Employee Video Profiles

Employee Video Profiles Title
Have you started thinking about using Employee Video Profiles?

What are Employee Video Profiles?

For many years now businesses and public sector organisations have understood the value of profiling their employees on their website. Giving customers the opportunity of “Meeting the team” has long been recognised as both a valuable marketing asset and a means of attracting new employees of the right calibre. In the main, these pen pictures have been just that – a brief written outline of the person, often written by someone else within the company, and sometimes accompanied by a photo. This is all well and good but these are not exactly engaging pieces of website content. This is why more and more organisations are turning to Employee Video Profiles – and for many good reasons.

Who benefits from Employee Video Profiles?

Employee Video Profiles deliver so much more than text versions – benefiting the organisation, their clients and their employees – both present and potential. They are relatively easy and cost effective pieces of video to create – albeit daunting and alien to those appearing on screen. However, the rewards for all those concerns far outweigh any challenges they present. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of Employee Video Profiles to each stakeholder, starting with the most important group – the Website Visitors.

Website visitors are far more receptive to messages and information shared through video these days rather than having to read through reams of text-heavy web pages. It would be easy to say that website visitors have become lazy, but the truth is that there’s so much content online these days that everyone is looking for the quickest and easiest way to gather information and form an opinion – and nothing comes close to video in achieving this.

The target audience for Employee Video Profiles is going to be wide and varied. There will be those who are simply trying to find the right person to speak to within the organisation – be they customers, suppliers, investors or those looking for employment. Whilst all website sections offer relevant information to various visitor types, a section marked up as “Meet the team” or “Our people” has relevance to everyone visiting the site. Even though we often transact in a faceless world these days, people do still buy from people – so any chance a visitor has of making a personal connection with those within the organisation is often grasped at. No matter what their enquiry is about, having a named person – with a real face and personality – makes the process that much easier.

The flip side of this is one of the benefits to the organisation. Employee Video Profiles should help them ease navigation for website visitors so they get to the right person first time and thereby reduce the strain on other resources in the business in dealing with misguided enquiries. Employee Video Profiles, if planned and executed correctly, should also give the organisation an opportunity to promote their business or objectives and company ethos through their employees. Bright, happy and welcoming employees will give the impression of a bright and welcoming organisation. In other words, nice people to do business with – nice people to work for – nice people to know!

For the employees themselves, gaining experience in front of camera is increasingly important and valuable. Whilst this might come easy to some people, if you’re working with an experienced video production company on your Employee Video Profiles this should also come with a certain level of media training. You should be given guidance on scripting, body language, backdrop design and performance. This training will not only help junior members of staff, but should also be valuable to everyone up to director level in helping them with their on-screen performance.

Employee Video Profiles Set
Greenscreen sets are compact and make your Employee Video Profiles look like they were shot… well, anywhere!

And of course, let’s not forget those who are looking for employment. Their objective is to assess whether your business or organisation is one that they should be working for. Nothing can compete with hearing from other happy, contented and personable people who already work for you. Well produced and delivered Employee Video Profiles are as good as personal recommendations from someone you know and are far more likely to appeal to precisely the type of person you are trying to attract to your organisation.

Distributing your Employee Video Profiles

Whilst the distribution platform of your Employee Video Profiles will primarily be your website, they also provide the opportunity to expand your social media content. Hosting your own YouTube channel is the obvious place to start. As part of the Google platform, YouTube content features highly on search returns and will augment your general Search Engine Optimisation efforts. But don’t stop there. Separately uploading your Employee Video Profiles to your company Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Vimeo accounts will also help the videos gain traction – as well as sharing them on Twitter and alike. You should also encourage participants to share their performances on their own social media accounts – again adding to the potential audience and helping to raise awareness of your brand and business.

