Stage Three: Edit, Don't Sweat It!

This is part three of our blog series explaining the main stages of how to design, develop, and deliver successful videos. Over the past couple weeks, we have delved into the primary components that make up video production. So far, we’ve covered pre-production and production.

Today’s installment centers on post-production.

Post-production is the final step in creating a video masterpiece, which ties pre-pro and production together into a coherent story. Following suggestions in the previous two blogs sets you up for this stage to go smoothly.

A solid producer is perhaps most valuable during post (ask any editor). They need to determine how they want to form and frame the story, so that it clearly conveys the client’s message. Weaving together sound bites taken from interviews that flow and move the story along, while also evoking some kind of emotion, and telling the client’s story, is the goal.

The edit is where a project finally comes to fruition. The editor is the last in the line of creatives who is responsible for crafting the piece. Here, details of a story can be crafted and honed into the client’s vision. It’s often said, that the story is found in the edit. This isn’t to say, that decisions made during pre-pro and production don’t lead to the final story, but rather, it illustrates how a story can be molded into its final form through the editing process.

As always, organization is key to accomplishing a high quality final product. Good labeling and well-crafted workflows allow editors to quickly drop in alternative shots, re-organize soundbites, as well as keep track of revisions.

Typically, while the edit is progressing, on-screen graphics and motion graphics are added in parallel. During the script writing and storyboard phases, the ideas about how to use graphics as a communication tool and enhancement are discussed. They are then executed here. Well thought out graphics are always the hallmark of good pre-pro, and a talented post-production team.

Just like with graphics, the decisions made during pre-pro about music, the tone and feeling that needs to be conveyed, are executed in post. Music can sometimes be as simple as dropping in a stock track, or as complex as embedding a custom written score. Audio in music is often referred as 50% of a video, so it shouldn’t be considered an afterthought.

The post-production stage of video production is where everything you and your client have been working towards, comes to a head, and the overall vision is achieved. Whether you’re creating a corporate video, commercial, film, or otherwise, solid pre-production, production, and post-production are the foundation for effective, authentic storytelling. 

Stage Two: 3, 2, 1 ... Action!

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Last week, we introduced you to our 3-part blog series on the main stages of production, discussing the high-level phases that encompass video production.

This week, we will concentrate on production, including the primary crew roles and responsibilities. Generally speaking, if you dedicate the necessary time and effort to pre-production, you — and, more importantly — your client, will have an exciting, rewarding, and relatively smooth day in the field.

Key personnel on set typically will be a producer, who will sometimes act simultaneously as a director, a camera operator, an audio technician, and a production assistant. Depending on the scope of the project, you might additional crew members.

A producer/ director is the voice that brings the set to life. They call “action” to get the camera rolling, audio “speeding,” actors acting, etc. They’re considered the conductor, making sure everyone is on task, coaching interviewees, explaining the shots they want the camera operator to capture, and being the main client relationship manager.

A great “eye” separates special camera operators from mediocre ones. The job of the cam op is to capture the vision of the producer/ director. Basically, there are two parts to any story: a-roll (interviews) and b-roll (support video). Cam ops are always looking for opportunities to add visual interest, when shooting b-roll, with an assortment of shots using equipment like tripods, monopods, dollies, and Steadicam-like rigs. A good rule of thumb is the more coverage you have, the better. When you think you’ve shot enough, shoot more! Your editor will love you.

Golden ears are the sign of a solid audio technician. The audio tech is tasked with recording live audio of interviews and natural sound of your shooting environment. On smaller budget projects, the audio tech could be replaced by simply putting up a boom mic on C-stand or placing a lav mic on an interviewee. Capturing audio is no easy task though, and while staged equipment may be cheaper, having an audio tech on set is incredibly valuable. They're able to work through the myriad challenges that can arise, from background noise to rustling clothing. It should be said that audiences are rarely forgiving of bad audio, and always notice it. Besides, 50% of video is audio.

