Posts Tagged ‘field production’

On the Road Again…in Bonn, Germany

September 7, 2013

I don’t have favorites, never have. I’ve always found confusing questions like: “What is your favorite color?”  — I like all the colors of the rainbow and the hues in between. Same thing when people ask me my favorite places to travel. My husband Curt Fissel — who is a director of photography and my business partner – and I (a producer/writer) are constantly on the global go for corporate video production and documentary shoots, but I don’t have a favorite destination.  There are aspects of each place I appreciate, so I thought I would write some blogs from the road, elaborating on things that make me smile in different locales.

 

Last week we were in Germany, videotaping for a private equity client that had just sold a company in its European portfolio and wanted us to produce a video highlighting the corporation and its impressive success over the holding period. When we finished all the field production relevant to producing a top line video, we took a few days to ourselves, visiting close friends who live in Bonn.

 

Enjoying sunny days with temperatures in the mid-70s, everyone we met told us that the winter there had lasted until the end of July. In fact, the past year in northern Europe has been exceptionally and uncharacteristically cold, snowy and rainy – much worse than usual. Curt and I had been well aware of that. We’ve been working on a project in Normandy, France for the past few years, and Rouen is listed in his phone’s weather app. Every morning since last mid-September we have had the same conversation:

 

Curt (checking weather in various locations we frequent): “Rouen: 50 degrees and raining.”

 

Me: “OMG. I’d feel so depressed.”

 

Yet that was not the weather that greeted us in Bonn last week, after the late spring climate had finally arrived on the cusp of July meeting August, and we had the chance to frolic in a few of the country’s attractions.

 

One of my favorite activities in Bad Godesberg, the little hamlet where our friends live, is jogging on the pathway that contours the Rhine.  Settled into rising hilltops along this segment of the majestic river are ruins of once-imposing castles. The age-old strongholds still convey a bygone aura of feudal importance, overlooking through cataract-type vision the goings-on of the world at their feet. Sightseeing cruises and cargo ships pass me as I run, reminders that the countryside’s natural counterparts (e.g., the river) run timelessly.

 

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Later in the day we all hop on board a train that also travels along the Rhine’s path. Whisking us south about 35 km., we get out in the village of Ahrweiler to partake in a winefest. Yes, you read it correctly: A winefest in Germany. Formerly not known as a serious competitor in the world of quality wine, this region has joined many others worldwide in improving its reputation, with impressive results. The vineyards in the Ahr Valley – known for its red wines — sit on 45 degree angles sloping up the sides of the Rhine. The fruits of the vines were exhibited in booths lining Ahrweiler’s main square, which framed the festival and the events taking place inside. An old-fashioned German brass band blared music to the much-anticipated annual election of a Wine Queen. A few speeches later, the coronation took place, after which the new queen was greeted by throngs of happy villagers holding bottles of locally grown Pinots and Rieslings. The year was 2013, of course, but it could have been 1913 or 1713. Unlike the physical castle structures along my morning jogging path, these old customs have survived in tact.

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Of course, even traditions are affected by change over time. Prior to World War II Ahrweiler had a small Jewish community. Apparently, the town was known as Nazi-resistant, but its Jews could not escape the Holocaust’s engine of death. No survivors ever returned to Ahrweiler. Significantly, however, the town has preserved the old synagogue, which is today used for cultural events. Curt and I, who have produced a number of documentaries on Jewish-related subjects, always visit these sites of former Jewish life in Europe. In Ahrweiler, our friends accompanied us to the former synagogue. We spent a few moments meditating in the atmosphere, listening to the voices in the wind and in our hearts, pledging anew to work to stamp out evil somehow, and experiencing gratitude for the energy of good people who remember, confront and commemorate.

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The next evening we visit a biergarten, the classically German hangout for the classically German drink. It’s as fun today as it was decades ago to sit at the tables covered with red and white-checkered cloths, surrounded by people drinking tall glasses of amber-colored beer with impressive white foam tops, toasting and celebrating everything always. (But in my opinion, with all the delicious craft beers available in the US today, the opportunity to imbibe the German selections are no longer the highlight of the biergarten experience.)

