Creative Corporate Video Case Study: Learning Series

Oliver James Masterclass Training Series

Oliver James is a global talent-solutions partner and one of our long standing clients. With their head office based in Manchester, we’ve enjoyed growing alongside the company for nearly a decade, scaling our creative involvement as their visual output and ambition has expanded.

Over the last 18 months, our video production work with Oliver James has increased significantly with the arrival of their brand new, bespoke learning platform. A key part of this online learning platform is video content, and the centrepiece of this content is a high-end video series that, for the sake of this blog, we’ll refer to as Masterclass.

It’s been a fantastic and engrossing project to be a part of; one that’s allowed us to flex our creative muscle in the corporate video space and sharpen our production tools when it comes to creating engaging, educational content. Overall, it’s allowed us to showcase just how creative corporate video can be, so let’s take a deep dive into the project and how we tackled the various requirements and production challenges.


A 36 episode, online, learning video series. Each video to be a different topic presented by a different ‘expert’ host from within the company. With the variety of topics needing to be covered, there would be a variety of additional visual resources required on an ad-hoc basis from roleplays to systems demonstrations.

The series needs to be a flagship that inspires, excites and teaches the workforce whilst changing expectations for corporate training video content.

The above is a condensed form of the brief we received for this project. In reality, we had a long meeting with our client to discuss the ins and outs of what was required and the aims and ambition of the project as a whole.

Whilst the above covers the technical specifics, it was clear from initial meetings that there was some serious desire for this project to do something different, something special. We had a long chat about the usual expectations of corporate video - especially learning materials and ‘training videos’ - and how this video would absolutely not be that.

In the current media landscape, it seems like video content is absolutely everywhere. As a result, audience expectation for the quality of video content has soared through the roof. It was very clear from the outset that a stuffy, dry video series, with someone sitting in an office going through a powerpoint presentation, wasn’t going to be able to grab the attention and rouse a working audience in the way that Oliver James needed. This series needed to resonate with a modern audience who experience a constant drain on their attention from all manner of video sources.

At the centre of everything, this was a learning video series, so it needed to impart specific information to a workforce in order for them to develop the relevant skills and practices. But what we realised in these early discussions was that how that information was presented was just as important as what that information was. If the video didn’t entice an audience, or if it wasn’t entertaining, then people simply wouldn’t watch it. They needed to actively want to watch each episode and enjoy the material, and then learn as a result.

After much discussion, we decided that a benchmark for this series would be that it should feel comfortable sitting alongside Netflix content. If we got that right, if the content felt relevant to a modern, video saturated audience, then the learning messages would land correctly.


Through discussions in the briefing stage of the project, we established a pretty clear idea of the content requirements. As a result, there wasn’t the full pitching opportunity that we might see with other video production projects, but there was still the chance for our input to shape the project before it began.

Our main contribution to how the project should come together was the suggestion that all of the content be scripted. When it comes to video production, we find that scripting offers the client, and ourselves as a video production company, the opportunity for more control. Scripting ultimately allows you to make sure that a message is being delivered in the correct way, on brand, exactly as intended, without the danger of ad libbing or meandering from the speaker. Scripting also gives you a document to build the rest of the production around; it allows you to plan how long a video will last based on word count and allows you to plan how long the shoot day (or days) will take. From there, you have a clearer idea for projecting budgets, workflows and turnaround times.

a man gesturing during a conversation to camera in a chair in the middle of the screen
Adding an autocue and set script to a talking head video allows the subject to 'rehearse' the text, which in turns means they can now engage with the text and make it feel more real

There are some specifically advantageous points when it comes to scripting a corporate video production in particular. In the corporate space, having a word document that clearly showcases the content of the video is great for sharing amongst colleagues and stakeholders for feedback. It’s an easy way for other areas of the business to ensure that the messaging matches the core guidelines and ethos of the business and furthermore, communicates that messaging to us as video producers. It also allows the speaker insight into what they’ll be delivering on screen and the opportunity for rehearsal, ultimately meaning it should be quicker, easier and more efficient for the speaker to come to the set and deliver the content.

a woman sat in a chair speaking to the camera that is off screen
Get to your script and you can speak with more ease and engagement - and it makes the job move quicker so your speaker can get back to work!

Ultimately, a script allows a high-end corporate video production to be quicker to produce, having less of an impact on the time of the speaker and more overall budget efficiency, all whilst being precise with the messaging. So in this instance, our number one suggestion was that this project needed to be scripted.

Our further suggestions in the project planning stages were more visual. Namely around branding the videos with an ident so they felt more like a series and the individual creative touches that could be brought to each video to increase their visual appeal. But we’ll discuss that more with the actual production.

Production & Post Production

The agreed production workflow was based around four episode seasons. The client would provide a script document for each episode, which we would polish from a video production perspective in order to aid with the video shoot and edit.

