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Common Newbie Video Production Mistakes: 4 Ways to Improve Production Value

You’ve got a great idea, and you know how to tell it right, and need to make a video. But your video sucks. Something is off, but it’s hard to tell what is off exactly. Does it really matter?

This isn’t really a problem, is it?

Unfortunately, I regretfully must inform you, a poor video is a poor video and likely will not succeed, even if your message is smart. Why is this? What happens if a video feels low quality?

Due to very low attention spans today, if your viewer cannot easily see, hear and understand your video due to low quality, you will lose that viewer.

Worse… your viewer will likely click away to view your competition’s video!

The Good News: The Hard Part is Already Over

A lot of people get stuck before even hitting record, overwhelmed with the idea of creating a video and worried about details. (Note: there is no reason to get overwhelmed.. there are plenty of checklists to assist with getting everything you need done! That’s what they’re there for – guiding the process, one step at a time.)

Not being afraid of the camera is great, the gusto to get up and ‘film something’ should be encouraged!

While recording video is easy, and it can be inexpensive, actually making good video that viewers like takes a little bit of upfront effort to avoid looking amateur.

Smartphones and apps and fast wireless Internet opened the opportunity for video to quit being an elite newscaster-only tool; and to go mainstream. Then with active social apps such Snapchat, Facebook, Periscope, the general population knows that video is ‘easy’ now.

Sure, video is easy, but GOOD video isn’t just as simple as pulling out an smart phone, pointing it at oneself and tapping record – that’d just be a glorified selfie.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

Number 1. Newbie Mistake: Lack of a Proper Plan

An intention to record video is good, but a good camera operator and/or director knows why each video clip is being recorded and what that particular shot will be used for. A plan will cover the people, the equipment, the locations, the goals and the target audience the video will be distributed to.

Marketing Strategy

Successful video producers complete; 1st, a creative brief in advance to sort out the goals for the video, and 2nd, a script written to have an overview blue print of the project, and 3rd a storyboard and shot list to cover ALL the bases to having a good plan for each shot used in a video. With a plan, your video will be a success.

Success Action Step: Cover all your bases of Why, Who, When, What and How by using the tools of a video professional. A Creative Brief, Storyboard and Script in advance of shooting your video to have a clear plan of what your video will be do – and make it easier and more fun.

Number 2. Newbie Mistake: Not Understanding ‘Production Value’

What does ‘production value’ mean? Explained in more detail, the phrase should be ‘high quality video production quality’, or professional quality, for short.

Professional Hollywood films cost millions of dollars. This money is spent on planning and filming to make the visuals and audio sound good and look the absolutely best they can (within the constraints of the budget).

Production Value Factors:

Production value is an assortment of variables, and here are some of the following aspects that play a role in the quality of a video.

  • Video Resolution Quality (4K, 1080P HD, 720P, frame rates,)
  • Camera Operation (stability, exposure, leveled, focus, movement)
  • On-Location Sound Quality (clear voice, noise, levels, background sound)
  • Image Quality (grain, noise, color correction, compression artifacts)
  • Lighting Effectiveness (3-point light setup, quality, intensity)
  • Sound Mix Quality (music, narration, background, sound effects)
  • On-Screen Interviewee (professionalism, eye contact, speaking ability)
  • Message Effectiveness (clear script, easy concept, call to action)
  • Graphics and FX (design principals, balance, quality, professionalism)
  • Distribution (ads or no ads, social sharing, effective channels)

Built-In Video Camera MicrophoneBuilt-In Video Camera MicrophoneAudiences are accustomed to spending as little effort as possible to watch and listen to video of this caliber, so the worse the visuals and sound are, the harder a video is to view. This is important because if there is a similar video with a similar message, but it looks and sounds better than yours, viewers will watch the better looking of the choices.

Success Action Step: Watch videos similar to one you wish to create to see what works – and what doesn’t! Write down the aspects that are important on your Creative Brief to help guide the process.

Number 3. Newbie Mistake: Improper setup of camera

The camera is the first link to the video – it acts as the eyes and ears of the viewer. Even if the camera is a high-end 6K camera, if it’s being used as a handheld camera, and shaky and bumpy will not make for a good viewing experience (and if it’s an online video, the viewer will likely stop watching and watch your competitors video instead!)

In comparison, a well-mounted iPhone filming in HD set on a stable level tripod with a smooth camera operator will make a world of a difference – the video will be far more pleasing, and the viewer is far more likely to continue to watch rather than jumping away to another video.

Low Budget Medium Budget High Budget
Manfrotto Compact Action Aluminum Tripod

Manfrotto MVH500AH Fluid Head & 755XB Tripod with Carrying Bag

Manfrotto MVH500A Fluid Drag Video Head with MVT502AM Tripod and Carry Bag

The Manfrotto Compact Action tripod offers basic adjustment. Be sure to get a smartphone or tablet mount if shooting with those devices. Not useful to pan or tilt with though. This is a portable, high quality tripod. It will work with smartphones and high-end production cameras. Very smooth pans and tilts. Great bag too! This is a high-quality, heavy duty tripod. It can handle a light-weight “backpacker crane” jib system! Included spreader with the legs also supports more weight.

