brand.  It's equally important to have the right voice for video as it is to have them saying quality information-- you want a professional, polished delivery. 

A creative brief can help outline the important parts before delving into writing the script.

  1. What is the elevator pitch for your product/service/brand?  
  2. Who is the targeted audience?  
  3. What are the specific problems?  
  4. What are the main benefits that your brand offers as a solution?  
  5. How does your product/service/brand work?  
  6. What's the tone of the video?  
  7. Do you have any specific ideas or requests for the visual style?
  8. What is the call to action or contact information that can guide the viewer at the end?


These tips will help a smoother script-writing process, and therefore a smoother creative process for your video.  Don't be afraid to get creative, while maintaining a professional message.  Good luck and get scripting!



The New Girl

image taken by C.Meyers

image taken by C.Meyers

 Jessica Lim joins Savvy as Production Manager. She recently graduated from The University of the Arts with a BFA in photography. When not producing video, she likes to go hiking with her large format camera and take images of landscapes (ones you can't find in New Jersey or Pennsylvania).  Dog lover, TV show binge-watcher, and adventure seeker, Jess is equally left brained as she is right brained. 

Texas, 2015 ©Jessica Lim

Texas, 2015 ©Jessica Lim

Joshua Tree and Contrail, 2016 ©Jessica Lim

Joshua Tree and Contrail, 2016 ©Jessica Lim