How to Choose the Best Video Production Company

stamp stating best quality

Finding a Quality Video Production Company

Now that you’ve decided to add video to your digital marketing strategy, how do you decide which company to work with? Do you employ the same tactics you do with other vendors, such as putting out an RFP, waiting for everyone to bid, interview all the ones that look the best, and then decide which one to use? That depends on whether you’re looking for a vendor or a partner.

Our clients have told us they’re looking for a partner to help them improve their video game or they want someone from the outside to help them identify opportunities to sell more of their product or services. If you treat them as a vendor, will you get the best out of them? If you’re looking for the best video production company, you’ll want to do some research and find an awesome partner. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Good Fit. If you’re looking for a fit within your company, you’ll want to consider your culture and ask questions related to you company’s way of doing things. If you work in a top down organization, you’ll need a vendor. If you work in a collaborative environment, you’ll need to find a solid partner who can fit in and who doesn’t think they’re more important than you. Choosing the right video production company is more than just the selection, it’s also about the fit.
  • Don’t Get Dazzled. While you are looking at their work, you may come across their demo reel. When you do, don’t get too dazzled by cool graphics and animations that you’ve never seen before. Chances are they’re templates they’ve inserted. Yes they’re cool, but did the production team identify the target audience and market to the needs of the potential clients? Did the video perform? If all you see is their demo reel, you may not know what any of those finished projects actually looked like in the end. They might just be the best parts of a poor performing video.
  • Recently Produced Videos. When you choose a video production company, dig into their previous work. Video companies are usually working hard to create quality videos, but they are sometimes not the best at posting current stuff. If you don’t see any recent work, check out their Vimeo page because that’s where they probably posted the most recent stuff. The other area to check out is their social media pages. If they’re a full service video company, they’ll have stuff posted there too.
  • Get A Few Quotes. When compiling your list of video production companies to create your corporate video, you’ll get a few quotes. One thing we’ve learned is that pricing can vary dramatically. One time we found out a client posted a job on a website to get quotes. Without talking to 80% of the companies who responded, they said they had quotes from $850 to $21,500…for the same job! How is that possible? We don’t know. We just recommend that you consider the value for the price your being quoted.
  • Value. This is simply an area of “You Get What You Pay For.” If your budget is $850, you’ll be able to find someone who wants to do it for that. They may be brand new in the business, but they’re hungry to build their portfolio. On the other hand, if your budget is $21,500, you’ll be able to find someone to do it for that as well. Your expectations will be high, so make sure they can handle what you’re giving them. Professionals who require a larger investment are able to command that because they are confident in their results and will be able to make your video a success.

Regardless of your project, finding the right video production company will be the key to your video’s success. The time you invest to finding the right one is critical and we recommend using the ideas above to find the right one for you. Obviously we can answer any questions you have, but we also may not be the right one for you…only you can decide that (and we promise we won’t be offended if you tell us we’re not the right one). If you’ve never done video before, you might want to read some of our other blog posts to help you learn as much about the process and critical factors to a successful marketing video production process.

Components of a Successful Corporate/Business Video Production Project

image of video camera

To make a successful corporate or business video you need to understand all the moving parts. Before starting a video marketing project, it is critical to understand what parts are necessary and which pieces are optional. Since asking a video production company can take a little time, we’ve decided to answer that question here.

Must Have Elements

Concept. Why do you want to create a video in the first place? We’ve seen it too many times where people get fooled by the razzle-dazzle of cool visual effects, fast music, and lots of special effects and graphics. More important than all of that is, WHAT is this video supposed to do for you? WHY are you creating it? What TYPE of video are you trying to create? That said, the most important part of a business video is clearly stating what you offer your clients/customers. What solutions do you provide and what problems are you solving for your customer? That’s what they (your intended viewer wants to know). Once you clarify that objective, you can add all the flashy graphics you want!

Script/Storyboard. That may sound like something that doesn’t need to be said, but we’re always surprised when someone wants to shoot first and figure out what to edit later. That never works as well as planned, so we pride ourselves on having a solid storyboard or script in hand (along with the day’s schedule and shot list) prior to the shoot. You’ll discover that this is the most critical component of a successful video when you realize after the shoot that you should have captured “X” or you should have had your employee say “Y” instead of what you captured. Think about the amount of time it takes to plan for the shoot versus the time you’ll spend later regretting the error. Planning is the key and that’s how we like to run our video production business!

Less Critical Elements

Animation (3D or 2D) Graphics. Think of this as the text on the screen or the symbols on the screen during your video. This might be your logo, phone numbers, or other items that move around or appear on screen to further explain what is being said on camera. 2D and 3D animations can raise the production value of a video without adding a lot of cost. When animations become complex and 3D, more time will be needed in producing the video. Here’s an example of how text and moving images can enhance a video.

