Thursday, December 6, 2012

Useful Tips for Hiring a Video Production Company

If you don’t have a reliable referral or recommendation, hiring a professional video production company can seem a bit daunting at first. Some suggestions to look into that will help you find reputable video production companies are:

·      Start by asking friends or work colleagues
·      Google search
·      LinkedIn search
·      Video Production Company Websites

Once you have a few prospects give them a call and ask a few questions. If you are not sure what to ask, here are a few tips that will separate the pros from the rest of the pack.

·      What is their core area of their video expertise? (Should be in your area: corporate, entertainment, etc.)
·      How many years have they been in business? (At least two years)
·      Check their rating with the Better Business Bureau.
·      Ask if they are insured and for a proof of insurance.
·      Ask about seeing work they have produced similar to the video you need
·      Ask for references.
·      Do they handle all aspects of the production and post-production process? (Having multiple outsourced parties working on your project could mean delays and problems)
·      Ask about a production contract. Do they write them for each project? (They should present or you present a contract stating their deliverables to you and your deliverables to them including a project timeline and cost).

These few questions should give you a good feel for their ability to professionally produce your video project. Producing a video takes more involvement from you as you may think. Video production is a collaborative process. You will have milestone dates to approve or provide feedback that is critical to the outcome of the video and it being on time, and on budget. The better you state your needs up-front and insure the production company understands them, the better your chance a productive and useful video will be made that serves the needs it was intended for.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

5 Tips for Creating Effective Training Video’s

When presented with the task of creating a training video for your company product or safety procedures there are five useful tips you’ll need to know to ensure the best results when starting your video planning.

1.     Start with a clear objective for your video.
2.     What is the purpose of the video; who will is serve?
3.     What will the video teach/what will the audience learn?
4.     In what setting will the video be viewed? (On-line, in a training room with others via DVD, on demand, etc.)
5.     What happens after the video is over? Will there be need for a link to additional information or a contact person?

Whether you are creating the video yourself, or hiring a professional agency, make sure you take these five tips into consideration before outlining your video script.

If you are going to create your own video make sure you have a good video camera that will allow the use of an external lavalier microphone. Quality picture and sound are essential to the viewing experience and can drastically affect how your message is perceived.

You will also want to make sure you purchase a quality video editing software program such as Adobe Premier. The editing program you select will need to have the capabilities to digitize and edit your footage as well as export the file to a DVD or streaming video file for playing on a computer or uploading to a streaming video server.

Should you choose to hire a professional video agency, these five tips will help the pro’s start on the right path to creating and executing your video project. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Webcasting is Building Corporate Culture

In a recent webcasting article by Kate Hutchinson, of Talk Point Blog she explains some key points to the usefulness of video webcasts for business. Kathy say’s “The usefulness of webcasts of milestone meetings is well documented; from investor calls, quarterly updates, sales briefings and emergency communications are all well conveyed via webcast.  There’s an immediacy to video communication from senior executives that conveys an element of immediacy and connection.  The down side of this kind of webcasting is that employees may come to equate executive communications strictly with facts and figures–or at worst, with the dissemination of bad news."

Consider the power of video webcasting to put forward a positive message from a senior executive.  It could be anything from a monthly birthday and workplace anniversary celebration to an impromptu “Ring the Bell” announcement when a significant piece of new business is closed.  Adding positive news to the corporate communications mix on a regular basis goes a long way towards building morale.  Many corporate communications efforts of this variety falter due to irregular scheduling. It’s important to identify some sort of recurring reason for a “Good News” webcast.”

The use of webcasting is such a cost effective and convenient way to compliment just about any business. Your company already has a webcasting network in place. If you and your fellow employees have internet access at your desk you have a webcasting network in place. Hiring a professional media company to handle the backbone details for your webcasts is recommended for purchasing bandwidth, trouble-shooting steaming connectivity, and supplying help desk services for those that may have problems login in to view the webcast. Professional’s webcasters can also build portal interfaces that are seen as the surrounding architecture for your webcast. Portals are typically themed and branding compliant.  Consider trying webcasting for your next important company-messaging event, I think you’ll agree “its another powerful and convenient method for corporate communication."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Video Production Abroad

Embarking on a video production that takes you abroad can be very exciting. If you have never produced a video project abroad before, there are some rules and guidelines that you’ll need to know.

What You Need to know
The crew and I in Papua New Guinea
In this article you'll learn about some of the rules and regulations for producing a video internationally. There is a lot to learn, and all countries have their own rules about Carnet’s (pronounced kar-nay) and working visas, so it's best to check before you leave as to what your host country or countries require before you arrive to work there.

