Posts Tagged ‘corporate video New Jersey’

The Effectiveness of Testimonial Videos

August 18, 2014

Client headliner feedback: “The [first] video went over well at the convention! It definitely left the audience wanting more. We just did an email campaign around the [other two] videos … and our sales people love them!! The morning we launched the YouTube link announcement I got an email from a sales rep around lunch saying that it couldn’t have come at a better time because he played the videos in his presentation and they went over really well!!”

            — Marketing Manager Lauren Vellek, RICOH Americas

Beginning this summer we have been working with global technology company RICOH to produce a series of testimonial videos for their production print solutions — apparently with very promising immediate results. To fulfill the job requirements, we have been going to print shops that use RICOH production print systems to videotape owners’ feedback about the product.

Says the owner of a PIP Printing shop in northern New Jersey on camera: “When we tested the RICOH product, we brought some of our most complicated jobs. We were very, very pleasantly surprised that we got a lot more than we had anticipated with some of the extra features where we’ve been really able to put a lot more work, both black and white and color, than we ever have before because it’s just a much, much better product than we’ve had here in the past.

“… What came with it …was … a training program that didn’t only cover the uses of the equipment but also helped to foster a better business improvement program for things that we did here day in and day out for 20+ years.”

 

Says a metro Philadelphia area Sir Speedy shop owner: “The great thing with RICOH has been their service. We place a call and within in an hour or less, we get a phone call. I’m fortunate to have a fantastic technician that is assigned to this area and he goes above and beyond the call to help meet our needs and the needs of our customers.”

If these quotes stand out in written form, multiply that impression by many-fold when they appear in video. It is only common sense: seeing and listening to the sincerity and feeling behind impactful words spoken by an actual shop owner who was not obliged to make the comments goes a long way toward effectively making a sale or closing a deal.

Of course, this approach is not mutually exclusive of producing a more formal video ad for TV or online avenues using a script, actors and the type of sizable crew that such an effort requires. But in comparison to this more traditional commercial production, the budget entailed for short testimonial videos pales, and its results offer the promise of a resounding success.

Video Production From The Road: Interviews

October 26, 2012

One of the great upsides to shooting corporate videos at locations around the globe is that we spend our days at facilities with people with whom we have the privilege to become acquainted. After all, we are usually interviewing them on camera, and even when we’re not – such as in the production of a video that uses musical backgrounds without words – we are interviewing them off camera to understand the nature of their work so we can properly capture and present it.  Formal interview time is always bookended by plenty of informal chatter, making the former more comfortable for everyone. And so we learn things like colleges that interviewees’ kids attend or where they went on their recent vacations. Those conversations lead to others, and before we know it, we often all discover how much we are enjoying each other’s company. Sometimes dinner invitations follow, and even when they don’t, recommendations for good dinners (and all the colorful context) are usually a good bet. By the time we are departing, we find that we have collected valuable insiders’ perspectives about the places we have visited even if the trips are only for small amounts of time.

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Of course, we don’t always hit it off as good ol’ buddies with the folks we are interviewing, nor do we have any expectations. But we do maintain an attitude of “work hard, play hard,” so we find fun spots to spend the off-hours, with or without our professional colleagues. A few days ago at a pub in Rouen, France, we met a woman at the next table who had come to have a drink after week. After a few friendly comments, we all found that we had many things to discuss, and we spent quite awhile talking, laughing, taking pictures, and sharing stories. Today, of course, such encounters don’t end with the last drop of distinctive French wine. We have become Facebook friends, and if prior such meetings are an indication, I am confident our knowledge of each other’s lives and cultures will continue to expand over time.

Video Production From the Road: Interview Space

October 24, 2012

This is not atypical: We travel to the other side of the world for a corporate video shoot, then the interviewee takes us to a generic conference room that could be located in Anywhere, USA. I say, respectfully: Are there any other options for a background, and they respond, respectfully: No!

