Thou Shalt Be Prepared Before Shooting a Business Video
I would like to call your attention to a business video I found by accident: http://www.dssimonvlogviews.com/?p=64. You can really learn a lot from watching this – not about PR, but about video production. However, the lesson is along the line of how not to make a business video.
If you can’t make it through that entire clip, I’ll spare you the pain and provide a few pointers on what to consider when shooting a business video.
1. Use a high quality camera. Shaky hand-held cameras are okay if you’re chasing the Blair Witch, but it doesn’t work in a business production. Likewise, make sure you have the best quality camera available. If you should decide to distribute your production on DVD, it will look superior if it was shot with an HD camera instead of a cheapo digital job.
2. Use professionals behind the camera. Spend a few extra dollars on a professional videographer and a professional video editor (that person could be one and the same). Someone who shoots videos for a living will know how to properly light a set, position the people on camera, and make sure the sound quality is pristine. Likewise, a professional editor will create a work that flows smoothly and doesn’t resemble a Jack the Ripper-worthy slash job.
3. Look your best on camera. Remember, this is a business video. Dress like you are attending a trade conference at the White House, not a pasta supper at the local VFW hall. And spend a few extra bucks on a better-than-decent haircut – after all, you want to look like a business leader, not a refugee from a Fellini comedy.
4. Work on your voice before you reach the microphone. This is essential for anyone who plans to do a great deal of public speaking. Make the effort to learn how to use your voice effectively – this may require working with a voice coach, a public speaking class or an acting class. Not everyone can sound like James Earl Jones or Judi Dench, but few people will be impressed if you come across sounding like a whiny little girl.
5. If you aren’t saying anything special, don’t make the video. We have YouTube and Google Video to feed our hunger for stupid, pointless and incomprehensible videos – you don’t need to add to the collection.
Thou Shalt Learn the Parable of the Corn-Burning Stove
You may recall that I don’t work in full-time PR anymore. My days are anchored at a publishing company in Connecticut where I’m the editor of a mortgage banking magazine. I recently snagged a second gig at this company, as the editor of an alternative energy publication. You can check it out online at www.aer-online.com.
Now, alternative energy has enjoyed a ton of media attention lately. But surprisingly, there are considerable pockets within that industry that escaped notice. For example: corn-burning stoves.
Corn-burning stoves? Did you know that there are stoves on the market that burn corn cobs? Instead of paying for heating oil or electric, you can just throw a few corn cobs in the stove and your house will be roasty-toasty.
This is not a new technology. In fact, it’s been around for years. But I only learned of it when I took over the editorial reins of the alternative energy magazine. And I felt rather ignorant, not knowing that corn-burning stoves existed.
So I got in touch with my pal Justin, who grew up on a farm in the middle of Indiana corn country. Justin could easily be a poster child for agriculture: he was involved in Future Farmers of America and 4-H during his youth and he currently lives in a small town surrounded by corn farms. I asked him if he was aware of corn-burning stoves. He said that he never heard of them. In fact, he was genuinely surprised to learn that corn could be used in such a manner.
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