That’s A Wrap! Now What?

mlp-countdown2Note: This is the second installment of our two part video production tips post. Read part one in Lights, Camera, Action, Oh My? 

So, you’ve finished your big video shoot and now you have an assemblage of footage that could benefit from editing. It’s important to understand that video editing is not just about trimming the footage; it’s also about creating flow and emotion, as well as making it entertaining. Editing a video that has good flow and some catchy music will make all that time you took shooting the video worth it. But first you’ll need to choose a video editor.

Video editors like Adobe Premier and Final Cut Pro are largely regarded as the most comprehensive video editing applications, but they are costly tools for beginners to learn on. Luckily there a number of free options available to everyone.

Mac users shouldn’t need to be reminded of iMovie, Apple’s movie editing software that is included on all new Macs. And Windows users can download Windows Live Movie Maker. Even YouTube has it’s own Video Editor. These tools all have pretty intuitive interfaces that allow you to easily trim video segments and drag-and-drop video segments along a timeline. They also provide the ability to add music tracks, text overlays and other simple effects.

Now that you have a video editor, here are some tips to help you polish your video into engaging content that everyone will want to watch:

  • Create a “rough cut.” Review all your footage and trim into usable segments, then organize chronologically.
  • Tell your story. Think about what you are trying to convey to the viewer and organize your segments to enhance that feeling. Don’t be afraid to try different things and to cut footage that just doesn’t fit.
  • Don’t make too many cuts. Try to use shots around 5 seconds each, this is roughly the time it take for the human eye to digest the picture. Any less time between cuts and your video may appear “strobe” like and this could make the viewer feel anxious. Longer shots could bore your viewer if there isn’t a good mix of interesting images and movement.
  • Add effects. Adding transitions and overlays can bump up the cool factor, but try not to overdo it. Use overlays to give viewers context and reminders, but only use them for the first 3-5 seconds of a clip. Adding transitions can enhance the beauty or feeling of your video, but keep it simple with cross-fades and forego the checkerboard wipes and twirling effects. Try different things, play it back a few times, and decide what effects are most appropriate for your audience.
  • Add intros and outros. Not only does adding title slides or credits make your video look professional, it’s a good way to set up the point of your video for viewers – and to spell out what you would like viewers to do after watching the video.
  • Use basic fonts. It is a much safer bet to stick with proven fonts like Times, Arial, Tahoma, Garamond, Helvetica, etc. Reason being, they are easier to read when watching a small video on a mobile device. This may sound contrary to flexing your creative side, but using decorative fonts can actually make your video look amateur rather than creative.
  • Add a music track. Adding an underlying music track can bring a completely different message to your viewer. Try different types of music to see how it impacts the mood of your video. Music tracks can also camouflage unintentional background noise in your footage. Before making your music selections, it would be wise to familiarize yourself with Creative Commons and Public Domain Music and Royalty Free Music.

Have some basic video editing tips of your own? We would love to hear them in the comments below.

Lights, camera, action, oh my?

clapper with handsJust as personal computers and the Internet have sparked the writer and publisher in everyone; camera enabled devices and social media are now making videographers and producers of us all. Video has not only become a part of everyone’s social life, it’s become a necessary skill in the public relations and marketing world.

Shooting and editing video has never been more accessible. Whether you use a laptop, tablet, phone, helmet, or glasses you have a video camera at the ready. With a little luck, you can capture the fun, happy, mundane or big moments in your life with ease. Where do you start when you need to shoot video in a professional capacity? A shaky camera and bad lighting may fly in coach, but a poorly shot video will lose its charm in business class.

Here are some simple tips to consider for your next video shoot:

  • Use a tripod if/whenever possible.
  • Position your subject (or yourself) a little to the left or right of center and leave a little headroom at the top of the frame.
  • For online video, avoid pans (horizontal movement of the camera) and zooms (focusing in or out using the zoom feature on the camera).
  • Don’t shoot your subject in front of a window or with the sun behind them, the best light source comes from behind the camera. If you happen to have a lighting kit – or even a few floor lamps – check out Media College’s illustrated guide to Three Point Lighting Technique.
  • Use the viewfinder on the camera to watch the interview at the same time that you look over the camera and make eye contact with the subject. This puts the subject at ease, gives him/her someone to look at and also makes the interview more natural-sounding.
  • If your subject will be looking off camera for cues, it will work best if you sit next to the camera and have your subject focus their attention towards you, not the camera, and you provide cues. This also helps put the subject as ease and makes the interview feel more natural overall.
  • Don’t make any sound at all when your subject is talking. Flipping pages, coughing, moving in chair, etc. can all get picked up by the camera’s microphone and will surely sound undesirable to viewers.
  • If your subject stumbles in their response, instruct them to relax, gather their thoughts and respond again. Make sure they do not feel rushed.
  • If your subject is willing, consider shooting multiple takes. When editing footage, it is always helpful to have multiple takes to choose from. If nothing else this offers your subject the opportunity to run through the process and to feel more at ease in subsequent takes.

Circle back after the shoot for Part 2, where I’ll discuss choosing a video editor and provide some helpful editing tips.

Have some helpful tips of your own? Please leave a comment below.

Digital PRoductions – Client Work Highlights

Some folks don’t realize that our agency has long gone beyond traditional PR and offers digital production (in addition to social marketing and training services) that drives our clients’ content and community initiatives – providing creative services from graphic and web design to online video production to integrated community and user-engagement campaigns for all social media platforms. We’re pleased to share some recent examples of digital production work for clients, as part of a new series showcasing our expertise in this area. This month’s focus is on work for enterprise software client, Aternity. Please let us know what you think!

Monitoring BYOD Infographic for Aternity (client)

Infographic by PerkettPR showing new challenges IT organizations face as they widely adopt BYOD policies and allow employees to bring personally-owned devices to the workplace for use and connectivity on corporate networks.


Click image to see full infographic

Facebook Timeline Cover for Aternity (client)

A custom Facebook Cover Photo created by PerkettPR for Aternity Inc., the industry leader in end user experience management solutions for Global 1000 enterprises.

Aternity Product Demo – Mobile FPI (client)

Video production of an 8-minute demonstration of how Aternity’s breakthrough new technology unplugs end user experience management – by going mobile.

Persuasive Picks for the week of 06/07/09

Facebook

Coming Soon (tonight!): Facebook Usernames Coming soon really means coming this weekend. Prepare for the mad dash as like-named people around the world vie for their own Facebook “vanity URLs.”

10 steps to stop identity hijackers
Theft of brand identity on social networks is nothing new. There have been numerous accounts of it on Facebook and Twitter alone. In this post on Ragan.com, David Berkowitz shares 10 steps you can take that will help reduce the chance it might happen to your company’s brand(s).

Twitter to roll out ‘Verified Accounts’ this summer
Twitter will be rolling out a new identity verification process to help combat the aforementioned brand hijacking. This post from Leslie Katz, senior editor of CNET’s Crave, gives the lowdown.

Content Marketing Strategy with a Side of Social
As a PR agency that’s been entrenched in social media over the last few years – from training, to messaging and strategy, to digital content production and other tactics – we constantly refer back to the “basics” of how it all fits into our clients’ (and our) overall online marketing strategy. This post on TopRank’s Online Marketing blog falls nicely into that level of thinking.

Five Levels Of Social Media Responses
Continuing on the theme of social media basics, Dave Fleet shares “five levels of approach to online listening and responding” to help gauge how effective you are at true and active online engagement.