Narration. Sometimes referred to as voice-over, narration can add a lot to your video. For example, if you’ve shot a few interviews of employees/executives from within the organization, it might be helpful to have some additional narration at the end to state some of the necessary call to action that you can’t say outright as an employee/executive. For example, it might feel weird to hear the executive say, “Call us today for more information!” But a professional narrator can and it sounds normal. It can depend on the type of video content you’re creating and we can help you when it’s time. Again, is this necessary? No. Is it helpful? Sometimes. One tip when dealing with narrators, use a voice over artist who matches your target audience.

Music. Tone, pace, and feeling of music can greatly enhance your video. So can silence. The best part is you can vary your music within a video based on what is being said and what is being shown. You’ll also want to think about what kind of video you’re producing…for example, are you creating a promotional video or a training video for your small business? Whichever you’re creating, music can make the difference. Music feelings can be described as aggressive, inspiring, happy, upbeat, playful, silly, relaxing, sad, sentimental, or suspenseful. Have you ever noticed how music can be an impactful component of movies? It’s much the same with your business video.

These are just some of the basics of creating marketing videos, but we hope they will help you understand what you must have and what you can consider optional when producing a video. We’d recommend spending some time chatting with your producer to communicate your desires prior to starting any video project.

If you want to learn more about Plum’s corporate video production services, feel free to reach out to us. We can answer your questions and determine if we should talk further.

Steps to Video Production

Here’s a step by step list of how the video production process works and why you shouldn’t be afraid of it. Many people think that corporate video production is a big, scary process the requires a lot of people and a lot of resources. It might, but it doesn’t always need to be that complicated. Most potential clients we speak to are a little apprehensive about shooting video…they have a lot of questions, like: How long does it take? Who should be on camera? How much does it cost? But most of all, they want to know what it takes to get their video.

Steps to Video Production

To make it simple, we’ve boiled down the most important steps to creating your video into simple bite sized pieces. Ready? Here they are:

Pre-Production

1. Goals

First, before you begin, you have to have some objective. To do video without a goal or objective, you’re doing yourself a disservice. What are you trying to accomplish, in what amount of time? Is this realistically possible? If you’re not sure where to start, we can help, but most clients want to measure views, calls, or purchases when they create video. Whichever your goal, share that with your video production company and use that in the next step.

2. Know The Audience

Who are you trying to reach and why are you trying to reach them? Your video should be engaging to the exact audience you’re trying to reach, so knowing who they are is a critical start. Do your research and identify your target audience, their needs, wants and desires. Know what they like and how they like to get it. This will help you craft your message in precisely the way they like to receive it. You might want to consider creating a target audience persona (or personas). By creating personas, you’ll know how to speak to them in their preferred method of communication. If your product or service solves a problem they face, make sure your message reflects that and speaks directly to the issues they face.

3. Create a Script

Whether you write the script or the video production company writes the script, make sure you have a solid, well-thought out script that will make the shoot easier. When we talk about script, we’re not just talking about the words being spoken on camera, but also the visuals…what will be seen on screen…a shot list of sorts. By spelling out what is being said and what is being shown, your video crew will know what they must capture to create the perfect video for you. Again, this should also incorporate the first two steps above (knowing your audience and what goals you’re measuring). Remember, the script should be engaging and/or thought provoking so the viewer will take action once they’ve finished watching.

4. Have a Placement Strategy

Plan ahead of the shoot by knowing where you’ll be placing the video(s). If you’re just placing them on YouTube, how will you get them to be suggested or referred or shared? People won’t just do it because you’ve put it out there, you need a bit of a plan. That might include using ads, setting up the YouTube channel properly, publishing consistently, and several other things. Have your plan no matter which platform you’ll use.

5. Develop the Idea Further

Once you’ve crafted the script and started planning placement, you might need to develop the concept/script a little further. If you’ve identified one platform that will outperform over the others, does the script you created make sense or does it need some fine-tuning? It might or it might not. This is the time to revise and solidify.

6. Plan and Schedule the Shoot

During this step, several “mini” steps must happen. Your production crew should scout the location (virtually or in person). By scouting the location, they will mentally be able to identify where various shots will be set up, how they’ll set it up, and where they can stage their equipment while shooting or where hair and makeup can be set up.

Also in this step might be casting talent. If you’re using talent in your video, you’ll want options to choose from, and this is where we provide them. You’ll want to select the individual who best represents your brand.

Are permits or licenses necessary? If they are, this is when you’ll submit and get approvals. Allow sufficient time to get these if the production is larger or if you need to work with multiple agencies or locations.

Backup plans are critical at this point. When planning for a shoot, ask the production company what things can go wrong and how to have a backup plan to mitigate those issues.

Finally, the production company should be creating and delivering a call sheet. The call sheet will inform all parties (crew, client, staff, location, etc.) when everything will be happening. It’s basically a schedule for the day(s) with all the information need to communicate and know who will be where and when.

