Office Space Available

Video Production OfficeWe have several offices available for sublease here at Serendipitous Films.  One is a large corner office measuring 17ft8in X 17ft9in.  Another is a small office that is 14ft6in X 8ft3in.  We also have a reception area, common areas such as kitchen, etc.

Our offices are located in Haltom City, a suburb of Fort Worth, on the Dallas side.  We are in the Studios121 building on Airport Freeway.  The synergy here is great, with 3 stages and other creative businesses in the building.

At Serendipitous Films, we produce corporate videos and communications, commercials and feature films.  If you think you might be interested, give us a call and let’s chat.

Editing the Corporate Interview Video

corporate videoCorporate Video Documentary Style

One common style of corporate video is the “documentary-style” approach– the story told through interviews.  This can be in conjunction with a voice over narrator, but more commonly, told entirely through interviews.  It’s called “documentary-style” due to most docs relying heavily on interviews.

Production

The quantity of interviews can vary– a good number is a minimum of three (though there are times the one person video works, especially in a short video, or web video that’s around 60 seconds or so).  We’ve had projects where we’ve shot as many as 30 people for one video.  Because Dallas Fort Worth is home to many large corporations, we see many videos shot in this style in the metroplex.

Post Production

The way we approach the Doc Style video at SFilms is to create one timeline of “selects.”  We go through each interview, pulling good soundbites, and placing them on the timeline.  For large projects, we might create a second sequence where we pare down the selects even more.  For the corporate video which had over 30 interviews, we had three different timelines– the first one was an hour and a half of “selects.”

In many ways, this approach is like sculpting– it’s taking a block of marble and roughing out the statue.  Then roughing out more.  Then fine tune chiseling.  Until the image is perfected.  The same with the story in the documentary-style corporate video.

B-Roll

A very important element for the doc style corporate video is to have strong visuals to accompany what the interview is talking about.  It’s difficult for a viewer to watch a “talking head” for a long amount of time.  It’s human nature for the eye to “look around” even when talking to someone in real life.  So you don’t want to lose your viewer because your image stays the same for more than 20 seconds.

One way to change this is to lay B-Roll down.  These are images supporting what the person is talking about.  Another way is to shoot the interview with two or more cameras and change the angle.  We often use a combination of both.

Talking head videos do not have to be boring and unengaging– often they can be a strong method for getting your story out to your audience.  Done right, it can grab and captivate your viewers.

How Long is a Corporate Video?

It’s a Matter of Length

One of the most common questions we get asked by our clients is how long their video should be.  In some ways, it’s akin to asking how long is a piece of string.  Well, it all depends.  Let’s look at some of the variables.

Variables for Your Corporate Video

MattFirmStateFairWho is your audience?  Is it an older crowd that grew up on 1960’s and 70’s television and movies?  Or is it a much younger crowd who has grown up on YouTube?  That younger person is not going to easily sit through even a ten minute video, unless you keep a very fast pace in the editing.  Likewise, the older person might be turned off a bit by the “MTV” style editing.  We did a video on a retirement plan– it was a little longer than some of our similar videos for a different audience.

What type of video is it?  If it’s a very technical training video, it might be an hour long.  Or five minutes.  We done both.  One client has over 20 videos, each lasting only 90 seconds to 2 minutes for training.  Another is an hour lecture.  Is it a marketing video, showing off a product or service?  Keep it short.  90 seconds for a web video is a great length.  2 to 3 minutes is okay.  If you’re including soundbite interviews, three people’s bites, it will be hard to do a 90 second video.  A Seminar Recap video?  Your audience usually is the people in the video, it’s okay to be longer.  8 to 10 minutes.  A fundraising video?  Short again.

Scripted?

Narrated?

Interviews?

Subject Matter?

These all go into answering the question of “how long my video should be.”  As a default, it’s always better to simplify your message, saying one thing several times, than several things one time.  One mistake that’s easy to make, is to get into the minutiae of your product or services when your audience just wants the big picture.

