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Archive for March, 2012

Audio Vs. Video: Which is Right for Your Market?

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Floppy Disk Death DVD arrives 4 MGD©When determining which product format is right for your market, take several factors into account:

How does audio hold up as a product and/or marketing tool in your industry?

If you are a professional speaker, it’s best to use video for marketing, since your stage presence is such an integral part of your performance. However, occasionally you will find those who would prefer an audio brochure as a sample of your speaking ability. The same is true for the music industry. If you are a band trying to get gigs, a video will work best, but it’s nice to give your prospect the option to listen to audio. These days the audio tracks on video can sound excellent—it used to be the opposite when video was first coming into use. Don’t sacrifice quality in your marketing materials and always accommodate your audience.

Do people in your industry actually listen to audio demos?

An audio demo could be your whole performance, or just a portion of it. It could be a slick compilation of your best material. I know for a fact that audio brochures do their job. People do listen to them, especially if you’re creative with the packaging.

Should you use video, audio or CD-ROMs in your product line?

The answer lies in the nature of product. If it’s a training product, my experience is that all three formats should be considered to give your customers options. You want the information to be as easily accessible as possible. Videos can be watched during corporate training sessions. Audio can be listened to passively while exercising, driving or housecleaning. CD-ROMs or enhanced CDs (ECD) can be used for individual workstation training and stored on the company server for easy access. Employees can then take the training by watching the video portion of the CD-ROM and take the test or complete a study guide also programmed on the CD-ROM. In fact, a web site link could also be available to take the student to your web site for additional products or programs, tests and other accountability checks.

Video CDs or DVDs?

Both serve their purpose, but DVDs are where the industry and the standard are today. You have an optional second side of storage on a DVD, which allows you to create longer products that have more perceived-value. Video CDs or MPEG1s are becoming more and more obsolete.

What’s your investment comfort zone?

An important consideration in choosing the best format for your product is the financial investment. Audio products cost less to produce than video. As a rule of thumb, single audios cost about $3,500 to $4,500 (start to finish) for a quantity of 100 to 200 professionally edited and packaged copies. The cost could go down considerably if mixing and editing are minimal. Professional videos cost about $5,000 to $10,000 (start to finish) for a quantity of 100 to 200 DVD copies when using a professional from beginning to end.

Think about the nature of each medium.

People generally listen passively while doing other things. This is both good and bad, depending on your program material. Will your audience be able to take in the message through audio-only? An audio recording will generally require more repetition to get the message across. On the plus side, audio recordings are more flexible—people can listen to them while driving.

Videos, on the other hand, capture more attention since they must be watched. Whether you’re a professional speaker or a musician, your material is probably going to hit home harder, because you’re using body gestures and facial expressions to dramatize your communication. Generally, the more of your audiences’ senses you can engage, the more powerfully you will come across. Plus, video offers more creative opportunity. You can use graphics, such as superimposed text or live-action footage to further underscore your main points. You do not necessarily have to be on-camera. On the downside, repeated viewings are less likely, unless you do outstanding stand-up or unless you’ve created a masterpiece on par with Gone With the Wind.

Or you can do both video and audio.

You could lift the audio-track off the videotape and create a bonus audio product. Pay particular attention to the effectiveness of the audio without the video. Make sure people can get the message without the visuals. Music can be enjoyed without seeing the performers. Needless to say, if you’re a dancer, audio won’t work.

Interested in learning more about professional media services like audio/video? Contact me at 800-647-4281.

This information is taken from my book The Art of Production, which you can purchase from Amazon  or you can purchase an e-book version from SmashWords.

Your Performance Is Recorded-Now What?

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

4547483498_086b709089_nAfter your performance has been recorded, you have two more steps to complete before selling your product.

Next stop, the editing suite.

Once the footage is shot or the audio has been recorded, find a good studio to edit and mix (if it’s audio) and design graphics and titling (if it’s video). The editing house does not necessarily have to be the same company that did the recording, but there are obvious advantages to working with one company. When different companies are used, you have to budget more for the edit, to account for the learning curve of the editing house. By using a single company you can streamline the production process since they are familiar with the project and know exactly what you’re looking for by the time you go into the editing suite.

