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.
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.
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 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.
My re-intro to video games after 12 years –
The computer and video gaming industry explosion on display for 345,000
The last time I got really excited about a video game was in college when I zoned out on HALO, only to emerge from my apartment three weeks later like a frail ghostly prisoner freed from a medieval dungeon. It was then that I realized my personality type was not a good fit for gaming and I haven’t been more than an occasional ‘user’ ever since.
That said, in early August I attended an event in Cologne (Köhn) Germany called gamescom. gamescom is a video game tradeshow and it’s the largest tradeshow I’ve ever attended. It also seemed to have the largest average booth budgets.
To help you picture the size of the event and numbers it attracted – 345,000 is more than the population of St. Louis, Missouri. At times, it felt like that whole population was crammed into one hall.
What was I doing there?
I was invited to assist at a booth run by my stepfather for his organization One Redmond, and their sub-organization called the Washington Interactive Network. The booth was shared with an economic development organization from neighboring Bellevue, and the booth hosted six indie gaming companies from the Bellevue/Redmond, Washington area that opened up their consoles to the hordes of kids (and adults) that passed by each day. One Redmond’s overarching goal was to attract European gaming companies to the city of Redmond by demonstrating its extensive local indie gaming industry, local talent and quality of life. Hosting businesses like Microsoft, Nintendo and SpaceX doesn’t hurt their cause either. I’ll vouch for the area.
Gaming revenue greater than Hollywood
gamescom opened my eyes to the size and extent of the industry – one that had somehow remained on the periphery of my day to day thought despite its commanding presence in the media. One insider casually mentioned to me that the gaming industry raked in more money in the first 8 months of this year than the film industry in all of last year. A quick internet search shows experts predict gaming to be a $100 billion dollar industry within three years.
I saw mammoth companies I’d never heard of – including wargaming.net, Bethesda Softworks, Ubisoft, crytek, Blizzard. My childhood self would have loved to happen upon a Sierra Entertainment booth. They were the makers of a mainstay of my adolescence – Kings Quest. Alas, I was unable to find them in the ten halls of the show and through the hordes of gamers.
Booths at gamescom were enormous and many featured stages occupied by their own tee shirt tossing MC’s. You may expect a popular and wildly interactive company like Rockstar Games to garner a cheering crowd, but I was surprised when even a farming simulator had throngs of kids cheering and screaming for projectiles tossed by a dirndl-clad German gal.
wargaming.net also had a large stage flanked by screaming throngs of kids (and adults) as serious-looking synchronized dancers dressed in military garb moved their hips or twisted LED lit swords to inspired movements.
Many of the more violent games had completely enclosed booths with marketing-plastered walls stretching towards the ceiling and preventing younger kids from catching a glimpse of the more graphic content inside (or maybe just keeping the crowd moving along in an orderly fashion?).
Kids waited in line for hours to simply watch trailers for upcoming video game releases. Unfortunately, I did not partake in said activity, so I do not have a detailed report for you.
YouTube is the SportsCenter of gaming
Don’t believe me? Feast your eyes upon this link: https://gaming.youtube.com
I got my first look at YouTube’s influence on gaming last summer when I noticed my 11-year-old cousin was spending much of his vacation time at Yellowstone National Park watching YouTube videos… of other kids… playing video games.
I had a surreal moment while standing at the YouTube booth when I realized I was watching an entire horde of kids (sprinkled with those wearing “free hug” signs – what is up with that trend???) whose eyes were transfixed on giant screens where they watched other kids playing video games.
I’ve since learned there are professional video game players who pull in over a million dollars per year. For a good cry, check out this list of top earners.
For another good cry, check out this story from KING 5 News in Seattle about a guy named Bacon Donut (@bacondonutTV), working for a company called n3rdfusion who plays a game called Minecraft all day – FOR A LIVING!
And, here I thought Joey Chestnut had the best job in the world.
For a good laugh, check out this segment of Jimmy Kimmel being educated by kids on gaming.
Gaming trade delegations
Of the many halls at the event (I believe there were 10 total) one of the more interesting halls (due to interesting conversation) had trade delegations representing gaming regions, including: China, Britain, France, Iran, Croatia, Germany, Austria, Canada, South Korea, Italy, etc. I met people from Russia, Belarus, Latvia, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Switzerland and Japan. Oregon was not represented…
Interesting marketing campaigns
The organization representing Belgium were perhaps the most savvy marketers of their region. They combined information about their gaming industry while bribing people to linger using their other most popular export – beer (well, most popular after waffles, of course). It was hard to compete with free beer, and it might be a good idea to file away for future businesses representing the Pacific NW at trade shows, as Northwest IPA’s seem to have captured the imagination of the Euro pals I’d met.
