Posts Tagged ‘pre-production’

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.

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 13

December 15, 2011

Video Testimonial for Publications

Like so many other videos we have produced in the last few years, the one I am about to discuss happened as a footnote to the primary videotaping goal, yet ultimately has become a great tool in the box of information the client wants to market.

As discussed in yesterday’s blog, we videotaped this year’s annual Private Equity International (PEI) Investor Relations & Communications Forum (IRCF) held in New York. PEI is an independent worldwide financial information group focused on the alternative asset classes of private equity, real estate and infrastructure. In addition to organizing 24 important global conferences on topics related to PEI’s focus (like the IRCF), the organization publishes five internationally-recognized magazines and five news websites, manages extensive databases, and publishes more than 25 specialist books and directories.

The initial videotaping goal was to capture as much good footage of the event and  enough quotes from a number of participants discussing why they attend and how it stands out in the industry to produce a short video about the Forum. As the concept grew in pre-production, it was recognized that the interviewees could also discuss the value they get from subscribing to and reading PEI publications. Since there was little b-roll to use to embellish that story and complicated motion graphics were not on the agenda of this production, we ensured that we captured very succinct, thorough and articulate sound bites so that we could keep respondents’ faces on screen for most of the length of their sound bites without needing to cut minor speech insertions. We asked questions in a number of ways until we got the sound bites we wanted – in terms of content and transmission style. We made a simple motion graphic using pages of one of the organization’s magazines. Here is the final edited video:

In essence, this is a testimonial video applauding PEI’s outstanding publications. Just under one minute in length, the video stands a good chance of being watched by even the busiest of industry professionals who find it online. By separating out the message about the publications from the message about the conference, the viewer gets clear information about both subjects. And with impressive sound bites from known and respected thought leaders, PEI should be getting ready to increase its subscription base.

 

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.