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Archive for July, 2012

Package and Position Your Product for Higher Sales

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

169099963_97a758887e_nPackages come in all shapes and sizes. Various factors will determine which package option is best for you. Quantity, perceived-value, and the nature of your program all factor into your decision. Since some of the high-end packages require a minimum run of 2,500 pieces, you need to carefully explore all of your options. A good production company can steer you in the right direction for the appropriate package option to suit your needs.

Design a package that lives up to your name.

No matter how good your production is, remember, people do judge a book by its cover. Don’t shortchange your great product with a poor package design.

Conceptualize what you want the outside of your product to look like. Draw it out as best you can and list all the titles, by-lines and credits. Be sure to put your bio on the outside, if it’s appropriate. Then find a great graphic designer to bring it all together. Take a look at other products that are similar to yours, and pick the ones you like to help you design your own.

Don’t scrimp on design.

Spend the time and the money to create beautiful cover art and packaging. It should look professional and eye-catching. Show the graphic artist packaging you find stunning to give them an idea of what you want. What colors suit the mood you wish to create with your product? Make a mock-up by cutting out images from a magazine and rubber-cementing them to a piece of paper to help communicate your ideas to a graphic designer (preferably someone who was highly recommended to you). Let the designer hear or view your finished or rough-mixed production and let them interpret the cover design.

Always decide on the type of package case (CD album, video box, etc.) before designing the cover art, to give the artist a sense of space and dimension. Be careful not to crowd the cover design with a lot of text, which creates confusion and anxiety. The cover should jump out at you. Choose color combinations carefully. Consider what’s in style currently. Or you may choose to stay neutral to increase the longevity of the product.

Make it easy to reference.
I call it reference-ability. Each CD or CD track should cover one subject or category. Make each CD a subject or category of mini-subjects that pertain to the main category so people can easily access the information they want — this is a great benefit and makes the program/series user-friendly.

CDs hold up to eighty minutes of recorded information, while single-sided DVDs hold up to two hours of video. Stay tuned for the latest update on playback technology. It looks like it will be Internet downloading.

Package it for greatest marketability and profit.
What if you had three hours of message or program to sell? Would you put it on two or three CDs? Or, would it have a higher perceived-value if it were on or six CDs? Which scenario would earn you more income? Which scenario would have the higher perceived-value? Which would be more user-friendly?

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.

photo credit: ART INSIDE via photopin (license)

Copywritten Music Use in Your Media Production

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

16214390035_8de2df933c_nRule number one: never use a song you bought at the local record store (do they still call them “record” stores?). Rule number two: never, ever use a song you bought anywhere without written permission. Get the point? This is illegal and could end up costing you big bucks!

I learned this the hard way. I let a client talk me into using Steve Miller’s “Fly Like an Eagle” and Bob Seger’s “Horizontal Bop” in a promotional video used to sell an event. This client would play the video during a seminar to get the attendees to sign up for this “next level” class. Unfortunately, a competitor was in the audience and “blew the whistle.” They called the copyright police and, within a couple of days, both the client and I were served a “cease and desist” order. The court document demanded $10,000 plus a percentage of every unit sold! Luckily, we had just finished the video; none of the recordings had been sold or delivered, so not much damage was done. We promised not to use the video with the songs, got a slap on the wrist and learned our lesson.

Now, what was rule number one again? Good — don’t forget it! If there is a published song you would like to use in your production, you have to obtain a music license or permission from the holder of the copyright. Sound complicated? Most of the time it is — not to mention expensive. Just tracking down the right person to apply to is enough to give up, let alone the sticker shock once the request is made.

Here are a few examples of artists and the costs for licensing their music. One disclaimer: these occurred over a long stretch of time, so the prices are neither current nor correct for purchase today. I list them as examples of the various fees involved for the different calibers of songs. “Crazy,” written by Willie Nelson, sung by Loretta Lynn: $25,000 limited use for one year. “Jump, Jive and Wail,” by Brian Setzer: $5,000 for the life of the product. “Storms in Africa,” by Enya: $20,000 for usage and $ .25 per unit reproduction fee, regardless. “Surfing USA,” by the Beach Boys: $10,000 for a 7-week television usage.

