Today was the last day of shooting for three videos we’re producing at work for our largest client. It’s an ambitious project. We’ve been using online video internally for a couple of years, and it’s been quite successful (and will be expanding). For our external audiences, however, while we have previously produced videos, I mostly project-managed contracted resources. We never fully took on the task of fully producing them in-house. Partly it was a lack of resources–that is, I had no help–and also that we didn’t have the equipment. I now have both.
We’re still building our equipment inventory, but we’re at the point where the barriers to producing a good-looking production are essentially eliminated. We still need a full lighting kit, otherwise we’re rolling.
Here’s a quick summary of some of what we’re using:
- Panasonic AG-DVX100B camera
- Sony DSR-PD170 camera
- Sennheiser ew 100 G2 lavalier mics
- Sennheiser ME 66 short gun mic
- HP workstation-class PC for editing (WinXP)
- Sony Vegas+DVD Production Suite (main editing software)
- Frezzi MRFIC-4X Dimmer Micro-Fill on-camera light
- Frezzi MRSB Fill/Sun Gun Soft Box
- Photoflex Multidisc reflector
- Glidecam 4000 Pro
And there’s more. A nice big light (brand name escapes me), accessories, software on the editing station, DV tape recorder, etc. Like I said, we’re decked out quite nicely.
So back to the project. We’ve shot three short (max 3 min each) commercial-style videos explaining the benefits of being part of a pension plan. A few months ago I pitched three concepts to a sub-committee of the full board of trustees and they chose a hybrid of all three. I returned with their feedback and we started in on storyboarding and scripting the new concept. Finally, I presented the polished scripts to the same committee confident that we had hit the mark. Sure enough, they bought it.
This was a great success for a couple of reasons. First, I went in planning to have the committee approve the scripts at the meeting so that I could leave with my marching orders ready to roll. Some colleagues thought this would never fly, since approvals are not usually granted so easily by the committees. But I was undaunted: I viewed it as my responsibility to provide them with a compelling vision of what we hoped to achieve and a strong enough script and presentation that the committee would have little reason not to give me the green light. And it went off perfectly.
Second, we have a mandate to produce plain language materials, but, given the industry (pensions), it’s not always easy. Not to mention satisfying a variety of stakeholders who typically want to include a lot more information without realizing the impact on readability, comprehension, etc. Anyway, the scripts that we developed were plain languaged to the extreme. We worked hard to distill pension concepts and benefits down to their barest essentials. Again, some were worried that our trustees would never buy into this vision. And, again, they were wrong. The trustees loved the concept, the language, the simplicity.
Anyway, so now we’re on to editing, and we’re right on schedule. Next step is to preview it for the trustees, which we’ll be doing in a couple of weeks. I’m a little anxious, naturally, but confident that what we’ve produced will exceed expectations.