Professional Speakers Need More Than Demo Videos

March 12th, 2011

Professional speaker demo video helps get more bookings. However, professional speakers should not stop there with video marketing and search engine optimization. Jupiter research reported that 38% of all US Internet users used search engines to discover online video.

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world! Most people will search for video either on a search engine like Google or on YouTube.6333170239_e7e6a9cc80_n

When you properly title and describe your video clips on your website and YouTube you have a great potential of improved search results. Plus, Google reports that 25% of all traffic to YouTube originates from Google. 38% of all search results on Google include a video in their search results.

More prospects will click on a video thumbnail picture than a text only search result.

Try searching your criteria like “humorist keynote professional speaker Chicago” and look at the results. What can you do with video to improve your search engine ranking and get more visibility for your speaking business?

Primeau Productions works with professional speakers to help them get more Internet visibility with video. This video is one in a series of five videos produced for keynote professional speaker Eileen McDargh on work life balance.

photo credit: Lo Fi Forums via photopin (license)

Video Trilogy Helps Authors

March 12th, 2011

Another successful video to help authors get more visibility and sell books is the video trilogy. The idea 7509061378_8cd7bee14d_nbehind a video trilogy is to engage your audience over time with entertaining and informative video content. Plus video is great for search engine results.

We initially produced one full video for the Bob Seger book “Travelin’ Man”. His manager Punch Andrews saw the video and loved it but had an idea to break it into three videos and release one at a time on the Bob Seger website creating a video trilogy. This engaged the audience over time motivating them to return to the website periodically which built fans and followers and sold more books over time.

What can you do for your book to create a video trilogy? Here is part one of the Bob Seger book promotion trilogy:

Call Primeau Productions to discuss creative ways to build your fans and followers using video 800-647-4281

photo credit: Bookshelf via photopin (license)

Book Promotion Video for Authors

March 8th, 2011

It is a fact that today fewer people read books. Authors have to include video in their marketing efforts to capture the attention of the marketplace. Book promo video helps authors:56156364_f3723ffcc7_n
1. Generate more visibility for their book
2. Get traffic to websites and blogs promoting their book because of blended media content
3. Inform the prospective readers in a short amount of time what their book is about
4. Increase the perceived value of their book by having a professionally produced video
5. Sell more books
6. Bring their book to life

In the video below, you will see how in a short amount of time this book promo video for Connie Podesta has created more Internet traffic to her outlets, including her website and blog.

photo credit: for squirrels and chipmunks, practice makes perfect via photopin (license)

Jane Fonda Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

March 8th, 2011

Primeau Productions, LLC produced and directed 36 conferences over 9 years for the Women’s Leadership Exchange.2078414705_01b2197982_n One year in New York, Primeau Productions, Inc. produced a live WLE event at the Sheraton Towers on 7th Ave. WLE honored Jane Fonda for her lifetime achievement as an actress, business person, humanitarian and other accomplishments. Her acceptance speech in the video below will show how humble this mega star really is. In her message, Jane Fonda humbles herself speaking about her life business successes.

photo credit: Ted Turner and Jane Fonda via photopin (license)

How to Operate Your Video Camera Like a Professional

March 6th, 2011

operating a cameraAll video cameras do not look the same but they have the same features and mostly operate the same. Even if your camera is a few years old, it still has a focus, iris, built in microphone, external microphone jack (not on the Flip) and battery pack, AC adaptor/charger and somewhere to put the tape in. So, this chapter will be on general professional operating tips and techniques that will help you learn how the professionals shoot (I mean record) excellent quality video.

That’s actually a joke in our office. We used to ‘shoot’ video but with how the world is today, we decided to change the term to ‘record’ video, which is actually a very clear way to describe the process.

If you have problems locating the settings or adjusting devices I am about to describe on your video camera, I suggest you look at your owner’s manual. If you have misplaced your owner’s manual, go online to your manufacturer website. Most manufacturers have a manual download page, some have to be purchased, and others are free.

Here are some items to locate on your video camera before reading the rest of this chapter. When you locate the specific item, put a check mark next to the item on the list below. Also write a note for yourself about the location of this item so you can find it later on as well as any notes you might want to take about each item and its function. I will do my best to explain tips and techniques on each of these items in the following pages of Chapter two.

Manual/Automatic focus/mode setting
Headphone jack for audio monitoring
External Microphone jack to plug in a lavaliere or other microphone
Built in microphone; could be mono or stereo
Iris adjustment used to open and close the iris based on light conditions
Image stabilizer; minimize camera movement when shooting off tripod
Audio adjustment/volume control
Battery Pack
Battery Charger
Light meter or zebra setting to gauge exposure
White balance; set white levels so colors are as close to real as possible
N D Filter; used outdoors to reduce extreme light conditions
Gain; used to increase exposure in dark settings or reduce in bright
Fire wire used to load recorded video into your computer

MANUAL Focus/Manual Mode is one of the most important items we will discuss. We have it listed first for that reason but the order of the subsequent items is insignificant. I will take every effort to make sure we are explaining the item in easy to understand language.

