Casting a promotional line

When you really get down to it, creating and presenting promotional material is like fishing. I’m no expert angler, but I know this, if I want to catch your ‘choice’ fish, you need the proper bait. So I guess the real questions is . . . who are you trying to attract and why?

Last Minute Production promotional video

Relevance promotional video

Spending some time wrestling with that question can help create promotional content to make people curious enough to want to know more.

In earlier posts we’ve written about understanding your audience when creating and presenting a video and the same holds true for a promotional video. The main objective is to give your viewer a sample of your service and entice them to act, which may be visiting your web page, learning more about your product or service, really any call to action.

Many promotional videos are short and snappy, with an upbeat pace while getting to your message quickly while conveying some emotion, as that is what will make your audience react and take action.  The end game is always to create some form of action, even its only to learn more.

As a videographer I always think images first but you would be doing yourself a huge disservice if you didn’t lock in a solid script before working on the visuals. As always, the visual images should mesh with the script. Develop the script from viewers’ (potential client’s) perspective, thinking about what will entice them to want to learn more about you . . .  show them, entice them and make them want more.

For a few examples check out our Promotional Video page.

Thank you for reading.

-Jim Johnston

Why be thankful?

I can confidently state, on behalf of the Last Minute Production’s team, we are extremely grateful for each and everyone of our clients. And not for the obvious reason of keeping us in business, but for the collaboration and partnership we share and the relationships we’ve created and fostered over the years. Those relationships are the pillars that keep LMP standing tall and have helped us grow into the thriving business we are today.

We often joke that we are an island of misfits, and while that may be true, we have a strong common bond: a desire to create great content for our clients and to exceed their expectations. That ideal motivates us and I believe keeps our clients coming back. Carrying out that credo and mixing in some fun, has allowed those relationships we cherish to grow stronger and stronger over time. And we hope for many more years to come.

To all of our clients and friends of Last Minute Productions, we are thankful for you and the relationships we’ve created … and look forward to working with you soon.

– Jim Johnston

My Morning Perspective

Chair_smallOne of the great things about my job is that it gives me perspective.  We have been working with a Boston medical center on a video featuring the writings of cancer patients.  This morning, the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, I spent some time shooting cover video for one of the stories – a poem actually.  Being in an Oncology unit before patients arrive is humbling.

So this weekend the forecasted rain, over-cooked hamburgers, and loud, talkative guests will be looked at as welcomed sights.

Have a great weekend – Jay Dobek

Gratifying and powerful

I find it so gratifying in the age of instant analytics in our immediate results-based world, LMP clients really do benefit from our services long after we wrap up a project. One recent example happened this week while watching the NHL playoffs and seeing commercials that we produced over a month ago still delivering a poignant and powerful message. Video has that effect and will hold up over time.

And video marketing is no different. Companies and organizations are regularly updating their website content and more and more are using video on their homepage due to the fact search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo prefer video on the landing page and rank pages higher for that reason. One bonus to the boost in search ranking is once your highly ranked site is visited, that person will be spending more time on your site because of that same video. An average website visit on a non-video homepage is 43 seconds while a visit to a homepage with video is almost 6 minutes, 5 minutes and 50 second to be exact! Simply put, people will stay on your site more than 8 times longer if you have video on your homepage. Those two reasons are convincing enough until you learn that those same website visitors will use your site more, visiting more pages, to the tune of 80% engagement. Those are powerful numbers to consider for people looking to add a little zest and color to their marketing.

One fact we’ve known for a long time is that people really do remember what they watch and the stats bear that out too. Researchers have proven that 72 hours after people who watch a video they will retain 68% of the information versus 10% retention for those who read text or hear audio of that same material. For those of us looking to create a message that will stay with your viewer, those are very compelling numbers.

If you’re creating content in a selling process, promotional or recruiting campaign or looking to create a lasting memory for an event, using a well-produced video should provide the solution. The numbers back me up.

-Jim Johnston

Budget conscious video planning

Sitting down and planning out a video project can seem challenging, especially if you know the budget is smaller than you’d like. One idea to consider is re-purposing the video. Most event videos, which are created to be played one-time before a large audience, will be posted to an organization’s web site or given out on DVDs, so they usually have a productive second life. Other content can be more challenging to place.
About Us videos are great for home page web content and can be played at trade shows and at job or career fairs. With the low-cost of LCD/LED monitors, I’m betting more companies will add screens in lobbies and waiting rooms, which adds another playback (and marketing) option as well.