If possible, the story can’t end there. It just doesn’t seem fair to our clients, who – trusting our production values and committed to consistency in video production — invest in these international jaunts. And so the search begins for elements that resonate place (Melbourne or Hong Kong or Paris – or Houston or Wilmington, Delaware) or industry space (software or manufacturing or law or whatever). Decisions about backgrounds depend first, upon the substance of the material in the video; second, upon availability; and third, upon creativity.

corporate video production, travel, business, melbourne, australiaFor example: Two weeks ago we videotaped at two different companies in Australia, both of which escorted us straight into their conference rooms upon arrival. The first company is in the medical software business, the second in HR compliance materials for online consumption. The actual industry background for these speakers are rooms occupied by individuals at computer desks – a setting almost as common as white-walled conference rooms. But in both cases, the companies sell solely into the Australian market, so backdrops that say “Australia” fill in some color. In the first case, we set the interviewee in front of a large window that overlooked a recognizable panorama of Melbourne. For the second, we added to the side of a window view some distinctive company props that had just been used at a trade show the week before, emphasizing both geography (the view) and branding.

Note that skylines can be tricky. Natural lighting is not uniform in places around the world or during different times of day, and familiarity with details of how it might fall in a particular place at a specific hour cannot be easily predicted from another corner on the globe. Key to successful execution is a good knowledge of lighting that ensures thoughtful yet expeditious set-ups as well as a good kit that not only contains all the necessary components, but is also mobile-friendly.

At a video shoot a few months ago in Washington DC, the nondescript conference room into which we were taken was windowless.  With only about 20 minutes to set up a two-camera shoot, our director of photography washed the walls in colors reflective of the interviewee’s agency – another alternative when few tools and no time were at our disposal.

Hong Kong, corporate video production, business travel, video marketing, interviewsOutdoor interviews work well, too, if the choice is between a quiet space that says nothing and an interesting street scene where noise might be a challenge. Here the interviewee must feel comfortable with the setting, and proper audio is crucial; if carried out well, the end result can be very visually interesting.

Last week in Hong Kong, we conducted an interview from the top of the Peak, overlooking the city below. It was a beautiful scene, unmistakably highlighting the speaker’s location, which is an important aspect of the nature of his work. We walked around the path for a bit to find a spot less populated with passersby. Nonetheless, there were a number of cold stops in the middle of sentences as people passed or made other noise. It was a small price to pay for the beauty and inherent message of the background. And it was a far better solution than videotaping in another typical conference room, indistinguishable from millions of others everywhere.

Read last week’s entry for Video Production From The Road on Flying Tips.

Video Production From the Road: Flying Tips 2

October 12, 2012

Having become a semi-learned student of the airline rules, I wield them like constitutional rights.

Last year I chose to become an APP (my designation for the 25,000 plus mile status) on two airlines: United and American. The former is part of the OneWorld network, and the latter is a member of Star Alliance. Since my home bases are Montclair, NJ – 10 miles from Newark Airport – and Los Angeles, the most convenient airline for me to fly in the US is United, which has the Newark-based hub of its recent mergee, Continental.  American sometimes flies out of Newark, but more frequently its NY flights originate in and go to JFK and LaGuardia, making it a second choice for me.  However, the Star Alliance has more airline partners than OneWorld, and they fly to many more destinations, so I’m glad to have at least the APP-1 (more than Any Passenger and less than Any Passenger Plus) benefits.

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I write this blog now aboard a flight from Melbourne, Australia to Hong Kong. I am traveling with my husband/business partner Curt. We are videotaping for a corporate client in both locations. The decision to do the shoot happened late in the game, so arrangements were made last minute, when few flights were still available.  The only feasible and affordable option required traveling with Cathay Pacific from JFK to Hong Kong, then Hong Kong to Adelaide, Australia, then Adelaide to Melbourne, where we worked for three days. This flight goes from Melbourne directly to Hong Kong, where we will stay for two nights. The next leg is to San Francisco, where we will work for a day. The last segment will take us from San Francisco back to Newark.

