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Tips and Best Practices for a Web Series

Tips for a successful web series

Among the most popular formats for video production is the web series. Viral one-shots, such as every video that’s ever involved a playful cat, are unpredictable and often unfulfilling. A regular series, on the other hand, creates communities of people around a single product or interest and can just about guarantee viewership. Below are excerpts from a ReelSEO piece on web series best practices. Maybe some of them will work for you and your business. Leave a comment with your own web series experiences and tips. Read more

Hiring Professional Videograhy Services for Special Occasions

Video production for marketing

Video editing services can help your business in many different situations. Whether you’re starting a new video marketing campaign or having a special event, professional video services can help. They can help you create the videos that will grab the attention of consumers that are interested in your business. Video marketing is most successful because it is a form of attraction marketing, which basically means that like attracts like. If you use professional services to make videos for your special occasions in business, your customers will respond positively. Read more

Chicago Videographer Tells How to Prepare for a Shoot

preparing for a shootPreparing for a shoot is one of the many stages a production company will professionally oversee. Without the proper foundation for a video, it is bound to fail. Fortunately, a videographer will prevent disaster. The preparation or pre-production stage of videography will likely be the most taxing in that many preparations must be made at once. Organizing the various forms of talent from actors to animators to lighting experts can be stressful at best for the amateur filmmaker, but is familiar territory for the videographer. If you decide to go at it alone, here are some things to consider.

Have a clear, concise idea of what the client is looking for from their video production. The best and easiest way to do this is to communicate with the client. Listen not only to the ideas the client expresses, but also the moods and feelings desired for the final project. Considering the target audience is another way to begin preparing. A music video for children will have a drastically different appearance from covering a major event.

Most video projects will have some sort of script. It is important to read the script when preparing for a shoot and be very familiar with it before production begins. Knowing the script will allow the direction of production to become apparent. When the director has decided how a project is to be filmed, scenery, lighting and other “background” experts can be contracted to create the perfect set for each scene. If the video is something simple or the budget is tight, then resources will need to be carefully parceled out between pre-production, production and post production activities. That’s why it’s always important to be frank with the client about what can be done given their budget for the video production.

The style of camera should be decided before production begins. There are more styles of recording and types of cameras than ever. Knowing which is right for the project is imperative. From simple handheld digital camcorders to high definition cameras, the options provide lots of choices in how a final product will turn out. High definition cameras will provide a fantastic, crisp picture, but such a picture will not always be required or wanted. Sometimes a hand held or urban look might be called for. So know what your goals are before you jump into the project.

If any special effects or motion graphics are required, these will have to be accounted for starting pre-production and of course in the budgeting phase. Whether it is a green screen, images manipulated in post production or graphics to be inserted, these special effects are bound to add a professional touch.

From the budget, to the ambitions of the final project, planning and preparing for production are some of the most important steps in creating a professional looking, artful video production. Regardless of video genre, the method of beginning a video always revolves around communication.

For help using video for your business or need more advice on preparing for a shoot, call us at (773)252-3352 or email us at irwin@video1pro.com.

9 Tips for Hiring a Video Production Company

Before hiring a video production company for your next project, read our 9 tips from a professional videographer on what to look for in a company. You might read about something that saves your project!

#1: Production Quote

video production companyMake sure that the video production company gives you a complete proposal identifying what they will do. Our proposals contain the following:

Scope of the Project – a broad overview/understanding of what we will do.

Services – contains a detailed outline of what will be done.

Depending on the complexity of the project, we may break this section into three areas:

– Pre-production – scripting, organizing talent, scout survey, etc.

– Production – how big the crew will be, how many cameras, how many days, etc.

– Post Production – focuses on editing. How many hours, still and motion graphics, photos, etc.

Deliverables – explains exactly what you’ll be receiving at the end. This can include video files (MP4, etc.), DVDs, footage on a hard drive, etc.

If it’s a more involved project, we include a timeline identifying what will be done and when it will be completed:

Video Samples – links to examples of related productions we have done.

