Posts Tagged ‘corporate video nj’

NY Times Highlights Subject of Film Produced by V&V’s Principals

June 5, 2013

Having started filming the documentary Delicious Peace Grows in a Ugandan Coffee Bean back in 2006, the JEMGLO production team was excited to see The New York Times today refer to the cooperative of Christian, Jewish and Muslim coffee farmers who comprise the documentary subject. The principals of JEMGLO, producer/writer Ellen Friedland director/DP/cinematographer Curt Fissel, are also the principals of Voices and Visions.

Highlighted in the Food section, the Times noted that “J.J. Keki, a Jewish Ugandan coffee farmer…enlisted Christian, Jewish and Muslim farmers to form a coffee cooperative. The result: Delicious Peace Coffee (Mirembe Kawomera), which comes in a nutty-tasting light roast, a rich dark roast and decaffeinated.” The Times’ mention coincided with the launch of a Smithsonian Folkways recording on CD produced by Rabbi Jeffrey Summit of 16 songs by the farmers titled Delicious Peace: Coffee, Music and Interfaith Harmony in Uganda. 

The first version of the documentary, narrated by actor Ed O’Neill, was released in 2010 and screened at over 35 film festivals internationally, including many prestigious festivals, and won a number of meaningful awards. This past March Ellen, Curt and several additional members of a production team, returned for a fifth trip to the cooperative to videotape updates (link to the blog), including a qualitatively improved standard of living thanks in large measure to Fair Trade wages paid to the farmers by their coffee buying partner, Thanksgiving Coffee Company.

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The documentary is available to educational institutions through the Video Project. In addition, socially-conscious media company Specialty Studios is distributing Delicious Peace Grows in a Ugandan Coffee Bean by organizing Delicious Peace Parties where the film is screened and Fair Trade coffee and chocolate are enjoyed. Please contact them for more information!

Video for Private Equity Annual Investor Meetings

May 28, 2013

This is the time of year when many PE companies and PE divisions of larger companies are designing the content and activities of year-end annual investor meetings. Significantly, few industries are as friendly to the fashionable storytelling tool of video as private equity. Each portfolio company brings an engaging narrative of its roots that flourished over time and are expanding as a result of the vision, strategies and assistance brought by its private equity partner. Producing high-end and fast-paced yet short and comprehensive videos to showcase examples of companies in a portfolio that are encountering success is a great way to convey the information, break up the pace of the meeting in a popular and pleasing way, and encourage participation in future funds the PE firm will roll out.

The themes of the videos will depend upon the emphases of the companies or divisions. There is no one formula; decisions are tailored to the firms and their investor audiences. Here are some examples of videos created for The Riverside Company, the largest global firm investing in the middle market, for their 2012 Annual Investor Conference. The goal of these videos was to highlight the different funds:

North American Fund Portfolio Company: Baby Jogger

European Fund Portfolio Company: Reima 

Asia-Pac Fund Portfolio Company: Learning Seat 

North American Microcap Fund Portfolio Company: Yourmembership.com  

V&V has been working in PE and related industries for over a decade with clients such as The Riverside Company, the former AIG Investments, Private Equity Investor, and Duane Morris LLP. We also count as our clients pension funds investing in PE such as the Texas Teachers Retirement System.

Please contact us to brainstorm ideas about ways in which video can provide added value to your annual investor meeting.

YouTube, SEO & Other Video Data

May 15, 2013

My email and LinkedIn group inboxes are constantly flooded with the latest information concerning every aspect of video. While often the information falls into the common sense category, sometimes I see data that piques my interest. Two such summaries came across my screen this week, one focused on YouTube’s algorithm for ranking video and the other containing an infographic with more off-beat statistics concerning the use of video by marketers and advertisers.

Several months ago the Official Youtube Content Partners and Creators blog announced that it would rank videos based on the extent to which viewers actually watch them rather than simply the number of clicks any given video receives. The blog noted that the company wants to “reward engaging videos that keep viewers watching.” This approach is consistent with the SEO focus of Google (which owns Youtube) on substantive content on websites.

This information interlaces with the infographic, posted by Larry Thomas on the Latergy Social Video Channel. According to a recent study by videoexplainers published by visual.ly, videos that are over one minute in length produce more click-through rates than shorter videos, except for videos that are 15 seconds or less. Videos that fall into the category of 16 to 60 seconds in length are 41% less effective than videos that are over a minute.

So putting these pieces of information together: Though it is commonplace today to lament the lack of attention span across wide swathes of the population, it seems that many folks out there are actually interested in more substantive content and are watching it in video form — and Google/Youtube is rewarding those producers.

