Almost every time someone asks me for advice on getting started with video they always lead with 'what camera should I use?' or 'how do I make my smartphone camera look better.' Not one person has ever asked me how to make their audio sound better and that's honestly the most important aspect of creating good videos.
Too often I hear from videographers and DPs that “the camera is just a tool, and if you want to shoot something correctly, you have to have the right tool for the job.” In some cases they are correct. When it comes to big budget episodic shows and films, bigger is often better.
But when it comes to digital storytelling and branding, it’s the creative use of the tools at hand that matter more than the ‘right tool.’
Building your brand narrative is not a ‘one size fits all’ type of deal. This article can’t tell you exactly what you need to do. What I CAN do is give you food for thought allowing you to find your own path to that brand narrative. “What’s your swim lane?” That’s a great question from Joe Mullings, CEO of The Mullings Group. In other words, what topic or topics can you offer value to your audience? What can you write about or speak on intelligently? What topics and areas are you comfortable engaging in discussion with others? That’s your swim lane. That’s your comfort zone where you can share quality knowledge and have an educated discussion with those who engage with you.
I began experimenting pretty much immediately after IGTV was launched and it's turning out to be quite a lot of fun, and challenging. As I mentioned in my first post, one of the biggest challenges is the lack of horizontal space for graphics and to showcase elements in the scene.
Well we finished one of the most difficult projects I have ever produced and we did it from concept to completion in just two weeks.
The task was to present a message that ‘it’s ok to have difficult discussions’ on race and social inequality framed around the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This was an almost terrifying assignment because not only did we have to honor the legacy and man who was Dr. King, I was going to be wading into difficult territory having people speak openly, on-camera, about race and social inequality in America. This coming only a month after a Super Bowl commercial turned into a PR fiasco when Dr. King's words and image were used to sell a product.
We're getting on a roll with these the "We Are" campaign having just come back from 3 days of filming in and around Muskogee, Oklahoma. "We Are:" is a 'moving the needle' campaign I designed for Georgia-Pacific. GP has amazing individuals all across this great land and "We Are:" aims to introduce them and the places they live, one small town at a time. Muskogee is the largest town we've visited so far with a population over 39,000 people.
We just completed 3 days of filming in and around Palatka, Florida for the second episode of the Georgia-Pacific 'move the needle' campaign, "We Are:" Palatka is in the heart of Florida right along the St. Johns River. Quick fact, Palatka was the largest town in Florida right through the early 1900's because the river made it the center of commerce in the state.
My new storytelling initiative for Georgia-Pacific was rolled out externally this week, "We Are: Brewton, Alabama." It's a few months later than originally planned, but forces beyond my control delayed the external release. But Episode 1 of the series featuring the incredible Glen Freeman is now live.
In order to sell a product well, you need to understand the manufacturing process. The entire manufacturing process. GP Studios was tasked with creating an immersive experience to showcase how Dixie products are made to the internal sales teams. Originally it was planned to start with the papermaking process, however I proposed starting at the very beginning, in the forest. That segment introduced a vital message to the sales team, the sustainability of forests is first and foremost in everything Georgia-Pacific does. Sustainability is a buzzword that can be tossed around, but to visually be reminded that this is more than just a word, turned out to be a key takeaway from the presentation.
“Folks, here’s the snake chaps, be sure to put them on so the rattlers don’t get you.” Now THERE’s a phrase I’ve never heard in my 25+ years of storytelling. And let me tell you, that phrase wakes you up in a hurry. Of course my response was, “I make these look good, don’t I?”
One thing about taking on a new role at Georgia-Pacific… you hit the ground running. March Madness is such a fun part of American sports and we have tons of certified sports nuts working at GP. Our Social Media team was looking for some way to have a little fun with the basketball tournament. So I quickly sketched out a storyboard and hatched a plan with lead on our intranet to recruit ‘actors’ for the spot. This turned out to be so much fun.
Prior to a recent cruise I picked up the iOgrapher for my iPhone 6. Having seen the product at NAB a few times, I knew it created a stable camera platform for the iPhone making the camera much more useable. I was more than impressed with the stability and ease of use of the system. In fact I shot a LOT more video than I originally intended on the cruise. While I was really happy with the with overall results, I felt that camera control and audio quality were lacking. The iPhone camera auto irises too much and the color temperature changes, sometimes at random. When the phone is mounted into the iOgrapher, the microphone is essentially blocked by the unit. So before my next trip, I knew I wanted to improve both areas.
No, I’m not a paid spokesperson for Rampant Design Tools. I just love their products and when they asked if I would create a video telling folks why I use them, well of course I said yes. Beyond the awesomeness of the products, there the awesomeness of Sean and Stefani Mullen. Real creatives who make wonderful tools for the rest of us.
Well, ok, it’s now tape replay, but I spent a wonderful almost 2 hours chatting with Sean and Stefani Mullen of Rampant Design Tools talking video production, entrepreneurship, 4k, 3D, the new Contemporary Living Network, Cruising, Cocktails and much more. It was a lot of fun and I thank Sean and Stef for the invite!
The call came in on Friday. “Our client saw the 4k culinary work you did and would like you to create 5 original videos with a mix of 4k and HD formats. And we need it by next Friday. Can you do it?” It became what we called “The Impossible Project” and we were just insane enough to agree to do it