On every camera there is a menu switch or button (may be submersed in the “menu” feature-especially on smaller video cameras). This switch may also control some of the other items in our list like white balance, gain and iris. When a camera is in automatic mode or automatic focus mode, the camera senses the situation of which you are shooting then makes a decision how to set these items. The problem is that it often times makes the wrong decision and often changes its mind too frequently. Like when you shoot into the light or lighting conditions change.

Let’s discuss automatic focus first. In automatic mode, your camera is in a constant state of adjusting as the subject matter moves or as the light changes. The result is a playback image that is always trying to be clear and sharp.
This can be very annoying to the viewer. Often times, when you shoot your footage in Auto Focus, you will see the picture constantly adjusting during play back. It will move soft focus to sharp focus constantly adjusting for each change in light and movement.

However, automatic mode is a good way to at least capture an event if you are unsure what manual settings to use. In automatic mode, if the subject is a bit dark, it will never be in focus because the camera is constantly adjusting.

The reason is that the camera needs much more light than the naked eye to see. Just because you can see an image in the dark does not mean your camera can properly capture it.

Try to shoot in manual focus with one exception: when you are constantly moving and you have plenty of light around your subject. An example of this would be on a train shooting the landscape outside your window. Another would be a kid’s birthday party shooting kids running around and playing. In this case, put your camera in auto focus but do not zoom in on the action you are taping but rather crop your picture by physically moving forward or backward.

The key to success with manual and automatic is to practice and experiment. When we get to the iris section in the next lesson, we will discuss some cool techniques using an over exposed shot by opening your iris more than normal.

One way to get clean crisp shots in manual focus is to stand where you want to stand with your camera zoomed out completely (crop the shot by physically moving toward and away from your subject). Then, zoom in completely to your subject’s most critical sight points like a face or a written part. Then, adjust your focus manually until it is crisp. Zoom back out and begin taping a clear crisp shot.

Now, I am not saying do not ever use your zoom, just keep two things in mind: first, your camera jiggles when you’re zoomed in. It’s harder to have a nice steady shot when using your zoom. Secondly, your zoom feature drains your battery quicker. Every time you zoom in and out, you burn up a bit more of your battery power. There is a little electric motor that moves your zoom in and out that takes power (battery or AC) to operate.

The Headphone jack is next on our operations list because as a professional videographer and video journalist, you want to make sure you are always getting good audio. Even if you are using the camera microphone, you want to listen to the audio as you are taping to make sure the camera is not hearing unwanted sounds or noises.

Some cameras may have a headphone volume control, while others do not. Of the cameras that do, always turn the volume completely up so what you are hearing is a good representative of what is going to tape.

More often that not, built in camera microphones are very sensitive and can pick up unwanted background sound. Their pick up pattern may be 360 degrees of the camera allowing sound from behind to be recorded in addition to the sound from your subject. Other built in microphones only pick up 180 degrees. Test your pick up pattern by taping a test shoot.

Point the camera in one direction then while recording, have somebody walk around the camera while talking. You will hear how the camera is picking up their voice. That way, you will know the nature of your record pattern for future taping sessions.

If your record volume is low, you should make every effort to raise the level naturally instead of trying to raise the edit after the shoot. If you subject is soft-spoken, one thing you can do is asking them to raise their voice or speak louder. Another thing you can do is moving the camera closer to the sound source. If all else fails, try to amplify the sound source with a powered speaker or public address system.

That brings me to another important audio point: when your subject is publicly speaking, you should always hard wire their microphone to the camera. We will discuss this more in the audio section of this lesson.

One very important note: Even if you do not want the audio from a shoot, if you are taping something for sale on the Internet and do not need sound for it, the camera mic is still recording and will pick up your conversations. Remember this when shooting so unwanted conversations are not heard in future playbacks.

Now, let’s say that you have your headphones plugged in and hear some humming or unwanted sound. How can you get rid of this unwanted, extraneous noise? The first step is to track down the unwanted sound by alternating listening with the headphones and your naked ear. Try to follow the sound with the camera and your headphones then alternate listening with your naked ear.

You will be amazed how the camera will amplify some unwanted sounds more than your naked ear. This is why this step is all-important for assuring a quality product. Bad audio can ruin a good tape very quickly.

Bottom line; always monitor your audio when taping to assure the highest quality possible. Select a good pair of comfortable headphones. Test the headphones out on another system so you can gain perspective on their quality with a reliable source before you ever use them in action videotaping. You should expect to pay $20-$100 for a good pair of headphones.

If you are using an external microphone plugged into the mini “mic in” jack, also monitor this audio for optimum level and clarity. Some of the time, using an aftermarket lavaliere or other mic plugged into your camera will cause buzzes or unwanted sounds. This is due to incompatibility issues or even a defective microphone. Best thing to do when this happens is to try another microphone and troubleshoot through process of elimination.

