Video Pro Secret - Sound Quality

Video Pro Secret #2: Sound quality is even more important than video quality

GUEST POST

2nd Installment By Jay Carter, Beyond Measure Media

This post is borrowed from BeyondMeasureMedia.com

Last time, we explored why the story your video tells is so important, and how a great video will always pass the “I Should Certainly Hope So” test.

Today, we reveal the Secret #2: Sound quality. While video quality can go a long way toward telling a clear and compelling video story, I think sound quality is even more important.

Bad Video Happens

Most (honest) professional videographers have a war story or two.  Memories of a time they really blew it behind the camera, especially at the beginning of their career.

Hey, stuff happens – out-of-focus interviews, a bright-blue shot of what is supposed to be a white wall, an accidental jerk of the camera away from the action.

But even in the face of those kinds of video mistakes, there are usually ways of correcting or covering those flaws and recovering what could still turn out to be a decent video.

But sound? You really can’t screw that up.

Mess up on the sound, and your video is most likely dead in the water.

Here’s a good example:

Watch (and listen) to the two short interview clips below.

Clip #1:  Bad Sound Quality

 

The sound you’re hearing in this first clip above came from the onboard mic that was attached to the camera.

It sounds like the subject is talking into a microphone that was located across the room, because that’s exactly what was happening.

The too-lengthy distance between the person on camera and the microphone is the biggest reason why many videos recorded on smart phones often appear less than professional.

Listening to a person who sounds far away makes the viewer feel far away. It causes their attention to wane.  Rather than taking the viewer on a journey, bad sound reinforces that they’re just watching a video – a video that is annoyingly hard to hear and understand.

Now compare that to clip number two below.

Clip #2:  Good Sound Quality

 

In this second clip the audio is recorded from a lavaliere microphone clipped to the subject’s collar.

This simple improvement in sound quality changes everything.

Despite the fact that this is a poorly-lit shot, despite the fact that there is no depth to the shot, it’s still (mostly) usable in a video, particularly if we’re only using a quick clip of the interview.

Professional-Sounding Video

For the interviews we shoot – and even for b-roll footage of people doing things – we use a wireless Sennheiser lavaliere microphone to pick up deep, rich audio.

There are even lav mics available these days that can attach to your smart phone, delivering a richer and more professional sound quality than what most smart phone video cameras can deliver by themselves.

But isn’t just about making your video “sound professional.”  It’s deeper than that.

Sound quality can make a viewer pay closer attention to the on-camera speaker.  It can make the entire experience sound (and thus, feel) more intimate.

More than fancy lighting, more than stunning panoramic images, more than pretty much anything else, a rich quality sound can pull a viewer into the story being told on a screen.

In the next post, we’ll uncover our third secret for creating powerful videos – a secret tool I personally use on nearly every project I produce to “dial up” the emotional impact of an interview.

Also, if you’re in the Portland, Oregon area, stay tuned for Part 2 of “Pro Secrets for Making Great Videos” in November.

Beyond Measure MediaJay Carter is a former Texas TV news anchor and reporter, with numerous awards from the Associated Press and the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in broadcast storytelling. He has worked as a radio news anchor and voiceover talent. He works with his wife and business partner, Michele Kim Carter, at Beyond Measure Media creating video stories and testimonials for businesses and nonprofits.

A note from AM:PM PR

According to Google, in 2016, more video content will be uploaded in 30 days than all three major U.S. T.V. networks combined have created in 30 years and a Cisco forecast report predicts online video will be responsible for 80% of internet traffic by 2019.

Video is the quickest way to influence an audience and the most effective tool for telling complicated stories. In an age with so much content coming coming at us, video can also be the easiest tool for learning new things.

We see video as a powerful communications tool and regularly recommend it to clients.

A decade ago, businesses struggled to understand social networking and some doubted its value or predicted it a fad and fell behind their competition. Today, video is the tool every organization should include in their marketing plans.

Here’s a great source for on using video for business: By 2019, Video Marketing Will Be Everything. You’ve Got to Get in on the Trend — Now.

Pro videos

Does Your Video Pass the “I Should Certainly Hope So” Test?

