Tag Archives: Video Production

Creative Video Production for business

Video Artisan has been providing video production services since 1985.  We provide a vast array of business-video services throughout the UK and overseas. Creating great Video Production content is at our heart!

Furthermore, we aim to create video content which really works for our clients.  Regardless of whether you are looking to generate sales or promote your brand – we can help you do it with video!  Please have a look through our showreel section to see examples and case studies for previous clients.

Video Production Base

Video Artisan is located in Loughton, Essex – right on the edge of Epping Forest.  This is perfect for servicing London and its surrounding counties.  We are also on the tube – with Loughton’s Central Line station – and the M25 hooks us up with the motorway network. Stansted Airport is just 30-minutes away.

In addition to full production services, we provide a range of freelance services.  We often work with client producers, agencies and other media production companies. Our range of video kit is broad and inclusive in our rate card.

Video Tutorials – the benefits

video tutorials title
Why should you consider commissioning video tutorials?

This week we’ve launched the first of a series of video tutorials for AKM Music – the UK’s leading producer of royalty free music for use within video and multimedia productions. These short video tutorials give guidance to newbie video producers and videographers looking to make the most of AKM Music’s vast library of royalty free music (AKA copyright-free music). The aim is to release one of these video tutorials each month, covering the technical and creative aspects of auditioning, editing and mastering the music score for video productions.

The subject is very close to home for us being regular users of AKM Music’s excellent repertoire. We also regularly review new albums for them for this blog and other print publications, so I guess producing the video tutorials was a natural progression for us.

The benefits of video tutorials

Producing video tutorials benefits all the stakeholders. The consumer benefits because video is simply the best medium in which to absorb and understand the processes being explained. Printed instructions and websites are fine, but nothing comes close to watching someone demonstrate a process on screen. Viewers can pause and repeat video tutorials as many times as they like, leaving very little to misinterpretation. Video can also be delivered easily over the internet to any viewing device – be that mobile, tablet, PC or large screen displays – and downloaded locally for playback and reference at a later date.

The commissioning company can also benefit hugely from producing video tutorials. They help build customer loyalty by adding to the customer experience of buying their product or service. Apart from educating end users and customers, video tutorials also help those within an organisation understand the products better and, probably more importantly, the customers who are buying them.

But, above all, populating your website with relevant and valuable video tutorials will help with your search engine optimisation and engage your website visitors more effectively. The longer someone spends on your website the more likely they are to identify with your brand, trust your advice and buy from you. Video tutorials are also perfect material to share via your social media channels and, if your audience sees the value too, they’ll also happily share them with others with the same interests.

If you have a product or service that could benefit from having video tutorials produced about their construction, use or maintenance – please get in touch and we can talk you through the process, costs and then develop an implementation plan to help you start benefiting from them too. Call 020 3602 3356.

Note: Type in ‘copyright-free music’ into the search box at the head of this website to see a range of reviews we’ve published on AKM Music albums.

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Customer Reference Video made easy

Customer Reference Video - Title
Something your customers can believe in

Nothing sells products and services as well as a recommendation from a previous happy customer. You only have to look at all the online tools used by retailers and traders to capture customer experiences – such as Trustpilot, Feefo, Bizrate and TrustedCompany to name but a few. And who would book a holiday these days without having a quick look at TripAdvisor? Potential customers gain a great deal of confidence in knowing others have bought from you first and had a fantastic experience.

However, all these solutions lack something – putting a ‘real’ face to the name. Commissioning a Customer Reference Video does this and a whole lot more.

Building trust with a Customer Reference Video

They say that the camera never lies – and this is true. Unless you’re watching an Oscar-winning performance from a seasoned actor then it is very hard to mislead an audience. People know how to read each other through body language (including facial expression, eye contact and gesturing) – all of which is lost within written online customer referral systems. With a Customer Reference Video you have all these tools available – enabling you to achieve a far higher level of trust from your audience in what is being said.

The most common format for a Customer Reference Video is what is called a ‘talking-head interview’. This consists of an interviewee (customer) and an off-screen interviewer. The line of action is between these two characters – and whilst the interviewee does not respond directly down the lens, the audience is still able to read their body language.

Filming customer references for BT
A typical Customer Reference Video talking-head shot

Finding suitable subjects for your Customer Reference Video

Any successful business shouldn’t have a problem in finding satisfied customers – but are they really going to be happy about saying how they feel on camera? The quick answer is… not all of them, but there will be some who would be. This could be that they just like the thought of appearing on TV, but there will also be some who stand to benefit from sharing their story. This is especially true if you trade B2B (business-to-business) as your interviewee will be gaining exposure for their own business within the interview. In fact, once produced you should be actively encouraging them to share the video.