There are several external microphone scenarios we need to discuss so you have a complete understanding of your audio recording options.
The first scenario is to use a lavaliere microphone clipped onto the lapel of the person (subject) speaking so the sound is up front and tight.

If you are going to use a wired lavaliere microphone, make sure the cord/cable is long enough so you and your subject have plenty of room to move without tripping.
If you are fortunate enough to have a wireless lavaliere, you will have much more movement options. Plus, the burden will be less on the subject because there are no wires to keep track of.

Either way, there are a couple things to mention here that apply to both scenarios. You may need adaptors to convert the microphone to the cable/cord and into the 1/8” input female jack on the camera. Many microphones have an xlr (3 pin) configuration that has to be converted to the 1/8” mini female jack which most cameras have as the external microphone in. Radio Shack is a convenient place to get these adaptors. Plus, Radio Shack makes a great little wired lavaliere with a built in power supply. It is an omni directional lavaliere condenser microphone model 33-3013. The only downside to this little puppy is you will need a 1/8” mono extention cord to lengthen the cable for conenvience. If you are doing an interview, the cable attached to the microphone should be long enough.

Speaking of power supplies, some microphones (usually the higher quality ones) require 12-volt phantom power supplies. Ask the clerk when you purchase your microphone if you will need a phantom power supply. The come in a lot of shapes and sizes, AC and DC powered. Wireless microphones usually do not require phantom power as their receivers and transmitters carry the voltage necessary to power the microphone.

When you clip on the microphone to the subjects lapel, make sure you are far enough from the mouth so you do not experience wind pops. A wind pop is the distortion made when a puff of wind or breath is exerted directly into the microphone’s diaphragm. Also, make sure that the subjects clothing does not rub against the lavaliere.

If the volume is too soft, move the lavaliere closer to the subject’s mouth. Too loud, move away from the mouth until the volume is medium in volume. Listen carefully for clarity and tonality and experiment a little to achieve optimum performance.

The next type of microphone to consider is a hand held. Hand held microphones work nicely in noisy places because the pick up pattern is more directional keeping background noises lower. If your subject is narrating, a hand held mic may prove to be better than a lavaliere because hand held sound better. If you are doing an interview and do not have the ability to mix two lavalieres together, a hand held microphone can be held and directed back and forth to follow the conversation.
Hold the microphone 4 to 6” away from the sound source. If the volume is too loud and distortion occurs, hold the microphone even further away to lower the volume naturally.

Some cameras have an external microphone volume control which can also be adjusted in addition to distance away from the microphone.

The last microphone scenario for your consideration is a headset microphone. The advantage of a headset microphone is when worn on the head, placed in the best location right in front of the mouth; you have the best sound quality. Unlike a lavaliere, you are never off mic with a headset. As you turn your head and gesture, the microphone follows. With a lavaliere, you turn your head and the microphone does not move with your mouth. In this case, you will notice part of the speech has different volume levels because of this phenomenon.

A built in microphone is on every video camera. Depending on your camera make and model some built microphones are better than others. The advantage to using a built in microphone is convenience. The disadvantage is the sound quality. Video always sounds better when a direct microphone is used like a lavaliere or hand held microphone. However in some situations (like run and gun video) it is necessary to use the built in microphone and adjust and enhance the sound afterward.

The iris adjustment is used to open and close the iris based on light conditions so your video is neither over nor under exposed. On some cameras the iris setting is manual and visible on the outside of the camera; on others it is electronic and visible only in the digital LED display in the menu function.

An image stabilizer setting helps to minimize camera movement when shooting off tripod like in a moving vehicle or following a subject walking around. This image stabilizer is a setting that stabilizes the camera and results in a jib like movement without actually using a jib or steady cam. You can get this desired effect by holding the camera at arms length with the stabilizer on and slowly moving the camera fluidly to get the desired effect. You may want to practice and experiment with this technique before you actually use it on a client’s video.

The audio adjustment/volume control is also on the outside of most video cameras and adjusts the audio gain on either the internal or external microphone accordingly depending on what is being used. Be careful especially in digital video applications to not over modulate the audio (record too loud) as this permanently damages the sound quality. It’s easier to raise the volume instead of trying to remove distortion on poor audio. Try to keep the audio mid volume so as to accommodate for loud spikes or gains in the sound.

The battery Pack is perhaps the best part of your camera as this is what makes your camera portable. When you use the AC power supply, you have to have it plugged into an AC outlet. When using the battery pack, you have the flexibility of being portable moving from setting to setting-room to room very easily. It’s a good idea to have back up batteries so you never run out of power. Make sure they are completely charged before you hit the road. I always have (4) fully charged batteries with me when shooting as well as the AC power supply. You can never have too much back up. As a side bar, when you record video outside the United States, you will need a 220volt adapter/converter for your camera and battery charger. Its also a good idea to travel with a second converter as a back up just in case the first one quits.

When we were shooting in Italy, my friend Terry Brock suggested getting a second converter just in case. It was a great idea because on the second day, the first one crapped out.

