The Video Experience: Body of Work

May 13th, 2014

16608099620_ce602bbf52Over the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing a concept we have coined; ‘The Video Experience.’ Video allows the web visitor an experiential opportunity to get to know you better than just plain text and pictures. Video has emotion and can set a mood that will help your web visitor pick you over your competition.

Video content not only provides a pleasant user experience, it also plays a huge role in defining your organization and the benefits you provide that your competition does not.

The concept of The Video Experience isn’t only expressed by the quality of your content; it is also expressed by the experiential value of the content itself. This applies to all businesses, entertainers, and just about every business you can think of.

So what does your video look like in your mind’s eye? Consider that even though you may not realize it or see it, every business has a talent that makes them unique or different. We call that talent a body of work.

We all have collective experiences from our own lives that are valuable. We all have something to offer and video is the best medium to share that body of work.

For some, it may be methods for plumbing. For others, it may be entertainment or it may be parenting. Everyone has something that makes them shine, and the collective experiences from your body of work have value to others. These experiences can help others save time and accomplish their goals quicker than if they did not have your perspective.

This collective knowledge and experience is known as your “Body of Work.”

Let’s take Primeau Productions client/Keynote Speaker Steve Rizzo for example. Steve was an up-and-coming comedian from Brooklyn for the first part of his career, opening for acts such as Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, and many, many more. As explained in this video, Rizzo decided that after years of bringing humor to peoples’ lives, he wanted to use his skills, talents, and experiences to help people throughout their lives. This is how Steve Rizzo became “A Seriously Funny Guy.” He applied those experiences working in stand-up comedy to help people live healthy, happy, and humorous lives.

Now, Steve Rizzo is presenting to crowds of thousands, aspiring to inspire their lives for the better utilizing his comedy and skills in public speaking from doing comedy.

In the case of Steve Rizzo, he took his knowledge and found a relative medium to help people and created content that others will benefit from in their daily lives.

This is an example of ‘A body of work.’

Everyone’s life path is different, and the experiences you have will always differ from everyone around you. Always play to those strengths. The things that make you shine naturally will resonate the most with people, and the experiences taken from them can provide audiences with a new perspective. If you shine in something that doesn’t directly pertain to your profession, relate it. When thinking about your content, always remember that everything is relative, and everyone can offer a fresh perspective.

photo credit: Modern architecture office building via photopin (license)

The Video Experience: Experiential Product Marketing

May 9th, 2014

7581040322_323cd9836cWe’ve been discussing “The Video Experience,” whereas every piece of video content that you market online should create an experience for the viewer and the audience that you’re aiming for. This lesson not only applies to video, but can be applied to product marketing as well.

On Saturday, April 19th, an event was held that has become a holiday for music enthusiasts everywhere: Record Store Day.

Record Store Day is an event that takes place every spring at record shops across the globe. It’s purpose is to celebrate music culture, support local record shops, and, arguably most importantly, the importance of the physical music medium, especially vinyl records.

You might be thinking “Who still buys vinyl records?” The answer might surprise you. Sales on vinyl records are tallied every year during record store day weekend, and vinyl record sales in 2012 were higher than they’ve been in over 20 years. Even in the world of digital music we live in, vinyl records and their collectors have created a culture all their own over the past decade, not only due to collectors’ enthusiasm, but also due to the ever-expanding sampling culture of modern hip-hop and electronic beat music.

The resurgence of vinyl records is confusing to some, but if you take the time to really analyze why vinyl records have become so popular amongst music advocates, you’ll learn that a big portion has to do with experiential marketing.

I’ve been collecting vinyl for about 5 years now, and many ask me why. For me, and potentially many other collectors, purchasing records creates an experience for us.

I’ll set the scene: It’s Tuesday (the industry standard release day for music and other media). The latest record from one of my favorite artists has just been released, and I’m ecstatic to hear the new dynamics that the artist has explored in their most recent work. You’d think that my first action would be to find a digital version, either through iTunes, Amazon, or other digital music manufacturers, since this is the most efficient medium of hearing what I want to hear. For me, I’m thinking about when I can make it to my local record shop and pick up a copy.

Many would argue that this is wasted gas, wasted money on a dead medium, and overall, just worthless. Why would you want a vinyl copy when you can get the files at the click of a mouse? This is where the experiential side of things comes into play.

For me, buying a new record the day it is released is truly an experience.

You drive to your favorite local record shop (for me, UHF Records in Royal Oak!). You dig through the bins to find the new record, and once you find it, there’s a feeling of satisfaction no digital file can ever replicate.

