Posts Tagged ‘business video’

Corporate Video on the Road

October 3, 2012

The end of the calendar year brings corporate meetings of all kinds. In today’s visual world, a constant flow of intermittent video throughout the course of these lengthy gatherings ensures more interest and participation, which ultimately translates to greater success for hosting firms.

Enjoying fish soup in the Traveler’s Lounge in HKG Airport (Hong Kong).

As a full-service corporate video production company working in this world, autumn ushers in a heavy travel schedule for us at Voices & Visions Productions as we work this year in Australia, Hong Kong, France, Finland, and various cities in the US – all in a single month.

Success with a schedule as hectic as this requires a deep-seated knowledge of how to travel as lightly but completely as possible to ensure the video captured looks as beautiful as it does when we shoot in our home territory.  Another important factor in preventing plane and road burn out is knowing how to plan the travel experience on a limited budget, to ensure comfort and even playtime in the after-work hours (when they happen). Over the coming few weeks, I will write blogs that address a bunch of video tips on the heavily traversed road.

Traveling with Equipment

September 21, 2012

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This week’s tip is for businesses who travel with equipment and comes from our director of photography, Curt:

“When you travel as much as we do, it’s crucial to ensure our equipment can take the abuse of the road. I would never check a camera underneath an airplane, but a lot of the rest of the equipment can be thrown around if it’s well protected. I recommend investing in a hard, waterproof, protective case for microphones and other delicate equipment. I remind myself that these are my tools and I need to make sure they’re going to be in proper working order when we arrive on the job.”

Photo Optimization Tip

August 29, 2012
This week’s tip for photo optimization comes from our marketing director, Lea:
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Never use the default file name for a photo. Before uploading an image to any blog or site, save it with a name that is descriptive. If the photo is saved as GDB00002.jpg, Google has no idea what the image depicts. If it’s saved as beach-santa-monica.jpg, it will be seen as such by search engines.
Tune in later this week for an in-depth discussion of photo optimization techniques.
See last week’s tip on video production.

The Evolution of Video Production, Part 2

July 23, 2012
As the video industry continues to evolve at an exponential rate, it becomes increasingly important for video production houses to stay ahead of the curve. Evolving with the market is no easy trick, but it’s also not a foreign concept to Voices & Visions’ principals Ellen Friedland and Curt Fissel, who’ve been in the business since the nineties. They’ve successfully made the switches from linear to digital and from SD to HD, and they are excited about the latest turn: video going social. video production new jersey, video production new york, curt fissel, ellen friedland, voices and visions, corporate video production
As an active user of LinkedIn since its inception, Ellen names it as her top network, stating, “I listen to a lot of conversations happening on LinkedIn and read articles showcasing statistics about everything related to video, which keeps me up to date on trends in the industry.” Ellen uses this information to inform her conversations with clients. “We make sure that what we do and what our clients do is in harmony with the latest marketing information related to video,” she says.
A big influencer in the social video world is YouTube, and since it is owned by Google, it serves as its own search engine for video. “Google values quality and substance in its text and videos,”  Ellen notes. “Pre-Google’s ownership of Youtube, home videos of people’s dogs walking across the floor were acceptable, and even companies grew accustomed to the unprofessional nature of many of the video postings. Today people recognize that they need to have professional videos.” The quality of the videos is not the only trend Ellen has noticed Google preferring; she believes the quantity of videos matters as well. “It’s my understanding that Google pays attention to sites that post numerous substantive videos,” she tells clients. She adds that additional videos need not multiply the costs of production. Says Ellen: “The amount of video captured and the time spent editing may be the same whether one longer video or several shorter videos are produced.”
This shift to shorter, more numerous videos is just another in a long line of industry transformations for Voices & Visions’ senior editor, Curt, who considers the changes all part of the job. He names professional seminars, conferences and active involvement in user groups as his primary sources of information gathering. While these activites are very time-consuming, Curt recognizes that, “this is the profession I’ve chosen to immerse myself in, and I want to stay on top of it.” His reference to staying current is focused on both the changing styles of video production as well as  the software editors use to produce them.
After the switch from linear to digital, Curt became proficient on the AVID editing system, which he used for 10 years. Several years ago he made the switch to, Final Cut Pro, to which he now feels a strong alliance. “The ease of Final Cut Pro, when working with a Mac, made the transition necessary,” he says. Curt is, however, open-minded to ever-new technologies, which is how he’s been able to stay ahead of the game.
At the most recent National Association of Broadcasters conference, it became clear that industry choices have expanded to include other systems, like Adobe Premiere. Curt appreciates the creativity of all the new offerings and never opposes adopting new software that improves on the old.
Conferences like the annual NAB and sites like LinkedIn help small businesses to gain footing in the never-ending tidal waves of industry shifts.. But that’s not enough; it also takes a willingness – and excitement — to be ready to learn and implement the next best products and services.
Read Video Production, Part 1

