Posts Tagged ‘video production’

The Effectiveness of Testimonial Videos

August 18, 2014

Client headliner feedback: “The [first] video went over well at the convention! It definitely left the audience wanting more. We just did an email campaign around the [other two] videos … and our sales people love them!! The morning we launched the YouTube link announcement I got an email from a sales rep around lunch saying that it couldn’t have come at a better time because he played the videos in his presentation and they went over really well!!”

            — Marketing Manager Lauren Vellek, RICOH Americas

Beginning this summer we have been working with global technology company RICOH to produce a series of testimonial videos for their production print solutions — apparently with very promising immediate results. To fulfill the job requirements, we have been going to print shops that use RICOH production print systems to videotape owners’ feedback about the product.

Says the owner of a PIP Printing shop in northern New Jersey on camera: “When we tested the RICOH product, we brought some of our most complicated jobs. We were very, very pleasantly surprised that we got a lot more than we had anticipated with some of the extra features where we’ve been really able to put a lot more work, both black and white and color, than we ever have before because it’s just a much, much better product than we’ve had here in the past.

“… What came with it …was … a training program that didn’t only cover the uses of the equipment but also helped to foster a better business improvement program for things that we did here day in and day out for 20+ years.”

 

Says a metro Philadelphia area Sir Speedy shop owner: “The great thing with RICOH has been their service. We place a call and within in an hour or less, we get a phone call. I’m fortunate to have a fantastic technician that is assigned to this area and he goes above and beyond the call to help meet our needs and the needs of our customers.”

If these quotes stand out in written form, multiply that impression by many-fold when they appear in video. It is only common sense: seeing and listening to the sincerity and feeling behind impactful words spoken by an actual shop owner who was not obliged to make the comments goes a long way toward effectively making a sale or closing a deal.

Of course, this approach is not mutually exclusive of producing a more formal video ad for TV or online avenues using a script, actors and the type of sizable crew that such an effort requires. But in comparison to this more traditional commercial production, the budget entailed for short testimonial videos pales, and its results offer the promise of a resounding success.

New Year’s Acrostic-olutions

December 30, 2013

On the 2014 work agenda (some personal items too):

Aesolutions: Reading – maybe not AESOp’s Fables – but other great books that trigger the flow of creativity to many video projects.

Besolutions: Finishing the documentary Flory’s Flame, about 90-year old Sephardic musician, composer and performer Flory Jagoda, whose compositions in Ladino – an ancient Castilian Spanish language — harken back to pre-Inquisition Spain. “BESO” in Spanish (“bezo” in Ladino) means “kiss” – many of which are crucial to happiness in the coming year.

Cesolutions: While we don’t generally attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Curt Fissel in our office annually goes to the gigantic National Association of Broadcasters Show (April 5-10, 2014 in Las Vegas) where all the latest and greatest technology in the video production and broadcasting industry will be introduced and exhibited.

Desolutions: DESolate is what I plan NOT to be.

Esolutions: Helping our clients be ahead of the curve with regard to video and all its new arms as the electronic highway continues to expand, and finding E-SOLUTIONS to interesting issues that arise.

Fesolutions: FESsing up to gaps in my knowledge, filling them with deep dives into research, and supplementing weaknesses with the collaboration of colleagues strong in those arenas.

Gesolutions: Learning rather than GuESssing.

Hesolutions: As the female president of Voices & Visions, I’m all about “SHE –SOLUTIONS” (as compared to “HE-SOLUTIONS”), and I look forward to networking, brainstorming and collaborating with women executives.

Iesolutions: Exploring substantive topics calling for video production in their depths, then reducing the understandings reached to simple messages – the onscreen equivalent of the textual use of I.E.

Jesolutions: Like GESso used in artwork as a base before applying paint, continuing my commitment to thorough preparation before video shoots our company undertakes, which will ensure and preserve the quality of the final product.

Kesolutions: An English variant of “BESOlutions” (see above).

Lesolutions: Focusing on more solutions rather than LESs solutions.

Mesolutions: Always aiming to MESmerize with video productions we create.

Nesolutions: While the northeast (NE) is our home base, we now have an office in Dallas and we videotape on location internationally. Hoping to continue to expand our national and global work in the coming year.

