Production Stills from recent projects...
BizVid Communications is a San Diego based video production company owned by Bill Gruber and Caz Taylor. Together we have over 50 years of video production experience and we like to blog about video production, marketing and business.
July 17th, 2012
As a San Diego Video Production leader, BizVid Communications has a lot of opportunities to coach talent and help them give their best in front of the camera. If you’ve ever done public speaking, you know that this is no small task. In the next few minutes, I’m going to walk you through some of the do’s and don’ts to get the most out of your on-camera talent. Of course the end result will be a unique production that encapsulates the unforgettable essence of the person and the topic you wish to present.
This video offers some excerpts of a recent taping we did on behalf of Cal State University San Marcos…for their student and family orientation videos.
Each of the students we interviewed had great personalities and important things to say. Our job was to coax it out of them.
If you are coaching the talent, it’s very important to structure your interview with questions that require more than a one or two word answer. For example, instead of “are you a student here?”… you should ask, “what’s it like, being a student here?”
It is also important that you dispel their anxiety from the very beginning. I like to joke around with them a little, to make them feel comfortable. If I can make them forget about the camera and focus on being themselves, half the battle is already won.
As an interviewee, you may want to find out what your talent’s interests are. They may have a skill set that can be taken advantage of during the interview. Here, one of the students enjoyed creating raps, so we experimented with letting them do their thing. It turned out that we used it in the video.
Others have great senses of humor. Look for ways to encourage them to use it in their delivery. Remember stiff doesn’t sell, but real, really sells.
What’s more, I encourage talent, especially amateurs, to talk using their hands, if they are comfortable doing so. This seems to help them make their points and it is a good way to get a glimpse into their personalities. Something it may seem a bit over the top, but it is actually perfect on-screen. Just don’t overdo it. Of course, some may not use gestures …in that case, don’t worry about it.
Also, whether they are professionals or amateurs, it’s important to let them know that they are under no pressure to perform. If they can have fun without the fear of making mistakes…that will come through and captivate the viewer. In fact, I often declare that we are not looking for perfect delivery… but a delivery which accurately presents the speaker. To us, that IS a perfect delivery.
Some of our best footage comes from a talent who laugh and giggle and do little stutters or hand gestures when they get excited… in other words, we want them to act naturally. It’s our job, to capture their true essence in the best light.
This brings to mind a comment my partner has made to me, when I’m trying to get an “academy award” performance from a very stiff interviewee… sometimes it may be better to thank them and go to the next person. Some people were not built to be in front of a camera.
As a final note, when a talent begins their dialogue, you may want to instruct them to lose the “uhs”, the “ummmms” and the “okays”…. It makes editing much easier. Then, once a talent had delivered their lines well, it is important for them to stay looking in the same direction for several seconds after they are finished. The tendency is to look away immediately. But, an editor loves it when you give them a little extra useable footage at the end.
We at BizVid Communications hope you find these little tips helpful. As an interviewer, whether you are on camera or off camera, your mission should be to provide a platform for success upon which your interviewees can play.
February 21st, 2012
San Diego Video Production Company, BizVid Communications, are more than just a prolific videographers. Because we love helping businesses, we keep our skills sharp in various areas of media, including radio productions. We produce a weekly SBA Radio show on wsRadio.
If you’ve had challenges working with people much junior, or senior to you, this blog will help you be more effective in your “cogenerational” workplace.
Our weekly SBA Radio show, which highlights Small Business Administration benefits, as well as offering entrepreneurial tips, has become a resource to the business community nationwide.
As an author, speaker, and topic expert, as well as CEO of Future Sense Incorporated, our guest, Jim Finkelstein, had some great tips for both young and old. Here are excerpts from a recent SBA Radio interview hosted by BizVid’s Caz Taylor and Ruben Garcia, District Director for the Small Business Administration.
Caz: Describe a cogenerational workplace environment and the challenges connected with it.
Finkelstein: The boomers have the understanding of how things have worked in business. The real leverage point for them is their wisdom and experience. Contrast that with the millennials who are young, fresh, innovative and techno-smart. They have boundless enthusiasm but may not have the experience. They point at each other and say, “I don’t really understand them. We can’t get along because my way is the best way.”
Caz: Talk about these two groups’ dissonance and how you help them.
Finkelstein: Our goal is to help them. Part of the problem is when you have people reporting to people…the other may resent the authority. Some of the characteristics of being a leader may come across a little negative.
Finkelstein: We think it is important for the boomer to become more of a mentor and teacher. That is as opposed to somebody who just makes statements and judgments…telling you what to do and how to do it. Boomers need to listen more and appreciate different points of view. They need to take the time to listen and appreciate it a little more. The older boomer also needs to empower their workforce. That can be a hard one.