Cathay Pacific is a Star Alliance member. With our American gold status, we are classified as Ruby travelers on Star Alliance, going through the first and business class check-in and security lines, and boarding earlier in the game than other passengers. Since the economy class tickets had been sold out for the eastward bound flights at the late time of our booking, we purchased the next level: premium economy. That gave us a little more room and an APP+ status. But here is how being a partner airline APP member served as an advantage: The flight from NY to Hong Kong was 15 hours; the one from Hong Kong to Adelaide was another 9. When we arrived in Hong Kong, a ticket agent was waiting for us, informing us that we had been upgraded to business class. With open seats on the plane, priority went to us instead of others who had bought premium economy tickets since we had a combination of those slightly more expensive tickets and APP status on another Star Alliance partner airline.

Business seats on these eastern airlines are amazing for a number of reasons, but best of all, the seats fold down flat like beds. As someone who has a hard time sleeping in planes, I slept more than half of the journey, waking up refreshed enough to work for the afternoon in Melbourne. It made a huge difference!

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Director of Photography, Curt.

The seats en route back west are only economy. But because of our APP status with Star Alliance member American, Cathay Pacific was able to offer us bulkhead seats, ie, front row in economy, with unlimited leg room.  For non-ruby passengers, these seats would have cost an additional $100 each, but our status ensured we could get them, and at no extra charge. We have reserved the same seats for the trip from Hong Kong to San Francisco.

The last leg of our trip will be provided by United, enabling us to return on a direct flight to Newark Airport. Checking over the seat availability, it seems we will be doomed to the last row. But as APP members, we stand a chance of getting upgraded, if anything is available.

I am well aware of the disadvantage of accruing miles in more than one airline per year. By this year’s end, I will have accumulated just short of 100,000 miles on all my flights combined. Had I stuck with one airline or partnership and taken a few extra trips to reach that mile marker, I would have been a lifetime status holder. Instead, the status I’ve earned over the last 10 months – which in another three weeks will be APPP on United and APP on American – will be good only through 2013. Come January 1, I will have to start all over again for 2014. But the offerings didn’t leave me much of a choice. The flights that gave me the most miles were available at specific times on particular airlines. At least I will enjoy my status in the coming year, always keeping an eye on changing rules and new opportunities.

Read Flying Tips 1.

Video Production From the Road: Flying Tips 1

October 10, 2012

Comfortable travel is all about loyalty to airlines that are a part of larger networks and awareness of ever-changing benefits that accompany annual miles traveled. To take advantage of a variety of offerings described in more detail below, you need to start by becoming a member of one or more specific airlines. Joining is easy; it costs nothing, and you can do it online (and sometimes as part of an offer in which frequent flyer miles are given for your membership). Membership per se does not give you entitlements, but it starts you on the path toward them. If you choose membership on more than one airline, it is best to ensure that each is part of a different airline network so you have only one membership within a network.

As a generalization, if you travel 25,000 miles or more in a calendar year on the airline of your membership or any other airline within its network, you will be rewarded for all the money you spend with that carrier/network. (All major airlines – but not some smaller ones – are part of larger airline networks, such as Star Alliance or OneWorld; a quick web search will pull up the partners of your preferred airline.) You will be bumped from your airline’s class of Any Passenger into its status of Any Passenger Plus (APP) (nomenclatures mine), good for the remainder of the year and the entire next one. The benefits of being an APP are small but meaningful:

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This is what a road-worthy light kit looks like.

  • On flights with the airline of your membership, you get to check in with the first and business class passengers, reducing long lines and interminable waits
  • Similar advantage going through security lines
  • Your checked luggage is coded with priority tags, putting them at the front of the line at baggage claim in your arrival airport and getting you on your way to your destination much more quickly
  • You can board the plane earlier than the rest of economy class passengers, which is significant for storing bags overhead before the space is gone
  • And most valuable, if the flight has upgraded vacant seats, you have a shot at getting them, depending on how many others are on the flight with your status and in the order of upgrade requests made by others within your APP status.