Production

7. Shoot/Capture the Raw Video

If you’re creating a corporate video, you’ll want someone on-set to ensure all the important pieces are captured and that everything is visually on brand. That person (or persons) may also need to wrangle the next person on camera so they’re prepared and in place on time and on schedule. During this part of the production you’ll notice the crew following the plan. You’ll notice when the crew is ahead or behind schedule and you’ll know if things are going perfect or if there’s an adjustment that will need to be made. Sometimes one person who can’t get the words out on camera can put the crew a little behind, but a seasoned crew will make sure that even when that happens they stay on schedule and on plan. If the crew is seasoned you should have a high level of confidence in their abilities once you see them execute the plan.

Post Production

8. Editing

Once the shoot is complete, you should have a rough idea from the crew when the first version of your video will be delivered. If you have a seasoned editor, most corporate videos require between a week to two weeks to see your first version. Variability in this may happen if the video is longer than a couple of minutes or branding materials aren’t delivered quickly to the production team (editor). The editor will need high-resolution logos and other similar materials related to the video (something they may have asked for prior to the shoot).

Good editing will be based on good planning…which is why we recommend the plan be finalized before shooting every time…no matter how many times you’ve done this. While every video production company is different, most will allow around two rounds of revision after receiving your first version. If you’re editing more than one video, a good editor will also recommend providing you with one of the videos first to get any revisions you might have and then apply all those revisions to the rest of the videos to streamline the editing process for you and for them. For example, if you didn’t like the color of the font they used and you provide that feedback, the rest of the videos you’ll receive will already contain those revisions…saving you time.

Your editor will also incorporate 2D graphics, 3D Animation, music, and any professional narration at this point. Graphics and animation should make sense for the video. Adding them to wow you isn’t working with your strategy we started with, so it should make sense if the graphics or animation is added.

Music should also reflect the mood and tone of the video. If the music is upbeat, but the person on camera is talking about the problems the viewer is facing, something will feel wrong by the viewer… making it less likely they will take the next measurable step (think about your goals).

It is also at this point that any professional narration that was recorded is tracked to the video. Typically a good editor will time verbal statements with music, changes in mood, and visual elements to make the finished piece emotionally connected.

9. Delivery

Once you’ve provided all the feedback and it’s been edited to your satisfaction, you should receive a download link from the production company so you can place your video where you would like to place it. You might place it on: your website, YouTube channel, social media sites, Vimeo, Wistia, or a few other places that will help you monitor and analyze your results. You’ll want to make sure you place it in a place that allows you to fully control, own, and monitor all the analytics. Without that, you won’t know if you’re successful or not.

10. Distribute Your Video

Not everyone distributes video the same way, so we’ll provide a few options here, but know there are always more. You might: use social media, email campaigns, coordinate with influencers in your space, use a PR firm to distribute your video, use the video in online video ads, place the video on broadcast television or cable, or use SEO tactics on your website to funnel viewers to a landing page to watch the video. One isn’t necessarily better than the other but understanding your strategy and knowing your goals will help you decide where to distribute/place your video.

We hope this helps you better understand the steps it takes to create a corporate video and why each step is important to the overall project. The next thing you might want to do is consider reading 6 Qualities To Look For In A Video Production Company or Why Do Production Companies Quote Different Rates for the Same Project?

4 Video Production Services Businesses Should Use

Video shoot with lights and camera

By now most everyone realizes that video is a major tool for businesses to use in their marketing, sales, training, and operations. We’ve been told that video is more valuable than ever because it can be used on several platforms, in several locations, simultaneously. It can also be accessed on several types of devices, like phones, computers, iPads, etc. So, what are the most important video production services you could maximize to improve your video marketing strategy? Here are the top 4 services you might want to consider hiring out for your video projects.

1. Production Strategy

First, it’s important to understand why you’re creating video. If you’re creating video because everyone else is, but don’t have a strategy for using it, we think you’ll be doing yourself a disservice. At this point, you’ll want to think about where you’ll be placing your video. Will it be social media? Will it be a stand alone web video on your site? Having video is only half the battle, using video to its maximum potential can help you win the battle. Imagine placing a video somewhere that your potential clients will see. What would happen? Now imagine if you placed the finished product where your ideal clients will never see. Big difference! You may want to say, “No kidding!” but we’ve seen it too many times where a potential client wants to make a video without a strategic plan on how they’ll use it effectively and return on their investment of time and money.

image of storyboard drawing

2. Planning

While some call this producing, we refer to it as planning or pre production. Whether you’re creating a real estate video, an explainer video, or a high-quality commercial production, this is probably the most important task to achieving a successful video campaign. Through proper planning, you and the production team will be more effective with time, finances, and any manpower involved in the process. Planning and pre production includes tasks like: crafting a strategic script, identifying a location, creating a plan for the day of the shoot, lining up talent (appropriate for your potential viewers and overall branding guidelines), finalizing scripts, and all the other little pieces that line up to make a successful shoot. With a shot list based on the script in hand, you can ensure a solid shoot day.

image of planning

3. The Shoot

People often tell us that shooting this should only take 15 minutes…after all, the script is only 60-seconds long. While some of it may take 15 minutes, there are several other things that go into capturing the shot perfectly. Lighting, audio, angles, … the list goes on and on. Most people don’t realize that video production deals in the science of millimeters. Move the camera left, right, up or down on any given shot and you might capture a reflection in a mirror or a coffee cup left behind by the person on camera. It always takes a longer than expected to get the right shot. If you’re not after quality, then it usually doesn’t take too long to capture, but most clients want it done right the first time. That can be the difference between a professional video and an amateur video.