Success Action Step: Use a tripod – there is a variety available, here are three different tripods for different budgets. Rest assured – all are professional, and all will help make your video better.

Number 4. Newbie Mistake: Failure to use sound and light properly

Any camera – be it a 6K RED or a regular iPhone – only capture two human senses – sight and sound. Modern cameras, while very good today, still cannot filter out background noise or poor light like our human brains can when we’re there, in a room with another person.

Low Budget Medium Budget High Budget
Rode SmartLax+ Lavalier Microphone

Polsen Lavalier Microphone

Sennheiser EW 112-P G3 Wireless Lavalier Microphone Kit

The SmartLav+ is a quality wired lavalier clip-on microphone that works perfectly with an iOS device without needing an adapter. The Polsen OLM-10 wired lavalier microphone offers great audio with no noise feedback. If used with smartphone, needs an adapter.
This Sennheiser lavaier is a wireless microphone set. The EW 112-P G3 is more expensive because due to it's very high quality and being a two-part kit.

While a human can easily have a conversation with another person on a busy subway platform and filter out all the background noise, hums, and uneven light, a camera will have difficulty. Setting up a camera in the best location possible for good light and sound will make a world of difference. With the first step, the planning stage, the best location to film will have been chosen to maximize the quality of the video.

 

Low Budget Medium Budget High Budget
Raya 5-in-1 Collapsible Reflector Disc

Impact Qualite 300 Focusing Flood 2 Light Kit

Ikan IB508-v2 Bi-Color LED 3-Light Studio Kit

Success Action Step: I encourage you to try this: record a test video clip in a busy location like this (dim light or nighttime too if you can) of a person speaking to the camera, and then record an alternate clip in a quiet – and well lit bright area. Play back both clips one after the other and see for yourself the differences.

Number 5. Newbie Mistake: Ineffective Distribution

‘Work’ is important. GSD (getting stuff done, or the other variation on the acronym). How does this tie in with distribution? An analogy I like to use is absolutely everyone is creative and most people have great ideas, but what separates people that are considered ‘creative’ from those who aren’t creative is that the creative people actually sit down and MAKE the idea happen. Without that step of the work, no good would come from the idea – it wouldn’t even exist.

Online Video Marketing

A plan for a video is just an idea, just one step in the process. A video that is recorded is one more step too – it's not completed. Even a video that is edited is still not safe – unless the video is shared – and shared properly – it won’t ‘work’. Getting that video out there is a hugely overlooked step. Too often businesses invest in video – good video – and then have no distribution plan to get it seen. Marketing is key – ensuring that the video is put online, and in front of the correct eyeballs, is important.

Success Action Step: Your Creative Brief will address all the aspects that you need here too. It will help you to plan out who will see your video, and where they’ll see it, and what they’ll do after they view your video. Easy, right?

So as you can see, the first step sets all the other steps in motion in the planning stage. The channels for distribution will be chosen, the best locations for sound and lighting will have been identified. The camera will be setup correctly with a tripod, and a script, storyboard and creative brief will be on hand to guide the process. Oh, and have fun.

The post Common Newbie Video Production Mistakes: 4 Ways to Improve Production Value appeared first on Reel Marketer.


read more

Growing a Media Studio: Adding Video Production, Dave Mai

Growing a Media Studio is the goal of any business owner, from the hollywood producer down to the self-taught creator such as our feature today, Dave Mai of DM Productions. DM Productions is a creative firm that offers services for businesses and events as well as live-event audio engineering support. Dave embodies the modern creative spirit – self-taught and a jack-of-all trades with drive and determination to boot! Read on as this energetic creator explains how he grew his audio and photo studio to incorporate video production:
DAVE MAI / DM PRODUCTIONS: I own and operate a creative firm called DM Productions that specializes in audio and video design for many platforms. To be honest I am a little hesitant to answer those question because I know who I am and what I do professionally will change with time, and that’s just fine.

The industry/equipment is moving at such a fast pace I think it would be foolish to not be open to the boundless opportunities, but I spend every day trying to define the answers to answer questions like “what do you do”…

dm-productions-03Am I getting in too deep right off the bat?

DM Productions – for the video end of things, we provide services for businesses, vents (concerts, weddings, sporting), and musicians (music videos, live performance). On the audio spectrum we provide studio recording, live recordings, audio engineering, voice over/ADR, sound design for film, and production/technical support for concerts.

Exciting! What unique benefits does your company offer to business clients?
DM PRODUCTIONS: My typical client is usually someone who is familiar with my work. Perhaps you could call them “Fan’s of my work”. I prefer those clients actually… They want to work with me because, firstly, my personality… That is the key to creating the dream client list I think; creating lasting relationships.

Paddle, Pinot, Paint – Hoodoo Adventure Comapny from DM Productions on Vimeo.