Ruben: Jim, give us a nugget that workers can begin working on.
Finkelstein: Collaboration, cooperation and communications of the cogenerational workers. They each must admit that they may have a long way to go, but show a willingness to work together… ages 18 to 80 through the foreseeable future.
Caz: And here’s a website for our listeners.
August 19th, 2011
Often times, as a San Diego video production company, we are called upon to video tape a local executive as part of a corporate presentation. Sometimes this is referred to as a “talking head.” Typically, this person is a skilled communicator and, with our assistance, is able to deliver their lines in a professional manner.
Over the years we have found that there are certain things we can do to make the process smooth and the executive’s life a lot easier. Let me give you some insight as to how it is done with these six simple tips.
First, we keep the information they will share as short as possible. The “talking head” can become boring for a viewer so the shorter the better.
Second, we prep the executive as much as possible. This would include informing them that we might need two or three takes to get it done. We share what the shot will look like….either a medium or close-up etc.
Third, we choose the best location for taping. Sometimes their office is not conducive for taping…too small, for example. So, we will opt for the conference room and add a plant or two to give it some visual interest.
Fourth, we add a little make-up. That might mean some powder on the forehead to cut shine or the light application of lipstick.
Fifth, the director and talent do some rehearsal so that everyone is at ease and the sense of being rushed is eliminated.
And, sixth, we double check the lighting and audio to make sure the scene looks right and the voice will be understandable and the room clear of ambient noise.
If these and some other considerations are followed, taping is usually smooth and everyone is happy with the result. More importantly, the executive is presented in a dignified manner.
August 12th, 2011
San Diego production company, BizVid Communications, produces videos for a company that makes a product called The Wisp. Using our most recent production as an example, our scripting illustrates three rules of good copywriting.
First, command attention. Make the text thought-provoking like our seemingly strange offer to “ADD strokes to a golfer’s round” and the use of a cute golf pro to grab interest.
Second, tell the product’s story. “The Wisp is a remarkable tool for clearing bunker sand from a putting surface.”
Third, reemphasize salient points with a call to action. View the video and read the script included here to see if you can pick out these three elements. It should be helpful as you write or critique scripting.
Spokesperson: As a golf pro, I’d like to help you ADD a few strokes to your game. Hi I’m the Wisp Etiquette Ambassador, Kendra Vallone. And, with a few simple strokes of the Wisp, you can return a sand-riddled green to its original condition for golfers who follow. Wisping is a common sense etiquette for the betterment of the game. Speaking of etiquette, what about those sandy footprints from somebody’s visit to the bunker? A simple tapping of your shoes after the bunker shot takes care of that. All remaining sand can be easily Wisped away. Wisping removes sand off the top of the putting area, dropping it in past the canopy to return the surface to its the original condition. This actually eliminates the need for the towel wipe, hat slap or the hand swipe, making them things of the past. So, use the Wisp and add a few strokes to your game, which you’ll actually love. Talk with your pro, golf superintendent of board member about the WISP system for your course. Go to the Wisp website for details.
Incorporate the three writing rules when scripting and give any product or service a greater chance for success.
August 2nd, 2011
As a leading video production company in San Diego, BizVid Communications has found that one of the key elements separating professional videographers from amateurs is lighting. If you’re shooting a video which intended to represent your business, both the look and the message need to speak highly of you. While you may not have the lighting equipment and flexibility that a pro would use, here are some simple tips for using available light sources to light your video.
Use balanced, even lighting wherever possible. When outside, avoid shooting your subject with the sun directly behind them. So many times, you’ll see a video with a person or object standing in front of the sun or a strong light source and they are just silhouettes.
The sun is a powerful light source but it can be very high contrast. Avoid unflattering shadows by staging your action to stay away from direct sunlight (aka: the shade). The same goes for staging your subject in or around dark shadows. It’s hard for a camera to properly capture both for extremely light and extremely dark areas so try to make sure everything in your shot is close to the same level of brightness. The more balanced the light, the better.
When inside, a professional will often minimize all light existing sources and then bring in their own so they can control color density and the visual environment for as long as needed. Since you probably won’t have that luxury, use the flattest light sources you can, to provide an even, balanced look. Those flourescent spiral light bulbs (CFL’s) can be a great light source for videography. If there’s one in a nearby lamp, try to bring it close to your subject (while still keeping it out of frame).
When bright, direct sunlight is in the room, it may either wash out the subject or cause silhouettes. When your subject has harsh shadows on their face or on surrounding surfaces, turn on a nearby lamp. It’s light will bounced off a wall or other surface to diffuse the shadow. Remember, the rule of thumb is to keep the shooting environment as flatly lit as possible (avoiding extreme light and/or dark areas). It draws attention to the subject, instead of the surroundings.