Tag : graphics

Sub 5 Solutions (Part 3)

This series of blog posts focuses on what we call “Sub 5 Solutions”, which are approaches to creating fresh content with a budget of under five thousand dollars. In this post, we are reviewing how to produce a video podcast and avenues to broadcast and/or distribute it.

First, what is a video podcast? Podcasts are commonly audio only, formatted like a typical radio program and inexpensive to produce. Costs can involve creating a script, hiring a professional host and editing the content. Interviewees for the program can be recorded remotely via a phone line, which is a significant cost reduction.

If video is added, then the approach shifts and adding visual content can be more impactful. Participants are on camera. Additionally, graphics and other video can be built into the program to increase the effectiveness of the communication.

With the expense associated with creating content in podcasting, think about producing a series and not just a single program. Each segment is concise and more easily digested by the viewer. Each can be published at once or regularly over time, but when they are all created at once, costs can be spread out.

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The video podcast is typically set up by mimicking a radio studio, with table microphones and the participants wear headsets. A monitor can be added to display visuals during taping. And others can still be included remotely via Skype, Google Hang-out, or via phone (and a still image of that person is used to accompany the voice).

Here is a budget template of under $5 thousand dollars for a series of 5 five-minute podcasts:

Scripting $600
Studio Rental $1,000
Graphics $500
Editing/Post Production $2,200
Talent/Music Licensing $700

Podcasting is a great method of producing fresh content on an ongoing basis for web sites, news releases and training.

Sub 5 Solutions (Part 2)

This series of blog posts focuses on what we call “Sub 5 Solutions”, which are approaches to creating fresh content with a budget of under $5 thousand dollars. In this post, we are investigating how to create a 5-minute promotional video for business or non-profit.

I call it a “blast”. It is a short video that tells a compelling story. It provides an overview. It showcases key people. It captures passion and emotion. It is typically a program that can re-purposed over a variety of platforms or outlets.

Examples include a video to present a product, describes a business or service, or raises support. The video can appear on a web site, be embedded in a PDF eFolio brochure, or be attached to a news release.

People charged with making “live” presentations can utilize that brief video for education and inspiration.

Creating a highly impactful video demands certain features. The script needs to follow classic storytelling techniques. It must contain imagery that is visually stimulating. The narrative should be tightly woven. Sound bites with interview subjects must capture conviction and emotion.

A budget of $5000 or less on a short video can be broken down as follows:

-Script/Creative $600
-Location Production:  Interviews and B-Roll $1200
-Pre-Production: Archive Retrieval $300
-Graphics $800
-Edit/Post Production $1500
-Talent Fees/Music Licenses $600

Two of the most important keys to creating a compelling video are the quality of the script and the interviews. The script follows the proven three-act story structure. It provides an attention grabbing set up. It produces story lines carry viewers through an stimulating ebb and flow. And it comes to a satisfying conclusion, often with a call to action. Secondly, the video presents people whose commentary is concise, sincere and strikes the right emotional chord.

When done well, a video “blast” delivers a return on investment that can be quite significant and ongoing, especially when the content is kept revised and up-to-date, often in the form of a series.

Sub 5 Solutions

This series of blog posts focuses on what we call “Sub 5 Solutions”, which are approaches to creating fresh content with a budget of under $5 thousand dollars. First, we will discuss the :30 TV commercial and public service announcement.

The old advertising adage is get their attention, create an interest, convert the interest to desire and close. Remember too that people are moved by memorable stories that compel them into action.

Yes, storytelling can take place in a half minute.

Commercial messages always begin with a concept. Ideas to convey that should be varied. They are tested before a market sampling. The creative process proceeds with these guidelines and this research intelligence to craft the final product.

A Sub 5 solution breaks out into this typical budget.

 

TV Ad/PSA Budget

Scripting/Storyboarding $600

A competent and creative copywriter tightens and enlivens the words that are used. Storyboarding a spot is nothing beyond just simple sketching to visualize the flow of the imagery and sound.

Producer/Director Fee $800

This role is critical. Look at the potential hire’s portfolio to find the right match.

Locations $800

This involves shooting original footage either on location or in a studio. Travel costs could bust the budget. Come organized and rehearsed. And, spend less than half a day, getting what you need.

Graphics $600

Spots typically contain graphics. It adds impact to put motion into those graphics.

Licensing/ Talent Fees $700

Music is not free. Neither are stock images. Licensing is required to avoid copyright violations. Professional on-camera and/or voice talent charge a fee (which varies).

Editing/Post Production $1500

Fortunately, shorter length content often requires less time in editing if the producer/director is clear and focused on what the final product should be.

Successful spots don’t necessarily contain all of the bells and whistles, but always the perfect tone and emotion.

Timelines (Part 3)

Timelines have proven to be an instrumental tool in conveying complex information formatted to be easily digestible and understandable. In this series, we look at how timelines are designed and developed for use in the courtroom, in mediation, and/or during the discovery process.

