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As of this writing, it has been sixty days since the Coronavirus was declared a global pandemic. Needless to say, commerce, as we know it, came to a near-screeching halt! And now, here we are two months later, just barely starting to kick-start the economy. Despite our best desires, we can’t just flip a switch and be back to full stride; this is going to take some time.
Hopefully, your business hasn’t taken too much of a beating and if you’re in a category deemed “essential,” you may be doing OK. That being said, no matter your current status, you will want to communicate an effective message to your customers and video can help!
For example, one of my clients provides carpet, upholstery, and tile cleaning services. We’ve shot several videos together and a couple of weeks ago, I created a “COVID-19 tag” for one of them that alerts his customers that the business is an essential service, delivering their services consistent with CDC and EPA guidelines. Their customers can feel confident that when the need arises, this company is on top of the situation.
Another client has two fitness equipment outlets: one a large warehouse and the second more of a retail-type location. His business has literally exploded when the pandemic hit, and folks couldn’t go to their local gym or fitness center. Suddenly his business was flourishing, in part because we had recently placed 32 equipment demonstration videos on his YouTube channel!
The pandemic has had another impact. People are dealing with a lot of anxiety these days and seeking support through traditional channels (therapy, counseling, etc.) can be prohibitively expensive – especially right now! This client took a unique approach by providing online training sessions that offer specific tools to help deal with the debilitating effects of anxiety. We produced 72 sessions together and we wrapped them and placed them online, just as the Coronavirus was grabbing hold of the US population. This was a very timely endeavor! The name of the course? “Overcoming Anxiety!”
The point is that you could produce a comprehensive series of videos, or just shoot one that talks about how you are prepared to help your customers while in the midst of the pandemic, while doing so in a safe manner. Or, you could have me create either a graphic that informs, or use a voice-over to do it, or both! However it’s accomplished, make sure your audience knows what you’re doing and how you can help them…now and going forward!
2019 was a great ride, and now it’s time to “drive” right into 2020! Need a Videographer, Director of Photography, Director/TD, Cinematographer, or just a good ol’ Camera Operator? Give me a call!
To all of my clients, freelance colleagues and friends, my sincere thanks and a tip of the hat you you all!
I hear that question a lot. Unfortunately, there are a number of elements that affect the price of a video. No, that’s not a dodge, it’s the truth. What would you say if someone asked you this question:
How much does an airplane cost?
In thinking about the variables in play to answer this question, you begin to get the idea there are a lot of things to consider! I know my way around aircraft and there are easily thousands of questions, like, “are we talking about fixed wing or rotary wing (helicopter)?” So let’s dump the airplane metaphor and get back to video. Let’s start by posing a few questions that should be addressed before we answer “that other question.”
- Rate. Often described as hourly, half-day and day rate. Many videographers don’t price by the hour and some only price on a full day-rate basis. Hourly averages range between $25 an hour from that film school grad you know to $250 an hour for a top-flight video veteran. My hourly average hits just under the center: around eighty-five bucks an hour. Which lends me to…
- Equipment. Sure you could whip out your smartphone and shoot away, but is that really the look you’re going for? If so, stop reading! Otherwise, continue. There are $20,000 cameras out there (don’t forget lenses!), $2,000 microphones, and lights that weigh as much as a Volkswagen, but is that really necessary? Is there a line item charge in the project budget for equipment? I have professional level gear that you may not see Spielberg using, but it will produce corporate video that will resonate with your audience and you won’t need stockholder approval to shoot! Oh, and my rate includes the aforementioned pro-level gear! Cameras, mics, lights, sliders, tripods, gimbals…oh my! Only if I have to create a specific effect might extra equipment fees enter the equation. I don’t have a drone, though I have access to one through an industry colleague, and this is considered specialized equipment.
- Personnel. I started my business as a single person crew (“SPC”) to be able to deliver quality work at an affordable rate. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be multiple cameras, mics and lights…it does mean that I know how to be efficient in the deployment of this hardware (including setup and take down) by myself. And in those instances where it just makes sense to have a grip, 2nd camera op or sound person along, I have a rolodex full of these folks that can be called in. Also in the category of personnel: talent. Does the project require professional acting talent or will we be shooting personnel from the company being filmed?
- Time. How comprehensive is the project? Can we do it in a day? A few hours? What will be required to edit the acquired footage? When is the project due? And by the way, just because the finished deliverable is “only” 5 minutes long doesn’t mean that hours, and sometimes days of production didn’t go into what is ultimately seen on screen.
- Post-production. Because this is a future article all by itself, I’ll be brief here. Post-production includes the components that help make the video “pop.” Editing, music selection, titles, graphics, animations, voice-overs, special effects. A word of caution here: less is often more.
So there you have just a few of the key elements of a video. Truthfully, anyone who would just throw out a “ballpark” quote without reasonable consideration of the variables I’ve shared here is asking for trouble. I would much rather take a modest amount of time to talk about those elements so I could provide a quote that would be meaningful for all parties involved. I may miss out on a few jobs taking this approach but I’m as professional in my business methodology as I presume you are in yours. Consultations are free, and the result will be a production that achieves its desired results at a rate everyone finds acceptable.