This type of full-service facility is called a production company. My company, Primeau Productions, LLC, is that type of facility. I designed the company this way on purpose because I am a producer. Once a job or production has been assigned to us, I follow a system to execute it. When you use several companies to execute a production, you often end up with a lot of Indians and no chief, or even worse, a lot of chiefs and no Indians.

Develop a marketing plan.

Once the product is complete and you have them sitting in your garage, you need a marketing and promotion plan to sell them. If you perform on a regular basis, back-of-the-room sales might be all you need. Ask yourself what type of retail stores might take your product on consignment.

Consignment is when you give the store owner or manager your product to sell in good faith and they pay you as they sell them. If you go this route, always get something in writing from the store owner or manager that spells out the consignment arrangement. Either they can draft a document or you can. Just make it a simple contract naming the terms: retail price, wholesale price, payment time frames and method of payment. Then, you both should sign it and keep copies. Many of the retail chains have their own consignment contract, saving you from creating your own.

Interested in learning more about professional media services like audio/video? Contact me at 800-647-4281.

This information is taken from my book The Art of Production, which you can purchase from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/096739967X/ref=sc_pgp__m_A37OD7TI15D03E_2?ie=UTF8&m=A37OD7TI15D03E&n=&s=&v=glance or you can purchase an e-book version from SmashWords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/16020.

photo credit: Day 182, Project 365 – 4.23.10 via photopin (license)

The Scouting Approach to Getting Great Video Footage Every Time

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

file1241259603377People often ask me what is the best format to ask for when getting a copy of a keynote speech or CEO’s presentation.  Anyone who is video recorded while giving presentations can use the following tips to prepare for getting great footage. Take the scouting approach to acquiring great video every time: always be prepared!

In a perfect world, a professional speaker should carry two external hard drives: one formatted for Mac and another formatted for PC.  Most field crews are Mac based, especially in Vegas.  Hand the hard drive to the video engineer or ask the technical director if it is okay if the video engineer copies the digital video files over when you are done speaking.

You always want to ask for the full quality digital video files.  We can work with any format here at Primeau Productions and many video production companies can convert and edit just about any format.  In fact, we can format the external hard drives for you as well.

We are finding that when an audio visual crew provides a DVD, they usually make an error on the aspect ratio and the video image gets distorted.  This is due to the fact that we are on the fence technologically between wide screen and 4 x 3 formats. The projection system that an audio visual company uses for image magnification is different from their format for recording video.

A speaker’s crew should be recording all video to a DVR (digital video recorder) and not just a DVD. If you are prepared with a hard drive, you will be all set.  It will take them about 30 minutes per camera to copy the digital video files to your hard drive.

How many cameras are they shooting?  Ask in advance if you can have the hot switch (or “director’s cut” that shifts the video from camera to camera) as well as camera ISO records. (An ISO is a digital multi-camera video recording in which each camera is recorded separately.)

Please call us if you have any questions since this is the new frontier of acquiring digital video footage for your video production.

800.647.4281

Get Ready to Produce a Great Product

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

13885876624_51f737675e_nREADINESS: How close to perfect can you get?

Perhaps you already have a raw recording sitting around (music or spoken word) or video footage (single- or multiple-camera) and you want to release it to the public. Or, perhaps you’ve just confirmed the event of a lifetime that has the makings of a great video or CD. The actual recording is the foundation of your product. Everything else revolves around this part of it, so be sure to do it right!

There is a basic process for producing a perfect product:

-Perfect the performance or presentation before you record it

-Hire a pro to record it

-Schedule time in a studio or editing suite of find a producer to edit and finalize the recording

-Design the packaging

-Duplicate copies of the master

-Develop a marketing plan for product sales and distribution

If you are going to create a product, be sure that it is your best stuff. Why make a product that could have been better? Rehearse it until you are consistently doing your best. Also gauge your performance by audience response. And, definitely do not record if you are trying out a new presentation or performance, unless it’s to critique yourself — which brings up good point: Record yourself first, so you can see how you sound. You can get feedback from peers, friends and mentors and decide for yourself if your performance needs a little more work.

Before you record, also consider the venue where you will be performing. Is the show sold out? Are you the opening act? If so, take into consideration that people may be walking in after you’ve started your program.

Professional speaker/humorist Steve Rizzo does a great routine for those who come in late. He says, “Hi, glad you could make it! Can I get you anything — like a watch?”