Once you’ve become an APP, you’ll want to stick with the airline of your membership in order to receive the benefits of your status for the remainder of the year and all the next year. However, sometimes that is not a feasible option: Your preferred airline might not fly where you need to go, or the ticket price might be way out of league with offerings of competitors. If that happens, choice number two should be flying with a partner of your preferred airline.

In addition to depositing the miles for your flights on the partner airlines into your account for the airline of your membership, the partners will award you with what I will call APP -1 (minus one) status. While some of the advantages your membership airline bestows will not be respected, others will be. Which advantages you will receive vary between airlines, and even within a single airline, the rules constantly change. For instance, until a few months ago, US Airways would mark the luggage of silver-status members (25,000 plus miles) of their partner United as priority, then they reversed that policy. Or Cathay Pacific will allow other Star Alliance APP members to check in through the first and business class lines, but Star Alliance member British Airways does not bestow that benefit. (Note that these observations were true as of the last time I traveled with each of these carriers – Cathay Pacific this month, and British Airways a number of months ago. They are constantly in flux!)

While disappointing to be treated as an APP-1 when you’ve grown accustomed to the benefits of APP status, it is important to keep in mind that it is a better option than simply flying as an AP! And name-dropping your status occasionally bumps up the benefits you receive if it is easy for the airline to do, even when this treatment is not written in its rules book.

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Taken from the window of the plane.

If your travel miles in a given year exceed 50,000, you have two options. Stay with the same preferred airline to become an APPP and get even more benefits, or choose a second preferred airline to get the APP status on two. If you choose the latter, you should ensure that your choice airlines are part of different networks, which will give you minimally APP-1 status on a wide range of airlines and APP benefits on your two preferred ones.

If you go for the 50,000 mile marker, the benefits are substantially better. Again, as a generalization, the additions include all the benefits of APP status plus:

  • Free access to the airline’s club while you wait for your flight to board. These clubs vary, but ordinarily have big and comfortable chairs for resting, free wifi, free snack food, and even free alcoholic (and other) drinks
  • A higher priority status for upgraded seats, when available
  • Check in on business and first class lines on partner airlines
  • Boarding immediately after first class and business passengers

The advantages improve again at the 75,000 mile marker, but they really get good at 100,000, where you earn lifetime benefits. Without those, you have to start re-collecting every year from scratch. Note that the benefits described above are different than frequent flyer miles accrued, which enable you to fly for free on non-blackout dates to different destinations using pre-set numbers of miles you have accumulated. For example, you can use 25,000 -30,000 miles on many airlines to fly round trip anywhere in the continental USA and 50,000-60,000 to fly to destinations like Europe. These numbers vary, however, depending on the airline, travel dates availability, and destinations.

Tune in on Friday for the 2nd part of this series on Flying Tips.

See last week’s Video Production From The Road report on getting from home to the airport onto the plan with as little pain as possible.

Video Production From The Road

October 5, 2012

Day 1: Departure from JFK

Our corporate headquarters is in Montclair, NJ, about 15 miles from Newark Airport, but unfortunately for us, the majority of international flights still depart from JFK – a one hour drive when there is no traffic (a rare occurrence). When we are shooting a documentary about which we feel passionate and are working on the hope that funding will follow, we become beggars for free rides from friends on the much-disliked trek from NJ to Jamaica, NY.  And when we travel for quick stints, we take the car and find parking lots near airports that are priced less expensively than an hour of parking in midtown Manhattan. But when we travel for a more lengthy time for corporate clients who pay for our expenses, a car service saves the driving stress and guilt for swallowing hours of friends’ time.