GUEST POST

By Jay Carter, Beyond Measure Media

This post is borrowed from BeyondMeasureMedia.com

I have to admit, I was a little nervous when the team at AM:PM PR asked us to come into their office to present our “pro secrets for making powerful videos.”

As a video production professional, the truth is, I was afraid to share with a large group of people just how simple creating powerful videos can be.

As a buddy of mine likes to say, “this ain’t rocket surgery.”

There is, of course, a certain level of knowledge that is required to capture “pro-level” images. But I think even the most clumsy, inexperienced videographers will have a huge edge if they’re an innately good storyteller.

Strip away all the fancy bells and whistles of video production, and what you’re really left with is a deceptively simple form of communication with an extraordinary ability to connect people with the largest numbers of other, like-minded people.

Video Moves Mountains

Video is, hands-down, the most powerful form of leverage I have ever seen when it comes to marketing.  It can move mountains.

It can motivate large numbers of viewers to take action.  Seeing those kinds of results is the part of my job I love most.

We were recently invited by AM:PM Public Relations in Portland, Oregon to present some ideas in their regular series of “Speakeasy” events.

Afterward, they asked me to share a series of blog posts re-capping the list we shared in part 1 of our two-part discussion.

Here now, is secret number one.

Secret #1: Story is Everything

Now, hang with me here.  You might think this “pro secret” is a bit obvious.

So let’s imagine you’re about to produce your very first video about your business or organization.

What would be in the video?

What would you say to the camera?

What facts or elements would make it into the video, and what would be left on the cutting room floor?

Most first-time video makers tend to emphasize “features” over story.  That is, they feel their video must be a comprehensive list of all the features and services of their business.  And that could be a bad idea.

Story Beats Statistics

Why?  Because story beats statistics.

Telling a story will engage an audience much more effectively than if you were to present a list of your company or organization’s features or services.

There’s an undeniable correlation between the quality of the story told in your video and how effective it will be in getting the result you want.

So let’s really dig into what this means:  If we deconstruct the most powerful videos that are out there, they all seem to pass one basic test: It’s what I call the “I-Should-Certainly-Hope-So” Test.

Specifically, if someone who is watching your video is able to respond to what is being said in the video with, “Well, I should certainly hope so!,” then the video just might be a ‘fail.’

This is one of the biggest mistakes businesses make when creating their first video.

Watch this quick video to see how I explained the “I-Should-Certainly-Hope-So” test to the Speakeasy guests at AM:PM.

In my next post, I’ll share Pro Secret #2:  Forget what camera you’re using; there’s a whole other – and often forgotten – technical part of your video that can make or break it.

Also, if you’re in the Portland, Oregon area, stay tuned for Part 2 of “Pro Secrets for Making Great Videos” in November.

Beyond Measure MediaJay Carter is a former Texas TV news anchor and reporter, with numerous awards from the Associated Press and the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in broadcast storytelling. He has worked as a radio news anchor and voiceover talent. He works with his wife and business partner, Michele Kim Carter, at Beyond Measure Media creating video stories and testimonials for businesses and nonprofits.

Michele Kim Carter and Jay Carter on Great Day Houston

August Speakeasy: Pro Secrets for Making Powerful Videos

Part 1 of our 2 part series of video secrets from the pros

Having just one video about your business or organization isn’t enough any more. Now you need a series.

At our next Speakeasy event, hear from the team at Beyond Measure Media.  Jay and Michele
Next Speakeasy - Pro Secrets for Great Videos Part 2
Carter are award-winning video producers that specialize in telling documentary-style “stories from the heart” for businesses and nonprofits.

Drawing from years of experience in front of and behind the camera, they share:  

  • The types of videos every organization needs right now, and why.
  • The most common mistakes businesses make when creating their first video(s), and how to avoid them.
  • How to turn a mundane video interview into a magic moment that viewers won’t forget.
  • The one production element that is even more important than video quality.
  • Creative ways to boost your organization’s video output, including how to turn your entire roster of employees into lean, mean, powerful video production and idea machines.

All across the web and social media, your future customers and raving fans are out there — waiting to see, hear and connect with your brand and your mission.  A series of clear, carefully crafted videos is the most powerful way to tell your story, build loyalty and grow your tribe.

Join us October 5th for Part 2 of Pro Secrets for Making Powerful Videos.