Rights to the Video – This section states that you own the rights to the video and can receive all of the original footage, graphics, output files, etc., on a hard drive that can be bought from us or supplied by you.

Budget – a complete breakdown of costs and what we’ll do.

About Our Company – talks about our history, clients, approach, etc.

About Our Staff – provides a short synopsis of our most important asset – our people.

These are only cursory descriptions of what’s in our proposal, but it should give you an idea of what to look for in a production quote when seeking bids for your project.

#2. Timeline and Agreement

Find out how long it will take to complete your video in advance of signing any contracts. The letter of agreement should contain a timeline that spells out the beginning and end of the video production process. This is especially true if it’s a more detailed project such as a promotional video.

If it’s an event video, an extensive timeline isn’t necessary. All you need in terms of a timeline is the assurance that the videographers will be at a particular place at a certain time, stay for a designated length of time, etc.

Make sure the videographers plan to get there early, with plenty of time to set up, no matter what type of production it is.

Is the letter of agreement easy to understand?

Or would it take a Philadelphia lawyer to understand all of the clauses and conditions? An agreement should simply restate the proposal and at the end, spell out what you will get, what you will pay and how payments will be made. Both parties sign it and then the fun begins.

#3: Video Rights

Make sure that the video production company is willing to give you all of the materials and rights to the video that they produce for you.

Some companies give you the finished product with restrictions about how you can use the video. This is nonsense. You paid for this and are entitled to everything, including the right to use it any way you want. Make sure the video company gives you the following:

– Raw footage files

– Graphics

– Project file

– The final output file(s)

Plus, the right to make any subsequent changes as you desire – with whomever you desire. Obtaining the video rights is something you should not compromise on and a professional company would not ask you to.

#4: Insurance

Chances are that nothing bad will happen. But on the rare occurrence that someone trips over a cable or some other mishap occurs, you want to make sure that the video production company will be able to handle the claim if it’s their fault.

All cables should be taped down and no one should trip over anything. But accidents can happen. Also, the fact that the company has insurance in the first place shows that they are a responsible and prepared company. Having insurance says a lot about their character among other things.

#5: Reputation and Referencesvideo production company

Check out the video production company on the Better Business Bureau website. Are they a member in good standing? Any complaints? How long have they been a member for? As long as you’re on the site, check out their profile on the BBB.

See if there are any reviews on Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search engines. Make sure they’re overwhelmingly good reviews!

Google them. See what comes up. They should have many citations in the search engines. Make sure that they’re all good. If there is something negative, make sure that the video production company has at least responded to the complainant and has offered a good explanation of events.

References are important too!

You may want to go the extra mile by asking for and contacting references for other companies they did work for. Ask if they were easy to work with, started and finished on time, did a great job, went beyond the call of duty if warranted, had up to date equipment, knew what they were doing, and other factors that affected your video production.

#6: Past Clients

Check to see if their website contains testimonials. The fact that a company is willing to put themselves on the line by allowing us to feature them on our testimonials page is an indication that they not only like our work, but have faith in our character, judgment and other attributes.

Who is providing these testimonials? If you’re looking to have a business video produced, the testimonials should be from a variety of size businesses. This shows that the video company is flexible and knows how to work with a variety of corporate cultures.

#7: Work Samples

When the video production company you’re seeking submits their proposal, they should include video samples. After looking them over, make sure the quality of the samples matches your expectations and the style is similar to what you’re looking for.

It’s important to make sure the samples line up with what you need. For instance, if you need an event video, the company should be able to send you samples of events they have recorded. Same thing goes for an interview video, convention shoot, etc.

However if you’re a manufacturer who needs a promotional video about the nuts and bolts you sell, don’t expect the company to have a promotional nuts and bolts video to show you. But they should have one or more manufacturing video samples to show you. So the more specialized your industry, don’t expect the exact same video sample. But samples show the quality of work that you can expect.

#8: Preparation

After you’ve had your initial conversation and they send you a proposal, is it obvious that they have or haven’t done their research about your company? This is another ‘tell’ about them. You need them to care about your final product as much as you do and not just go through the motions just to make a sale.

