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To Shoot or Not to Shoot (Video That Is)

January 24, 2009

This post is a continuation of my previous post describing how I was able to shoot, edit and produce a basic video piece without extensive training or budgetary resources. The moral there was that today’s technology and social media resources make it easy to get started as long as you don’t expect your videos to be Oscar – worthy.

Let’s take it to the next level. How about video production in corporate setting? Are you comfortable shooting a basic video of an engineer talking about your product and uploading it to YouTube for mass viewing? What if the lighting is not perfect and there is no b-roll and scene transitions are not that smooth?
I witnessed a similar situation a few days ago when an informal video interview of a marketer talking about a product was deemed “not perfect” enough for internet distribution and put away in a drawer in favor of written words.

I don’t necessarily agree with this decision since, in my opinion, video production does not have to cost thousand of dollars and does not require fancy lighting in order to be effective. As a matter of fact it should not be about the medium (video, audio, flash), but about content. If the guy in the video is giving you, the viewer information that’s valuable to you it should not matter that there is no fancy music in the background or that the video editing is not smooth. To the contrary, it shows the “behind the scenes” view of people who work on the product you use and that they care enough to put yourself in front of a camera to tell you about it.

In today’s corporate environment there is a shortage of valuable content. Why? Good-quality video or audio production is expensive and by the time it goes though the lengthy approval process the content is often outdated and yes, so perfect that it looses the personal touch so vividly presented by your product engineer talking about “his” product.

Am I advocating posting video where you can hardly make out what’s being said and who says it? Absolutely NOT. You must protect your brand and agree on a basic level of craftsmanship your interactive content should display. Just don’t get hung up on it and worst yet, don’t keep yourself from trying just because you don’t want to deal with criticism.
So for all marketers out there, don’t be afraid to experiment with self-made video or audio podcasting. It may not be perfect, but it will be authentic, unscripted, timely and… well, different enough from your competitor’s … written word.

RESOURCES
Robert Scoble’s Scobleizer TV channel (part of Fast Company) – over 1000 authentic, unscripted videos attracting thousands of daily viewers
Microsoft’s Channel 9 – the human face of Microsoft, yes, Microsoft.

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