Don’t Drop The Ball After Your Event

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]After a successful virtual event, Iona Senior Services wanted to maintain those special relationships that are more easily built during in-person events. 522 collaborated on a post-event thank you video that expressed the people inside the organization and their passion for the mission and the community.

Great!

You promoted your event and drove registration – check!
You increased engagement in your community through the event – check!
You worked your butt off, measured your outcomes, celebrated your success, captured your lessons learned, and now you… wait until next year?

Ummmmm…. No.

Your organization’s hard work has built momentum with an interested and even further engaged audience. CAPITALIZE! Post-event promotions help you increase your efficiency for future events and keep the conversation going through your online content.

Now that your top of mind for your attendees, let them know you appreciate them, double down on that initial promise you made to get them to attend, and encourage ongoing interaction.[/vc_column_text][vc_tta_accordion][vc_tta_section title=”Let your audience know how grateful you are for their engagement.” tab_id=”1596748264537-555d1963-3a47″][vc_column_text]With anything online, you still can miss that human-to-human interaction. With the right video, you can at least convey the emotional part of that interaction. Show your appreciation for attendees, show the excitement the speakers or participants shared on a topic, or just play some of the funny moments that everyone can laugh at as new inside jokes for your community event.

A few different video approaches that can help you get there include:

  • Testimonials
  • Highlight reels
  • Thank you videos

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Double down on the benefits promise you made to encourage attendance” tab_id=”1596748264558-6fc09ccf-e35c”][vc_column_text]Go back to your pre-event promotional messaging. Delivering on the promises made to initially capture your audiences’ interest is key to ever getting their attention again. Of course your event was stellar and it provided all the great information that your audience wanted from it! Let’s just make that clear and easy to remember. It’s like branding – the more you hear it and see it, the more you will remember and keep it in mind.

Think about the benefits you promised.

Was it to network and engage with industry leaders around a certain topic? Share some of the event highlights, Q&A action, or thank your speakers and sponsors with the highlights.

Was it to train an audience on your platform or services? Remind them of the key success factors through a tutorial-type clip.

Was it to gather donations and build awareness for your mission? A success video can make your participants feel good about their support and possibly even share and advocate.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Encourage ongoing interaction within the community” tab_id=”1596748350187-f03d8c91-5aea”][vc_column_text]So no one is walking out of your online event with a bag of pamphlets, stress balls, selfie-sticks, pens, and water bottles. And you probably already have that post-event email scheduled (if it’s not already out) with all the attachments and follow-up material. Don’t both of those things feel kind of the same? A lot of information that you might go back to at one point, but then get too busy with what’s next to dig through the goodies again?

Remember how you initially captured the attention of your audience to get them to participate in the event? They’re still there! Through the event, you have created so much content that can be enhanced, animated, and bite-sized. Keep the conversation going and build on that.

A few different video approaches that can help you achieve this include:

  • Online Resource promo videos (landing pages, downloadable material, contact information, etc)
  • Social Series clips
  • Case Studies and Testimonials

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Driving Registration for Your Event (3-Step Plan)

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]522 collaborated with Iona Senior Services to prepare their annual giving luncheon that would have been in person if not for the pandemic. It was a new journey for both IONA Senior Services and their potential supporters. By providing an emotional appeal with examples of real-life experiences provided through services, we created an invitation to join and help.

Driving registration for your organization’s event might be considered the most daunting task when it comes to event planning. Your organization might have a great message but if nobody is there to receive it, what’s the point?

As a Video Production Agency, our primary goal is to create content that stands out amid all of the content in the world and resonates with your audience in a way that drives action. Simply put, when it comes to driving registration through video, we’ve got your back.

SO – what messages should you share with your audience to drive registration? Here’s our 3-step plan that we handle with our clients to help you make it happen.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_tta_accordion][vc_tta_section title=”Step 1: Leverage your existing channels to engage with your audience. ” tab_id=”1596747249859-06b2bf8a-c821″][vc_column_text]Where and how does your audience currently engage with your organization? Do you engage through newsletters, social media, webpages, table hosts, podcasts, sponsors, regional events? When it comes to driving registration (or even general marketing) it’s important to remember that every channel that you leverage has a purpose, a message, and specific audience. Knowing this information helps you take and distribute content in the right way, through the relevant communication channels, and with the most effective calls to action.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Step 2: Curate messages so that they resonate and incentivize your target audience to attend. ” tab_id=”1596747249893-75a46c79-532a”][vc_column_text]Now that you understand your distribution channels, goals, and target audiences, it’s important to craft messages that resonate. Remember, every person is struggling for time and your organization is always competing with other events, priorities, and messages. Define what success for your audience is and make sure they understand the benefits for attending your event.

Highlight Your Content
Plan in advance how you intend to promote your content across the different channels for the relevant audience segments.

Before Your Event Promotions: To drive registration through video
Sometimes the social events and location help to drive the registration for in-person events. When moving to a virtual event, you will need to be more clear about the event approach so that it’s not overwhelming or confusing for the audience. Get them comfortable with your new event approach.