When working with any video production company, during the shoot, you’ll also see a variety of people involved: camera operator, producers, directors, production assistants, lighting and/or audio assistants, hair and/or makeup artists, wardrobe stylists, etc. For every shoot, the script dictates who is needed and for how long. If you’re working with a professional team, you’ll see them working together seamlessly to ensure the right shot is captured perfectly.

Photo from a Plum Productions Shoot

4. Editing

Sometimes called production and post production, this is where most people and most videographers don’t like to spend time. It’s the least fun. Not for us! We feel like a solid, well-executed plan and well-executed shoot make the editing process go smooth. This part is one of the final steps to the video production process, and one of the most common need by businesses. When video is captured, it can be edited in several different ways. While we always work to the plan we agreed to, we know that sometimes soundbites can lead to additional videos that will enhance the branding message. Our recommendation is to think about all the potential uses and potential videos you’d like to edit prior to the shoot so you can get all the footage you need in the shoot time allotted. Once you have that footage, it can be sliced and diced into several different types of videos…all with the same look and feel to fit into the brand, including any motion graphics elements.

image of video editor

These are four types of video production services every business can use. Many companies call us to do all of it, but there are times when we’re called in to do just one of these pieces. That’s OK with us…as long as the business is getting what it needs to ensure a successful campaign.

Plum Productions offers a wide range of video production services including scripting, planning, storyboarding, acquiring talent, drone video capture, shooting, and editing. Give us a call for any of your corporate video production needs.

Planning A Successful Corporate Video

Image of video production shoot

When a company wants to create video content, there’s more to it than, “Hey, let’s create a video about our business!” A lot of planning and strategy should go into the process. What are the goals for the video? Who will be in it? What is the purpose of creating this video? Are you trying to increase sales? Trying to improve the corporate image? Trying to attract new employees or executive? …and so much more.

Many marketers are using high quality video to improve rankings on Google, provide site visitors information that differentiates them from their competitors, or answer questions to increase authority. Some are shrewdly thinking about how they can turn what the company does into content or how to place the video in the right places to get views and conversions into sales.

Planning a corporate video has many components and depends on what you’re shooting, where you’re shooting, and variables that impact the finished video. Most of the plan should be completed in the pre production portion of the project. During the pre production, you’ll work on the creative portions: the script, the visuals, the shot list, the talent, the location, and a few other minor elements.

Here are a couple of simple things you can do to plan for your corporate video production:

1. Clarify the Goals of the Video

Before you ever create a call sheet, why are you creating this video? Are you using it to become an influencer? Educate others on a topic? Improve the brand image? While you create this list of reasons, think about who wants this information and how it will reach them. What will you do to measure the success of this video? Calls? Requests? Views? This is also where you consider if the video aligns with your marketing strategies and is what your target audience is looking for.

2. Time Content Delivery with Key Dates

When you deliver (post or show) this video, how will it relate to any key or pertinent dates related to the business? For example, do sales usually dip during a certain time of the year? Are certain products or services on sale on a specific date? Plan to post the video with appropriate key dates in mind. Layer on top the timeline to complete the video project (make sure you have sufficient time to complete the shoot and edit prior to beginning the project). Key events could be an annual event, marketing campaigns, product launches, etc.

3. Where and How Will You Share the Video?

You’ve set your goals, now where will you post or use the video? Where does it make sense? Some of our clients will use it on a product end cap in a retail store or on the Amazon product page to increase conversion. Where it is placed is just as important is the overall objective of the video. Several options of where you could place it is: website, landing page, email campaign, Vimeo/YouTube, Social Media pages like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn, television (broadcast, cable), and several others. The nice part is you can place video at all, some, or one of these platforms. When considering where to place the video, you’ll want to identify what conversion rates look like and how many and who is actually watching your video. You want to create content that your customers want, including the types of content needed to convert.

4. Create a Budget (or a range)

You should determine what is the appropriate amount you’d like to invest in creating a video. Sometimes what you want to do or what the script says will determine the budget, but you should have an idea. Some people come to us with very high or very low numbers, and while you can always find someone to do what you need at any number, we recommend finding someone who can do what you need near the budget you’d like to spend without sacrificing quality and know-how to craft your message successfully. One time we saw a potential client hire a freelancer, single-person production company only to find out that half of what they wanted in the video could not be done because they didn’t have the equipment or know-how to get the job done. We were grateful they called us back to take care of their project.

