Messege sent

Communicating. A simple glance or subtle gesture can be a significant form of communication. Flipping though magazine ads its easy to recognize the message advertisers are attempting to convey, messages that will heighten product awareness. And if you look deeper into the product images, the colors or wording you may discover subliminal suggestions to reinforce a theme or emotion.

When storytellers choose video as their medium there are a number to subtle ways to communicate a message, a theme or mood that can be driven by the music, by pacing and transitions, just to name a few. All of which can be communicated in seconds before a single word is spoken. It is those nuances that video editors utilize to build a framework. The written or spoken words play a significant role in the overall message but our sense can’t help but be affected by the style and tempo of music, the pacing of the edits or the transition used between shots. Each choice helps determine the mood or style of the video and message.

And its no surprise that music from the 80’s and 90’s are making a comeback. That positive feeling you get from a  familiar song is an emotion advertisers are looking to transfer to their product during a commercial. The same is true with imagery and visual locations … like bustling scenes of New York or a crowded bar that conveys energy.

Words may tell the story and be the driving force but the numerous other methods used reenforce the message being sent and effect how it’s received.

-Jim Johnston

Look Mom, I made a Corporate Video

My mother has no idea what I do.  I’ve worked in some form of video production since 1989, yet I have failed to communicate to her the basics of my profession.

See, to my Mom – I just can’t say “corporate video.”  When I do, I get that “Oh, that’s nice” answer from her – which really means, “I have no idea what my son just said.”

Truth be told, most people are not really sure what to make of Corporate Video.  “Oh, you do commercials?” – is normally the first response.

Actually, we shoot commercials, but the bulk of our work is telling stories.  We translate corporate messages into stories using the medium of video.

Sometimes the story is about the need for a cancer center outside of the Boston city limits.  Other times it’s a tale of how one world-renown institution teaches Science to students who are legally blind.  We also find ourselves producing a video where a Hall of Fame pitcher now goes to bat for kids in need.

So maybe I have to show my Mom what I do, then she’ll understand.  For that, she’ll need to go on-line . . . that of course, is whole new story.

– Jay Dobek

The Twist is a yummy treat

The marketing geniuses at Oreos (Nabisco) have truly outdone themselves. Oreos Daily Twist images are so fun and creative I’m surprised the creamy white center hasn’t oozed off the web pages!
In the same vain as Google doodles when they updates their page to incorporate meaningful inventions, historical moments and famous birthdays, Oreo has taken that idea and created an “Oreo” image or animation based upon some event of significance on that date. Each image is cleverly crafted and include audience interaction with motion. My favorite so far is the July 23rd entry where the viewer can control their Oreo as it cycles through the Tour de France stage landmarks, as other Oreos spin past your pedaling Oreo. A great, simple concept … and there are so many!

Its no surprise Oreo has more than 27 million Likes on Facebook and 47,000 Twitter followers. The idea is simple yet very thoughtful. The creativity is as fun and pure, very much like the black and white cookie. Its genius with a twist … served with or without milk.

I’m already looking forward to tomorrows Daily Twist treat.

-Jim Johnston

1.8 Million reasons

I enjoy reading and I’m betting most of you do too. Finding the time to read during our busy days and weeks can be challenging. It can take a week or two to finish a 250-300 page book you really enjoy reading.

After reading a recent Forrester Research report, the question I’m asking myself now is why take the time to read when I should be watching more video.

Research has shown that ONE minute of video is equal to 1.8 MILLION words! Considering an average book contains 70,000 – 90,000 words, that would mean one minute of video equates to reading 20 books! And the retention of seeing and hearing a message is 3-6 times greater that reading or only hearing a message. Impressive.

We’ve watched successful fundraising campaigns be anchored by an emotional and very powerful video messaging.  Because it just works.

The depth of information and emotion that can be conveyed and retained in one minute can make a huge impression … or 1.8 million!