Record the audience at their best too.

Also, always record the audience — audience reaction is crucial for any recording; ask the audience members to turn off all cell phones, beepers and turn up the pacemakers — let them know you are recording. If it’s comfortable, jazz the audience up a bit so they’re more reactive during your performance. Sometimes you will have rude people talking during your performance, whispering to each other while you are speaking.

I can’t help but share another Steve Rizzo moment: When someone is talking loudly in the audience, Steve simply stops and stares at them until he has their attention, and then asks, “Where did you learn to whisper, in a helicopter?”

Interested in learning more about professional audio/video services? Contact me at 800-647-4281.

This information is taken from my book The Art of Production, which you can purchase from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/096739967X/ref=sc_pgp__m_A37OD7TI15D03E_2?ie=UTF8&m=A37OD7TI15D03E&n=&s=&v=glance or you can purchase an e-book version from SmashWords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/16020.

What’s the “Competitive Score” in Google’s AdWords Tool?

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

2437542683_000a0475d4_nGoogle’s keyword ranking tool, AdWords, can be helpful for finding keywords to improve your SEO. The “competitive score” column may confusing at first glance, but here’s some insight into what it means and how to use it.The competitive score is not related to organic search, but is related to the number of advertisers bidding on a keyword. It shows the number of advertisers worldwide bidding on each keyword in proportion to all keywords across Google. Google says that the “high,” “medium,” and “low” classifications (which were depicted by shaded bars in the past) “provide a general low-to-high quantitative guide to help you determine how competitive ad placement is for a particular keyword.”

Low competition means that there are few advertisers battling over that keyword. If you wanted to advertise, you’d probably only have to pay a few cents/click, but it might not be a very lucrative keyword. (Sometimes the low competition keywords have had low success in the past when advertisers have tried to use them, so they get the “low competition” label.) On the bright side, you might be addressing a more targeted market when you use the low competition keywords.

In conclusion, you can use Google Adwords for ideas for keywords. Since you don’t have to pay for keywords, you can try to use some of the words with higher competition. You’ll have to work hard to get high on the search engines, but there’s no monetary cost. Carefully selected words with lower competition could also be helpful if they’re targeted and not too vague or obscure. If people are searching for those lower competition words, you could have a good chance of scoring high on search engine results.

The following articles were referenced for this blogpost:

http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!category-topic/adwords/new-to-google-adwords/0Nl7atVhBAU

http://ezinearticles.com/?Google-AdWords—Low-Competition,-Still-High-Bids?&id=1296175

http://searchengineland.com/google-tweaks-competition-rank-in-adwords-keyword-tool-98510

https://www.keywordstrategy.org/349/competition-google-adwords-tool/

photo credit: Google Adwords Qualified Individual Logo via photopin (license)

Part 8: You as the Movie Editor and More: How the Hollywood Pros Can Help

Friday, March 16th, 2012

file0001311160630You as the Editor

The film editor is the person who assembles the various shots into a coherent film, with the help of the director. There is no one way to edit because editing is like art: it is a creative process.  The one characteristic of editing, though, is to make sure your shot sequences are cohesive. In other words, people who are watching your video must “get it”.

To help you edit, take good notes when video recording so you can tell which takes are best during the editing process.

There are several editing programs you can choose from.  Windows Movie Maker is a free program already installed in your PC if you use the Windows platform.  I Movie, also a free program, is installed in your Mac if you operate on the Apple platform.  Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro are two other excellent video editing programs.

You as the Music Editor

The music supervisor, or “music director”, works with the composer, mixers and editors to create and integrate the film’s music.  Music is to video like good interior design is to a room.

There are many free music production libraries available as well as low cost production music.  There are also pay as you go licensing music libraries like Omni Music.  Apple Final Cut Pro video editing software comes with a full production music library. Production Trax is another excellent music library.

Use music to set the mood of your video.  Music also adds an element of production value.  It could set you apart from your competition.

You as the Distributor

A film distributor is a company or individual responsible for releasing films to the public, either theatrically or for home viewing (DVD, VideoOnDemand, Download, andTelevision etc.). A distributor may do this directly or through theatrical exhibitors and other sub-distributors.