Warning! Not all car services are the same! Most of those coupons in the Val-Pak envelopes that come in the mail suggest discounts of all kinds, but when you call the company to get a quote, you often hear about a host of other add-ons to the rate they advertise as total – things like tolls and extra bags and tips and taxes. You do the math and realize the discount drowns under the supplementary fees. There are exceptions, however, if you do the research. (All good things in travel come with extensive, time-consuming research. But once you’ve got it figured out, the knowledge goes a long way for a long time.)

We use a car service that is truly a one-price, no gimmicks. Tolls and even driver’s tip is built into the fee, which gets charged on my credit card at the end of each airport drop-off. The car of the driver Kenny (973.573.7142 or abovelimo123@yahoo.com)  is a bit old-world – a Lincoln Town Car that was probably a “beaut” about a decade ago — but it is a smooth ride and does the job, even if the permanently-jammed front window requires the driver to open his door to dunk in the change as he goes through the tolls for which he does not have EZPass. Those are his choices, but I don’t care. I’m usually busy in the back seat, distracted from the road by the constant flow of new messages into my smartphone.

The next hurdle at the outset of a videotaping trip is checking bags without paying for extra weight. Considering that we typically carry two professional cameras; one or two camera tripods and several more for lights; a full light kit; a set of microphones including wireless, lavs and shotguns; supporting equipment such as cables, batteries, chargers, and all kinds of Mary Poppins’ bag accessories – not to mention a few weeks’ worth of clothes to be worn in different climates – this is no small matter.  First on the list of packing is thinking about which items must travel with us onboard, either because of their fragility and expense, or in case the suitcases don’t arrive when we do. Over the years, we’ve had luggage end up in all parts of the world, sometimes opposite sides of our destination. That unfortunate occurrence is not an excuse for failing to work upon arrival, so back-up plans need to be considered in advance.

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Susie (available from B&H Photo/Video)

Ordinarily two of us travel per shoot, with two carry-ons each. That leaves the checked luggage, which in the days of BetaCam SP were numerous but now are down to three, each of which comes close to the 23 kilogram or 50 pound maximum weight. One is our 28 inch suitcase carrying all our clothes and some smaller pieces of equipment that lightens the load of the other bags. For this trip we’ve added a 21 inch, two-pound screen since we’ll be setting up a mini-editing suite in the hotel room.  Another bag has our full lighting kit, and a third has the tripods, light tripods and cables. Our big suitcase and light kit have wheels that roll on all four.  One additional carry-on is our prized possession, so important that she merits a name: Susie (derived from “wuski” – Polish for “carts”) – a powerful baggage cart holding up to 250 pounds that folds up into a flat item less than three feet tall and one inch wide. Susie, who we wheel into the airport with the tripod case and carry-ons, has seen more of the world than most people I know! After we check-in the bags that get stored under the plane, her load goes down to the heavier carry-ons, which we wheel through airports with ease except in LaGuardia where there seems to be a prejudice against her and they require her to go the way of the rest of our luggage.

The last major obstacle on the departure side – assuming no plane delays – is getting through security. Since the essential equipment accompanies us on board, we are usually subject to bag checks –almost always a delay, but never a problem.

Significantly, we’ve finally splurged the extra annual $250 for the American Express Platinum card, which lets us use US Airways lounges regardless of the flight we will be taking as well as American and Delta lounges when we travel with them. We also have access to Priority Pass lounges around the world, where I write this now from Hong Kong. (After the next trip, we’ll have enough miles on United to get into their clubs at no charge, too.) These spaces provide a much more comfortable waiting area, replete with free wi-fi, large comfortable chairs, snack food, drinks, and nice bathrooms. I’m doing the same thing in this lounge as I would be doing back in my office in New Jersey.

Next week: Flying Tips.

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.”