The cost of producing Employee Video Profiles

As I mentioned towards the beginning of this article, Employee Video Profiles are relatively cheap and cost-effective to produce – if scripted and planned for properly. With the use of greenscreen backdrops, professional cameras, lighting and audio recording technology, these can easily be filmed at your premises with little interference to your operation. If the participants are well prepared and rehearsed, it could be possible to film more than ten profiles in a day with a single-man video crew. Post production should take a couple of days to make them perfect, giving you a unit cost of around £150 per employee at this volume level – and possibly less if you want to create more.

If you are thinking about producing Employee Video Profiles, please give us a call today 020 3602 3356.

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.

Filming an Awards Ceremony

Filming an Awards Ceremony Title
M&IT Awards – Filming an Awards Ceremony

Filming an Awards Ceremony

Earlier on this month we were filming an awards ceremony at Battersea Evolution in the heart of London’s beautiful Battersea Park. The M&IT Awards were organised by Meetings & Incentive Travel magazine and celebrated the very best of those from within the business meetings and travel industry – including airlines, hotels, conference centres and those providing specialist services to the industry – both in the UK and overseas.

The awards consist of 19 main categories, plus a special award celebrating the M&IT Personality of the Year. What makes these awards even more credible and extremely valuable to the participants is that they are voted on by the customers of the nominees and independently verified.

Filming an awards ceremony can come in various guises, but in this instance our brief was to produce a short video diary which captured the essence and excitement of the event. Whilst serving as a memento for the organisers and participants, the main purpose for the film is to show potential sponsors just how glamorous and spectacular the evening is, highlight the profile of the entrants and help convince new sponsors that it’s an event which they should associate their brand with. Whilst they are never short of organisations wishing to enter the awards, the film should also demonstrate the value of winning an award and ultimately help them to continue to attract the very best entrants within the industry.

In addition to the main video diary, we also filmed short interviews with the winners of each of the main categories as they came off the stage. These interviews were editing together with the winner’s stage presentation and packaged as standalone films which the winners could purchase from M&IT to use as publicity tools and further promote their success in the awards.

The Challenges in Filming an Awards Ceremony

With nearly 1,300 attendees at the event, and various entertainment features taking place throughout the evening, the main challenge was in ensuring we obtained adequate coverage in order to tell the story and show the event off in the best light. During the reception period and up until the first presentations we were running three DSLR cameras. Light levels were very low during the drinks reception so DLSRs were the obvious choice.

Three shots from a single camera position
Three shots from a single camera position

During the main presentation we had one camera position front of stage operated by Dilip Patel – from which he was recording on three separate cameras. The main camera was our JVC GY-HM650 which was used as the main follow-action camera for the stage presentations. The second was a Canon 5DMkII capturing a stage wide shot. The third camera was a JVC Action camera looking back at the audience to capture reaction shots and red carpet walk-ups.

The JVC was recording ambient sound from its internal microphone plus a front-of-house mix from the staging company’s mixing desk back stage – fed to the camera via our Sony UWP-D11 radio mic system. The AV company was running several radio mics on stage so during set-up we worked with them to set our system to a frequency which wouldn’t interfere with them and gave us perfect sound – even though we were transmitting through the stage to our camera position which was about 50 meters away.

Back stage we had a black drape studio set up which the winners were directed to once they’d been presented on stage. The main camera here was another Canon 5DMkII with a Canon 550D used to capture a “dirty-two” of the set just in case I needed a cutaway at the editing stage (it turned out to be a godsend!). Live sound here was recorded using a boom directional mic connected to our Tascam DR-60 recorder which fed back into the 5D for synchronised sound. A safety back-up was also recorded on the Tascam in dual mode giving us an additional two levels of recording just in case there was any peaks in the main mix.

The back-stage set
The back-stage set

The costs and benefits of Filming an Awards Ceremony

There’s no standard rate card for filming an awards ceremony because each commission will vary according to our clients requirements and the resources needed to achieve it. However, for a simple one-camera shoot this could be as little as £1,000 for a single-camera 1-day shoot and 1-day edit. Whilst this is feasible, more extensive coverage from multiple cameras will give you a much more comprehensive result and is more likely to represent the event more accurately.