Whilst every customer’s experience is important, there may also be the opportunity to record a Customer Reference Video with a figurehead or known personality within your sphere of interest. For instance, this could be someone known as the leading authority on the subject; or a widely celebrated artist; or an accomplished sportsman – or anyone who your audience would consider to bring additional value with their endorsement of your product or service.

Shooting and editing your Customer Reference Video

First of all it is important to know exactly what you want your customers to say and then develop a range of questions that will draw this from them in a sincere and enthusiastic way. Once you know these questions you should share them with your interviewee so they can plan their response. This doesn’t mean you can’t spring additional questions on them during the interview, but allowing them to think about their response will result in a more believable Customer Reference Video.

You should also get your interviewee to sign a release form. This is basically an agreement from them which will enable you to use the video, preferably in perpetuity, for a given purpose. These do not have to consist of lengthy legal jargon, but they do have to fairly describe what the agreement between you is. Without signed release forms, or at the very least getting them to say on-camera what they agree to, could result in you not being able to use their very valuable endorsement. (A good video production company will have a variety of suitable release form templates for you to adapt and use)

Creating the right atmosphere at the filming stage is also very important. A relaxed interviewee will give you a far more natural performance which will generate a much higher level of trust in the audience. Shooting these interviews professionally will mean the interviewee coming to terms with the glare of lights, cameras and microphones – but these are soon forgotten about once the interviewer engages with them and develops the rapport. You’ll also need to shoot some cutaway shots too – see below.

By the end of filming your interview you will probably have a lot more content than you’ll need – almost certainly far too much to be useful to release as a Customer Reference Video. At the editing stage you have the opportunity to pick out just the best bits and a skilful editor will be able to craft these into a seamless narrative. If you’ve prepared and phrased your questions correctly the story will be in there and the trick is to tell it as concisely as possible. This often means very tight cutting and pasting of passages within a reply and reordering – but never changing the meaning of the interviewee or quoting them out of context.

It can be very helpful to transcribe the whole interview and carry out what is referred to as a ‘Paper Edit’. This will allow you to set out the perfect reply in the shortest possible number of words, and then take this with you into the edit suite. This might result in many cuts in the interviewee’s response which looks very unnatural. The editor’s trick here is to cover these edits with cutaways (sometimes referred to as ‘B-Roll’ footage) of relevant images – leaving the audio from the interview in place. For instance, if the interviewee is talking about the product at that time you could show images of them using it, or unpacking it or simply just the product itself. If they are talking about their business – then maybe just a few shots of the building. This is why it is always better to shoot your interview first as you will then know what cutaway images will be needed to complete the edit.

Filming in the call centre at High Street TV
A typical location cutaway shot

The cost of producing a Customer Reference Video

Unlike other areas of video production, pricing a Customer Reference Video is relatively easy once we know locations, likely shooting durations and complexity of the edit. You could simply just refer to our Freelance Detail Sheet to work out what our costs would be. With good logistical planning and a concise set of questions you could easily shoot ten or more customer interviews in the same day. With a good paper edit to work to the editing time is greatly reduced – sometimes giving you as much as 1:2 shoot/edit ratio (1-day filming to every 2-days editing).

Hopefully now you’ll fully appreciate the value of creating a Customer Reference Video. You could of course create these in-house but, to achieve a more professional looking film that your audience will find more believable and sincere, you might find it more profitable to engage a professional video production company. If so, Video Artisan is just a telephone call away – 020 3602 3356.

Notes: If you like to see how a Customer Reference Video works, please click on the links below to view a few of the short films we’ve produced for British Telecom.

BT – Workstyle Managed Service

BT – High Street TV and Avaya IP Office

BT – N3 Mobile Health Worker

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The benefits of Video Sponsorship

Video Sponsorship title
Making your brand seen where it needs to be

Considering video sponsorship?

Are there events or other media-worthy subjects associated with your business that could be captured on video which your customers would be hungry to see? If there are, then video sponsorship might just be the perfect opportunity for you to get your brand in front of exactly the right audience.

The opportunities for video sponsorship are manifold – and the general public’s appetite for more and more online video content is ever increasing. Regardless of their interests (be that in a sport, activity, location, profession, art or craft or a regular calendar event), the chances are there will be a video on YouTube about it. However, very few of these videos are professionally produced and sponsored or commissioned by a business.

