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7 Tips for Cannabis Videography

Updated: 7 days ago

You've decided to invest in a 4-minute video that introduces your brand, your farm, your product. You're choosing a videographer and you're starting to plan. Here are 7 tips to help you prepare your video shoot.

Videographer Kevin Ross with Linsey Jones at her Aloha Humboldt farm

1. Choose your time

It’s ideal to shoot footage of the farm when the plants are more mature. There is also more activity on the farm in the summer months to film for b-roll. In terms of the time of day, it’s good to break up the shoot into 2 different parts: interviews (people talking on camera) and b-roll (footage of the farm and people doing things).

Interviews are best shot indoors so we have clean audio. But if the farm looks nice in the background and filming indoors is not possible (due to Covid-19) then filming the interview portion outdoors is fine -- ideally in the morning hours around 9am. For b-roll this can be filmed throughout the day. The videographer will need someone to guide them through the farm that day and point out the things that ideally they want to showcase on the video. It’s always good to film the interviews first so that the videographer can have a list of shots for b-roll that needs to be filmed the following day.


For MFG operations inside like packaging: this can be done during normal business hours. The facility manager should notify all workers on site to make sure they are OK with being filmed. Now with Covid-19 everyone is masked so it can be less of an issue if people want to hide there identity, but always good to know who does not want to be in the video so that they're not in the frame.


2. Don’t wear line patterns

For interviews: don’t wear small line patterns. Ideally no hats. No super bright neon colors. Some people are naturals at speaking on camera, others less so. Ideally, your operation has 3-4 people to be interviewed, and the videographer will mix the answers for the final video. For people working on the farm, harvesting, watering, etc, keep carrying on, the videographer is like a fly on the wall capturing the work. Just be relaxed and respond in a cool, calm manner.


3. Should anyone not be filmed?

If anyone isn’t OK to be on camera, let the videographer know before they start

filming.


4. Don’t pre-write your answers

Work with the videographer to have a list of questions prior to the filming, so

that you can practice your answers. But DO NOT WRITE OUT answers prior to

filming. Let them come from the heart and don’t overthink it. Bullet point notes are fine to remember topics to discuss.


5. How long does it all take?

(i) Pre-planning can take a few weeks. For a June shoot, start planning in April-May.

(ii) Filming typically takes 4 days: -1 Day filming 3-4 people for all the interviews -2 Days of filming the farm -1 Day filming any other b roll of products or other shots/interviews that were missed

(iii) Post production takes 1-3 Weeks depending on how fast the client gives feedback. Satva Leung, who's done multiple videos for Talking Trees, uses Frame.io for taking in notes from the client. It’s a great way to review the video and gather feedback remotely.

6. What about music?

The videographer should have a library of music that is cleared for usage. Instrumental tracks work better in the case where we will hear people talking on camera.


7. Shoot the experience!

Don’t forget to shoot the consumption side, or to have ready footage of consumption to give to the videographer. You want to always connect with your consumers, so make sure you film the experience.


This article is co-written with videographer Satva Leung. Satva grew up in Trinidad and Arcata. He now lives in San Francisco but returns to Humboldt to be surrounded by nature and to film content for the cannabis industry. See one of his videos for Talking Trees here.



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