 

Back in Santa Monica, CA, I am working with some friends on an emerging project, www.EnjoyYourCoffee.net, which aims to be a travel website for coffee lovers around the world. Our Coffee Travel page lists good spots for coffee and conversation, beneficial for travelers to the region. Our group is trying to bolster the list of places worldwide, so wherever I travel, I try to visit the most popular cafes and add them to the list. In Bad Godesberg, my friends’ son Lorenz brought me to Café Lindentraum. The cappuccino was high quality and the atmosphere was quaint, but the conversations at each of the small tables were quiet and private (i.e., not group conversational). That’s a reflection of the culture, Lorenz told me. The same was true when I jogged along the Rhine: In many places where I have been, joggers passing each other share waves and smiles. Sometimes there’s even a “hello” attached in one language or another. Not here. It would be unfair to call it UNfriendly; it’s just not the nature of the culture to open up to strangers. In contrast, at the dinner party our friends hosted one night, we enjoyed conversations that quickly dove into interesting analyses.

 

I felt sad the morning of our departure. We had an amazing time with our friends. Their street fair was to happen that day, everyone on the block was cooking up something special to contribute, and the sun promised to continue shining. Anticipating the day’s events based on past years’ experiences, we were told that the young kids would run around and play together and the elders among the group would regale newcomers with stories that stretch back over decades.

 

Past, present and future live side by side there and find a way to communicate through the ups and downs of nature, time, governments, and people. And industrial and technological advancements whisk us across nine time zones and back to Los Angeles in about 11 hours so we can enjoy our coffee with our friends in Santa Monica a few hours after the fair has been cleaned up on our friends’ street in Bad Godesberg.

 

The Miraculous Reality of Fair Trade Coffee Farming

March 11, 2013

Our first trip to Mirembe Kawomera (“Delicious Peace”) Coffee Co-op, located in the village of Namanyoni on the outskirts of Mbale, Uganda, was in 2006. The co-op had been founded just two years earlier, the idea of regional leader JJ Keki who sought a market for local farmers’ coffee as well as a way to overcome historical religious-based intolerance. A year after their establishment – also a year before our arrival – they had signed a deal with Fair Trade coffee buyer/roaster/seller Thanksgiving Coffee Company in Fort Bragg, CA.

We went there as a film production team with the goal of creating a documentary about this inspirational farming collective. Still only one year into their arrangement with Thanksgiving, they had just begun selling a small amount of coffee; the first shipment was a single shipping container. We spent several days becoming acquainted with the farmers, and they opened up to us, inviting us into their homes and lives.

One farmer housed 25 children. Only a fraction of those were biologically related; the others were children of parents who had died of AIDS or other causes, or who were otherwise unable to take care of them. Another farmer showed us the graves of three of his children who had passed away, all from malaria. He did not have money to take care of many of the nutritional needs of his extended family, including children and grandchildren. Everyone complained about a lack of funds to send their kids to school. While public schools exist, families are required to pay for books, uniforms and school lunches – an impossibility for many who are poverty stricken.

Simply put, the needs were overwhelming.

And yet, the farmers had been fortunate to find a Fair Trade buyer. Fair Trade guarantees a minimum and fair price, despite the international fluctuation of this commodity market. It also enables farmers to receive a second payment if the quality of the coffee is very good. Mandating egalitarianism and democracy on co-op boards and in the general running of the organization, Fair Trade additionally gives farming cooperatives a “social premium,” enabling them to support local community projects.

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I write this now from Mbale, where we have spent the last five days with the Mirembe Kawomera farmers. It is almost seven years since our first visit. The school-age children of the farmer whose residence was home to 25 now all attend educational institutions. The farmer whose children suffered from unhealthy diets talked about his new-found knowledge of the four food groups, and how his large family is conscious of – and able to – partake in that diet on a daily basis. He has a new home that is covered with an iron roof to keep out the rain rather than the thatched roof that leaked, and his house even has some furniture. Not one farmer complained that his or her children were not able to attend school. And the co-op used its social premium to help build a new wing on a local public school that had become overcrowded.

When I asked the farmers to tell me about problems the co-op still has, each one – interviewed independently — answered the same thing: A thief broke into their warehouse and stole 15 bags of coffee.

Of course, that is awful – every bag represents a huge expenditure of hard work as well as profits. But then, thieves are everywhere. There was no additional complaint.

