DSLR is Ready for its Close-Up – Overcoming the Intimidation Factor of Large Production Cameras

April 17th, 2014

DSLR interviewBy Lauren Primeau

If you’ve ever been interviewed on camera, it can be a bit nerve wracking to have a large production camera pointed in your face while someone is firing questions at you. Often, interviewees spend more time worrying about how they look or how they are perceived on camera instead of focusing on how to best answer an interviewer’s questions. Regardless of how many times you try to focus on your deep breathing or try to forget about the camera, there is still something intimidating about those bulky production cameras that make it seem like either Big Brother is watching you, or you’re a deer in headlights. If you’ve ever been on camera for one reason or another, maybe you can relate to these scenarios.

We have discovered a solution to help make any individual in front of the camera feel less uneasy and a little bit more comfortable; DSLR cameras.

Any professional in the video production arena knows that DSLRs are the new underdog in the video camera scene. Not only are they more cost effective to purchase, allowing for quicker equipment ROI than most video cameras on the market, but they produce a very soft, cinematic look accompanied by a shallow depth of field that many professional videographers love.

That is not to say that DSLRs are the ‘end all be all’ of video production cameras. After 30 years in the video production business, we know there is new technology right around the corner. DSLR cameras overcome the intimidation factor that often accompanies other video production cameras.

Granted DSLRs are not perfect, as there are drawbacks to the usage of this camera in comparison to your average ‘run and gun’ video production cameras. One enormous bonus to using DSLR over other video production cameras is its relatively compact size which in turn allows interviewees to feel more at ease.

Yes, Primeau Productions uses many different digital video High Definition cameras for our in studio and in field video recordings. We know firsthand what tools to use on each production to achieve the best video production result possible.

The Video Experience: How (and Why) We’ll Remember How I Met Your Mother

April 9th, 2014

How I Met Your MotherAn important factor that many video producers and marketers don’t take into account is the The Video Experience. What do I mean when I say that?

It’s actually quite simple. Think about a piece of video content, whether it’s a film, a television show, or a viral video. What do they all have in common?

They all made you feel something.

For example, think of the recent finale of the hit CBS show, How I Met Your Mother. This past week, after 9 years on the air, creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas finally finished the story of Ted Mosby and his journey to find love in New York City.

Regardless of how you felt about the finale (I’m part of the minority of people who genuinely enjoyed it), the show’s success over the past 9 years is undeniable. Such a long run puts How I Met Your Mother at the top of the rankings, along with such shows such as All In The Family, Seinfeld and Friends, making it one of the most successful television shows of all time.

Now, this show didn’t last 9 years for no reason. There’s a reason that the big finale had an incredible 12.9 million viewers, and there’s a reason it’s still a trending topic of discussion on the Internet over a week later. The reason is this: the show made viewers feel like they were a part of a family. It made viewers feel like they were right there in McClaren’s Pub with their friends every Monday night.

Let’s think about this critically. What was it about this show that made viewers come back every Monday for 9 seasons? What makes any piece of video content this memorable?

First and foremost, the content needs to look professional. Your viewers will notice if something doesn’t feel right about the video, whether it’s poor lighting, soft focus or bad audio. People will notice this right off the bat, and your content will suffer. If you really want your video content to stand out, make sure it looks professional and natural. Make sure you’re utilizing the proper equipment and techniques so you can create a professional product that viewers will enjoy watching.

But all the professional equipment in the world is no substitute for the ingredient that’s most responsible for evoking emotion within the viewer:

Creativity.

Without a strong foundation of creativity, your video content will never be memorable. No viewer is going to be moved by content that is not fresh and innovative.

Creativity is essential to producing successful video content.

Not the creative type? That’s okay, not everyone is, but that doesn’t discount the importance of creativity. Find a creative partner, whether that be a professional creative at a production company, a friend or a family member – as long as you have a creative mind that is willing to work with you, you’ll be able to create video content that’s innovative, unique, and memorable.

These factors are what made How I Met Your Mother such a success over the years. The show runners, along with the phenomenal cast, created a welcoming environment that made us feel like we were part of the fun, while simultaneously presenting unique stories that made viewers laugh, cry, and remember all of the great moments in Ted Mosby’s legend (wait for it…) dary story of how he met the mother of his future children. After it’s all said and done, we’ll always remember How I Met Your Mother for it’s production value, it’s creative storytelling and most importantly, the experience the show took us through.