Promoting the valuable content will become the key to success. How will your attendee benefit from participating? Pre-event teasers to highlight the content and pitch the incentives can help you communicate the right information to make an impact on registration. Examples video styles for this can include

  • Event promos
  • CEO message
  • Social teasers
  • Animated explainers
  • Landing page promos

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Step 3: Create Active Momentum Ahead of the Event” tab_id=”1596747375441-7e7d7581-ac1a”][vc_column_text]Now that you’ve captured your audiences’ attention across your different communication channels, get them to participate in relevant ways. When you already have an active community base, taking one more step to register and then actually attend becomes less of a hurdle for the participant and more predictable for your organization. Here are just a few ways you can think about facilitating some engagement ahead of the actual event:

  • Polls that may help capture baseline understanding and interest in featured session topics
  • Surveys about what factors within a topic your audience would like to dive deeper into within a session
  • Facilitated live Q&A sessions with a content provider, speaker, or sponsor

These options can be leveraged across any platform. All social platforms are built for engagement through chats, forums, and even live video. Not only can this help increase interest in the topic itself, it can gain excitement from the speakers and spark the initial action on the audiences’ part that will result in momentum on engaging with your brand within the context of your upcoming event.

Ultimately, there’s a lot to consider across all phases of an event. Make sure you’re getting the support and guidance you need from your partners.

Want to chat? Let’s do it![/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][/vc_tta_accordion][/vc_column][/vc_row]

New Event Landscape

[vc_row el_id=”next”][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Water Environment Federation converted the largest conference for water professionals in North America, WEFTEC, to a virtual format, WEFTEC Connect. 522 collaborated with WEF to create an event teaser with one goal – drive registration among their audience. We used an approach that included imagery, music, scripting, and animation, to help remind the viewer of energy within rushing water itself.

Over the course of the year, organizations have adapted to a seemingly never-ending set of new challenges. In an effort to adapt and move their businesses forward, we’ve seen a tremendous shift in the reliance of virtual marketing, resources, and events.

For many organizations, events have served an integral role in achieving their annual strategic initiatives. Whether these events help to raise funds, build relationships, cultivate opportunities, recruit students, or share significant highlights for your communities, it’s important to consider the new event landscape and possibilities as you adapt and create new strategies to push forward through new challenges.

Below, we’ve outlined the top 5 factors to consider as your organization plans for their next event:[/vc_column_text][vc_tta_accordion][vc_tta_section title=”The Virtual Possibilities” tab_id=”1596745328754-46369906-ca10″][vc_column_text]With the increased reliance on virtual events and hybrid events (includes both virtual and live components), it’s important to understand that virtual elements (in some capacity) are here to stay. Here’s why:

  • 80% of people attend virtual events for educational purposes
  • 78% of planners are taking their events virtual
  • 1000% increase on virtual events since mid-March

The inclusion of virtual elements for events world-wide has become an immediate opportunity to engage with a larger audience (described below) and has allowed for organizations to focus on the content of the event. With in-person events, promotions often centered on the location or social components. Now, not only should you focus on the content itself but also the incentives for your audience to attend. How will they benefit from attending your event?[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Facilitating Engagements” tab_id=”1596745328784-a61b7083-eb36″][vc_column_text]One of the greatest benefits to a virtual event or a hybrid event is the new ability to engage with a wider audience. With in-person only events, the registration will be dependent on schedules, travel, time-off, and other challenges that could prevent someone from attending. With virtual components of the events, such as resource libraries or online sessions, folks have more of an opportunity to work around those challenges and not only attend your event but engage through the whole process. For example, when you’re promoting your event, you should consider those that might not have been able to attend but now can be a newly engaged member of your target audience. Additionally, virtual components allow for your audience to remain engaged post-event. With videos, testimonials, resources, libraries, and more, you can keep your audience focused on your content and engaged with your brand.

Don’t forget, many people who attend in-person events are there to network with you and others in your industry. So it’s important to keep that element in mind and help facilitate those types of engagements as well![/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Highlighting Sponsors” tab_id=”1596745421311-f9a3a5a6-8e6f”][vc_column_text]Perhaps the most daunting component of any event is recruiting and managing sponsors. Sponsors can be a truly beneficial element because they help with two very important goals. Raising funds and networking.

Ideas for how to highlight sponsors in a lucrative way through your event

  • Gamification
  • Web Page Promotion
  • Video Teasers for Session Intro/Outros
  • Video Testimonials
  • Sponsored Social After-Events
  • Logo Promotions
  • Sponsor Newsletter and Engagement Ops

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Defining Success” tab_id=”1596745490844-a878f614-3cdd”][vc_column_text]While 45% of marketers use virtual events to drive pipeline, other goals can include:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Generate leads
  • Create and accelerate sales pipeline
  • Drive revenue
  • Retain customers

Before your event, it’s critical to understand the purpose of the event and what metrics you will be using to gauge success. Because success looks different for every event, here are some metrics to consider.