Secondly, they want to work with me because they know I’m in the business of being creative… I’m always looking to put a creative edge on my projects. Thirdly; we specialize and have experience in many fields, so they trust that we can think outside the box and bring new ideas they haven’t thought of.

Name a few projects that have benefited from your involvement?
DM PRODUCTIONS: I tend to NOT take on projects that wouldn't benefit from my involvement… The core principle of DM Productions is to buff up our clients. Whether we are producing a music video, capturing a wedding, or showcasing a business, we are creating content that will represent the client in their best light. So I try to only take on the projects and clients that excite me.

I find this makes the process and final product much more pleasant.

dm-productions-04

Did you begin with video, or audio production first? Why the move to video? How did you get started with video production?
DM PRODUCTIONS: My company, DM Productions started out as just a tiny home recording studio in my parents’ attic.

Now I have branched out to video production, Sound design, concert productions, and creating marketing content. I’m proud to say the recording studio is no longer located in my parents’ basement! Even though we provide many different services, the common denominator is that they all have to deal with perception and creativity. I use technology to creatively shape perceptions and cognitively suggest idea’s and concepts.

audio-control-board

I don't consider myself a music producer or a film producer at all… audio/video seems to be the best way to express my creative idea.

I picked up my interest in video production from working with the film department while going to post secondary for audio engineering. I discovered that sound and video had similar attributes… they are just frequencies, waves moving through the air waiting to be perceived by an observer.

It was an obvious progression for me to expand into video.

What's the secret – how does a photographer or designer learn to do video?
DM PRODUCTIONS: 
Fake it till you make it. I’m still faking it by the way.

DM Productions – Wedding Films 2015 from DM Productions on Vimeo.

It started out with quite a lot of internet research and countless hours on youtube. Then came the crappy video gear. I started to “imitate” styles of content that I thought was intriguing. With time in the field and continuous hours of research, conversations with like minded people; I eventually started to establish experience in the field. I started to call myself a video producer…

My first few projects were quite embarrassing actually. With time the got better. Trial and error.

dm-productions-05

How did online video become so relevant today?
DM PRODUCTIONS: The internet happened. It has allowed ideas and concepts to flow and grow as it expands into our mobile devices and penetrate our minds. This platform has allowed for a level playing field where micro businesses can grow into multinational corporation with one viral tweet (I’m exaggerating)!

With all that opportunity comes the over-saturation of content. The internet has become noisy. You need to stand out from the rest. I find video one of the best ways for a business to do so. If done correctly, the client can connect with their target audience efficiently and get their return on investment.

dm-productions-02

How can learn video production to grow their media studio like you have?
DM PRODUCTIONS: Research! Learn!

There is so much knowledge (and crap) floating out there. Don't be afraid to be bold. Ask questions! Collaborate with like minded individuals. sites like www.lynda.com/ or blog sites like nofilmschool.com and forums like www.dvxuser.com are a fantastic resource for beginners.

What can other newbies starting out keep an eye out for?

DM PRODUCTIONS: There are so many great cameras out there that spit out great quality images… so don't worry too much about the gear at first. When I started out I spent a lot of time trying out and buying gear that eventually became obsolete.

Its about the idea, thats where the good stuff starts. Nurture the passion for your craft.

dm-productions-01

So many times in the editing suite where I think to myself “I wish I got another angle” or “I should of punched in there” or “why the heck did I film that”. I still say these things to myself when I’m editing… but now when I’m in the field filming, I think to myself: “What would future editing Dave say about this composition?” or “what does editing Dave want to see from camera Dave”

Many beginners forget that audio is half of a good film.

Maiya Robbie – Should've Been a Mountain from DM Productions on Vimeo.

So make sure you are investing in a good wireless lapel system and a shotgun mic. Also, another audio tip is to monitor your audio! Not listening to your microphone feeds is like filming without looking at the viewfinder.

Nothing worse than getting back to the editing suite only to find out the audio was compromised!

What video gear would you recommend for photographers taking on the video challenge?
DM PRODUCTIONS: I chose these items because I think they have the most value in the long run.

Sure you can get cheeper camera’s and more affordable tripods and mics etc. No camera will fit ALL your needs… but I find this list of gear will get you to where you need with the best value.

My favourite must-have video equipment gear list:

  1. Camera: Panasonic Lumix GH4 Camera
  2. Lens: Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 Asph Lens
  3. Microphone (Wireless): Sennheiser EW 112-p G3 Camera-Mount Wireless Microphone System with ME 2 Lavalier Mic
  4. Microphone (On Camera): Rode VideoMic Pro
  5. Handheld Camera: DJI OSMO 4K Handheld Camera
  6. Tripod: Benro S8 Pro Video Head and A3573F Series 3 AL

Take a peek at the gear to see it's of interest to you.

Thanks for sharing your insights Dave! How can readers learn more about you and your company?
DM PRODUCTIONS: Thanks for having me on. It was a pleasure! For the readers, feel free to connect with me through any of these channels!

