Posts Tagged ‘interviews’

Beyond the Trade Show: Making Your Message Last

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012
IBM @ CeBIT 2010, Hanover, Germany

IBM @ CeBIT 2010, Hanover, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere of a well-run, well-attended trade show. Each one gives a niche group the opportunity to see exciting new products and to learn about a specific industry through seminars and classes. Social events help build personal networks and establish on-going friendships. And marketers have the chance to showcase the very best of what their company has to offer. But the reality is, not everyone can attend a trade show. It can be expensive, time-consuming, and inconvenient. So, what can exhibitors do to broaden their message beyond the convention hall doors? Video.

If you are an exhibitor, video is a great way to communicate your marketing message to passers-by on the trade show floor. However, video can also be used to expand your reach to those who weren’t able to attend. Short, informative recap videos from the convention hall are an excellent way to give potential customers a glimpse of the trade show atmosphere. Although watching a video isn’t the same as actually being there, consumers will (in a way) be able to share in that trade show experience by watching your recap videos. They can see the convention hall. They can “meet” you and your team. They can learn about the new products your company introduced. Your time while at the trade show was spent trying to excite the public about your company, products, and services. Now it’s time to do the same for those potential customers who weren’t able to attend. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Hire a designated cameraman. If you have ever worked an exhibitor booth at a trade show, you know that things are hectic. Company reps have dozens of people they need to talk to. They don’t have time to stop, pick up a camera, and start shooting video. Invest in hiring a video professional who can spend his/her time solely on shooting footage and conducting interviews.
  • Use a knowledgeable spokesperson. Designate someone from your team who can speak confidently on-camera about your company and new products. Some people are great one-on-one, but don’t have that same confidence when speaking in front of a video camera. Also, select a veteran from your team, someone who knows the product(s) inside and out; someone that existing contacts and customers will recognize. Having your “President of Product Development” speak on-camera lends credibility to the video. It also says to the viewer, “These new products are so amazing that the President of Product Development came down personally to the trade show to talk about how awesome this stuff is.”
  • Audio, audio, audio. Trade show floors are crowded and noisy. You will definitely need to use a hand-held microphone or lavaliere microphone when conducting interviews. If the trade show floor is just too chaotic, schedule some time before the convention halls open, or right after they close, to conduct your interviews. It also isn’t a bad idea to have a second audio recorder on-hand as a back-up.
  • Keep a low profile. Did I mention that trade shows are crowded? Sometimes attendees and exhibitors are right on top of each other, so you don’t want to impede the flow of foot traffic down the aisles. When shooting your video, tell your cameraman to pack light. You won’t need an entire lighting setup, dolly, camera jib, c-stands, flags, and an entire crew. Your video team just needs enough to capture good audio and a professionally composed, exposed image.
  • Get permission. Each trade show has different rules about video and photography. Find out what the specific policies are. Be open and honest with the trade show administration about your plans for video. If you are forbidden to shoot any video during the actual event, perhaps you can grab interviews outside the convention hall. Perhaps you can shoot before or after the trade show. Perhaps your company is hosting an after-hours reception. You can capture any necessary interviews then. There is always a solution to the problem.

Trade shows are definitely a great opportunity to build sales leads and expand your network. But why should you stop once the trade show floor closes and all the exhibitors have packed up? Invest in video and you can take the trade show back with you and broaden your reach among potential customers.

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Under the Lights: Make Your Subject Comfortable

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Conducting on-camera interviews is always an important part of a corporate video or documentary film. They provide the viewer with context and help to round out the story by providing different perspectives and opinions on a particular topic. However, capturing the polished sound bites one hears in the final video is not an easy task. It takes the right kind of person, asking the right kind of questions, which helps the subject feel comfortable enough to answer while staring into a camera and bright lights.

If you find yourself conducting interviews for your next video project, here are two things to keep in mind, which should help in your next interview setting.

The most important thing is to make your subject feel comfortable. Always tell your subject is that it is okay to mess up. Remind him/her that everything he/she says will be edited. Your subject needs to know that it’s okay if he/she stumbles or loses his/her train of thought. It’s just par for the course. Those things will happen. If your subject understands that he/she will not ruin the entire video will a verbal misstep, it helps increase his/her comfort level and confidence. And that will help your subject appear more natural on camera.

However, as a follow-up to this first point, you should always make sure that the subject regains composure before continuing. This will help you when you are in the edit suite, putting your video together. For example, if the subject flubs a line and starts laughing as a result and then goes back to what he/she was saying while still chuckling, you won’t have a good point on which to edit. Your final video will have a sound bite that (for some reason inexplicable to the viewer) begins with someone laughing. Have your subject regain composure, get settled, and pause for just a moment before continuing.