When people know what you do and why you do it, they’ll understand and trust your brand more. Video reinforces your brand identity and values by showing people your mission, not just explaining what you sell.
Training is expensive and it never stops. Whether it’s new hires or keeping your team up to date on the latest advances in your field, video is a cost-effective way to better manage training costs down and keep teams happier.
Recruit Ideal Candidates
You can’t build a great team unless you have qualified candidates to choose from. Video can increase the number of applications you receive from new recruits and give you more qualified applicants to choose from.
Stand Out At Events
Ever been to a noisy event filled with competing companies vying for prospects using any means necessary? Of course you have! Video cuts through the noise and helps you stand out. Make it a key part of your next event to see the difference it can make with gathering new leads.
Educate Your Customers
When you want to educate consumers, there’s no other form of communication that conveys as much as video. Try it, and you’ll move customers through the funnel in record time.
Boost SEO Performance
More than 76% of marketers say that video has helped them increase traffic to their site. Video is great for increasing dwell time and bounce rate while improving time on site. All important SEO factors.
– So says Wyzowl! (source: wyzowl.com)
Takeaway? Call First Impressions Video for your next corporate video! 714-979-3850, or request a quote here.
So the last few months have been a blur, but I’ve been crazy busy. And that’s a good thing! Questions that do continually come up have to do with how to go about hiring a video production company (now we’re being called “content creators”!). So I am sending this out again as it’s never a bad idea to have these questions answered. And if these comments are of any help, please give me a call. Remember: Great video doesn’t have to break the bank!
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So you wanna make a video… but where do you start? Well, one of the first things you’ll likely do is hire a video production company or videographer, and that can be a mind-bending task. How do you know who to hire? What can you expect to pay? To get you started, here are a few things to consider.
1. When preparing your job description, please be specific.
The sky is the limit when it comes to producing a video. There are so many variables that the possibilities are endless. Understanding your vision and what you’re trying to achieve will be critical in requesting a quote. Provide as much detail as you can about the services you need. Some of those questions would include:
- How long should the video be?
- Do I need more than one cut? (60 second, 30 second, 15 second)
- Do I need more than one video? (i.e. Think “episodic” TV)
- Where will the video(s) be used? (website, on-air, social, etc.)
- Is there a specific date this needs to be shot? What is the final deadline?
- Other than shooting, what production elements need to be considered? (editing, scripting, voice-over, location, casting, etc.)?
Answering these questions will help me to fully understand what you want and can, therefore, provide a more accurate quote. When possible, it’s a good idea to provide a few reference videos that illustrate the type of video you’re looking for. This is an easy way to set expectations and provide a target result. Explain what you like about them and why.
2. When reviewing portfolios, find someone who has produced work at the level you want for your own video.
A person’s portfolio and work samples will give you the best indication of what your video will look like. If you want something you don’t see, refer to point #1 and be specific what you want. First Impressions Video has shot a wide array of projects, so there should be no problem meeting and exceeding your objectives.
3. In general, you’ll get what you pay for.
As you start to get quotes back for your project, you may be tempted to go with the cheapest option. After all, everybody likes to save money, right? My advice is to take an honest assessment of the project and ask yourself what is the result you want for your video. If you’re happy with the look and feel of the cheapest option, great! But what you’ll generally see, is that the more money you’re willing to spend, the better the end result. Pick an option that satisfies both your budget constraints and your expectation for quality. The last thing you want, is to pay for the cheapest option, then not be satisfied with the result and have to do the whole thing over again with someone who can produce at a higher level.
Unfortunately, too many times—especially with first-timers, I’ve observed something like this:
What the client has in mind…
but what the budget says is this…
As I have shared, there is a lot more that goes in to making a quality video than meets the eye. What First Impressions Video will do is offer options so that you can determine which are best for you, given your budget and time constraints.
Whether it’s your first venture into video or you’ve done a few, the process of finding and hiring the right video pro can be a bit tricky. The goal of this essay is to provide solid insights, so that businesses small and big can feel like video is for everyone—not just those with big budgets and lots of experience! And if you have a question, First Impressions Video is but a phone call or email away!
714-979-3850 – Office
714-608-4495 – Mobile
On many of my earlier blog posts, I’ve talked about the importance of video for any business, service or non-profit. Video continues to grow in importance and as represented by the second frame of the following infographic, by next year, EIGHTY PERCENT of online content will be video! If you’re not doing video, you are missing opportunities on an unimaginable level, if you’re doing videos and want to tap into a professional with decades in the genre, give me a call.
With thanks to WebpageFX for the creation of a terrific infographic!
Finding a great video setting is one of the most important parts of the video production process. There are a lot of different elements that go into finding just the right spot.
As you prepare to produce a video, one of the details that probably should not be left until the end is the actual shoot location. Where should you shoot your video? Indoors? Outdoors? Conference rooms? Or rooms with a view? There are several things to you should be sure to consider before making this decision and choosing an interview location for your video shoot.