Whatever your video content happens to be, remember the idea of having an experience through video. Viewers won’t remember your content unless they feel something, and can ultimately take something away from it. This is what The Video Experience is all about.

MORE on The Video Experience coming soon.

3 Tips for Professional Speakers

April 7th, 2014

If you’re a professional speaker, I’ll bet that you’ve had a microphone malfunction while onstage. After 30 years in the audio/video business, I have seen and heard it all when it comes to mic problems. No matter the reason for bad sound, once it happens, your presentation has suffered irreparable damage.

Tip #1–Invest in Your Own Wireless Microphone

If you earn more than $20,000 per year as a speaker, I strongly recommend that you invest $750 – $1,500 on a professional wireless microphone. To my mind, if you’re a professional golfer, you bring your own set of clubs; and if you’re a professional speaker, you bring your own wireless mic. Probably the most popular systems today are those from the German manufacturer Sennheiser.

A wireless microphone system consists of three components, which can be purchased as a package or separately: a wireless transmitter, a wireless receiver, and a microphone that plugs in to the transmitter. At Primeau Productions, we prefer the systems available from Sennheiser and Audio Technica. Shure, Lectrosonics and Sony are other well-known brands. Any professional wireless mic system should include a receiver that features diversity reception. These units incorporate two separate receiving antennas and two independent receiving circuits tuned to the same channel. Signal strength from each antenna/receiver combination is continuously compared, and the strongest is used to feed the public address system.

In choosing a mic, there are a wide variety of models that can be connected to the small, battery-powered, wireless transmitter that is usually worn under a jacket. There are three basic types of microphones used in wireless mic systems: the lavalier (a lapel or clip-on miniature mic), the headset (a miniature mic on an extensible arm, worn on the head or around the ear), and the handheld (a wireless version of the full-size microphones used by TV news reporters in the field). Use the type of microphone that is most comfortable for you. In my personal opinion, handheld mics withstand handling and traveling best, and they offer the highest quality sound.

Tip #2–Get a Professionally Produced Promotional Video

In addition to a wireless mic, all professional speakers must have a professionally produced promotional video. Your video serves as a brief introduction to you, your presentation style and the topics on which you speak. A dynamic, informative and entertaining video is essential for booking high-paying speaking engagements with corporations and groups. In most cases, we can produce your promotional DVD using existing footage, saving you the expense of shooting new video. With professional voice-over artists, production music and motion graphics, Primeau Video Productions will help you making a lasting, positive first impression on event planners and bookers.

Tip #3–Build Your Business

Finally, how do you thank past clients and ask them for referrals? Many of the professional speakers we work with use SendOutCards, a convenient, online greeting card service. Also, ask past clients for feedback and get their opinions with questions such as, “What did you like most about my presentation, and what did you like least?” and “What did you take away from my presentation?” Questions like these will help you fine-tune your presentations, improve audience response, and ultimately, ensure increased bookings.

Similarly, reach out to fellow speakers and solicit their advice. They are usually happy to provide other professionals with honest, constructive criticism, and they are a great source of referrals. In building your business, each of these steps enhances your referability. This is no time to be complacent – satisfied with the same number of engagements as last year. Now is the time to create your future: be different, be the best you can, and most importantly, be professional.

Motion Graphics and Video Marketing – Sally Hogshead

March 27th, 2014

motion graphicBy Lauren Primeau

Renowned keynote speaker Sally Hogshead, CEO of Fascinate Inc., tells audiences that we need people to fall in love with our ideas, and that one crucial way to do that is through the power of fascination. By captivating viewers, even for a few seconds, individuals, products or services make an indelible impression, permanently identifying and differentiating themselves.

When I first heard Sally speak about this idea, I was immediately hooked. I thought her simple insight was the master key to effective communication, and as a communications specialist myself, I wanted to see how I could apply her concept of fascination to my own medium, video production.

With more than two billion videos viewed per month on the Internet, the question naturally arises, “How do I get my video noticed?” Reviewing all the tools and techniques in my video production toolbox, I asked myself, “How can I fascinate, captivate, inform and touch the viewer? It must be creative, unexpected, visually arresting, evoke emotion and stimulate thought.” I quickly concluded that whatever images were in my video, they could be transformed from interesting to captivating through the use of computer-generated images, sometimes called CGI or motion graphics.

