Behind the Scenes: National Express in Liverpool

Published November 29, 2019
Last Updated December 2, 2019
Michelle Cheung

As someone that’s a social media enthusiast, I’m always curious (or “nosey” you could say) about what goes on behind the scenes at photography and videography shoots! 

We’re currently working with the National Express on a series of six short travel inspiration videos, featuring different cities their coaches run to. Each video features a super fun day out in different cities. I was selected to model in one of them, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to show you what it’s like to be on set. Here’s an exclusive sneak peek into what it’s really like behind the scenes of a commercial video shoot.

Preparing for the shoot

Every shoot and destination is unique, so there’s a lot of research and planning involved beforehand. For this video, Liverpool was the chosen travel destination. Not only is Liverpool one of National Express’s most popular travel routes, it’s also a favoured city by millennials for a day trip or weekend getaway. There’s something for everyone due to its rich culture, live sports and trendy food scene.

Cher, our Account Manager organises and carefully plans the shoots: Liverpool mood-board

 

Cher Taylor Account Manager

One most important parts of video production is what happens before the camera starts rolling…

I love to immerse myself in the brief and carefully understand the desired deliverables, that way I can keep a strong focus throughout the shoot day – research is key!

Selecting places that match the client’s vision, and planning for which order to visit the locations makes shooting on the day much smoother.

Always prepare for long days and realise that no matter how much you plan; surprises will always pop up.

Since everything was already well prepped by Cher, as one of the models all I had to do was simply choose what to wear. I opted for a casual black and white outfit – you can never go wrong with monochrome! Not only does it reflect my age group (the main target audience), it’s perfect for filming as it won’t clash with any bright colours on the scene. I also avoided branded clothing, as we wanted the video to fully focus on the activities we were going to do and showcase the experiences National Express can truly bring.

Making the magic happen!

We arrived in Liverpool around 9:30am to start shooting early so there’d be less people around, since we were visiting popular places. And, of course, to make the most of the sunny lighting to capture the best shots! No one wants gloomy footage, it can bring the energy of the video down and require a lot of post production corrections. Since we’re filming outdoors, we couldn’t depend on softboxes or strobe lights either.

The first location was Albert Docks. The docks are the centre of tourism in Liverpool. We wanted the video to capture the experience of a girls day out and someone visiting Liverpool for their first time. The docks are the classic location everyone goes to get their Instagram pictures taken. Hence why in the shot, I was taking a selfie (as if I wasn’t going to take a picture for my Insta stories with the Beatles statue anyway). And, it was genuinely my first time seeing it in person so it couldn’t be more perfect for the video right?

All the museums, cafes, restaurants and bars near the area were colourful and visually pleasing – perfect for the shoot. The vibrant city really lifted our moods, it felt like I wasn’t there filming and just enjoying a normal day out exploring. Hopefully, that all came across in the video!

While we were waiting for a tour in the tower to start, we visited the Tate to capture the fine artwork and learn about the heritage. We had to quickly change plans though, as we thought the tour guide said the tour would be 17 minutes, but we’d actually mistaken his accent and he said it would take about 70 minutes… Oopsies. Thanks to Cher’s research beforehand, we were able to easily change locations to get similar shots. So, to capture some footage from a high perspective, we went on a ferris wheel. I also may or may not have also had a cheeky ride on the merry go around. You’ll have to watch the video to find out.

We’d got the most of the filming done at this point, so it was time for food! You can’t film when you’re hungry right? Liverpool had loads of trendy food spots, we spent a good 20 minutes deciding and opted for Mowgli in the end because of the aesthetic interior and lighting. The Indian street food was divine. Once everyone’s energy was refuelled, we were quite spontaneous with the shots after. From shopping at the new Too Faced shop to checking out The Cavern Club.

Post filming 

Reflecting back on the day, during the first 5 minutes it was awkward with people staring at you but you just forget about it and own your confidence. Adam, our videographer made me feel super comfortable so my character and emotions definitely came out. He did an amazing job capturing our enthusiasm for exploring and the energetic atmosphere of the city.

All this preparation and work for a 48 second video, but the results in the end were worth it!

I’ve been on other cooperation shoots before, the filming process is pretty similar. But everything was more seamless (and not chaotic with the crew running around everywhere) because Cher knew exactly what shots she was looking for from the get go. For Taran, our PR Executive who is also featured in the video, this was her first time on set.

 

Taran Sangha Content and PR Executive

This was the first shoot I’ve been on, so it was interesting to work behind the scenes and understand more about how things are filmed and the thought process behind this. Not only this, Liverpool is one of my favourite cities so it was nice shooting at some of its most famous spots, such as the Albert Dock World Heritage Site – and fitting this all within the timeframe.

Excited to watch the outcome? Check it out here:

 

I’d love to hear your experience of modelling or filming videography shoots! If you haven’t had one yet, maybe we can help with your next photography or videography campaign?

Contact us to discuss your requirements.



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