Pretty good support for the value of Fair Trade. And an important reminder to consumers who have buying choices that not only satisfy their caffeine longings but also have the ability to change individual lives.

My job – when I work on a documentary — is to be a producer, not a marketer. I look for objective facts. In this instance, the argument for the benefit of Fair Trade could not have been more compelling.

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

Videotaping at Carbon Black Manufacturing Facilities

May 22, 2012

You know those cool black boots you wore in the chillier weather? Or those black jeans that you like because they’re a bit dressier than the blue denims, or the black sweater you dress up with a multicolored scarf? You know the black casing around your phone or the tires on your car or the dashboard inside? They all share one characteristic: Black. And they all get that black in the same way: Through the carbon from oil.

I recently learned about that at the carbon black manufacturing facility of Orion Engineered Carbons.

Okay, so a backdrop of reactors and carbon products isn’t as sexy as a movie set. And travel for corporate video production rarely means world monuments. But it does mean something very valuable: Close encounters with detailed information about how the world functions, constantly expanding our base of knowledge and broadening our life perspectives.

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Orion is a global manufacturer of engineered carbons that produce black goods, including vehicle tires, sealings, hoses, anti-vibration systems, conveyers, transmission belts, plastics, printing and inkjet inks, paints and coatings, adhesives and sealants, toners, batteries, and anything black! Their plants are strategically located around the world, with major operations taking place in S. Korea, Germany, Ohio, and Houston. To convey its story, V&V began videotaping for Orion in Belpre, OH, just over the W. Virginia border, followed by a trip to the facility in Orange, TX.

In the coming weeks V&V will be editing the interesting manufacturing shots with numerous product images and motion graphics and animations we craft, designing an internal video that exudes know-how, industrial prowess, and importance in the lives of consumers around the world. Ironically, since the final product will be presented through the Orion intranet, the blacks on the screen will be made of 0s and 1s rather than carbon – one of the few exceptions to the carbon black rule!

Maximizing The Professional Corporate Video Dollar

May 17, 2012

Once a year for two days, private equity firm The Riverside Company gathers together its partners and other employees from around the world as well as the CEOs of their global portfolio companies – around 300 people – at the Riverside Leadership Summit (RLS). The crowd hears about the  latest directions of this firm that invests in small to mid-sized companies; meets with colleagues across portfolios in N. America, Europe and Asia; and listens to speakers discussing topics ranging from the state of the worldwide economy to social media marketing.

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For video purposes, the gathering of so many people in one space is an ideal time to collect professional interviews. Riverside recognized that, and dived with us into a new marketing video project over the course of those two summit days.  The preparation work began several months earlier, as we plodded knee-deep through the points to be emphasized in the final videos and the individuals who would be good messengers. Utilizing a quiet and private room at the resort where the event was held, our director of photography designed a set with five lights and gels expressive of the firm’s branded colors. We interviewed numerous individuals, altogether securing a collection of wish-list sound bites in one place at one time.

The cost of corporate video production encompasses time three basic phases: pre-production (the preparation that goes into defining concepts and arranging the shoots to get the necessary materials for the end product), field production (videotaping) and post-production (the totality of services needed to transform the videotaped material into the final edited piece).

Field production is a daily rate determined by the size of the crew and amount/type of equipment needed for the parameters of a particular job. If the number of days can be condensed because all the interviewees are in a single place, the cost of that line item can be greatly reduced.

Depending on the nature of the forum, there may also be opportunities to capture relevant b-roll of the folks who are being interviewed. B-roll is always a good idea, since most speakers dot their responses with “um”s, “you know”s and “ahem” types of throat clearings that are better left in the digital timeline’s trash can, but then call out for images to cover up the smoothed-out comments.  At events where attendees are eating at networking breaks, b-roll can be a challenge, and consequently, the final product might call for an extra day or two to videotape appropriate visuals of the subject matter.

Between presentations at the RLS we hustled to get quick shots of our interviewees engaged in conversation with their colleagues, gently reaching over to take their drinks, noshes and nametags while the camera and its operator did their jobs. We went down our checklist of visuals and were glad to get most. With the large library of Riverside b-roll we have already accumulated over the years, the new video recorded, and the creation of sophisticated motion graphics, we are confident that we have collected the materials we will need to produce new, clever and stylish marketing videos at a good savings for our client.