Usually, length affects costs.  So the longer your video, usually the longer the editing and shooting.  However, the opposite can be true as well.  For a client we shoot a bunch of interviews, it takes less time to create a 10 minute version than to continue whittling away down to a 4 or 5 minute video.  And a :30 commercial spot, though the shortest of all, can run into six figures in cost.

SFilms Assists TopPup in Opening of NTE

After more than three years, and nine months early, the construction has all but come to an end in Northeast Tarrant County, home to Fort Worth and neighbor to Dallas.  NTE, the North Tarrant Express, is a project to widen a heavily congested portion of roads through six municipalities near Fort Worth, connecting to Dallas.  TopPup Media was called on to video document the construction over the past two years, and SFilms partnered with TPM to make that happen.

Construction video is extremely different than the normal corporate video shoots.  First, all crew people out in the construction zone had to be safety trained and wear the proper safety equipment.  Also, the type of shots for showing construction are different– the story is told through aerials and timelapse, with a little standard video shooting.

We have really enjoyed shooting for NTE and we’re fortunate to be able to continue through our work in Dallas with the LBJ Express and the newly christened NTI, I-35 through Fort Worth project.

The Ribbon Cutting for NTE was held on a beautiful October Saturday and had many dignities from the six cities– Fort Worth, Euless, Bedford, Hurst, North Richland Hills, and Haltom City.

One Person Shoot and Edit

Shooting And Editing

Sometimes, we get a call for us to send one person on a client’s job that requires shooting and editing.  In this post, we’ll discuss the best practices and tricks/techniques to help it go smoother.

What to Take on a Video Shoot and Edit:

For a recent job that required the Shooter/Editor to be on a tour bus with the client, our shooter took five cameras, a MacBookPro and several USB powered harddrives.  In addition to support equipment like tripod, etc, he also took a drone for aerial footage.  The cameras were a C100 for main recording, a 5D mark 3 for additional shots and the ability to shoot stills for the client as needed, and three GoPros.

Drone shot of the Austin 360 Bridge

The biggest hit for the client was the drone– we were able to get those “wow” shots that pulls viewers in.  In addition to that, many timelapse shots were done on location and on the bus.  Special quick mounting devices helped secure the GoPro’s to the exterior of the bus.  These included an aftermarket suction cup and a GoPro goose neck with clamp.

The editing station was a MacBook Pro running a USB 2TB harddrive that was USB powered– this is key, because power receptacles can be at a minimum on the road.  In addition, a UPS (battery backup) made sure nothing lost power.  But this is almost overkill if the only thing you’re plugging in is your laptop.  If power goes out, you would still have your laptop battery to run for a bit.

Tips and Techniques

The key to shooting and editing on the road is to think like a news crew.  In corporate video production, you might shoot as much B-Roll as you can; interview as many people as you can, asking them all sorts of questions, just in case.  But you won’t have time to go through the mountains of footage– so once you’ve got your soundbite, time to move on.  Got just enough B-Roll?  Time to move on.  If there ever was a time to keep it simple, it’s in this environment.  Especially if you’re using 5 cameras.

Keep those batteries charged.  Constantly be switching them through the chargers.

Maybe purchase a belt (like a cinematographers from Film Tools) to keep things on you handy.  Our shooter keep a lens, lens cleaner, wireless mic, and extra batteries on his.

Keep your camera rigged built, ready to go at any moment’s notice.  Also, make sure you gaff down lose cables and things that get snagged easily.

Take an extra harddrive and backup your project file often.  Once I was on a shoot in Africa and my primary harddrive failed.  Fortunately, I lost nothing as I dumped to two drives everytime I offloaded footage.

Vitamins and Airborne or whatever you use to keep whole– you’re going to have very little sleep, so keep yourself healthy.

Don’t fall behind.  Stay aggressive on the editing.  It can bite you in the behind if you fall behind.

