Social Video Ad Campaigns

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I subscribe to daily e-mails from ReelSeo and saw this post regarding the top 20 social videos for the month of March. There is a touching spot by Budweiser called “Brotherhood” about a man’s relationship with his Clydesdale. There is the “God Made a Farmer” spot with Paul Harvey’s voice. Both of the original spots were introduced during the Super Bowl.

I had the pleasure of photographing Paul for Parade Magazine once. He and his wife were so gracious. I was told by his manager that he only had 30 minutes to give me but I ended up spending a couple of hours with him talking and hearing stories. That time spent, it’s one of the reasons I love my job.

The interesting thing about most of the spots is they were originally created for broadcast and therefore limited in duration. They’ve been re-edited for the web and made longer. The stories are richer now. They create more emotion and the use of the “pause” brings so much depth to them.

I see more and more companies are using the web and social media to get their message out. It’s important when creating your video campaigns to remember that there will be more and more uses of what is created during the initial production.

Well, for that kind of money we’ll just buy the cameras and shoot it ourselves.

I think I charge a fair price for my services but I actually heard this from a client several years ago. I was asked to bid on a project for a pool building company. They wanted to create a portfolio of some of the pools they had built. The project included scouting all the pools, deciding what time of day would be best to photograph them, working with the pool company to make sure every feature was functioning properly and that the pools looked their best, coordination with all home-owners and actually photographing the pools.

Some of the pools had elaborate water and lighting features so they would have to be professionally lit and shot at dusk. They had a list of over twenty pools they wanted photographed all over the city.

After the owner of the company told me they would buy the cameras, the marketing person called me to apologize. He said that the owner was rather bull headed and what would more than likely happen would be they would buy the cameras and shoot the pools and when they realized how bad everything looked they would hire a professional to go back and do things right. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be me because the owner would be too embarrassed to admit he had made a mistake.

With all the features on modern cameras and consumer grade NLE programs like Imovie, Premiere Elements, and Sony Vegas it really has gotten easier to create your own web videos. Everyone has a nephew/uncle/daughter/friend that has a video camera. I’ll bet that video camera even came with some sort of editing software. Most anybody can shoot something, drop it into the software, add a title and call themselves a filmmaker but what is going to look like? What is it going to sound like? What about music? Voice over?

I had a boss a long time ago tell me, “Ya gotta look like you’re worth it.” When we went out on assignment our equipment was state of the art. It was well maintained and tested regularly. Everything was organized and no matter what happened on a job we were prepared. That lesson has lived with me and being just slightly obsessive/compulsive it comes easily.

Why would you try and convince your customers to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on your goods and services with a marketing video created by your nephew/uncle/daughter/friend?

I believe creating your own content without experience is a little bit like asking your accountant to produce your advertising. He may understand your business and he may even understand your marketing efforts but does he understand the best way to get your products and services out to your potential customers?

The importance of putting video on your website.

Since I enjoy shooting motion so much, of course it makes sense to look into ways to continue. I’m seeing more and more companies looking to add video to their websites. Rather than try and repeat what I have read I am going to copy a few articles I have seen that can explain things much more eloquently than I.

Look here.

Here’s an article from Business Week.

Here is a series by Rebecca Appleton.

Although this article doesn’t speak specifically to video, it does talk about the importance of keeping your content current. From my good friend Ed Tankersley.

If you want to understand the process a little better, I would look at Here is their website I subscribe to their newsletter and although some of the stuff I read about Google analytics just bores me to tears there is a huge amount of valuable information. Just looking at the Glossary in their menu options will help you so much to understand the process of adding video to your site.

A lot of the information they gives tells you how to shoot your own videos. That’s an option but for reasons why it’s not a good one, look at this post.

Sixteen Cameras!

I just got to work on a project helping director Bill Davis. We created a video for JazzinAZ at the Nash, a new jazz club in downtown Phoenix. No, it’s not named after Steve. It’s named after Lewis Nash, the jazz drummer who grew up in Phoenix. I got to meet some some new people and had a fun time.

We had 5 Canon 5D Mkll cameras and 11 GoPro’s. Here are a few of photos of the production.

Frank Salle, Ken Epstein & Bill Davis in the foreground.

We had cameras mounted all over the room.

GoPro’s all lined up!

Here is the finished piece:

AV Homes

I recently finished directing a ten day project in Orlando, Florida for AV Homes. Our client was Brad Ghormley at Catapult Strategic Design. Long days but a fun project produced by Jean Davis. Rick Pease was our director of photography and Frank Salle was our second unit director. The project was for an active adult community called Solivita.

A funny story from the project was about 12 years ago I was hired to produce a series of photographs for a home builder near Orlando. They wanted to shoot the project in Arizona since they did not have anything yet built to show. I had forgotten all about it until I walked into the Solivita sales office last June. I looked up at the displays hanging on the walls and I said to myself, “These photos look familiar”.  Turns out it was the same client, completely different agency. One of the photos even included my golden retriever Noah. Small world.

We shot a combination of live action, green screen and time lapse to illustrate five new videos for their sales office. The videos will talk about everything from the location of the community in Central Florida, the company of AV Homes and include time lapse of the new model homes being built over the next four months. I said we shot green screen. We actually had to shoot blue screen. It’s so green in Kissimee where we were located that if we used green everything would have disappeared.

The videos include a series of animations and the final assembly and edit is being handled by Mark Trengrove over at Bladecuts.

Special thanks to John Atkinson for bringing out his jib and Steve Braun for our grip/electric package.

As the project progresses I will be putting up some samples.