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!

Video Field Production at Manhattan’s Second Avenue Subway

February 6, 2012

The past number of blogs in this column have focused on end video productions. Some upcoming ones will highlight parts of the process that lead to that goal, shining light on those steps as they unfold.

Last week Voices & Visions had the opportunity to videotape a snippet of the construction of Manhattan’s new Second Avenue subway line with our client Moretrench, a geotechnical contractor specializing in the engineering and implementation of solutions for a spectrum of underground construction challenges in diverse conditions.  A few of the areas of the company’s expertise are dewatering and groundwater control, temporary earth retention, excavation support, deep foundation applications, and environmental remediation. Excelling in its service offerings, Moretrench is interested in having marketing videos created for its website to give browsers a visual peek into the thoroughness and quality of its services.

Curt always says that everyday is a field trip for us, and yesterday was a great example. Moretrench was a subcontractor, and their job was jack grouting,  with the goal of forming several seven foot-diameter columns underground so close that they form a retention wall. Advance preparation (pre-production) is useful, but being on the site personally, standing on street level, to witness the construction of an underground facility is awesome! I love the NYC subways, but rarely when I have waited on station platforms or zoomed through its maze of tunnels have I thought about the detailed, complex work that was involved in ensuring that the East River (for example) does not suddenly swallow up the tracks!

Our field production job was to translate our awe of the operation and its orchestration into elements that will speak to the target audience. Our client directed us to the site supervisor, who we asked to walk us through every step of the process, breaking down the information into sound bites that are comprehensible both for audiences in the industry and those who are newbies but are interested in the services of Moretrench. That’s my MO: Asking the interview questions that lead to more questions that lead to more questions, always with a smile and with the goal of total comprehension. I figure if I get, so will audience rookies.

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Not only that: The general contractor, for which Moretrench was the subcontractor, was on site and happy to say a few very complementary comments about the company which we can edit into a testimonial video for the web.

By the end of the shoot, we had collected what was transcribed into 20 pages of factual information, wonderful visuals, and a bunch of ideas regarding ways of cutting the material to be useful to the client.

Keep checking in for the video that will be created!

PS: Photos by Chris Ponnwitz, Marketing Coordinator, Moretrench

Corporate Video Production: An Idea A Day: Day 12

December 14, 2011

Video Highlights of Conferences

Conferences are very important to organizers for many reasons: They establish reputation in the industry by bringing together impressive speakers, they convey information that is appreciated by attendees, and they often bring in profit. They also cost a lot of money to execute, so producers carry a burden of ensuring the success of the objectives, which includes incentivizing attendees and others to return for future events.

Enter another benefit of corporate video production! While the presence of some photos and a few quotes on a web page lauding a forum are advisable, a video portraying real speakers and scenes can transport the viewer to the event, underscoring the value of participation in a way that no other media can accomplish.

Example: Private Equity International (PEI) prides itself in providing “alternative insight.” Through its numerous publications and global conferences and training sessions, PEI offers authoritative, informative and useful content covering issues in the alternative asset classes of private equity, infrastructure, real estate, and real assets.

One of the important conferences PEI spearheads each year is its Investor Relations & Communications Forum held in New York, which our corporate video production company Voices & Visions was asked to videotape, then edit into a production for PEI to showcase to prospective attendees via its website and other online sites. The video captured background shots of a number of sessions, the ample networking opportunities, the amiable spirit that characterized the atmosphere, and many interviews with session leaders and participants discussing the unique benefits of this event. PEI hoped the video would attract two audiences: those specifically focused on next year’s event on this topic and viewers with more general interests for whom the video can provide insight into the value of all the conferences and training sessions PEI spearheads.

In addition to posting the video on multiple online locations, PEI will need to use social media and other outlets to let its audiences know about the video and where they can access it so that it does its intended job. That aspect of the campaign goes to marketing strategies – a story for a different blog! From the corporate video production end, PEI has distinguished itself by highlighting the value that its events convey through enabling interested folks to peek into the virtual window of one of their important annual conferences.

 

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!

 

 

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!