Much like graphic design, improvements in technology mean that video is now accessible to most – that’s a great opportunity for Serco. It can mean varying levels of quality though.
This guide has been created to provide all you need to produce consistent video content that meets or exceeds the minimum standard expected. Ultimately, we want to create more effective video that’s on brand and cost effective, whether it’s internal or external, animation or live action.
We should reflect the wonderful diversity of our business wherever possible in our films. In interviews, cutaways, animations and voiceover, always consider diversity and ways to be more inclusive in terms of age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and disability. Some regions will present barriers when it comes to diversity, always liaise with local teams to get a better understanding of what is acceptable/expected in different regions.
The equipment used on any given project will vary depending on location, budget and other technical requirements.
- Where possible, shoot in 4K at 25 frames per seconds.
- SLOG3/RAW files are preferred for rushes.
- 16:9, 9:16 or 1:1 are the most common aspect ratios, ensure these are considered when gathering content.
- Ensure master files of all films are uploaded to the Brand Bank/TwentyThree.
- Master files should be in the resolution they were edited in and in mp4 format. Please use h264 for compressed files.
- If possible, a higher quality PRO RES quicktime is desired.
Type, subtitles and voiceover
Choice of typeface should be based on the brand guidelines.
Avenir Next Regular, Minimum size: 55px is the preference.
How typefaces are used in different situations:
Main title - Demi bold – Left aligned - All caps – 110px. Position centred within the ellipse.
Text centre aligned to icon position. For numbers – Bold – 120px.
Position aligned horizontally to accompanying icon. Icon + text aligned vertically to frame and positions as centred as possible to the graphic device.
Subtitles serve three main purposes:
- For those watching without sound, common on social media
- Accessibility for those with a disability
- International versions with subtitles in alternative languages
Subtitles in the native language of the country they will be shown in should be provided for all films in an SRT format. SRTs allow closed captions (CC) to be added on most platforms, closed captions can be switched on and off by the audience. This approach also allows for multiple language versions without having to create multiple copies of the film.
Subtitles and translations can be added in TwentyThree - this will save the need for multiple translated versions of the video.
A voiceover can take two forms.
- The first is using an interviewee to tell the story, either in-vision or with cutaways (b-roll) over the top.
- The second is to record ascripted voiceover separately, this is usually a professional voiceover artist.
Always consider your audience when choosing an artist, avoid anything too ‘corporate’ and take guidance from your agency who will have experience making selections based on audience, region etc.
In the ‘Essential Graphics’ panel there are three editable options.
- Name Surname
- Job Title, Company
- Box Length Control
The ‘Name Surname‘ allows you to input a name of you choice, likewise the ‘Job Title, Company’ allows you to fill in the role of the participant.
The Box length control allows you to adjust the end position of the box in case someone has a long name or job title. Use the slider to appropriately adjust the length of the namestrap to accommodate the longer text.
Illustrations, icons, library footage and imagery
A significant array of new icons has been created/licensed for use in our communication. These can be animated to bring them to life and bespoke illustrations can be created if they are in-line with the existing library. Refer to the Iconography and infographic section of the guidelines for further information onicon conversion and use.
- Icons must be in an outline style.
- Icon animation to be subtle and help emphasise the message it is being paired with. This can be animation to the scale/position/rotations and the trim paths.
- The colour in most cases should be set to white, grey or red as per the icon guidelines.
Imagery and library footage
Sometimes it’s not possible to capture footage and you will need to rely on library footage. This should be carefully selected and only used if our own footage isn’tavailable. Avoid footage that may indicate that the people featured are Serco people.
The images themselves should be appropriate based on the wider brand guidelines. Select images that allow suitable positioning of the icons and text. Parallaxing is acceptable and can help bring more movement, depth and interest to the images.
There are strict guidelines as to how the logo isused in our content (see Logo section). When it comes to video placement, ratio, animation and colourreproduction are just as important. Avoid logo animations at the beginning of your films, these few seconds have a detrimental effect on audience retention.
Which logo should I use?
Where possible use the primary Serco logo on white, Serco white/red logo is available if needed.
- Logo placement – Centred
- Minimum time on screen – 3 seconds
- Animation – ‘Serco’ Animates on with the ellipse
Usually, we would recommend not including the interviewer in the film. In which case the interviewee should be looking directly at camera, use of an Eye Direct or teleprompter is recommended to ensure the correct eye line. Position the interviewee centrally, ideally with a symmetrical backdrop. Of course, there are some situations where this isn’t practical or appropriate, vox-pops for example.
Remember to record a buzz track (the ambient sound) of each location to facilitate better edits.
Avoid pans andzooms unless there is a strong creative purpose. Capture cutaways that help tell a story, involve our people wherever possible and try and make shots look as natural as possible. Gather as many general views (GVs)/B-roll as you can at each location as they are always useful for other productions. Try to capture diversity and collaboration where possible.
Ensure release forms are signed for all that feature (available from the Brand Bank), this is the responsibility of Serco rather than the agency involved with the filming.
Animation has played an important part in Serco’s communications. It can present significant advantages over live action video in some circumstances. The medium presents so many possibilities though, it’s important that guidance is set to ensure content is consistent and appropriate.
A new approach without animated characters has been developed. It has a more contemporary and sophisticated feel than the character-based approach used previously and now utilises simple illustrations with images (see Iconography and infographics) and typography (see Typography).
Open, close and call to action
Data proves that long opening logo animations have a significant impact on audience retention. So avoid this where possible. Instead, open with a hook, a teaser to encourage the audience to continue watching.
It’s important to remember a call to action in your film. Remember, even the best films usually don’t retain the audience all the way to the end (unless it’s a captive audience), so consider putting CTAs throughout the film rather than just in the closing few seconds.
Significant research has been done around the running time of different types of film and the impact it has on effectiveness. Ultimately, the running time isn’t the most important consideration, you should however make it as concise as you can, the shorter the film the higher the audience retention at the end.
Consider platforms. Most restrict the length of the films you can upload (and this is likely to change periodically).
User generated content (UGC)
UGC has been on the rise over the last decade and the pandemic that started in 2019 has moved things on significantly. With guidance this content can be very effective but there can be significant limitations. Ensure contributors have the appropriate equipment and are given guidance on both the technical and creative approach. This might mean a briefing with an agency, having a director on location, or written guidance for example.
Serco-Employee Profile - Andrea Clarke–UGC:
Getting consent - Release forms
Release forms are essential when featuring members of our team, our clients, or members of the public in our films. Ensure everyone who features in your films signs a release form, you can find them in the appendix. Responsibility of getting the forms signed by our people falls with Serco rather than the agency you are working with. The agency should secure release forms with any actors/talent involved with your production.