Observing these two points will really help improve the quality of your interviews, because you will capture clean audio of a subject who is comfortable, natural, and confident.

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Divide and Conquer Your Video Production

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Red Fox Media - Video Production - Birmingham, AL -Dual HVX SetupIn our experience as video production professionals, we’ve learned that one of the biggest factors in budgeting for a particular job is time.

  • How much time will be required to conceptualize and script a video project?
  • How much time will we need in-studio or on location?
  • How many shooting days will be required?
  • How much time will we need to put the whole video together and deliver a final product?

Of course there are other factors to consider as well, including the cost of on-camera talent, additional crew, equipment, travel, etc. However, a video’s budget will grow exponentially when a client needs additional days for shooting, post-production, etc. The budget for a five-day shoot will look very different from a budget for a half-day shoot.

Most projects we work on require multiple camera set-ups, which require the movement of camera, lights, people, additional gear, etc. All of those set-ups mean that we can only capture a certain amount of footage per day. However, one way to increase the amount that can be shot in one day is to use a 2nd unit camera.

From a budgeting stand point, it may seem like an unnecessary expense to use two camera packages and two camera operators for one job. However, employing the use of a 2nd camera unit may actually reduce the cost of the video, because you are accomplishing more in less time.

This strategy is the most effective when there is a long, complicated shot list with several different locations and a small window of time. Rather than have one camera unit spend four days shooting everything, why not invest in a second camera unit and get all of your shots completed in two days? The first camera unit can spend time at your main location, conducting interviews with your staff and shooting b-roll of your operation, while the 2nd camera unit shoots b-roll of satellite offices, off site installs, and conducts interviews with clients. And if your video calls for an on-camera panel discussion with two or more individuals, you can use both cameras to cross-shoot the scene and omit the need to reset one camera for multiple angles. It can be a very efficient way to tackle your project.

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Why Clients Should Be On-Set During a Video Production

Monday, June 20th, 2011

MonitorIn my years as a video director, I have worked with clients who want to be on set to monitor and supervise the shoot. I have also worked with clients who prefer not to be on location. They take a more hands-off approach. I certainly appreciate the level of trust I earn with my clients, because that trust gives them a good measure of comfort. They can feel confident when they turn the video production over to me. However, there are definite benefits to having the client on set throughout the production process.

  1. Familiarity – If the client has been the only person to interact with the on-camera talent up to the point of production, having the client on set will give the talent a familiar person with whom he/she has already made a connection. And when the talent sees someone familiar, this will make him/her more comfortable. And when the talent is comfortable, he/she will be more natural on camera. This is especially true when working with non-professional talent.
  2. Plan B – Let’s be honest. Sometimes things don’t go quite as planned during a video shoot, and the director needs to be prepared. When the on-camera interview just isn’t going well, or when certain set-ups are cut from the shot list due to last-minute changes to the location, it’s good to have the client on location. The client can stay up to speed on everything that’s happening and offer up suggestions to the director as to what needs to happen next. After all, the video director is working for the client. The two parties can put their heads together to come up with a viable Plan B when the shoot starts to fall short of pre-production expectations.
  3. Instant Feedback – When the director yells “cut,” he/she can immediately check with the client to ensure that everything being captured meets with the client’s approval. If the individual being interviewed needs to answer in a slightly different way to clarify the context of the subject, then the client can say so. If there’s another question or two that the director didn’t think about, the client can step in and ask it. If there’s a tiny detail that shouldn’t be in the script, the client can omit it before the on-camera spokesperson continues. The video production company may take the lead in developing a concept for the project, but it’s the client that has a more in-depth knowledge of the company, the brand, the product/service, and all the little things that can make a big difference.

Video directors never need to shy away from the thought of having the client on set. The two parties compliment each other and work in tandem toward one common goal.

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Pictures From Our Recent Video Shoot

Friday, March 11th, 2011

We were hired by an out-of-state production company to provide video production services for a one-day shoot in Hamilton, AL. Yesterday, we sent a DP and an audio tech up to Hamilton to a remote area of timber land. We shot b-roll and stand-up interviews for a piece highlighting a Memphis-based paper company and their ongoing attention to environmental and sustainability issues.

Red Fox Media - Birmingham, AL - Hamilton Video Shoot 02

Red Fox Media - Birmingham, AL - Hamilton Video Shoot 01

photo 2Red Fox Media - Birmingham, AL - Hamilton Video Shoot 04

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