Posts Tagged ‘corporate video production company’

Corporate Video Production: An Idea A Day: Day 9

December 9, 2011

Last in the series of nonprofit video productions that I have written about this week, today’s blog is not accompanied by video because it focuses on a client who runs a battered women’s shelter. This is a sticky area for video: Always reliant on substantial funding, organizations like this require video to make emotionally moving points, yet ensuring the absolute privacy of their beneficiaries is paramount. Our video production company was delighted to have the challenge of aligning these seemingly contradictory needs.

We advised the client to focus solely on the stories of three of their clients. We understood that the video would have impact if viewers got wrapped up in the unfolding of events as told by the women who underwent them. No statement by an executive of the organization telling viewers in a third party way about their clients’ tales of violence or directly making a pitch for funding would be nearly as effective as hearing the obvious needs from the victims.

Finding the spokeswomen, of course, was up to our client. They opted for two women who had already had successful outcomes in their experiences with the organization and were now on their own as well as a third who was newly admitted to the shelter. The first two were comfortable being seen on camera with the understanding that the video would only be screened to a select group of donors. They were extremely grateful for the help they had received and felt that they would have talked to the contributors in person if asked, so video was a natural extension. The third woman wanted to remain anonymous. For the purposes of the production, however, we did not want the screen to simply be black while viewers listened to her voice. Rather, we interviewed her in a room that we set up with bare lighting that put her in a dark shadow, completely unrecognizable. We knew that in the final video we edited, the viewer would be able to see some movement as she moved her arms, for instance. It would be enough to keep an audience fixated on the screen at the same time as they heard her relate the frightening circumstances that had given rise to her decision to reach out to the shelter. Indeed, the shadowy backdrop would add to the drama of her story.

We were also cognizant that for this video to be successful, we would need the women to open themselves up in emotionally challenging ways — on camera! It is a complex art of interviewing to get beyond the superficialities of a first meeting in a short time and dive so deeply into a person’s heart that she (in this case) feels comfortable enough to reveal some of her most vulnerable memories. That was the task before us, for which we are able to lean on our vast experience in documentary production around the world interviewing a broad range of people in different cultures who confront countless types of situations. Yet every situation, every person, is different. Sometimes the right approach is difficult to gauge. Particularly in situations like these, each person must be treated tenderly and empathetically; at the same time, we need to be focused constantly on getting the sound bites and eliciting the emotions that will be effective in the final script and expressed in a way that will ensure smooth cuts in the editing stage.

The video we ultimately created had three segments of under two minutes each, one segment for each of the women. The opening faded from black to the name of the first woman the client wanted to highlight. Dissolving out of the black to a close-up of her face, the viewer was able to see the intensity of her eyes as her story unraveled. At its end, the screen again went to black, then immediately up to the name of the second woman, with the same pattern for the third, whose identity was written in an anonymous way. Some necessary cuts to accomplish the storytelling succinctly yet passionately required b-roll cover-up with the two women who agreed to be seen on camera. We were able to videotape a small amount of b-roll after each interview, and they provided us with a few personal photos to use. Cuts with the woman cast in shadows did not require b-roll cover; the dissolves between shots were so subtle that they were unrecognizable, and the viewer stayed focused on the scary screen image.

We received excellent reports from our client about the effectiveness of this fundraising video after they screened it privately to their select group of prospective donors. We are confident that it was successful, since a few weeks later, a member of that group called us for a quote for another organization with which she was involved!

 

 

Corporate Video Production: An Idea A Day: Day 8

December 8, 2011

Nonprofits with budgets for annual events too small to work on high-end professional video productions are not precluded from using video to enhance their causes. Indeed, many types of creative and affordable productions can be crafted that have strong impact, and there are few tools as powerful to achieve that result as video.

Recently a nonprofit client approached our corporate video production company a few weeks before its gala. The event was to be relatively small, and costs were an issue. One of the projects in which the organization had been involved over the past year was a joint choir with children from both its suburban membership and an inner city school. The interaction of the kids, conveyed through their beautiful voices singing in unison, was an extremely powerful expression of the values of the two organizations.

While a performance of the choir at the gala would have been ideal, it was not logistically possible for all the folks who would have been required to be present. Consequently, our client organized a performance one day after school and requested that we videotape a single song carrying a significant message.

Even with the set-up and breakdown of the lighting, microphones, and cameras, the shoot was only a half-day. V&V used two cameras, but kept one as a wide shot sitting on a tripod so that only one cinematographer was required with no other crew members. The presentation was repeated several times, ensuring that we would be able to use different sets of shots (close, wide, steady, moving, looking up, looking down) in the editing.