The Evolution of Video Production, Part 1

July 17, 2012
It seems that humans have always possessed desire to record events: from cave drawings to great artistic masterpieces, to photographs and motion pictures. This need to convey stories has evolved with technological innovation, presenting ever-new opportunities for industries in the storytelling business. Corporate video production, of course, is one such  industry.
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“This has been an extremely challenging industry as there have been a number of huge shifts: first from the linear world to the digital world,” said V&V’s Chief Producer Ellen Friedland, referring to the days when editing a video for clients meant only two options in transitions: cuts and dissolves (generated with special machinery). “Digital editing is a completely different ballgame than linear editing was and required completely new skills,” said Ellen, who relied on V&V Senior Editor, Curt Fissel, to master the new possibilities.
Evolving with the changing technology has been an ever-present theme throughout Curt’s career. “When I started in television news, we were shooting 16mm film and we literally had to cut the film,” he said. “At V&V we moved over from linear editing in 1998, which is when we got our first AVID editing system.” The next big shift in editing came with the jump from standard-definition video (SD) to high-definition video (HD). That was when Curt leapt into a then-newer new technology: Final Cut Pro. “The ease of Final Cut Pro, when working from a Mac, made the transition necessary,” he said, demonstrating another defining personality characteristic: the ability to adapt.
new jersey video production, new york video production, video editing, post production, curt fissel The Internet also played a major role in shifting the landscape of the video production industry. Says Ellen: “In 2005, which was the year that Google bought YouTube, everyone began to recognize that video would have a real place on the web.” As we know, this did not necessarily mean that professionally produced videos would be highly valued. In fact, the high volume of unprofessional videos initially made it harder on professional video houses. “For a little while there was a sense of ‘DIY videos are fine’,” Ellen said. “But now people recognize the value of professional created video products.” Ellen credits this in part to Google’s evolving algorithms, which rank  substantive videos higher in search results.
Curt offered this colorful metaphor with regard to DIY videos: “You can run a coat hanger down a stuck drain, or you can call a plumber. Same thing with video production.” With the constant evolutions in technology and marketing, it pays to find professionals who are committed to staying ahead of the curve. “It’s really important to be aware of where the industry is transitioning and to be knowledgeable and equipped to move in those directions,” said Curt.  “It will never be stationary.”

Read Video Production, Part 2

Photo of the Week:

July 13, 2012

Who can guess where this week’s photo was taken?

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Tip of the Week

July 11, 2012
This week’s tip comes from our Director of Operations, Krystal:
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Encourage a policy of openness in the office

From the get-go, make communication a big part of your culture. If an employee has an issue, he or she needs to feel like you are open to listening. Be understanding about important events in employees’ lives that occur outside of the workplace. When people feel valued they work harder and are more willing to help out in the event of a crisis or setback.

Creating Harmony in the Workplace

July 9, 2012
It’s been said that one can win more bees with honey, but in the case of workplace harmony, concerning oneself with the happiness of the team can be just as crucial to the bottom line. According to the Detroit Free Press, since October 2008, the stocks of public companies scoring in the top 10% in employee satisfaction outperformed the S&P’s 500 by 15.5%, but how did they do it?
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For Voices & Visions chief producer, Ellen Friedland, the key to a happy office begins with respect. “No job is more important than another job. All of them are parts of the whole and everyone needs to respect the work of others,” said Ellen. V&V is a small business and relies heavily on the production of a few staff members for the success of the company. She believes an employer can and must create an environment where people want to work. “That means an environment of understanding that the team is comprised of individuals who have personal lives that are important to them,” she said, also stressing the importance of injecting a little humor into the day-to-day operations.
Krystal Sancho, Director of Operations for Voices & Visions, rates happiness at the top of her list, stating, “It’s probably my number one thing: being happy at my job.” Krystal, who left her last workplace due to disharmony in the office, believes happiness plays a big role in how much effort people put in. “If you’re in an environment where you’re not being treated well, you’re just not going to work as hard,” she said.
Some jobs are more demanding than others. Chief editor Curt Fissel, who comes from a news background, is used to working under stress and has learned to cope with it well. “I always give 100%. Under stress, I work fine. I don’t like it, but I manage,” he said. Curt’s experience has made him empathetic toward those he oversees. “There’s nothing worse than having to deal with stress on top of having to manage multiple tasks,” he said, including that he knows how hard everyone on his team works. Curt says he tries to create the kind of atmosphere where people feel welcome and supported. Ellen mirrors this sentiment: “I think when people work in this kind of environment, they enjoy being here and they want to be a part of our team,” she said.
Small companies with fewer staff sometimes need employees to step outside of specific job descriptions and put on other hats for the benefit of the greater entity. Krystal says the genuine relationships formed at Voices & Visions makes her much more likely to help out on a night or weekend. “We consider ourselves a family here,” she said. “Ellen and Curt make us feel as comfortable here as clients who come in for meetings or editing sessions.” And that makes all the workplace difference.