Going to Sally’s website, I quickly discovered that, indeed, her demo video employs motion graphics throughout, especially at the very beginning, where she lists the seven triggers of fascination. Rather than listing or discussing her seven triggers, the video’s motion graphics illustrate them, reinforcing her message, while simultaneously grabbing the viewer’s attention. In addition to their visual appeal, animated color graphics significantly improve the production values of her demo video, enhancing its quality and professionalism, a direct reflection on her own quality and professionalism as a keynote speaker.

There are several other advantages to incorporating motion graphics in a video, such as the ability to present information that might have not been possible through the use of video footage alone. For example, a simulation of hair growing from a balding scalp can be dramatically illustrated with 3D motion graphics much more effectively than before and after photos. In addition to modeling and animation, kinetic typography, animated text, is another powerful use of motion graphics that conveys information quickly.

In summary, the ability to captivate as well as entertain audiences is a crucial aspect of any successful video production. Motion graphics are an eye-catching tool that helps captivate audiences and conveys your message in a memorable way. Primeau Productions is pleased to offer the latest in custom, 2D and 3D motion graphics that will enhance any video.

What Primetime Television Can Teach Us About Content Marketing

January 30th, 2014

Netflix-remoteBy Brad Finegan

I remember watching television with my parents over a family dinner in 2013.  We were watching the evening news, eating my mother’s roast, when suddenly, I realized something; this was the first time in ages I had watched a broadcast television.

I was floored. Here I am, a media communications major, and I can’t remember the last time I watched a broadcast TV. For my parents, primetime TV is a more-than-weekly evening ritual. Television news, morning and evening, is a daily routine. I, on the other hand, don’t even have cable in my room. What was the difference? What did they see in television that I didn’t? Then, it hit me like a bag of bricks labeled “obvious.”

The Internet.

It wasn’t what I was missing, it was how our youth differed.  My parents come from a generation where television depended on you, the viewer, to free your schedule for it.  If you didn’t, the network would determine the show wasn’t making quota, and that it wasn’t worth keeping on the air.  These days, it’s an absolute blessing if someone actually watches your show when it actually airs on an actual television.

Now, this isn’t to insist that this transition is going to kill television.  Television is visual entertainment, and it’s still the case (maybe even more-so, now) that video connects to others unlike any other medium.  This is to insist that companies distributing content may want to take a step back and learn how we, the viewers, choose to ingest that content.

Generally speaking, if you ask anyone under age 25 how they view their favorite shows, chances are they’ll return the same answers. Hulu, their DVR, and most importantly; Netflix. Avenues such as these stand as new mediums of sharing content amongst a large crowd, and with changing times, there’s a chance that these could become a new standard.

Here’s an example. NBC’s “Community” is a primetime television show about a group of seven quirky community college students and their life-changing and hysterical adventures through their four years of school. The show retained a huge cult following; the issue was NBC couldn’t recognize it. Why? Because fans of the show are generally under age 25, and chances are they don’t even have cable to watch it on.

Ratings (based on viewership) started to slip. The show found itself on a Friday night slot (not great for a primetime schedule) and on the verge of cancellation after its third season. Once their fan base received word of this, they did practically everything they could to save the show. Netflix and Hulu viewing exponentially increased. More people were accessing the show via On Demand services and DVR. The hashtag campaign #sixseasonsandamovie, insisting that the show deserved to receive six seasons and a movie, went viral virtually overnight. These fans were so dedicated to keeping the show on the air, and did everything they could to do so, except the one thing that would actually raise ratings; watching the show on television when it actually aired.

As this was happening, ratings for “Community” were still hardly sub-par, but when the time came, the executives at NBC signed the show for a fourth season. The show is currently onto its fifth season and stronger than ever.

How can we relate this back to content marketing? Well, it shows us that one avenue isn’t always the only avenue. YouTube may be the second largest search engine in the world, but Instagram is the second largest social media site in the world. Why not put some of your video content there? Even though Facebook is the top social media site right now, who’s to say Google+ won’t get there?