The benefits of video sponsorship

Producing the right kind of content will attract the right kind of audience, and through proper indexing, tagging and social media syndication these audiences can often be extremely large. Searching YouTube under any given subject (and listing the results by ‘most viewed’) will show you that even the most obscure of subjects can attract many tens of thousands of views. Now imagine that each of those viewers had been exposed to your brand.

Always hungry for video content, viewers will develop a stronger affinity to your brand and a greater understanding of what your business can offer them. In addition, sharing your sponsored video with your existing client base will help nurture customer loyalty and, at the same time, give you additional video content on your website to augment your video SEO activities and raise your search engine profile.

Ideas for video sponsorship

You’ve probably got a good idea what type of content would be good to hang your brand on, but here are some specific areas of video sponsorship which might be right for you…

Sharing Information and Specialist Knowledge
Films or documentaries which impart specialist or valuable knowledge present a great opportunity for video sponsorship and will help you present your brand in a positive way. Teaching the viewer how to do something better, more economically, more safely or by alternative means will naturally achieve traction if shared and syndicated through the right channels.

Specialist Knowlege
Winning customers by sharing specialist knowledge

Video sponsorship for local business
If your business is location-based, and you are trying to build a greater awareness amongst customers within that area, then the opportunities are probably endless… Documentaries about local festivals, tourist attractions, amenities, history… in fact any subject matter which is going to be of interest to the local community. Video sponsorship of this kind of content will certainly help put you on the map and demonstrate a commitment to serving the local population.

Sports and Competitive event video sponsorship
If you produce products or services that have a connection to competitive events then video sponsorship is a great way to raise your profile. This could be a sports event, an art or craft awards scheme – or any other event which had a competitive element. With competitive events you have the added bonus that your brand will be associated with success, especially if there’s an opportunity to include participant endorsements.

Winning line-up
Put yourself amongst the winners with video sponsorship

The cost of video sponsorship

Whilst video is seen as an expensive medium the costs are quite comparative to other mainstream media platforms. The secret is to keep production costs in-line with the potential returns you’ll gain from greater brand awareness. The simplest ideas are usually the best and, thankfully, often the cheapest. Whilst each commission will need to be assessed and priced independently, Video Artisan has produced sponsored event documentaries from as little as £1,500 – but we could equally envisage working on projects with a much lower video production budget.

If you have a video sponsorship idea that you’d like to develop, please give us a call to explore how we could help make it a reality – 020 3602 3356.

Further information:  Click here to see how we helped Supadance to get noticed in the world of ballroom dance.

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The benefits of commissioning an instructional video

Show and Tell
An instructional video – the next best thing to personal tuition

Educating the masses with an instructional video

Never underestimate how complex a simple process can appear to be to someone who is unfamiliar with it. And never underestimate the power of video for enabling the “unfamiliar” to understand even the most complex of procedures. Video, with its pause, repeat, rewind and play ability makes it ideal for demonstrating operating, construction and basic care/maintenance procedures. Regardless of whether it’s highly complicated or ridiculously simple, from the construction of flat-pack furniture through to computer program control – instructional videos can hold the viewer’s hand through the process at their own pace.

Every manufacturing and service industry spends considerable sums each year on supporting their customers with materials that are designed to help them use their products or processes more efficiently. However, many businesses choose the cheapest possible way to impart this knowledge by use of printed or online instructions. Whilst this might be cheaper in the short term, the long term costs of dealing with customers who have been unable to understand these instructions, or followed them incorrectly, is unknown but likely to be well in excess of the monies saved initially.

Written and diagrammatic instructions still have their place, but in nearly every instance having someone show you how it’s done is much easier to understand and follow. You only have to look on YouTube to see how many films are based on filling in the gaps which manufacturers left out of their instruction manuals. These films are often produced by users who found the process challenging – which isn’t exactly great publicity.

Eye-bolts going in at the Hilton
“What I see I understand”

Producing an instructional video needn’t be expensive but has to be properly thought through and looked at from the perspective of the user. This isn’t always that easy to do from within the manufacturing or service supply business as they will be uniquely familiar with the process and unable to recognise where the challenges arise. This is why it is often advantageous to commission an outside video production company to develop the script and programme structure.

