Jerold Gelfand is the president of JG Productions, a colleague of mine in the Boston chapter of the American Marketing Association and a video production vendor for my company IMO Independent Mobile. His company produces marketing, training and on-line videos for technology, manufacturing, medical device and medical service industries at www.jeroldgelfand.com. I first came across Jerold’s work at the AMA through his video taping of the AMA networking events as a volunteer for the chapter, here’s an example of his work with the Boston AMA, and there’s a video on my company’s website that Jerold re-shot on the IMO home page.
I decided to interview Jerold for this blog and ask his opinions about marketing and video production.
John: Tell me a little about your background in TV and Video.
Jerold: I have been in the video production business for about 20 years. I started my career in the trenches shooting local news for a variety of network affiliates up and down the east coast. My roles ranged from videographer and editor to writer and director to special program producer. After shooting one too many nor’easters I decided to start producing commercials and corporate videos. At this time I started JG Productions where I produce marketing, training and on line videos. Doing this allowed me to utilize all my skills all in one package including videography, editing, directing and producing. During my career I have been recognized by a number of industry awards but the most important part of my business is having clear communication with my clients. I pride myself on taking the time to fully understand my client’s needs. Some of my clients include: Mass General, MIT, United Electric Controls, and Evergreen Investments.
John: What are you currently doing?
Jerold: Right now we are working on a number of projects. IMO Independent Mobile hired us to create a video describing the company’s services and visually capturing its unique offering in the wireless marketplace. This video is now shown on their website and displayed at events and trade shows. We are also creating a video for Munters Corporation. This video will demonstrate the company’s capabilities in document and property restoration following the Katrina disaster. We are also working on a virtual tour video for a division of Parker/Chomerics in Beijing, China. This video will give prospects an overview of the company’s services and capabilities without physically touring their facility.
John: How do you use marketing in your work with clients?
Jerold: My clients use video to enhance their overall marketing efforts. Videos will never replace brochures but sometimes a product needs demonstrating to fully communicate its capabilities. Also a service organization might want to show an interview or client testimonial to illicit an emotional response. They might want to create a product demo for a trade show event or produce a video to compliment a new product launch. Clients also realize that technical manuals are hard to follow so they use video to educate their end users, employees, and sales reps to better comprehend product information.
John: How are you using social media in your work?
Jerold: My clients realize that websites such as YouTube have revolutionized the transmission of the video message. Why just have your video sitting on your website when it can be searched and watched by countless viewers.
John: Can you give the readership some tips on how to develop a usable video?
Jerold: When creating a video that will entice your audience, there are a few things to keep in mind. Why should they watch this video? Are you trying to educate your audience? Are you trying to promote a product or idea or are you simply looking to entertain? I know this sounds simplistic but if your final product does not meet the intended goal, your audience will loose interest.
There are so many different formats out there. There is Digital Video, Beta SP (not to be confused with the old Betamax), DVcam, DVC PRO as well as compressed and uncompressed HD (High Definition). There are advantages and disadvantages to each of them. If you have a big budget and want to impress a live audience with vibrant color, HD is a great choice. If you want to reach a mass audience on the web or traditional DVD, digital video would be the way to go. Why spend HD money when your audience will only see a compressed version of the original digital video format.
Here are some technical concepts to keep in mind when shooting video. Sound can be more important than the pictures. You could have the most beautifully lit shot over looking a spectacular background but if you can’t understand your subject, your audience will loose interest very quickly. The microphone built into your camera does an adequate job of capturing background sounds but is rarely the right choice for speech. In order to capture quality sound, either use an external lapel microphone or a handheld stick mic. Always use headphones to monitor your audio because your camera microphone is much more sensitive than what the human ear actually picks up.
A properly lit shot will make a big difference in the quality of the picture. Even if you don’t have a professional lighting kit you can still improve the overall video quality. When possible, shoot outside during a cloudy day. The clouds act like a big soft box. It minimizes shadows and allows for easier subject placement. If you have to shoot indoors try to avoid florescent lights. Even though these lights give off an even tone, it creates flat facial features. Instead use a traditional floor lamp. A number of these will minimize shadows and give a warmer feel than a florescent light.