Posts Tagged ‘video production nj’

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

June 5, 2013

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

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

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

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

Video for Private Equity Annual Investor Meetings

May 28, 2013

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

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

North American Fund Portfolio Company: Baby Jogger

European Fund Portfolio Company: Reima 

Asia-Pac Fund Portfolio Company: Learning Seat 

North American Microcap Fund Portfolio Company: Yourmembership.com  

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

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

YouTube, SEO & Other Video Data

May 15, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Two other interesting statistics that came out of the infographic:

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

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

Corporate Video Production Group on LinkedIn

April 17, 2013

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

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

NAB Show: Day 1

April 9, 2013

The annual National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show opened its door this morning, Monday, at 9am for the first of four days of exhibits and events. The NAB is the world’s largest and most important media and entertainment event, featuring everything (and I mean everything) needed to bring “content to life.” Held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the exhibit halls were teeming with scores of international industry professionals and providers.

The popular topic of the day in the camera exhibits area of the floor focused on advances in digital television, particularly higher resolution video formats. While industry professionals have now completed the transition to HD, there is a groundswell shift toward 4K products. 4K UHD has twice the horizontal and vertical resolution of the 1080p HDTV format, with four times as many pixels overall. Vendors recognize that total integration will not happen overnight, but 4K is on its way.

In this interim period, some of the major producers of video cameras are providing creative solutions for the industry, and third party manufacturers have produced some awesome gadgets that give professionals options to customize their core units.

NAB Show, National Association of Broadcasters, Las Vegas

A Canon EOS production rig on display
at the 2013 NAB Show. This is a nice example of all the
possibilities available to maximize productivity.

Some NAB notes:
Attendees come from 150+ countries; there are 63 delegations.
Over 91,000 media and entertainment professionals are expected.
NAB Show participants represent $20.7 billion (USD) in purchasing power.

More from the floor tomorrow.

Greening Video Production

April 5, 2013

going greenPhotographers generally crave the most innovative new cameras, and editors look to the next digital system that will process ever-increasing amounts of information at ever-faster speeds. I wear neither of those two professional hats (I’m the writer/producer in the group), but my wish list (read: “fantasy”) is for an eco-friendly camera and digital editing system.

Over the years we have found it a challenge to “green” our work, since our tools are generally made of plastic. Still, we struggle to find solutions, aided by innovations like making videos available online rather than in DVD format and using biodegradable DVD boxes when a client needs the end product tangibly in hand. Recently our Director of Operations Krystal Sancho made headway by diving into a project to digitize all the paperwork that has been collecting in files and drawers in our office over 15 years. V&V is aiming to be a paperless company in the coming months. Next step: Sustainable wood keyboards?

Telling Stories With Video

February 27, 2013

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

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


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

Designing In-House Corporate Video Studios

February 11, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corporate Video: Endless Stories

January 31, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Corporate Personality

January 14, 2013

The notion that a corporation is a person under the due process clause of the US Constitution stretches back to the US Supreme Court decision in 1806 of Trustees of Dartmouth University vs. Woodward. The great Justice John Marshall, writing for that court, defined a corporation as “an artificial being” (and thus Dartmouth, as a corporation and a party to the charter-contract in dispute, could enforce its constitutional rights).

Other decisions elaborated on the concept, which was ultimately written into federal legislation stating: “In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, unless the context indicates otherwise . . . the words “person” and “whoever” include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals.” (1 U.S.C. section 1).

So at Voices & Visions we got to thinking… If V&V is a person (however artificial), what is its personality? It cannot be a reflection simply of its staff, since we are a collection of diverse personalities. How do we even begin to define the traits of this corporate person for whom we all work?

We started by listing some characteristics that we believe reflect V&V’s persona, based on the company’s “lifetime” of experiences – i.e., all the different projects on which V&V has worked together with the team of folks who’ve driven them. Those attributes include:corporate video nj, corporate video new jersey, corporate video production, business video, marketing video

  • Artsy/colorful
  • Warm/welcoming
  • Hip
  • Hard-working/ambitious
  • Down-to-earth
  • Enjoys diverse friendships
  • Traveler, but not tourist
  • Loves the journey
  • Establishes bonds globally
  • Is grounded in a stable, healthy family
  • Loves new challenges
  • Part techy, part creative, part academic
  • Thorough
  • Flexible
  • Adaptable
  • Storyteller
  • Loves dancing
  • Enjoys fine food, coffee, wine, and chocolate
  • Green/eco-friendly

We know that neither the distinguished lawyer Daniel Webster, who argued Dartmouth University before the Supreme Court, nor Justice Marshall, intended their definition of “corporation” to stretch into the notion of an entity defined with human traits. Nonetheless, these 207 years later, we would love to hear your comments about additional traits you think should be associated with V&V – as well as some thoughts about how the totality of characteristics might manifest themselves in a greater corporate personality.