Like with television, the future of content marketing is undetermined, more-so now than ever before. Every avenue could have potential to become a new standard. We now have the ability to ingest content from so many sources that no one could ever possibly be sure where the next viral trend will end up. As a business owner or content marketer, you should always keep the potential of “what-if” in mind. As the internet continues to grow exponentially, the avenues we have access to taking are endless, and we shouldn’t squander the possibility of new avenues taking over our respective markets.

 

 

Going Viral Is Good Business

January 22nd, 2014

Michael BayBig-budget Hollywood director Michael Bay (Transformers, Armageddon, The Rock) had an onstage meltdown last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. He was there promoting the electronics giant Samsung and its new 105-inch curved UHD television. It started off OK, but then the teleprompter went down, leaving Bay at a loss for words. Suddenly incapable of putting together an English sentence, the
A-list director muttered, “Excuse me, I’m sorry …,” turned and walked off stage. The video of the live event quickly went viral, surpassing one million YouTube views.

Now, I’ve met a few successful movie directors, and they all impressed me as outstanding, natural communicators. Directors do nothing all day but communicate – with writers, studio execs, actors, department heads and ultimately, audiences. That’s one of the reasons I suspect that Bay’s gaffe was more stratagem than stage fright. As he watched Bay flounder, Samsung Executive Vice President, Joe Stinziano, pitched him a softball question, “The curve, how do you think it’s going to impact how viewers experience your movies?” It was this unanticipated query that finally drove Bay from the stage.

Picture this: it’s a few days before CES, and Samsung’s newly hired creative team is desperately searching for some way to get Samsung’s name and the fanfare accompanying its curved TV heard above the din of business-as-usual at the world’s largest, not open to the public, tradeshow. Someone in the room mentions “viral video,” but everyone present knows that’s a million-to-one shot. Then a young man in the corner blurts out, “Michael Bay is a big name – can’t we use him somehow?” With that, there is an explosion of ideas. Raising his arms, the senior most exec in the room announces, “We need something like a ‘wardrobe malfunction’ that will be sensational, look spontaneous and is easy enough for Michael to pull off.” Bay is contacted, and he loves the idea.

Following the show, it was confirmed as the largest ever, with 150,000 attendees, 35,000 of whom were from outside the U.S. “One-third of the world’s population interacted with CES in some way this week, as we experienced the future,” said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Association. “From curved and flexible Ultra HD TVs and next-generation smartphones to drones, robots, sensors, the Internet of Everything, Hi-Res audio, connected cars and 3D printers, it seems like the only thing missing from the 2014 CES was a time-travel machine,” Shapiro said.

I think you’re starting to get the idea. Corporate America knows that the least expensive and most effective communications tool now available is the viral video, and I’m predicting an uptick in the number of celebrities having some telegenic mishap in the vicinity of the product they are promoting. Remember the truism, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

How did things work out for Samsung and Michael Bay? Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards (21 million U.S. viewers) had host Tina Fey doing her wildly funny impersonation of Michael Bay, as she stumbled, coughed, and finally gave up on an introduction of presenters Chris Evans and Uma Thurman. Its 105-inch TV (price still not announced) got coverage from CNN, Bloomberg and all the network news programs. The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and hundreds of other newspapers worldwide carried stories. By all accounts, it was the hit of the show. And coincidentally, the new Michael Bay-produced pirate series, Black Sails, debuts this Saturday on YouTube (a week before it airs on Starz).

What do you think? You can watch Michael Bay’s CES 2014 meltdown below:

Do It Yourself Video Production

January 14th, 2014

DIY VideoI’m happy to report that the era of do-it-yourself video production seems to be drawing to a close. I’m not talking about teenagers making experimental films with their friends. Rather, I’m talking about businesses, organizations, and individuals trying to save time and money by choosing the DIY option over professional video production.

Beginning around 2005 we began seeing conditions that led to a DIY video “perfect storm.” First, affordable hardware and software, capable of high quality editing, appeared in the marketplace. Second, millions of people became accustomed to the convenience of shooting video on their cell phones. Third, the economic downturn of 2008 brought drastic budget cuts, particularly in such “discretionary” areas as advertising, training, publicity, and promotion. And fourth, there grew a cultish faith within the business community that the clever application of technology was the solution to most every problem.

Clearly, many of these factors remain extant. What then was ultimately responsible for the failure of DIY video? Anecdotal evidence suggests that many of these videos failed to effectively communicate their intended messages, and in some cases, they were actually counterproductive.

