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Use Video Production to Get the Most Out of PR Campaigns

Using video production for your PR goals

MediaPost’s Video Insider blog published a nice guide for using a video production company to conduct public relations. The guide covers a lot of ground and offers some great advice for industries from politics to marketing. Any PR campaign can be improved with the use of video. Here are some ways to incorporate it.

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Learning with Video

The Future of Education is With Video

learning through video

Lifelong Learning

Opportunities for advanced knowledge, upgrading or refreshing skills and pursuing interests have opened up through the use of video. Where appropriate, licenses can be purchased by businesses for a host of training programs for their employees.

Video is opening up educational opportunities for everyone through non-traditional sources as well. For instance, I just paid $10 for an English as a second language (ESL) course in conversational English. I want to volunteer to teach ESL but only at a conversational level. So for $10 I can develop a curriculum, learn teaching methods and be confident in my ability to teach.

The same concept can be applied to many other fields of study whether it be for profit or not. Udemy.com, videolearning.com, edutopia.org, and howcast.com are just some of the many sources of online learning through video. YouTube in particular offers a wide array of educational opportunities because it allows users to quickly and easily add their videos. Additionally, because anyone can post on YouTube, the user is given access to millions of YouTubers who can possibly each have something unique to teach or share.

Now, all you need is a computer or smartphone and you too can become an instant expert, or at least knowledgeable enough to move the ball forward on your new venture.

More Teachers Through Video

When instructors can impart their knowledge with video, it becomes institutionalized or otherwise a permanent legacy. How many students can one instructor reach through live lectures? Not many compared to producing a video that will live on past the instructors physical life and be disseminated to thousands of students.

Teacher shortage? Not when people can learn through video. Of course there is much to be said about the human interaction and dynamics of a live classroom. There are questions that need to be answered regarding the question of replacing the classroom. What about discipline among younger students? Who will keep order? What about the socialization aspect that is lacking in this increasingly technical world?

But in today’s increasingly expensive world, video has the potential to radically bring down costs while reaching more and more students. Today, efficiency and economy trumps other considerations. Hopefully we’ll be able to bridge the technical advances and the loss of our humanity – which is a real issue.

Costs for Education Lessen

Video is bringing down the costs for education in a variety of ways. When there is competition and the technology is available to everyone to disseminate their knowledge, the costs inevitably fall. Brick and mortar centers of education may go the way of brick and mortar retail stores. Universities filled with hundreds of students in a large auditorium may be replaced by one professor and many students interacting on a Skype-like video network where students can raise their hand to talk by clicking on a mouse or pushing a button.

However the ultimate university shapes up to look like, video will play an increasing role in improving and disseminating education to more and more people. Even now, you can take free or low cost online and video courses through many universities. Often these classes are less expensive than attending in person, with the benefit of getting the same degree!

Quality versus Quantity

Yes, there are many new sources for learning through video. But all sources of knowledge are not equal. Though universities and other educational institutions will be changing, one thing won’t. And that something is accreditation and standards.

I just watched a few free videos on line and they were good, but not great. But they were free, so what should I expect? Exactly my point. Universities may keep their hold on the educational system because of the high standards that they insist upon for their courses. Well, someone has to set and keep educational standards! Otherwise, it becomes the ‘wild west’.

So my advice is to consider the source when doing online video learning. Anyone can post a video on YouTube. And there are no truth police out there to vet the information people are disseminating. So as with any other aspect of life, buyer beware. Even if the product is free!

Questions about video production or video editing? Contact us!

Video Games in Education continued

video in education

How Video Games In Education Are Being Used

Video games in education are a wonderful way to engage and teach not only children, but adults as well! It’s no secret that we’re in a fast paced, digital environment where people want everything fast and entertaining and that includes education. Over the years, it has become increasingly common for children to become used to using computers to complete homework or do research for school. Information has never been as accessible as it is now but children of the newer generation have changed the way we think about delivering that information. Reading something in a book or on the Internet is no longer “fun.” In light of this, it’s no wonder that using videos games in education is soon to become the norm.