My advice: Short sound bite videos (particularly those under 15 seconds) containing clear, articulated information are impactful (153% more effective in terms of click-through rates than videos between 16-60 seconds, according to the infographic) and should be included – in multiples – as part of an online video strategy. But they should be anchored to longer, content-filled videos. Of course, “longer” is a relative word, and it does not have the same meaning as “long.” An examination last year of Youtube codes seeking the length of the top 950 viewed videos on Youtube determined that the ideal length in terms of audience engagement (other than for music videos) is 2.5 minutes. That sounds about right to me. If the content is interesting, I think it is okay to stretch the timeline a bit. If there is more to say after that, it is, in my opinion, time for another video.

Two other interesting statistics that came out of the infographic:

  1. 4 in 10 social videos are humorous and viewers of those videos are more than three times as likely to click to a brand’s Facebook page than viewers of non-humorous videos.
  2. Celebrity videos drive 12% fewer visits to brands’ Facebook pages than non-celebrity videos.

My takeaways? Comedy over celebrities, and make sure your video budgets reflect the outcomes you are seeking.

Corporate Video Production Group on LinkedIn

April 17, 2013

Two months ago V&V, through an initiative spearheaded by our Director of Marketing, Lea Spencer, launched a new professional group on LinkedIn designed to address topics related to video in the corporate world. Already having attracted more than 200 members and growing by a number of additional people each day, the Corporate Video Production group has become an active platform for sharing advice and starting discussions on a wide range of relevant issues. Examples include:

Please join the LinkedIn Corporate Video Production group to gain insight into the most current trends in video from our dedicated community of industry professionals.

NAB Show: Day 3

April 11, 2013

I spent day three of the NAB Show learning about a variety of the latest and greatest technologies, intent on finding potential time-saving and creativity-enhancing products that will benefit the clients my company Voices & Visions Productions serves. A staggering number of vendors populate the conference, often providing demonstrations. I also enjoy keeping my eyes open for creative and interesting products outside the current scope of my needs and budget.

In the media storage and network data transfer departments, I was impressed by the affordable and fast G-DRIVE PRO with Thunderbolt — a two bay hot swappable drive system that can be used as a hub for multiple non-Thunderbolt hard drives. The docking station is configured as 500GB or 1TB interchangeable storage drives that can also be used as standalone external hard drives. Expect to see it on the market in May with a price point in the $750 range.

NAB Show, Las Vegas, video production

An aerial filming platform on display at the 2012 NAB Show in Las Vegas.

For a change of pace I spent a little time looking at aerial recording platforms (i.e., helicopter-style remote-controlled camera-mountable flying machines) made in New Zealand. These stabilizer-enhanced flyers come in all sizes, enabling usages that range from indoor shots to aerial footage of large vistas. A vendor’s rep was more than happy to help me visualize all the work and play scenarios for which I could use this toy.

Tuesday night I attended the 12th annual Creative Pro User Group (CPUG) Las Vegas Super Meet.  The CPUG is a welcome immersion in the latest developments in content creation. Formerly known as the Final Cut Pro User Group, the name was changed several years ago to better reflect the broad range of collaborative editing workflow systems its members are using.

NAB Show, Las Vegas, video production

Over 1200 content creators attended last nights 12th annual Creative Pro User Group (CPUG) Las Vegas Super at the Rio Hotel, in Las Vegas.

With 1200 professionals in attendance, numerous speakers discussed the newest innovations and trends in the industry, with Adobe, AVID, Black Magic/Divinci, and a host of others offering in-depth looks at new functionalities of their respective products. LA branch CPUG leaders Mike Horton and his colleagues structured the event to ensure ample opportunities for open discussions between audience and presenters.

CPUG attracts a wide spectrum of top-shelf sponsors who are receptive to insights that the attendees frequently provide. The industry looks to the users’ group meet as a sounding board for its newest product lines.

More Fun Facts:

·      The 2013 show hosted more than 1,600 exhibitors.

·      The show spans 900,000 square feet of exhibit space, up from 815,000 in 2012.

·       The Academy Award-winning Coen brothers (The Big LebowskiO Brother, Where Art Thou?True Grit) are using Adobe Premiere Pro for their next feature film slated for late 2013. Their last movie, No Country for Old Men (winner of 4 Oscars), was edited on FCP 7.

·       The show wraps Thursday at 2pm.

V&V Receives Prestigious Silver Telly Award

April 2, 2013

Voices and Visions is proud to announce that we have just been awarded a prestigious Silver Telly for the corporate video production called “What’s Missing?” that we created with our client Orion Engineered Carbons. The Tellys are among the oldest and most esteemed awards in the film and video industry, and the Silver Telly is the highest honor bestowed by the organization, given to the top 7 to 10% of over 12,000 entries from all 50 US states and five continents. Judges make determinations based on a scale of 1 to 10. To receive a Silver Telly, the collective score must be 9 or above.

ORION is a global manufacturer of engineered carbons that produce rubber black products and black pigments used in producing plastics, printing and inkjet inks, paints and coatings, adhesives and sealants, toners, and silicon rubber.

