Monthly Archives: December 2012

Music First – Using Music to Set Tone and Pace in Business Videos

Music can make or break a production.  If used correctly it can set a tone for each scene and carry the viewer through a video.  If not given proper attention, music can dull the emotional effect of a production and become more of a distraction and detractor from the content.  This is as true for box office productions as it is for documentaries and training videos alike.

Many of my productions are documentary and training videos and music is always forefront in my mind, even in the early phases of scripting. It is these early stages where tone and pace are often determined and music can play a big role in driving and enhancing those elements.

First Impressions

Regardless of the type of video being done, I like to introduce a production with either an energetic, upbeat piece or at least something mellow but cheerful.  Even if some of the content is going to be difficult to digest later on (there are tunes for that) you want the introduction of the video on the whole to be inviting to your audience. Choose introductory music that will make a good first impression and invite people in to the viewing experience.  This will also likely be the closing score to your production as you summarize content seen and run closing credits.

If the video being produced is part of a series than choose an opening score that will remain the same for all videos to be produced in the series.  You may want to use different music for introducing videos that are not part of a series.  This sets them apart in some ways and creates a different identity.

Traveling Tunes

Some productions lend themselves nicely to having a permanent score run softly underneath the main dialogue of the video.  Such traveling tunes should never compete with the dialogue.  The base score can change from segment to segment in order to maintain an appropriate tone, but it will likely not be as dramatic as if it were the main audio.

Music as Main Audio

It is possible to tell a story or grab attention with great music and visuals.  If you get music with a solid, distinct beat you can sync up your images to change with the most definable beat of the music.  Different than the traveling tunes, this use of audio sets music as a truly defining element of a production.  It is a dynamic way to condition the viewer that with each beat of the drum, the image is going to change, bringing new information, and emotion.

Transitional Pieces

Any video that has multiple segments usually has one consistent transitional audio piece that signifies the end of one segment and the beginning of another.  Usually this audio is accompanied by a graphic that visually introduces the segment at hand.  Transitional audio can start out running very low at the end of one segment, fade to full volume at the graphic and fade out heading into the next segment, or, it can be more succinct and stay within the confines of the transition graphic.

Transitional audio can be a shortened version of the introductory score or a different composition altogether.  Depending on the type of video being produced, transitional audio may even be more of a sound effect.

Give music its proper place in production priorities.  Move it to the top of the list and be thinking about it during the scripting phase of a project.  Music can be a viewer’s first impression, it can tie together a whole production and set the mood for each segment.  Check out this blog post on using royalty free production elements and work from other artists in your next production. Video preview below.

Copyright © 2012 Digital Design Digest

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5 Ways for Your Business to Use Video

Video has a great deal of applicability to small businesses as a marketing tool.  If you can put your best foot forward in a solid video presentation you will have created a proxy that can represent you and your business to a wide audience on-demand.  Consider the following applications of video for your business.

Product Demonstrations

Consumers want information first.  Yes, a good sale will always catch a buyer’s eye, but for purchases that are of significant financial investment or time commitment, they want to know how the product works and if it is a good fit.

Product demonstrations can be effective for a variety of businesses.

–       Clothing, jewelry and other fashion related businesses can do some seasonal fashion demos illustrating how to coordinate various items into a seasonable outfit.  Video is also a great way to demonstrate the size and make of items such as bags and jewelry.  www.Zappos.com is an online retailer that makes great use of video and stills as sales tools. www.Thestyleunderground.com created great scarf tying tutorials for their product.

–       Any appliance retailer is a great candidate for demonstration videos.  Some of the labels being carried may already have their own videos that can be used on a website and marketing campaign.

–       Service oriented businesses such as yoga and fitness instruction may consider posting a two minute demonstration for each of their instructors.  What this gives the consumer is the opportunity to experience your service and determine which instructor or class is going to be the right fit.

 Training Videos

These types of videos can be created to train employees and consumers on company policies, processes and tools.  Consider all the frequently asked questions that have your employees and managers repeating themselves  from one end of the week to the next.  Putting those FAQs into a video you can direct other’s to will free up staff time to conduct other business.