After your discussion with them, the video production company should do some research to discover who your company is. This will enable them to offer relevant suggestions about how to improve your video, make it more appealing to your audience, how to make it fit your brand, etc.

It’s not enough to know about the craft of producing video. It’s also important to match your company’s personality, needs and goals with the mechanics of production. This should not be a robotic exercise on the producer’s part; their suggestions about the script and the proposal should be a reflection of their research.

#9: Good Listener/ Communication

Is the producer you talked to more concerned about telling you about themselves or are they asking about your project? They should be asking you questions about aspects of your production that you may not have considered and otherwise helping you think things through. There’s plenty of time for them to put their best forward. But they should be listening to you first.Hello I Am A Good Listener Sympathy Empathy Understanding

What kinds of questions are they asking? Do they seem germane to your goals? If they’re asking you questions that help you clarify and focus, that’s a good sign.

Does what they say make sense? Are they willing or able to work within your budget? Do they offer you different scenarios to match your budget and expectations? They should.

Attitude is vital, as you need to have a positive experience with the company you’re going to work with because the process definitely influences the final results. I think the operative word is caring. If we notice something that should be addressed that you haven’t thought about, we mention it. Then you can act on it or not. But often a client isn’t aware of certain things because it’s not their field of expertise.

Speaking of suggestions, our philosophy is to make a suggestion to the client and if they say they want to do it another way, that’s the final word. Beware of the company that insists on doing things their way because it will only get worse from there.

 

If you need help with your next video production, editing or duplication, Video One Productions can help! Contact us at (773)252-3352 or at irwin@video1pro.com.

Planning a Corporate Event at McCormick Place? Here are some Facts

planning a corporate event at mccormick placeMcCormick Place is a great place for corporate events and corporate event videography. Aside from selecting event vendors for videography, photography, food, etc., here are some facts about McCormick place might affect planning a corporate event there.

McCormick Place Has Gone Green

More and more people are going green lately, and Chicago’s McCormick Place, despite its massive size, is following suit. The US Green Build Council issued McCormick Place’s West Building a LEED certification for its implementation of energy-saving products and technologies. The West Building is the largest building in the country to earn this certification. While the efforts toward energy conservation and sustainability might not manifest into the video production itself, that aspect of McCormick Place’s mission is alluring, and can attract a new clientele. Maybe you’ll even pick up some tips for going green in your own work and community.

McCormick Place is Accessible

Another great reason to set up your corporate event at Chicago’s McCormick Place is its inclusivity. The deaf and hard-of-hearing have nothing to worry about with assisted listening transmitters available free of charge in several of the campus’s venues. The convention hall has available rental equipment for wheelchairs, mobility scooters and oxygen equipment. Water fountains, restaurants, first aid stations and retail outlets are all wheelchair accessible, with restrooms providing accessibility or ambulatory stalls. Even ATMs offer audio assistance and proper heights for wheelchair accessibility.

McCormick Place Keeps You Connected

One of the hardest parts about working out of town is staying connected. Chicago’s McCormick Place offers free Wi-Fi throughout the complex, which is perfect for basic web search, email and light internet operations. For online interactions that are more crucial to your project—a corporate meeting over Skype, for example—McCormick place offers a variety of wired internet access and connectivity. If you find your cell phone reception to be spotty, you’ll find lots of great telephone access. With unlimited Chicagoland calls and 100 minutes of long distance calls for free, McCormick Place helps keep you on the map when you’re out of town.

Planning a corporate event at McCormick place and are looking for Chicago videographers? Video One has got you covered! Contact us to discuss your project.

3 Reasons Why your Business Needs a Promotional Video

You can explain the benefits of the services or products your business provides all day, but nothing beats the strong impression a video production will leave with your potential clients. When someone visits your website in search of services, they’re much more likely to trust your business if you can show your business and its benefits in motion. As they say: show, don’t tell.