The battery Charger is often times part of the AC power supply and can be use for both charging and powering the camera. However, as far as I know, all battery chargers will not charge batteries when they are being used as a power supply. If you are using batteries as your power source, as soon as you change one when it is getting low, throw it on the battery charger (if you have AC access) and recharge it so you always have an arsenal of charged batteries just in case.

The light meter or zebra setting to is used to help you determine and gauge light exposure. When the zebra is turned on, you will notice moving (zebra type) lines on your camera display. You always look at the exposure light quality then determine what the zebra activity is. For good point of reference you always want a little zebra movement in the display or monitor. Most likely this zebra activity will not transfer to an external monitor but rather work only in the camera display or viewfinder.

White balance is a crucial setting to adjust when your lighting is established or as soon as you’re lighting changes. Use a white board or paper in the center of your shot and follow the instructions in your manual of how to set your white balance. Footage recorded without properly setting the white balance will not have robust colors and proper white and black levels because the camera has no light and color reference. This is what the white balance does, sets a white reference. Set white levels so colors are as close to real as possible and look at the set through the lens as well as outside the camera view with your naked eye to compare.

N D Filter or neutral density filter is a setting on some cameras that can be used when shooting in extreme light conditions. You will know you need to use your neutral density filter when you can not close your iris enough to compensate for extreme light like bright sun. The neutral density knocks down the light levels so you have a lower range to work with using the other settings like iris and gain. The ND filter is used mostly outdoors to reduce extreme light conditions but can also be used in doors. Experiment with the ND setting before you record video for your client.

Gain is a setting that is used to increase light exposure in dark settings or reduce in bright settings. I love our Cannon XL2 as it has some serious gain settings to shoot in nearly pitch black environments. You can also reduce your shutter speed to gain additional light however, the video may have a strobe effect noticeable mostly in subject movement.

The fire wire port is used to export video from your camera into your computer for editing. It is the highest quality and easiest way to load footage into your computer. Fire wire cables come in many configurations; fire wire on one end and USB and or fire wire on the other end. Look on Amazon for various inexpensive fire wire cables that can be purchased.

Ask about our @Work training programs to help you build your video production campaign.

Video Production-Camera Lighting Techniques

March 6th, 2011

light-2-1546674Light is extremely important to cameras. Let’s begin our discussion on lighting with an understanding of the iris on your camera; the setting and the result. The iris is the camera function that lets light into your camera through the lens and onto the tape.
The larger the iris number setting, the less light let into the camera. The smaller the iris number setting, the more light let into the camera. The Iris is the light opening and closing device to make the picture or subject brighter or darker accordingly. Try opening and closing your camera iris and look through your viewfinder and notice the difference. Try this test in various light settings and notice sometimes one or two clicks can make a big difference and one or two steps in the other direction makes little difference.

If you are out in the sun and you need to close the iris up to 15 or 16 (a larger number) to let in a little light but not wash out the picture, you will want to try the ND neutral density filter in addition to adjusting the iris. Notice the radiance of the colors VS the brightness of the whites. Use your eye to determine the best combination.

Remember to always position your subject in front of the light source (not behind the light source) and the light source behind you or over your shoulder, otherwise you will end up with a shot that is over exposed and way too white or bright, making your subject dark and a silhouette. This is, however, an interesting technique when you are interviewing somebody who does not want to be recognized. Therefore, this can be a nice technique.

You may be able to position your subject and the light source to look as if the subject is coming out of a cloud and the outer portion of the frame has a very high white ‘cloud like’ level.

One of the (if not THE) most important items when it comes to recording professional video is the lighting.

Lighting can make or break a video. It makes the subject and the scene come alive in vibrant tones and colors, increases the contrast and luminance so the camera can record accurately.

Generally speaking, you should always have nice even light on your subject. It is to your advantage to use available lighting whenever possible. Position your subject so that the light source is behind you and adjust your camera iris accordingly. It is best to have your iris setting somewhere in the middle like 5.6.

If you are filming outdoors, it may be necessary to use a sun visor or damper to knock down the direct light. Sun can become very hot and cause your talent or subject to sweat. If so, use a piece of white poster board or reflector to act as a visor to reduce the directness of the sun.

Another great trick is to use C stands and sound blankets, or large white boards to block out the sun. You can also drape a large tarp between two or three C stands to act as a tent like sun protector.

If the sun is coming from one side and the other side looks a bit dark, use another white poster board or reflector to bounce the sun to fill in or compensate on the darker side.

Add additional lighting as necessary whenever you are taping indoors.

Lights come in many shapes, sizes and strengths. A 600 watt light would be overkill if you are video recording a piece of jewelry. It would however look very nice recording an interview. In fact, you may need two point lighting for the same interview and a 200 or 400 watt light for the jewelry instead. Experiment to learn the best lighting techniques before you have the business.

Two point lighting can be accomplished by positioning one light to the left of your camera close to the subject to create a 45 degree angle. The second light should be positioned on the opposite side of the set.