Testimonials

Ask some of your most loyal customers if they would be willing to say a few words about your company’s customer service, how pleased they are with their purchase of your newest product or why they support your current initiative.  These are the kinds of sound bites that work well sprinkled throughout a site or used individually in a social media marketing campaign intended to drive people to your site.

Events

Conferences, ribbon cuttings, open houses and other public events are all worthy events to consider filming.  It is a great way to acknowledge collaborative efforts with partners, inform your audience of company milestones and thank them for their support.  You may not want to put a video of an entire 4 hour event on the web, but these events will lend themselves to wonderful sound bites that are sure to grab people’s attention.

Status Updates

Meant to be short, sweet and under a minute, this type of video is a great way to announce the unveiling of a new project, merchandise, event or anything else your audience may want an update on.  Don’t just tell customers your spring line is in; shoot a brief video of the shelves being stocked.  This can be done on your smartphone.  No editing required.  It’s a more dynamic status update than simple text.

Video is a great way to reach your audience, share information with them and allow them to experience your company and product first hand.  Once you have an information rich video make sure to use all the social media tools available to make it known to your audience that this video exists.

Copyright © 2012 Digital Design Digest

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A great post by Jumpset strategies. If you are not using social media this post outlines several incentives for making it your New Years resolution to dip the pinky toe in to building your online presence.

Jumpset Strategies

customer service someecards

Your customers use social media and they aren’t afraid to use it. They use it when they’re happy and use it even more when they’re upset. Even businesses opting not to take part in social media are not immune to negative reviews posted by unhappy customers via review sites and social media networks.

The best social media strategy will do nothing to improve your sales and reputation unless it’s used to proactively enhance customer experience. Keep your customers happy by delivering great products, treating customers well, and by engaging them via the social media networks where the spend their screen time.

Remember, all customers basically the same:

  • They want good products that deliver on promises.
  • They want products that solve their problems.
  • They want products at fair prices.
  • They have choices and vote with their dollars.
  • They want to be treated respectfully.
  • They will tell others when they are unhappy.
  • They want…

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The Value of Going Viral On a Local Level

Many viral videos often happen by accident, not by design.   Videos are posted to YouTube by the casual videographer with a little social network promotion, but the intent is to just sit back and see who watches.  Every now and then such random videos go viral – attracting millions of views from around the world very quickly.  It makes news headlines, is circulated through social media as the newest discovery and creates a flurry of wonder over why and how it got all this attention (Justin Bieber?). Most of the time a viral video is no more than pure entertainment.  We all need a good laugh (Mentos & Coke Fountains) or some inspiration (Susan Boyle).   When a video comes along that fills that need we are more likely to watch it and then share it with our social networks, who, will then share it with their networks. If you are a business, a non-profit or an individual with something to share your main goal should be identifying your audience, their needs and the networks that will get your video circulated. Going viral, on a global scale, is not the goal.

Your Audience and the Relativity of Going Viral

Not every video is meant for a global audience or even a national one.  A small clothing business may choose to highlight its spring line by creating a series of fashion demo videos such as scarf tying, color combinations and accessorizing.  This small, brick and mortar operation may only conduct sales in-store.  It will use their online presence to stay connected to their customers by sending them useful information about fashion and how their product ties in with that information.  Hopefully the information is dynamic enough that it is shared and results in a draw into their store and, ultimately, some sales.

 View Quality, as Defined by Your Audience, Counts More than View Quantity

A video is not going to help your business just by posting it on YouTube.  Video is another tool in your marketing arsenal to help make your audience aware you exist.   A small clothing business with one or two locations in its home state is mainly concerned with targeting an in-state audience.  The fact that their videos are viewed overseas does not do anything for their domestic sales, especially if this small business does not do overseas commerce.  What matters more is that the video is circulated in areas within close proximity to the place of business.  The video should be

  • posted on the company’s website in a conspicuous place;
  • sent to existing customers in e-blasts;
  • posted on the company’s social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages

YouTube has a great statistics feature that not only shows when and how many views a video has but also location demographics right down to the state it was viewed.  If a business really wants to know if a video made a difference, offer a small discount to anyone who purchases something and mentions the video.  The point of the video is to draw more people to your business.  You are not going to get a sales conversion from global viewership if you are catering to a much smaller demographic.  Build and market your video to your target demographic. Two hundred views from your target demographic means more than two thousand from anywhere else.