Get permission first
Before thinking about the creative approach to your interview location, make sure you have permission to shoot there! If you’re hoping to shoot in a public place, you should check with your local government to get a permit. If you’re shooting in an office or the courtyard of your attractive local shopping plaza, you’ll need a release from the owner(s) of the property. Nothing will be more embarrassing than getting set up at a location, only to be chased away by security—or the police—because you didn’t get the go-ahead in advance. Many municipalities and companies in Orange County have gotten very strict about this.
Be careful about distractions
When choosing a location, it’s important that your viewers stay engaged with your video content. Lots of distracting visuals or people moving in and out of your shot can draw the attention away from your primary message. And watch out for those camera-hungry photobombers!
Consider being flexible with your shoot time. Think about scheduling, if in a space such as a manufacturing area, when machines can be powered down, and there may not be as many people talking or moving in the background. Unless, of course, you want a busy, noisy background. Sometimes this is the look/sound you’re going for!
Make it relevant
What background do you want behind your interview subject? Make sure it’s relevant to the style and subject matter of your video. Choosing an appropriate background can really transport viewers to your location and help them connect the dots with what the user is saying. But remember, you can also use supporting visuals (B-roll) to showcase more specifics about the style and culture of your company.
Find a spacious location
Choose a big location with some architectural features for added texture. More spacious locations allow for setting up the shot with a shallower depth of field, giving your video that blurred background effect and minimizing background details and focusing more clearly on your subject, putting the viewer’s attention on their face.
Don’t forget that you are looking for a location that can fit more than just your interview subject. You’ll also need room for your video production team and any equipment as well. While you don’t want an airplane hangar, it’s important to make sure you have enough room for everyone—and everything—involved!
They may be quiet and available, but there is nothing more boring than a flat wall behind your interview subject. Full disclosure: I use them frequently and if that’s my working space for the project, I shoot at an angle against the wall and try splashing some color in the background by adding a plant or art piece, etc. Another tactic is to get as much distance as possible between the subject and the wall so the background can be blurred.
A “heads up” about conference rooms: In many cases they have big conference tables that can be difficult to move. This can limit options when trying to create an interesting or unique look.
Watch the weather
It’s not always best to shoot on a sunny day, despite how tempting it may be. Typically, bright days can mean harsh shadows on the faces of interview subjects. Unless you’re going to blast your subject with expensive lights, or use reflector kits, you may want to avoid shooting on those picture-perfect days. Believe it or not, an overcast day is typically a better day to shoot video outdoors.
Listen for room tone and ambient noise
Once you have found a location that is free from distractions, take a moment to carefully listen. Pay attention to the room tone and ambient noise. It’s important to avoid shooting in overly noisy areas, unless the background sound fits the message of the piece. In other words, if you’re shooting a piece on manufacturing, you probably won’t mind hearing the natural sound from that environment in the story.
However, if your space has a buzz, hum, or echo, the microphone will pick it up also. There are a few remedies to a loud room tone: First, identify the source of the hum. If the hum comes from a refrigerator, air conditioner, or another device that can be turned off temporarily, do that. If not, pro’s tackle these issues by using directional microphones, recording room tone for post-production, or using equalizers, but all those require a level of expertise.
Consider the lighting
What many people may not realize is the strength of sunlight that you see out windows can overpower the light used on the face of an interview subject. Your video production team can help you get great front lighting, but it’s not always possible to make the subject look great AND see scenery out a window. In addition to lighting challenges, many people overlook the fact that wonderful views usually look better while standing at the window peering out than they do as a background for an interview. In many cases, what is actually seen is the sky or some buildings in the distance.
If you are planning an outdoor shoot, try to shoot dawn and dusk, especially in the summer months. The light is more mellow which creates less harsh shadows, plus it can be much more dramatic! If you can, consider a “Golden Hour” timeframe for your shoot. Golden hour is the hour after sunrise or before sunset where the sunlight is more golden and soft and makes memorable and dramatic lighting for video shoots.
Remember, preparation is KEY
You can never be too prepared. If you do all the hard work before the shoot, you can focus on your subjects on production day. Selecting the proper locations for your shoot can make a huge difference in the final product, so give a call and ask about doing a site check — even if it means spending a little money, you’ll be glad you did!
Yesterday was August 1st. On that day in 1981, Music Television, or MTV, was launched. It was a somewhat shaky start with cable television still trying to catch traction. Fast forward to today and there are hundreds of cable outlets, with dozens of other streaming and online options for viewing content. But along with music videos, MTV also launched something else: the creation of the “logo bug” that now appears (usually) in the lower right corner of most of the programming we see today! Even video producers like this writer “bug” their videos, which I chronicled in a post back in 2015! http://wp.me/p2YaU5-8Y
If you want to place a lasting impression on your productions, be sure to “bug” them! Thanks, MTV, for an iconic idea!
This has been a crazy summer…crazy busy, that is. And that’s a good thing! That said, Vidyard produced an excellent article and companion clip about the value of video in a product launch, and I wanted to share it with my audience. If you’d like a quote for your next product launch, one that respects your budget, go to my “Request A Quote” page and fill in the form. I’ll contact you back promptly!
Sincere thanks, with full content acknowledgment to Vidyard, and to Jesse Ariss, the presenter in the video.