Website: http://www.dmproductions.info

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheDaveMai
Twitter: @dmaiproductions
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/user17300366
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DaveMaiProductions

The post Growing a Media Studio: Adding Video Production, Dave Mai appeared first on Reel Marketer.


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Wooshii, an Online Video Platform for Content Production: WIP of the Week

Wooshii, founded in London in 2009, is a work intermediation platform company that has developed an online freelancer marketplace connecting businesses and freelance producers of online videos. Today, Wooshii provides organizations with two delivery models. Organizations that use Wooshii include very large enterprises and even creative agencies. Acting as an intermediary in a large and explosive market. Wooshii provides organizations with access to a large global population of video creators/producers — and vice versa. It also provides capabilities for managing video production projects (i.e., the Wooshii inProduction tool). Wooshii has two main offerings, Wooshii Managed and Wooshii Scale and provides the best in...


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Common Newbie Video Production Mistakes: 4 Ways to Improve Production Value

You’ve got a great idea, and you know how to tell it right, and need to make a video. But your video sucks. Something is off, but it’s hard to tell what is off exactly. Does it really matter?

This isn’t really a problem, is it?

Unfortunately, I regretfully must inform you, a poor video is a poor video and likely will not succeed, even if your message is smart. Why is this? What happens if a video feels low quality?

Due to very low attention spans today, if your viewer cannot easily see, hear and understand your video due to low quality, you will lose that viewer.

Worse… your viewer will likely click away to view your competition’s video!

The Good News: The Hard Part is Already Over

A lot of people get stuck before even hitting record, overwhelmed with the idea of creating a video and worried about details. (Note: there is no reason to get overwhelmed.. there are plenty of checklists to assist with getting everything you need done! That’s what they’re there for – guiding the process, one step at a time.)

Not being afraid of the camera is great, the gusto to get up and ‘film something’ should be encouraged!

While recording video is easy, and it can be inexpensive, actually making good video that viewers like takes a little bit of upfront effort to avoid looking amateur.

Smartphones and apps and fast wireless Internet opened the opportunity for video to quit being an elite newscaster-only tool; and to go mainstream. Then with active social apps such Snapchat, Facebook, Periscope, the general population knows that video is ‘easy’ now.

Sure, video is easy, but GOOD video isn’t just as simple as pulling out an smart phone, pointing it at oneself and tapping record – that’d just be a glorified selfie.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

Number 1. Newbie Mistake: Lack of a Proper Plan

An intention to record video is good, but a good camera operator and/or director knows why each video clip is being recorded and what that particular shot will be used for. A plan will cover the people, the equipment, the locations, the goals and the target audience the video will be distributed to.

Marketing Strategy

Successful video producers complete; 1st, a creative brief in advance to sort out the goals for the video, and 2nd, a script written to have an overview blue print of the project, and 3rd a storyboard and shot list to cover ALL the bases to having a good plan for each shot used in a video. With a plan, your video will be a success.

Success Action Step: Cover all your bases of Why, Who, When, What and How by using the tools of a video professional. A Creative Brief, Storyboard and Script in advance of shooting your video to have a clear plan of what your video will be do – and make it easier and more fun.

Number 2. Newbie Mistake: Understanding ‘Production Value’

What does ‘production value’ mean? Explained in more detail, the phrase should be ‘high quality video production quality’, or professional quality, for short.

Professional Hollywood films cost millions of dollars. This money is spent on planning and filming to make the visuals and audio sound good and look the absolutely best they can (within the constraints of the budget).

Production Value Factors:

Production value is an assortment of variables, and here are some of the following aspects that play a role in the quality of a video.

  • Video Resolution Quality (4K, 1080P HD, 720P, frame rates,)
  • Camera Operation (stability, exposure, leveled, focus, movement)
  • On-Location Sound Quality (clear voice, noise, levels, background sound)
  • Image Quality (grain, noise, color correction, compression artifacts)
  • Lighting Effectiveness (3-point light setup, quality, intensity)
  • Sound Mix Quality (music, narration, background, sound effects)
  • On-Screen Interviewee (professionalism, eye contact, speaking ability)
  • Message Effectiveness (clear script, easy concept, call to action)
  • Graphics and FX (design principals, balance, quality, professionalism)
  • Distribution (ads or no ads, social sharing, effective channels)

Built-In Video Camera MicrophoneBuilt-In Video Camera MicrophoneAudiences are accustomed to spending as little effort as possible to watch and listen to video of this caliber, so the worse the visuals and sound are, the harder a video is to view. This is important because if there is a similar video with a similar message, but it looks and sounds better than yours, viewers will watch the better looking of the choices.

Success Action Step: Watch videos similar to one you wish to create to see what works – and what doesn’t! Write down the aspects that are important on your Creative Brief to help guide the process.

Number 3. Newbie Mistake: Improper setup of camera

The camera is the first link to the video – it acts as the eyes and ears of the viewer. Even if the camera is a high-end 6K camera, if it’s being used as a handheld camera, and shaky and bumpy will not make for a good viewing experience (and if it’s an online video, the viewer will likely stop watching and watch your competitors video instead!)