-Jim Johnston

Cookies

We love cookies, especially chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin but when it comes to business we can do without the cookie-cutter approach.
While surfing the web I’ve noticed a trend of “package pricing” for corporate videos and testimonials, which I find to be nothing more than a gimmick. Yeah, it sounds great but what are you really getting in return for the “package price.”
Its our belief that every business has its own unique story to tell and that message should be crafted based upon many factors, including who your target audience will be and what you’d like them to know. Understanding those key two elements will help build a framework, supported by a variety of elements, such as: interviews, testimonials, audio narration, graphics and/or animations plus music, just to list a few.
At LMP we believe there are so many options we can utilize to build a cohesive and well thought out video message worthy of your company’s partnership. We would never sell it as a package with a cookie cutter approach … that would be a recipe for disaster.
If you’d like to learn more about what we could cook up for you please let us know.
Thank you for reading!
-Jim Johnston

The Dog Days of Video Production

If you know us, you know we’re dog people.  We consider them part of our crew.  Since this is “National Take Your Pet to Work Week” we thought it would a good time to introduce the hairiest members of our crew.

First is Bella – an aging Springer-Spaniel who has had the pleasure of having Gary Gillis  attend to all her requests.  For Bella, her main two needs are food and a tennis ball.  She has been known to steal and eat an entire loaf of bread in such a stealthy manner that would make a Navy Seal Team Six envious.  Out of the four four-legged friends who frequent LMP, she is the only one that understands the game of Fetch.

The award for “Top Shedder” goes to Remy.  Named after the Red Sox announcer and former second basemen, Remy is a Husky, Shepherd, and “a couple of other breeds” mixed together.  The most affectionate out of the bunch, he greets everyone by sniffing in inappropriate places.  Remy will rest his head on your lap literally forever.  Warning – we do not reimburse for dry cleaning.  Pet Remy at your own risk.

The smallest member, in size only, is Ponce.  He spent the first year and a half of his life on the streets of Puerto Rico.  He was found on Ponce De Leon Highway, which is how he got his name, then was shipped to Buddy Dog in Sudbury, MA.  Like Bella, he is obsessed with food.  His approach is more in-line with a seasoned con-artist.  Big eyes, drooping ears, and a nodded head is the pose he’ll assume whenever around someone with food.  Both he and Remy call Jay Dobek their owner – but really, who controls who?

The newest member of the canine crew is Denver.  A true rescue dog.  Ryan Mechski was able to save him from death row in Tennessee.  When he first joined the family any noise – a pen drop, a door knock, anything – forced him to seek shelter.  Many times that “shelter” was under Ryan’s edit bay.  Now, over a year at LMP, he has learned the value of good nap . . . sometimes an eight hour nap.

The four legged members of our staff are always happy to greet clients.  They especially like the ones that bring treats.

Leashes hang on doors.  Dog beds lay under desks.  A fluffy head on your lap.

Oh, by the way, if you’re allergic, that’s fine. Let us know and we’ll just let them work from home.

Now hear this – 5 steps to record better audio for video

If you watch enough web video it becomes pretty obvious that poor video quality seems to be everywhere. Thanks in part to the gazillion videos on YouTube, we’ve been saturated with so many shaky, poorly shot and produced videos that low quality seems to be the norm. It seems those lower standards for the general population has opened the door for businesses to post lower quality video content on their web pages too.

But what happens when you stumble across a video with bad audio? Like when the voice sounds are too low or crackling, or there’s extraneous noise and you’re strain to hear what the person is saying. If you’re like me you click away … and that is a lost opportunity! I’m always surprised when I see business and professional organizations who compromise their reputation by posting poor quality videos on their website or Facebook page. But I’m even more surprised when I witness BAD audio that can usually be avoided.

Capturing quality audio seems to be a lost art and it shouldn’t be. Recording audio with a camera mic is just not acceptable unless the camera has something to say!

Here are 5 simple things to consider when setting up to record audio for video:

1. Use a lavalier mic or boom mic with a stand. When using a boom mic position the mic stand arm in front of and over the interview subjects head and point the mic at their chin. This one step will go a long way towards getting the audio you desire.

2. Limit extraneous noise by staying away from high traffic areas, open windows, rooms next to elevators and closing doors. It seems obvious but it should be one of the first considerations when selecting a shoot location.  When in an area where there are some unavoidable sounds, put the interviewees’ back to the sound and be sure to have the microphone placed as close to their mouth as possible.

3. Avoid large rooms with an echo. If you hear a slight echo when setting up you will certainly hear it when your editing, then its too late.