In fact, the US Department of Education (DOE) sees video games as an opportunity to reinvent education and make it more interesting and relevant to students. They feel that if you can inject the element of fun into the learning process, that students will be more likely to engage and learn.

There was recently a summit in New York where DOE officials were trying to encourage video game developers to think more about education. However, if developers want to truly hit the benchmarks that they need to, they need to engage teachers and school leaders to make sure that they are meeting the true needs of students.

For instance, one developer, Ubisoft, has taken scrupulous steps to make one of their video games accurately reflect historical fact. They have a game called Assassin’s Creed that allows players to learn more about buildings they passed or climbed or historical moments that are referenced in the game.

Other companies such as LeapFrog are specifically focused on educational games and activities. LeapFrog in particular has a wide-range of educational toys both digital and non-digital for children as young as 3 months. They have even developed LeapTV which is an educational gaming system that encourages children to “get up, get moving and get learning.”

Aside from the fun aspects of video games, they can provide excellent quality assessments about how a student approaches a problem and how they succeed or fail in their attempts to overcome challenges presented in the game.

Video games can be used for instruction, education, exercise and a host of other important aspects of life. This is only the beginning of what will prove to be a new era in motivating people to learn and do.

Questions about video production? Contact irwin@video1pro.com or call us at 773 252-3352!

Blu-ray, DVD or Streaming. What Are Your Best Choices?

Blu-ray, DVD or Streaming?

blu-ray, dvd or streaming

The answers may surprise you. Whether you’ve just completed a promotional or training video, have a seminar you just recorded or have a bunch of VHS, mini DV or 8mm tapes you want to convert, the eternal question is what media do you use to master, archive and distribute them? This blog will help you sort out your options so you can make the best decision(s).

DVD is alive and well

Although many people are turning to streaming video, Blu-ray and DVD are alive and well! Similar to how good old VHS were, DVD’s are ubiquitous in the market place. Most people have a DVD player or DVD drive in their computer and are perfectly happy to watch a program on one of them. Blu-ray has also become quite common because the costs have gone down for players and media.

On the downside for discs, many computer manufacturers have discontinued including disc drives in their computers in an effort to save money and drive the marketplace towards streaming. That being said, in addition to the millions of DVD players already in the marketplace, if you need to, you can buy an external disc player and attach it to your computer, even if it doesn’t include one.

One big difference between DVD and VHS is the sheer size of the media. VHS tapes take up lots of shelve space, while DVD’s don’t. At Video One, we convert an average of about 20-25 VHS tapes to DVD and duplicate hundreds of discs for businesses and consumers every week. So someone is watching them!

VHS can only record up to 6 hours on a standard T-120 tape, while our DVD recorders can record up to 8 hours of material. When you transfer a VHS or other tape to DVD, there is no quality loss. In fact, the visual quality may get better because the process of converting it to a digital signal, making everything a 1 or a 0, gets rid of the artifacts inherent in analog. But don’t count on seeing much, if any improvement.

Should you master your program or convert your tapes to Blu-ray, DVD, or a digital file?

It depends on what you want to do with them. If you want to edit your tapes, you should definitely convert them to a digital file format that your editing software can accept. Mp4 files can be opened on any computer and used with just about any editing software. So that’s often the best bet for universal use.

If you have filmed and edited your program in high definition, you’ll want to master it on a Blu-ray or output it to an mp4 file. However, if your material is standard definition (SD), you may as well output it to a DVD or an mp4. No sense going to a playable Blu-ray because there won’t be any quality improvement.

Whether you go with Blu-ray or DVD, if you plan to archive the material and not edit it, at least immediately, I’d recommend converting it to a disc in addition to a file. The main reason is that hard drives fail more often than discs. Discs have the material burned on them with a laser and will last indefinitely if stored properly. ‘Properly’ means not to hot or cold and in a dry location.

If you ever decide to edit your material, you can get the content off in several ways. In fact, we convert DVD’s to mp4 files quite often for legal firms wanting to view and share evidence and to QuickTimes for consumers wanting to edit their material.

