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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!
How much is a college scholarship worth to your family? If you’re reading this article, you’re probably thinking about that question. A highlight video may be the essential vehicle to secure an athletic scholarship, and for many, this may be the only way an athlete could ever aspire to attend college.
Coaches, scouts and recruiters don’t have the time or budget to visit with every potential recruit, so why not take the recruit to them – through a professionally produced highlight video. Coaches want to see the athlete’s skill, hear his or her speaking abilities, and observe his or her work ethic in the gym or practice field. One key factor is how to bundle those highlights to make the athlete stand out from all the others vying for scholarships. But the best packages require cost considerations that are—far too often—overlooked or ignored. This is NOT about whipping out your smartphone and shooting away…there is purpose and process to the capture of a compelling sports video.
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I get several requests a year from parents looking for video for their aspiring young athletes. I shoot high-school sports for Fox Sports PrepZone, plus I played a game or two in my youth, so I have a bit of an understanding how to do it. That being said, when it comes to capturing the kind of video that would make a compelling “recruiting reel,” there are several things to consider.
Let’s start with equipment. You need good quality cameras capable of adjusting to wide ranges of light (from very bright sunlight, to dark, with the field illuminated). All the major camera manufacturers have gear that will get the job done. Personally, I favor Sony. Audio capture should be a shotgun mic capable of picking up the field announcer.
Next, you need access to the field. This may require permission from the home school’s athletic director, who will also authorize credentials for the stands (and sidelines, if that’s part of the arrangement). Also, check with the AD to see if releases are required. And don’t even think about showing up for a professional (paid) assignment without business insurance. If a parent trips over a tripod or cable and falls, and you’re NOT insured…..well, you just don’t even want to go there!!
So you’ve made it into the stadium! Now you need a vantage point. Depending on the arrangement, you will want to be as high as possible to capture the action. Back to equipment, the camera must have a good zoom range to be able to move in on the action as the play develops—and keep in focus! You need to get to the stadium early…repeat, EARLY, to get that spot. Parents, family and boosters will be there, and they have NO obligation to give you space to shoot. If you’re lucky enough to get in or on top of the press box, consider yourself fortunate…that’s usually where you’ll find me, with my Fox Sports camera!
High school football games typically last 2 – 3 hours, plus halftime, plus the aforementioned early arrival, and strike (tear down) time. So, the total time on property can be 5 to 7 hours. And then, there’s post-production. This entails reviewing ALL the game footage, looking for those “gems” to go into the finished product. Then time has to be allotted for editing, including game “isolations” (called “ISOS”), graphics, personal statistics and any other desired elements.
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So, taking all of this into consideration, what does a recruiting video cost? Prices, complete with stats panels, isolations of the athlete, slow-motion “snippets” of plays and contact information can range from $500 to $1,500 and higher, often per game. There are several national companies that do this and some use networks of videographers to capture the video footage, with post production done at a headquarters location.
These videos, done at the professional level, aren’t cheap. But go back to the first question in this essay and ask it again. A four-year scholarship to UCLA, Alabama, or Ohio State could save a family a six-figure investment, so even at the high end for a recruiting video, that’s a pretty solid return on investment!
I would be happy to speak with you regarding your sports video needs and the initial consultation is free. Call or email me for more information!
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!
If you’ve been around a shooting location or in a studio—or if you’re the subject of a video shoot, you may have heard terms flying around that you didn’t recognize. So here is my attempt to “decode” some of these terms for you. This list is by no means complete, but provides some basic insight for the next time you’re around—or in front of—a camera! If you’re a nerd and want to know more, just Google “video (or film) glossary” and have a ball!
Aperture is the size of the opening within your lens that allows light onto the image sensor. Aperture is measured by f-number or f-stops.
Bokeh describes the character of the blur in an image, often used to specifically refer to points of light rendered as fuzzy circles. Bokeh also refers to a more romantic form of imagery, often used in wedding videography.
Boom microphones (“Shotgun” mic) are long, highly directional microphones. They are normally attached to boom poles to capture dialogue in a scene. They also can be mounted directly on cameras to capture long distance sound.
Closeup (CU) A tightly framed camera shot in which the principal subject is viewed at close range, appearing large and dominant on screen. Pulled back slightly is a “medium closeup” while zoomed in very close is an “extreme closeup (ECU or XCU).
Composition Visual make-up of a video picture, including such variables as balance, framing, field of view and texture all aesthetic considerations. Combined qualities form an image that’s pleasing to view.
Depth of field Range in front of a camera’s lens in which objects appear in focus. Depth of field varies with subject-to-camera distance, focal length of a camera lens and a camera’s aperture setting. See “Bokeh.”
Establishing shot Opening image of a program or scene. Usually, it’s a wide and/or distant perspective that orients viewers to the overall setting and surroundings.
Gaff tape (or gaffers tape) is a type of non-damaging, super durable tape used on film sets, most often by the gaffer and grip department. NOT duct tape!!
Headroom Space between the top of a subject’s head and a monitor’s upper-screen edge. Too much headroom makes the subject appear to fall out of the frame.