One of my favorite marketing campaigns was for a game I’ve never played, nor ever even heard of – Fallout 4. The game is a violent post-apocalyptic romp around a world after a nuclear holocaust, but their logo is a smiling winking blonde-haired kid flashing a thumbs up hand sign. His little face was displayed on billboards all over the city of Cologne throughout the week I was there. At one Fallout booth fans could get their hair dyed yellow to mimic the cartoon kid. I saw many full-grown adult men have their head, beards and mustaches colored yellow – and they didn’t even seem to be embarrassed to walk around the town as such.
New avenues for revenue
While it was fun to see kids dressed in favorite costumes, it was equally fun exploring booths in the business hall. Supplemental supporting companies exist for every facet of production. For example, I met one man from China whose studio designed artwork for gaming companies.
An interesting challenge I learned of – the transfer of money isn’t as fluid in Europe as it is in the United States (as evidenced in the numerous businesses in Germany including restaurants and grocery stores that did not accept my Visa credit or debit cards).
Several European companies offer services to North American indie gaming companies who need help navigating European rules and regulations for commerce. These companies also find clients new revenue streams in different mediums (apps, websites, ads, etc) in each of the different European countries and on different online platforms.
As the week at gamescom wrapped up, I marveled at how fun it was getting a sneak peek into an industry with so much creative talent working together to create new and unique forms of entertainment – from the games on down to the booths that promote them.
I hope you enjoy the photos and videos!
Networking and education event helps budding entrepreneurs prepare to sustain successful businesses
The first-ever International Cannabis Business Conference rolled into the Oregon Convention Center for a networking and business event featuring leaders in the industry, including acclaimed blogger Andrew Sullivan and Congressman Earl Blumenauer, among many others. Review the full list here.
The educational conference offers a series of panels featuring lawyers, investors, activists, politicians and successful business people offering expert advice for those looking to enter this blossoming industry. With Oregon legalizing marijuana this fall, the Pacific Northwest will become by default the center of a new industry that has the potential to make many budding entrepreneurs into glorified business folk. In the first two months of legal sales, Washington has reported sales exceeding $12 million (Colorado by comparison had $10 million in its first 4 months).
Whether you’re for legalization or against, it’s hard to dispute that the new industry would create more economic opportunity for those working up and down the supply chain – from hardware stores, to bakers, to artisans to urban farmers – to marketing and public relations firms too.
For information on the next conference check out: International Cannabis Conference.
One of my favorite things about working at AM:PM PR is that we’re constantly meeting fresh, exciting and creative entrepreneurs who are willing to try off-the-wall tactics to get some well-deserved attention for their cool ideas. Unfortunately we can’t help every brilliant bootstrapped business-baron that marches through our chambers, but we can share some pointers about typical challenges we see facing these cash-conscious capitalists.
Below are four tips for entrepreneurs looking to get some guidance related to common public relations challenges. These are based on four common challenges we observe when businesspeople are trying to bootstrap their public relations efforts.
CHALLENGE: Lack of formal public relations training or experience
Some factors that negatively impact promotional efforts include: improper messaging, poor timing, and targeting the wrong audiences. It’s common to see businesspeople muddling their efforts with inconsistent language, improperly identified promotional goals, products pitched during the wrong time of the year, ignoring relevant lead times for the media, or targeting the wrong media to begin with. These are all obvious challenges for brains marinated in marketing-oriented mindsets, but for the un-anointed, these challenges are breeding grounds for time consuming trial-and-error.
Solution: Spend a little more time researching and thinking about who is most interested in your product and where you might reach them. Pick up a couple of books from the library that explain the basics of marketing and public relations and read them six-months before launching your product or campaign.
CHALLENGE: Lack of time
Running a business is time consuming, and the nuts and bolts of daily operations often get in the way of the nuts and bolts of your marketing and public relations efforts. It’s important to take time to regularly check in to see if your efforts are in keeping with your 5-year plan, your one-year plan and your goals for the month.