 

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Process to Complete a Timeline

When our phone rings and one of our clients is needing a timeline on a case, typically, it is during preparations for trial. We end up preparing a timeline for the facts witnesses to refer to. Or it’s one that’s prepared in conjunction with one or more of the experts.

Seeing the Facts Clearly

Commonly, the timeline is used in the opening, in order for the jury to get a global perspective on the case, and what the key evidence is proving in terms of answering critical questions about who may be responsible and for how much.

That’s, of course, when use of certain demonstrative aides has been agreed to.

Preparing Timelines During Discovery

In many cases, timelines are developed during discovery and used by witnesses giving their depositions, especially in situations where that witness may not be available “live” at trial, and the deposition is being taken by video for playback to the jury. When taking this approach, your goal is always not to put jurors to sleep by presenting an edited video that keeps their attention.

Testing with Focus Groups

Additionally, preparing a timeline early allows the trial lawyer an opportunity to test it in front any focus groups that might be conducted during the preparation and evaluation of the case.

Timelines (Part 2)

Timelines have proven to be an instrumental tool in conveying complex information formatted to be easily digestible and understandable. In this series, we look at how timelines are designed and developed for use in the courtroom, in mediation, and/or during the discovery process.

Establishing a Time Frame

Each timeline covers a certain period of time, whether a few seconds or decades. Often, an overview timeline of the key themes of a case is produced. Imbedded within that, are timelines that focus on more specific time frames or subject areas.

Develop Outline of Major Themes

As with any demonstrative exhibit, the timeline is designed to assist the jury with forming clear conclusions about what the evidence shows. Typically, even the largest of cases boil down to settling a few key issues, relating to liability, causation and damages.

From the onset of the case and as discovery unfolds, an outline of these key themes is helpful. Individual themes flow from one to another, and each are summarized in three sentences or less.

Organize Key Evidence

As you pull key evidence out of the case, it is organized under each of the key themes. Once it is summarized and visualized on the timeline, an overview emerges of what the preponderance of the evidence proves.

Weight of the evidence is just that, as much as is available, but succinctly presented.

Timeline Elements Broken Down

Of course, timelines contain time increments, whether seconds, hours, days, years or decades. Then, key evidence is added. It appears as highlights of key documents, quotes of critical testimony, photos or videos of credible physical evidence and graphics relating to key data or expert reconstructions.

Timelines (Part 1)

Timelines have proven to be an instrumental tool in conveying complex information formatted to be easily digestible and understandable. In this series, we look at how timelines are designed and developed for use in the courtroom, in mediation, and/or during the discovery process.

 

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One or More?

A timeline tells a story, whether it relates to liability, causation or damages. It captures the key evidence in this case, including documents, testimony, graphics, graphs, photos or embedded videos.

Timelines can be static or interactive graphics, blown up on large boards, or electronically displayed.

Liability, Causation and Damages

Timelines come to life when sequencing your stories. The liability timeline lays out the facts of an event, based on physical evidence, witness testimony or investigatory findings. Both plaintiffs and defendants are attempting to emphasize how the evidence leads to rational conclusions about the case. A causation timeline can be a visually compelling display of a critical chain of events, revealing what happened and when, who knew what, and what was done or not. And when summarizing damages, particularly relating to medical care, a timeline provides a detailed and comprehensive overview of what transpired from the time of injury through rehabilitation and a return home.

Finally, timelines can prove to be quite effective in capturing key evidence related to punitive damages. Often the evidence concentrates on what was known by the defendants, when they knew it, and how that critical knowledge or experience may have been either ignored or covered up.

Packaging Super Speeches

Packaging Super Speeches

In this series of blog posts, we discuss using the interactive PDF format to package speeches and presentations for broad distribution.

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Imagine someone at a computer or holding an iPad or iPhone with an Internet connection. That person clicks on a link and it brings up an interactive PDF file. The viewer is then able to flip through pages of an eBrochure or eMagazine. Embedded in the publication are links to videos that play in the browser window. That’s the power of interactive PDFs and the Internet.

Our clients come to us with speeches, which either have already been given or are scheduled to be delivered. Our job is to package that speech in the interactive PDF format. This is accomplished by acquiring the video recording of the speech, when one was done. We create a transcript of the speech and edit it to fit the written format. Then, we design a printed version of the speech with text, infographics and links to edited video segments.

Quality of the Video Recording Matters

Quality of a video recording can vary greatly. Ideally, the speech is recorded in high definition and it is much better to use two HD cameras. One is focused on the speaker while the other is capturing a wider shot or audience cut-aways. Recordings of the speech or presentation are made on both cameras and later synced up in the editing process. The final product is greatly enhanced by being able to intercut between two camera angles.

Proper lighting is critical. A poorly lit speaker can look rather sinister. If there isn’t enough light under ambient conditions, then a spotlight needs to be used. Good sound is also critical. The sound is either captured directly out of the sound system or the speaker wears a wireless microphone. The audio must be monitored while it is being recorded. Any problems must be identified and fixed or the video recording will be rendered unusable.