Here are a few benefits of promoting your business with video:

1. A video production will capture the atmosphere much better

Ever click on a business’ website and search around for photos to get the feel of the business? We’ve all done it. And while photos can demonstrate what the space looks like, a video will do a way more accurate job of showing how it feels to be there. Here’s an example of how showing the atmosphere leaves a more solid impression with potential clients:

2. The act of having a video production automatically makes you more established

When you look at a website and notice they have a video to show, you’re much more likely to trust that brand. Not only that, but the act of having a video alone shows that the company is on top of their game.

If a potential client is choosing between companies to go with, they”ll be much more impressed with companies that have a video to show. It shows that your business is doing well enough to hire a video production company. And if it looks like your business is doing well, one can only assume your products and/or services must be worthy.

3. Video testimonials are much more effective than text

Most company websites provide some sort of testimonial nowadays because everyone knows the best way to judge a company is by hearing about it from previous clients. But your company will stand out a lot more if you provide video testimonials in your promotional video. When a real human speaks to your audience about their experiences with your company, your potential clients are much more willing to trust and hire you.

Want to learn more about how a promotional video will improve your business? Contact our Chicago videographer team.

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Difference Between Green Screen and Blue Screen for Chroma Key

A couple weeks ago, we posted “A Guide on Green Screen and Chroma Key Technology” which talked about the uses of a green screens as well as tips and benefits of using one. Read on and watch this video to find out the different between green screen and blue screen for chroma key.

Green Screen Vs. Blue Screenchroma key

One of the coolest tricks in a Chicago videographer expert’s arsenal is chroma key, the process where a subject is filmed in front of a single-color backdrop, and then post-production replaced the color backdrop with an image. This process is incredibly popular in big budget feature films, especially science fiction and fantasy movies. But doing this at home, or in a small video production company is rather simple and cost-effective too. Even Video One Productions has its own green screen in the back.

When using chroma key, producers usually stick to a green or a blue screen, depending on the circumstances of the video and their own preferences. In a recent episode of Reel Rebel, we learn the difference between either color and provide some tips to make an effective online video production using the post-production technique.

There’s no group, business, or community that’s too big or too small for goals that can be reached with the help of a thoughtful Chicago videographer or video marketing strategy. If you’re searching for some assistance with a video project, call or email us today. We have over 25 years of experience and can help you develop a project from concept to completion! Our seasoned team will help you to produce the high quality products that you envision.

Customizing YouTube For Better Branding

youtubeYouTube channels give experts a lot of control over the way their content is delivered. Users can change so much about their page’s appearance and layout that no two expert pages look alike. It’s a beautiful function that gives YouTube viewers a unique experience regardless of where they watch videos. Below are three tips for redesigning your YouTube channel page to give it a feel unlike any others.

Banner Space

Most YouTube users don’t get access to a lot of banner space, just enough to fit a channel name or a link. But YouTube Partners actually have 150 pixels of vertical space to create a more engaging banner.

While this is enough space to put in a graphic or logo, channels such as The Nerdist and the BBC America use the space to display a line-up of their latest programs, links to their respective Web sites, and their Facebook and Twitter pages to expand their brand engagements even further.

Bio

  • Don’t waste this space. Be concise and honest about the channel’s producer.
  • Be very clear about who you are and the role of your channel. This serves as a promise that tells your visitors what they can expect from you.
  • Be creative and let you or your brand’s identity show. This can create interest around your page, and attract attention among your potential follower.
  • Direct people to your Web site, and other social media sites where they can interact with your brand. For instance, CollegeHumor‘s bio is pretty straightforward, stating what they do, where they’re based, and links to Twitter, Facebook, iOS apps and their Web site where all their videos premiere before they hit YouTube. This drive traffic back to their home page of people eager to find more videos.

Background

Perhaps the largest screen real estate YouTube will allow you to customize is your channel’s background. This includes the space on the sides of the video production, and the space at the bottom of the video editing selections. These spaces can be used in many different ways so you can put into motion any branding strategies you may have.