5. Use Brand Guidelines

Whether you own a small business or are part of a large national or international organization, keep your identity on brand. It’s critical to keep the look, feel, and sound of your business in check with your all areas of marketing. When a potential client or customer thinks of your brand, what image is sparked in his or her mind? What do you stand for? What differentiates you from competitors? How would one describe your brand? By creating a list of qualities related to your brand, you can use this to steer your creative approach and final messaging. Because your video script should be evergreen, you must clearly identify qualities and traits that describe your brand and use them in your messaging.

While there is more to it than that, these are five critical components for crafting and creating a successful corporate video to incorporate into your video marketing campaign. When everything ties together a magical result can, and usually does, occur. Plan your message to match your brand and while creating the types of video your audience wants and you’ll find a much more successful outcome to your video project.

 

Types of Video for Business

searcy law interview image from video

There are tons of ways one can use video to promote or explain a video. We’ve taken a little time to share with you the most common types of video for any business. Yes, any business. Each type has a purpose, so before you just randomly decided to create a video, you should have a bit of a plan: How are you going to use it? Where will you place it? Why are you creating it? When will you need it? Who should be viewing it? …and why as a follow up to each of the previous questions. This will help you determine which video will be best for your brand. Let’s get started…

Expert Interview Video

If you have a thought leader or a brand expert in your midst, this type of video is the best type to pursue as quickly as possible. Having a thought leader is one thing. Promoting and showing how much he or she (or the team) knows about a particular topic does nothing but improve and build the brand. If your potential customers want experts, who will they call if they have listened to an interview with a thought leader in the field? Here’s an example of one of those types of videos:

Product Videos

Product videos are just that, videos about a product… but when creating a product video you want to do more than advertise or promote. Your goal should be to educate. Teach the viewer how the product works, why they might find it useful and finish it off with a call to action. The call to action can be more or less aggressive, depending on the product and your style, but there should always be some sort of call to action. Product videos are highly effective when they are educational and informative. They’ll also perform well when placed in the right location (think an end cap in a retail store or on a website landing page). Placement is a large part of how successful a video will be, so have a plan on where you’ll place your video before you shoot it. Remember, perfection is the enemy of success, so a plan is good to have but don’t let planning get in the way of knowing a adjustment will need to be made once it’s placed. Here’s a fun example of a product video that was placed on their website to trigger a sale.

Service Video

If you don’t sell a tangible product, the video you should consider is a service video. This type of video provides the viewer with a strong sense of what they’ll get for their dollar. More importantly, this type of video should instill a sense of trust and open the conversation to building a relationship. When prospects land on a website, they want to know who they’re dealing with and/or if they can trust them. We’ve all learned that its difficult to trust an organization/business, but we do trust people. One thing we’ve noticed is that with Jenn’s My Video 101 educational videos on her YouTube Channel, people feel like they know her and can trust her with their video knowledge. Here’s an example of one of her videos:

Social Media Videos

Most times when we get called to shoot and edit videos for a client, we are often asked if we can edit shorter social media videos. Absolutely…and we recommend it! If we’re creating a video for any client, we try to incorporate a social media version of any video we create because you’ll need it at some point. The purpose of a social media video is to increase the viewer’s curiosity and bring them to a website or landing page to do more. For example, we’ve seen product and service companies run social media video ads to bring the viewer to a landing page. The landing page may request the visitor to provide information (name, email, etc.) or make a purchase or a call. Whichever way they decide, the social media video will help fill the funnel. Here’s an example. (Notice this one is square and will be used on Instagram).

Corporate Branding Video

The branding video uses several features from other types of video. The branding video should capture the essence of what the company stands for, what the company does, who is in the company, and the story behind it. Overall, it should stand alone. A viewer will know exactly why the company exists and why they might want to contact them. This of this type of video as an About Us with some extras. A good example of a corporate branding video is this one from Amicon Construction. We think this is a solid branding video because it shows what they do and their attention to detail while incorporating their client testimonial. You might think that 4 minutes is a long video, but the feedback we hear is that people want to watch this to find out how the project ended.

Location Tour

What if your space look different than your competitors or you’re proud of the way your space looks? What if your space is tranquil or energetic? There is no better way to show that off than a video. A video will capture the essence of the space and invite the viewer in. We’ve seen several occasions that an office space (both indoor and outdoor) looked so nice that it made for a beautiful backdrop for an interview. Here is one example of such a space. In this one, we feature a dentist office that was constructed to make the parents and children comfortable when visiting the one doctor most people fear: The Dentist!

Testimonials

Imagine you’re looking for a great attorney. One who cares about how you feel after an incident. One that goes above and beyond to get you the care you need to get better. How do you tell a potential client/customer that you’re the best? You don’t. You don’t because the viewer will not believe you when YOU say it, but if an actual client says it for your (because that was their experience), the viewer will understand how a previous client was taken care of and feel that they will be taken care of too. Powerful. We believe this is the most underused video for the power it has. Awesome testimonials are more powerful than any other form of advertising. This is one every business should have.

There are so many other types of videos a company can have, but these tend to be the most popular. Stay tuned! We’ll share some other creative types of video that you might not have thought of in an upcoming post!

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us. We’d be happy to answer any questions…no pressure, no expectations. We’d love to see your comment below on which video you think is the most important one!