Another thought is to save your file to a DVD or Blu-ray as a data file (mp4) and not a viewable program on a player. This way, the file is laser burned onto the disc and all you have to worry about is if the media has the capacity to store the file. Single layer DVD’s store up to 4.7 GB’s and dual layer DVD’s can store 7.8 GB’s. A single layer Blu-ray disc stores up to 25 GB’s and a dual layer disc stores up to 50 GB’s!

When you need Blu-ray

Blu-ray is definitely a superior quality format. However, if you’re thinking that transferring analog footage to a Blu-ray will improve the image quality, it doesn’t. Bumping something up to a higher format can’t improve the image quality. Going from VHS which has about 250 lines of resolution to DVD which has about 550 is plenty high enough to retain the image quality. Going to Blu-ray is simply overkill.

On the other hand, if you have something that was filmed and editing in high definition, Blu-ray is the way to go – if your audience can view Blu-ray discs that is. So before you make a bunch of Blu-ray’s, make sure your audience has access to a Blu-ray player. If they do, then you’re in luck. Blu-ray discs have much more room than DVD’s and can easily hold more than 90 minutes of high definition footage, whereas DVD’s can’t.

The bottom line is, if you’ve taken the time to film and edit something in high definition, Blu-ray mastering is the way to go. You can always make regular DVD’s to distribute to your ‘Blu-ray deprived’ audience. However, for presentation purposes, Blu-ray just can’t be beat for image and sound quality.

In addition to our DVD towers that are capable of duplicating 50+ DVD’s at a time, we have a Blu-ray tower that makes the process much more efficient than making ‘one-off’s’ as we did in the ‘bad old days’. This efficiency, plus the reduced cost for Blu-ray disc costs allow us to reduce our price for our clients.

If you would like help converting your analog tapes to digital, DVD or Blu-ray, authoring, or disc duplication, feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to help you.

Who is Doing Chicago Video Production?

Who Is Doing Chicago Video Production?!

I was thinking about the enormous amount of Chicago video production that’s taking place here and the world for that matter. If you consider all of the forms of video produced ranging from surveillance video, business videos, weddings, television series, movies and other productions, the amount is staggering.

Chicago video production photo

Here is a list of films and TV shows that were filmed in Chicago and Illinois in recent years:

“American Greed” Kurtis Productions, TV Series
“Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” Crown City Pictures, Inc., Feature Film
“Becoming Us” Gay Rosenthal Productions, TV Series
“Chicago Fire” Open 4 Business, LLC, TV Series
“Chicago PD” Universal Television, LLC, TV Series
“Empire” 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, TV Series
“Garage Squad” Discovery Communications, LLC, TV Series
“Real World” BG Apple, LLC, TV Series
“Sens8” Unpronounceable Productions, LLC, TV Series
“Shameless” Bonanza Productions, Inc., TV Series
“Sinister 2” Bughual Productions, LLC, Feature Film
“Sirens” TVM Productions, TV Series
“Strange Inheritance” Towers Productions, TV Series

At McCormick Place, the Stevens Center, hundreds of hotels and other venues, in town and out of town companies and video production companies are filming conferences, trade shows, meetings, executive interviews and other event videography. In addition, commercials, marketing videos, training videos and a plethora of other types of productions are always in the process of being produced.

Chicago video production company choices

What does this mean to you? It means that Chicago is rich in talented video production companies of all levels vying for your business. And if you’re an out of towner seeking production services in the Chicago metropolitan area, you need to be very careful as to who you hire. As they say in event videography, you only get one chance to get it right. So you need to make sure that the right person is behind the camera!

Of course I know the best production company in Chicago to hire for your business videos (that would be Video One Productions), but in case you would like to use a more objective criteria to choose the right company for you, you can download our free guide at https://www.video1pro.com/resources/hiring-a-video-production-company-checklist/

After considering things such as reputation, samples of their work, years in business and other important considerations, you’ll be able to make a more objective decision about who will produce your next all important video production!