Oesolutions: The US Bureau of “Oceans, Environment and Science” (OES) advances foreign policy regarding climate change, renewable energy, resource scarcity, infectious diseases, and related fields. In 2013 we videotaped the ways in which the farmers of the Fair Trade, interfaith Delicious Peace coffee cooperative in Uganda are trying to overcome the impact of climate change on their crops. We will continue to pursue producing video clips about this issue and otherwise helping the farmers.

Pesolutions: Had I been PESsimistic, I would never have taken the risk of running my own business. Optimism about everything – from small projects to the world economy – will dominate my thinking.

Quesolutions: QUEStions are beautiful; they prompt intellectual and emotional growth. I am grateful that I get to interview and ask unlimited questions to so many interesting people around the world in connection with producing corporate videos and documentaries. Looking forward to new questions and answers in 2014.

Resolutions: All of the above and below.

Sesolutions: Who “SAYS SO”? Our clients say so. I will listen to their goals, concerns, interests, and parameters and help them build tailored solutions.

Tesolutions: Marketing in 2014 will continue to TESt traditional vs. social media methodologies (including video) and with regard to the latter, how to measure ROI, the most effective combinations of approaches, and a host of other issues made possible by ever-expanding IT solutions. The question I will explore with clients is no longer whether to engage; rather, it is: What? Where? When? And how?

Uesolutions: YOU are the e-solution! Our We will rely on our partnerships with our clients to ensure our brains and talents work together to produce the best solutions.

Vesolutions: VES, Visual Effects Society, is an organization representing visual effects practitioners. From motion graphics in 2D and 3D to animations, audiences are growing accustomed to fabulous visual effects in videos. Looking forward to watching their growth in demand and providing clients with videos rich in a wide range of creative elements.

Wesolutions: WESOłych Świąt: Polish for “Happy holidays!” Since we have produced five documentaries in Poland, the culture and language are close to my heart. Early indications are pointing toward an event on the calendar in Poland in 2014.

Xesolutions: Having many opportunities to use XE, an online currency and foreign exchange tool, which helps calculate expenses when traveling to foreign countries. Italy, Spain, Bosnia, Croatia, France, Poland, and who-knows-where-else are on this year’s travel plans, so XE will come in handy.

Yesolutions: Saying “YES” much more than “no.”

Zesolutions: Tackling challenges big and small with ZESt as well as love for the opportunity to tell stories through video.

Loving NYC

August 21, 2013

I have the best job in the world. I get to see nature as it twists itself into infinite manifestations adaptive to the climates that envelope our planet. I travel across continents and immerse myself in cultures, meeting people in conversations that dig into their psyches and their worlds. I visit a kaleidoscope of international businesses that reflect human creativity, invention and need. In other words, I live anthropology, all because of the value of the stories our company’s video cameras can capture and tell (with a little aid from us humans).

And yet, with the countless places I’ve visited on earth — the breathtaking land and seascapes, the fascinating range of activities that dot different urban streets – the one I can’t help but love the most is the city that has been my home (in a suburban sort of way) almost my entire life: New York, NY. Here’s why:

It is a warm summer night this evening, and I am walking 22 blocks from Penn Station to the East Village to meet my daughter for dinner at Souen, a macrobiotic restaurant that has been around since before I became a vegetarian in 1974. The streets are so crowded that I am momentarily annoyed at being jolted out of my peaceful day. Within a few blocks the throngs thin out into gentler waves of characters that my brain can process. That is when I fall in love with the city again, each time anew.

I see the soft blur effect between the people ending their business days, heads appearing stuck in issues that refuse to stay behind in their offices, and the people on their way to a fun evening – a date, a birthday dinner, a social gathering.  I chuckle at a group of tourists, all standing at a corner and taking the same photo of the Empire State Building. I strain my ears to hear two young men speaking so loudly in Polish that I can make out some words from across the busy street. I shop in a cute little kitchen store with all kinds of fun gadgets and buy a new coffee grinder at the same price as the department stores advertise. I pass a street where my daughter once bought an armoire that refused to slide into the back of my CRV, but no problem – this is New York! Within minutes we found a man with a van who whisked the armoire to her apartment.