About Beyond Measure Media & Michele Kim Carter and Jay Carter

Michele Kim Carter has worked on documentary films, most recently co-directing Southern Fried Fencing, now available on Amazon.  She was local producer for Beer Is Cheaper Than Therapy, which was broadcast on TV networks around the world.  She produced TV newscasts in Texas, and won the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in broadcast storytelling.

Jay Carter is a former Texas TV news anchor and reporter, with numerous awards from the Associated Press and the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in broadcast storytelling. He has worked as a radio news anchor and voiceover talent. He also co-directed the feature-length documentary Southern Fried Fencing with Michele.

At Beyond Measure Media, Jay shoots and edits video, and helps craft the overall tone and narrative flow of video productions. Michele produces, handles logistics, conducts interviews and helps clients tell stories that resonate.

trump entrance

Is Trump’s communication team unethical, incompetent or clever?

(originally drafted 7/19/16)

As I watched the furor over Melania Trump’s plagiarized speech Tuesday, I found myself pondering how I’d respond as a communication professional, were I employed by the Trump campaign.

It’s a complicated scenario to imagine because there’s a thoughtful crisis communication-oriented response, and there’s an opportunistic publicity-oriented response. Both responses serve a valuable communication purpose pending context, but I feel they often offer diverging paths for a communication practitioner to follow, and I’ll argue below that one response may be considered less ethical in this situation.

Crisis Communication.
This path recognizes that allegations of plagiarism represent a serious threat to the integrity of the accused, and the ensuing strategy seeks to minimize reputational damage and restore trust. A proper response may be to issue a statement acknowledging the misstep and earnestly suggest that the internal communication team is examining the process that may have enabled such a gross error. It would acknowledge the wrongdoing and graciously applaud Michelle Obama’s thoughtful, shared vision of family and work ethic. The media attention may continue to be harsh for awhile, and additional steps may be required, but the act would also maintain the presumed credibility of the Trump campaign.

While this may be the tactic to restore trust with the media, and other intellectual stakeholders, it’s apparent that Trump’s most important stakeholders are the people that will vote for him. His communication team must also recognize that these stakeholders will perceive plagiarism as a lesser offense than capitulating to a mistake, and may punish any attempt to mention an Obama in a positive light.

Publicity.
It’s also possible that Trump’s communication team perceived this misstep as another opportunity to generate free publicity from the media. We know this is one of Trump’s go-to communication strategies because a story from The New York Times earlier this year highlighted how he was able to outpace his competitors by generating over $2 billion worth of free media coverage during his party’s presidential primary.

trump statementBolstering the supposition that their team prioritized the publicity path (versus acknowledging the plagiarism accusations), they issued the statement on the left when the controversy first started.

The statement contradicts an interview where Melania told Today host Matt Lauer that she wrote most of the speech herself. Does this indiscretion even register among Trump’s key supporters? Probably not. The statement also does nothing to address Melania’s serious ethical failing – so it doesn’t represent a crisis communication response. It does manifest many more questions, representing a publicity-oriented response – and the media was busy. In a bizarre Orwellian twist, the Trump campaign chairman stated that the calls of plagiarism are the fault of Hillary Clinton. Chris Christie chimed in to point out 93% of the speech WASN’T plagiarized. Most everyone in the country sighed with exasperation from the absurdity of it all.

Is the campaign’s communication strategy ethical?
After observing the Trump campaign for nearly a year, it’s become apparent that negative media coverage does nothing to damage the Trump brand among its ardent supporters, and if anything, serves a purpose – to keep the media regurgitating the Trump brand name and messaging.

The initial publicity-focused communication response from the Trump campaign team represents either an unethical or an irresponsible tactic from the perspective of this communication professional. In my view, their campaign actively prioritizes controversy to generate more news coverage, versus prioritizing the act of telling the truth or offering anything of substance. This strategy has clearly created a dangerous and hyperbolic precedent. History has demonstrated that using crazy language and manipulating the media in such a manner leads to extreme consequences as time wears on. Americans should make themselves familiar with the notion that these campaign communications are strategically manipulative, versus dismissing the outrageousness of it all at face value.

