Brandemix has been working on a lot of video projects recently. I see the same challenges whether the client is a manufacturing giant or a local nonprofit, whether the video is for employees or the general public. Here’s a brief list of hints and tips to make sure your video shoot goes as smoothly as possible.
Lights: Hot Set
Unless you’re shooting outdoors, you’re going to need lighting. Fluorescent office bulbs bleach everyone out, while house fixtures and lamps cast strange shadows. A good video requires at least two lights: a “key” to light the performer and a “fill” to fill in the shadows created by the key.
The lights get hot, so bring gloves – and be ready with makeup powder and towels for the performers sweating under in the heat. In a pinch, reflectors can bounce the nearest light onto a performer’s face. You can even use your car’s sun shield! Rental budget: $75
image courtesy of CSI Rentals
Sound: Hearing is Believing
Without a doubt, the number one indicator of amateur video is poor sound. All too often, the microphone attached to your camera (or phone) isn’t sufficient. When you listen to the footage weeks later, suddenly you can hear the air conditioning, or traffic outside, or people down the hall talking. There are two ways to avoid this problem:
– A boom pole allows a crew member to hold the microphone above the performer. This boom operator wears headphones to monitor the sound of every take. They move and angle the mic so it’s always facing the right direction. This option requires an extra person on your set, and holding the boom can be tiring if the shoot goes long.
– Lavalier or lapel microphones clip to the performer’s clothes. No one has to hold a piece of equipment all day and the mic is always near the performer’s mouth. But the mic sometimes picks up the sound of clothes rustling, so you have to be careful where you place it. Also, lavaliers run on batteries, so have plenty of replacements handy; sometimes the batteries quit halfway through a take.
Rental budget: $50
Music: Don’t Skimp or Steal
Movie scores have shown that effective music can heighten the mood and create an emotional response from an audience. Just because music is one of the last elements you’ll add to your video, don’t leave it until the last minute. Take the time to search for the right piece that supports your message and tone.
Also, don’t steal music for your video. If you post it on YouTube, you may find the soundtrack removed or the entire video taken down. Affordable, royalty-free compositions can be found at Music Bakery, StockMusic.com, Getty, or even from individual composers. Music budget: $200
A small investment and a willing, talented team can produce a professional-looking video in a problem-free environment.
Posted in branding, establishing culture, technology
Tagged advice, audio, branding, corporate, employee video, employer video, film set, hints, microphone, movie set, music, secrets, shoot, sound, tips, video, video shoot
My company has been working with several non-profits lately, and I’m constantly asked how branding in that space is different from “regular” branding. There are similarities, but also some important differences. Here’s what nonprofits need to know about branding, based on my experience and research.
We start with “free.”
We understand that non-profits don’t have the marketing budgets of corporations so we start by leveraging every existing asset. Rather than creating new social media channels, how can we enhance the channels you’re already on? How can we repurpose your photos and videos? What are some past concepts or campaigns that could be revived with a compelling new angle? My fantastic staff and I have a knack for finding creative ways around limited budgets. For example, we’ve taken a stack of photos and turned them into a beautiful, moving slide show.
Talk to both the head and the heart.
Unlike other brands, nonprofits aren’t selling a product or service; you’re selling a cause or a belief or a goal, which can sometimes be hard to define or quantify.This requires creating an emotional bond to donors, employees, and the people (or animals!) you serve. It is important to research that bond, deconstruct it, and examine it from every angle – and articulate it as your brand. As an example, see the World Wildlife Fund, which pairs its logical mission, “To conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth” with an emotional image, the giant panda.
Stay true to yourself
As Nathalie Kylander and Christopher Stone point out in their recent study, non-profits run the risk of violating their own ethics or identity when they brand to a wide audience. They give the example of Acumen, which presents photos of proud, dignified individuals instead of pitiful images of poverty “which “dehumanize the very people Acumenis trying to help. I discourage branding from vanity, or because you just want a new logo. Branding is about the heart and soul of your organization and can’tbe taken on and off like a shirt.
Tell a story
Storytelling was the #1 topic at SXSW and it works for nonprofits as well. A strong brand is supported by good stories which allow people to connect to your mission. Brandemix helps nonprofits find those stories, whether they’re about important milestones in your history, the life and deeds of your founder, or the success stories of the people you’ve helped. For example, the Sierra Club offers a blog called Explore, which features “stories of personal encounters with the natural world.” This turns large, complex issues, like hydraulic natural gasfracturing, into personal stories of triumph, wonder, and survival.
Non-profit branding is a specialty. Call Brandemix if you’re looking for a specialist.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Acumen, branding, Employer Branding, free, hints, mission, non-profit, nonprofit, rebranding, Sierra Club, tips, tricks, values, vision, WWF