 The Needs of Your Audience

Now that you have defined your demographic audience you need to figure out what their needs are and how a video can satisfy that.  More often than not, the biggest need is for that of information.

Product demos are a great way to give your audience a 360 degree real world view of the product.  Keep the information centered strictly on product how-to and product characteristics.  Talk about materials that create the product, do a walk through of product setup, and cover all the ways the product can make the consumers life more efficient.

If your product is more service oriented or instructional, consider filming a short lesson. Ask each instructor to film a short demo video that can be posted and shared via the internet.  What you are giving is the opportunity for the consumer to experience your service and decide if it is a good fit.

Do not burden the video with weekly sales information.  People do not want to be sold something.  They want to know if it will meet their needs, will it last and how it works.  Let this timeless information be the main objective of your video.   The most important company information you can include in a video is how a customer can contact your company to inquire about the product.

Sales information can be added independently in the webpage, tweet or post. This method allows the video to get more mileage by keeping the content timeless and relevant to the product.  The video can be worked into temporary sales campaigns or used in other marketing without additional editing.

 It All Comes Down to Networking

 A video is another tool in your marketing arsenal; a proxy that allows you to represent your business, product or idea to the masses when you cannot be in multiple places at once. Video can only do this if people know it exists.

  • Start by making it known within the network you have such as your website, social media, chamber of commerce and e-blasts.
  • Remember to repost the video periodically, especially if it fits in with various marketing campaigns.  People will not see everything you post the first time you post it.  It may also not be relevant to some viewers during the first posting but will be on the second or third posting.
  • Ask your current followers to share the video with anyone in their network who may be interested.

It is important to let customers know they can get the best price from you.  Video marketing is another form of customer service that also let customers know you are the place to go for solid product information.  Both types of marketing require frequent exposure to be effective.  Persistence and patience is key.

In an economy where the consumer wants assurances on the value of their purchase it becomes more important than ever for a company to show consumers where the value is well before a purchase is made.   The mission here is not to post a video that is an overnight global sensation, but to produce a video that meets your audiences needs and makes it easy for them to tell their social network that you can meet their needs as well.

Copyright © 2012 Digital Design Digest

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Preparing for a Voice Recording

Whether you are recording a short outgoing message for your company’s phone system or preparing to do a voice over for a video script, consider the following tips for a smoother reading.

  1. Write a full script.  Outlines won’t cut it here.  They leave too many blanks to fill in during the recording when efforts should be put into diction, tone and pace.  Take some pressure off yourself and write out what you want to say verbatim, even for short outgoing phone messages.  This important first step assures you will not leave out any important information.
  2. Proof your script for narration.  Your first instinct will be to write your script like you would write an email or article.  This will not always translate into something that is readable in a narration.  Sentences may be too long and word combinations may be too cumbersome to narrate effectively.  Reading your script out loud will allow you to identify areas that require some additional editing.
  3. Read through the script for tone and pace.  Before recording your script you want to be sure the content is read with the appropriate tone and pace for the content.  This may be consistent throughout the script or change in different places.  It may be helpful to read the script to a handful of trusted people who represent your target audience. There may be some tweaks in an actual recording session but you want to have these details ironed out for the most part before you are ready to record.
  4. Break your script into readable units.  Short phone messages will be pretty easy to get through in one read.  If a mistake is made, just re-read the script as a new recording.  Longer scripts should not be read in one take.  Instead, break the script into short readable units that you can get through in one take.  Then take a break before heading onto the next unit.  If a mistake is made, then re-read that unit until it sounds the way you want.  Your editor can easily blend the units together to read as if no breaks were taken.
  5. A few final thoughts for the day of the recording.  Avoid food and drink that will clog up your vocals.  Dairy, peanut butter, thick sauces and other items create a coating in your throat that can muddy your sound and make it uneven.  Drink hot fluids and water to clear your throat.  Suck on a hard candy to keep your mouth and throat moist before the recording.  Bring a lot of water with you to the recording and make sure to sip it in between takes.  Vocal lubrication is key to a clear, even sound.

Copyright © 2012 Digital Design Digest

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