The video we created for ORION’s annual investor meeting highlighted the end products and applications for carbon black.

Please check it out and give us your feedback!

Telling Stories With Video

February 27, 2013

Every corporation is built and sustained by individuals with stories to tell, and those stories can be effective marketing devices. (See “Endless Stories” blog.) Using internet video to tell those stories is particularly impactful: Audiences today watch more than they read, and the place they watch most is online. Consequently, introducing staff via video posted to websites and other online venues gives current and prospective customers a more personal – and therefore positive — feel for the companies with which they are or could be doing business.

One way of ensuring that online videos of staff are up-to-date, reflecting changes in personnel as well as the positions they occupy, is for corporations to build in-house video production studios designed for recording simple sound bites. The existence of such facilities at a company would enable each new hire  immediately  to record and post a video bio introducing himself or herself to the client base and the rest of the staff – or to record something else highlighting personality traits or interests, excitement about the company or its product, etc.  — depending upon the corporate culture. The initial investment in the studio is returned in the ability to inexpensively produce endless short and effectual videos.  


Once videos are edited, companies should consider posting them first on their own Youtube channels, then using those links to post them on their firms’ websites and other social media sites. This methodology will help boost  search engine optimization. YouTube is the second-largest search engine after Google and Google owns YouTube, so enhancing a corporate presence on this social network is important. There are several key elements to optimizing videos on YouTube, which will greatly influence the rankings and quality of search results. Saving video files with keywords as well as tagging keywords when uploading videos are two important pieces to a much more complicated puzzle. (For more pieces, see post on Video SEO).

Using an In-House Video Studio to Respond to Industry Current Events

February 20, 2013

Outside of the news industry, corporations are not broadcasting stations with staff positioned in key locations or contracts with international wire services, set up to report on current events as they unfold. Yet unending waves of news events are filled with stories that affect different companies in myriad ways, and responses by those entities have potential public relations value. How can a corporation ensure it is a valued commentator of relevant news as it happens?

For many companies, press releases or other textual documents are the fastest way to respond. Say, for instance, the Supreme Court issues an opinion about tax law. A large law firm with a tax department might want to post information explaining the impact of the decision. Time would be of the essence, since the case is fresh on the minds of folks in the target audience and because it is always better to beat competitors to the information landscape. The speediest approach might involve an expert in the department writing some text responding to the decision, then posting it on the website immediately.

Yet this is the era when more folks watch than read. Yet again, producing a video response generally entails hiring a corporate video production company, finding a mutually agreed upon date for the shoot, then waiting for post-production to be completed, approved, and electronically sent to the folks who will be posting it. ZZZZZZzzzzzz…. (That’s the time window sizzling out.)

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Model of a Video Studio V&V is designing for EisnerAmper

An in-house corporate video production studio is the perfect solution for this challenge. The type of studio envisioned would be designed and set up by a video professional, who would help the company purchase and place the lights, camera(s), microphones, backdrops, and other equipment in stationery spots that have been pre-tested to generate the best quality video. In the hypothetical example cited above, the tax lawyer charged with responding to the consequences of the Supreme Court decision would go into the studio and sit on a chair around which the gear has been pre-arranged by the video professional. Someone on staff, perhaps in the IT department, would be trained on usage of the equipment, so he or she could simply turn on the lights, clip on the microphone then put it in the “on” position, and start the camera(s) rolling.

This type of video would entail very little editing. It would generally consist solely of a fade up from black at the beginning and a fade down at the end, a title card, perhaps a few graphics underscoring key points, and occasional transition devices if the presentation requires a few cuts. An employee at the firm with basic editing skills might be able to do the job. Alternatively, the firm could outsource these minor clips to a corporate video production company, signing an agreement that provides for the need for immediate turnaround. This latter solution would also ensure that adjustments could be made in color correction and audio sweetening for any production missteps (such as a failure to fine-tune lights for a person taller or shorter than the average for which the lights were pre-set).  Since the type of editing involved is basic, the editing costs should be affordable.

As video overshadows other types of communication avenues on the web, embracing this format becomes increasingly advantageous. The key is to find ways to do that while maintaining a commitment to quality reflective of the company that posts the clips. A professionally designed in-house video production studio is a very good mechanism. It has value for many types of videos — among them, responses to current events that put the corporation at the forefront of information and action.

Designing In-House Corporate Video Studios

February 11, 2013

An in-house corporate video studio sans extra hires: the perfect solution for a constant and affordable flow of new video content with a professional look.

A little over a year ago Cisco predicted that within three years (now one and three quarters) all Internet traffic will be video. While that may be an overly ambitious timeline, there is no question that video is overtaking the web as the communication vehicle through which companies are (and increasingly will be) required to express themselves. It is also by now recognized that the DIY videos that seemed acceptable when Youtube first burst on the scene in 2005 are not professional reflections of the entities they represent. These facts are part of the larger shifting landscape of corporate messaging, mandating creative responses and re-created budgetary line items.