  • Engage and educate prospects
  • Opportunities Created
  • Attendee Satisfaction
  • Deals Closed/Funds Raised
  • Number of Attendees
  • Stay on Budget
  • Social Media Exposure
  • Engagement Metrics

What are we trying to do with this event?
What messaging or themes should we consider?
How will this event benefit the company 3-6 months from now?
How much budget and internal resources are required to execute on this event?
Who needs to be involved in the planning/promotion process?
What agenda would appeal most to our audience?
What kind of speakers/presenters do we need? Should we consider customers?
Will this be a customer event? Prospect only? Or mix?[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Maximizing ROI” tab_id=”1596745600442-10f460cc-96e9″][vc_column_text]

  • Event Registration Process
  • Appointment Scheduling
  • Video Technology
  • Pre-Recorded Events v. Live
  • Technology and Integrations
  • Event Website
  • Resources
  • Testimonials
  • Recorded Sessions
  • Desired Outcomes
  • Event Partners (ex: Video Production)

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3 Myths We’ve Heard about the Cost of Producing a Video

Often times folks newer to video think that because we have a ton of higher profile brands on our website, that they won’t be able to afford us. That’s not certainly not the case, but it is certainly a common concern. I mean, considering that the average Super Bowl ad costs $5.5 million, it’s no wonder our clients fear the cost of video.

I’m not here to tell you that video is cheap, but the good news is that the old way of thinking – that video is crazy expensive – is quickly becoming outdated. Investing in good video production for your company can be just as affordable as investing in any other marketing solution. It simply depends on your needs and who you partner with to create the video content that puts your brand on the map.

We figured that since many of us are consistently debunking the myths about the cost of a video, we thought we’d take a second to address some of those misconceptions head on.

522 Productions

Myth #1: “Video is Expensive!”
Let’s start here. The cost of video production is similar to the cost of buying a car, it all depends on your needs. Often it comes down to how much you need your video production company to take off your plate. Unfortunately, creating a proposal is simply not a one-size-fits-all pricing model.

To better understand what can drive the prices of video production up, let’s take a look at the factors that influence price. We’ll break those down in terms of the different phases of a typical video project.

  • Pre-Production: Think about who’s developing the actual content of the video (the script), as well as who is going to be in it (Talent) and where you’re filming (location). If you’re using your team and filming at your location, that can help keeps costs down.
  • Production: Think about whether or not you want an animated video or live action. What makes the most sense for your story? If you’re filming your own material, make sure you go in with a clear purpose. Same goes for creating animated video. Make sure you know what you want to produce prior to developing the graphics.
  • Post Production:
    Biggest consideration is usually time, but just because you want a :30 video, doesn’t mean it’s going to be cheap. But shorter videos can save your budget… and if the message is right – engages your audience far more effectively. Another thing to consider is how much content your team has to sift through during the edit. A tight script helps saves time in Post Production.

Don’t get me wrong, even by addressing all of the thoughts above, you can still develop a crazy expensive video. But it doesn’t have to be.

Myth #2: “My phone takes amazing videos… Video Should be crazy cheap”
The way you feel about watching your brother-in-law’s shaky vacation footage from the cruise he went on last year, is the same way consumers feel about watching your company’s recruitment video filmed on the marketing coordinator’s iPhone. Bored, a little sick, and annoyed that you are wasting time watching a pointless video.

When you pay for a professional production company to create video for your brand, you are investing in the full process of research, writing, editing, and distribution. So to debunk this myth, good video production will never be free.

Myth #3: “All Proposals are Created Equal”
When potential clients approach 522 Productions with an RFP, many of them assume all proposals will be comparable in terms of hours, equipment, shooting locations, and editing. I wish that were the case.  

Our Director of Business Development puts it this way: Comparing proposals is like comparing apples to, well… apples. There are over 100 different types of apples, each has different qualities, is grown differently, tastes different, and is harvested differently. The same goes for video proposals – every production company will be looking at your project differently, with a different understanding as to what exactly your project needs. One proposal might include time for script writing, concept development, a second camera, and voice-over narration, while other proposals might not.

If you can, try to compare everything on a level playing field. Get an understanding of what each video production company will provide at each phase of the project.

Here are a few things compare when reviewing proposals:

  • Pre-Production: Concepting; Script Development; Coordination
  • Production: Talent (Actors); Locations; Size of Crew; Number of filming days; Number/type of cameras; type of equipment used
  • Post Production: Number of deliverables; length of video(s) Music; motion graphics

The bottom line is, that every project is unique. Sure, there are many consistencies. But there are a lot of variables, too. Just make sure that you compare quotes equally, otherwise you might not realize how little or how much your production company will provide you.

Want to learn more? Download our ebook on the ROI of video.

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5 Tips to Help You Prepare for Producing a Corporate Video

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]ou get it: corporate video helps you connect with employees, clients, and customers alike. But for whatever reason, the videos your team produces are, well… average at best. But you can’t quite put a finger on the reason why. Sure, some things are out of your control, but let’s take a look at what you can do to get ahead of your next video project and ensure it’s rock solid.