The final nonprofit video production was very moving. While the performance was only two minutes in length, the editor ensured the visuals change between the various shots, moving from broad sweeps of sweet, diverse faces to close-ups of eyes and lips, singling with passion. The strong harmonies fill the spaces into which they are projected, and the sound of music is the only audio throughout the film except hearing the kids greeting each other as the credits roll. Nothing more needed to be shown at the gala. The children’s beautiful voices said everything without the need to add talking heads to interpret or insert extraneous information veering the audience away from the impactful moment. The client accomplished its goal without breaking its budget.

Corporate Video Production: An Idea A Day: Day 7

December 7, 2011

A nonprofit for which Voices & Visions Productions created a series of videos several months ago is New Hope Community, an organization in the Catskills Mountains that supports people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities to cultivate a lifestyle of self-determination through teaching, coaching, encouragement, role modeling, independent living, and participation in the wider community.

One of NHC’s special projects is called the Supported Work Program, which secures employment for individuals at NHC bolstered by on-the-job supervision, training and job coaching, and support services. Employers benefit by receiving reliable, consistent services; programmatic administrative and onsite oversight; and tax incentives. Through the SWP individuals have opportunities to grow and succeed, businesses have opportunities to benefit from employment and tax benefits, and the community has opportunities to develop into a more cohesive body.

NHC wanted to inform the wider community about the existence and advantages of the SWP with the hope that additional area employers will choose to participate. To this end, they retained V&V to produce two series of six videos each. The videos in one series were 60 seconds long, produced for broadcast on the local cable TV station (TV commercials). The videos in the second series were 1.5 to 2 minutes and created for posting on the web (video web clips); in essence, they were the more detailed versions of the shorter TV-bound clips.

Six employers who had been involved in the program for a number of years agreed to participate in the video series. They included the Woodbourne Fire House,

local eatery Bum & Kel’s,

the South Fallsburg Public Library,

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resort, Thunder 102 radio station, and M&M Ford dealer.  V&V videotaped on the grounds of each employer when the New Hope Community personnel and job coach were present, interviewing employer, employee, and coach and recording visuals of the daily work activities. Each of the videos produced begins with the employer’s description of the work performed by NHC individuals, followed by the job coach discussing his or her supervisory and support roles, moving to the individual expressing the aspects that he or she most enjoys about the job, and ending with the employer noting that the SWP is a “win-win” situation for everyone. Graphics on the screen list a myriad of benefits for employers.

The TV spots have begun their broadcast, and several of the longer clips now live on Youtube and Facebook, easily accessible in any sales pitch to the intended audience.

Corporate Video Production: An Idea A Day: Day 6

December 6, 2011

Continuing this week’s theme of blogs about nonprofits for which we have created video productions over the past several months, I now turn to a local NJ affiliate of a national organization.

With just over two weeks before this organization held its gala fundraiser, one of the honorees approached us with the request to shorten the long video the national organization had created and customize it to the NJ event.

The first challenge we confronted was that the material provided to us was in its final, compressed version – right for presentation on a DVD or the Internet, but not helpful for editing purposes.  This formatting meant that all the layers of visuals and audio were permanently compressed together, so any attempt to extract sound bites, for example, could cut off a musical score smack in the middle, or a preference for a different musical selection could not be accommodated since the audio was embedded in the original version.  With the inability to remove entrenched layers, the title cards naming individual speakers were also unalterably fixed.

We brainstormed with a key spokesperson for the nonprofit client who had strong opinions about some of the revisions and who sought help in figuring out how to accomplish those details given the challenges inherent in the video formatting. Here are the solutions we fashioned:

  1. We identified a core chunk of the original video that contained enough substantive quotes about the organization to paint a passionate picture of its importance without all the preceding or subsequent embellishment. This segment was under two minutes in length.
  2. We excised and maintained as a unit this core segment from the video, discarding the remainder. The in and outedits had to be made at spots where the music had natural interludes. The second or two of video tags on the bookends of the core were covered by black dissolves.
  3. We created a new title slate for a person whose position had changed since the time the first video was produced. In the original piece, titles appeared on opaque cards, which we could replicate. While we were not able to get information about the specific font that had been used, we were able to find one so similar that any differences would not be recognizable.  We created a new card and inserted it as a layer on top of the single, compressed layer, so that the correct title came up.
  4. We built a new opening with simple graphics tailored to the local affiliate. We wrote copy to provide a meaningful introduction and utilized archival black and white images that we had in our video library. (It helps that we also produce documentaries!) We added new music under this opening section. The intro was under a minute and ended with a fade to black that dovetailed – like the musical score — with the core section of the original video.
  5. We created a new closing that drew together the local and national using the music that had opened the piece, the graphics, and some stock photos descriptive of the larger message this shortened video (around three minutes) was expressing.