In comparison, a well-mounted iPhone filming in HD set on a stable level tripod with a smooth camera operator will make a world of a difference – the video will be far more pleasing, and the viewer is far more likely to continue to watch rather than jumping away to another video.

Low Budget Medium Budget High Budget
Manfrotto Compact Action Aluminum Tripod

Manfrotto MVH500AH Fluid Head & 755XB Tripod with Carrying Bag

Manfrotto MVH500A Fluid Drag Video Head with MVT502AM Tripod and Carry Bag

The Manfrotto Compact Action tripod offers basic adjustment. Be sure to get a smartphone or tablet mount if shooting with those devices. Not useful to pan or tilt with though. This is a portable, high quality tripod. It will work with smartphones and high-end production cameras. Very smooth pans and tilts. Great bag too! This is a high-quality, heavy duty tripod. It can handle a light-weight “backpacker crane” jib system! Included spreader with the legs also supports more weight.

Success Action Step: Use a tripod – there is a variety available, here are three different tripods for different budgets. Rest assured – all are professional, and all will help make your video better.

Number 4. Newbie Mistake: Failure to use sound and light properly

Any camera – be it a 6K RED or a regular iPhone – only capture two human senses – sight and sound. Modern cameras, while very good today, still cannot filter out background noise or poor light like our human brains can when we’re there, in a room with another person.

Low Budget Medium Budget High Budget
Rode SmartLax+ Lavalier Microphone

Polsen Lavalier Microphone

Sennheiser EW 112-P G3 Wireless Lavalier Microphone Kit

The SmartLav+ is a quality wired lavalier clip-on microphone that works perfectly with an iOS device without needing an adapter. The Polsen OLM-10 wired lavalier microphone offers great audio with no noise feedback. If used with smartphone, needs an adapter.
This Sennheiser lavaier is a wireless microphone set. The EW 112-P G3 is more expensive because due to it’s very high quality and being a two-part kit.

While a human can easily have a conversation with another person on a busy subway platform and filter out all the background noise, hums, and uneven light, a camera will have difficulty. Setting up a camera in the best location possible for good light and sound will make a world of difference. With the first step, the planning stage, the best location to film will have been chosen to maximize the quality of the video.

 

Low Budget Medium Budget High Budget
Raya 5-in-1 Collapsible Reflector Disc

Impact Qualite 300 Focusing Flood 2 Light Kit

Ikan IB508-v2 Bi-Color LED 3-Light Studio Kit

Success Action Step: I encourage you to try this: record a test video clip in a busy location like this (dim light or nighttime too if you can) of a person speaking to the camera, and then record an alternate clip in a quiet – and well lit bright area. Play back both clips one after the other and see for yourself the differences.

Number 5. Newbie Mistake: Ineffective Distribution

‘Work’ is important. GSD (getting stuff done, or the other variation on the acronym). How does this tie in with distribution? An analogy I like to use is absolutely everyone is creative and most people have great ideas, but what separates people that are considered ‘creative’ from those who aren’t creative is that the creative people actually sit down and MAKE the idea happen. Without that step of the work, no good would come from the idea – it wouldn’t even exist.

Online Video Marketing

A plan for a video is just an idea.

A video that is recorded is one step too – it’s not completed. Even a video that is edited is still not safe – unless the video is shared – and shared properly – it won’t ‘work’. Getting that video out there is a hugely overlooked step. Too often businesses invest in video – good video – and then have no distribution plan to get it seen. Marketing is key – ensuring that the video is put online, and in front of the correct eyeballs, is important.

Success Action Step: Your Creative Brief will address all the aspects that you need here too. It will help you to plan out who will see your video, and where they’ll see it, and what they’ll do after they view your video. Easy, right?

So as you can see, the first step sets all the other steps in motion in the planning stage. The channels for distribution will be chosen, the best locations for sound and lighting will have been identified. The camera will be setup correctly with a tripod, and a script, storyboard and creative brief will be on hand to guide the process. Oh, and have fun.


read more

Growing a Media Studio: Adding Video Production, Dave Mai

Growing a Media Studio is the goal of any business owner, from the hollywood producer down to the self-taught creator such as our feature today, Dave Mai of DM Productions. DM Productions is a creative firm that offers services for businesses and events as well as live-event audio engineering support. Mr. Mai embodies the modern creative spirit – self-taught and a jack-of-all trades with drive and determination to boot! Read on as this energetic creator explains how he grew his audio and photo studio to incorporate video production:
DAVE MAI / DM PRODUCTIONS: I own and operate a creative firm called DM Productions that specializes in audio and video design for many platforms. To be honest I am a little hesitant to answer those question because I know who I am and what I do professionally will change with time, and that’s just fine.

The industry/equipment is moving at such a fast pace I think it would be foolish to not be open to the boundless opportunities, but I spend every day trying to define the answers to answer questions like “what do you do”…

dm-productions-03Am I getting in too deep right off the bat?