If you would like more information about video production or help with your video, please feel free to contact Irwin@video1pro.com or call us at 774 252-3352.

Chicago Video Production Lessons Learned

chicago video production photoChicago Video Production Lessons

We produced a Chicago training video production for Sears Rauxa in just two weeks. That’s how much time we had between getting the project and the due date. There was some time lost before the project was awarded to us that could have been put to good use, but the client took 2 weeks to accept our budget.

Clients often don’t realize how long it takes to produce a video. We were fortunate that the script was written before we began production. But even with that done, we still had to storyboard the video, find a cast, find a place to shoot, organize a crew, determine shooting days, and finally do the editing.

Giving us less time to organize the organize, shoot and edit a project jeopardizes the quality of a project-especially in the editing process. Look at it this way, when an editor is short on time and has a deadline to meet, clients often have to pay editors overtime to get the project done. Not only is that approach costlier, it also puts undue pressure on all involved and could harm quality of the final product. Fortunately, we are used to pressure and realize that these things happen. We were able to complete the project on time and within budget, much to the relief of all involved.

Planning  your Chicago Video Production

To properly plan for your video production to be done on time, consider the following:

  • Plan backwards from when the project must be done.
  • Give yourself a fudge factor from the known due date and pretend it’s a few days sooner.
  • When you know your due date, make enough time to get proposals from various companies, allow for script revisions, finding a location, screening actors, etc. Get a sense from a Chicago video production company how long they need for all aspects of pre-production, production and post production when setting your timeline.

To find out how Video One Productions can help you use the powerful tool of video production for your business. Call (773) 252-3352 or email irwin@video1pro.com today.

Video Editing – Mixing it up with a Video Switcher

Learning about Video Editing Switchers

Video Editing Switcher

One of the best tools a video editor has to work with is called the video switcher, video mixer or production switcher. A switcher is typically used in live events where several cameras and pre-recorded video is output to a live audience or for broadcast. The switch operator, also known as the technical director, operates the switcher. Aside from pre-recorded video and live video, computer graphics, titling, animations and other elements can be thrown into the mix, hence the phrase ‘video mixer’.

The switcher also allows the operator to apply special effects to the video itself as well as transitions in-between shots.

When Video One produced a three camera, live switch of a music concert, our videographers wore headsets and took their cues from the switch operator. He told each videographer when he would go to them for the next shot. So they had to be ready with whatever shot the director asked them for. Sometimes the director would ask for a camera move and other times just to stay on a particular part of the action. Sometimes it’s a wide shot. Other times it’s a close up. An experienced director will be aware of the best sequence and combination of shots to keep the video fresh and exciting.

Generally, we not only record the event at the switcher, but we also shoot ‘iso’ or isolated. This means that not only are all of the shots being recorded at the switch, but each camera is also recording the footage for possible later editing. If there is a technical or other error in the video compiled at the switch, it can always be fixed in ‘post’ or post production, otherwise known as the editing process, with the footage that was shot in iso. Chances are great that there will always be a better choice for a shot if something needs to be changed.

Video Editors and Switchers Bring Everything Together

chicago video editor

Nowadays, switchers are used during live, online broadcasts. We’re currently bidding on a project where we will integrate 5 cameras recording a cooking contest, interviews, training, reactions from the contestants and other events over a period of 5 days. We will edit the interviews of the contestants for a showing at the awards dinner on the 5th day. Throughout the week and at the dinner, the live events will be broadcast throughout the buildings of the facility to several audiences, as well as online. In addition to the pre-edited interviews, we’ll have graphics, logos, branding and other video elements ready for our switch operator to output for a live audience, online and to a hard drive for future editing.

As you can see, the switcher is an important piece of equipment that in competent hands brings lots of video assets together to create a dynamic viewing experience.

If you need expert video editors, videographers and related professionals, feel free to contact irwin@video1pro.com or call 773 252-3352.

