Sidecar

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Shooting Your Own Video – Common Mistakes

So, you want to create a video for your blog or monthly newsletter? Great idea, online videos are hugely popular and are a great way to increase engagement, click-through rates, and conversions. Since hiring a professional video production company is not in your budget or isn’t practical for your situation, you’ve decided to create your own video content. Besides, the Verizon guy made sure to point out how amazing the video capabilities are on your phone, so it is time to kick the tires on that little baby.

You wrote a great script, you have the camera, the drive, and your inner Seacrest is ready to shine… that is when things go terribly wrong. The following are three common pitfalls that can torpedo even the best video intentions:

  1. Lighting – An under or poorly lit scene is a sure-fire way to kill your video. You don’t need expensive professional light fixtures, but your first step should be to identify the main light source in your scene. Typically this is a large window (if you are shooting inside during the day), but could be the sun itself, overhead lights, or a nearby lamp. Standing in front of the window or light source is the quickest way to sink your video. Instead, position yourself so you are facing the light source and then turn about 45 degrees away from the light. Additional lamps can be used to light your background, or positioned on the other side of you (away from the window) to create a more even light across your face.
  1. Audio – Poor audio is the first giveaway of an amateur video and another very common web video mistake. Generally when people think of creating their own video they consider the script, picture, and delivery, but rarely do they think, “Can my audience actually hear what I am saying?” Using an external microphone is always a good idea and almost always required to get great sound. You don’t need the same mics used to record the Beatles White Album, but you should never rely on a built in, on-board microphone. These types of microphones, like the one on your iPhone, are omnidirectional and pick up any noise around your camera, like your computer fan, the receptionist next door, and even traffic outside. Using an external shotgun or lavalier microphone is the way around this problem. Professional wired and wireless mics for video cameras are relatively affordable (especially if you are going to do this a lot), but there are also options out there for your phone: http://www.smartlav.com/
  1. Framing/Composition – Your one-minute of video is worth 1.8 million words (no, seriously, Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research counted), so what your audience sees says a lot about you and your business. Creating a visually interesting scene is critical to a successful video and also a common stumbling block. After setting up your lights, you want to place yourself and the camera in a manner that creates interest for the audience. Stage your background (add artwork, plants, brightly colored walls, but no computer screens, light sources, or windows) and then be sure to position yourself a good 5-10 feet in front of that background. Arrange yourself and other foreground objects (furniture, props, the dog) as best you can by following the Rule Of Thirds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_thirds). If you are using your phone, resist the common urge to orient it vertically. For starters, nobody needs to see your feet, unless it’s a video about shoes. Secondly, by shooting horizontally you conform to the way online videos are displayed and your video won’t end up on youTube sideways or with big black sidebars. Lastly, make sure you can see the top of your head and just a few inches above it, because unless you are impersonating Lincoln, nobody needs to see all of your invisible top hat.

Of course there are many more tricks and tips that can help make your web videos more awesome, but paying attention to these three common mistakes will get you on the right track. Hopefully, you are now empowered to go try these techniques out and make great video, but if you are feeling overwhelmed, just call Sidecar and we can help ease your video production pain. Happy shooting!

The Importance of Branding

Why is branding important?

Branding a company or product familiarizes the consumer with a specific product or service. It allows consumers to associate the personality of the company or service with their own beliefs, feelings, opinions, and experiences. If effective, a company brand will make a consumer feel like they can relate at a personal level

What does branding do for your company?

Branding is the key concept that identifies a product or service. Symbols, signs, catchy names, special offers, etc. link a company name to a specific standard of quality in which the company has set for itself. Creating a brand experience that is unique and special triggers a consumer’s memory to associate their emotional attitude with the identity of the product or service being offered

What is effective branding?

It is important to know what elements comprise of an effective brand and the brand’s identity.

Here is a list of the top 4 branding elements.

  • Brand Name – Tabasco, Kleenex, and Pepsi: these names have virtually replaced the identity of the type of product that it offers. It is no longer simply hot sauce, tissues, and soda. Tabasco Logo Brand Logo – The Raisin Bran Sun, The Energizer Bunny, and The Keebler Elf- These logos bond the imagery to the product. When we see these brands, we think to ourselves, wake up and have some Raisin Bran, keep your electronics moving with Energizer and cookies made by little elves in trees are delicious. Energizer Bunny
    Brand Tagline – You can’t get any closer, you’re going to like the way you look, I guarantee it, and Just Do It reference products as well as the product’s expectations. Norelco, The Men’s Wearhouse, and Nike have concentrated their brand into a single catchy phrase that tells the audience about the company’s goals. Nike

Brand Colors – A company’s colors must reflect the service or product they offer. Food packaging and logos should have colors associated with edible items. Orange, brown and red are all colors found in basic foods and 90% of all food packaging includes these. If the product provides energy the product colors will demonstrate an immense amount of energy; like the neon green of Monster Energy drinks. Monster logo

Creating an effective and memorable brand and brand image comes from consistency. Consistency starts with determining a specific Brand Name, Brand Logo, Brand Tagline, and Brand Color that can be used on every form of promotional media. If these 4 key elements were to be consistently changed, the public would constantly have to re-identify and re-familiarize themselves with your product..

Welcome to the new Sidecar Productions website!

Thank you for visiting us here at Sidecar and welcome to our new website. Sidecar has been in production since 2005 and it’s time we had a website that reflected all the goodies, videos and functionality we have created in the past 7 years of doing business. It took some hard work to put all of our creative abilities under one roof but the result is something we are proud of and we hope you like it is as well.

Enjoy our first commercial, checkout our demo reel, and search for ‘Easter Eggs’ that show how fun and entertaining a business website can be. As you peruse our site, we’d love to hear any ideas to make it better, more enticing, or viral. Sidecar is nothing without our network of small businesses, family, and friends, so drop us a line on our contact form; tell us what you like, what you hate, and what you think could use improving on our site.

Our website was built completely ‘in-house’. Any element of this project can be delivered to your business, your start-up, or the company you work with. Our goal was to create a site where our potential customers can experience interactive media online and ask “How do I get that on my site?” The answer is simple, give us a call so we can start discussing your message, your vision, and your goals.

Have a great 2012 and please keep in touch. Sidecar Productions… Video and Web in Motion.