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Video May Be Commoditized, but Video Production is Still an Art

With the wild popularity of YouTube, Flip video cameras and the iPhone, it seems that almost everyone is a videographer and producer these days. The technology is so user friendly – shoot, edit, share – anyone can produce a video, right?

It all depends on your definition of quality. Granted, most of us aren’t ready for Hollywood, nor do we need to be; but for businesses – especially technology companies looking to video as one more way to evangelize stories in a professional manner – you may want to think twice about “Joe iPhone dude” shooting, editing and producing your new product launch demonstration or customer testimonial video. As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for.”

Here are five tips to consider when shooting and producing a high-quality video for your business:

1. Less is more and “make it move.” Research shows the most widely watched videos are less than 60 seconds. That’s not to say longer videos aren’t also successful, but you need to know how to make a video “move” and stay engaging for its entire duration.

2. Beware of rookie shooting mistakes. Everyone’s first inclination when using a video camera is to pan and zoom. Such camera moves are inherently slow moving, which is the last thing you want when you are trying to produce a fast-paced, tight video.

3. Short and sweet sound bites. The best sound bites are only 3-5 seconds long. Look for a producer with a television background who both knows how to ask questions like a reporter to illicit conversational, succinct sound bites, and who can “hear” a sound bite – this is an art.

4. It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it. The most brilliant people in the world can deliver the worst sound bites on camera. A monotone voice and stiff body language will ensure a video flop. Tap a former reporter to conduct the interview so your spokesperson loosens up and becomes as smooth an orator as someone in the Oval Office.

5. Tell a story. Everyone loves to listen to a good story, so plan your story in your shoot. The best videos are ones that weave a story-telling element along the way. This is a lot easier said than done – again, consult a professional who can capture the right pictures and voices to tell a story to keep the viewer engaged and tally up thousands of YouTube views.

Indeed, in the digital age, video production has become commoditized, and because it’s so popular and “everybody’s doing video,” quality standards are often compromised. So how can you protect yourself and verify if someone knows what they are doing before engaging them on a video project?
Just like you screen a job applicant, consider asking your videographer a few questions from the following list (only the good ones will know the right answers!).

1. Why is it important to white balance a video camera?
2. What does the phrase “wide, medium, tight” mean to you?
3. What is the purpose of a cutaway shot?
4. Do you typically butt-cut your sound bites? Why would you do this?
5. What’s the difference between A-roll, B-roll, and voice overs?

Oh yea, if you want to know the answers or consult with us about how to distinguish “Frank’s Flip Cam Productions” from true video professionals, we are happy to assist. Just contact us here – no need to disturb your Hollywood agent. Or if you are really creative, submit your questions via video and we just might post them on TrainerTV!

This entry was written by, posted on June 1, 2011 at 5:13 pm, filed under Marketing, PR, Social Media, Video and tagged , , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.