Conclusion.
My instinct is to consider the accusation of plagiarism as a crisis communication threat and to address it accordingly. However, Trump’s reinforced brand image is that of hyperbole, puffery and gross exaggeration. Therefore, this misstep doesn’t threaten his brand at all, and if anything, is a shot in the arm to his publicity efforts.

* * *

Earlier Wednesday Trump’s team released a statement throwing his official biographer under the bus, and to my surprise, praising Michelle Obama in the process. Rather than the initial publicity-generating statement from Tuesday, Wednesday’s communication represents a crisis-communication response. Essentially versus choosing one of two paths, as I suggest, team Trump chose both. This may be part of their strategy, or it may suggest that they don’t have an effective communication plan for their campaign and were trying to patch over earlier mistakes.

mark geary performing

Renowned Irish Songwriter Visits Portland

During the past several years we’ve hosted Speakeasy events featuring internationally acclaimed filmmakers, Oregon Book Award Winners, journalists and esteemed editors of Portland publications. Now we can add a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter to the list.

We’re delighted to host Mark Geary on May 18th for a “Living Room” concert in AM:PM PR’s living room, located at 2006 SE Clinton.

Mark Geary RSVPMark is one of Ireland’s premier singer-songwriters and throughout the past 20 years he has toured all over Europe, the US and Australia, and has shared the stage with performers including Josh Ritter, Bell X1, Coldplay, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders and Joe Strummer. His records evoke comparisons to artists including Van Morrison, John Lennon, Elliott Smith and Richard Thompson.

Fresh off an autumn tour supporting Glen Hansard (Once, The Swell Season, The Frames) Geary is on his first West Coast jaunt since he was here with Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, and is performing a series of private house concerts in Washington and Oregon.

Geary’s AM:PM PR performance is Wednesday, May 18th with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. The event is free, but a $10 donation to the artist is recommended. RSVP required.

Again, you must RSVP with Mike Phillips if you’d like to join.

Click here to listen to Mark on Spotify.

For more:

Tesla preso chart spike

Will Tesla Become a Victim of Its Own Success?

How Tesla Can Keep Customers Happy – Even if It Keeps Them Waiting

The exciting unveiling of Tesla’s new Model3 attracted more than 325,000 pre-orders in 72 hours. The Model3 may be the first financially accessible mass-market electric car with a 200+ mile range.

But initial demand producing three times the pre-orders initially anticipated means Tesla could face production delays. Tesla’s communication team would be wise to anticipate and prepare for potential PR challenges caused by missing delivery deadlines to customers. In this week’s podcast, AM:PM PR Co-Founder Pat McCormick, shares advice for protecting a company’s reputation and keeping customers happy when manufacturing challenges delay deliveries.


The Risk of Success

In the past few years we’ve witnessed several overwhelmingly successful Kickstarter projects frustrate their backers and generate negative media coverage when the challenges to manufacturing at scale were coupled with significantly underestimated demand.

pyro pet candle Portland-based Coolest Cooler broke a Kickstarter record (previously set by Pebble Watch) raising more than $13 million from backers. Last month, The Oregonian reported that the company’s founder is now seeking a $15 million injection to help fulfill its remaining orders.

I had my own experience with Kickstarter delays after ordering this cat-shaped candle that reveals a metallic skeleton when fully melted. Fortunately, it wasn’t really a must-have item, so I had forgotten about it when the candle finally arrived, six months later. Their communication team was off the hook!

Making a Plan

For any launch, a crisis communication plan is as important as the go-to-market plan. In this podcast, Pat shares tips for preparing a crisis communication plan, and the role the communications team should have in all stages of the planning process.

 

Easter Rising commemoration Portland

Easter Rising Speakeasy – Rising for Revolution and Irish Coffee

It’s been a busy year for AM:PM PR and we missed our own annual St. Patrick’s Day gathering. To make up for it, we’re hosting a uniquely Irish Speakeasy.

JOIN US

Wednesday, April 20th at 4 p.m.


AMPM PR logo over Irish coffee

We’re organizing a special commemoration of a pivotal historical event for the Irish – the 100-year anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916. We’ll be offering Pat’s world-famous Irish Coffee to help set the mood for a compelling presentation by respected local historians who will explore the role prominent Portlanders played during the Irish rebellion a century ago.