Updates to Business Videos

April 11, 2012

A little about the substance and process of the informational video makeover I wrote about yesterday, in the production of which we stumbled upon The Tejano Monument in Austin, Texas…

Once upon a time a business video – whether for marketing, recruitment, or any other purpose – was budgeted to last for several years since overhauls were almost as expensive as original productions. Today, if the project is thought through and planned properly in advance, the video can go through periodic easy and inexpensive revisions, ensuring it is kept current at a fraction of the cost of the first time around.

A perfect example is the video we created in December 2010 for the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) of Texas called “TRS: A Great Value For All Texans.” (Though we are based in New Jersey, we produce videos everywhere!) The video provided a visual rendition of a brochure TRS had published with the same title. It discussed the myriad ways that TRS is an asset in the state, rooted in the reality that its membership of over 1.3 million people live in all regions of Texas, and the retirees spend their pension money in their local economies.

The informational video was filled with facts and feelings about the ways participants benefit as well as the advantages that accrue to communities. When we were initially engaged by TRS for this project, we were well aware that the numbers would constantly be in flux, so we structured the graphics and interview questions in a way that would enable future changes without a complete redo. In fact, while the basic concepts and visual elements of the original video have remained intact in the year and a half since it was released, many of the statistical numbers cited have changed, and significantly, some members of the TRS leadership team have also been shuffled.

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Utilizing the pre-existing textual motion graphics, our graphic designer was able to make revisions with the latest statistical information in a short period of time. Sound bites of newly promoted executives were needed to replace those of former interviewees, but our field production required only one day, not three as the 2010 shoot had mandated. After transcribing the new interviews we recorded and thereby easily accessing the exact digital spots where interviewees made relevant points, we were able to slip out the old and slide in the new, adding a few additional b-roll images we captured to enhance the production. Some color correction, audio sweeps, graphics swaps, tightening of the timeline, and a bunch of other small tweaks – altogether taking a fraction of post-production time compared to the original work – and TRS has a very handsome, up-to-date and affordable video to re-upload.

V&V: A great value for all our clients!

Videotaping Bonus in Austin, Texas: The Dedication of the Tejano Monument

April 10, 2012

As a producer, for each video shoot I attend – whether marketing videos, web videos, business videos of any kind, documentaries, whatever! – I bring a checklist of all the details I want to capture in interviews and b-roll (visuals). But I view this list as more of an outline than a blueprint; invariably we find surprises along the way, the inclusion of which enhance final productions (as well as our own experiences, since having fun is also, always, part of the program).

A good recent example happened a week and a half ago. We were videotaping in Austin, Texas, updating an informational video for the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) of Texas (more about the update tomorrow). We stepped outside during an interval between interviews to get some b-roll and chanced upon a huge ceremony unveiling the Tejano Monument which was taking place at the Capitol, across the street from TRS’ office.

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The Tejano was 12 years in the making, a grandiose undertaking by sculptor Armando Hinojosa, depicting the early Spanish explorers and Tejano families, who introduced cattle ranching and farming. The sculpture includes a life-size scene, encompassing an equine statue with a cowboy, two longhorn cows, a family of settlers, and a Spanish explorer standing on a raised mesa, surveying the land before him.

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The work was significant since it was the first of 18 others on the Capitol grounds to celebrate the contributions of Texas’ early Spanish and Mexican explorers, settlers, and their descendants. Attended by hundreds of people, the unveiling ceremony was heralded with a Mariachi band whose members are students at University of Texas and who paraded through the streets for much of the remainder of the day trumpeting their contagious dancing melodies.

Roll the cameras! One of the messages of the video is that the Teacher Retirement System benefits the entire state since members live throughout Texas, spend their retirement monies locally, and volunteer hours in their communities. Here – right outside the door of the headquarters of our client — we found a gathering of Texans from around the state, all focused on an art project of importance. What nice and unanticipated visuals to mix into the final video alongside many other shots and graphics! And how lucky we were to get an unexpected and interesting history lesson about Texas, made possible by a slight veering off the pre-planned path.

One other thought: The unveiling committee was obviously aware that along with an official dedication of a state-sponsored sculpture comes the traditional and welcome spate of publicity. But they might not have imagined that their special event would have web video ramifications far beyond their intended audience. While only accounting for a few out of numerous shots in the video we re-created for TRS, the Tejano makes an actual and symbolic appearance that will be shared with millions of people in the State who benefit from the teacher retirement system. Yay for the ever-multiplying power of online video!

 texas, teachers, retirement, corporate video production, professional video, business video, new york video production company, marketing video