Drifting around the social video sharing site, the most common personalization done to the background is making it look like the brand’s own Web site—including the color schemes and the images. This is exactly what KFC has done, with their own YouTube page looking like an extension of their Web site. This is, again, consistency at work, helping mold together your online properties into a social media experience for your followers.

There’s no group, business, or community that’s too big or too small for goals that can be reached with the help of a thoughtful video editing and marketing strategy. If you’re searching for some assistance with a Chicago video production project, call or email us today. We have over 25 years of experience and can help you develop a project from concept to completion! Our seasoned team will help you to produce the high quality products that you envision.

Tips for viral video success

viral video

ReelSEO talked to Dan Best, Unruly’s Planning Director, and he gave some great surface advice for Chicago videographer experts on making a viral video and creating content that will reach as many users as possible.

“This is the first lab to focus on the science behind what makes content shareable. It’s also the first lab to offer brands a full social video health check. This health check includes the brands’ SOV against their competitive set, benchmarking their performance against category and audience, creative pre-testing plus insight from taste-makers, bloggers and sharers. This arms brands with insight they need to make their video content truly social.”
-Dan Best

  1. Get under your viewer’s skin: Think about the audience you want to reach and find out what they like to talk about with their friends.  Online video production is a valuable social currency, increasingly used as conversation starters, social lubricants, props for self-expression and as a means of winning validation and approbation within a peer group.
  2. Use triggers to capture audience attention: Once a Chicago videographer gets an understanding of what makes your audience tick, you’ll be better placed to identify the content triggers most likely to hit your target audience’s sweet spot. These triggers are visual symbols that instantly tell your audience what they will be watching, and it will help get their attention when browsing multitudes of content online.
  3. Turn up the volume: Once you are targeting your audience with specific triggers and interest-driven content, don’t let modesty or subtleties dampen your impact. Say it loud and proud, whatever “it” is you’re trying to say.

There’s no group, business, or community that’s too big or too small for goals that can be reached with the help of a thoughtful Chicago videographer and video production marketing strategy. If you’re searching for some assistance with a video project, call or email us today. We have over 25 years of experience and can help you develop a project from concept to completion! Our seasoned team will help you to produce the high quality products that you envision.

Creating a paywall for your video content

Among the see of online video editing and hosting platforms (where YouTube is king and Vimeo is cool too), is a business-oriented platform called Vzaar. For $30/month, users can upload their content to Vzaar, and obtain unprecedented control over the security, distribution, and appearance of all your video production content. However, until now, anything you host through Vzaar was free to consume by anyone who could find your work.paywall

That platform has teamed up with a company called MPP Global Solutions, which gives users the chance to put a paywall before their content. As such, viewers must either pay to see your individual videos, or purchase a subscription to get access to all your content. Asking viewers to pay for content might be a bad idea for some video editing producers – those making short, viral videos or branded, sales content meant to introduce a product or service.

But if video monetization is a part of your business model, if video production is the product you offer, perhaps setting up paywall accounts with Vzaar and MPP makes sense. The latter is a major online payment processor who are partnered with some other big online video names like Brightcove, Accedo Broadband and Edit.tv. They also do payment processing for Philips Smart TVs, the Times Online and Playjam (a connected TV social gaming platform). But according to ReelSEO, the company’s background might actually make them harder to work with if you’re a small business.

… before you can even work with MPP Global Solutions, you need to contact them, get an account set up, and they’re most likely going to take a sizable cut of the monies you accumulate. It’s all very closed-loop in that there is zero information about any of it on the consumer-facing side of the website, zero transparency until you talk to them. That generally means it’s pricey and they only want to work with high volume sites that are going to generate large amounts of revenue. Just my personal feeling about it all, nothing against them per se, but when I see a site like that, it’s the first thing I think. They make you ask so they can find out whether you can afford it or not. So while you can do it with Vzaar and MPP Global Solutions, there’s no clear path on how to do it and no guarantee that you’d qualify to even become an MPP Global Solutions client.

For help with all your video editing, video production or marketing projects, or if you have questions on how to set up a paywall, contact us at (773)252-3352 or at irwin@video1pro.com.