You have to do several jobs at once, so an attention deficit person is well acclimated for this challenge.  You have to shoot, while thinking like an editor, and not mess up on the other things– like sound, lighting, and production value.

Going On-Camera for Corporate/Commercial Video

greenscreen corporate production interviewTips and Suggestions for being interviewed on camera

Congratulations (or condolences) on you being selected to be in front of the camera for that corporate video.  Maybe you’re a client and are doing a favor for a company with a product or service you love.  Or you’re employed by a company and have been selected to tell the corporate story.  Here are some tips and things to keep in mind to help you out.

Most interviews are conducted “documentary” style—you’re being asked questions by an off-camera interviewer, so you’ll look at them and not the camera.  When you look directly at the camera and talk, it’s usually a “spokesperson” role, and is very different to the interview we’re talking about here.

Many people desire to have the questions beforehand.  There are pros and cons to this.  Most likely, you’re being interviewed because you’re an expert in the subject matter—speaking off the cuff will have a more natural feel.  However, you can be more prepared if you were given the questions before the interview.

Also, many people are going to feel nervous—that’s natural, so don’t fight it.  By worrying about being nervous, you will only become more nervous, and it will be a cycle you’ll want to avoid.

American Express interviewTop Tips for Being Interviewed On Camera

  •       What to wear—avoid tight patterns (close lines, etc.)  Avoid bright colors, especially white and red.  Avoid other companies trademarked logos (for instance, if you’re doing a less formal interview and you’ve got a Nike tee shirt on, with the big swoosh).  Depending on how you want to present your company, you can choose, business, business casual, or casual.
  •       Repeat the question back in your answer.  Most of the time, we won’t be using the audio from the person asking the question, so we need the context for your answer.  If you answered “30,” we would have no frame of reference.  Makes a lot more sense if you say “my age is 30.”
  •       Talk to the interviewer— ignore the cameras.
  •       Don’t mention repeating answers.  Try to not say “as I mentioned before” or “again…” When we edit, we’re looking for a soundbite—a two to five sentence answer.  We might ask related questions, trying to get a variation on the answer.  So in the final edit, we won’t hear your earlier response.
  •       Wait for the Interviewer to finish talking before answering. Your audio is super important—try not to talk when the interviewer is talking.  Likewise, the interviewer shouldn’t talk when you are talking.

Take your time, try to relax.  When people are nervous, they tend to speed up.  Take a deep breath and you’ll do fine.  At S-Films.com, we do everything we can to set you at ease when shooting your corporate video production.

How To Use Video Marketing to Generate Business Leads

video-marketing-leads

Today more than ever having a web presence is essential to building a strong brand, qualifying prospects, and generating more leads. One of the most effective ways to promote your business on the internet is through videos. Visual media is shared more often than traditional text, using the power of video you can deliver a more contagious and effective message that spreads through social networks.
Video marketing is one of the most underrated methods for lead generation; if used correctly, however, videos can be the most significant part of any online marketing campaign. Here are a few tips that will help increase your lead generation with video marketing:

Create engaging videos that educate or inform

A lot of the time when you see videos for service providers, product owners, and other companies you see self-promotion videos. While these videos have their uses, simply talking about your business is not always the best way to approach lead generation.
The type of video content most people are searching for and sharing are videos that show how to do something. By having a series of educational, informative videos you are more likely to attract more qualified prospects, that you can easily convert into leads.

Include irresistible calls to actions in your videos

One of the most crucial elements to any video is to have a call to action. Even if your video is a tutorial guide, linking that information to your business and asking your viewers to make an action is vital to your video marketing strategy. Calls to action can be asking a user to sign up to an email newsletter, call in to your business, visit your website, or any other action that has the viewer actively joining your lead generation funnel.

Promote your videos across all of your online platforms.