A stellar production assistant seems to have more than two hands. Among a PA's most important tasks are taking thorough timecode notes. An alert PA will mark the best takes and which shot types (wide, medium, tight) are filmed. Those details will be extremely beneficial when the editor begins cutting. Detailed timecode notes can greatly expedite the post-production process! PAs will also need to jump in and be a grip. They’ll carry equipment, set up and break down cameras, lights, etc. PAs occasionally need to play the role of makeup artist and be sure interviewees look good on-camera (no bunched-up shirts, fly-away hairs, or shiny skin).

Every crew member plays a vital role in making sure shoots run as smoothly as possible.

Determining whether a shoot was successful should revolve around the following questions:

  1. Did you execute the client’s vision?
  2. Did you meet the expectations outlined in the scope of the project?
  3. Did you capture all the shots?

If you answered yes to all three, then you are prepared to produce the final piece!

Next time, we will cover the post-production stage. Until then...

Stage One: Inception Perception

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Whether you’re creating an internal video for a client, or making a film for an audience, you’ll need to consider the three main stages of production: pre-production, production, and post production.

This week’s blog post will focus on pre-production, including its various aspects, and its importance in setting you up for a successful shoot and ease in the edit room. Proper planning and consistent communication between clients and production companies is vital to making sure you achieve your initial expectations.

The inception of a project typically involves a kick-off conference call or meeting between client and vendor, in which you determine the overall scope, which includes specific goals, deliverables, and most importantly, budget.

Once those elements are discussed and agreed upon, the creative and project management aspects of pre-pro take effect. Those involve script writing, storyboarding/ shot breakdown, location scouting, crew sourcing, and production schedule. Many projects, but not all, will also include professional narration or voice-over (VO).

Now the fun begins!

You’ll need a deep brief from your client to fully understand the project and their expectations. That’s the only way to provide a great script and/ or storyboard. That will drive your graphics design, shoot, music — basically, the look-and-feel of the piece, and eventually your post production.

Establishing clear communication from the beginning, staying organized, focusing on project scope, and setting/ resetting expectations are the bedrock to successful creative and budget outcomes.

 

What do Dogs with Vlogs Have to do With Your Communications Goals?

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Whether you like it or not, at this very moment a certain percentage of your workforce is most likely online watching a vlog of some sort. It may or may not be work-related. In fact, it may even be a dog’s vlog. (Seriously, just do one quick YouTube search on “dog vlog” and see how many come up.) Why not turn that habit into an opportunity to deliver one your key messages “first hand” via an executive from your leadership team? The more your employee base or key external audiences see and hear from your leadership team, the more relatable the messages and the individuals become. What’s stopping you? Your audience is already there.

If you think you and your team lack the time and/or budget to create, script, produce and post a vlog at regular intervals we can help. Our team can work with your in-house subject matter experts to craft key messages, script and prep your executives, create an editorial calendar for the vlogs, pace them at an appropriate rate to post and then post and provide you with the metrics on who’s viewing them and how often.

Sound too good to be true? It’s not, and if you’re not leveraging regularly-scheduled video messaging, and in this case, in the form of a vlog, you’re truly leaving a gap in your overall integrated marketing communication plans regardless of whether it’s an internal or external audience your team is tasked with reaching and influencing.

Also, if a four-legged creature is part of your family, next time you find yourself on YouTube make sure he’s not vlogging without you knowing about it. Or, better yet, set up your furry friend with his own. In the mean time just reach out to us if you’d like to talk vlogs.

The Power of a Story… #1 of the Top 5 Reasons Why Video Works

We’ve arrived at number one of our “top five reasons video works” — storytelling. It’s why video works as a communications tool unlike any other. It allows for anecdotal and conversational messaging — the kind that resonates like no other.

Video is the perfect medium to tell stories or use analogies to emphasize your messaging and allow it to be truly heard. Covering a speaker with support video — or B-roll — that illustrates the topic, shows a brand, and provides for visual learning strategies is a powerful and proven tool.