There are over 30 video content delivery networks available for FREE on the Internet to help promote your video.  Plus, you can add links back to your website from these networks to your website to help with search engine rankings.

From “Blockbuster Business Videos: What The Hollywood Pro’s Want You to Know About Creating Video That Will Increase Your SEO, Win Clients and Set You Apart From Your Competition,” by Ed Primeau and Laurie Brown. Laurie Brown helps individuals present themselves effectively in person and virtually through the camera lens. You can reach her at Lauriebrown@thedifference.net or visit http://www.thedifference.net

Part 7: You as the Vocal Coach: How the Hollywood Pros Can Help

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

You as the Vocal Coach

The vocal coach can identify vocal difficulties that might be keeping the actor from best achieving the director’s vision. The vocal coach can also provide an analysis of why these problems may be occurring and give strategies to the director to address them in the rehearsal situation if desired. 14745063379_6f1e8fdf80_nThe coach can create a program of specific vocal exercises for the actor to release or expand the voice to better fulfill the director’s vision. The coach can present a company vocal warm-up or an individualized actor warm-up. The coach can distribute basic vocal hygiene guidelines, if needed.

A vocal coache corrects habitual speech patterns: mumbling, whispering, adding extraneous sounds, stressing too many words, stressing inoperative words, dropping ends of words or sentences, or other speaking habits which are in the way of clear expression.

A vocal coach also helps actors overcome vocal stress, strain or damage, which can result in extreme hoarseness or roughness, inability to perform at previous levels, or loss of voice.

What this means to you:

  • Know the importance of warming up your voice
  • Learn how to warm up your voice
  • Learn how to protect your voice
  • Know what to drink and what not to drink
  • Add interest to your voice
  • Add power to your voice
  • Sound credible
  • Sound approachable
  • Have resonance in your voice
  • Add tone to your voice
  • Breathe properly

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2280

Adapted from “Blockbuster Business Videos: What The Hollywood Pro’s Want You to Know About Creating Video That Will Increase Your SEO, Win Clients and Set You Apart From Your Competition,” by Ed Primeau and Laurie Brown. Laurie Brown helps individuals present themselves effectively in person and virtually through the camera lens. You can reach her at Lauriebrown@thedifference.net or visit http://www.thedifference.net

photo credit: Studio Microphone via photopin (license)

Part 6: You as the Lighting and Sound: How the Hollywood Pros Can Help

Friday, March 9th, 2012

file000676603076You as the Lighting Technician

Lighting and sound both play a part in quality video production. Lighting technicians are responsible for the movement and set up of various pieces of lighting equipment for visualeffects. Lighting Technicians may also lay electrical cables, wire fixtures, install color effects or image patterns, focus the lights, and assist in creating effects or programming sequences.

Lighting is very important to video, especially if you are using green screen technology.

Fluorescent lighting strobes when lit, which conflicts with the shutter on your video. It is also the wrong color of white, so it may make you look older on video that you are.

When lighting with incandescent lights, spread the lights far apart and and as close to you as possible without getting in the shot. That way any shadows that are created will be outside the frame.

You as the Sound Engineer

The production sound mixer is head of the sound department on set, responsible for recording all sound during filming. This involves the choice and deployment of microphones, operation of a sound recording device, and sometimes the mixing of audio signals in real time.

What this means to you:

  • Do you need a mic?
  • How important is sound quality?
  • Is your location noisy?

○     Beware of noise (animals, phones, traffic, people)

○     Beware of ambient sound (refrigerators, furnace, air conditioning, lights)

  • What are the different types of mics?

○     Lavalier

○        Boom

○        Hand held

○        Desktop

○        Computer

  • Which mic is right for you?

○     Use

○        Sound Quality

○        Price

  • Learn how to place the mic
  • Learn how to wear a lavalier mic
  • Learn how to create recordings that can be synched with b roll

From “Blockbuster Business Videos: What The Hollywood Pro’s Want You to Know About Creating Video That Will Increase Your SEO, Win Clients and Set You Apart From Your Competition,” by Ed Primeau and Laurie Brown. Laurie Brown helps individuals present themselves effectively in person and virtually through the camera lens. You can reach her atLauriebrown@thedifference.net or visit http://www.thedifference.net

Part 5: You as the Director of Photography: How the Hollywood Pros Can Help

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

file000247788530The Director of Photography (DOP, also known as a Cinematographer) works with the Director and the Production Designer to achieve the cinematic “look” of the film.  This involves choosing the type of film stock to use and the type of camera and the lighting style to complement and enhance the way the Director and Production Designer wish the movie to look.