Life here is animated, electric, like thousands of separate cartoon strips all interwoven into a fabric of people accustomed to and comfortable with the differences that surround them – cultural, linguistic, racial, religious, sexual, and sometimes just in terms of personality. “It’s all good,” as they say – as they all seem to say — here in New York.

I arrive at Souen before my daughter, and I wait at the counter that overlooks the street. Next to me is a woman eating her dinner with a literary companion in the form of an E-Reader. The letters are larger than 12-point font, and she turns the page with a swipe of her finger, as engrossed in the novel as she is in her dinner. Feet away, on the other side of the window, real live stories walk by. They don’t distract her, though the older gentleman with unsteady legs trying to sit in the open chair between her and me causes her head to turn with a concerned expression for a few seconds. She seemed poised to help if necessary, despite the draw of the characters on her electronic screen.

My daughter and I share a delicious macrobiotic, organic food dinner and interesting conversation. We say good bye as she goes to the #4 or 5 train and I begin my return 1.25 mile trek on foot to Penn Station. I could take the subway too, but that would require trading in my imaginary ticket to the greatest show on earth — the streets of New York — replete with countless moving parts that provide a never-ending source of inspiration.

That’s my New York: dinners with my kids and interesting friends, tasty veggie food at affordable prices, hearing every language on the planet spoken within a city block or two, observing non-judgmental people passing non-self-conscious people who are busy doing their “thing,” and reveling in the intelligence, creativity and happiness that seems to waft out of apartment windows opened wide on beautiful summer days.

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.

delicious peace, documentary, smithsonian, new york times, uganda, fair trade, interfaith, fair trade coffee, jewish nonprofit, documentary production

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 2

April 10, 2013


Day two in the Nevada desert, and the NAB Show is up and running at full speed. My focus today was post-production content editing software. The big players here in the South Hall are AVID and Adobe Premiere, with a field of smaller companies having set up tent as well. Notably absent from the floor as usual is Apple and its content editing software platform, Final Cut Pro X.

I began digital storytelling at Voices & Visions Productions using AVID on a Power MAC 9600 in the late 1990s. I was an avid AVID user until about eight years ago when I switched to Final Cut Pro 7 based on advancements that system offered, so I was curious to spend the first part of my day today at the AVID exhibit. AVID has a proven track record of innovation. Many of the content producers here still recognize it as the industry standard.

avid, NAB Show, Las Vegas, video production, corporate video production

Avids’ exhibit area on the South Hall upper level at this years NAB Show

Traditionally manufacturers use the NAB venue for making announcements about their latest upgrades, and AVID did not disappoint, announcing audio and performance upgrades to its arsenal. Enhancements include a fully redesigned audio engine with a new 64-bit architecture, expanded metering and a direct HD video workflow. The new technologies are successfully luring back some former AVID editors who, like me, had made the switch to Final Cut Pro 7, but fell off the Apple cheerleading squad when the FCP X (ten), less professional-friendly system, was introduced two years ago.

The FCP X launch took place in Las Vegas at the same time as the NAB, but in a separate venue (sigh), and was met with a cool reception. Among the devoted FCP 7 users with whom I have been chatting this week, there are some who have switched away from Apple’s FCP platform, others who are still considering alternatives to FCP X, those who have decided to embrace it, and a group who takes the approach of fluency across all systems.

avid, NAB Show, Las Vegas, video production, corporate video production

Adobe’s exhibit are on the South Hall lower level at this years NAB Show.

Following the tradition of announcing new innovations at the NAB, Adobe introduced Adobe®Anywhere, a collaborative workflow platform that enables editors using Adobe professional video tools to work together, allowing access and management of centralized media and assets across almost any network. This program works well with the Adobe Cloud introduced last year, which allowsusers to access all of the relevant software for one monthly fee. Updates are free, and the workflow is fully integrated, making content flow seamlessly streamlined. Adobe’s price structure for the package makes it a creative powerful suite of production tools worth considering.

Tonight is the Final Cut Pro Users Super-Meet. The event is an evening long gathering of some very creative storytellers exploring the latest innovations and industry trends.

 A few NAB notes as of noon today:

There were over 4200 tweets by @NABShow

There were almost 22,000 followers of @NABShow

@NABShow had a total reach of over 10,700,000

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?