DM Productions – for the video end of things, we provide services for businesses, vents (concerts, weddings, sporting), and musicians (music videos, live performance). On the audio spectrum we provide studio recording, live recordings, audio engineering, voice over/ADR, sound design for film, and production/technical support for concerts.

Exciting! What unique benefits does your company offer to business clients?
DM PRODUCTIONS: My typical client is usually someone who is familiar with my work. Perhaps you could call them “Fan’s of my work”. I prefer those clients actually… They want to work with me because, firstly, my personality… That is the key to creating the dream client list I think; creating lasting relationships.

Secondly, they want to work with me because they know I’m in the business of being creative… I’m always looking to put a creative edge on my projects. Thirdly; we specialize and have experience in many fields, so they trust that we can think outside the box and bring new ideas they haven’t thought of.

Name a few projects that have benefited from your involvement?
DM PRODUCTIONS: I tend to NOT take on projects that wouldn’t benefit from my involvement… The core principle of DM Productions is to buff up our clients. Whether we are producing a music video, capturing a wedding, or showcasing a business, we are creating content that will represent the client in their best light. So I try to only take on the projects and clients that excite me.

I find this makes the process and final product much more pleasant.

dm-productions-04

Did you begin with video, or audio production first? Why the move to video? How did you get started with video production?
DM PRODUCTIONS: My company, DM Productions started out as just a tiny home recording studio in my parents’ attic.

Now I have branched out to video production, Sound design, concert productions, and creating marketing content. I’m proud to say the recording studio is no longer located in my parents’ basement! Even though we provide many different services, the common denominator is that they all have to deal with perception and creativity. I use technology to creatively shape perceptions and cognitively suggest idea’s and concepts.

audio-control-board

I don’t consider myself a music producer or a film producer at all… audio/video seems to be the best way to express my creative idea.

I picked up my interest in video production from working with the film department while going to post secondary for audio engineering. I discovered that sound and video had similar attributes… they are just frequencies, waves moving through the air waiting to be perceived by an observer.

It was an obvious progression for me to expand into video.

What’s the secret – how does a photographer or designer learn to do video?
DM PRODUCTIONS: 
Fake it till you make it. I’m still faking it by the way.

It started out with quite a lot of internet research and countless hours on youtube. Then came the crappy video gear. I started to “imitate” styles of content that I thought was intriguing. With time in the field and continuous hours of research, conversations with like minded people; I eventually started to establish experience in the field. I started to call myself a video producer…

My first few projects were quite embarrassing actually. With time the got better. Trial and error.

dm-productions-05

How did online video become so relevant today?
DM PRODUCTIONS: The internet happened. It has allowed ideas and concepts to flow and grow as it expands into our mobile devices and penetrate our minds. This platform has allowed for a level playing field where micro businesses can grow into multinational corporation with one viral tweet (I’m exaggerating)!

With all that opportunity comes the over-saturation of content. The internet has become noisy. You need to stand out from the rest. I find video one of the best ways for a business to do so. If done correctly, the client can connect with their target audience efficiently and get their return on investment.

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How can learn video production to grow their media studio like you have?
DM PRODUCTIONS: Research! Learn!

There is so much knowledge (and crap) floating out there. Don’t be afraid to be bold. Ask questions! Collaborate with like minded individuals. sites like www.lynda.com/ or blog sites like nofilmschool.com and forums like www.dvxuser.com are a fantastic resource for beginners.

What can other newbies starting out keep an eye out for?

DM PRODUCTIONS: There are so many great cameras out there that spit out great quality images… so don’t worry too much about the gear at first. When I started out I spent a lot of time trying out and buying gear that eventually became obsolete.

Its about the idea, thats where the good stuff starts. Nurture the passion for your craft.

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So many times in the editing suite where I think to myself “I wish I got another angle” or “I should of punched in there” or “why the heck did I film that”. I still say these things to myself when I’m editing… but now when I’m in the field filming, I think to myself: “What would future editing Dave say about this composition?” or “what does editing Dave want to see from camera Dave”

Many beginners forget that audio is half of a good film.

So make sure you are investing in a good wireless lapel system and a shotgun mic. Also, another audio tip is to monitor your audio! Not listening to your microphone feeds is like filming without looking at the viewfinder.

Nothing worse than getting back to the editing suite only to find out the audio was compromised!

What video gear would you recommend for photographers taking on the video challenge?
DM PRODUCTIONS: I chose these items because I think they have the most value in the long run.

Sure you can get cheeper camera’s and more affordable tripods and mics etc. No camera will fit ALL your needs… but I find this list of gear will get you to where you need with the best value.

My favourite must-have video equipment gear list:

  1. Camera: Panasonic Lumix GH4 Camera
  2. Lens: Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 Asph Lens
  3. Microphone (Wireless): Sennheiser EW 112-p G3 Camera-Mount Wireless Microphone System with ME 2 Lavalier Mic
  4. Microphone (On Camera): Rode VideoMic Pro
  5. Handheld Camera: DJI OSMO 4K Handheld Camera
  6. Tripod: Benro S8 Pro Video Head and A3573F Series 3 AL

Take a peek at the gear to see it’s of interest to you.