Capturing the celebrations backstage
Capturing the celebrations backstage

The benefits are manifold, but the main reason companies choose to invest in having the event filmed is to use it to promote future events and attract sponsorships and entrants. Whilst still photographs are great for organisers and winners alike, recording the event on film is far more engaging and useful.

If you are thinking about filming an awards ceremony, and would like to talk through the various levels of service we can provide, please give us a call on 020 3602 3356.

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

A guide to Conference Video

Conference Video Title
A quick guide to the benefits of commissioning a conference video

Thinking about a conference video?

With conference season about to kick off in earnest there will be many organisers still pondering on the thought of recording the event on video. I mean, it’s a whole lot of hassle isn’t it? Well no it isn’t actually. Producing a conference video can be the simplest of things to do and comes with range of benefits for the organisers, the speakers and the delegates – not to mention those people who were not able to attend!

A conference video can be anything from a single-camera production with basic intro/outro graphics and then shared online either publicly or privately to a selected audience – right through to a multi-camera extravaganza, with live external feeds to stage, post-event interviews with keynote speakers and so on, and so on. If your event is only weeks away your ambitions are probably going to be quite modest, but to let the opportunity of capturing something of the event slip by might be regretted. Reject having a conference video at your haste – repent at your leisure!

The benefits of commissioning a conference video

OK, at a very basic level, video is a great way to record an event for archiving or keeping a record of what has been said. It might not ever be used in any other way, but even at this level there’s great value in recording on video what we do. They are historic documents and could at some stage in the future be extremely valuable in illustrating a period in time or development of your business.

However, the real value to all concerned is to look to create a video record to be shared and used – and possibly create additional revenue for the organisers. You’ve probably invested considerable time and resources into the venue, speakers and general event management so you’ll certainly want to explore every possible revenue stream in order to make the event more profitable. Post-event conference video sales to attendees and non-attendees can be a very lucrative thing to offer. Password-protected and secure online video delivery is reasonably straight forward these days – or you could simply revert to DVD release to add more value.

Filming a Team Building Event lighting
The stage is set for another conference video

Producing a conference video might also help you to attract sponsors – certainly if their brand is going to be exposed to a broader online community. A properly indexed and tagged video hosted on YouTube or Vimeo will get to the right audience and, at the same time, help with your own search engine optimisation and online presence. You might find that a sponsor covers all the costs of production and distribution and the content is provided freely to anyone who wants to see it.

If your next event is just one of many then you’ll no doubt understand how useful a promotional video can be in selling your next event, and it doesn’t take much planning and imagination for a good video production company to have this in mind whilst shooting for a standard long-form conference video. Over time, with a number of events recorded, you could have a promotional video which reflects your history and expertise more accurately – updated periodically to keep it fresh and relevant.

For little more investment you could also consider transmitting your conference live (almost) over the internet as a webcast. In it’s most basic form there are ways to do this freely, but there’s all manner of webcasting tools available to you today to make the whole experience more interactive and audience-focussed. For instance, you could allow online delegates to post questions to speakers or panel members and engage “live”.

Conference video costs

There’s no logical way to menu-price a conference video service, but at the very basic end of the scale you could get your event professionally recorded for a few hundred pounds. In addition, tidying up the output and putting it into an online-ready format for distribution might only take a day to do – and perhaps just a little more investment post production could result in really useful promotional tool for your future events or purely to share with those involved.

If your ambitions are beyond the basic level then it’s going to take a little more effort in preparing a detailed proposal – which should also give you some further ideas on how you can start to benefit from commissioning a conference video. Either way, please contact us today if we’ve raised your interest enough to commission a conference video. Please call 020 3602 3356.

Note: Here’s a selection of case studies based on conference video and event coverage …

Case Study 1
Case Study 2
Case Study 3
Case Study 4