Working in foreign countries can be hard enough as it is with language barriers and such, so not having your paperwork in order is not a good way to start. You’ll need to find out before your departure if the country or countries you're visiting would require an equipment carnet as well, will they also require a working visa?

Current Passport
Having a current passport goes without saying, so make sure that your crew members have a current passport that doesn’t expire during your assignment; trouble at the airport is not a good thing. It's also really great idea to make a photocopy of everyone's passport and keep it in safe place somewhere that is not on your person. Maybe a secret compartment in your carry-on baggage for example. In the event that someone loses a passport you'll be glad you have a copy of it and may help you in a pinch.

Do I Need A Carnet?
A little bit about getting your carnet. A carnet or ATA Carnet is an international customs export-import document. It is used to clear customs without paying duties and import taxes on merchandise that will be re-exported within 12 months. An ATA Carnet is not always required but asked for in many locations and expedites your passage through customs. I always get one as it usually clears up any questions about temporary exports (your equipment). The advantages include cost savings, time savings and smooth foreign and U.S. customs clearance. ATA Carnets are accepted in 71 countries and territories around the world. New countries are added to the ATA Carnet system every year. Attaining your carnet is a simple 4-step process. The step-by-step application process is online and Carnet Specialists are ready to help you apply for and learn to use your ATA Carnet.

A Work Visa
A little information about getting your work visa (if required). In many cases, you need a job offer in another country before working there. The country government will issue you a work visa. You will also need a letter from your employer (client) on company letterhead. Its best if you get your letter before you leave home, It can help if you at customs if have a physical address in your destination country. As with carnets, there are many websites you can visit to get the paperwork for your working visa. Your carnet and visa must be taken very seriously, you and your crew do not want to arrive at the airport of your destination excited about your shoot only to find out that they will not allow you into the country because you do not have the proper paperwork in order.

 Selecting Your Crew
The Crew and I with a local villager in Meulaboh, Sumatra Indonesia
When crewing an international project I've always found that it's good to stay lean and mean. My crew always consists of 3 members: the producer/director, the camera operator/DP and a sound engineer/comedian. All crew-members will need to chip in with moving equipment cases and personal luggage around from time to time especially at the airport. Having one person in charge of the Visa and Carnet paperwork is always a good idea. The producer/director should play this role, for consistnacy when going through

 Foreign Power Standards
Powering your equipment abroad can be tricky. Keep in mind that most foreign countries may have different power receptacles and power service than you're accustomed to. You'll need to make note of your power supplies, make sure they can convert up to 240v. You’ll need to check your lighting equipment as well; you may need changing out your lamps to 240V.

 Hire A Translator
Brian setting a level for our translator
You may want to consider hiring a translator that is familiar with television and video production in the host country you'll be visiting. This will save you a lot of time and ensure that you get what you're looking for from your on camera talent and/or on-camera interviews or extras. Plus, they can help you out with small tasks such as where to find lunch or where you might purchase something you need etc.

 Traveling With Expensive Video Gear
Identifying stickers help spot your case
Everything in its place
Before traveling, I make a list of all the equipment I'm bringing with me, including serial numbers and any other identifying model numbers. I also pack everything in its appropriate case, and then I open each case and take a photograph of everything in the case as it was packed. I also take a picture of all the cases all packed up and ready to go. If by chance a piece of baggage is lost, you can show airport personnel what the case looks like and what was inside of it, and a list of items that were packed in the case. This tip has helped me before, as the airlines have lost some of my cases while traveling abroad. I was able to show airport personnel the exact case that was lost, and the items contained within it. This tip helps airport baggage handlers find your bag visually quicker too and also ensures that everything is in the case when you do receive it. Having your list and photograph to rely on ensures that your case and its contents are returned in its entirety, it can make all the difference.

Staying Regular
On a not so cheerful but important note, I recommend that you bring Imodium tablets with you. If you are traveling to a location many hours different from you home location, your internal time clock will take a hit and you be eating foods that you're probably not used to eating at times that your body would be asleep. You may encounter some intestinal issues. When your out there running and gunning with your crew, you don’t want this problem. Bring Imodium; you’ll be glad you did if you need it.

The Fun Stuff
Now that you’ve got the crew, gear and business paperwork taking care of, you can and start focusing on fun stuff, your script, your travel itinerary and any small presents or gifts you're going to bring with you. I have found in my travels that it is always a good gesture to hand out unique tokens of appreciation. It doesn't have to be expensive, just has to be thoughtful and something they can not get in their own country. This always makes a good impression, and will help you in your endeavors abroad. Also, if someone offers you a small present, you can offer one back in return; always a great goodwill gesture.