 

Easter Rising Infographic

About the Easter Rising of 1916

100 years ago a group of armed men and women gathered across Ireland – then part of the British Empire – and took part in an armed rebellion to declare an Irish Republic, free from British rule.

This event is known as the “Easter Rising” and the ensuing battle proceeded as you might expect. Despite the fact that Britain was heavily engaged in World War I at the time, the Empire gathered thousands of troops and routed the Irish volunteers after a brief confrontation.

The intriguing story is rife with drama – miscommunications and counter orders from competing Irish leaders to both fight and stand down, a captured German u-Boat that would have provided adequate weapons for the Irish side, and remarkable female heroines like the famed Countess Markievicz, who later became the first woman to be elected to the British House of Commons.

After the British executed the leaders of the Easter Rising rebellion (including my distant uncle, Sean MacDiarmada), the Irish people reacted in shock. The collective anger towards the perceived overreaction of the British, and ensuing revolution, led to the formal recognition of 26 counties that would become what we know today as the Republic of Ireland.

Our Featured Speakers

Two guest speakers, David O’longaigh and Chuck Duffy, from Portland’s chapter of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians discuss what they know about Ireland’s 1916 rebellion and its support base in Portland at the time.

They will also be previewing an event to be held at Kells on Sunday, April 24 that will include dramatic readings from Portland’s Corrib Irish Theatre and renditions of popular Irish folk songs.

 

Brush Up On Irish History In 8 Minutes

 

 

boiler room volunteers, patrons and staff

AM:PM PR’s Mike Phillips speaks at Boiler Room fundraiser

This past weekend I was a featured guest speaker at a fundraiser for the Boiler Room – a youth-oriented community coffeehouse in Port Townsend, Washington.

manresa castle port townsend

The event was held at the supposedly haunted Manresa Castle and raised more than $35,000 for the nonprofit.

As a 23-year-old college graduate I spent many days and nights at the Boiler Room working as a programs intern. I coordinated local musicians and traveling national and international acts for performances. That experience was one of my first forays into a career in public relations and I later leveraged it on my resume when applying for my first public relations job.

But something also worth highlighting is the way the Boiler Room encapsulates the idea of community. The Boiler Room was a safe place for me to spend my time as a teenager, and the only place open late into the evening for teens in that small town. At the Boiler Room I was exposed to new ideas, interesting thought leaders and life lessons that I may not have experienced otherwise.

Diverse local “alternative” cultures would congregate in the Boiler Room. Kids would be off in the corner writing journal entries to sort out their emotions, or logging the collective history of the venue. A young couple might be holding hands in the corner, an earthy woodsman might stride through the door trailed by the musk of a hard days labor. A wide-eyed hippie with homemade clothes and bare feet might frolic in to the sound of bells with a creative project tucked under one arm. And occasionally a yuppie couple on vacation from a neighboring city might wander in and be treated no different.

It’s funny to think about, but I’m the yuppie now.

I remember one Boiler Room regular in particular whose polished musical talents seemed to be on another level. When she played a prominent role on the soundtrack for the film Juno just a few years later, I was both blown away and not too surprised at the same time.

The Boiler Room was important to me because it provided an outlet to test and develop my own musical chops, something I was very passionate about at the time. First during open mic nights, and later during featured performances.

young mike p

The author at 23-years-old. Photo credit: Catska Ench

I recall one teachable moment when I was performing a new song of unrequited love with incredible misogynistic undertones. As I belted out my unfortunate lyrics, the great Phyl Sheridan (RIP) grabbed a plastic bowling pin and hurled it at the stage. After my performance he approached me and wrapped his arm around my shoulder and told me that I cannot talk like that about women, and gave a very convincing argument as to why. That moment was instrumental in the process of reshaping my worldview, retiring several songs, and was the type of experience that young men have in an environment where generations interact freely with older adult role models.

Congrats to the Boiler Room for all of its success. I’m excited for the continual value this organization will provide to the community in Port Townsend – helping kids to learn valuable life lessons and life skills; offering a safe, judgment-free space; enabling a venue where people may interact with their community; and even offering a foothold to future careers. Thank you to all of the adults who continue to act as mentors and role models for the next generation of Boiler Room kids.

If you’d like to donate, please click here.