Thanks for sharing your insights Dave! How can readers learn more about you and your company?
DM PRODUCTIONS: Thanks for having me on. It was a pleasure! For the readers, feel free to connect with me through any of these channels!

Website: http://www.dmproductions.info

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheDaveMai
Twitter: @dmaiproductions
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/user17300366
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/DM-Productions


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iPhone Power: Use the Video Production Studio In Your Pocket

Online video has taken the commerce and education world by storm – broadband and mobile is everywhere and so is video. When given the choice, online viewers usually prefer video over most other forms of content.

However, it’s no secret that the associated up-front costs for video production are prohibitive for those on limited budgets. Quality video just isn’t affordable with mere pocket change. Apple Inc. isn’t shying away from the fact that incredible 4K iPhone video can shot easily:

To be manageable, a video marketing money plan needs to be decided upon in advance to cover the costs of planning, pre-production, production and editing. A ton of work means a ton of money, right? The production phase alone, requiring the hiring of talented and professionally trained experts to operate expensive cameras and editing suites, tends to run in the range of thousands of dollars. Or more.

The big question is – how does a small business, non-profit organization, school or entrepreneur with a small or limited budget get started in video, right?

Am I Right?

That Was Then.

No, that’s entirely wrong. The truth is now, more than ever before, it is possible to create a video of decent quality with a low budget.

The example of expensive video production certainly was the case about 10 years ago, around the time when I began my own video marketing and production business. In those days, there were fewer competitors because of the high cost barrier to entry – the cost for video equipment was too high for smaller business to even purchase. Expensive gear meant that the costs of video production were far higher for organizations and businesses hiring video companies out for production work.

ENG Video Camera and Arri 1K Light

Alternatively, even if a person was able to afford the gear, knowledge of the video production processes was a specialty and rare. One had to go to film school and study for years to become proficient as online video courses didn’t exist and traditional film schools like the one I went to were a full-time affair and expensive.

This is Now.

However, that was then, and this is now. Even 5 years ago, the iPhone and iPod Touch video cameras broke the ‘high definition barrier’, offering incredibly sharp full 1080P HD built-in cameras – on a device that fits in your pocket.

iPhone iMovie Video Camera

In addition to the high-end camera, these iOS devices could run iMovie, a barebones yet powerful video editing app that enabled editing on the iPhone or iPod Touch of the very video filmed on the very same device!

A camera. An editing studio. All in your pocket.

A Full-Production Suite. In your Pocket.

The footage from an iOS that it shooting HD truly is high definition quality. It’s sharp and clear.

If handled correctly – properly lit, and nice stable footage, the shots from an iOS device with a HD camera can be edited together with HD footage from other cameras. It’s that good.

It’s so good that entire films and commercial TV ads have been shot with iPhones out of ease of use (they’re tiny cameras and unassuming) and to make a point.

Take a look at this very professional video shot with iPhones:

In addition, a variety of manufactures have responded with an array of optional lenses, professional external microphones, headphones for monitoring, and a variety of options of editing apps.

Camera Lenses for the iPhone

iPhone OlloClip 4-in-1 Lens, Manfrotto Klyp+ LensesThe standard rear facing (on the back) iPhone lens is a good all-round lens – it’s a fairly medium-wide-angle lens.

When you take a still picture photo of a room, the image you see is a fairly similar view to what the human eye would see.

It doesn’t have an actual mechanical zoom function – when taking photos you can digitally “enlarge” images on the screen to zoom in, but the quality degrades as you are simply enlarging the image pixels.

There are three types of lens options for most cameras – and iPhone lens options are available:

  • Wide Lenses – These show ‘more’ of a certain area – they ‘widen’ the angle of view. Individual subjects will appear smaller though.
  • Telephoto Lenses (Zoom Lenses) – These allow a particular subject to be larger on screen, and the lens acts like a telescope does, and “zooms in” on the subject.
  • Macro Lenses – These are for ultra-close up shots of tiny objects, such as flowers, or insects.

There are certain lens kits that one can purchase to increase the flexibility for the iPhone – these aftermarket lenses simply attach on top of the iPhone’s standard lens, and voila, you have a new look!

Sound and Lighting

Thankfully, Apple has enabled the iOS devices to use external microphones. This is very important, as the built-in speaker microphone on the iOS devices is good enough for phone conversations; it’s simply not adequate for quality-level production.

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As audiences, we are all too used to high-quality audio engineers in TV and film studios using good microphones to cut out background noise so that we may hear the on-screen subject easily. Microphone options exist for the iPhone and iOS devices.

Get Started Using your iPhone for Video Production

The associated upfront costs of video production and video marketing are less expensive now than ever before.

Woman iPhone Video Promotional Video Recording

There’s no need to look further than your own pocket to find the video production studio you’ve been looking. And best of all, it’s an exciting journey to learn how to create a viable video marketing strategy.

There are plenty of resources and courses online to learn how to use your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to create high-quality promotional videos for your organization – get started today!


