Tag Archives: shannon gale

Photography First Aid

‘Tis the season for photography! Decorations, pets and people! Film everything and be choosy in editing. Here is a little Photography First Aid advice for those pics that walk that line of being OK or a candidate for the delete button.

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Filed under Photography

A Macro Minute – Sunsets and the Macro Cat

Greetings readers, bloggers and followers!  I actually photograph other things beside flowers.  I am forever on the hunt for the perfect sunset or cloud formation.  Animals are another favorite.  Cats really are the most zen animal around and if you get a chance to look into their eyes you can see such peace….and real intelligence when they are plotting trouble!

Look for this cat in an upcoming short video sometime on Monday.  I’ll show you how to quickly color balance a photo to remove color casts.


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Copyright 2013 Digital Design Digest


Filed under A Macro Minute, Photography

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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Filed under Project Planning, Video Production, Web Design

Video Production for Businesses on A Budget

A picture speaks a thousand words but it does not have to cost thousands of dollars to create. It is possible to find a happy medium between hi-end, hi-budget works of art that cost more than they ever make in revenue generation and no budget videos which lack polish and necessary elements of quality control.

Consider these tips when planning your next video project.

1. Write a script. A script is like the road map to your finished product. It will help you refine your message to a digestible nugget of information, say between 2 and 5 minutes. It will also serve as your “to do list” of elements needed (video to record, photos to take, voice over and music to record and permissions to clear). This prior proper planning ahead of time will save you money in the long run when working with your designer or production team.

2. Keep it simple. Write a clear concise script that educates your audience about your product, services or idea. Plan for simple video that illustrates what is being discussed in your narrative and plan for simple graphics that enhance the message. A clear, concise message in a digestible, 2-5 minute timeframe will leave your audience feeling more connected to you and your product.

3. Everything you need may be right under your nose. You and your staff know your products best. It makes sense that members of your company be featured in your video. Newspaper clippings, graphics, photos and other video clips on hand may all be part of this new edited piece. Refer to your script to see if items already on hand make sense in your new project. This could save you production time and money.

4. Video quality matters. A well-lit, steady, crisp video image is important. A nice head and shoulder shot obeying the rule of 3rds will do for most interview and narrative situations. Avoid lighting pitfalls such as sitting in front of a window or using an uneven lighting source in the video. Use a tripod. No matter how still you think you can stand, the camera will move with every breath you take. This could be enough to ruin an otherwise acceptable video shot.

5. Audio quality matters most. People will be somewhat forgiving of less than stellar video quality. But, viewers will abandon the viewing experience if they cannot hear what you are saying. The way you sound in real life is how you should sound on video. A full body sound like this is achieved through using an appropriate microphone. There are many types of microphones on the market, each suited for a different use. If you are thinking of producing a video yourself, do your research before purchasing a microphone or camera.

Copyright © 2012 Digital Design Digest



Filed under Video Production