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Dividing Corporate Video into Small Chunks

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Pat FordDividing Corporate Video into Small Chunks
by on Jun 5, 2008 at 4:28:34 am

Client wants to divide an upcoming 8-10 minute video into freestanding sections of about 2 minutes. The reason for this is the client thinks that the prospective client viewing the video is more likely to watch small bits than watch the whole thing at once.

Comments?


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Mark SuszkoRe: Dividing Corporate Video into Small Chunks
by on Jun 5, 2008 at 10:41:10 pm

Well, you don't really say enough detail to be absolute, but in general, yes, shorter is better, and user-navigable content is better than sitting thru a passive linear presentation. Make a linear presentation too long, and the viewer will make it navigable by just fast forwarding thru all your hard work anyhow. What good does that serve you?

If you are thinking about breaking the material up, is it because the bits are too long and boring, or that the segments don't really relate to each other or reinforce the overall message? Clients are always trying to "gold-plate" a single project with additional features and requirements. If it's a training tool they often want to add motivational or sales components to it. Or it is considered too much work to customize the content for the various audience education and experience levels, and so they make you add introductory materials and exposition for the "least common denominator" that the more advanced people know by heart already and want to skip past. We live in a time where hyperlinking and DVD chapterization and video games make us all very used to self-navigated non-linear content.

That should really be a separate program and a separate conversation. Really boil it down and define each piece and how or why it should be in the overall presentation. Think of it as buying a car, and the salesman wants to talk you into adding options and accessories you didn't want when you came in.


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Pat FordRe: Dividing Corporate Video into Small Chunks
by on Jun 5, 2008 at 11:44:28 pm

Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. Ok, what you are saying about nonlinearity makes sense....

Are a lot of corporate videos done this way? The ones we have done have been more linear....but they have been training video and others with a narrow and specific goal.

This video is to be sent out to prospective clients to introduce the company and its range of services. The video has to attract clients with diverse needs.

One of the sections of the video as it was originally planned was to answer the typical questions that are asked in an initial contact. (How long have you been in business? etc.) We were going to animated text and perhaps combine it with images. Narration by voice over. This could certainly be one of the sections.Obviously we do not want this to look cartoony....like the 60s Batman tv show.

Another section would be demonstration of expertise and shows a portfolio. The client calls this the trust building section.

Finally, the business for whom we are doing this has some very big name clients. We were thinking of listing the clients in a credit roll.

Are we making progress here?

I meet with two guys tomorrow, one a production guy the other a motion graphics/animation person. All this helps.

Anyway, this has helped. Any further advice from anyone will earn my undying gratitude!

Thanks all!



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Mark SuszkoRe: Dividing Corporate Video into Small Chunks
by on Jun 6, 2008 at 12:36:00 am

This is just my opinion, working only from what you've said so far. Take it for what it's worth. It is way easier to armchair quarterback what someone else has done than to look at a blank sheet of paper and start being a genius with the first pen stroke.... so like I said, this is constructive criticism FWIW...

"The video has to attract clients with diverse needs".

I'm looking at that statement and I'm going to ask you: ....why?

Is that the best strategy? This gets back to my point about trying to make one product do too many things or reach too many audiences. Does BMW market in one monolithic approach to both doctors AND ditch-diggers? Or do they narrow their focus and let the users self-select? Two well-targeted videos are a better deal than one which can't decide where to put the emphasis. And that says something about how your company thinks too: targeted and singularly purposeful... or diffuse, contrary, and over-generalized?

"One of the sections of the video as it was originally planned was to answer the typical questions that are asked in an initial contact. (How long have you been in business? etc.) We were going to animated text and perhaps combine it with images. Narration by voice over. This could certainly be one of the sections.Obviously we do not want this to look cartoony....like the 60s Batman tv show. "

I would say there are perhaps ways you can weave this thru the other material more subtly. If you put it away in it's own section, fewer people will navigate to it to look at it. And why should they want to? I think you have an opportunity here to try and incorporate that data within the other narratives, and each narrative can approach some of the same ideas from a different perspective, a perspective that comes out of that unique dimension of the company and what it does and how it does it. One unified message or theme, and each sub-section addresses one dimension of it, reinforcing the overall theme and tying to all the other sections.

Perhaps an example you could point to when discussing this with the bosses is Warren Buffet and the history of Berkshire Hathaway.

You really get a fast and accurate picture of the man and his philosophy from several short anecdotes like how long he resisted getting his own corporate jet, flying coach instead, what he named his plane, and why he thought that was important. About contrasting his home size and his annual pay with other CEO's. About where he puts his money and WHY that makes Berkshire so distinctive. That's SHOWING instead of TELLING. So much of the dull facts or claims you could make for B.H. could instead be woven into that kind of a narrative, instead of a list. Your graphics guy/gal could be a brilliant animator of that data, and make it do all kinds of clever gyrations, but at the end of the day it is just laundry list: it tells you what, but not WHY.

"Another section would be demonstration of expertise and shows a portfolio. The client calls this the trust building section. "

The whole video is (or should be) an exercise in trust building, not just one section. I think your guys should pick one, single-phrase goal, and put everything into that. If the decision is "trust-building", by God, make the whole thing revolve around that message, visually, in visual subtext (SHOW, more than TELL) and in overt spoken copy. "You can trust us because the feds say THIS about us..." "You can trust us because our customers say..." "You can trust us because even our competitors say this about us..." Or look at what I said before about these other sections being like facets of the one big jewel, each one refracting a little different color, a different perspective, on the whole...

Videos are really about a big picture and generating an emotional framework, I don't think they are as good for presenting dry tabular data, so I would not want to dive as deeply into the prospectus stuff in a video but have the video refer to printed or online ancillary materials. An additional benefit of that is the ancillary materials can be updated much more simply and even dynamically: you can add an online calculator to the site that actually runs a prediction of your portfolio based on previous performance if you invest x amount on A and B and C funds... get the picture? Leverage each kind of media for what it does best.

"Finally, the business for whom we are doing this has some very big name clients. We were thinking of listing the clients in a credit roll. "

This I think will mostly appeal to the vain members of that list, see above. You need a better way to tie that sort of endorsement into the story you're trying to tell. Did your writer ( was there one?) do a creative treatment and discuss the overall creative approach first, or is this script something that was more or less handed down from above, and you are trying to find the way to make it work? That is setting yourself up for a lot of trouble, I think.

I think I would stall and try to re-conceptualize the whole thing from basic principles. But maybe I'm assuming too much.




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Pat FordRe: Dividing Corporate Video into Small Chunks
by on Jun 6, 2008 at 2:14:22 am

Mark....

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my queries. I know it takes time and I appreciate it.

Just read your note and I am going to go back and absorb it.
Thanks again.

pcf



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Pat FordRe: Dividing Corporate Video into Small Chunks
by on Jun 6, 2008 at 3:08:48 am

[Mark Suszko] ""The video has to attract clients with diverse needs".

I'm looking at that statement and I'm going to ask you: ....why?"


Let me be a tiny bit more precise with the description of the client's business. It creates a kind of marketing material for businesses. Sometimes it just furnishes a design; sometimes a physical product is created and it rolls out the door. As I said above "the video has attract clients with diverse needs." But it is not like the company is selling the products in a hardware store. In fact, the company is selling just one thing: the excellence of their design and fabrication. Now, the clients that come to the client want may want many different services and/or products but it all goes back to excellence in design and fabrication.

Sorry to have to speak in riddles; I hope you understand.





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