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5 Steps so that your First Video Production Goes Smoothly

So you have finished a script and you want to make a video using what you’ve written. This is great!

Good news – congratulations are already in order as you have already come a very long way. Now unless, you have your own crew and are going to be your own camera operating person then you will need to hire someone that will shoot your video.

Personally, I really like this approach, for a couple of reasons.

Guest Article Written by John Montana

First, you wear only one or two hat’s, instead of 10. As a video maker you will have so many responsibilities to make your video be great. Give that responsibility to an expert. Secondly, you are expanding the group of artists that help you make you video or film…your team.

So in order to make the best of this and get off to a wonderful start, here are 5 tips that will go a long way in making your shoot go smoothly.

1. Understand the Elements of a Basic Story

The Bottom Line is this: The video creator is first and foremost a storyteller. You must have a cohesive, compelling story to tell. This is not a difficult thing to do, as everyone has at least 1 real-life story to tell.

What's Your Story?

Whether it is a breakup, or a family trauma, or a secret desire… the list is endless. You have to trust that no matter how painful the story is, or how embarrassed you are of that story, it has been experienced before by someone else.

This is not a bad thing… it means that we are all connected in many ways and that these stories are indeed universal. We all have a unique story to tell that many people will relate to and identify with.

2. Have Your Shot List Ready

There are some video creators who will storyboard every single shot on their shot list. Alfred Hitchcock was notorious for this, as he was also notorious for giving his actors very little freedom in their movements and portrayal of their characters.

iPhone iMovie Video Camera

I don’t do this personally.

I write out a complete shot list of every scene that I want to video. What I am trying to say is this – ALWAYS finish your shot list before you get to your set. It will give you a road map of what you want, and how you will shoot your video. And because you are so well prepared, you can easily replace or remove a shot that you don’t need.

Or you will be inspired to get another shot…one you didn’t think of before. And when this happens, it always feels great.

3. Choose Meaningful Locations in Advance

I love shooting on real locations. The environment is real, as it is the world of the story. This is very helpful for your actors to believe the world they are in. But have it ready to show your video producer, so that he/she can prepare adequately.

Karl Schoepp, Gaffer, Lamp Operator, Cinematographer, Filmmaker
Karl Schoepp, Gaffer, Lamp Operator, Cinematographer, Filmmaker

Bring them to the location… let them see what you have in mind. This will help your producer immensely as it will show them HOW to shoot there…what types of shots will work from your list, and which ones won’t.

4. Know What Equipment You Will Likely Need

This usually will come to you when you are preparing your shot list. As the video creator, you should have an idea of how you want all your video shots to look. This usually means that you should have a basic working knowledge of the type of equipment you will need in order to get the shot.

Manfrotto Compact Tripods

Example: Your opening montage is a sweeping arc of the countryside that then leads into a house with two people eating dinner. You should know that this type of shot is going to require a crane, with the ability to swivel 180 degrees, and then also have it on wheels or some stable moving vehicle that this crane can be attached to. This will show the producer that you know what you want and it will be their job to try and get it for you.

But if you walk into a meeting with your producer, and just hand them a list without any clue as how to get it done, well, prepare for disappointment.

As a next step to learn more info on the kind of video equipment you will need, see this article “What Video Equipment Do I Need?” This list, which addresses all levels of budget, will supply you with an excellent first step for everything you need to know.

5. Learn How Communication Really Works

In my experience of making short videos, I honestly feel that this is the single most important thing you can bring to any meeting with your crew. The ability to communicate with your team on what you want and how you want to get it! And you MUST be able to shut up and then listen to what they have to say.

Woman Thinking Bubble Chalk Board

Communication is a two-way street. If you go in and start to demand all these things and be immovable…well all I can say is, good luck with that! So I will finish this up with giving you an example of something that happened to a dear friend of mine on a shoot that she was the line producer on.

The video creator had gotten a location for free, with the stipulation that they all be out by 7am, as that was when everyone came in to work for the day. It was an office building. This video creator was incredibly arrogant and unwilling to listen to his team. There was a certain moving shot that he wanted, but because of the tightness of the location, this was unattainable.

But he was so adamant and ego-maniacal that my friend had to go to the main producer, who then had a screaming match in front of the crew. He ultimately scrubbed the shot, but the damage had been done. He lost so much time arguing, that he lost 7 shots that he really needed.

So the video stank.

Moral of the story – be the supportive leader of the team! Listen to your team. Get a great film or video in the can. All this other stuff is just, excuse me, b.s.

Get Started!

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So, these are 5 important tips that every video creator should have addressed before meeting with a video producer. If you take the time to prepare for your shoot correctly, then when you actually get to the set, things will flow much more smoothly that if you were careless.

Because if there is one thing you can always count on, is that there will be “challenges” that arise on the set. It is how well you deal with them that will make or break your video.

About The Author:

John Montana is an actor living with his wife in L.A. and has begun to make short films. His most recent film, “Hungry” has been accepted into 24 film festivals all over the world. Check out his short films at No Title Production Films.


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