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Feedback on Health Care spot

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Chris Blair
Feedback on Health Care spot
on Mar 24, 2009 at 2:25:28 am

Longtime lurker, first time poster. I'd like to get feedback on a spot we're working on.

The client is a large healthcare provider in our region. We do a lot of spots and budgets are in the $7-$8000/range per spot for production, with another $3-4000 going to a local freelance writer/producer.

This project's directive was to produce a series of "nurse image" spots that:

1. Showcase REAL nurses.
2. Are less institutional feeling, meaning not the typical "nurse helping patient" shots inside the hospital.
3. Promote the quality of nurses as well as serve as a recruitment tool for new nurses.
4. Show that nurses come from all walks of life and attempt to dispel stereotypes of the types of people that become nurses.

There are two spots and they play back to back from this link. You can mouse over the video and a player control pops up which has a playlist button to select one or the other of the two.

The shoot was crazy, dozens of locations, often with 5-10 minutes to change an entire setup and light it. So keep the budget and logistics in mind on these.

Link:

http://www.videomi.com/clients/Deaconess/NurseImage09/NursePrevA_Vers2.html




Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Feedback on Health Care spot
on Mar 24, 2009 at 3:40:06 am

OK, I'll play.

You listed 4 objectives. I'd rate your success as follows.

A, B, A, D.

In my experience, a 30 second spot can't really do 4 objectives well. One or two, yes, three - maybe - 4 hardly ever.

With that reality in mind, you've done an EXCELLENT job. You concentrated on the most important objectives and let the last one go. A good lesson for producers because trying to do too much is a sure path to weakening your overall effectiveness.

I suspect these will be very effective if supported by an adequate media budget. If nothing else, they'll accomplish a third unstated objective that might be the most important of all for an institution like this - enhancing the institutional BRANDING and it's top of mind awareness in the community.

Good job.



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Chris Blair
Re: Feedback on Health Care spot
on Mar 24, 2009 at 3:58:35 am

Thanks...and yes...we're constantly telling clients to only communicate one idea, theme or story in a :30 spot. The original concept was to just have nurses reciting poetry about nursing. Period. But when there are dozens of nursing departments to satisfy, that's a tough sell.



Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Feedback on Health Care spot
on Mar 24, 2009 at 2:06:31 pm

Its pretty good, the nurses are kind of stiff, but they're nurses, not actresses and actors. The one male nurse looks like Noah Wylie's stunt double:-) The "acting" part is the weakest component and that depends on a lot of factors; a key one is having enough time to work with each non-actor to get them smooth and natural-sounding. Your description indicates you didn't really get the time to do that, to polish them up a little. One could argue that that stiffness comes across as being genuine and without artifice. Well, that's diplomatic, anyway. This is a very stressful thing for the nurse talent to do: it takes them way out of their comfort zone and puts them on the spot as visible representatives for the entire hospital. And it's going on in their work territory, where their normal environment is very professional, competent, and stable, and you're asking them to do this stuff they are not trained for or used to. That's a lot of pressure for anyone. To get a good performance from a freaked-out person, you need the time to hold their hand, rehearse, beat back the fight or flight reflexes, make them get comfortable and feel accepted. This can be very hard to do when you still have eight more setups to light and shoot in two hours, and the nurse is only available to be away from their life-saving work for maybe ten minutes.

Considering all that, you did a heck of a job.

I got the impression there were almost "too many" nurses in the montage, but again, this is a factor that's likely outside your control. Perhaps another way to go would have been to just use one nurse per spot, to expand their individual 'stories' visually. I thought some of the copy was pretty good; the lines about the first breath of a baby and last gasp of an old man were particularly strong and that imagery stays with you. I think if I was boarding this out, I would have gone for more action footage of the nurses outside the hospital, with fewer but longer bites from each.

Institutional spots are hard because there are usually a lot of internal department people weighing in on the process and bringing multiple agendas. Everybody wants one spot or program to do everything, assuming that's the most economically efficient way to go. Of course that's not the case. When I talk to clients about this, I describe the message as an arrow, and the more goals and bullet points they want to glomp on there, the broader the arrowhead gets until it is so big and flat, it can't penetrate the target anymore.


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Chris Blair
Re: Feedback on Health Care spot
on Mar 24, 2009 at 6:42:06 pm

wow...you hit on all the EXACT same things I tried to convey to the client BEFORE we shot. We originally had planned to shoot b-roll of the nurses doing things outside the hospital, like helping at a food bank, or coaching kids in a basketball league, etc. But there was just not time or budget to do that and include the numbers of people they wanted.

Also...my recommendation was to pick the BEST 5 or 6 nurses in our auditions and really work with them on camera. But politics overrode that and they opted for numbers over quality.

In some cases, we literally had 5 minutes with the nurse on-cam. In others, we had 30-45 minutes. And these shoots are a roller coaster in that the producer and client have ideas about how copy should be delivered which often conflict with mine. So I have to navigate a minefield when it comes to directing and try to get what I think will work as well as what they want.

Thanks for the feedback though. I don't normally do this, but I've been so close to it I've lost all perspective.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Tim Kolb
Re: Feedback on Health Care spot
on Mar 24, 2009 at 2:11:18 pm

Some thoughts as I look at this...