If you are taping a presentation, put the lights close and wide. The shadows will still be seen on the backdrop (drape or wall) by the naked eye outside the shot but not by the camera (because the shot is cropped for the subject and the shadows are outside the cropped shot).

Indirect lighting is a softer way to light a subject and can be accomplished by bouncing the light off a ceiling or wall. Umbrella diffusers come with some light kits and are worth the investment. The light shines into the umbrella and is reflected to a nice smooth wash over the subject.

If you are lighting a subject and the light seems harsh, try the diffused approach to help soften the harshness. Lighting kits can be rented so you do not have to own all this equipment and bare the expense. Look online for a lighting rental supplier close to your recording location.

Look for your options every time you shoot with regard to lighting. Modify the subject positioning until you have the optimum light level.

When you are indoors and the light is not optimum, open the iris as low as 2.2 or 1.8. If necessary, increase the gain to compensate for the darkness or slow down the shutter speed. Look at your results before beginning to record.

When zoomed completely wide, your camera may open the iris to as low as 1.6 depending on the camera. This means the iris is wide open to allow as much light into the camera as possible.

It is best to always record with the iris setting and the camera is in manual mode. If the light source is coming from behind your subject and your camera is in automatic settings, then the subject will be dark because your camera iris is adjusting itself to compensate for the light source automatically. The light will look good but the subject will be dark.

Put your camera in manual setting and adjust the iris so that your subject looks good with natural tones and the light source is behind you.

Shoot different subjects and adjust your iris accordingly for each to get used to your iris settings and adjustment techniques. Note the effects and changes in your shot as your iris is adjusted. Also note your camera most likely will not let you adjust the iris while you are in the record mode. My Cannon XL2 will, but I know many cameras will not.

Some cameras have an image stabilizer, which is a setting that can be turned on to electronically hold the camera steady when you are not steady or standing on non stable ground, like a boat.

You will notice when following a moving subject, when the stabilizer is turned on, your panning the camera movement may appear to be sticking as you move the camera from left to right. The image stabilizer is not always a good idea but it does help compensate for non tripod use. It also helps when you are in a moving vehicle or walking in front or behind a subject.

I shot a great dolphin sequence in Hawaii from a sail boat and if not for the image stabilizer it would not have turned out as smooth.
I was in Hawaii video taping a seminar series and we had taken the day off for some rest and relaxation. During a boat trip to an island, we saw a school of dolphins. A crew-member, having spotted the dolphins, slowed down even though it was against the rules. To get the perfect shot, I leaned over the side of a sailboat and held the top handle of the camera without being able to see my viewfinder. This enabled me to capture them swimming alongside the boat with my camera. The image stabilizer helped to steady the camera. It was worth it; the shots turned out to be similar to ones you would see in National Geographic magazine. Sometimes you have to go for the vigilante shots to capture excellent video.

Another area of operation that is worth practicing often is audio adjustment and volume control techniques. There is a technique that you should know about of moving toward and away from the audio source to adjust your subject volume acoustically in addition to adjusting the actual volume control electronically.

Some cameras have volume controls to automatically adjust the external microphone electronically. This is called auto gain and it is built in to the cameras electronics to automatically adjust camera microphone volume. Some cameras also have a –10 db (decibels) pad that can be turned on to immediately drop the input volume by 10 decibels if the subject’s volume is too loud, like at a concert or near a band at a wedding. This is a good setting to use if you are recording a loud sound source like a rock band or ambulance chaser and can not easily adjust the volume manually.

However, I do not want you to depend on auto gain volume unless you absolutely have to, because when the volume is back to normal levels, the auto gain will raise adding a background hiss and other noises to your video recording.

You can look at audio for video this way. It is always better to acoustically set the sound (camera distance away from the sound source) before making electronic adjustments to reduce or increase the sound or audio level. Try keeping the VU meter (sound measurement devise on your camera) in the yellow, minus 4-6 or out of the red; which ever is applicable to your camera VU meter.

Some cameras that have stereo microphones built in or external will also have a balance control or separate left right audio controls to adjust each separate audio channel’s input. If you are recording with two microphones, one on the left of your subject and the other on the right of your subject, you may find that the sound source is louder on the left than the right. By decreasing the volume control to make the loud side lower and the low side louder, you can even out the sound. The balance control (if your camera is equipped with one) can also be adjusted to even out the two channels.
It may be desirable to have different audio feeds into each left and right channel so you can separate them in the edit. For example, when you are recording a professional speaker or comedian, put the audience microphones that pick up the laughter and applause in one channel (left or right) and the direct performer sound source in the other. That way you will have options in the edit to mix the audio accordingly.

When you load your footage into your computer, you will capture both audio channels. Open your editing programs mixer and balance the sound accordingly as often as necessary.

