Posts Tagged ‘video web clips’

The incredible support system that provides the foundation for our small business

March 27, 2012

When you look through the outside window into the Montclair, New Jersey office of our professional video production company Voices & Visions Productions, you see three people diligently working away everyday: Our cinematographer/editor/tech guy Curt, our operations director/office coordinator Krystal, and me – the writer/producer/dealmaker/proposal author/marketer. We are the incarnate definition of a small business – a few people tirelessly changing identities to suit the tasks that roll through the door on any given day.

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But as we prepare for a video shoot in Austin, TX this Thursday, I am reminded of the fantastic system of support invisible from that exterior window but on whose brains, dedication and enthusiasm much of our success lies.

The prompt came in the form of this question from our client: “Can you get us a few insurance endorsements immediately so we can gain admittance into some buildings for which they just gave us permission to videotape?”

We are insured to the hilt thanks to doing a lot of work in Manhattan, but my myriad jobs do not include policy review or preparation of insurance paperwork. Fortunately I know I can rely on our agent, Sherrie Uzzo of The Scirocco Group. All it took to accomplish the goal was forwarding the client request to her and asking her to handle it. I was cc-ed on a bunch of Q and A emails that flew back and forth, but I never stepped in, and the job was accomplished correctly and with good karma.

The day before a sales tax question arose over a service we don’t ordinarily provide but for which I needed to bill a client. I’m a lawyer by training, but I have never worked in the murky and confusing field of tax law, nor do I have any desire to wade through it. I don’t need to: We have a great tax lawyer/accountant, Harold Lorman, who swims in those waters. A few emails and a follow up phone call, and we had a plan in place – both for the invoicing of the client and for sending an inquiry to the state sales tax office.

These issues arise because we have work, lots of these days, and that is largely due to the social media marketing and search engine optimization that consultant Lea Spencer has been doing for us. When I tried about a year and a half ago to spread the word about our company through my personal Facebook contacts, I failed. In came Lea, who does this work for businesses, and voila! We are often on page 1 of Google searches for “Corporate Video.”

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It’s one thing for prospective clients to find us and another for them to hire us, but one reason they do so is because of the high-quality motion graphics and animation created by designer Lori Newman for those clients who want to go that extra step to get extraordinary results. Whether we are creating a video for a geotechnical contractor for which she needs to show animations of the activities going on deep underground or a popular, fun-loving juice bar in Australia  that calls out for motion graphics popping with color and happy smiles, Lori is the most talented and dedicated graphic artist I know.

In recent months as video and social media have collided, we’ve evolved to encompass this combined expertise, which has also led to requests to re-create websites fashioned in the latest technological capabilities. Enter Curtis Fissel III, Mr. Techie, the behind-the-scenes guy on the five websites associated with our companies. Curtis is always available for any kind of implementation and ready to dig into whatever new innovations crop up. Never overwhelmed by possibilities, he also never tires of trying them on and seeing which ones fit best.

All of the calls related to IT, graphics, social media marketing, accounting, and insurance pass through the phone and keyboard of Krystal Sancho, part of our core who CAN be seen through that outside window. Ever patient, always smiling, and never frustrated, Krystal fields them through their correct courses to resolution, no matter what that takes. She is the rock that enables Curt and me to go on our frequent video field trips around the world, recording (then writing and editing) stories that give personality to the organizations for which we create marketing videos, web videos, testimonial videos, industrial videos, recruitment videos, investor relations videos, and documentaries. I am grateful for a top-notch team of as-needed partners, whose optimism, creativity, intelligence, and passion play a major role in giving our small business the capabilities of a much larger entity.

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Spyros’ ENJOY YOUR COFFEE Group

February 22, 2012

Up until recently, I never had favorites. No favorite color, number, outfit, airline, or even restaurant.  Though my son Jared is a magician, I was never a good candidate for his mentalism tricks, like “pick your favorite card in the deck.”

But now I have one favorite thing I can talk about: My favorite part of my job, which is getting the chance to brainstorm and create little visual video stories about every person, place, company, thing, event – whatever – that comes my way.  Sometimes I feel like this opportunity has transformed my brain partly into a lens that captures infinite elements as I go about my day, and partly into a computer that crafts the endless possibilities into a fantastic string of short stories.

Unfortunately, not all of these videos-in-waiting become videos-in-reality, but I am delighted each time they do. The most recent video web clip focused on ONE of my favorite initiatives by ONE of my favorite people, Spyros Dellaportas, the organizer of my morning coffee klatsch in Santa Monica where I frequent when we are working out of our Los Angeles base. (Okay – that is my favorite real-life coffee gathering.) Spyros has formed an e-group, now living mostly on Facebook, called ENJOY YOUR COFFEE, with the goal of connecting everyone in the world through coffee. (I admit that I am excited about anything coffee-related since we produced our Delicious Peace documentary about Fair Trade, interfaith Ugandan coffee farmers.)

While you are enjoying your morning cup of coffee, please join ENJOY YOUR COFFEE on Facebook and become part of Spyros’ movement! With so many folks around the world already members and responding to posts on the page in multiple languages, I am certain the group will become a favorite page for you — whether or not you are prone to having favorites.

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 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.