Oftentimes, it comes down to preparation. A little hard work up front pays huge dividends on the back end, ultimately leading to a better and more effective video.

Here are 5 things to consider when preparing to produce your next corporate video:

[/vc_column_text][vc_tta_accordion][vc_tta_section title=”1. Think About Your Target Audience” tab_id=”1599492323965-5d02b9f2-0a96″][vc_column_text]The first step you should take when creating a video is to think about your target audience. Who are you talking to? Is this video meant for C-Suite executives? Customers? Clients? Potential B2B partners or vendors? Employees? What do they care about?

Thinking about the target audience helps you tailor the tone and message of your video to effectively connect. It also helps streamline your Pre-Production (before filming) process.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”2. Find Your Message” tab_id=”1599492323991-33c87b97-d853″][vc_column_text]After you know your target audience, it’s time to think about what actually needs to be said in your video. Is there a clear topic that needs to be addressed? Are you making a company announcement? Is it something you want to teach your audience?

When you understand the message, it’s much easier to put it down on paper during the script-writing and reviewing process. When you’re on set, you want to shoot with a purpose, because it’s much more difficult and time-consuming to figure it out in Post-Production (editing!). Preparing the message ahead of time gives you an outline of what your video, production and post-production process will look like and entail.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”3. Choose The Tone Of Your Video” tab_id=”1599492419555-6089bd33-571d”][vc_column_text]The tone of your video depends mostly on your target audience and your message – they should all interconnect.

For example, if you’re producing a culture video about your company’s hip and trendy downtown office, it’s pretty clear the tone should be energetic and upbeat. The cuts would match the uptempo beat tempo of the music, and there might be some playful animated graphics that highlight some of the key features – your fabulous employees, authentic company initiatives, and maybe even your office snack stash.

By the same token, a video describing the devastating impact a tornado had on a community would start our much more somber, with the music building in aspiration.

Think about what tone is proper for conveying your message to your audience in a tasteful, purposeful manner.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”4. Consider How The Video Will Be Presented To Viewers” tab_id=”1599492456690-ce5aa9e2-7e48″][vc_column_text]How and where you present your corporate video is critical to plan out in Pre-Production. It can determine how you film and what resources you need in Post-Production.

A corporate training video that’s meant only for internal distribution will have a different look, feel and tone than one that’s meant for widespread consumption on platforms like Facebook or YouTube. Internal videos speak to an audience that already knows who you are and what you do. They get the inside jokes and know the company’s core values inside & out. You can skip over your brand anthem & use graphics to visually engage with your employee base & keep them focused on your important message.

An external video, on the other hand, might have to spend more time bringing the viewer up to speed before launching into anything of substance. You’ll want to teach new audience members about you first to hook them into learning more.

Think about the environment they’ll watch them in, as well. Will they be at a desktop? Is that desktop at work or home? Will they need headphones? Will they watch it in an event space? Will they be able to hear?

Take the time to think about the platform upon which your corporate video will be distributed, and how that should inform your production choices.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”5. Partnership Goes Both Ways” tab_id=”1599492536355-b7e9c069-390e”][vc_column_text]You’ve hired a stellar video production team… but your video is still only to be as good as the work you’re willing to put into it too.

They should be asking you a lot of questions – about your company’s goals and objectives, the project, your team, distribution, etc. to determine the video strategy and video concepts they prepare for you. Make sure you’re there for them too!

Provide them the information that they need and come ready to have conversations about your target audience’s wants and needs. The production company – if they’re smart – should never complain that you’ve given them too much information. Just make sure that the information is relevant to the project & your brand.

If you’re not going to be the primary point of contact for them throughout the project lifecycle, designate someone who will be. Find someone who can answer their questions, and collect the information that they need – like employee backgrounds or branding guidelines.

Consider these points the next time you identify a corporate video need within your organization. Don’t want to do it alone? Reach out to us![/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][/vc_tta_accordion][/vc_column][/vc_row]

A Producer’s Perspective: What’s the most important phase of any video project?

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

I try and take Benjamin Franklin’s reminder into consideration with any undertaking — personal or professional, big or small. Of course, the higher the stakes, the more important the planning process becomes. If I sign up for a 50-mile race without following a carefully-planned training plan, I’m either going to not finish, or seriously injure myself, or both. If I try to start my own business and don’t bother to do research or write a business plan, my dream will probably end before it even gets off the ground.

What about video production? Chances are, if a business or organization has put a lot of time and money behind the decision to create a video — whether it’s for marketing, internal training, education or another purpose — there would be some level of consequence if the video did not achieve the level of success that the business or organization had hoped.

By now, my point that planning is important, is clear. But here are three specific reasons why I believe pre-production is the most important phase in any video project.

video-editor

Consolidate the vision

One of my first steps in pre-production is to get to know you. I want to understand how and why you made the decision to create a video in the first place; what event or thought process sparked the initial discussion; what you need to happen as a result of this video; what you like about particular videos; and even what you don’t like about other videos.

