There's a P in Pterodactyl

I often wonder what goes through the mind of an editor or graphic designer when they see the word Pterodactyl. It's a fairly common word really, most people learn it when they're children; and though it's an odd, almost Greek-looking word, I feel it's recognizable enough. Still, there is something almost mystifying about an editor and graphic designer's ability, or, should I say, lack there of, to spell even the most common words. Before I appear morose or offensive, I would like to say that I believe these folks are intelligent, creative, and capable of wonderful on-screen-text, if only they just believe. I spent many an elementary year struggling with the subject of spelling, the laughter and pointing fingers only drove me to be more diligent in my studies, as well as utilize the resources of "spell check" and of course, a dictionary.

This inquisition into the unknown finds it's genesis in an instance when I was beseeched by a superior of mine to email any written material to editors and graphic artists to minimize grammar or spelling errors that so oft find their way onto our screens. I, in the most gallant fashion, shot an inquisitive and most likely, befuddled look, to which the response was: "Editors and graphic artists can't spell, that's why there is copy and paste." Shakespeare himself couldn't pen a more beautiful explanation; I felt as if I was listening to a concerto by Mozart, or gazing upon a Monet or the statue of David itself. I vowed from that moment to not only follow through with the advice, but also, to explore the origins and reasons behind the phenomenon of editor's inability to spell well. I would encourage everyone to do the same, as well as offer their help to anyone in distress.

My best recommendation for a place to start is, Mr. Merriam and Mr. Webster- masters of their craft. Also, keep in mind friends, even our once great and prudent leader, President George Bush Sr.'s Vice President, Mr. Dan Quayle, had trouble spelling at one time or another.


Staring Contest #staringcontest #videoproduction

If you find yourself locked in a staring contest with a goldfish, chances are you're going to lose. The National Center for Biotechnology Information, at the U.S. National Library for Medicine, released a study that shows that the average attention span for a human dropped from twelve seconds in the year 2000, all the way down to eight seconds in the year 2013. That worthy foe floating inches away has an average attention span of nine seconds- goldfish: one, humans: zero.

This is a troubling statistic in terms of contests with household pets, and the success of advertisers and entertainers alike. How can you sell your product or keep folks in the seats if they journey into Imaginationland every 8.1 seconds? As time goes on, and our society delves deeper and deeper into the immediate gratification of social media, the world wide web, and sites such as Twitter and Instagram, our ability to pay attention lessens. It's almost a wonder feature-length films exist anymore.

The Guardian of Great Britain released an interesting "Internet Users Attention Span 101" sort of article about a year ago. The article highlights some of the key points and basic principles of consumer attention spans and internet surfing habits. As previously stated, the main goal of an advertisement to portray and promote a product has now turned into a very real science and very big battle of creativity, resourcefulness, and ingenuity. No longer is the staple sixty second commercial an acceptable standard. Now, not only on television, but increasingly more on websites such as YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, Vevo, and your favorite mobile app and game, there are ten, fifteen, and thirty second spots. Effectively advertising your product in thirty seconds is a challenge, doing so in ten or fifteen seconds is the new mark of a master.

Finally, in an attempt to explore the dark side of the moon, Variety, released a very interesting look at some major companies and brands pushing away from the shrinking attention span, and relying on quality storytelling, advertising, and production to sell a product, even if it takes two or three minutes. FiveSix Productions' David Dalasta wrote an interesting article about episodic social media that could well be a look at effective advertising in the near future. Perhaps these young minds and young consumers aren't losing the ability to pay attention; instead, the young folks and the generation behind them are simply overwhelmed with too much of a bland, mundane thing and are waiting to be thrilled, enticed, and engaged in a new, creative, and exciting way... even if it takes more than eight seconds. Game on gold fish.

LiveU Live Shot

Episodic Social Media - #videoproduction

Brand identity is crucial to most businesses.  In recent times, social media has been the outlet that has given a 'voice' to the business and a sense of community with its customers or clients.  This is often done with relevant tweets, one off videos, personalized responses or hashtagging.  This is great and all but when everybody is doing it and doing it alike, you're just one of the crowd.  Just like the explainer video has become normal and not creative anymore, so is social media blabbering.  It's tuned out most of the time... unless something goes terribly wrong and a poorly worded post brings ruin to a company.  But that's why responsible teenagers are often put into this position, right?

Well, something needs to shake things up and the next evolution of social media will be to drive consumers and clients to products, services and experiences by creating a continuous story that they want to follow and seek out.  For this, brands will find it beneficial to create episodic social media.  This would almost be like a narrative television program, featuring characters and situations that end up drawing people to them.  These videos can't be commercials in the traditional sense, but rather comical or dramatic storytelling that has just a hint to do with the product or service being offered.   The show brings them back to the site, which allows them to interact with the business.  Nobody is doing this all that well at the moment, for lack of idea, budget or perhaps its too scary to be the first few adapters.  Either way, if episodic social media is done well, I believe the benefits are likely to outweigh the costs.  This is just another way video could transform how brands interact with their customers and clients.  Perhaps in a decade, the next big hit shows will be created by specific brands to be shown only on their site.  If so, those seeds will be sown today by the bold few.   Think about it, millions of dollars are spent on television ads that are losing effectiveness with each year as there are more shows and more channels competing for the same audience.  Rather than chase the mass audience, more ad dollars should be shifted and spent on luring a targeted demographic to original brand programming.  The technology is there and many young talented graduates are looking for an outlet for their creativity.  You won't see this shift tomorrow, but perhaps sometime soon.