You cannot give a highly creative individual the right tools, a little training, and a hearty slap of encouragement and expect them to make a successful video. It’s here that I’d like to draw a distinction between the “creative individual” and the “creative professional.” Creativity, in itself, is never enough to craft a video that communicates effectively. That takes years of study, practice, and critical thinking. Every creative professional started out as a creative individual, and then made the conscious choice to study the language of film & video, master its techniques, and commit to a lifetime of learning.

I love this quote from the great theoretical physicist Niels Bohr, “An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.” A broad grin spreads over my face when I think back over the many mistakes I’ve made during my long career. Fortunately, most of my really disastrous errors occurred while I was in school and during my apprenticeship thereafter. Needless to say, most DIYers fall short because they are simply not prepared.

There’s another reason that DIY videos are unsuccessful. Whether it’s fair or unfair, the standard against which all videos are measured is the one we’ve all grown up on: the production standards of Hollywood films, television programs, and TV commercials. Average viewers may not be able to explain the reason they find a particular DIY video so unconvincing. All they know is that something feels “wrong.” Usually what they’re responding to is the combined effect of many small weaknesses: the music is a bit too loud; the voiceover is somewhat stiff; the graphics are difficult to read; the narrative lacks a beginning, middle, and end; the lighting is bright and unflattering; the onscreen talent appears a bit unsure and uncomfortable; the pacing seems slow, and on and on.

It’s attention to all the tiny details that can make or break your video. Even the most meticulous DIYers are likely to fail, simply because they don’t have the critical skills to find the small weaknesses, and they may not have the necessary knowledge to fix those weaknesses once found (not to mention those problems that are impossible to fix).

Industry professionals have noted that the rise and fall of DIY desktop video is much like the rise and fall of DIY desktop publishing before it. Software like QuarkXPress cut into the business of many professional typesetters and layout designers until DIYers realized that the precipitous drop in quality that resulted was hurting business.

The fact is, my client’s video will likely create a distinct impression on those who view it. Video is the most powerful communications medium ever created, and it is up to you whether you make the most of the few minutes you have the viewer’s attention. Generally, you get only one shot. After watching your video, people come away with a lasting positive or negative impression of you, your organization, and your product or service. And that’s the reason that a truly creative, professional video from Primeau Productions is such a wise investment, paying dividends long into the future.

6 Reasons To Restore Your VHS Tapes to DVD

December 17th, 2013

Video tape VHS Stack

by: Bradley Finegan

Remember the era of VHS? An era where parents would capture every precious moment of their children’s adolescence with a bulky video camera. An era where you were required to rewind before sending your movie back to Blockbuster (for those who remember Blockbuster). Well, as all things, the era of VHS had to come to end sometime.

Back in 2006, the Motion Picture Association of America announced that theatrical releases would no longer be printed to VHS. The last film released to VHS was the infamous documentary style film “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Nation of Kazakhstan.”

7 years later, as digital video continues to take over the world, it begs the question: what to do with all of our VHS tapes? Well, with the help of a production company such as Primeau Productions, you can capture/restore these tapes and transfer them to DVD or digital format. (Very nice!)

Here are 6 reasons why you should digitize those old video tapes laying around the house.

1. To Preserve Your Memories.
VHS tapes only hold up for so long. The average shelf life of a VHS tape is approximately 25 years. This means that if your old tape collection dates earlier than 1989, it’s recommended that you take action to digitize your tapes.
Letting film sit too long and collect dust could have consequences in saving your memories. The film can get covered in dirt, and eventually, the tape will begin to deteriorate. This will not only damage the content of the tape, but the dirt can quickly clog VCR heads, which could consequently ruin not only the tape itself, but the VCR Player being used to play it.

2. Aspect Compatibility
Watching video tapes on modern television systems, in most cases, the image can get compressed, and does not take up the whole screen.  This has to do with aspect ratio, or the relationship between the height and width of an image. During the time when video tapes were the most popular media, the standard aspect ratio was 4×3. With the creation of the HDTV, the average TV aspect ratio increased to 16 x 9. This is why these images look so small. These tapes were created for a 4 x 3 aspect ratio, and we’re living in a 16 x 9 word. Restoring VHS tapes to a digital format allows you to watch them at an aspect ratio of 16×9; fully compatible with most current TV’s.