How to Prepare Your Office for a Video Shoot

question mark on table representing questions people ask

You’ve decided to create a short video (or a series of videos) to help your business improve it’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or to help your potential customers understand who you are, what you do, and why you do it better. Great! Now what? You should get lots of tips from your video production company (if you’ve hired one) on how to set up or prepare your office for the video shoot. If not, you may want to ask more questions of your video production company or find a new one. After all, it should be easy, not stressful to create your video.

So, what do you need to do? Here are some of the top steps to preparing your office for a video shoot:

  1. Get the Shoot Scheduled. Obvious, yes. But if it’s not scheduled, people can’t plan. Once it’s scheduled, communicate the shoot date to your team and make sure they’re ready. Make sure they know what’s happening and when it’s happening that day. You may not have this information, but it should be shared before the day of so everyone is ready and knowledgeable about what is happening.
  2. Prior to the Shoot Date. A day or two (or more, if needed) walk through the office with a different set of eyes. Look for opportunities to tidy up, clean up, and put away all the extra stuff you and your team have collected over the years that is unnecessary to the video. For example, take a look at this photo of an office prior to the shoot. If we had to take a few shots of someone working at their desk, what would look better? The before photo or the after photo? Remember, you want it to look like someone is there working regularly, but not like they’re a “pack rat” or “file piler.” You want to look organized and effective. Here’s a messy and a clean version of an office space: image of messy working deskimage of a clean working desk
  3. Do You Need Props? You might need some props or areas where you can show some client interaction or work shots. The video below shows B-Roll (secondary video) shots of employee interactions…notice it’s clean and visually appealing. Each area was selected prior to the shoot to ensure the best possible shots were incorporated into the video. One other thing to think about: if your office decorates for any holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, etc.) all the decorations need to be removed from the office or else you’ll look like you celebrate that holiday every day of the year in your video! Probably something you want to avoid.
  4. Looking Good? The other question we get a lot is what to wear on camera. That is a great question and we’ve answered it here in this blog post about What to Wear On Camera. The key is to look your best on camera and what you choose can make a difference. Solid, warm colors are best. Refrain from wearing black, white, or red; and refrain from wearing certain patterns that buzz on camera. If you’re going to wear jewelry, don’t wear dangling jewelry because it can make noise when you speak. Finally, bring options. Again, refer to our previous post if you want to learn more.
  5. Script Ready? Whether we create your script or you’re creating the script, it must be ready to go before the day of the shoot. We’ve pushed back shoots because clients weren’t prepared and the script didn’t align with the objective of the video. It’s critical to get a video production company who can get that script to you well enough in advance so you’re ready to perform it. We shoot to the script, so having this prepared will make your shoot go very smooth!

You may not have any questions after reading this, but if you do, feel free to pick up the phone and call us if you have any questions. We don’t mind if you’re not a client, we just want to make sure your shoot goes smoothly.

How to Set Up a YouTube Channel for My Business

youtube logo

YouTube is the second largest social media outlet in the world. Other than Facebook, there is none larger. Getting your YouTube channel set up correctly is important for several reasons. First, it’s your brand. If you’re hosting your videos on YouTube, this is the primary way people will judge your ability to keep your brand intact. Second, it shows consistency. If you can demonstrate a high level of consistency within your brand, you’ve shown you have what it takes to stay organized. Do your clients want to know you’re organized? Our guess is they do.

What this post covers is what you’ll want to do past the initial set up. We know there are a lot of resources out there that will help you set up your channel initially, but once you have it set up, what should you do? This post will give you a checklist of sorts of what you should to do maximize your channel. Here we go!

Once you’ve followed the basics of setting up your channel, there are a few tips we’d like to share.