Explainer Videos

Explainer Videos - Getting Lost in the Shuffle, #explainervideo

Explainer videos, when they first popped up in popularity a few years ago they were inventive, new, fun, edgy.  They filled the important and specific role of telling an audience what a company was all about in a fun way rather than in a 'read this page' kind of way.  They worked.  They engaged people because they were a new way of presenting information.  But here we are, a few years down the line and explainer videos have gone from inventive and fun to 'I've seen this type of animation before, I don't care to watch it again.'  Click away, I'd rather read a page and move on with my life.  The formulaic explainer video has become old news and as such, has lost some impact.

The problem is that explainer videos became so popular that a cookie cutter approach was developed to creating them and they were churned out as fast as possible.  Throw up some stick figures, or a white board with drawings or some graphics/text whipping in and out, use a voice over, add a logo and kick it out.  It's no longer cute and new, its just another video to watch.

Now, we can't just abandon the explainer video.  The purpose for creating such a video isn't going away.  We know that video is the preferred method of digesting information for a large percentage of the population and no company wants to miss out on communicating effectively.  The goal of these videos in the future is to standout and not to get lost in the shuffle. This means to steer clear of the cookie cutter animations and do something that is unexpected or do something that is live action.  Clever, thought out, pre-produced explainer videos will not only garner more attention and shares and likes and thumbs ups, but they will deliver a better message in the end.  Effective explainer videos can't be done in an afternoon, like most things, they need to be done well, not just done.

Put on your creative beanies and try to stop regurgitating what the last guy did because each time the same video is created with a different logo, it becomes less effective and less desirable to watch.

There are only a few around but production houses like us here at FiveSix will help develop a concept from the very beginning and be sure to follow through so that the end product reflects the company in a unique and effective way.  We'll also have some fun.

Las Vegas Video Production

Video Production Budgeting, #corporatevideo

We send out an incredible amount of estimates for video production here at FiveSix, ranging from a few thousand dollars to a few hundred thousand.  But when it comes to requests for corporate videos that will end up playing on the web, the question we get the most is, how are these prices decided upon?  How much should my video cost?  Now I was going to lay out the reasoning and prices behind the industry but I remembered a post I read awhile ago that was comprehensive and right on the money.  So why retype what was already done well.  It tackled this subject and even gave dollar amount ranges for specific jobs in the industry.  The guys over at OMM listed the 25 factors that affect video production costs, and they did a good job.

Of course things involving camera technology and equipment have changed a bit since 2010, but the main message of experience and professionalism has remained a constant.  Budget is often times the driving factor in the creation of a video when it should truly be what is the video supposed to accomplish, and then let's go ahead and see how that fits into a budget.




Las Vegas Video Production

Long Shots - The Popularity of the Single Shot Video #videoproduction #singletake

We talk about videos most of the day around here and we don't always agree on everything, however, one thing that nobody can argue against  is that videos that are done in a single shot or have that illusion are quite impressive.  I've seen this being done more often, complete with elaborate sets and with elaborate choreography.  In these videos the camera is as much of the star as those people it is capturing.  Being handed off to one person and then another, lifted over buildings, through windows, flying amongst debris or simply following action, the camera movement stands out.  This style of one take, no cuts, really grabs a viewer's attention and often times, if done right, creates buzz and achieves the desired result in the end, often times it goes viral.  These videos could be considered a type of dance, by that we mean the entire process is choreographed and practiced and practiced again.  Everything has its place and rehearsal is vital.  And though you may only see a few people on camera, there are dozens behind the scenes.  It's getting more popular especially with music videos as seen with the new videos from OK Go and even Weird Al.  But it can also be done with any type of video given the correct pre-production, space(which tends to be overlooked in these scenarios) and budget.  These videos could be a good fit in commercial or corporate work, even video contests or book trailers.  Let us know if you see any more of these out there or better yet, we'd love to put one together if you have an idea.



Las Vegas Video Production

Script Writing, Every Video Needs a Script, #scriptwriting

We always talk about video acquisition.  We yap on about the new cameras, the new formats, how to get a shot with a Movi or a drone or where to use a close up.  It's all about the image.  What often times gets left behind is that all great videos, be they small :10 sec ads all the way up to features, have a script.  The ideas and content are first written down and organized in a structured way so that capturing that all important visual image will be done correctly and efficiently.  So what makes a good script writer, a good script, how does one get into that side of the business, who writes all of them?