3. Restore Quality of the Tape
The damages mentioned above can cause blurring, along with drastic discoloration of an image. Dependent on the damage, companies who restore these tapes will clean the film, fixing discoloration and restoring sharpness of the image.

In regards to the audio, we receive many inquiries about noisy tapes, whether it’s buzzing, white noise, or something similar. This can also be due to damaged tapes. Like the visual quality, this is something that can also be fixed by cleaning the tape, dependent on the damage.

4. For Family Genealogy.
As earlier mentioned, the shelf life of a VHS tape is approximately 25 years. These tapes won’t hold up forever.  Transferring these memories to digital formats gives you and your family the opportunity to preserve these tapes for future generations. If these tapes become too damaged, once they’re gone, they’re gone, and cannot be restored.

5. Easier to Manage/Send
Digital formats are much easier to manage and send. This opens up opportunities to easily send the content overseas. If you find a tape of an old friend who is now living overseas, instead of paying high shipping fees, and risking damage to the tape in transportation, digitizing the tape is much less risky, along with a cheaper, easier means of sending that video overseas.

6. For Christmas!
In the spirit of the holiday season, DVD versions of your family memories make great Christmas gifts! These are especially great gifts for parents, grandparents and any other relatives that may have home videos laying around they don’t want to lose.

10 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade to Adobe Creative Cloud

October 23rd, 2013

Creative CloudI have always been resistant to change. As a business owner, there are always employee wish lists or new equipment that is needed which can eat away at company profit. However, to keep current and do the best work possible, change is extremely important in the video production business.

In this case, new product Adobe Creative Cloud is an excellent change agent. It saves a video production company time and money! Here are our 10 reasons why you should upgrade to Adobe Creative Cloud based on our experience.

  1. Increased ProductivityIf your hardware fails as electronic equipment can on occasion, your project is safe in the Cloud! Adobe Creative Cloud gives you the option to automatically save your work in the Cloud, saving editors from potential power outages/surges and hardware failure like hard drives crashing. However, if you don’t trust Cloud storage, don’t worry, you’re not required to save to the Cloud. Adobe still allows you to save to hard storage with the Creative Cloud suite. Plus, working in Creative Cloud is more fun than working in CS6. You have to experience it because words cannot describe how easy and fun Creative Cloud is to use. For some reason, our editor employees work faster and focus more on their productions when they are having fun.
  2. Cloud Storage

    Cloud storage is a great feature for a company like Primeau Productions because you can never have too much storage space for HD video. We spend a lot of money on hard drive storage. Our team of editors can easily share HD media in the Cloud so having unlimited storage space accessible to every editing station is a huge advantage! Of course you have to pay for extra Cloud storage space, but it’s worth every penny because that replaces the time to order equipment, shipping and the actual cost of purchasing physical hard drives.
  3. Accessible from Multiple MachinesCreative Cloud software is accessible on any machine, as long as you have the login information for your subscription.  This is very convenient for an office setting and especially when traveling. Editors gain access to Adobe Creative Cloud from their own editing stations or anywhere in the world! This beats manually installing individual programs to every work station and carrying computers on airplanes for remote editing jobs.
  4. Consistent UpdatesAdobe is capable of updating their software quickly. With Creative Cloud, the software is constantly checking for updates. When you purchase Creative Cloud, no longer will you have to worry about buying new Adobe software, the program will update to the latest version for you.
  5. Consistent Bug Fixes!It’s understandable that Adobe has had some bugs in the past. Before Creative Cloud, users were required to wait for the next version of CS to come out for those bugs to be fixed. With CC, users get consistent updates when bugs are found within the software. Consistent updates also means that bugs are worked out more efficiently and any new tools and features are easily added with very little effort.
  6. Automatic Access to Every ApplicationMax Spiker, founder of DMAD put it best; “[Adobe Creative Cloud] is like walking into Adobe’s toy store and being able to play with ALL of the toys.” (http://dmad.com/adobe-creative-cloud-review) When you download Creative Cloud, you get access to every Adobe software product, including Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects, Dreamweaver, etc. With Creative Cloud, you have the ability to pick and choose which programs you’ll need in your workflow, although not every program has to be implemented.
  7. Pay Per Application SubscriptionSoftware options are great! If you’re only planning on using one software application, you’re not required to buy the entire Creative Cloud suite; you can subscribe to only those software programs you need for a lower monthly rate.
  8. Easy InstallationThe installation of Creative Cloud is quick and easy. When you download Creative Cloud, you’re given the Adobe Application Manager. This manager helps you download virtually every piece of software Adobe offers.  This interface makes installation quick and easy.
  9. Faster InterfaceEvery new Creative Suite has been substantially faster than the rest (taking software bugs out of the picture). Creative Cloud is no different in this regard. Creative Cloud processes all activity faster because of the constant updating of the software and systems.
  10. Cost SavingsAdobe’s Creative Suite is not cheap.  Individually, the software can range between $500 and $1500. With Creative Cloud, you get all of these programs for only $50 a month.  Plus, major discounts are offered for users who are students, along with businesses who need these programs on multiple machines at once.