Two Video Shoots, 15+ Videos

April 8, 2012

I’ve talked about CRM software service firm Infinity Info Systems before, but they keep coming up on my blog horizon because they use video so wisely, extensively, affordably, and successfully to create web videos for marketing, recruitment, and industry focuses.  In the latest round of video production on which we worked with Infinity, two days of shooting resulted in 15 separate videos with more en route.

Key to this (and all video initiatives) was recognizing the goals of the project before diving into it so that the elements needed to make the videos effective would be captured. Brainstorming with Infinity prior to scheduling the shoot, V&V learned that their business is growing at a fast pace, requiring new hires with the types of skills and personalities that will fit into the needs and culture of the company. Infinity would also like to continue the expansion it has been experiencing. The latter goal requires making inroads into companies not yet falling under their orbit of services by providing information that distinguishes the company and sets forth its customized approach to working with clients in various vertical industries.

To accomplish these goals, Infinity hired V&V to videotape on two separate occasions. The first took place in Infinity’s NYC headquarters, where we interviewed many employees in depth about their experiences working there, the nature of their jobs and the detailed ways they feel the company excels in its service provisions. (Getting to the substantive bottom of interviewees’ thoughts is our MO!) We also grabbed visuals of collegial interactions and work routines. The second shoot took place on a customer event day, where information was shared with and between Infinity customers who are using Microsoft’s CRM software. In addition to capturing b-roll of the panel discussions and smaller group learning sessions that took place, V&V conducted interviews of a number of folks attending to learn how and why they are using the software and the ways Infinity has been a partner to them.

The net result so far includes 12 individual web videos running on Infinity’s recruitment page (see http://www.infinityinfo.com/CRMCareers), one marketing video discussing the way the company works in the Financial Services Industry (see http://www.infinityinfo.com/CRM-financial), a second marketing video about the company’s role in Life Sciences, and a third about Manufacturing. Additional business videos, utilizing the same raw material recorded, are currently in the planning stages.  All of these videos are relatively simple, consisting solely of a-roll (interview clips) mixed with b-roll, title cards as needed, power point slides and logos provided by Infinity, and background royalty-free music. They are to the point and effective for their purposes, which is the goal. And because so many non-elaborate videos were able to be carved out of only two shooting days, the cost of the project was very affordable.

Amazingly, Infinity just began using video six months ago! Today they credit the videos on which we have worked together as having played a key role in their acquisition of new business opportunities. We look forward to helping the company create an ever-expanding library of professional video as its business continues to grow.

The incredible support system that provides the foundation for our small business

March 27, 2012

When you look through the outside window into the Montclair, New Jersey office of our professional video production company Voices & Visions Productions, you see three people diligently working away everyday: Our cinematographer/editor/tech guy Curt, our operations director/office coordinator Krystal, and me – the writer/producer/dealmaker/proposal author/marketer. We are the incarnate definition of a small business – a few people tirelessly changing identities to suit the tasks that roll through the door on any given day.

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But as we prepare for a video shoot in Austin, TX this Thursday, I am reminded of the fantastic system of support invisible from that exterior window but on whose brains, dedication and enthusiasm much of our success lies.

The prompt came in the form of this question from our client: “Can you get us a few insurance endorsements immediately so we can gain admittance into some buildings for which they just gave us permission to videotape?”

We are insured to the hilt thanks to doing a lot of work in Manhattan, but my myriad jobs do not include policy review or preparation of insurance paperwork. Fortunately I know I can rely on our agent, Sherrie Uzzo of The Scirocco Group. All it took to accomplish the goal was forwarding the client request to her and asking her to handle it. I was cc-ed on a bunch of Q and A emails that flew back and forth, but I never stepped in, and the job was accomplished correctly and with good karma.

The day before a sales tax question arose over a service we don’t ordinarily provide but for which I needed to bill a client. I’m a lawyer by training, but I have never worked in the murky and confusing field of tax law, nor do I have any desire to wade through it. I don’t need to: We have a great tax lawyer/accountant, Harold Lorman, who swims in those waters. A few emails and a follow up phone call, and we had a plan in place – both for the invoicing of the client and for sending an inquiry to the state sales tax office.

