Posts Tagged ‘post-production’

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.

carbon black, corporate video production, professional video, business video, new york video production company, marketing video

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.

Riverside, corporate video production, professional video, business video, new york video production company, marketing video

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.

curt fissel, new jersey  video production company, corporate video production, professional video, business video, new york video production company, marketing video

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!

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.

When Video Editing is Not Enough

February 8, 2012

Yesterday we videotaped an interview with Indian artist Siona Benjamin for a new documentary. Last week we videotaped the jack grouting work of geotechnical contractor Moretrench at Manhattan’s Second Avenue subway-under-construction. And this morning we received an SOS email from a video editor working on a project for the museum at Yeshiva University who needed post-production color correction.

That’s why our world is fun. We really never know what the next day will bring. Equipped with all the field and post-production skills and equipment necessary to make every project shine, we are thrilled that so many folks like to play in our sandbox!

For those unfamiliar: Color correction is one of a number of fine-tuning tools of editing, and it makes a leap in quality difference over non-color corrected pieces in terms of bringing out the richness and depth of colors on all images that appears on screen. It is also a step that I think often gets overlooked, whether in the interests of time, budget, awareness of its availability, or how-to knowledge. Color correction is to our video editor Curt Fissel what incorrect word spelling is to me as a writer – a cringe-causing detail.  He was therefore very happy today to have been asked by the editor of this video to put the finishing touches of electronic paint on a production that will carry weight as an element of a museum exhibition.

Video Editing, Final Cut Pro, New jersey video company,  corporate video production, professional video, business video, new york video production company, marketing video

Curt doing color correction with another editor

Tomorrow’s plans call for a meeting in Philadelphia with a prospective client in an altogether different industry. Onto the next playdate!

Corporate Video Production: An Idea A Day: Day 10

December 12, 2011

Since we specialize in both corporate video production and documentaries and find many similarities in the two arenas, our business clients in the New York / New Jersey metro area and other places with whom we work on marketing, web clip, investor relations, HR, testimonial, nonprofit, or other types of videos also come to us when documentary projects loom.

The term “documentary” is used here broadly, intended to apply to programs as short as five minutes and as long as 1.5 or more hours. Outlets for documentaries we have created have been as diverse as film festivals, PBS/cable stations, online networks, and internal corporate channels. Sometimes a company wants a documentary created to mark a special anniversary and plans to screen it only for its own employees and customers/prospective customers. Combining new video from all locations relevant to the storyline with the corporation’s archives of photos, past film or video, and other materials, a documentary can be produced that generates pride and excitement. In other instances, an organization is beginning a new and exciting project and would like to have it recorded as it unfolds, then create a documentary post-experience. In addition to internal audiences, sometimes these pieces contain messages worthwhile to share with wider crowds via the Internet or film festivals. And in some cases we are approached by an organization that has learned through one of our clients about our background in this genre and approaches us to help bring a special project to documentary life.

The last situation materialized recently.  An organization called Someday Melissa contacted us (via one of our clients) with a documentary in need of post-production about a 19-year old girl named Melissa who tragically lost her life to an eating disorder. The group came to us with the video shot and a first draft documentary of 60 minutes already edited; they said they wanted the hour-long version tweaked, then they wanted to have a 30 minute production edited. They also wanted a trailer for the program.

We recognized that the 60-minute version required more than tweaking. While we were limited story-wise by the interviews and video provided, we were able to envision ways of reorganizing the footage and changing some of the sound bites and shots to provide a much tighter and more compelling story. We worked with musicians on audio that underscored the feelings in the piece, and we edited the shots carefully and with emphasis on the most important events and messages. Transforming the project from its original version to the new one required two weeks rather than the day or two initially anticipated, but the end project was powerful.

Once the 60-minute version had been completed, we were fully familiar with the storyline details and materials supporting it, and we had the opportunity to re-imagine storylines in shorter time constraints, editing the half-hour piece and trailer were much less time-consuming. The latter can be seen on the organization’s website:

The documentary Someday Melissa: The Story of an Eating Disorder, Loss and Hope has just been made an Official Selection at its first festival, the 2012 California Independent Film Festival. It has been submitted to many others and is also screening at community forums and academic institutions. Now we are videotaping the stories that continue evolving as the film impacts its audiences, with the web and social media outlets promising additional educational opportunities for the new footage with the hope that Someday Melissa will help curb the devastation experienced by so many people suffering from eating disorders.

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.