The final product was a big success at the gala, with the details of the editing surgery eluding the several hundred people who attended.

Corporate Video Production: An Idea A Day: Day 5

December 5, 2011

Over the last several days I have detailed different types of corporate video productions that came out of one video initially envisioned by a CRM client to provide a “who we are” introduction from video captured at an annual customer event. We found that the extensiveness and nature of attendees provided material for three additional videos: a ‘core values” video, an employee video expressing enthusiasm about the nature of the work, and a testimonial video.

Now I am moving to videos we have created for nonprofits in the last few weeks, each of which presented unique challenges. The video I will address today was produced for a national organization. One of their members had ensured the realization of a mission abroad for which sparse video was shot, much of it not useable. The outcome of the trip was extremely positive on many levels, and the organization wanted to highlight its success at their annual fundraising gala in a film of three minutes or less. To complicate the task, we were asked to create the production only a little over two weeks or so before it needed to be screened at the event!

Despite the time and material constraints, we wanted to ensure that the video was more interesting than a narrator’s voice telling the audience what to think or a collection of sound bites without much additional context. After some brainstorming, we decided to focus on the four words that comprise the name of the organization, all of which are important descriptors of their mission. Our motion graphic artist created four separate slates, all opening with the organization’s logo, but in each, a different one of the four words popped out, providing the conceptual background to relevant sound bites that would follow for the next three-quarters of a minute (plus or minus). We then called together a handful of people who had participated in the mission, gathering them at one locale against a beautifully lit draped background, and we interviewed them in depth about the four topics we knew we would be highlighting. We also videotaped them interacting – encounters that were filled with warmth since they had all shared meaningful experiences on the trip together.

We pulled the best quotes and placed them appropriately behind the motion graphics leaders of each section. We used as much b-roll as we could muster from the footage shot on the trip and from the clips of the participants interacting the day we recorded them; with a dearth of choices from the former and a desire to touch emotions from the latter, we relied on slo-mo effects. We set all of this to relevant rights-free music, and voila! The final production told the story through the graphics and the sound bites, which were expressed with the kind of experiential passion that imparts genuineness. The three-minute film was a huge success at the gala and a source of pride to the participants and the organization.

Corporate Video Production: An Idea A Day: Day 4

December 1, 2011

Testimonials have always been an important way to establish credibility. Their impact is greatly heightened when they are presented on video, giving viewers a chance to better evaluate speakers’ reliability by looking at them when they talk and listening to the tones in their voices.

But a testimonial video relating no more than general sentiments has little traction. Rather, it should ensure that the kudos expressed go to specific topics. What was the challenge that was solved? How was this company able to resolve it in a way that was particularly pleasing? Each experiential story will differ even if the subject company is the same, and it is the job of the interviewer to dig deeply enough to uncover the details that give weight to the comments and make them effective.

As a video producer, some of our clients retain us with the sole goal of creating testimonial videos. More often, however, we are called upon to produce a video on another topic, and as we become embroiled in the details, we recognize that opportunities exist to record, then later edit, short testimonial video web clips. This adds a lot of value to the client’s end product at a minimal cost: the extra videotaping is done when we are already present, and editing short video web clips, often focused only on the speaker and containing no more than a simple title card graphic, takes very little time (and therefore money) to produce.

The last few blogs in this column have focused on the video series V&V created for Infinity Info Systems, a CRM software service firm, which initially called us to videotape a customer event focused on the utilization of a particular software product, then to produce a “who we are” video (see Day 1 blog).

Additional video opportunities that became apparent during pre-production and field production led to the creation of a short video on Infinity’s core values (see Day 2 blog), the company’s expertise in the life sciences industry (see Day 3 blog), and a testimonial.

The testimonial was given by a customer of Infinity in the financial services industry. He talked about the challenge his company faced in running reporting  with the accumulation and storage of past, present and future investor data in various places. The challenge was solved by Infinity’s software and service CRM solutions, he says, which transformed the manual process into an efficient and accurate automatic one.

Given the respectability of the speaker, the genuineness of his comments, the fluidity of the sound bite, the details provided regarding the challenge he confronted, and the way Infinity is described as having found a solution that had a specific and beneficial outcome, the testimonial is a real winner. Whether a prospective customer is in the same or a different industry, if he or she identifies with the speaker’s CRM frustrations, this testimonial video web clip clarifies that a solution exists – and Infinity can deliver it.

When the video web clip is posted to youtube, we will update this blog to provide the link.

