Valentin Herbaut is a training and media designer at Haulotte. After a first experience as communication and marketing manager for Europe and Africa, he oversees content creation for the training of sales teams. In addition, Valentin supervised making the videos dedicated to the new range of Low-Level Access machines. He tells us about the behind-the-scenes shooting.
What is the objective of the training videos?
The purpose of these videos is to tell a story about our machines for our training content, especially for our sales teams around the world. The videos are in English so that our network can easily grasp the benefits of this range of machines.
What story did you want to tell for the Low-Level Access range?
To get to know the machines, we first have to list the benefits and features. From there, we will tell a story and script it.
Low-Level Access platforms are indoor platforms, very easy to use by a single operator to work below 6 meters, and safer than a ladder or scaffolding. They are light machines, which go everywhere, on different types of ground. So, our idea was to put the platforms in different situations in several places and to put ourselves in the shoes of future operators.
Valentin Herbaut – training and media designer at Haulotte
What are the steps before the start of the shooting?
First, we develop a scenario, with transitions. Then, when this document is validated, we look for protagonists, Haulotte employees, to play the operators on the machines most of the time. Then we have to search and find the locations. This is a time-consuming activity because we often have to ask for authorization. For this shoot, we chose a gym, a convenience store, a factory, and our H3 building, the Haulotte headquarters.
Then there is the legal part. We have to ensure that the users have a permit and a driving license to use the machines. We have developed prevention plans for each location. Finally, we have to take care of the transportation of the devices. All this represents several weeks of work beforehand!
How did the shooting go?
It was a good time. We shot for four days at the end of August and the beginning of September 2021. The days were long, we even had to shoot in a convenience store between 4:30 am and 8 am before the first customers arrived!
This shooting mobilized 6 people for the preparation, the elaboration of the script, the management of the material. We also had 4 people in-house to play the operators, like the product manager and a trainer. It’s not always easy for them, their job is not to be an actor. However, this also allows them to discover our profession.
Do you use external service providers for these shoots?
Yes, for the Low-Level Access platforms we worked with a photographer. A video producer also accompanied us to make the machine video in the H3 showroom while shooting in other parts of the building on a Saturday. We regularly work with them; we form a close team. They know our machines and learn how to enhance them with images. We send them a brief, and then we exchange with them on site. They are also a source of proposals. So, there is an excellent understanding.
What type of equipment do you use?
Classic and light equipment. We have a rail to make small travels, tripods, stabilizers. We use a Sony Alpha 7 camera which has the advantage of being lightweight, very intuitive, and easy to handle. I am the video referent, but the idea is that other people can use this camera. We organize training for different departments.
What happens once the shooting is over?
Once the shooting is finished, there is the editing which lasts about a week. The goal is to make videos of less than 2 minutes 30. We propose a first version for validation, then we adjust it, with transitions from one scene to another, light calibration, the addition of voices, titles, and special effects. For example, we added the dotted lines on the doorways to make the video more dynamic.
Any anecdote about this shoot?
What I remember most is that you always have to think about food on a shoot. The days can be long, and taking a break for lunch changes everything. It takes away the tension. This shoot went very smoothly. Everyone was thrilled.
"A work in confidence"
Lionel Souci has been a professional freelance photographer for 30 years. After working for the medical sector, he left Paris 20 years ago to settle in Burgundy. That’s where he discovered the industrial world. He has been working with Haulotte for four years now.
How does your collaboration with Haulotte generally work?
Anne-Florence (Operational Marketing Product Manager) and Ludivine (Senior Communication Manager) contact me to know my availability for a project. Then I receive a set of specifications indicating the expectations of the communication and marketing departments: the details to be shown, for example, the applications, the framing… Once I’m at the shooting location, I discover the range of platforms. There are a lot of exchanges with the Haulotte teams. We work very well together. There is the framework of the specifications, but I am free to use my eye and my vision for the light, the aesthetics. I give myself the freedom to propose things.
I ask questions about the machines, about the company. To photograph a subject well, you have to be interested in it and have empathy, whether a person or a company.
What did you photograph for the new Low-Level Access range?
We did the photoshoot in several places: at Haulotte’s headquarters, but also in a gym, in a supermarket, and a factory. We needed photos of the complete range and certain elements (components, batteries, wheels, control panel).
Finally, I photographed the machines in use during the shooting of the video. This allows us to share these situations. When the videographer takes several shots, I can make another series of photos with a different angle. There are no significant difficulties in this kind of work. But you have to pay attention to specific details like the background, that there is not another object that attracts attention.
How are the photos chosen?
I make an initial selection that is broad enough for the Haulotte communication and marketing teams to choose according to its uses. Then they refine this selection. I then rework these images to adjust the white balance, saturation, and contrast. I also pay attention to some particular colors, like the yellow of the MEWP. Finally, I also retouch some elements like logos so that the set can be anonymous.
An anecdote about this shoot?
It’s not really an anecdote, but it was hard to get up to be at 4:30 in a convenience store for the shoot (laughs). But it doesn’t matter because the atmosphere was excellent.
When I do these shoots with Haulotte, I know I’m going to find a friendly crew. We work hand in hand.