Solution: Find some time throughout the month to visit less-stressful pastures that allow you the freedom to ruminate on your approach. Research upcoming media opportunities related to holidays, anniversaries, celebrations or other relevant dates on the calendar; keeping in mind that media lead times differ between print publications, radio and digital media.
There’s nothing wrong with being confident, but sometimes overconfidence stands between identifying and achieving relevant goals, and obtaining the success you deserve. Think of marketing as you would accounting. Marketing should be planned for as a cost of doing business, just as accounting, production and payroll would be. Too often we see businesses with great ideas, but they can’t afford to tell people about them because they were overconfident in word of mouth. Remember the Harlem Shake? This article points out that you didn’t make the Harlem Shake go viral, corporations with marketing teams did.
Solution: Include marketing costs in any business plan or product idea. Whether you hire an in-house public relations professional or hire an outside team of professionals to guide your marketing and public relations efforts, a long term approach will ensure you have properly identified future opportunities. Developing a marketing plan also ensures consistency, budget efficiency and offers a roadmap for meeting objectives.
CHALLENGE: Keeping pace with communications trends
If you’re not constantly consuming media and keeping up with the latest trends, you’re missing out on opportunities. Imagine if Don Draper were parachuted into the 2013 media landscape – his ideas would be sexist and archaic (not to mention his daytime drinking habits would be a bit off-putting). During the past five years the media has experienced another sea-change and if you haven’t been paying attention it’s time to get with it, or reach out to someone who has.
Solution: Read the newspaper, magazines and industry-related blogs. If possible, find the equivalent of Don Draper’s grandson. Join us for Speakeasy and present your challenges to the group.
Conclusion: We hope these challenges/solutions are helpful. Feel free to post a comment if you have a specific question.
Other good resources:
American Express’s Open Forum
Entrepreneur.com’s Marketing Strategies & Ideas for Your Business
Last week I learned about a new social media platform called Medium and was given an exciting directive to explore their new website and report back to the rest of the team. I didn’t know much about Medium going in, other than it proclaims to be based on the belief that the sharing of ideas and experiences is what moves humanity forward. Sounds great!
Truth be told, after several days of exploration I’ve come to the conclusion that Medium is my kind of platform. It’s for the 1% of us that like to write opinionated quasi-intellectual notes on Facebook that unintentionally alienate half of your friends. The best part is that your parents, employers and colleagues haven’t discovered Medium yet, so it’s like Facebook circa 2006 when you could still get away pouring your heart out over the course of an evening (and a bottle of Chianti) with no repercussions.
Medium is currently in über beta start-up mode, but I thought it might be fun to poke and prod around their website with the proverbial stick. The following is what I’ve discovered.
Blogging Platform Reimagined
When I went to explore Medium, I did it from the perspective of their motto, ie, someone trying to move humanity forward, and I was immediately drawn to this post: Stop working (so hard).
But in all seriousness, from what I understand, Medium is trying to reimagine the concept of a blog by making it more socially interactive than current designs allow and by facilitating longer conversations and extraneous dialogue in the process.
It became immediately apparent that this platform is geared towards a certain type of person. You know the Facebook friend who posts cute kitty photos and gets all twisted whenever someone talks about politics, science or demonstrates critical thinking? Yeah, this site is not for them. Medium is more accurately for people who like to write, or those who like to critique what other people write.
In a typical blog format (Tumblr, Facebook, Blogger, WordPress) all of the comments on a given post are archived at the bottom of each post. With Medium, the comments are displayed to the right side of the post, which results in a more fluid interaction. When you comment on a given post you can highlight the exact word or phrase you want to comment on, and subsequent users can comment further. This feature makes for more functional interactions with a post, and I like it.
Check this out:
Do you remember how crazy Myspace got when people could add pink backgrounds and floating sparkles and snowflakes to their landing pages causing your Pentium III computer to freeze up? Do you hate it when you arrive at a blog with an orange background with white typeface? Medium has simplified the way people format their blogs by eliminating choice, essentially subtracting a lot of the functional ability and formatting options that you may be used to with other platforms. They also allow only a single headline image for each post. I think this works because it makes their blog system cleaner and easier to read.
Here is an example of what I mean:
- You can only add one image
- Your title is large and bold
- The body of your writing is in smaller font
That’s it. You cannot change the font, add italics, underline things, create orange backgrounds or add snowflakes to accentuate a wintry theme. This is blogging simplified.
In the following image you can see that Medium allows you to review posts, and collections of posts (demonstrated below).