If you think storytelling has no application in a corporate environment consider Apple’s Super Bowl ad “1984” from… well… 1984. It’s still one of the most talked about, studied, and dissected pieces of corporate messaging that heralded the dawn of the digital age. And, guess what? Besides being shown only once, it told a story: visually, audibly, and emotionally.  There’s a reason we can still conjure up the images of the runner with the giant sledgehammer.

When a message is paired with compelling images, a strong storyline, and specific context to make it relatable it’s truly powerful. When you think of that Apple spot, do you remember the soldiers running, people sitting, the woman in running shorts throwing a sledgehammer, the giant screen shattering?! Maybe you even remember the product being advertised: the first Macintosh.

Whichever it is, next time you’re faced with reaching out across your key audiences, make sure video is in your mix of tactics and use that power to delivery your messaging.

Everybody’s Body Tells a Story… #2 of the Top 5 Reasons Why Video Works

Lately we’ve been discussing the “top five reasons video works” — and we’ve arrived at number two – body language. Everybody’s body adds critical data to the stories they are telling, and the information they’re conveying. Whether it’s one-on-one, or an image being broadcast to a wide audience; there’s no getting around our brain’s hardwired ability to pick up on visual cues.

E-mail, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram strip these cues from messaging unless video is included. In a corporate world with ever-decreasing budgets, but always increasing expectations and objectives, video is one of the few proven tactics to offer a solid ROI.

At times, visual cues can be more important than what’s being said. Consider the classic case study of the Kennedy/Nixon presidential debate. Candidate Kennedy was tan, rested, well tailored, calm, precise, and measured in his comments. When answering questions he fixed his gaze comfortably at the camera. Nixon, on the other hand, was rumpled, pale and sweaty, and his gaze kept shifting away from the camera. In the days prior to the broadcast he had been battling a flu that left him 20 pounds underweight. He was also nursing a bad knee that he just so happened to bash again when exiting his car to enter the studio. It was the first televised presidential debate our country ever witnessed and the addition of a visual element to the proceedings did not bode well for Nixon.

Those who listened to the debate on the radio declared Nixon the victor, but people who watched on TV overwhelmingly called Kennedy the clear winner.

Fast-forward to 2008 and consider the power of the visuals and sound bites from a fit, young, candidate impeccably tailored in a skinny suit, using traditional media and social media to leverage video messaging as if he grew up with it. You get the picture…

Keep these examples in mind as you consider video as a communications tool to leverage the complex and critical element of non-verbal communications. The right video production team will help you choose an appropriate subject matter expert to put on camera, craft the messaging, and coach the delivery of it.

This year, make sure your communications team is making the best use of your budget and deploying tactics that include video to ensure your audience is being reached. That way, next time budget season rolls around you have a strong case for the effectiveness of the tactics you’ve deployed. And, when you present that case in person, realize what you are saying is as critical as how your body is reinforcing what you are saying.

Talk to you next week…

What’s In It For Me? #3 of the Top 5 Reasons Why Video Works

Lately we’ve been discussing the “top five reasons video works.” We’re now at number three, which boils down to “relatability.” It’s also sometimes referred to as the classic “WIIFM” or “What’s In It For Me?” reaction to information.

When done right, a key message delivered in first-person, using video as the medium can quickly establish the critical element for viewer engagement, and an answer to, “What’s in it for me?” It’s all about setting the right tone and tenor for a brand, company, and/or organization. Time and again, video is the proven “go to” communications tool to get this done right.

Think of it this way, your audience (regardless of the demographic you’re trying to reach) has established their own “trusted sources” for information as professionals, as well as in their daily lives as consumers of news. In a digital age these sources are no longer print-based; they’re utilizing all the assets of video – sound, intonation, and supporting images and graphics, to establish credibility and the critical element of relatability. And therefore, the messages are getting through to to their audiences.

So, the next time you have a message that needs to reach across your enterprise, remember to make the best use of your communications dollars and turn to a tactic with a time-tested ROI. Talk to you next week. In the mean time, be mindful of the sources you trust for your news and it will no doubt remind you of the power of video.