You finish your transaction and anxiously await your return home to experience this new album. You get home, open the packaging, study the artwork and the design, and read through the production credits, lyric books, and any other included paperwork that may be included in the record. Then, you put the record on to hear for the first time.

There’s a special feeling you get when you listen to a brand new record. The full, warm quality of the analog transcription slowly grazed by a fresh needle. It’s a really special experience for music enthusiasts.

This is why vinyl records are still so special to so many people. Having a tangible, full canvas of a favorite record provides a sense of pride and joy that a digital file just can’t provide. This is why, I believe, vinyl records will stand the test of time.

Sure, you can get any album you want by means of digital download. Aside from nit-picky quality differences, the product of the album remains the same. It’s the experience of going to the record store, opening a new record, discovering it’s design and artwork, etc. that leads music enthusiasts to purchasing a physical copy of an album they love, as opposed to just having the files stored away on your computer.

This is a very clear example of experiential marketing. If vinyl records didn’t create the experience they do, everyone would be buying digital music. But the vinyl record industry is continuing to expand and evolve, and that shows how meaningful this medium of marketing a product can be, and how important experience truly is to the world of product marketing.

photo credit: IMG_5368 Speed tracker #vinyl #record #player #turntable via photopin (license)

Explainer Videos: A Fresh Approach to Promoting Your Business

April 25th, 2014

14298254644_f6668000deAn explainer video is a 2 – 4 minute video that appears on your website. Its purpose is to motivate the viewer to take action, to take the action step of contacting your company for more information. Explainer videos have grown to become extremely popular on the Internet, and industry watchers predict that within a few years more than 50% of all web sites will have one.

The most successful method of motivating a viewer to take action is showing how your company and its offerings are different and better than the competition’s. Your explainer video should set you apart from the competition. After watching it, the viewer will come away with a distinct understanding of your product or service and a feeling about your company. Our job at Primeau Productions is to ensure that both the viewer’s intellectual and emotional responses to your video are overwhelmingly positive. After 30+ years of producing award winning demo, sales, and promotional videos, we can create a professional explainer video for you that works.

While many web designers recommend animated cartoon explainer videos, we don’t. With the tools and skills to produce professional, live action video, we recommend explainer videos that feature real people and real products and services. Cartoon characters may be amusing, but featuring you and your colleagues on camera is more convincing. People are relatable, believable, and persuasive. We make it easy for even the most camera shy to come across well on video, and we strongly encourage the use of customer/client testimonials.

In addition to inviting the participation of our clients in the video making process, we rely on them to help us write the most effective script possible. You know your customers better than anyone. We need your expert advice to help make your video successful. We will work closely with you and your team as we develop the script and story boards for your custom explainer video.

Why make an explainer video at all? The essential information about your product or service can be presented on your website through text and graphics. But for potential clients or customers visiting your site for the first time, explainer videos have been found to work significantly better than even the most imaginative text and graphics. There are three main reasons for this research finding. First, video can compress more information into a shorter period of time than any other medium. Second, video is inherently entertaining; for most people, consuming information through video is an easier and more pleasant experience than through text. Third, those who watch short videos have almost double the long-term information retention rate as those who are exposed to the same message in text form.

Check out one of our latest explainer videos for Filsorb! If you’re considering an explainer video for your business, give us a call for a free consultation. (800) 647-4281

(FINAL) Filsorb XP20, Oil Extraction Press and Oberlin Videos from Primeau Productions on Vimeo.

 

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

April 17th, 2014

By Lauren Primeau

16115289068_df97930443If 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.

photo credit: Nikon 50mm f1.8 D on Canon 5D – Heresy via photopin (license)

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

April 9th, 2014

5719455449_870698fec4An 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.

photo credit: When did I Change via photopin (license)

3 Tips for Professional Speakers

April 7th, 2014

MicrophonesIf 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.

photo credit: Microphones via photopin (license)

Motion Graphics and Video Marketing – Sally Hogshead

March 27th, 2014

By Lauren Primeau

34784144_4295f43c31Renowned 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.

photo credit: Fractal Color Animation29 via photopin (license)

What Primetime Television Can Teach Us About Content Marketing

January 30th, 2014

By Brad Finegan

gamers-room-999218-mI 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

6277208304_ab6988a99fBig-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:

photo credit: Newspapers B&W (2) via photopin (license)

Do It Yourself Video Production

January 14th, 2014

6047261859_5d1f6cefd3I’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.

photo credit: Queen-watching via photopin (license)

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