You can customize your own collection of posts under the heading “Collections” or if you don’t want to go with the ones that they select for you, you can create your own, which could be a fun way to stimulate conversations about topics that are relevant to you personally. My favorite category is “Armchair Economics” because the topics flatter my unquenchable thirst for knowledge and/or ego.
Who should use Medium?
I’m answering this question wearing my PR professional hat as clients are often asking for the return on investment (ROI) on social media platforms. I haven’t done enough digging around to fully understand Medium’s policies, but if you have a business or a brand that relies on the dissemination of ideas and information to relevant communities, Medium may be a good platform to keep your eyes on.
I’m a little conservative when investing too much time in new platforms – I like to watch others jump in to see how they may be benefiting before I invest my most precious commodity, time. It is unclear to me if writing a blog-like post in Medium will create any less or any more SEO for your brand.
Medium challenges the notion that attention spans are getting shorter or that people require all information to come in 140 characters or less. Medium is embracing the idea that everyone can write long, drawn-out prose, and that there are people out there that want to read your meanderings.
Go ahead, check it out and explore for yourself. http://medium.com
You may have heard of micro processors, micro blogging and micro machines – but have you heard of micro video? Well if Twitter has its way, their acquisition of a new company called Vine will help them branch out to the next big thing … an app that allows you to share 6-second video clips.
I can hear your eyes rolling from my office. In fact, you may be asking, “Cam, why should I pay attention to yet another app?”
Debuting on January 24th, this product has already caused quite a stir in the social media world. In two weeks, online Vine users shared 113,897 videos on Twitter on over a single weekend. That’s over 2,000 videos every hour.
Major brands like Urban Outfitters, Lucky Magazine, GAP, Red Vines, Moose Tracks, Coke-a-Cola and Pepsi have already put up videos.
Brands are currently using this format to demonstrate how their products work, to hold contests and to share creative content that they hope will resonate and connect them with their target audience. Still skeptical? Check out three of my favorite videos, and perhaps I can change your mind.
Thirsty Thursday? vine.co/v/bnqj5qmnIwQ
— camrick (@camrick) March 14, 2013
Grape “Vine”? vine.co/v/bnzmw09l2hP
— camrick (@camrick) March 14, 2013
Remember when life gives you C6H8O7 make vine.co/v/b62gBUUX62D
— camrick (@camrick) March 14, 2013
4. BONUS – If you want to be endlessly entertained follow James Urbaniak
For more information:
Wired Magazine – “Why Vine’s Going to Grow Into Something Huge”
Entrepreneur Magazine – “The Pros and Cons of Using Video App ‘Vine’ for Marketing”
At AM:PM PR we begin each new client relationship with the hope it will lead to a long-term partnership. We believe the more we know about a prospective client’s business, the better we can understand the qualities that differentiate them from their competition, thus allowing us to do a better job helping to communicate each client’s unique story to targeted audiences.
During our information gathering process, we like to ask a lot of questions – a process that is beneficial to both parties. Answering the following questions provides potential clients an opportunity to think about the way they communicate about their business, product or service. If you’re ready to ask us how we may help you, copy and paste the following questions into the body of an email with your answers and email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you ponder your answers, are you learning anything new about your business, your brand, or your current need for marketing and PR assistance? Here are some branding, communications and public relations questions to ask yourself before working with a PR firm.
What short-term and long-term goals are you hoping to achieve with PR and marketing services?
Have you worked with a PR firm in the past? What was your experience?
What are you looking for from a PR firm?
What is your budget for PR/Marketing?
What is the PR assignment, as you see it? How will you define success?
What is your positioning statement? What sets your brand apart from the competition?
What is your brand personality/culture?
What are some examples of your messaging?
Have you tested your messaging?
What is the background of your business (your history, your story)?
Who are your target audiences? What is the demographic and psychographic profile of your key customers? What are your key insights into these audiences?
What media does your target audience consume?
How do they currently learn about your business/product?
What is your consumer promise?
Who is your competition?
Do you advertise? If so, where?
When was the last time you made improvements to your website?
Do you have a budget for improvements to your website?
Do you use and monitor your web analytics? Are you making adjustments based on your analytics reports?
What are the search terms that lead visitors to your site?
Are you blogging?
Please describe how you are engaged with social media? Which tools are you using and what do you share?
Are there any social media tools you refuse to use? If so, why?
Curious to learn more about our services? Please contact us to learn more by clicking here.