Corporate Video Production: An Idea A Day: Day 3

November 30, 2011

Recap of last two blogs in series illustrating different ways companies are using video:

Our corporate video production company Voices & Visions Productions was retained by Infinity Info Systems, a CRM software service firm, to videotape an annual customer event focused on the utilization of a particular software product, then to produce a “who we are” video. During pre-production, we recognized that the circumstances of the meeting were ripe for the production of additional videos, all of which could be shot on the same day during field production, minimizing costs.

In addition to the initial video and a subsequent one discussed in yesterday’s blog that highlighted Infinity’s core values,

several short video web clips were created (about 60 seconds per video), each addressing a different point that Infinity wants to share with various audiences. When the totality of this collection of video clips is posted on the Internet (currently only the “who we are” and “core values” videos have been uploaded), viewers will be treated to a well-rounded and very pleasing picture of the company.

In the clip that is the subject of today’s blog, the speaker is a senior account executive at Infinity. In contradistinction to the speaker in the first two videos – i.e., the CEO – this video enables a second corporate voice to be heard. This decision alone is of significance: When a tone or point is echoed in different individuals, the credibility of the subject (in this case, aspects of “about us”) is enhanced.

With respect to the substance of the speaker’s comments: She addresses a key company vertical in which she is engaged – life sciences — and simultaneously articulates aspects of the work most exciting to her. Whether a viewer is a prospective customer specifically in that (or a related) industry or someone learning about the company in a more general way, the video emits a sense of integration of information with enthusiasm that is attributed to Infinity, making it an attractive partner to any interested party.

The speaker tells the audience with a conviction that emanates from the expression in her eyes and the clear assertiveness of her words: “Part of the reason why focusing on the life sciences industry is so exciting for me personally is that at the end of the day we’re saving lives.” The comment and picture combination are priceless – and effective.

When Infinity posts the video on the web, we will update this blog.

Corporate Video Production:An Idea A Day: Day 2

November 29, 2011

In yesterday’s blog I talked about Infinity Info Systems, a client in the CRM software service industry, which began its foray into corporate video production with the idea of recording an annual customer event focused on the utilization of a particular software product. With several panels of speakers offering alternative menus of uses and a broad spectrum of attendees, the morning event offered good opportunities for highlighting Infinity’s strengths on video.

In the process of advance planning for videotaping (pre-production), it became clear that the diversity of folks who would be present in terms of corporations represented, as well as the continuation of the event in the afternoon at the company’s Manhattan headquarters a few blocks away, provided substance for creating corporate videos on more topics than initially envisioned.   Even better for Infinity, because the cameras would already be present in connection with capturing the event, no additional days of videotaping (and concomitant fees) would be charged.

Today, a couple of the corporate videos that had been unforeseen when the process began are now happily living on youtube.  One is focused on Infinity’s core values of respect for colleagues and customers, results for customers, trust, integrity, and commitment to community.

Running only one minute and six seconds in length, viewers of this core values video are treated to the positive attitude that runs through the company beginning with its CEO, Yacov Wrocherinsky, leaving an excellent impression that can only be good for business and prospective employee interest. And with the posting of several videos, Infinity’s website gains in the SEO department and ensures a high ranking of upbeat material like this.  Hard to imagine that it was off the radar until the brainstorming for the initial video started!

 

Corporate Video Production: An Idea A Day: Day 1

November 28, 2011

As video continues to overwhelm the written word in getting across information of all kinds, organizations are busy brainstorming creative ways of using this media. I thought it would be useful to write a series sharing a production-concept-a-day on which my corporate video production company has been working with clients over the past several months. Here is today’s:

Corporate Video Production: Marketing Goals

Every company has tailored messages to convey as well as a range of target audiences to whom to convey them. When different types of video messages are conceptualized in advance of recording, a range of relevant interviews and images can be compressed into fewer days on the field (and thus reduced costs), yielding several video end products.

As a recent example, Infinity Info Systems, a client in the CRM software service industry, sought to videotape an annual event where their customers utilizing a particular software product came together to learn from one another about various applications. The event provided an opportunity to get b-roll of panelists at the forefront of utilizing the software and interested audience members as well as interviews with key individuals that delved into points important to the company’s marketing efforts. Infinity wanted the edited video to be placed on its website (http://www.infinityinfo.com/who-we-are) to provide some background about the company and its services and to attract participants to future meetings.

Having the opportunity to be present amongst so many folks with a host of valuable and diverse messages, this initial video concept spun into five, samples of which will be rolled out in this blog the coming days.

The final version of the original video that we created utilized almost all of the relevant b-roll recorded and some basic graphics over the sound bites that unfolded in an organized and substantive way. That “Who We Are” video of just over three minutes is posted on Infinity’s “Our Company – Who We Are” page as well as youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt-tpS8MTqY), serving dual goals of educating potential customers and others about the company as well as increasing social engine optimization by giving prominence to significant video content.