The Future of Professional Speaking

October 7th, 2013

Over the last ten years, the professional speaking industry has evolved into a forward thinking technological evolution of information and confusion. During this time, most professional speakers have seen a decrease in bookings and fees. Competition has been the main contributor to this perplexity and a lot of poor decisions are being made. In the following post, I will provide my perspective and experience earned while working with dozens of professional speakers in various markets and fee ranges around the world.

Historical perspective

To put this post into perspective, I have to share a story. Back in 1978, I met Floyd Wickman. He was the first professional speaker I worked with while I was employed as an audio engineer. I was the low man at the studio and nobody else wanted to work with him. He wanted to record a 2 pack cassette product. It was hard for him to be energetic and motivational in the studio while talking to a microphone. He said he was at his best in front of a live audience. I remembered the Dezi Arnez story about how ‘I Love Lucy’ was the first television show to be recorded in front of a live audience. This gave me an idea. Why not audio record his presentations where he could feed off the audience energy, at a live seminar? He gladly accepted my offer and my boss had no problem since this was not a conflict of interest. I rented two 80 pound reel-to-reel recorders and one of the first wireless microphones and headed to the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn, Michigan. The difference in the outcome of the product was amazing! Thus, Primeau Productions was born.

A lot has happened since then. Cassettes have turned into CD’s and downloadable Internet audio files. Speaker demo videos became affordable and a necessary tool to get more bookings; first on VHS tape and then DVD, and now the Internet on over 30 International websites. These days, a meeting planner can find almost everything they need in regards to booking a professional speaker on the Internet; including credentials, a speaker’s demo video and video clips.

Today

The speaking industry took a hit after 9-11, and many professional speakers had speaking engagements cancelled. Attendance of meetings also dropped and as a result, the number of meetings decreased. Professional speakers at the top of their game reinvented their marketing and did the best they could. Those who have not reinvented themselves still blame 9-11 for their decrease in bookings.

Here is what you need to do to play in today’s competitive professional speaking Industry:

1. Have an easy to use world class website. A lot of speakers spent a lot of money on Flash based websites and planned on using them for a long time. The problem with Flash is that Apple products do not support it. The cool effects on websites, like walking on the computer screen and moving headers are also not viewable on Apple products. We cannot ignore this rapidly growing market sector, so the solution is to stick with HTML 5. Use Youtube and Vimeo to embed your video content into your WordPress website and keep the website simple and clean. Most of all, make your products and expertise easy to find.

2. Have a professionally produced speaker demo video. When you consider that one or two paid speaking engagements will return your production investment back to you, why would you consider producing your demo with a non experienced production company, or yourself? Not to mention, your competition is more than likely using professionally produced video. There are plenty of professional video production companies, including Primeau Productions, who know the speaking and meetings industry, and will get your demo produced professionally so you get more prospects and bookings. A pro that has experience with speaker demo videos will help make your demo better than if you go it alone. Look at samples and choose wisely.

3. Add value and make it obvious. Many professional speakers say they customize, and many others value added propositions, but keep them a secret. Get creative and make this added value obvious in your demo and on your website. Post blog articles that address the needs of the speaking industry and meeting planner.

The Future

I believe the future of professional speaking depends on the willingness of professional speakers to reinvent their business model, speaking messages, Internet presence and brand positioning for their expertise. You have to be a thought leader in your area of expertise and prove it. Use video to show the depth and extent of your subject matter expertise. Interview past clients and kick your social media for business into overdrive.

