We recently finished creating a promotional video for the Denver, Colorado branch of Social Venture Partners. Executive Director Pat Landrum brought Lynx in to create video content for both their 2015 “Art of Philanthropy” event and for their website. Landrum was elated with the final videos, which combined content we had captured, brand graphics, and archival photos. Today I’m going to let you in on what went into creating this content, and how you can use our process to create your own promotional video – that WORKS!
Our pre-production planning for this promotional video began on a phone call with the client. We suggested a 2-camera, interview-style video production, capturing quality audio and video of soundbites straight from the decision-makers. We used notes from the phone meeting that captured the essence of their desired outcomes, and core elements of the brand message they wanted to convey.
We reverse-engineered the statements we wanted to capture by framing questions that the interviewees would answer as statements. These statements had in turn come from a hunger for capturing more than the dry facts – we wanted to tell the story of SVP Denver. Several revisions led us to a template we used for each interview subject.
We chose a non-studio location with minimal visual distractions (for both the subjects and producers), minimal audio intrusion, and ease of access for the subjects. The directors and board members of SVP are regularly dispersed around the metro area with varying schedules, so we ensured the shoot coincided with a board meeting, and set up shop in the same building – a fantastic shared workspace called the Posner Center.
We elected to use a 2-point light setup (although a 3-point setup would have been fine), a Nikon DSLR camera, and a Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera. I love the BMPCC when the light is ample, although low-light is questionable at best (I won’t review the whole unit here). It’s a versatile capture device, as the camera’s sensor really can provide a slightly de-saturated “cinematic” or “filmic” look, as well as today’s more prevalent “video” look to match the Nikon. We captured the audio with a simple lavalier microphone and Tascam DR-40 recorder.
The ideal role of any production team is to remain invisible. To do this, they must be aware of their visibility. Invisibility applies to:
- Camera movement (or lack thereof)
- Interviewer silence between subject statements
- Shot/set management
- Managing extraneous noise / interruptions
- Any other interchange that is visible or audible while shooting (shadow movement on wall, objects blocking any part of the shot)
We ensured minimal distraction, solid shot placement, and thoughtful pauses between testimonials to provide a more natural sounding flow in post-production.
The post-production process involved several steps. First, we gathered all of the requisite media. This included gathering and vectoring .eps and .png files of the logos, retrieving relevant promotional graphics from the headquarters of the international organization, compiling archival photography from the client, and combing the existing website for relevant copy and other images pertinent to the brand message.
With these assets on hand, the next step was to color-match the footage from the two cameras. Adobe Speedgrade and Davinci Resolve are both world-class color grading software options for this. The advantage of Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite allows for seamless integration between Adobe Premiere and Speedgrade, which save tremendously on speed and quality.
In parallel, the audio was processed with noise reduction, equalization, and mastering software. This maximized the quality of the speakers’ voices, while reducing unwanted elements that may have been captured (like rustling clothes and other errant noises).
We synchronized the improved audio to the original video clips, and started to tell the story of the organization through curating and sequencing the clips. We supplemented the testimonials from the five interviews with the graphics we had already gathered, and created a thematic multimedia showcase for and about the client. The process took several weeks, to ensure time for review and revision between drafts of the promotional video.
We use and recommend Google Apps for Work. I have used WeTransfer, YouSendIt, and Dropbox to send and share various clients in the past, and Google Apps (specifically Google Drive with our Enterprise subscription) totally transcends the other options for me. In fact, we run most of the company between Google Apps, Slack, and ZOHO CRM.
For this client, I was able to create a folder inside our Google Drive account to share the promotional video files exclusively with the Executive Director. The links, updates, and communications then lived exclusively inside our Google Apps for Work. Additionally, the client was empowered to share her completed files almost immediately with anyone of her choosing. In her excitement over the final product, she immediately began doing this with her affiliates as soon as she confirmed the project’s completion.
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Lynx | Digital Media Producers creates results-driven content and strategies to enhance your customer’s experience of your brand. Contact us today to see how we can increase the value of your brand through video.