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

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

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