Adding Visuals Afterwards

If the speaker used a PowerPoint or other visual aid, we copy it and along with other graphics, edit it into the final program. The person recording the video should also keep a written time log of the speech, noting when each of the visual aids were used. This serves as a useful guide for the editor later on. Once we acquire the video of the speech, we are then able to design and produce the interactive PDF file that will contain all of the content.

Remain Succinct

When presenting, keep in mind that the video segments in an interactive PDF are purposefully kept brief. Let’s face it, a Vine runs 6 seconds. We try and keep video segments shorter than ten minutes. The attention span of an average viewer is rarely longer than that and they will quickly tune out. That is why a lot of content is produced in a series of short videos. For example, if it is a thirty minute speech, then five six-minute segments, or six five-minute segments.

Creating Interactive Content for ePublishing: Review/Revisions and Publishing

In this series of blog posts, we share insights into how we produce interactive fresh content for ePublishing. It is a dynamic process requiring creativity, technical competency and adequate resources. The series will discuss step-by-step each phase in the process.

Creating Interactive Content with Video for ePublishing

- Outline
- Budget
- Scripting
- Storyboards
- Principal Videography/Photography
- Graphics/Animation
- Editing/Post Production
- PDF Design/Layout and Production
- Review/Revisions
– Publishing


 

Here are steps six and seven – Review/Revisions and Publishing

Content must be reviewed before it can be finalized. It takes more than one set of eyes and ears to catch mistakes and provide valuable subjective feedback.

We ask clients to provide input at critical stages of the process. We can test images and language in front of either formal or informal focus groups, before finalizing the program. We have developed approaches to our work that are designed to keep us from having to go backwards and make changes that could have been avoided. However, some amount of revising is inevitable.

Our digital content can be published instantly and distributed globally. The ease of publication is one of its largest advantages. However, rich media such as video has large file sizes and we have developed a methodology to prevent this from making a PDF preventatively large. Our solution is to host the video content on a video sharing service and then embedding links to the content in the PDF.

Our content is also designed to be repackaged and repurposed across a large spectrum of devices.

 

Creating Interactive Content for ePublishing: PDF Design/Layout and Production

In this series of blog posts, we share insights into how we produce interactive fresh content for ePublishing. It is a dynamic process requiring creativity, technical competency and adequate resources. The series will discuss step-by-step each phase in the process.

Creating Interactive Content with Video for ePublishing

- Outline
- Budget
- Scripting
- Storyboards
- Principal Videography/Photography
- Graphics/Animation
- Editing/Post Production
- PDF Design/Layout and Production
- Review/Revisions
- Publishing


 

Here is step five – PDF Design/Layout and Production

The PDF format is a creative and flexible platform to deliver content, either electronically and/or in print. Typically, PDF is thought of as a format for documents. But a PDF can also be interactive, rich with graphics, photographs and videos. It is a common format that is easily shared and can be opened with freely downloadable software.

PDFs can be downloaded, emailed, copied to a thumb drive or disc, and/or printed.

Developing an interactive PDF is a multi-step process that involves creating an outline and then fleshing it out with the titles, subtitles and the body of text. We take this content and design infographics that represent visually the textual information. We place links to videos that are relevant to what is being said. And we also pull out quotes or bullet points that will further clarify the meaning of the text. To produce our PDFs, we use the Adobe Creative Suite, including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

Once the script is finalized, then we create mood boards and mock-ups to better visualize how the content will look once completed. This kicks off the production process, which winds through several iterations, each pending approval.

Videos can be directly embedded in the PDF, although this adds greatly to its file size and therefore reduces its ease of distribution. Video links are a better way to have video content accessible from the PDF without overloading the file. The videos can be hosted on a server or on a video hosting service like YouTube or Vimeo.

Creating Interactive Content for ePublishing: Editing/Post-Production

In this series of blog posts, we share insights into how we produce interactive fresh content for ePublishing. It is a dynamic process requiring creativity, technical competency and adequate resources. The series will discuss step-by-step each phase in the process.

Creating Interactive Content with Video for ePublishing

- Outline
- Budget
- Scripting
- Storyboards
- Principal Videography/Photography
- Graphics/Animation
- Editing/Post Production
- PDF Design/Layout and Production
- Review/Revisions
- Publishing


 

Here is step five – Editing/Post-Production

Editing is a tedious and time consuming process and is absolutely essential to delivering content with a meaningful impact. The overall length of the programming varies from 30 seconds to two hours. The script for the program is like a detailed blueprint that the editor follows. In the editing process, the editor achieves the proper pace with an engaging ebb and flow. The editor works on a system such as Final Cut Pro X, using video footage, graphics/animation, photographs, narration, music and sound effects. The amount of time it takes to edit a program varies depending on the complexity of the content. Once the script has been completed, we can make an accurate estimate of the resources required.