We have recently concluded an eLearning project in Ravensburg, Germany with Vetter Pharma-Fertigung GmbH & Co. KG.
Vetter Pharma-Fertigung GmbH & Co. KG is a leading contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) that is specialized in aseptic filling of syringes, cartridges and vials. The goal of the project is to train their employees on avoiding “Behavior based accidents”. And for this project we built eLearning videos which show how accidents can happen and how to avoid them.
Such eLearning videos are always complex to plan and film because there are many moving parts and many people – both on our side and the client’s side – need to get things done in order to ensure a smooth execution of the project.
Below I’d like to share with you 6 tips to ensure not just a smooth production process but an excellent eLearning video:
1. Spend a lot of time Planning
When you are at a film shoot there are almost no second chances. If you are missing a piece of equipment which you absolutely need or if one of the actors is not dressed in the proper clothes or if the location isn’t exactly as per your script, your entire film could be ruined.
In a typical film you will shoot at different locations with a different set of actors. Look at the photographs below. These are both from the film shoot in Ravensberg but are part of the same video. The first photo is of a shoot in a conference room. The second is from a shoot in a secure, sanitized building where the pharmaceutical work takes place.
Each of the scenes you see being filmed in the photographs above was carefully planned in great detail long before our crew showed up at the client’s premises.
Detailed planning is what makes the difference between success and disaster.
2. Choose your location carefully
When building a Health and Safety video, learners (ie your employees) need to find the video to be believable. In the next point I talk about focusing on “realism”. But realism also requires filming in a location where most the kind of accident you are depicting in the video, can actually take place.
In the photograph above we see a scenario where someone is walking down a hallway which has just been cleaned (notice the cleaning lady on the side) and the floor is wet. This person slips and falls down, dropping all the test tubes he is carrying.
Now if the same scenario had been filmed in a hallway with a carpet on it, then it would be less believable to see someone slipping and falling.
3. Focus on ‘Realism’
Learners can smell a fake scenario from a mile away. And once they see the fake they will check out and simply go through the motions to finish the rest of the eLearning. Building an eLearning video which looks real takes a lot of work. First, as explained above you need detailed planning. Then you need to build a scenario which looks real. Your learners need to say “this can happen to me”. Next you need to make sure you have great actors – who look the part and who can play the part. Then you need a great director who can bring it all together and build a great movie.
See below our director, Johannes, explaining to the team what they need to do.
4. Make it ‘Dramatic’
After you’ve figured out how to make the video ‘believable’, now you need to make it interesting to watch. For this you need to create drama! And what better topic to create drama than Health & Safety.
In the eLearning video for Vetter Pharma, we create drama through the slip and fall on the wet floor. To heighten the tension we first show the wet floor so that the viewer knows the person is going to fall before he actually falls. And when he falls we dramatize it by showing the test tubes he is carrying scatter all over the place. See some of the photographs of the filming of this scene:
5. Make sure everyone’s SAFE!
The most important thing you have to ensure on a film shoot like this is to ensure that everyone is safe – esp. the actor faking the accident. The acting in the above film was done by our own Philippe Huart. Philippe has some expertise in this field and did a very realistic job of slipping and falling without hurting himself.
So make sure you have actors who know what they are doing!
6. Don’t take shortcuts
It is tempting to take shortcuts – esp. if you know (or you think you know) that a particular set of shots will be used or a certain level of detail will not be noticed. Shortcuts are tempting not only because they make life easier for the crew but also because they can cut your costs. And if you are doing a fixed-price project it makes it even more tempting.
My advice: don’t do it! It’s not worth it. Short-cuts simply will hurt quality and in the long run no one will appreciate the work. All the effort, all the planning, everything can be destroyed by a few short cuts and slopping decisions.
Good luck building eLearning Videos on Health and Safety – an ideal topic for film-based eLearning content.