Another option is when loading analogue footage, route your audio through a mixing board and adjust or ride the sound levels, equalize them to compensate for background noise or poor sound quality. Even when capturing digitally through fire wire you can also load your audio analogue and sync to the original digital audio. There are many advantages to both. Experiment with many techniques and of course be sure your tape cassette is in record protect after the recording.

You may notice some redundancies in this E Book from section to section. This is intentional because some concepts are either worth explaining twice or can be described other ways and enhanced or clarified. If you ever have any questions, you can consider calling or emailing our office for assistance. 800-647-4281.

The battery charger usually powers your camera as well as charges your batteries. Along with a power shoe and connecting wire, the battery charger may also serve as your AC power supply. Read your owners manual completely to determine how your power functions operate. It is a good idea to use AC power whenever possible because the camera is guaranteed to operate longer and securely with AC instead of the DC power.

When the AC shoe is connected to the camera, it is then connected to the battery charger which serves two purposes.

Sometimes AC is not available and a DC battery pack is necessary. If you are indoors and an AC outlet is available, even if you have to use an extension cord, use the outlet. It is a good idea to either hide the extension cord or tape it down so nobody trips over it.

If you are not near an AC outlet and have to use your battery pack, make sure your batteries are fully charged before arriving at the recording.
It is worth the investment to purchase additional batteries especially if you plan on doing a lot of video taping outdoors or where AC is not available, like the Alaskan outback, the zoo or on a boat. You can also purchase a video belt/pouch to help you carry additional tape stock and batteries.

It can actually be better using batteries in some scenarios. Batteries are convenient where AC requires dropping an extension cord and taping it down.

Weddings taking place at a church, for example, are a better place to use AC then when outdoors in the park or the limo, so you will have fully charged batteries.

When one battery drains, replace it with another charged battery. Immediately put the dead battery on the charger as soon as you return to an AC power outlet so it will be ready for use later in the shoot.

Remember your charger so you don’t leave the location without it. Do what I like to call an ‘idiot check’ of the property before you leave to make sure you have everything.

You might want to have a couple three prong AC adapters just in case you run into a ground issue with the buildings power or you have to plug into an old two prong circuit. Some camera power supplies are three prongs and others are two.

Don’t charge the battery until completely drained. If you are concerned about the battery dying at the wrong time, save the low battery for some small filler shots like cut away or reverse shots if you have that luxury. This practice will extend the life of your battery. Try not to charge your batteries until they are fully drained.

If you find that your batteries are not lasting as long as they used to, buy new ones. You can search batteries online and find many reasonable sources, or, if you need one quickly, try an appliance store like Best Buy.

Always disconnect your batteries from the camera when the camera is not in use. Leaving the battery attached to the camera when the camera is not being uses will drain the battery slowly over a period of time.

It is worth mentioning here to also eject the tape from your camera when not in use for longer than 10 minutes. Leaving the tape in the camera will slowly stretch the tape and bend the control arms of the transport mechanism.

It depends on how much in demand your battery is versus the supply and demand. Of course you don’t want to be penny wise and pound foolish when you are starting your business. Do not refurbish your batteries or purchased recycled. Old batteries that are recycled or refurbished and rebuilt are not dependable.

You are being hired and trusted to capture an event for your client. Your reputation can not afford to miss the parade as it goes by because of a dead battery or lack of tape stock. Always carry more than you need in both categories.

On your camera there is another setting called the white balance. This setting tells the camera how to adjust the white record level. Each time you use your camera, the light and environment conditions change.

Amateur video users compensate by keeping the white balance in automatic however this is not recommended if you want professional looking video. I want you to be a manual user in all categories. Avoid the automatic settings because it will often reduce the quality of your recording. In manual mode, you have more control and options.

Set your white balance by putting a white piece of paper or poster board in the shot where your subject is located. Locate the white balance control on your camera. Some cameras like my XL2 have three white balance pre-set options so you can quickly return to a white balance setting if you return to that location.

Once you locate the white balance control, zoom in and focus on the white board and press and hold the button next to the white balance control until the light or indicator stops blinking or flashing.

Look at your shot before and after the white balance adjustment. Do you see the difference? You should notice a blue or orange reduction or change in the shot. This happens because the camera has been set to a white level which helps it understand the perspective of the other colors in the shot.

Some cameras have a built in Neutral Density filter which should be used when taping outside in bright light where there is potential for over exposure. The sun can be your best friend but it can also be your worst enemy. The ND setting tones down the camera’s light reference source and allows the picture more normal contrast in extremely bright conditions. It also adds a filter onto the video which in many applications makes the shot look absolutely beautiful. Regardless if you are shooting 16 X 9 or 4 X 3, the neutral density setting will most always add brilliance to your shot.

You will know when to use the NDF because you will barely be able to adjust your camera iris to darken the picture quality. In other words, the picture will be very bright without much iris left open to reduce the brightness of the shot sufficiently. Using the ND filter will not sacrifice the picture color or quality at all.