Getting to know you as a client as best I can is extremely important to me. It’s from learning all this information that I am then able to work with our creative team to develop a customized creative concept (or two or three) that we feel best accomplishes your goals. My hope going into any concept presentation is that, because we have done all the necessary research and pre-production up to this point, we will walk away with a clear concept with which everybody is happy and ready to move forward.

Ensure a smooth shoot

If I were a wedding planner, I wouldn’t tell everyone to show up in the morning and then hope for the best. There are a lot of moving parts performing different roles at different places at different times of the day, and if the day’s not carefully planned, then there’s a myriad of ways the day could end up — few or none of which would be ideal.

The same goes for the day of video production. Everyone on the crew has a different role, and as soon as everyone arrives, I want every person to know exactly where he or she should be and what he or she is responsible for, from where and when to set up equipment and where interviews will be conducted, to what time we’re eating lunch and where to get parking validated. It’s not that I don’t like answering questions; it’s that I want to make sure I anticipate every question that could be asked and answer those questions prior to the day of the shoot.

video-mood-board

Save time

If given the the option to spend more time in pre-production or post-production, my choice will always be the former. Spending more time in pre-production ensures the most efficient use of time in post-production.

Think of it like building a shed. You have differently-shaped pieces of wood, different types of screws, some tools, and a picture in your head of how you think all the pieces should come together. But what happens when you think you’re done, only to realize you forgot to actually level the ground first. You have to start all over, and it takes twice as long than it would have if you took the time to develop careful instructions and make sure you had all the right tools in place.

With video, you can have all the right pieces, but without at least an initial plan to put it together, there’s no strong foundation on which the story can stand.

Happy planning!

Ready to put your videos to work? Download this easy guide to explore the world of effective B2B Marketing.

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A Producer’s Perspective: 3 Things to Know About the Day of the Shoot

Shoot day is one of my favorite parts of the entire video process. Being on-set getting to interact with the client, working with the creative team and watching them do what they do best, conducting interviews and executing the vision we’ve worked so hard on developing is, yes, hard work, but exciting, rewarding and just plain fun.

While I work with the client to develop a schedule that works for all parties and communicate expectations for the day, there are a few things that I’ve observed often come as a surprise. In this post, I’ll talk about a few of those observations, with the hope that when shoot day rolls around, you’ll be as least surprised as possible (except in the best possible way).

pictures-on-a-window

1. Setting up is a process

Capturing footage — whether it be one interview or a day full of interviews and b-roll — is no easy task; it’s much more than showing up with a couple of cameras and pressing “record.”

From the creative side, there’s lighting to consider; maybe the sun is too harsh that day, or maybe the clouds are casting a dark shadow over the set — what lights do we need to set up to help compensate? Maybe we’re set up in a really nice conference room, but the paint color makes the subject look washed-out — how can we move or rearrange the set-up?

From my side of things, there’s also logistics to consider. Maybe the building we’re filming at requires our crew to unload gear at the loading dock and bring gear up through a freight elevator, which requires us to contact a security person ahead of time to come let us in and escort us through the building. Often times, the only close place to park is in a parking garage, but our van with the gear exceeds the clearance height — then what?

Yes, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered prior to the day of production, and I assure you that we will do our best to anticipate every single one of these questions. However, it’s these behind-the-scenes questions we’re finding solutions for that do add to the process of production way before we even start to press “record.”

reading-scripts

2. There will be interruptions

Interruptions are inevitable. This is particularly true if we are filming in the city.

“I’m sorry to interrupt you — that was a great answer — but we have to wait for this siren to pass,” is something you will most likely hear at least once during the day.

There will be sirens, loud trucks, construction projects and cars honking that we may need to pause for in order to capture the cleanest audio quality possible.

While noises from public areas are beyond our control, it is our job to minimize or prevent the noises that we can control. A big thing to anticipate is whether the location at which we’re filming has a loud A/C unit; just the sound of a fan or air blowing out of a vent can, in fact, be disruptive. If we’re filming in a location where there’s people working or walking about, or in a room that’s adjacent to a busy parking lot, it’s often a good idea to send an e-mail out ahead of time and/or make signs to post on walls and doors.

For example, I remember at one shoot, our designated interview location was right next to an elevator. The constant “ding ding” of course prolonged the interview; had I spent more time scouting out other location options, we could have had a much more efficient, less disruptive interview. Lesson learned.

3. We’ll ask you to do another take. And another. And another.

Say we’re on a shoot that requires some staged b-roll, such as having the talent play an instrument, type at a computer or simply walk down a hallway. If the talent performs the action perfectly the first time, we will undoubtedly ask him or her to do it again. Or if we’re recording a scripted voiceover, and the person speaking does a wonderful job the first time, we will ask him or her to record it again. And most likely again.

The reason we do multiple takes isn’t necessarily because something wasn’t done well or captured well the first time. The reason we do multiple takes is because in the editing process, you never want to have a thought that starts with, “I wish we would have.” We like options to cut between and edit together and to make sure we include just the right visual at just the right time.