We use a number of different script writers, why, because one person can't write every type of script out there in an effective way.  A comedic viewpoint takes a different mind than a dramatic interpretation, in most instances.  Car commercials, social media videos, book trailers and promotional ads all have script writers but the same guy isn't writing them all.  One thing is certain, a good script writer needs to be able to adapt.  This is because normally, when dealing in videos, there are many different opinions and the initial script is going to be changed multiple times by the end.  A script writer who knows how to let go and swing with change is going to be much more successful in gaining more work as well as having leverage to argue their point.  If they let little things go, often times they can keep in the script something that is more dear to their heart.  But I'm not a script writer, it's just what I've seen.  Below are a few a good articles and such on script writing to take a look at if you're interested.




Script writing may not be the most glamorous part of creating video but it is essential.  Having someone who loves to write and knows how to craft a script is as important as the people hitting record.  It's good to remember that at all levels of production.  We appreciate all the hard work that goes into each script and want to let all the script writers out there know they are appreciated.




Las Vegas Video Production

What makes a good Producer, in the sense of corporate video? #videoproducer #producer

Putting together corporate videos takes a leader, someone has to be in charge of the project or usually nothing ends up happening, well nothing good anyway.  These people who are put in charge are often given or anoint themselves the title of producer.  What does that mean?  Well it means you oversee every facet of the production from start until finish and make decisions on everything from budget all the way until the final edit and deliverable.  Oh I get it, they do everything.  No.  Stop right there.  Bad producers do everything. Bad producers micro manage every part, stifle creativity, and frustrate everyone else involved.  Often these are new producers, they take to their role like a child with a new toy, they don't know what they want but it's mine and I'm not letting it go.  They tend to alienate members of their team and the product suffers as a result.

But what makes a good producer?

A good producer is someone who knows what they want.  If it's a car commercial, a green screen interview, a behind the scenes shoot, high end real estate, or even a convention video, a good producer will do their homework and find out and strategize what the client is looking for.  They will then form a team of the individuals that can best perform each duty that will be needed such as camera, sound, editing, lighting, etc.  Then, they will provide direction to the team and let the team do what they do best, create.  A good producer will allow each member of their selected team to have input and coordinate with them to make sure the client's needs are being met.  They will address problems as they arise instead of create them.  The producer themselves can be creative but their role is more of the coordinator and facilitator of the whole project and good producers know that this is their primary focus.  Being the liaison between the client and the video team is extremely important, we all know nothing gets done well and correctly without good communication.

Too often producers want the role of creative, or the role of director or director of photography, or they think they are entitled to  make creative decisions.  True they are the lead on the project and they should have a great deal of input into the final look and feel of the video they deliver to the client, however, too often they hold onto too much.  The best results often come from a diverse set of ideas and not from a single person and a single view point.  A good producer knows when to let go and when to take control.  That is the most difficult part of the job.  So to all those good producers out there, thank you.   For those producers still learning, relax and let your people do what they do and most of the time they don't disappoint.

Oh and the best producers always feed their crew, on time.

A Fun Look at a Couple Video Production Crew Positions, #cameraassistant, #videoediting

Sometimes it's enjoyable to take a look at a few of the positions in the production world and poke fun at what they have to go through.  Every position has its challenges and Camera Assistant is one in particular that has so many responsibilities they are bound to get frustrated at least once per shoot.  Over at theblackandblue, a great resource for camera assists, they put out a list of gifs that sums up some of these instances.  Take a look, we found them to be amusing.

And then there are the jobs that everybody assumes they understand and therefore can comment about and make judgements about quality of work.  Video editor sounds quite self explanatory but its tough to put into words what exactly these unsung heroes do for video production.  Insidetheedit made a great video that elegantly describes what an editor does and shows how they have more power over the final product than what people may believe. Check it out.

We here at FiveSix Productions appreciate all the crew positions and know a production doesn't go smoothly if the tools are in place for everyone.  Be in corporate videos, training videos, commercials, or green screen production, there is a lot that goes on with every job to make a video come out great.


Las Vegas Video Production

Streaming Video Live, #corporatevideo, #streaminglive, @ustream

This is going to be such a great presentation, but the venue only holds 700 people and we have 10,000 that should see it.  I hear this phrase or a derivative of it muttered quite often.  The solution is to capture it on video, upload the video to a site and send out the link so that those people you want to see it can see it.  But what's even better is if they can see it at the same time, from wherever they are and be able to comment and engage immediately.  Streaming video has come a long ways in the past few years but it everyone only thinks of watching Neflix, HBO, or Hollywood movies.  Streaming video can be used effectively for corporate messages as well, in real time.  If the CEO is giving a speech somewhere, why not broadcast that out.  There's a new product that's being demonstrated, why not broadcast that out.  Get people talking immediately about what is happening with the company.  There are a number of on-line services that can be used and the setup isn't too involved.  We like ustream, just to let you know.  You can make it public or private and protected by password.   You just need a fast internet connection, a computer and guy that knows how to work it. Connect the video and audio to the computer and you're good to go, now everybody can participate as the event is going on.

What does this do?  Streaming content live is powerful.  Nobody likes to feel they are getting second hand, late information.  They talk about what's new, they talk about what's been said recently.  The more they share and the more current information they have, the more powerful your messages become.  If you're going to video record anyway, add this on and you won't be disappointed in the results.