The camera gain is used when there is not enough light to record your subject as well as when there is too much light. Most likely you will have more options for light increasing, than reduction from your camera’s gain control. Remember the camera does not see like the naked eye. Therefore it needs additional light or brightness to make the taping look professional. The gain is an electronic adjustment to help compensate for the lighting conditions.

When you look at your subject with your naked eye, you will see panoramically. When you look through the camera, depending on the type of lens you have, you will see the subject differently. That is because cameras do not have peripheral vision.

Your eyes can also see better in the dark than a camera. Your retina is much more powerful than any man made electronic contraption. Always look at your shot or subject with your naked eye and do your best to duplicate it through your camera lens.

Experiment or rehearse before you do the recording. That way you will have some experience establishing your light levels and also determine by playback through the camera view finder or an external monitor if your footage is acceptable or not.

The last item we are going to cover in this lesson is the fire wire. Mechanically speaking, the fire wire digitally loads all the tapes stored information (video, audio, time code) into a computer through your computer capture card or software interface. A fire wire is a complete digital transportation cable to get everything you want off your recording into another system digitally without sacrificing one bit of quality.
The cost of a fire wire is between $20 and $80 depending on the length and it can be purchased at any local computer store.

Feel free to call if you need help or clarity with camera operations; 800-647-4281.

You can also request information on our @Work programs.

Video Production Tips: Seven Mistakes When Producing Marketing Video

March 6th, 2011

video marketingThe Do’s and Don’ts of Marketing with Video for the Web

Video is still one of the most viable tools for Internet marketing. A Web video campaign will help put your website closer to the top of search results. Marketing video content is critical because it’s the content that search engines crave. Of course you can add a selling edge to your marketing video as well as be creative with your content.

Professionally produced video works best and represents your companies perceived value the most. However, you can record your own video content with low priced solutions and a little understanding of a video software editing program like Windows Movie Maker.

  • Some items to consider adding to your video are:
  • A script so you know what has to be communicated
  • Titling to reinforce your points and communicate without sound
  • Production music adds to the design of your video
  • Audio post production to balance out and maximize your sound

You may have noticed that there are many production companies available today that can help you produce video. Be careful, in many cases you can produce video as good if not better than most of them. When choosing a video production company, look at their past clients, the quality of their work and their reputation in their industry.
Here are a few items (seven to be exact) to avoid when producing marketing video for the Web

Seven Mistakes to Avoid, Regardless!

1. Try to Fit Your Message into One Video.
Don’t try to squeeze everything about your message into one video. It’s better to create a series of videos and keep them bite sized.
You’re better off creating a series of shorter videos and focusing on a particular aspect of your message. Ten minutes is generally the maximum you can hold someone’s attention on the Web.
For example, You Tube has a play list option that allows you to post a series of clips and have them back to back in order of content flow. Similar methodology can be used for short website video clips. Ask your webmaster or give us a shout if you would like to learn more.

2. Try to Please Everybody.
No matter how good you are, you are not going to please everybody with your video. Let your instinct guide your creativity and be yourself. There are people who will not like you or your message no matter what! Do not try to appeal to everybody when producing a marketing video. Attempting to do so will lengthen your video and confuse your market niche. You are much better off focusing on your best customers and creating a video just for them.

3. Not Being Clear with Your Brand.
Marketing is all about creating a brand or identity so that people will remember you. When small talk conversations bring you business, you know you have the right brand or identity. You hear people say things like, “I want to hire that spreading contagious enthusiasm lady”.
Your brand is your personality that people will recognize and remember.
Companies like Starbucks and McDonald’s continuously create new products for the same customers because they have established a strong brand. I am not saying you and your company have to be as large as Starbucks, but why not at least identify their success formula. Instead of trying to get more customers, sell new products to your existing ones.
Sure, new customers will come along, but the existing ones that already know and love you will buy your new products. Video helps to create a buzz for that new product launch.

4. The need to accommodate everybody’s agenda.
As companies grow they hire new people, and wherever there are groups of people there are opposing opinions, and opinions can very easily turn into agendas. Your sales people want lower prices, your accountant wants higher prices, and your advertising people want something new; everybody has an agenda and they all conflict with each other. The result is compromise. And compromise kills brand personality and corporate identity.

Even big companies with deep pockets and access to any and every expert in the world are susceptible to the agenda creep. Take the fast food giant McDonald’s for example. Their television advertising is all over the place. They use different themes, different approaches, and even different music in almost every commercial, each aimed at a different market with a different product offering. The only thing that seems to be consistent is the logo and signature jingle that is slapped on to the end of each spot. As individual commercials they may stand up, obviously they have high production qualities, but as a marketing message strategy they become mere advertising noise rather than building on each other to form a coherent approach and brand message. What they seem to want to say is that McDonald’s is for everybody no matter what age or food preference, and that kind of approach only leads to a muddled message. McDonald’s may get away with it in the short term because they are McDonald’s and have a long history of effective advertising. Whether McDonald’s simultaneous multiple campaign approach is the result of a desire to accommodate different agendas, or just designed to appeal to everybody, doesn’t matter, the result is the same – muddled messaging.