So maybe we record your voiceover two more times, but this time, let’s have you do one take with a slower pace and speak as if you were giving a speech, and let’s have you do another take with a faster pace and more conversational tone. Or maybe we’re filming you doing as simple as working at a computer, but for a second take, let’s have you type, take your hands off the keys, sit back to review your work, and continue typing. The point is, we like options. And hey, it’s all part of the fun of shoot day.

Before you Start a Video, Start with Questions

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]As the Chief Creative Officer at 522, I’ve often been the first person a new client speaks with before starting a project. In fact, one of the best parts of my day involves working with our sales and marketing team to navigate these early conversations – because I enjoy learning about new companies, new marketing initiatives and new stories. What can I say, I simply get excited to start video projects.

Why Questions Should Be the First Step to Creating a Video

Recently, I’ve noticed a trend with some of the introductory phone calls we get with clients. Rather than starting with a general list of requirements or a high-level objective, customers already seem to have a concept in place. This concept is sometimes a reaction to a competitor’s video. Or, it’s a derivative of a viral video on Youtube.

Although it’s awesome to have an inspiration and a concept, this can sometimes lead a company down the wrong path. Or, at a minimum, it limits the options available. In order to get the most out of your video and tell the best story, you should start the video production process by asking the right questions.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”5466″ img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]

The Most Important Questions to Consider Before Starting a Video

Questions are very important to the storytelling process. It’s helpful to ask certain questions before contacting a production company or even during the discovery process. Here’s a series of my favorite questions that I like to use in order to understand a client’s requirements and kickoff a project.

Before you start a project, ask yourself these questions?

  • How would I describe my target audience?
  • What are the attributes of my target audience (age, sex, profession, job title, etc.)?
  • Who is buying my product/service and why?
  • What perception does my audience have before watching the video? Am I trying to change perceptions or reinforce existing perceptions?
  • What type of tone has been successful for me in the past? Has humor worked? What about emotion?
  • What types of marketing materials have resonated with my audience in the past? Are these strategies in line with my objectives?
  • What challenges do my customers face?
  • What action do I want the viewer to take after watching the video?
  • In what context where will the viewer watch the video? Will it be featured on my company’s homepage? On social media? Seen at an event?
  • How will I determine if the video is successful? What are the key performance indicators?
  • What is the budget? What is the return on investment I am targeting?

Summary

Overall, I think it’s important to start with questions. By asking questions within your team and working through the answers with a production company, you can be confident with the story’s direction. Introductory questions and the resulting conversations ultimately help to define your audience and create a compelling story. By taking the time in the beginning to ask these internal questions you will have a clear idea of the goals of your video and how to best achieve success.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

522 Video Questions No. 6 – Can I Change the Scope of My Video?

You can always change the scope of your video. Sometimes your team will be able to pull it off without a worry in the world. However, sometimes, it won’t be free and easy. The real factor is going to be how and when you decide to make changes. I’m going to get into a few different scenarios and how they affect your project.

Scope Change Before Pre-Production

It’s towards the start of your video project. Let’s say you agreed to do a lifestyle video. You want to have some voiceover with great b-roll shot over the course of two days… but you just got out of a meeting with the CEO. She feels that the best message within the video would be for your clients to hear her talk about the direction of the company – interview-style. A completely different plan than what was budgeted for and discussed initially.

Luckily you haven’t had any meetings with your video production company yet. No kickoff meeting and nothing has been booked. In this situation, you should be able to call your point of contact and have a scope discussion. Two things will come out of this – your POC should try to fit your new scope within your budget or will have to recommend a new budget based on your new requirements.

Outcome: This one shouldn’t be that big of a deal, because the work hasn’t really taken off yet. Hopefully you can figure out a way to settle it without adding dollars, but either way, at least you’re not going to be paying for work that isn’t going to be used.

Scope Change After Pre-Production

Let’s say you’ve gone through your concepting meetings with your video partner, you’ve developed a schedule, booked locations, etc. and NOW your CEO decides to make the change.

Well, this is when things start to get a little hairy. Your video team has spent time developing story boards or mood boards, figuring out the concept and spent a sizable portion of your budget. If you change concepts now, a lot (or all) of the work put in so far could have been all-for-not.

Outcome: Here is where your video team needs to get crafty. Maybe your Producer finds a way to shift funds from post-production into another round of pre-production or maybe you drop a member of the crew. However, most likely you’re going to have to put an addendum into place and add some work.

Scope Change After Filming

Well, as you can imagine, this is probably the worst place to have a scope change. As a team, we’ve gone through all of pre-production, booked and paid for a crew as well as equipment and now your CEO has decided that she doesn’t like the direction of the video.

Outcome: You have a couple options here. My biggest piece of advice – take the footage and figure out something you can do with it. You can set voiceover and use the footage as b-roll. If it’s already that lifestyle piece and you want an interview, then try to book a half-day shoot to just get the interview.

Long story shoot, put some of what you’ve captured to use. It’s always okay to add, just don’t throw it all away. If you’re working with a good company, you should be able to use what you’ve captured, even if you’re changing gears. Stay the course. You’ve come too far.