Based on these scripts, we knew we could shoot each episode in one day. We chose a three camera setup, based around the speaker delivering all of their lines into the camera. This delivery to camera allowed us to make use of our inhouse autocue or teleprompter which is absolutely necessary when creating high end corporate video content like this. The multiple angles served the purpose of providing variety and interest in the edit - remember one of the key aspects of this series was to ensure the audience was constantly entertained and engaged in order to deepen the learning experience. With that in mind, we also utilised a motorised slider from Edelkrone, along with their motorised head, to give one angle constant and fluid movement.

three images stacked on top of each other of a man speaking to camera sat inside a small cinema
Multiple angles for a corporate talking heads allows engagement and interest to thrive - as well as showing off the location you're in

Regarding the angles themselves, whilst we knew we wanted to mix up focal lengths for the aforementioned reasons of visual interest, we also knew that we wanted to frame with plenty of negative space. With this being a learning resource, we anticipated lots of text on screen to help drive points home and deliver clarity. So when it came down to setting the angles, we wanted to make sure each frame had enough ‘space’ whilst also being attractive and making use of the locations.

a woman sat in a chair speaking off screen with some text in the frame that is highlighting a point she is making
Negative space on every angle means you can place text on the screen if you need to highlight something key to the viewer, without compromising on your subject

On the subject of the filming locations, these were one of the ways in which we were able to make each episode stand out from the others. It was decided that each video would have its own location and, providing the location was quiet enough, anything was possible. Locations were scouted and chosen based on how interesting and attractive they would look on screen. We leant into their individual quirks when we were framing shots, simultaneously selling the spaces whilst creating all of the negative space that we knew we would need for information. The ultimate task of providing each filming location fell to the client on this production, but video locations are always something we can provide as a production company.

For each shoot day, we’d arrive before the speaker and establish the set, building the cameras, finding the angles and rigging up the lighting. We wanted the minimum impact on each speaker's business day, so it was always the intention that they would arrive on a hot set, ready to roll. The first task was always to record the full episode’s dialogue in its entirety. This was the most important part of the video production as a whole, so it was essential to capture it first and make sure it was right. Thanks to our autocue, this was usually a relatively straightforward experience and we’d often only need a few pick ups throughout the episode as a whole.

After the dialogue had been successfully recorded, we then moved into capturing a few visual elements that fell under the umbrella of material that would make the videos feel like part of a cohesive, creative series. It was decided that for each episode we would always see the speaker enter and leave the room - this added a touch of pageantry to everything and increased the luxurious, visual feel that we were aiming for. In line with this being learning video content, it also added to the air of authority for the speaker: it was the teacher walking into the classroom moment.

The other visual element that we captured for each episode was the speaker's chair in-situ. As with the above walking shots, this was also intended to deepen the visual richness of the episodes whilst also providing an anchor point of similarity for the series. In the post production process, we would go on to combine these walking and chair shots into an ident for the series as a whole. This ident would feature before every episode so that no matter the change in content, or how visually different each episode was, the audience would know it was still part of the same, prestigious learning series.

a chair in a room surrounded by a cabinet and a painting of a pig
The chair where it happens, in the room where it happens. The speaker's chair where they impart their knowledge to the audience

Post production not only allowed us a further opportunity to establish visual similarities through elements like the ident, but also to create a creative and unique tapestry for each episode. It was clear throughout the video production as a whole that establishing a strong and different look for each episode would be key to keeping users interested. Whilst we never wanted to lose the feeling of the series as a whole, we didn’t want audiences to feel like they were just watching the same thing over and over again. We didn’t want any viewer fatigue between episodes.

The ident was created at the end of each season’s worth of shooting and designed to incorporate the speakers from that season. For the individual episodes, we narrowed down the main post production requirements to the following: a visual theme akin to brand guidelines and a ‘creative’ visual intro to bring the theme of the video to life.

When in the scripting stage, it was decided that each episode would have what we call a ‘cold open’ to really grab the audience's attention. This would be a very narrative feeling monologue that would be seemingly unrelated to the episode's content. Over time, however, this monologue would go on to reveal the connection to the episode’s theme. Originally intended as a piece to camera, our input was to create a short, visual sequence to match this monologue and bring it to life. This offered great creative freedom to create something that felt truly unique for each episode, a sequence that would immediately grab the audience’s attention. This was a great chance for us to flex our various video production and post production specialties from motion graphics to elaborate sequences created from stock footage.

The visual theme of each episode was sometimes based on this creative intro and sometimes on the location itself. In terms of what was required for this theming, it was an overarching visual motif that could be used for the videos intro along with any text that would feature on screen. Sometimes this text was on screen with the speaker, sometimes it was a full screen asset for more concentrated learning. Either way, we needed to create a motion graphics kit that would work for all eventualities and provide a cohesive episode theme.

Between the motion graphics, cold open and location, we were able to create richly unique and creative episodes that clearly imparted their relevant teachings. We utilised the seasonal ident model and shared visual motifs of speakers and ‘the chair’ to ensure that everything felt like one piece of a larger, established series.


Overall, the project has been a huge success. We feel that we’ve been able to create some of our best and most engaging work in the creative video production space. The collaborative approach to creating this content has provided a blueprint for working with corporate clients to deliver creative corporate video that shatters the ‘dry and stuffy’ stereotype. Within the client, the video series has a firm foothold amongst the workforce and is actively engaged with as landmark content. There has been extremely positive feedback and whilst we continue to work through the various seasons for the full episode order, there has been a commissioning of further video series off the back of this success.

We’ve based this blog around season one of the masterclass project. In the coming weeks, we’ll be taking a look at some more specific elements from the other series.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this deep dive into the inner workings of our creative corporate video work and want to see more then head over to our corporate video production page. If you’d like to speak to us more about your corporate video production or how we can get involved with any element of your video production from scripting to motion graphics then get in touch.