These issues arise because we have work, lots of these days, and that is largely due to the social media marketing and search engine optimization that consultant Lea Spencer has been doing for us. When I tried about a year and a half ago to spread the word about our company through my personal Facebook contacts, I failed. In came Lea, who does this work for businesses, and voila! We are often on page 1 of Google searches for “Corporate Video.”

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It’s one thing for prospective clients to find us and another for them to hire us, but one reason they do so is because of the high-quality motion graphics and animation created by designer Lori Newman for those clients who want to go that extra step to get extraordinary results. Whether we are creating a video for a geotechnical contractor for which she needs to show animations of the activities going on deep underground or a popular, fun-loving juice bar in Australia  that calls out for motion graphics popping with color and happy smiles, Lori is the most talented and dedicated graphic artist I know.

In recent months as video and social media have collided, we’ve evolved to encompass this combined expertise, which has also led to requests to re-create websites fashioned in the latest technological capabilities. Enter Curtis Fissel III, Mr. Techie, the behind-the-scenes guy on the five websites associated with our companies. Curtis is always available for any kind of implementation and ready to dig into whatever new innovations crop up. Never overwhelmed by possibilities, he also never tires of trying them on and seeing which ones fit best.

All of the calls related to IT, graphics, social media marketing, accounting, and insurance pass through the phone and keyboard of Krystal Sancho, part of our core who CAN be seen through that outside window. Ever patient, always smiling, and never frustrated, Krystal fields them through their correct courses to resolution, no matter what that takes. She is the rock that enables Curt and me to go on our frequent video field trips around the world, recording (then writing and editing) stories that give personality to the organizations for which we create marketing videos, web videos, testimonial videos, industrial videos, recruitment videos, investor relations videos, and documentaries. I am grateful for a top-notch team of as-needed partners, whose optimism, creativity, intelligence, and passion play a major role in giving our small business the capabilities of a much larger entity.

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Corporate Video Production: An Idea A Day: Day 11

December 13, 2011

Another way a Corporate Video Client Utilized the Documentary Genre

Yesterday I talked about a client who came to us anew with a documentary in hand that still needed a good amount of editing. Today I want to focus on a long-time client that recognized the value that a short documentary might bring.

Here’s how it started: A nonprofit staffed with creative folks had the idea to sponsor a three-day bike-a-thon along the Jersey Shore in honor of the birthday of one of its staff members. It was a last-minute idea which they shared with friends. Unfortunately, it was so last minute that only a handful of people agreed to participate, with each raising funds from supporters for the organization.

Having a fundraiser unbeknownst to an audience of funders is not a particularly promising formula, which is where the idea of a documentary arose. We sent two cameras to follow the bike riders in a shooting style that was reminiscent of reality TV shows. Our cameras were perched on the open window of our car driving adjacent to the bikers; they were sitting on tripods that had been positioned before the arrival of the bikers in specific spots as well as set to capture shots that were tracking them from behind. We had hand-held shots from every different angle and even miniature cameras attached to bicycles. At the end of each day we interviewed the bikers about the experience, why they chose to participate, and the importance of the cause.

We wove the story together chronologically, replete with little dramas that unfolded, like a flat tire in the middle of a huge rainstorm. We created a 15-minute documentary that was fun to watch but also packed with information, albeit in a subtle way, about the value of the nonprofit that motivated the event.

Our client used the film for internal fundraising purposes as well as to generate interest in future trips. Based on other experiences we have had, we imagine they would have had success at some local film festivals in the “short documentary” category, but their limited resources precluded them from diving into those time-consuming waters. At the very least, the fundraiser reached a lot more ears and hearts than those of the small number of riders and their supporters. With all the fun that potential bike riders learned they missed, I’m guessing the next such event will be sold out!