4. Careful placement of a lavalier microphone. Lightweight fabric, necklaces and jewelry will move and rustle, creating too much noise if the interview subject adjusts even slightly, which creates unusable audio. It may seem awkward to ask people to run a microphone under a tie, blouse or collar but the benefits will outweigh the potential embarrassment.

5. Using headphones is required! A set of headphones that cover your ears will block out most  other sounds and allow you to focus on the audio you are capturing. Ear buds will work in a pinch but investing $25-$75 in a quality set of headphones will go a long way to hearing the problems so you can work to eliminate them.

Hopefully these tips will help. If you’d prefer to call a professional … look no further, LMP is always happy to help!

– Jim Johnston

 

Take advantage of the mobile explosion

Everywhere you look people are using smartphones. Standing in line for coffee, waiting for an appointment or walking down the street, their heads are down, eyes focused and thumbs are tapping frantically. Phones like the Droid, iPhone or Galaxy have become a commuter or frequent flyers’ constant companion. I have to admit being a little envious when my neighbor showed me his recent purchase, an HTC with a stunning 4.3-inch screen.

There’s no denying our appetite for mobile technology. There are over 100 million smartphone users in the U.S. and 30 million current tablet computer users, which is expected to climb to over 90 million by the end of 2014.  Those numbers are huge! Cisco reports that 52% of all mobile data was consumed by video, which means people are doing more than checking news, weather and Facebook updates.

Combine those use habits and stats with a growing 4G/LTE high speed data network and there is almost no limit to what a smartphone user can consume.

From a business perspective, we are all consumers. For B2B or B2C, that means more opportunity to entertain and inform using video. Customers and consumers are watching video at a rapidly growing rate. Those same people are making informed decisions, influenced by word-of-mouth, reviews and video views. They are selecting their doctor, buying a car, choosing where to bank and how to donate their money.

The growth trend of mobile video viewing is undeniable. How do you plan to reach your audience? The screens and eyeballs await …

– Jim Johnston

Give ’em what they want

Talented speech writers and presenters work tirelessly to create compelling content for their audience because they understand we all want to be entertained while hearing their message. You’ve sat through more than one boring, flat presentation that didn’t connect with you or the audience. If the presenter had taken time to consider the audience when crafting the message the results would be more favorable for all involved.

When in the discovery phase of creating a video project, a couple of items to consider: who is your target audience and what do you want them to know. Building on those elements and keeping a consistent message will be key components to create  a successful video. Add a well thought out creative concept and you’ll create a winning formula for your audience and net you the results you want.

Another factor to consider is keep it brief. Our culture communicates in short texts, Facebook posts and tweets of 140 characters or less. We’re expected to tell a compelling visual story in 2 to 3 minutes or less! And brevity is not a trend. Our collective ‘video attention span’ continues to gets shorter and shorter, so it is paramount to be on target and concise!

If you do the pre-production work upfront with a plan to maintain your creative message, satisfying your audience won’t be an issue. You’ll  hit ’em between the eyes!

-Jim Johnston

Video is everywhere …

Every now and again I’m asked “so why should I use video?” Where to begin, there are so many reasons …

Let’s start with technology. We’re living in a time when we’re all connected to the internet 24/7. A culture has emerged where we (customers and consumers) are looking up information on our computer, tablet or smartphones constantly. Google and Wiki have become the portal to find instant answers and information. It’s that culture, supported by blazing data download speeds, that has propelled video to be consumed by all, even bad video … just ask Rebecca Black.

That ‘connectivity’ baseline has led companies to the realization that customers and B2B clients can and will consume any information available, beginning with the more entertaining form: video. Each day 4 billion videos are watched on You Tube alone! And we’ve learned that a well produced video can be incredibly effective, not only delivering a message but conveying emotion and information which can inspire viewers to action.

We are all customers and consumers and can learn about products and services by watching reviews, product launches and how-to videos. Savvy marketers are using video in a variety of forms including powerful testimonials, to educate their audience, and to raise brand awareness.

As our appetite for video has grown, so have the searches for learn about a business, to entertain audiences, videos that tout a specific service and even inform remote employees with simple messaging.

One of the most powerful and successful uses for video is honoring community members and motivating audiences during fundraising campaigns. Non-profit organizations have limited opportunities to recognize the efforts of volunteers but need maximum impact.
It’s that type of lasting impact and emotion that video can provide which has viewers searching for the play button.

– Jim Johnston