… Money, Money, Money… Money! #4 of the Top 5 Reasons Why Video Works

Lately we’ve been discussing the Top Five Reasons Video Works — and we’re now at number four. We’ve been delving deeper into each aspect so that you get a better understanding of the return on your video dollars, and we’re helping you sort out what makes sense. It turns out that today’s topic is just that — dollars and good sense.

Corporate video production is an industry built upon a foundation of a proven, time-tested tactic. That’s no small feat in a digital age. It’s also one of the few tactics that has yet to be eclipsed by a disruptive technology. Granted, the device upon which you and your customers are watching a video has changed significantly over the years, as has the technology used to produce it. However, one thing remains constant: video is a proven return on investment of your communications dollars.

It’s simply common sense that in order for a message to resonate it must be heard, and it must be put into a meaningful context. A well-produced video created by a trusted, efficient, and experienced source does just that, and more. It’s a return on investment unlike any other in your integrated marketing communications plan. We’ve heard time and time again from our clients both big and small that deadlines, budgets, and headcount are all being compressed exponentially, but they report that video continues to be one of the few tactics they consistently count on for results.

So, next time you have a message that needs to reach across your enterprise remember to make sense of your communications dollars and turn to a tactic with a time-tested ROI.

Top 5 Reasons Video Works

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We’re a little more than five months into the new year, which means this month serves as a good reminder of the “top five” reasons why video works as a communications tool unlike any other.

Let’s get started:

Five: It’s a visual medium in a world where your audience (regardless of the demographic) is now not only accustomed to receiving their information in a visual or video format, but quite frankly they expect it.  The web and social media have recalibrated our collective expectations on how information should be disseminated.

Four: It’s a proven return on investment of your communications dollars. When you find the right team that allows your production to be professionally and efficiently project managed, it’s truly hard to beat in terms of return on dollars spent.

Three: Video messages can set the tone and tenor of very important key messaging for a brand, company, and/or organization. When a message is delivered in the first person using video, it can be unlike any other tactic. If you’re faced with framing an argument, or defending your company’s reputation in a world where everyone with a phone or laptop has a voice and can be heard, it’s invaluable.

Two: The ability to pick up on non-verbal communications. In a digital age, taking in someone’s body language and intonation are invaluable.

And the number one reason why video works as a communications tool unlike any other: It allows for anecdotal and conversational messaging – the kind that resonates like no other. Video is the perfect medium to tell stories or use analogies to emphasize your messaging and allow it to be truly heard. Covering a speaker with support video - or B-roll - that illustrates the topic, is a powerful and proven tool. Video allows this and ensures consistent message delivery.

So, once you’ve had time to think about how these five reasons can apply to your 2017 goals, give us a call and let us know how we can help.

Death, Taxes & Good Communication

Here in the states the middle of April, a generally lovely and serene time of year, can suddenly turn stressful and foreboding thanks to a national deadline hanging over all of us — our taxes are due.

Taxes can have the tendency to spoil this otherwise glorious month. It was Benjamin Franklin that was quoted as saying, “… in this world nothing can be said to be certain expect death and taxes.” Here at Full Scale Productions we like to add a third certainty to those two inevitable events: good communication is certain to result in a more engaged workforce. It follows the classic principle of putting good in and getting good out. Same principles apply to your customers, potential employees, and key stakeholders. When they’re kept informed they’re certain to be far more receptive and actively engaged with your company.

If your company culture is open and transparent the use of video to disseminate your messages to your key audiences increases its effectiveness and retention significantly. When you consider the many means of distraction that predictably occur each season as a calendar year unfolds, it’s no surprise that many companies now rely heavily on video as their main source of communication. It’s timely, cost-effective, a proven asset to an overall campaign, and the most memorable & effective means of communication.

So, this month as you gather your endless digital paperwork to submit your tax return keep in mind that there are other certainties in this life than… well… you know.  

Good luck with your taxes. Talk to you next week.