What kind of camera will you be using for your video?  Who will operate the camera if you will be the actor?  Will you be operating the camera while another person from your team is the actor?

Initially the DOP works with the Director to plan and storyboard the way scenes are shot, and once filming has commenced, works with the camera team(s) and the lighting team to decide on camera and light placement.

Lighting is another consideration.  How do you want the scene to look?  Are you using multiple scenes?  If so, make sure there is continuity from scene to scene with both camera angles and lighting as well as sound quality and volume levels.

The director is probably the most important person in any video recording.

What this means to you is that you have to purchase a camera if you do not already own one.  There are places that you can rent video cameras from if you are not sure that you want to buy a camera.  You probably also have friends who own video cameras who might loan one to you.

You also have some decisions to make. What will the background of your video look like?  How will your lighting be implemented? What color of outfit will you wear to compliment the background of your video?

  • Become familiar with your camera
  • Determine the background for your video
  • How will the lighting help the background and subject in your video?
  • Do the wardrobe colors compliment the background?

From “Blockbuster Business Videos: What The Hollywood Pro’s Want You to Know About Creating Video That Will Increase Your SEO, Win Clients and Set You Apart From Your Competition,” by Ed Primeau and Laurie Brown. Laurie Brown helps individuals present themselves effectively in person and virtually through the camera lens. You can reach her atLauriebrown@thedifference.net or visit http://www.thedifference.net

How To: Make Your Windows 7 Machine Run Faster!

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Windows 7 PC Tuneup Quick Tips

There are many different techniques to keeping a windows computer happy and healthy. Today we will discuss just a few simple tips to get your Windows 7 machine operating at top notch!

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Primeau Productions Recommended Software:

(Beginner Skill Level)

  • CCleaner is the BEST spyware and registry cleaner that Primeau Productions uses on a daily basis. It goes deeper than cleaning out internet cookies moving files around to save on space. It goes deeper to find problems within your registry and make your software programs communicate to your machine better. Not to mention it’s completely FREE!
  • AVG Anti-Virus is FREE and it works! No need to manually scan or update your anti-virus software anymore. AVG makes it simple to stop malicious scripts  from tearing your windows 7 machine to bits. It not only quarantines threats it comes into contact with, but also locks them in a virus vault for future removal and information on how it got into your system, and where it came from.

 

Quick Tip’s for Increasing PC Speed in Windows 7

(Moderate Skill Level; If you don’t feel comfortable digging this deep into your OS then we recommend to stay away from these tips)

  1. Disable SuperPrefetch – First we want to launch regedit from the start menu. Then navigate to this location in your registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE System CurrentControlSet Control Session Manager Memory Management Prefetch Parameters. Next you will want to modify the Enable Super Fetch value from 3 to 0. This will communicate to the program to stay dormant. (You should notice a dramatic increase in speed from this step)
  2. Windows Features – Navigate to your Start Menu, and in the search box type “Windows Features”. We recommend to disable the games folder if you aren’t an avid gamer in the simple games Windows 7 has to offer. Next under Microsoft .NET Framework, you will want to check both boxes under that drop down menu. And finally, you will want to un-check the Tablet PC folder which will turn off tablet features for your desktop or laptop machine. Following that click OK, but DO NOT RESTART. There are further steps to finish before a restart is necessary.
  3. Clear Temporary APP Data – Navigate to the start menu again, and type “RUN” into the search box and click OK. In the RUN window, enter “%temp%”. Then delete all files within this folder. Skip the files that cannot be deleted.
  4. Prefetch Data – Navigate to the start menu,  and enter “RUN” into the search box once more, and type “Prefetch” and click OK. Windows may ask the million dollar question of “Are you sure you want to see these files?”. Continue anyway.  Delete all files within this directory.
  5. REBOOT – Now comes the time for a system reboot.

And Your Done! 

Video Sample for More Help:

Credit for this information goes out to  YouTube user : EngageTutorials

photo credit: install now via photopin (license)

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