Scope Change During Post-Production

So you’ve seen the first cut of the video and decide that you don’t think it has what your audience wants. You start second-guessing your decision to go doc-style versus showing fast cars and athletes. My advice here – don’t second guess yourself. You made a decision for a reason. Stick with it.

Outcome: If you need some more footage added in, your video partner should have access to stock footage or have some things backlogged that they can add. Worst case scenario, finish up this video, add a couple of things here and there, and get started on another one while you find out whether or not your video is successful. You are probably overthinking it!

You Can Always Add

Don’t forget that you can always add on to a project. You want more camera angles, more interviews, more days of shooting, more cuts of the video, new cuts to the video. Just ask! Your video partner shouldn’t ever be too busy to do more work for you and if they are… well then call us!

A Producer’s Perspective: 3 Top Tips for Preparing for Your First Video project

So you’ve taken the first step and decided that you want to create a video. You’ve reached out to a reputable video production company and are ready to get started. Now what?

Managing your first video project can be both exciting and terrifying, exhilarating and confusing. In order to minimize the terrifying and confusing aspects, I will discuss my three top tips for preparing for your first video project. My hope is that by listening to these tips, you will enter your first video project feeling prepared and confident and will be able to work proactively, rather than reactively, throughout the video lifecycle, in order to help obtain optimal results.

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1. Know your 5 W’s

You should ideally be able to identify these ‘5 W’s prior to the official kick-off meeting. Even though every kick-off meeting is different, based on the client and the type of project, below are some common topics that you should be prepared to discuss:

  • Who your primary and secondary target audience is: If possible, be able to describe a persona that represents your target audience, including age range, gender, income level, etc. We want to know as much as possible about the people who will be watching this video, in order for us to tailor the messaging so that the video speaks directly to and resonates with them.
  • What your primary objective is: It is important to differentiate between the objective and the method of achieving that objective. Another way to think of this question is to ask yourself what end result you would like to see from the video. Should this video persuade people to buy your product or service? Apply to work at your company? Donate money to your cause? Think about what action this video should inspire, and we can craft the video to be the catalyst.
  • Where you want to use the video: The reason for asking this question is that different types of videos are better suited to different channels. Is this video for an event where attendees will be in their seats watching a screen? Or will this video be used primarily for social media? If it’s the latter, you run the risk of losing viewers on the web who are easily distracted, in which case a short snappy video may be your best bet. If it’s the former, it’s more likely you can show a longer video — perhaps a documentary-style video — since the viewers are already in their seats and have their eyes on your screen.
  • When you need this video completed: Our project lifecycle is typically in the 8-12 week range; however, sometimes a video request is more urgent and needs to be completed within a month or even a couple of weeks. If you have a hard deadline, communicating that to us is crucial to our team so that we can be prepared to dedicate sufficient time and resources. If you don’t have a hard deadline but would like the video as soon as possible, let us know that as well, and we will work with you to identify a deadline and develop a schedule that works for everyone.
  • Why you want to use video to tell the story: Think about why you’ve chosen to use video as your method of communication. Why not communicate your message in an article or blog post, or in an e-mail or whitepaper? The answer should simply be that your message or story will be most effectively told through visuals, which leads me to another tip — when deciding what messages to include and leave out of the video, think about what information is essential to the visual story and what information can instead supplement the video through the written word. Focus on the visual story at hand.

2. Be prepared with examples

Think about videos you’ve seen recently — commercials on TV, viral videos on Facebook, movie trailers, anything — and ask yourself what specifically you liked (or didn’t like) about them. Did you like the tone of the music? Was the pacing too slow? Were there graphics that you found informative and engaging? Did you like the combination of still photography and video?

Most people know whether they like or don’t like a video, but few people are able to describe why. When preparing for your first video project, I recommend searching for various videos and then performing the same exercise as above. Be prepared to share a few different video examples and highlight features you’d like to see in your video. To get started, take a look at some of 522’s work on our website.

3. Anticipate next steps

After the kick-off meeting, I typically explain that the next step in the process is for the 522 team to discuss the information that we learned and use it to develop the Production Package. A common I hear from clients at this step is, “What can I do to help in the meantime?”

My advice is to 1) Communicate kick-off meeting notes to your team’s key stakeholders so that all involved parties are on the same page; and 2) Send as much information as possible that pertains to your company and the goal of your video — everything from your company’s brand guidelines/logos and background information on potential interviewees, to photos of potential filming locations and upcoming dates on which you’ll be out of town. To me, the pre-production phase is the most important because, as they say, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”; the more time we spend communicating in pre-production, the more efficiently everyone will be able to work during production and post-production. Seriously — the more information we have, the better.

6 things to remember when developing your next training video

Whether it’s safety training or a specific process that you want to relay to your employees, you have most likely put a lot of thought into your training video production needs. You probably even have your training information in order and you just need to start shooting your video. But, wait. There are some things you should consider about the video production first. Many training videos fall short because some important issues are not considered during production.

