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10 Reasons to Hire a Pro for Your Next Photo or Video Shoot

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Red Wheel

  1. Results– A professional video producer or photographer is only as good as her last happy client. The focus is always on what will make your message most compelling, effective and memorable.
  2. KnowledgeProfessionals need to know how to work with a wide range of technical tools  and creative techniques. A professional keeps up with new developments in everything from lenses and cameras to font design and animation trends—all to know the best equipment and techniques to tell your story with impact.
  3. Releases—There are Rights of Privacy and Rights of Publicity to consider—among others—when doing a photo shoot, even when it is on your own company’s property. A professional photographer or video producer will know what releases are needed for your project.
  4. Liability— Professionals carry liability insurance to cover any property damage during your photo or video shoot.
  5. Gear — Professionals have the right equipment to get your job done, even if there are variables like a sunny day turning cloudy, or a sudden change of location (which may change the lighting and sound environment).
  6. Efficiency— Professionals are experienced at working in “real world” environments, and will know how to design the shoot for minimal disruption at your workplace or event.
  7. Budget – Professionals document the scope and cost of each job. They work to stay on budget and inform you immediately if a change will alter the price.
  8. Copyright— Professionals understand copyright law and how it impacts the use of images and music. Ignoring these laws can cost you much more than the price of your professional hire.
  9. Customer Focus— Professionals treat you, your staff, your vendors and your clients with courtesy and respect.
  10. Deadlines — Professionals meet deadlines.

Thanks to the American Society of Media Photographers website for inspiring this post with their great list.

 

© Amy DeLouise and Amy’s Brand Buzz, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Amy DeLouise and Amy’s Brand Buzz blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  Video content may be copyrighted by others and may not be used without written authorization. Seriously.

Video Messaging Best Practices

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  1.   Connect Your Videos to Your Brand. That doesn’t mean you have to mention your organization or company every 10 seconds in your next web video. In fact, studies show that indirectly branded video content goes viral at a faster rate. But the stories you create should still be meaningful and connected to your overall brand story. If the video lives somewhere other than your website, such as Vimeo or YouTube, be sure you have some kind of tag and call to action at the end, so people know how to reach you/donate to you/take action on your issue.
  2. Know Your Target Audience. Think about sub-demographics and what kinds of content appeal to them.   Also consider the viewing environment for the video. One size doesn’t fit all, so plan ahead to create multiple versions of your content that are most appropriate for each target and viewing situation. If your story has multiple parts/levels, consider breaking into smaller pieces and placing the content with different headings, links, and keywords in order to attract the right audience.
  3. Invest Now for More Rewards Later. Many organizations make the mistake of thinking that if something is going to appear on the web, it can be produced on a shoestring because it’s a one-use item.  To the contrary, every penny you spend should be powerful, credible, and the source material can be useful downstream. But only if you’ve bothered to a) create it at a decent quality, and b) organize it so that more than one editor/producer can find what they need.  Having transcriptions made of interviews and keeping the PDF’s with the footage is very helpful. So is tagging all “b-roll” with keywords of time, location, and content.
  4. Shorter is Usually Better. In live event or conference environment, audiences can enjoy videos of 5-8 minutes in length. When viewing your video on the web, in a tiny box–most likely while it is competing with other content on the screen–a viewer will only tolerate 1-2 minutes of content. Mobile web viewers actually can be willing to watch content for longer, presumably because they are “stuck” using a mobile device rather than a larger screen. Either way, make every second count, using visuals, music, audio, graphics–everything at your disposal–to make a message with impact.
  5. Measure Impact. Speaking of impact, measure it! So many organizations produce video content without a handle on whether or not it is effective. Plan a way to find out. It could be counting how many venues you can locate posts with a link to your video. It could be a short email survey to a random sampling of people who received your web link via email. At live events, you can ask people to use a hashtag to tweet something about your content. Or you can drill down into data already provided by You Tube, Google, or other online services.  Number of hits is less relevant than what viewers DID after viewing your video.

Ask the Right Questions to Create Web Video with Impact

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With YouTube now the second most-used search engine, plus the exponential rise of mobile web and convergence technologies, organizations realize that producing video content is as important as updating the website. Here are a few key questions you need to answer to be sure your video has impact.

1.  How does the video fit with your brand? You have a great story—someone touched by your organization, or some important piece of information that needs to be disseminated to the public, a hilarious short video sure to get loads of follows. Great. But how does it fit into your overall brand plan? Will your name or the name of a particular product/service be mentioned? Do you want people to take some kind of action, linked to a new product roll-out or campaign? Are you trying to promote organizational recognition? Gain new supporters? Engage the existing ones?  What will support the video content? (i.e. direct mail and/or email campaigns to drive traffic?)  Will there be other lives for this content (see #4)?

2.  Do you know your target audience? Or, as often happens, do you have too many audiences for this video and need to break it up into multiple streams of content?  Think about sub-demographics and what kinds of content appeal to them.   If your story has multiple parts/levels, consider breaking into smaller pieces and placing the content with different headings/links in order to attract the right audience.  If your story has multiple parts or levels of detail, consider breaking into smaller pieces and placing the content with different headings/links in order to attract the right audience.

3.  Can you afford what you need? Can you afford not to produce this well? It’s like what your mother once told you about buying a dining room set–buy the best you can because you want it to last. Many organizations make the mistake of thinking that if something is going to appear on the web, it can be produced on a shoestring because it’s a one-use item.  To the contrary, every penny you spend should be powerful, credible, and the source material should be useful in multiple ways. For example, if you have an interview-driven story, outtakes can be used for other projects. So can the background footage (“b-roll”). My personal preference is to shoot high definition, widescreen video because it makes a bigger impact when it is compressed for the web, since it degrades less.  But whatever your format, a polished production, professionally produced, will also allow you to “multi-purpose” the end-product more reliably, pulling parts for your website, your intranet, an email campaign, or a large-screen projection at a major donor event.   Many organizations have effectively teamed their in-house capabilities with outside vendors to achieve both cost efficiencies and good quality.

4.  Is it short enough? I produce a lot of short form projects for live event venues, but these are not short enough for the web, where the average drop-off comes after 90 seconds. When watching an event production, the audience is engaged together, with a common mission and few distractions. When someone watches your video on their laptop, desktop or mobile device, chances are there are other distractions in the room.   So make every second count. That means using visuals, music, audio, graphics–everything at your disposal–to make a message with impact.  And then cut the length in half.

5.  Are you prepared to measure impact? So many organizations throw video on the web and then have no real method for measuring its impact beyond views.  What is the drop-off rate? Where does it happen? Where do people go next after viewing? Do they return? If you can’t answer these questions, you’re losing valuable insights to help you refine your approach the next time.

Join me for social media and video production workshops at NAB/Las Vegas.