Walkin' small picWhen we work with our clients during the planning phase we often remind them to think about the future … we suggest they think about what extra video content that can be recorded while our crew is on site. We have our gear, we’re going to be on location, what b-roll or cover video can we capture during our visit? Shooting additional outside or exterior footage during the visually stimulating summer months really makes sense. Why not  take full advantage of the green grass, leafy trees and the flowers when they’re in full bloom. That video can be used when putting together a project during the not so picturesque months. What may take a little extra time to shoot in the summer (possibly using our jib) can be a big time and cost savings in the future. That extra b-roll helps build out a healthy library of content every editor dreams of having.

And for the producers creating educational content, don’t forget about the interviews. If schedules allow and you have a sense of the content and script direction, spend an extra 30-45 minutes to set-up and record an interview with your expert. The timing may not be appropriate, but if it is, the time and budget savings could make it worthwhile and you’ll have the benefit of some extra content.

So the next time you sit down to think about a video project be sure to think about the future  … consider your next project and let us help  you save time and money!

– Jim Johnston

Five easy tips for using a teleprompter

I am not a public speaker but enjoy speaking to small groups and have found it’s much easier to speak to a larger group when I have a crutch, like a PowerPoint presentation to follow along. But relying on the crutch can have its pitfalls. The same is true for using a teleprompter.

A teleprompter is a great tool for making presentations to camera, but as the topic expert, you need to acts like it and not just read like it. Here are 5 tips to help improve your performance with a teleprompter.

1.  Writing Your Script 

Most importantly, write your script to be spoken as you would normally speak and NOT as you would write. Keep in mind that your audience will hear your words and not see them, so it’s important to write in a conversational way. And use real world examples you feel your audience will identify with … it will make you more comfortable too.

2. Practice, practice and practice but don’t memorize

It’s important to have a very good handle on the content and flow of your address and know what your keys points are so you can emphasize those but you don’t want it to sound rehearsed. Re-read and rehearse to the point of knowing but not memorizing the presentation. Feeling comfortable with the content will allow you to focus on #3 …

3. Show passion, energy and warmth

By now we’ll assume you have a solid handle on the content and flow of your presentation, its time to focus on passion! It may feel odd but most people need to add a like extra energy to their delivery to camera to really show the passion and warmth your audience will respond to. If its appropriate, show a genuine smile as you start and end of your recording. And try to keep the energy high throughout, which can be a challenge. Use bold,  CAPITALIZED or underlined text in the script to help emphasize key words and remind you to keep the energy up!

4. Be yourself – use non verbal communication

What sets you apart from others is your personality so let it shine through during the presentation. You’ve written a conversational script, you’re feeling comfortable with the content and are ready to deliver it with passion and warmth. Act as you would when talking with a small group of friends, be animated, move your hands and feel comfortable enough to show facial expressions. And always remember to look your audience in the eyes, which in this case is the lens on the other side of the teleprompter screen … all of this will make your message more believable and you’ll connect with your audience.

5. You’re the expert, relax and enjoy the experience!

If you make presentations regularly then using a teleprompter should be a very useful tool, enjoy it! Allow your personality and knowledge of the content to shine through. The words on the screen will guide you through your message – have fun with it. You’re audience will feed off your energy and find you more believable.

If you are not used to addressing an audience, live or recorded, remember you are making this presentation because you are the expert.  And this presentation will prove it! Take a relaxing deep breath  just before you begin, focus your eyes on the teleprompter screen and enjoy the ride.

Good luck!

-Jim Johnston

Big Ideas with Big Data

When working with a new client, who was in stealth start-up mode, we were posed with the challenge of creating an image piece without using video or showing their product. As a SasS business their product is proprietary software … ok, the mission is getting clearer.

Why is this so challenging? Because their business  revolves around data, big, big, BIG data. Data that sits on servers and was being unused, mostly due to the fact that the amount of data was just too enormous. This newly developed software has been designed to devour massive amounts of data and crunch it! And after the data has been culled, sifted and sorted it is delivered in an understandable form that will make sense of how millions and millions of people are using the interwebs everyday AND what that means for certain big businesses.

Quant5 – About Us

Our real challenge was making a visual concept about a SaaS business that didn’t have a trendy Boston office, a slick logo or snappy tag line. How do  you visualize software that doesn’t sit neatly packaged on store shelves but instead  sits up in the cloud and devours mass quantities of internet data. The unseen software is basically manipulating ones and zeros … and … ah …  that’s where it began. Merging and whipping numbers, sounds, keywords to animated graphics that help tell the story of why big data IS important and why Quant5 was founded. Without an interview or  a single frame of b-roll video the story of a new company was told … and unveiled as they emerged from stealth mode.

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

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