Chicago Video Production Tips: Know Your Audience and Speak to Them Effectively

Chicago video production audienceChicago Video Production Audiences

This post can help you successfully market your business to a more highly targeted audience whether you’re in the Chicago video production market or not. Successful marketing of your promotional and sales videos need to be aimed at a particular audience demographic.

Obviously, you speak differently in a video production to a group of kindergarten students than to a consortium of chief executive officers of Fortune 500 companies. You would likewise use a different vocabulary with a group of college educated professionals than with blue collar workers.

However, not all video productions need to be so narrowly focused. If your target audience is association or society executives, you may need to speak their language. But if your objective is to sell office supplies to companies or products to the general public, you can stay more general. So the take-away is that if your product is broadly purchased, your video should also be. Narrow interest means your video needs to appeal to a more narrowly focused audience.

Your Video Production Script

You would be wise to fine-tune the script of your video production marketing efforts. People don’t like to be talked down to, but don’t feel as though you have to wow them and talk over their heads. Don’t underestimate the intelligence of your audience, but at the same time, don’t try to impress them with how smart YOU are, either.

Any Chicago video producer knows that success and sales hinge upon the video production appropriately reaching out to the target audience and identifying with them. Speak in plain English and tell your story. Describe your services and why they should use your company.

The place to start telling your story is with your script. The script falls under pre-production activities, which entails marrying up what you will say and what you will show. It’s a shot by shot description that will identify how and what you will communicate to your audience.

Video Production Can Be the Great Convincer

Sometimes you’re in the position of knowing that what you are selling is something that people need, but don’t see the immediate value in. Convincing people requires salesmanship and good communication skills that come through in a polished script and presentation.

If  you need to find a resonant chord to strike with your audience, somehow relate your product or service to something important in their lives. Convince them that what you are selling genuinely IS the best thing since sliced bread.

The main point is, know your audience, even though you sometimes have a tough sell to make. Think about or research what motivates and inspires them. Doing so will help you increase your client base in what is a highly competitive Chicago video production market for your web videos.

We can help you develop a script and produce a promotional video that will be specific enough to speak to your target audience, yet broad enough to reach enough potential customers to make producing your your marketing video a worthwhile effort. For help using video production for your business contact us at irwin@video1pro.com or 773 252-3352.

Make a Video Production That Gets Results – Part II

In part one, I presented some ideas for making a video production that gets results. This week, I’ll finish up with more ideas.

YouTube video production

Look at video production on YouTube

Video production by others can inspire and teach you many lessons. Last week I touched upon this, but here’s more about looking at other videos to get ideas for yours. Watch a bunch of other people’s videos and decide what elements you might want to include in yours. Do they use onscreen talent or voice over narration? Do they use professional actors or people from their own company? This is sometimes difficult to discern, but if you can get away with using people from your own company, do it. Just make sure they sign a release. Also make sure that they are stable. Seriously. We had to produce another video for someone because the ‘star’ of their previous video went ‘whacko’ and they didn’t want this person to in any way represent their company.

Note the style or approach video producers use

Is it a warm, friendly style or a high tech approach? Does it include a lot of motion graphics to accentuate or better communicate certain points? How do they weave their branding into the production? What type of music do they use, if any? What font do they use in the text? Is it serif or sans serif? Is the font light and breezy or a ‘this stuff is serious’ type of font?

You get the idea. Take note of everything in their video. View it as a producer would, rather than as an audience member.

Recording at TV studio with television anchorwoman. TV NEWS

Who is your target audience?

Another crucial step is to decide who your target audience is. And don’t say, ‘my audience is anyone who will buy my product’. The ‘shotgun’ approach to marketing can work, but it’s more effective if you can identify more precisely who will be in the market for what you have to offer. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to produce your video with them in mind.

If you’re trying to recruit Millennials to work at your company, do your research. What appeals to Millennials? Of course, people of a certain generation or any other ‘market’ are not all the same, but there are some common traits that most of them share.

Black cinema clapper board in hands, close up

You might be ready to start producing your video now

Whether you decide to produce your own video or use a professional video production company like ours, being aware of these considerations will put you ahead of the game. If you use us to help you, we’ll be asking you these and more questions to make sure that you hit the nail on the head and produce the type of video that will ring true for your target audience.