So, exactly how do you copyright a recording? I am not going to go into detail about it here, since that could be a book in itself. In fact, there are many good books available on copyrighting. For more information on how to file a copyright, contact the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

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.

photo credit: Fender Squier 5-string P-bass via photopin (license)

How To: Make Your Video Production Look Professional

Friday, July 13th, 2012

SAMSON TXM20 1000w POWERED MIXER-SLIDERSAdd a professional touch to your video to attract potential customers, increase value, and establish your professional image. You can use professional voice-over and quality music to add a special touch.

Professional voice-over

One way to add a nice touch on any video is to have professional voice talent reading your script. A professional voice talent can add some serious impact to your message. You can find voice talent all over. Talent agencies are a good place to start. Also radio stations, since many of the pro voices are on radio. Television stations have voice talent who often work on and off camera, like the person who tells you to “stay tuned for the eleven o’clock news.” Even a professional speaker could do a voice-over.

Music

The production company can also add music. Good music is to audio programs what interior design is to a cozy room. Music sets the mood or the stage for the performance or message. There are music libraries available for purchase in many forms. Some are buyout, others are pay-as-you-go.

Music styles range from light industrial to jazz to heavy rock and pop. In addition, the music library sends the production company new CDs from time to time at no additional cost but rather as a service to add value and incentive for the production company to keep their library available to their customers. The production company, in turn, charges a non-broadcast charge for the use of that music, with a small profit margin. This is a pay-as-you-go service.

The production company also files the license report with the library so everything is legitimate. It sounds a little complicated, but bottom line, the music is usually the first thing you hear, and can make or break a product, so pay the licensing fee as you go and get good music.

The library I use at Primeau Productions is Omni Music, simply because they are the best. Check them out at www.omnimusic.com.

Rights-free production libraries: Buy Out!

Another option is to buy a music library outright. There are a few good-sounding buy-out production music libraries. You could search the Internet to find these libraries along with some samples of their musical offerings. The downside is that there are a lot of buy-out music production libraries to begin with so look long and hard. There are a lot of musicians who have decided that it is easier to make a living creating production music than it is to make a hit record. Many are in the production music business and do not want the hassles of paperwork and licensing forms. That’s why a majority sells their production music outright.

If you are a musician with published music, you might consider licensing your music as production music. You can sell it to anyone who uses production music, like TV stations, production companies, ad agencies, video editing facilities and recording studios. Corporate America could also be a prospect for use of your music. Be sure your music has been copyrighted before you let anyone hear it! 

Original Music

Perhaps you know an aspiring musician who will license a song for your product or even create an original piece just for you. Check your sphere of influence first. More than likely you will know someone who knows someone who has a friend or acquaintance who writes music or is in a band. Maybe they’re good, maybe not. Practice your diplomacy skills by asking for a sample of their work before you give them the go-ahead to work with you. A word of advice: be sure that the original piece doesn’t sound too familiar. This may be because they borrowed a melody line or two from another published piece of music. Have the artist assume all responsibility with regard to copyright and simply license the song from them instead of buying it. And it wouldn’t hurt to offer the musician credit on the cover of your product.

The Future of Internet Video and Video Production

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

www.com1The year is 1996: Primeau Productions purchases its first computer. A custom built PC with one GB of storage space. Our consultant advised us that this would be plenty of storage space to build our database with. This is when I was introduced to the Internet.

You might say I was a late bloomer, and resisted electronic communication. My former assistant would print out my emails that I received and I would hand write the response on the back of the page. She, in turn, would reply to them via email using my notes. Our chief engineer at the time introduced me to the World Wide Web. One night after work, a time I chose because I did not want to “take away” from my business day working with audio and video (which was the company’s bread and butter), I finally agreed to him showing me around the Internet. He showed me virtual tours, music videos and the basics of how to use a web browser.  Little did I realize that over the next ten years, Internet video would transform and reinvent our business.

Today Internet video statistics are staggering. 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and over three billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube. A study in December of 2011 shows that 182 million US Internet users watched online video content for an average of 23.2 hours per viewer. Even with such data in existence, not every website features video.

More people watch video on the Internet than through cable and satellite television combined. We have arrived at the video revolution, the tipping point in the evolution of video.

How do I know?

1. Professional video has a low cost to produce compared to ten years ago. The average marketing video in 1996 cost $25,000.00 to produce. That same video, with higher quality graphics and 3D effects, costs less than $10,000.00.