Among the most resourceful recent solutions to this conundrum on which we have had the opportunity to work came at the request of our client EisnerAmper, one of the largest accounting firms in the US, with almost 1,300 employees. Working with clients hailing from a broad spectrum of industries and providing a range of services, EisnerAmper has unlimited topics to discuss on a regular basis, for which ever-new online video posts would be a great asset.  When their expansion induced them to move their New Jersey headquarters into a new space subject to complete redesign, they contacted us about helping them build a studio for the purpose of recording simple sound bite videos as frequently as desired, then turning them around for rapid posting to their website and other online sites.

Basic keys to success of this project included designing the space effectively and efficiently; properly laying out the IT, lighting, audio and other technical needs; identifying high-end equipment on which non-professionals can be trained; and providing the training. The exercise requires a combined knowledge of professional cinematography with relevant engineering and architectural understanding.
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Our VP Curt Fissel met with the EisnerAmper marketing team to determine their wish list of video needs and goals within the context of the available space dimensions. He also spoke with the project manager and architect. Curt is our Director of Photography and Senior Editor. At heart, he is an artist and a complex model builder, so the opportunity to work on the video studio enabled him to combine a lifetime of personal strengths. Curt used a soft polymer clay that hardens when baked to design a model of the room to scale. Even the tiniest details were highlighted in the model he created, such as the precise placement of the electrical outlets on the walls and the track lighting across the ceiling. Curt then photographed the model from many angles, pasting the images into a document onto which he wrote technical explanations of the requirements.

As the project moves forward, Curt will be available for ensuing needs, such as helping EisnerAmper choose appropriate equipment; configure all the studio elements to enable the production of optimum appearance; and teach staff who will be assigned to this job how to use the gear, which is intended to stay locked into place. Upon the conclusion of videotaping, EisnerAmper will have the ability to edit the material in-house or upload it to a cloud accessible by an off-site editor.

The video studio will enable EisnerAmper to produce and post constantly changing, simple and professional-looking talking-head videos responsive to the news of the day or even the hour, as well as a litany of additional information the firm would like to share – all at no extra cost for field (and possibly post) production once the set-up is in place. While their totality of video needs will also undoubtedly require more complex productions utilizing the help of professional corporate video producers, the use of the studio will ensure that EisnerAmper is at the lead of the pack of businesses as the Cisco-like predictions regarding the proliferation of video grow into the reality.

Corporate Video: Endless Stories

January 31, 2013

When I got into the corporate video business over 15 years ago, clients wanted productions that were informational in content. They sought videos that would outline the work of the organization in all – or at least most – of its elements, even when the details required 12 minutes to roll out. Whether the video was to be used for marketing, HR or other purposes, an objective presentation of the nature of the entity was the fashion of the day

That tendency mirrored the appearance projected by news outlets at that time. Remember when the “fourth estate” was all about fair and balanced portrayals of facts based on research and widespread interviews with folks taking a diversity of positions?

Times have changed, and social media has played a critical role in this new world of information presentation. Today news correspondents can take the form of activists on the front lines of a revolt tweeting their eyewitness accounts on their smartphones in 140 characters at a time, reporting from the spots where they stand, unaware of the battle looming around the corner. Subjective by definition, they may nonetheless have more followers than nightly news stations, in large measure because audiences today are attracted to individual stories – real people, real events, real drama, real emotion.  The storytelling methodology resonates.

(One example of such a “story” we told through a video we produced for private equity client, The Riverside Company)

And it has influenced corporate video production. That extensive informational video style is passé. It has been replaced with short stories, endless short stories, each of which can stand on its own in a video or be grouped with others, depending upon a variety of factors including length of time needed to convey its heart. Stories can be about the company, such as the impetus that led to its founding or some cool community event in which its staff participated. They can focus on employees relating personal stories that integrate elements of their characters with aspects of their jobs. They can highlight a company initiative from the perspectives of those charged with implementing it, following the process through from idea conception to presentation. Endless stories.

While each video might max out at two minutes (often less), there may be many to produce, so ultimately far more time will be devoted to this format – and often watched by the viewers — than the single 12-minute piece in which the company invested 15 years ago. Yet unlike its old-fashioned predecessor, each piece will present only a slice of something related to the company. The viewer who watches a series of videos the company provides on its website and/or other social media sites may gain the larger umbrella perspective the company would like to portray. But the person who stops after the first will walk away with neither depth of understanding nor the larger picture perspective of the company.

This is the new communication reality. It is incumbent upon corporations still hesitant to find their video voices within its parameters. That may present some challenges, but a successful initiative will be worthwhile. Individual stories will resonate.