Lavalier (or “lav”) microphone is a small clip-on microphone that attaches to the subjects clothing. Normally used on TV newscasts or variety shows that require sound to be captured from the subject without it being obvious that there is a microphone attached. Lavs and shotguns are the two most-used microphones in my audio kit.
Long shot (LS) Camera view of a subject or scene from a distance, showing a broad perspective.
Medium shot (MS) Defines any camera perspective between long shot and closeup, viewing the subjects from a medium distance.
Nose room The distance between the subject and the edge of the frame in the direction the subject is looking. Also called “look room.”
Over-the-shoulder shot View of the primary subject with the back of another person’s shoulder and head in the foreground. Routinely used in interview situations.
Pan Horizontal camera pivot, right to left or left to right, from a stationary position.
Pedestal A camera move vertically lowering or raising the camcorder, approaching either the floor or the ceiling, while keeping the camera level. NOT a tilt.
Point-of-view shot (POV) Shot perspective whereby the video camera assumes a subject’s view and thus viewers see what the subject sees.
Rack focus Shifting focus between subjects in the background and foreground so a viewer’s attention moves from subject to subject as the focus shifts. Watch for this move the next time you’re watching a TV show or movie!
Two-shot A camera view including two subjects, most generally applicable to interview situations. Add one person and you have a Three-shot!
Tilt Vertical camera rotation (up and down) from a single axis, as on a tripod.
Tracking Lateral camera movement that travels with a moving subject. The camcorder should maintain a regulated distance from the subject. NOT a pan.
Whip pan (swish pan) Extremely rapid camera movement from left to right or right to left, appearing as an image blur. Two such pans in the same direction, edited together one moving from, the other moving to a stationary shot can effectively convey the passage of time or a change of location.
Zoom shot makes the subject larger or smaller within the frame simply by shifting the lens elements inside to change focal lengths. This magnifies the view of the subject while the camera itself remains stationary. A Snap Zoom is a very rapid zoom move, intended to convey energy.
Avoiding these common mistakes will help you create a video marketing strategy that will connect, resonate, and engage with your target audience. This will increase traffic to your website and improve sales.
1. Excessive “hard selling”
When you apply the “hard sell,” it is much like asking your first date to marry you. There is a very remote possibility, but you increase chances by building a relationship step by step. By creating teaser videos, you will intrigue potential clients and establish a continued relationship.
2. Videos are not part of a campaign
You may only get one chance to make a first impression, and as a result, many companies tend to overload their customer base with info. Pace your message and leave something to the imagination without exhausting the rather short attention span of your viewer.
Campaigns are the way to go. Rather than creating a single five-minute video, entrepreneurs should focus on a multi-faceted approach to creating a two-minute video in concert with six 30-second segments. That still adds up to a total of five minutes. The attention span of viewers is now so short, that short, informative, entertaining, and to-the-point videos are required.
3. Poor title and SEO
Interesting titles and effective tagging are essential in maximizing your SEO and harnessing your views. Having a great video no one can find renders all production efforts useless.
4. Disharmonized content
Video marketing is not just about visual images. Effective videos all harmonize the images with the best use of voice and text. Take these components into consideration when producing your video. Everything needs to be deliberate and intentionally planned.
5. Focus on products, not people
If facts tell and stories sell, then do not make your video a list of facts about your products. Focus on telling stories about people using your products and the benefits that they derive from using them. If your story is well told, people will seek out more information.
6. Not harnessing the power of video
If a picture paints a thousand words, just imagine how much a well-crafted video can communicate. Just make sure that your videos portray the right content and in the right essence. Videos are all about style, and style is actually more important than content. The style needs to be authentic to your brand, elevate your message, and make it resonate with your target audience.
7. Under-using available social media platforms
YouTube is great, but it is not the only game in town, as shown above. Maximize both your reach and your SEO by publishing your videos on all platforms. This does not mean pasting a YouTube link on the other platforms. When you load your video into platforms natively, you get twice as many views. In addition, do not forget email. As the infographic above showed, including a video in your emails will increase click-through rates by 200 to 300 percent. If you want to know how to do that, either ask Sean Sloan (our resident SEO/SEM expert) or me.
8. Videos are too long
We live in a world of immediate gratification and societal ADD. Therein lies the magic formula to capture your audience in a comprehensive, entertaining, yet limited stage. As you can see in the descriptions above, sometimes 10 seconds are all you have, and even TV commercials are being produced as 15 second spots!
So get out there and create! Just know what the critical success factors are, and you can be wildly successful. And if you need any help, just give First Impressions Video a call!
First, my sincere thanks to all my clients who entrusted their video work to First Impressions Video! Whether a direct production or as a freelance contributor, 2016 was a very special year, and I am truly grateful! And as we head into 2017, just remember this important axiom: Rule #1…don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule #2…it’s ALL small stuff!
May we all be wildly successful in our respective endeavors in the coming year!
This year, I got a wonderful opportunity to run camera for Fox Sports! I am part of a crew of 9 who shoot high school football, under Fox’s PrepZone division and it’s been a blast watching some of the best players in Southern California. Many of these kids will find themselves off to Division I college campuses across the country, and maybe even the NFL!
Photo credit: Michelle Bakker