2. Online shoppers have come to expect video with product descriptions. In fact, according to Forrester Research in April of 2010, one online retailer provided the information that consumers who watched a product video were 85% more likely to buy the product as opposed to those who did not watch. Another online retailer in April of 2011 released a study that found shoppers were 144% more likely to add an item to their shopping cart that they had watched a product video.

3. Internet users have come to expect video on websites. In a recent poll, conducted by Primeau Productions, websites that feature video enjoyed a 30% increase in average visit duration. People spend more time on your website when you include video.

4. The high speed connectivity of the Internet has made it easy for millions of web users to view Internet video programming worldwide, 24/7.

5. Video storage has become affordable and convenient. With the implementation of high definition video, interfacing a computer to your home television system is common today, yet was unheard of ten years ago. There are people today who have all of their favorite tv shows and movies downloaded to a computer hard drive. They can watch their favorite programming without the Internet, but they would not have access to purchasing these programs without use of the Internet.

The Internet has made all types of movies, TV shows and series available for purchase and downloadable from several website communities such as iTunes and Amazon.

6. The Internet has become host to dozens of on demand video companies, like Netflix and Hulu. Xbox and PlayStation with their wireless Internet interface have made it easy for video aficionados to have access to such media as YouTube and ESPN right from the family’s entertainment center, 24/7.

So what happens now that we have hit the tipping point? It has become apparent that the world of video will never settle down and be status quo. I believe the next progression in the evolution of video will include the following:

  • More and more people will share their favorite videos with friends and family. Viral videos will surpass the value and popularity of reality TV shows. I feel this is because they tend to be shorter; viewers can watch “more” video in less time. Plus, they are easy to share. A viral video viewer can easily share the video with their friends and family.
  • I believe people who create video to share advice will get more business for their niche than the companies that do not create video. Primeau Productions has already experienced an increase in analytics from its Internet video marketing clients who have implemented professionally produced video to their websites.

For example, one of our clients, Blue Caribbean in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico enjoyed a 50% increase in business twelve months after implementing video into their website. In fact, we taught the owners how to record professional high-definition video using a Sanyo Xacti camera, saving them thousands of dollars in video recording fees. They recorded the video, sent us the SD card and we edited their videos in our Rochester Hills studio.

  • Businesses that do not use video on their websites will eventually become obsolete, as Internet buyers are becoming trained to look for video when they visit a website. Businesses that do not have video to demonstrate their goods and services will eventually be passed over due to a lack of interest by the Internet shopper.
  • More people will generate their own video networks and channels and continuously create and produce video programming that will be created for a specific audience or niche. These micro-networks will double in numbers each year over the next ten years for both population and viewer-ship.
  • More independent film-makers will create more independent movies using high-definition video. Feature films, documentaries and short movies will grow in number and popularity because of the easy access to equipment and editing systems.
  • More people will study creativity. Money will be made in video by the professional video production companies who are more creative and already have a creative process in place. Creativity separates the novices from the experts and video production will become more and more important.
  • More and more people will record, download and watch more video from the Internet. More businesses will use viral video to market and promote their products and services because a viral video is virtually free.  No media purchasing time is required, like with television commercials, once the video has been created. The potential number of viewers over time is astonishing. Your market, which is comprised of your friends, fans and followers, has the potential of helping your video get millions of views through the use of social media.
  • Video will continue to reduce our international borders. Even video that is created in another language is shared globally, because those videos are visually creative and inspiring even with the language barrier.
  • Storage will be affordable and available at extremely low cost. Video users will not only digitally store their video library on hard drives, they will also begin to use cloud storage so their video library is backed up, as well as accessible, anywhere in the world, 24/7.

So now is the time to begin developing your Internet video presence. There is no better way to sell goods and services, create interest, communicate a message or process, make someone smile, entertain or even educate then through video. Design your video marketing strategy by jotting down ideas and discover your creative process. Purchase a high definition video camera and learn how to capture content at a moment’s notice.  Identify a professional video production company that can help guide your video production process and produce, publish and promote your intellectual property across all available platforms on the Internet.

Today, in 2012, we own eight computers with over 10,000 GBs of hard drive space; a far cry from the original 1 GB of space in 1996.

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