Another mistake that many business owners make is to not promote their own videos. Simply having a video is going to help but if you do not actively promote your video marketing campaigns you are not getting the most benefit. Sharing all of your videos across your social media platforms will increase lead generation while initiating shares, likes, and re-tweets.
Videos are also excellent from an SEO standpoint as well. Taking the time to properly optimize your videos’ descriptions and even building back links to your video can cause videos to quickly rise in search engines. This keeps your company more visible, increases the reach of your video marketing campaign, and ultimately works to generate more leads.

Unconventional Warfare in Corporate Video Shooting

video-recording-special-tools

Video Recording Equipment and Specialty Tools We Use

As technology forges on, new tools and techniques are being created that have made a recent dramatic impact on the corporate video landscape.  In the army, you have a soldier and a rifle.  In special forces, you have all sorts of different weapons and ways to get the job done.

At Serendipitous, we feel that in addition to a strong “standing army” to cover your corporate story, that a “special forces” group is imperative to give the video an edge in this highly competitive battle field for the attention of the viewers.  This means thinking outside of the box– and in video production, the box is a static camera, about five feet high (where the cameraman’s eyes are).  Many video production companies tell the majority of the story from this point of view.

We don’t throw that away– it’s a very important tool, like the standard carbine for the foot soldier.  But we add to that with a bunch of “unconventional” weapons for getting those dramatic and critical shots for your video.

Video is movement– we believe video cameras need to move.

Our unconvetional equipment includes:

Dollies and Sliders– Just less than ten years ago, to get the camera to move left or right, in or out from the subject, you needed a rail system with a very heavy dolly to handle the large high quality cameras.  Today, the cameras have gotten much smaller and the quality has gotten better.  This means you can use smaller, lighter tools to move the camera left/right, in/out.  In addition to the large dolly, now there are small sliders, “rails” that go on a standard tripod to get two, three, four feet of movement.  It’s been very effective.

GoPros– with the smaller cameras, GoPro captured the industry with a line of high quality, extremely small cameras that could be mounted and placed just about anywhere.  Three days ago, I mounted a GoPro on the side of a block for an extremely large crane.  We have it on RC helicopters, sides of vehicles, on a long stick we can hand hold into a dangerous area.  These are versatile cameras that can get HD video and time-lapse as well.

Aerials– While we do have clients that we go up in real helicopters, with gyro mounts and remote camera controls, a burgeoning area is the RC helicopter industry.  With the cameras coming down in size, now you can put them on small helicopters and fly them around to get extremely unique shots.  We have a large 8-bladed “octocopter” as well as the small quad copter that’s become more common.

Jibs and Cranes– A jib gives you the up down movement as opposed to the dolly’s left/right and in/out movement.  Put the jib on a dolly and you’ve got quite a flexible tool.  The jib consists of a large boom, with the camera mounted at the end, with counter weights on the operator side.  Smaller jibs can be operated at the camera.  Larger ones need to be remotely controlled from the back of the boom.

Steadicam– There are now all sorts of handheld suspension rigs out there, contraptions designed to give you minimal shakes and bobbles as you move the camera around.  This tool can get some very dramatic shots.

These are just a few of the unconventional tools we have to best tell your story and capture the moment no matter how fast it’s moving. Contact us for questions on equipment we use and how we can assist you in creating the perfect corporate video.

Tips for Being Interviewed On Camera For The First Time

tips-for-camera-interviews-dc

Telling your story for your company’s video

Congratulations (or condolences) on you being selected to be in front of the camera for that corporate video. Here are some tips and things to keep in mind to help you out.

Most interviews are conducted “documentary” style—you’re being asked questions by an off-camera interviewer, so you’ll look at them and not the camera. When you look directly at the camera and talk, it’s usually a “spokesperson” role, and is very different to the interview we’re talking about here.

Many people desire to have the questions beforehand. There are pros and cons to this. Most likely, you’re being interviewed because you’re an expert in the subject matter—speaking off the cuff will have a more natural feel. However, you can be more prepared if you were given the questions before the interview.

