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Six Secrets To Successful Corporate Video

Aug 21, 2008
Corporate video is a collective term that comprises all the differing video productions utilized in most medium-size to large-size organizations and corporations. Video productions should share common goals: to effectively deliver information, influence decisions by individuals or groups, meet the production schedule and stay within the budget. Speaking of decisions, this process is decision intensive.

Before the secrets of success are revealed, a few basic premises. Identify and plan for multiple target audiences. When program elements are utilized in additional programs or applications, the production effort is far more valuable to the company. Even before the scripting process begins, you should consider how to generate the material to be used by others in the company for other purposes. For example, programs developed by the sales and training departments could very well work for human resources as well.

A video production can only communicate a few messages. It should not be intended to present a multitude of ideas and concepts. Focus on three key points. Develop a clear set of objectives and how the program will address and achieve those objectives. You may find that the program can only effectively deliver a single primary message. Keep the program succinct and only long enough to deliver the message. A shorter program will be more widely accepted and will surely cost less. There is an old adage that applies here which is to tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them and then tell them what you told them. The ability to measure the results of your efforts against the objectives is vital. Objectives should be realistic and achievable. An objective should not be stated as: to improve overall morale of hourly workers. But rather: increase attendance and voting in employee meetings by 10 per cent. Use benchmark surveys, evaluation forms, small group discussions, web site or email polling questions of usefulness, a game or quiz with reward on employee intranet, even a cell phone text message. In your survey ask about program length, relevance and worth.

One of the best decisions you should make is to carefully choose a turnkey video production company early in the process. A full service firm should be able to prove they can deliver top performance in all of the three phases of the production process: pre-production (scripting), production (shooting) and post-production (editing). Ask three firms for proposals and provide the same information to all three. Visit them. Watch their demos and listen to their explanations of how the productions were created. Good creative people are crucial. They should be happy and enthusiastic. Ask for case studies of successes, awards, and references. Make sure you understand the production process of each company, the approval points offered along with way and how their process will mesh with your requirements. Also ask where you can save money. Make your decision on all of these factors but not solely on price. Employing separate firms for the production phases requires a knowledgeable, experienced producer to maintain control and continuity.

Here are the six secrets:

1. Capture and maintain the attention of the audience. Audiences readily compare corporate video productions to network television. Grab their interest quickly and hold it in order to deliver your message. This is achieved through creative and entertaining scripting, high quality production techniques that compare to the professional look of broadcast television and the best voice or on-camera talent you can afford.
2. Use real people to tell the story. This is important because people like to see and hear real people, not actors.
3. Get an approved script before you shoot anything. You will save yourself time, money and hair.
4. Do the paper edit (offline edit) yourself. Ask for a time code window dub of the raw footage so you can pick the shots and the sound bites. A window dub provides a small window on the screen that displays a time code of each frame imbedded while recording. This provides precise edit points.
5. Plan for future revisions. Do not paint yourself in a corner. Plan so any element can be revised without having to recreate animations and re-edit difficult segments. Avoid information that may change after a year.
6. In order to get through the initial approval stage; edit only the first minute with all on-camera segments, special effects, music and voice tracks. Keep the approval team small and on schedule.
Bonus secret: negotiate up front for a digital copy of the raw footage for your own library. If the raw footage is high definition, ask for a standard definition copy as well.

Ask your production company for an explanation of the various distribution channels available. Currently everything is headed for the web. Most offices and boardrooms have DVD players and certainly VHS players. Most computers are shipped with DVD players and CD-ROM. The company intranet can be your primary delivery system. Corporate television channels can be established and combined with digital signage in primary and remote locations. Mobile video, social networking platforms both internal and external, viral media, podcasts, the exploding blogosphere are all worth learning about and exploring.

Seemingly, video is everywhere: in stores, on gas pumps, on grocery carts, the backs of airplane seats, in the mini-van and even mounted on the fronts of Segways. Remember video never has a bad day. It is the same consistent message every time.
About the Author
Hal McArthur, ABC is President of McArthur Communications, Inc. (http://www.mcarthur.com) - an award-winning, full-service video production company in Richmond, Virginia.
Contact Hal McArthur at halmcarthur@hotmail.com.
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