The benefits of producing an instructional video

The benefits of an instructional video to the user are plain to see, but the benefits to the manufacturer or service company go way beyond the cost savings on after-sales support. Here’s just some of the benefits that come to mind instantly…

  1. Providing an effective instructional video will help build a much higher level of brand loyalty amongst customers
  2. A better informed user base will result in fewer returns or damaged good due to misuse or bad construction – resulting in greater profitability
  3. Openly publishing your instructional video on the likes of YouTube or Vimeo can also drive sales amongst potential customers who’ll gain confidence in the product or service pre-purchase
  4. On a more subtle level, the process of developing the instructional video might also highlight areas where the product or service could be improved
  5. A properly indexed, tagged and well produced video hosted on the likes of YouTube can only increase your search engine visibility
  6. Videos are easy to make multilingual – by dubbing or subtitling

The cost of producing an instructional video need not be that high and could in fact be very comparable to producing printed material – with the benefit of easy adaptation and ways to re-purpose video from one instructional video to another.

If you’d like to explore the process and costs of producing instructional videos within your business, please give us a call on 020 3602 3356.

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Vlog and Vlogging – what is it all about?

Vlog title
How to use a vlog and vlogging within your business

What is a Vlog

A ‘Vlog’, sometimes referred to as a video blog or video log, is simply a blog but in the form of video or web TV content – or indeed a video element within a normal regular text blog or website article.  I personally hate the name, but the value of vlogging within marketing, and its ability to develop a strong website following, is well documented and accepted.  People love watching video content as it’s the simplest and quickest way to gather information and discover the identity and culture of the vlogger and their business.

Whilst you can host your vlogs on any suitable server, most vloggers use the likes of YouTube or Vimeo as it is very easy to add tags and metadata to enable your content to be indexed and found within search engines. Once you start building a body of vlog content you can also group all your content within your own YouTube or Vimeo channel – giving viewers the chance to see your entire vlog library and share it with others who share similar interests.  Further syndication is made possible through channel subscriptions so that your audience can choose to be notified of new content as and when you post it – which in turn anyone can then share through their own social media platforms.

So what can you Vlog about?

The subjects and motivations for vlogs are virtually endless and can be seen as a way to diary your thoughts and feelings and to share news about your business that you think your audience will find of interest – and content that hopefully they find interesting or entertaining enough to share with others.  For this reason the most popular vloggers are those who use humour, share specialist, valuable knowledge or a strong viewpoint on topical matters.  This might sound like a challenging proposition, but if you can’t say something of value or interest about your business or products then no one else is going to be able to.

Here’s just 10 ideas which flew into my mind, but the list is actually endless…

  1. A great customer experience story
  2. A new product launch
  3. An anniversary of the business
  4. A new office being opened
  5. A new member of staff joining
  6. A long-term member of staff retiring
  7. Results of a customer survey
  8. A version update on a piece of technology
  9. Comment on a new piece of legislation which affects your customers
  10. A report on your attendance at an exhibition

To aid and encourage syndication always try to include third parties within the message in the hope that they will want to share your content too.  Each of the above suggestions have the potential to include others…

  1. The customers themselves
  2. The manufacturer, distributor or reseller of the product
  3. The founders of the business or the town where it was founded
  4. The estate agency who rented/sold the property to you
  5. The employment agency who found the employee
  6. The family members of the retiring person
  7. The survey software that was used
  8. The software manufacturers or supporting hardware
  9. The politicians involved in the legislation
  10. The exhibition organisers   

The frequency of your vlogs will be determined by the stories you have to tell.  Some vloggers will be adding content almost hourly, whilst others will add just a handful of vlogs each year.  As with all video content, the secret is to keep your vlogs short and sweet.  Viewer’s attention span has become shorter and shorter, which is why video aps like Vine have become popular in recent years.  Vine has a maximum video duration of 6-seconds which might seem impossibly short for a vlogging platform but many users prefer this time restraint as it keeps your mind focused on the message.  The other benefit of the 6-second limit is that the viewer will know they don’t have to invest much time in absorbing your content and are more likely to share – especially if it has entertainment value.

Vlog skills  

One of the key qualities or skills that you’ll need is to develop your own on-screen presence.  Whilst a vlog doesn’t have to be made up of someone presenting to camera, your viewing audience will want to develop a rapport or relationship with the person creating the vlog.  Some will find this easy and it will come naturally – but for those who would struggle with this it’s probably best that you gain some professional on-screen training.  The video camera is quite revealing, and engaging with your audience through it will require practice.

Presenting a video review
Developing your vlog presentation skills 

Finally, the technology used to create a vlog is generally very basic.  A great deal of vlog content is created using a mobile phone and very basic video editing software – which is all totally acceptable if you are trying to create a video diary kind of look and feel to your content.  However, if you are trying to create a very professional image or augment an already polished premium brand, then your vlog content will need to reflect this with high production values and slick presentation skills.  This might be beyond what you can achieve in-house.

If you would like to talk through your vlogging ambitions in more detail, please feel free to contact us for more details – 020 3602 3356.

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