Also, many people are going to feel nervous—that’s natural, so don’t fight it. By worrying about being nervous, you will only become more nervous, and it will be a cycle you’ll want to avoid.interviewNTE

What to say, what to wear, and more tips for a corporate video interview

• What to wear—avoid tight patterns (close lines, etc.) Avoid bright colors, especially white and red.
• Avoid other companies trademarked logos (for instance, if you’re doing a less formal interview and you’ve got a Nike tee shirt on, with the big swoosh).
• Depending on how you want to present your company, you can choose, business, business casual, or casual.
• Repeat the question back in your answer. Most of the time, we won’t be using the audio from the person asking the question, so we need the context for your answer. If you answered “30,” we would have no frame of reference. Makes a lot more sense if you say “my age is 30.”
• Talk to the interviewer—ignore the cameras.
• Try to not say “as I mentioned before” or “again…” When we edit, we’re looking for a sound bite—a two to five sentence answer. We might ask related questions, trying to get a variation on the answer. So in the final edit, we won’t hear your earlier response.
• Your audio is super important—try not to talk when the interviewer is talking. Likewise, the interviewer shouldn’t talk when you are talking.

Take your time, try to relax. When people are nervous, they tend to speed up. Take a deep breath and you’ll do fine. At S-Films.com, we do everything we can to set you at ease when shooting your corporate video production.

The Hero’s Journey Storytelling Part II

heros-journey-part-2-master

 

Continuing the Story with Part II of the Journey

This is part II of the journey, a continuing story that allows us to break down the pieces of a story to craft a message that people will remember for the way it made them feel. The power of a story comes from people being able to relate to it and share it with others for generations to come.

6 Last Steps of the hero’s journey

Approach for the Inmost Cave

The Hero must make preparations required to Approach the Inmost Cave that leads for the Journey’s heart, or perhaps central Ordeal. Maps may be reviewed, attacks planned, and maybe the Enemy’s enforces whittled down, before the Hero could face his greatest fear or perhaps the high danger lurking within the Special World. The confident Hero could bypass these preparations making a bold move into action.

The Ordeal

The Hero engages within the Ordeal where he faces his highest fear, confronts this hardest challenge, and as well experiences “death”. His Journey teeters on the brink of failure. Indy as well as Marion are sealed inside the Well with the Souls; Annie and Alvy have separated. And the target audience watches in suspense wondering if the Hero will survive. The Ordeal will be the central, vital, and even magical Stage associated with a Journey. Only by means of “death” could the Hero be reborn, having an experience of resurrection which grants greater powers or even insight to determine the Journey to the end.

Reward

The Hero has really survived death, overcome his fear, or even weathered the Crisis with the Heart, and today earns the Reward that they sought. The Hero’s Reward will come in many forms: an enchanting sword, higher knowledge or even insight, reconciliation which has a lover.

The Road Back

The Hero need to finally be recommitted to finishing the Journey and then accept the Road Back on the Ordinary World. A Hero’s success in the Special World might make it difficult to go back.

The Resurrection

The Hero confronts the Resurrection, his most dangerous meeting with death. This final life as well as death Ordeal implies that the Hero has maintained which enable it to apply all that he has brought back for the Ordinary World. Ordeal and even Resurrection could represent a “cleansing” or purification that has to occur seeing that the Hero has emerged through the land in the dead. The Hero is reborn or changes with the feature of his Ordinary self in addition on the lessons and insights from the characters that they have met along the road.

Return using the Elixir

The Return using the Elixir could be the final Reward earned about the Hero’s Journey. The true Hero returns having an Elixir to share or even heal a wounded land. The Elixir can be a great treasure. It can be love or simply the experience of surviving the Special World. Also the tragic end of a Hero’s Journey could yield the most effective Elixir of most, granting the target audience greater knowing of us and the world.

How this applies to you

Although this could seem a long and drawn out process, usually basic elements of the hero’s journey could be condensed to craft a story to deliver your message to your audience. This is a framework that lies beneath most stories, contact us to find out how to create a memorable and compelling story for your brand or company.