5. The lack of vision.
And speaking of corporate identity, do you have one? Do you have a vision, a point-of-view, an attitude; a perspective on how you can best serve your clients. The idea of a corporate vision is something that is easy to ignore, after all, how much is a corporate vision worth? It’s not like you can go on eBay or Amazon and download one for a few bucks.

I recall seeing a documentary on a very successful clothing manufacturer. The founder of the company was reviewing the company’s latest line of running shoes. He looked at the shoes, looked at the product manager, and said, “Where’s the logo?” to which the product manager answered, “We can add it anywhere.” The company CEO in no uncertain terms told the executive that that wasn’t good enough. The logo represented the company and the company represented a particular lifestyle. The shoe being presented was just another shoe and that was not acceptable. The shoe needed to fit the ideal for which the company stood. The CEO had a vision and everything the company did had to conform to that vision. Developing and presenting a unified corporate vision is how you create a brand and how you build a business.

6. The fear of failure.
No matter how good you are, you are bound to have some failures. These are learning experiences from which you can develop new and improved initiatives. Building a brand identity is a slow and continuous process and it doesn’t always move forward without some bumps in the road. Sometimes what initially appears to be a failure is not a failure at all, but rather the foundation for future successful efforts. As long as your company has a vision of who it is, what it does, and why your audience should care, and as long as you stick to that vision, you will ultimately find a way to get your message across as long as you keep trying.
Like any kind of advertising program, whether it’s video, print, or anything else, one-shot efforts almost never show results.

7. It’s all about the features.
The insistence on promoting features without tying them to an emotional benefit is one of the most common marketing mistakes made. You may be offering your customers the most features available but unless you also offer them an emotional value proposition, you will never get beyond the “whose-the-cheapest” type of sale process.
No matter what features you add to your product or service, you know your competitors will follow with something better, and probably at a lower price. It’s a game no smart marketing executive should play. Discovering the emotional value in your product or service is not always easy when viewed from an internal perspective. If you haven’t discovered what that underlying subliminal value is and how to communicate it, then your producer needs to help you find it. It’s the most important element in building long-term marketing success.

There you have it, the seven deadly video marketing development sins. No one said this stuff is easy. It would be nice if you could just look at your analytics, and eureka, a marketing solution would appear, but that’s not the way it works. Marketing is a psychological marathon that takes time, commitment, practice, and a good coach you can call on to move you in the right direction.

Tips to Produce a Successful Internet Marketing Campaign using Video

March 6th, 2011

3835564701_31f53d70bb_nSo, how do you start your Internet marketing campaign using video? In this post, we will share with you some tried and true tips for producing Internet video.

Tips to Produce a Successful Internet Marketing Campaign using Video

1. Build the right team; you will need design, programming, coding and video production. Primeau Productions, LLC can help you will all of these activities. Web design should be done by an experienced graphic artist. Programming and coding should be done by an experienced expert as well. Video production should inform as well as entertain. Your video can look professional with out you having to pay a lot of money.

2. Design a strategy; know your plan before you attack. Make sure your strategy includes a form of engagement to help keep visitors and prospects interested and holds their attention long enough to understand your product offerings without being sold. Avoid the hard sell, it does not work anymore. Include entertainment whenever possible and keep it politically correct.

3. Finalize Your Brand; do not cheap out on a poor looking logo or header for your website. This is your brand! When you do your grocery shopping, how much of your buying decisions are based on the packaging? Your logo and header on your website are extremely important.

4. Use Video Effectively; produce video with a purpose. Make sure your message is clear and the video has entertainment value. Use stock footage, graphics and of course, music. There are many sources of stock footage and music libraries available with low cost resources that can really spice up your video.

5. Don’t get sold on the SEO black hole; what a bold statement. Some companies that sell SEO (Search Engine Optimization) know what they are doing. However, you can spend a lot of money on Google Ad Words and other forms of paid advertising emptying your marketing budget quicker than you can say ‘What happened?’ Primeau Productions, Inc. believes in organic search results. Create compelling content on your blogs, produce engaging video and audio, as well as write strategic copy for your web pages. Have you looked at some of the copy on your website lately? Nobody likes to be sold, but rather persuaded into your thought process.

6. Ask yourself “Why?” Put yourself in your customers position. Why should they do business with you? What do you have to offer that is unique and different from your competition? Make sure this differentiation comes across in your marketing efforts.

Put together a focus group of people you like, admire and respect and ask them to give you feedback on your website, marketing efforts and products. Tell them up front that they have total amnesty and that their answers will not hurt your relationship with them at all. That way they will be 100% honest with you.

Right now, Primeau Productions, LLC is growing and transitioning our business to meet our clients’ demands. We revise our websites often and create new video content that fills our prospects curiosity, as well as peaks their interest. I can tell you from experience, Internet marketing works when you have the right team and strategy in place, just like any other successful marketing process.

Call us today and tell us how we can help you grow your business with video 800-647-4281

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