Ultimately, the results you achieve will be the telling of the tale as to whether you’re successful. But if you follow these initial steps and you produce a professional looking video and are still not achieving your desired results, then you’re probably not marketing your video correctly. I’ve written other blogs on video marketing, so take a look at other blog articles on this site.

If you would like help producing or marketing your video, you can contact us at (773) 252-3352 or irwin@video1pro.com.

Tips for Shooting and Editing a Corporate Interview Video

 

Need an executive interview video shot and edited? The first thing you want to do is plan it right. You have to think about the production value that it requires, as well as the level of editing you’ll need.

Preparing For and Shooting Your Video

Corporate_interview_video_photo_1There’s the adage, ‘we’ll just fix it in post’ (meaning post production or editing). Well, there’s only so much you can do in post. So the smart thing is to shoot it right in the first place so you don’t have to spend time and resources to try to fix something that should have been done right in the first place. Plus, there are some things that just can’t be fixed.

Mistakes can be replaced by other shots sometimes, but if someone says something important in an interview and there is too much background noise to even hear them, for instance, you’re never going to fix that. In addition, there are some times where you only get one chance to do the interview. So if the shoot doesn’t go right, then you’re out of luck. Here are some production questions to ask before anything happens:

  • Does the subject need a teleprompter?
  • How many cameras will you need?
  • Where will it be shot?
  • Is the location controlled, quiet and certain that you won’t be disturbed?
  • How will you record sound? Boom mic, lavalier, house sound, etc.?
  • Need a makeup person?

You may think the interview location question isn’t very important, but it is. I remember a client thinking that they could just shoot the interview in a hotel lobby, only to be told that it was off limits by management. We had warned them to check first, but they didn’t take the time to make sure it was ok. So we had to scramble to find a location to conduct the interview (which of course we did!). However, there isn’t always a good plan ‘b’. So location is crucial.

corporate_interview_video_5

An edited video always looks better if you use two cameras to cut between. One camera view can look stagnant. So if you have two views to cut from, that’s always a good start. Camera movement is also a good thing. Using a slider, jib or dolly may not be practical. However you can zoom in or out, do a small pan across the screen, or even hand hold the camera for a slightly edgier effect. Obviously make sure your lighting and audio are spot on. The background behind the exec and extraneous noises are the other things to look out for as well.

Editing Your Interview Video

Had to tell you about production. Now for the edit. Cuts and dissolves are pretty much all you need for a corporate interview video. Use other transitions at your own risk, as inappropriate ones can make your production look amateurish.

The opening of the video is another story. To create initial interest and give people an idea of what they will see and hear in the interview, you can go with any combination of the following;

  • motion graphics introduction;
  • video montage introduction;
  • fade up on a text slate with the company logo, the title of the presentation and any other text you deem necessary;
  • b-roll cut away shots of what the person is talking about;
  • b-roll of the company;
  • or you could just open on the speaker.

corporate_interview_video_photo_3

I’d also suggest that you place ‘lower thirds’ identifying the interviewee, their company and title. Might want to add the logo of their company as well. If there are multiple interviewees, all titling must be consistent.

If you have used one camera for the entire interview, there isn’t much to break things up with unless you add b-roll cut-away shots throughout the video. If you’ve zoomed in or out, or did any camera moves during the interview, that could create more dynamism. However if not done appropriately, it could look contrived and amateurish.

Even with a two camera interview, adding b-roll will definitely help add interest and help make the interviewee’s words come to life. The video that we produced for North American Insurance incorporates most of the elements I mentioned. It has a motion graphics opening, we used two cameras, used a slider for camera movement, has cut-away footage, we used a teleprompter, plus other elements to make this production as interesting as possible.

If you would like help with your corporate interview video or presentation, contact me at 773 252-3352 or irwin@video1pro.com. I’ll be happy to provide you with a no cost consultation and price quote for any assistance you may want.