I think they're good spots, but I can't help wondering if you could gain something by driving the background to bloom a bit and try to use more closeups if you have them.

Obviously not all your people would look good in a closeup, but since these are really intended to show the emotional side of healthcare, a closer look at the face while the words are being said might help you bring that across (though I do understand that none of these people are actors and their delivery of the lines wasn't always intense with emotion...).

I would usually split any contrast lines in these cases...so the "baby's first breath" is one person and the "old man's last" is a different person...of course that's how the hospital is staffed anyway. Very few maternity nurses would cross over into intensive care, etc...

Overall visually, the images seem a little flat to me. Something like Luminus fro Digieffects could serve to get the background to glow...and even your human foreground could possibly benefit from a little "glow".

I think the content is fine however...


My .02.




TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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Chris Blair
Re: Feedback on Health Care spot
on Mar 24, 2009 at 6:49:31 pm

I 100% agree with you. They wanted to keep framing medium on a lot of these to show their ID tags and badges. You probably don't notice but they all have on the same color and style of tops and the exact same ID badge placement with the RN tags as well...which is new.

We didn't have time to get close-ups on everyone. My preference would've been to shoot in fewer locations that we had more control over, but some of the locations were at the mercy of the nurses schedules (the hospital has facilities all over the areas across 2 counties). We constantly struggle with the notion that if an ER nurse is going to be on-camera, you have to shoot them in the ER. But if you've ever done Healthcare videos, it's always difficult to find appropriate locations to do stuff and work around doctors and nurses schedules.

So again, we were trying to satisfy the client's wishes and get what we felt we needed. But I agree more closeups would've strengthened the emotion and blooming out the backgrounds would help focus attention on the nurses too. At this point we're already over budget so I likely won't spend the time adding that effect.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Timothy J. Allen
Re: Feedback on Health Care spot
on Mar 24, 2009 at 7:18:05 pm

Well done, Chris.

If you didn't have to satisfy the client in showing the consistency of badges and placement (another one of those subtle secondary objectives that broadens the arrowhead) I'm sure you would have shown closer faces.

I agree that it woudl be more effective to have had two different nurses tagging on the line about the baby's breath and the last breath.

Blooming out the backgrounds might have focused the attention on the subjects, but too much of it could have taken away from the impression the nurses are in "real" environments. If you make the decision to use real nurses - and in the case that's essential to the authenticity of the spot - I don't think you need to go any further in creating a visual environment that could only exist in video. Your use of depth of field works to direct the audience's focus without making it too surreal.

Creating a sense of authenticity is no excuse for bad technical quality, so it's good to see that you thougth about framing depth of field, color, etc.

In the past, the stiff delivery would have bothered me more, but if their acting had been really polished, it might not have been believable that they were real nurses. Yes, that's rationalizing, but that doesn't mean the client wouldn't see it the same way.

Be proud of this effort and for what you had to do behind the scenes to get it done at that level.






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Tim Kolb
Re: Feedback on Health Care spot
on Mar 24, 2009 at 7:31:54 pm

[Chris Blair] "At this point we're already over budget..."

Yes...I hear that. In the end we all have to satisfy our clients as often satisfying ourselves artistically does not enhance the groceries we can buy as a result of doing the job.

If your client is happy, that's the key to operating through this economy we have on our hands.

Good job.





TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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Rory Brennan
Re: Feedback on Health Care spot
on Mar 24, 2009 at 8:55:33 pm

Great work Chris.

I think you can do some little things just to tighten it up a bit, without having to invest too much more time. The edit feels a little loose, but performance in contributing to that so not much can be done. - quicker dissolves too. I would also recommend flopping some of the nurses to vary the positions they are standing i, but then their badge would read backwards.

If you made the color correction a bit more vibrant it would help - greater consistency through shots too.

Also, the sound mix feels too empty, maybe lifting the bottom end a little will help, anything to fill out the frequency range because it's all very high and mid frequency at the moment.

I feel these are just little things though, as overall, as already mentioned, it's a good spot.

Rory Brennan
Editor
New York City


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Chris Blair
Re: Feedback on Health Care spot
on Mar 25, 2009 at 4:38:01 pm

Yep...agree with on the audio. I typically do a final sound sweetening once the spots are approved, and these were approval versions for review...so I'm with you on that.

On the looseness of the edit, those were all client changes. I originally had used mostly cuts with just a couple 10-15 frame dissolves. The client thought the transitions were too quick, so I slowed them down to satisfy.

There are a couple places where we intentionally left some audio breathing room to emphasize a line. One in particular is when the girl says "I AM strong." We really liked her look and intensity, so we hung on her for a fraction of a second. Same with the line about "last breath.."

I also agree with alternating sides of the screen. I actually kept track of which side people were on during the shoot, but we had no idea which people we'd use in the final edit. We even did some on both sides of the screen, but I ultimately picked the best takes rather than which side of the screen they were on. It bothers me that they're mostly on the left side but no-one on the client/producer side seemed to notice.

Thanks a ton for all the feedback. I get so close to projects I sometimes question if I'm doing the right things...so nice to get some confirmation and similar thoughts on how to improve it from you guys!


Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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