Culturally Speaking
I recommend learning about the culture you will be visiting. Knowing rudimentary cultural traditions and basic phrases will help you greatly with the local people, they’ll appreciate that you have taken the time to study and respect their culture. This also helps with acceptance from locals; they will be more likely to help you if you have learned basic greetings, and key phrases.

Working In Muslim Countries
Notice our camera man Charlie wearing correct attire in Pekanbaru, Sumatra Indonesia
When our team traveled throughout Indonesia, and the Philippines back in 2007 and 2008 it was very useful for us to learn about the cultural differences in Indonesia especially, being an American working in a Muslim country. For instance, wearing appropriate clothing each day is very important, and shows respect and being a good visitor to their country. In many Muslim countries, you must wear long pants, no shorts, this can be uncomfortable at times with high heat and humidity indexes’ but, It is the right thing to do. Many of the people we met respected the fact that we honored their cultural traditions. Working with women in Muslim countries can be a little different for Americans traveling there. One must learn the correct greetings and gestures when interacting with women in these locations.

People Are People 
During many of our international video production projects we have found that people are people everywhere. What i mean by that is thought we may have cultural and religious differences, we are all the same when it comes right down to it. All of us love their children, we all want happiness in our lives, and we all like to laugh and they are as curious about us as we are about them.
A local villager, his daughter and I in Meulaboh, Sumatra Indonesia

 More to Come…
This article touched on some of the basics for shooting video abroad, there are many more areas to talk about and I will cover them in future blogs. Hope this gives you a little useful insight for your international video production planning.
That's me with kids in Papua New Guinea

Friday, August 17, 2012

Video Production That Touches The Heart

While providing video production services to our clients, sometimes we just have to say, “we love what we do!” Although producing effective corporate video productions can be very gratifying, every so often we are privileged to work on a project that truly touches our hearts. Our recent Fire Squirts Video was one of those projects!

Recently, the Navoto, CA Fire Foundation approached us about producing a video to highlight the efforts & benefits of their foundation in order to spread awareness in their community and raise more money for their great cause.

The main focus of their video would be on their summer program for children called the Fire Squirts. The Fire Squirts program is collaborative community project that provides “at risk” children between the ages of 10 years and 14 years an experience of a lifetime. The program offers these children an opportunity to spend one week with local firefighters where they will learn first hand what it means to be part of a team, and earn trust, and gain courage as well as build self-esteem. In addition, they learn valuable life-saving skills such as C.P.R. and how to use a fire extinguisher. The experience exposes them to a world of endless possibilities. It provides them with an incentive to become productive members of society, as well as the opportunity to develop life-long friendships with positive role models in their community.

Our Production team, Trinity Media, Inc., spent the day covering a multitude of activities, including, fire hose races, team building activities, ladder climbs, fire safety and much more. Needless to say the kids seemed to have the time of their lives! We hope that our coverage will help the overall Foundation message and spread awareness to fund more amazing programs like the Fire Squirts!

To all the firefighters of the Navoto Fire Department, thank you for your great spirit, hospitality and motivation, as well as being positive role models in the lives of our local youth.

Go Fire Squirts!

Monday, February 13, 2012

On Demand Video Training in the Cloud…Wait What?

 We often hear about “The Cloud.” What is the cloud? Well, Wikipedia explains that “cloud computing" is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a metered service over a network (typically the Internet).”

Creating on demand video training courses is all the rage right now in Corporate America. Instead of relying on costly in-person training sessions, many companies are now extending their training base to a virtual global audience by delivering content through custom and comprehensive portal interfaces that live on the cloud. This “on-demand cloud delivery” is not only convenient and cost affective, but it can also be a revenue generating opportunity for companies looking to sell training for their products or services.

Many experienced video production companies are well versed in capturing and uploading content to the cloud and can often assist you in creating brand compliant interfaces to give a seamless look and feel. The cloud is as safe as it is convenient, offering many security settings for you to choose from.  

How is the cloud more cost affective you ask? By delivering content on the cloud you steer away from the manufacturing and delivering of content on platforms such as DVD’s. You can also eliminate storage fees for physical unsold merchandise by using e-commerce solutions as well.

Going forward, delivering content from the cloud allows for a large reach to a dispersed audience, easy accessibility, and a convenient storage archive all in a comprehensive on-demand delivery method.

So in conclusion, it seems as though nowadays’ you can get more from a cloud than just rain.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Corporate Messaging within the Beauty of Nature

Using video production as a platform to send your corporate message out to the masses via Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or the like is often a great idea.  Your video will represent your company values and objectives even when not present to convey your message. 

Below is a video that exemplifies how corporate messaging can be reached through a variety of topics. Whether is be through an executive address or through a story of the preservation and revitalization of our wildlife habitat; knowing your audience and overall messaging goal is key to your video's success.