Don’t brag about your experience, rather display experience in everything you do. I find many professional speakers are full of themselves because their last presentation earned them a standing ovation. It’s time to learn humility and be humble in everything you do.

Follow your heart, not your wallet. Instead of focusing on the money, focus on your passion. You may have earned a great income from last year’s speech, but what does the world need today and in the future? Concentrate and meditate on your passion and promote those keynote topics instead of the ones that use to sell. There is nothing wrong with reinvention, except it takes valor.

Be courageous and project that courage in your messages. When you do your homework and discover the clients’ pain, address that pain on the platform and provide solutions. You can no longer be a bubble gum speaker, you have to provide value as well as solutions.

Marketing

Use the marketing tools available to you today to get the word out. More and more speaking leads come from people you don’t know, instead of those you do know that are part of your database. Inbound marketing has become at least 20 % of all professional speakers’ business. Get with the program and leverage your social media networks. As the second largest search engine and third most visited website (after Facebook and Google), YouTube has taken over as a promotion tool for professional speakers.

It’s not enough to post video clips and speaker demos on YouTube, you have to be active and engaged frequently to get the biggest bang out of YouTube for marketing. Friend, subscribe, like, share and post comments often for the videos you watch on YouTube, and use this strategy if you are involved with a mastermind group or NSA chapter to help each other out. YouTube videos also end up in search results and include thumbnail images, so make sure to optimize your videos with great titles, descriptions and tags that include your predetermined key words and phrasing as search criteria.

Talent and Growth 

To compete in today’s meetings industry, you have to be r-e-a-l-l-y g-o-o-d; if you are just ok, then it’s time to learn how to get better. Get a coach, or hire a speech writer to help you boost your content, delivery and entertainment quotient. If you attend educational events like The National Speakers Association then write down action steps after you leave. Hold yourself accountable or ask someone else to be your CAO (chief accountability officer).

If you use stories in your presentation, what other stories do you have that can be told on stage that you are not using? Many years ago I had the pleasure of working with Og Mandino in Las Vegas.

During our back stage conversation, he explained to me that he kept a story log. Before each speaking engagement he would look through his story log and pick the stories that suited each audience. Nothing about Og was off the shelf. Today we have the opportunity to log dozens of stories every week if we just pay attention to the lessons we learn.

This is part of the customization process. If you don’t customize, it’s time to start, and stories are where it’s at. Show customization in your demo video when possible and definitely in standalone video clips. Embed those clips into blogs written about that customized subject material.

Don’t let others influence your creativity. Stop asking for feedback from friends, family and other speakers. One of the worse activities you can become involved with is to ask others for their opinion when you are creating. Remember, opinions are like noses, everyone has one. The Beatles worked behind closed doors when they created their music. Opinions can cause your true creativity to become scarred. Work and create from your heart and instincts and leave the feedback for after you’re done creating.

Increase your Opportunities and Negotiate

As much as we hate to admit it, we all negotiate our fees. One thing that is a big time benefit for the future of professional speaking is to offer value to your prospects to close more bookings. Speakers who do not add value and negotiate speaking engagements will have fewer speaking engagements.

 

Speakers who offer to include breakouts, master of ceremonies and other multiple presentations to close their offerings during the negotiation process close more deals.

We know this to be true because many of our speaker clients have success stories of negotiations resulting in multiple bookings from their client.

The future of speaking successfully and being booked as much as you like depends on your willingness to be the best bargain in your fee range.

If the prospect is willing to pay you $5,000, and your fee is $7500, you have to do some searching and negotiating if you want the gig on the flip side, once you lower your fee, word travels fast.

To Sum it up:

• Add value, because the rules have changed

• Be visible everywhere you can on the Internet and position yourself as a thought leader

• Update your professional speaker demo video at least every other year

• Continuously learn and grow to perfect your mes- sage; get a coach or speech writer to help

• Be ready to negotiate your fee

I would love to hear from you after these thoughts and ideas have settled in. This is my promise to you; if you take my advice and break away from the same old- same old, your business as a professional speaker will flourish. It takes courage to be different and break free from the herd. It also takes creativity to compete in today’s professional speaking and meetings industry.

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