  • Channel Art. You’ll want to set up channel art to give your channel a branded look. The recommended size right now (2018) is 2560×1440 px, with a safe area of 2048×1152 px. YouTube recommends a file size of 4MB or smaller. This helps in the load time and cuts down on their storage needs. NOTE: make sure any text or logos you want to have displayed is in the safe area. If you create the recommended size, there is a safe area within that every device (or at least a vast majority) will allow the viewer to see.
  • Social Media Links. Once you’ve set up your account, you’ll want to link it to other assets, such as your website and your other social media pages. Currently, YouTube has a specific list of social media pages you can link to, including Google Plus or Google Pages, so you’ll want to make sure those are set up. Also, keep in mind these links, once set up, show up in the bottom right portion of the Channel Header Art, so keep that in mind when designing the header. If the social links cover important information in your art, like a phone number, it won’t be visible.
  • Icon. Add the icon in the top left. It’s not always visible on every platform, but it helps to have it there. Most people use their logo, others use their head shot, but in the end, its up to you.
  • Enhancing the Channel.
    • Optimize the Description. You’ll want to write a brief, high-level description of what your channel is all about. It should use keywords and incorporate specific statements as to what the channel is about. Google’s algorithms have gotten pretty smart when it comes to text, so this is important. Don’t include statements that are unrelated and always have a call to action. The call to action might be to visit your website, watch a certain playlist or video, or call a phone number.
    • Add Channel Trailer. A channel is less effective if it doesn’t have a trailer welcoming or describing the channel. You may not think you need one, but here’s why you do. When someone arrives at your channel, they may or may not know what your business is all about. They may not understand how your channel is organized or what is important for them to view to get a better understanding of who you are and what you do. The channel trailer will guide them or give them some reference as to who you are and why the channel is helpful to the viewer.
    • Add Links to Channel. These links (described above) help Google verify and solidify who this channel belongs to, who it’s associated with, and builds the web of links you want Google to know and understand to improve your website and channel optimization.
    • Playlists. Adding playlists is one of the ways you can tell your visitor you care about them. You’ve taken the time to organize your videos into bite-sized pieces to help them digest your message. Playlist are just that: a way of organizing similar videos and you should do it for a few reasons:
      • Organization. We’ve said it once already, but this helps the viewer know which videos relate to each other.
      • Get Discovered. When playlists are organized, YouTube (Google) knows that each of the videos in the playlists are related, therefore have a higher probability of getting discovered organically. When someone searches for a topic and you’ve titled a video with that search phrase, YouTube might bring up your entire playlist.
      • Related. Again, because they’re related, the viewer can dig in as deep as they like to learn more about the related topic.
      • Session Time. No, this is not the beer type of session, it’s the time they spend on your channel. If someone lands on your channel first (organically or directly) and then spend some time on your channel because they’re nosing around in similar videos, you get extra credit for keeping on your channel longer. Longer sessions usually mean credibility for Google/YouTube. Layer on top of that, YouTube will even reward you if you draw someone to your channel and then move off your channel to another channel. You get extra credit for bringing the viewer to YouTube (at one point, the entire session time they spent on YouTube was given to you, not all the other sites if they visited you first).

For a couple of examples, we’ve selected one channel that has some missing pieces (but otherwise might be ok) and another that does it very well. For starters, let’s look at the channel that is missing a few pieces. We’ve removed their logo and name to protect their identity.

Image of YouTube Channel page that's missing a few components

So here are a few points to consider on this channel. First, there is an inconsistent image for each video. You’ll see on the next example, how a consistent image can be created. Second, and this is something you can’t see in this image, they don’t have playlists created.  As a visitor, you might not know which video you need to watch, but if you knew that four of the list of videos were about a specific topic you came to learn about, you’d find it helpful. Third, the trailer did not have a call to action and did not incorporate a general message for the business. It was more of a moving PowerPoint presentation, which is fine, but less effective when it comes to getting the viewer to take action.

To see a good example of a YouTube Channel, we’re going to use our sister business My Video 101’s YouTube Channel.

Example of a good YouTube Channel layout

For this channel, we see some helpful things right from the start. First (green arrows), the header image is information about the channel and what to expect. For businesses, we recommend an image with a message that makes sense for your branding. On this example, we also see the social media buttons are set up. Second, this channel has playlists set up (see yellow circle). They use several: Vlogging Advice, Product Reviews, Technical Tips, and Behind the Scenes. Helpful if you only want to learn about one area of the channel, right? Third, this channel has consistent branding across all videos (see blue check marks). While each topic is different, each video looks similar, yet a little different. Consistency is pleasing to the eye and helps the viewer feel at ease when searching through the videos.

With just a few tweaks your YouTube Channel can improve your image and increase views. Take the time to set up your business channel the right way so you get the most out of your channel.

 

 

 

Sources:
DreamGrow (https://www.dreamgrow.com/top-15-most-popular-social-networking-sites/)
Gravity Search Marketing (https://www.yourseoplan.com/benefits-of-creating-youtube-playlists/)
YouTube Support (https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2972003?hl=en-GB)

Buffer (https://blog.bufferapp.com/create-a-youtube-channel)

Why Do Production Companies Quote Different Rates for the Same Project?

Paper ripped to expose words pricing secrets

How Much Does a Corporate Video Cost?

Recently we had someone ask us to provide an idea of cost for their video project. During the conversation they shared with us that they had two other quotes and wanted to know why each quoted drastically different prices. They shared that one was nearly half our project price and the other was nearly double. What gives, right?

We completely understand and couldn’t agree more. Each production company can have wildly different pricing strategies, but they usually vary for different reasons. Here are several reasons why you might be getting different quotes for what seems like the same thing.