Before you begin, don’t forget to consider these elements when producing your training video:

  1. Assess Existing Training Materials
    Assessing your employees’ training needs is usually the first step when developing a training video. Just because you’re developing a brand new video, doesn’t necessarily mean that the existing material should be thrown away. Before getting too far with concepting and script development, it’s important to do an analysis of the existing training materials. During the review, determine what is and is not useful.
  2. Relate to Your Audience
    One of the most important things about video is the ability to relate to your audience. And, for the most part, your audience is never a single person. So, don’t assume that your audience has limited knowledge. On the hand, don’t gloss over topics that may require explanation either. Overall, you should consider presenting your information in a way that is applicable to slightly different knowledge levels. If you find a large gap in the awareness levels of the audience, then you may want to develop different types of videos.
  3. Avoid Focusing on the Negative
    If people remember seeing someone doing something dangerous, then that’s what they will remember. This point can be crucial when producing a safety video. When improper techniques are presented at all, they should be followed by a clear explanation of what should be done instead. You want to emphasize the right way to do things, rather than what not to do.
  4. Cast Your Presenter or Speaker….Carefully
    Actors, narrators, and presenters can provide another dimension to your video and keep the information interesting. They can instruct employees on what to do and say, especially if you have a business involving regular face-to-face interaction with customers. Using actors is also helpful for safety training and for demonstrating interpersonal relations skills. At the end of the day, it is important to find a presenter or speaker who relates to the audience (see point #2 above).
  5. Use a Mix of Visual Elements
    Let’s face it. Training content isn’t always the most exciting material to cover. In addition, the audience normally expects a traditional approach. So, in order to keep the audience engaged, it can be helpful to integrate a variety of visual elements. Keep the video interesting by switching between text, graphics, on-camera talent, etc. Training material can be delivered effectively with a balance of contextual information, people interacting, and relevant graphics and statistics.
  6. Encourage a Conversation
    Don’t let everyone run out of the room as soon as the video ends. After a training video is finished, it’s important to follow-up with a conversation. An engaged audience has more to offer after an effective training video. Encourage viewers to share their own experiences and insights. If the training video is distributed online, then build a forum or share a blog post to enable comments.

Summary
So, that outlines some key considerations for beginning a training video. And, if you’re wondering how to get started with any type of video production, we’ve got you covered there too.

Now that you’re ready to make an effective training video, be sure to download our guide to B2B Marketing. This guide explores helpful tactics to take your business marketing to the next level.

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522 Video Questions – No. 3 – Should I Share My Video Budget?

Let’s start here:

In a study done by CEB, 67% of the buying decision is complete before the customer calls a company. And, even if this number isn’t that high, customers are still educating themselves much more now during the buying process. Essentially, the age of the ripoff is over…thanks to the internet and the power of information.

With the use of the web, a buyer can compare price points, look at quality and even make decisions without ever talking to a sales rep. So, with that said, you should absolutely share your budget with the video production companies you are thinking of using.

But, why?

Without sharing your budget, you force the video production companies to guess as to what you’re looking for. An “About Us” video could cost $5k or $100k and both could be great for your specific objectives. It really depends on what you, as the customer, are looking to spend and what you find of value.

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Let’s use an example:

Mary of ABC Software wants a case study video. She goes to five video production companies and doesn’t disclose her budget, but rather asks, “Can you tell me what you think this would cost?” Mary doesn’t want the companies to just go based off of her number, she wants to see what they can provide. Completely understandable.

Well, here’s the issue. Mary is now going to be comparing guesses from five companies. One company thinks Mary’s company, based on what they’ve seen in her industry, warrants a $50k budget. Two companies feel that ABC Software’s requirements don’t warrant a larger project budget for this case study and quote Mary at $5k and then the final two companies fall within the $10k – $20k mark.

Mary’s budget was $12k and now she only has two companies to evaluate from. The $5k quote was missing some key requirements and the $50k budget didn’t make sense.

Conversely, had Mary told all five companies, “My budget is $12k. I would like to see samples of work you’ve done at that clip and also what I can get with that budget” then Mary would have had five companies to evaluate from. They all would’ve provided her with the best offer within that ballpark range.

From that point, Mary can then evaluate from a quality perspective and a quantity perspective.

budgets-share-your-budget-3

Quantity?

Yes, you can get more when you let companies know what you’re working with. In this situation, let’s say two companies offer Mary one shoot day and a 2-3 minute video. Two other companies offer her two shoot days with a smaller crew and a 2-3 minute video. And the final company offers Mary two days of filming at two different locations, a 2-3 minute version and a 30-second cut for social.

Well, now Mary can look at that final company and determine if their quality is up to her standards. If it’s not, then she can then look at the other four and evaluate which approach she likes the best.

With the resources available to customers online, companies are not out to try to give you the least amount for the most money. It’s actually the opposite, companies want to know your budget so they can put the most value possible into your budget while still staying within their parameters.

For more information on setting up your project, check out our First Timer’s Guide to Producing Video where we discuss the budgeting process and other key steps to making a video.

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