  • Experience. Yes, you probably knew this already. The more experience they have, the more projects they have, and the customers they already have can all illustrate the production company’s competence. If they’ve been doing it for 9 or 10 years (like us), they more than likely have encountered several issues that can come up on the shoot and they know how to prevent them. They probably don’t need to prove themselves because they have enough work to show they can do it already. We’ve said this before, but you can find a production company for ANY budget! You want a production company that can do the work for a few hundred bucks? No problem, there are several people out there who work from home who can do this type of work for that rate. They don’t mind building their portfolio by being highly aggressive in their pricing. If you want to hire a large, high budget crew, you can find them as well….and everything in between.
  • Equipment. Recently we lost a project because we didn’t charge enough. We were a couple thousand dollars less than who we were up against. We were surprised to hear this, but when the potential client shared with us that the other company was going to be renting their equipment, we were not longer surprised. When the company doesn’t own the equipment, they are forced to markup rental equipment to have a successful shoot. While this potential client couldn’t get over spending less for the quality work, don’t be fooled by higher prices…it doesn’t ALWAYS mean better quality. It might! But it also might not.
  • Approach. Each production company approaches their projects a little differently. We’ve heard one company say they want to allocate a full day for an interview (with B-roll shots) when it really only warrants a half day shoot. Their logic was that the person on camera would feel more relaxed and engaged. While we don’t think a full day is necessary to get someone to feel relaxed in front of the camera, others use this as an excuse to charge a little more (especially if the budget is large enough).
    • Approach (part 2). The more the shoot is planned, the smoother the shoot. Not all production companies approach their shoot the same. Planning the day should include time slots for each person on camera, shooting specific B-roll shots, allocating time for additional product shots (when appropriate), and much more. How important is a plan? It’s the most important part of the process. Without it, we won’t shoot because there’s nothing worse than shooting and trying to figure out how to put it together later. The client won’t be happy and we won’t be proud of our work.
  • Add-Ons. There are several features that can be added on in the shoot and in post production. Examples might include:
    • Drone & Drone Pilot
    • Additional Locations
    • Professional Talent
    • Make Up Artist
    • Stock Video (can sometimes be an extra)
    • Additional Equipment (due to specific needs of client)
    • Custom 3D Animation
    • Professional Narration
    • Location Costs & Permitting (sometimes free, sometimes not)
    • Additional Shoot Days
    • …and on and on.

Don’t be discouraged. Sometimes we feel like some companies treat the video world like the Wild West while others are respectable and forthcoming. Those that have been around for many years, typically have done the right thing for their clients. Do a little research, like this article about Questions to Ask a Video Production Crew Before You Hire Them or this follow up article that shares More Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Production Crew. Speak to their current clients, their past clients, people they’re connected to on LinkedIn. There are several ways to confirm the production company you are interviewing is right for you. If they don’t understand your project or concept, move on to the next company, there’s always one right for you.

Got a question? Want to know more or want to compare us to someone you’ve gotten a quote from, we’d be honored to help.

When & Why Technology Companies Need Video

AI meets Tech meets Video

Why Video?

If you’re reading this post, it might be because you own or work at a technology company and want to know what type of video and how to use video for your company. First, let’s get to the why you might need a video… and let’s get beyond the obvious of “everyone is doing it” because that’s not a good reason to do video. Most of the technology companies that have called us to either get an idea of cost or what it takes to do a video call us for similar reasons. Most technology companies call us because they are struggling to get potential clients to understand that they are there for their clients… that they are humans too… and that it’s not all Artificial Intelligence that make up a client’s technology backbone.

We usually hear about a website that is sterile, a lot of images of servers and techie stuff, but somehow they’re missing the human element. It’s interesting that Dow Chemical also struggled with this and created a commercial that still sticks with us today (and no we didn’t produce that commercial). Ironically, reading this Forbes article titled “Healthcare’s Often Missing Element – The Human Element” they also list several other companies who have this same problem. People are what make the world go around… but more importantly, people are what make sales happen. There lies the problem some technology companies have: they stick to words and images that are cold and meaningless in getting the sale. They often rely on their sales team without providing some of the best tools available to them in marketing: video.

That’s the Why. Why video can make the difference. What about When?

Next, when is it time to invest in a series or a single video? It varies by business and by individual, but the real answer is brought to light by the answer to the questions, “Do potential clients get you? Do potential clients understand you?” As with any business, when you have to differentiate yourself by explaining all the things you do rather than helping the potential client understand why you do what you to improve this world, something might be missing. It might be time to explore video for your technology company if one or more of the following ring true:

  • Potential clients don’t understand what you do. They don’t understand the cloud or backups or the difference between a backup and an archive.
  • Potential clients don’t connect with you as people, rather as a service.
  • Potential clients just want numbers without getting to know you.
  • Potential clients just want answers without understanding the entire portfolio of services you offer.
  • People aren’t making the connection between their needs and the services you provide.

Most marketing does a lot of the above, but the difference between print, web, document, etc. marketing and video marketing is one is read (with all the inflections or tones they think you are trying to say) and the other is shared and stated exactly as you have intended. THIS is why everyone is doing it…not because others are doing it, but because it conveys the message in the desired tone and matching meaning.

What type of video should I create?

Great question. The type of video depends on what your end goal is and what you hope will happen when they finish watching the video. Our recommendation is to consider one of the following videos to determine which video is the best to start with.

It may not be time for you to consider video, and that’s OK, but if it is time to talk, we’d love it if you consider contacting us about what you’re trying to convey. We might be able to help.