How to Produce Professional Videos at Low Cost and with No Experience

August 17, 2015

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire Marketing

The videos you constantly see online, whether on a branded website, a social media platform, or a news73 percent of all adults outlet, can be replicated at low cost and by someone with no production experience. This revelation is important because if you aren’t currently tapping into the trend of video marketing, you will be soon once you realize how easy it is, and how significant the potential results can be.  How significant?  According to an Animoto Online and Mobile Video Study conducted using 1,000 U.S. consumers, “nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of respondents are more likely to purchase a product or service if they can watch a video explaining it beforehand.”

Camera phoneCamera

Option 1: Low cost:
Cell phones turned into computers overnight and the world has been watching them ever since. With the launch of the latest series of smartphones, camera technology has been exponentially improved giving everyone access to HD (1920 x 1080) quality recording devices.

What exactly is HD?
HD refers to the lines of resolution in an image. Video footage with a higher quantity of resolution lines is deemed high definition because of the greater appearance of detail in the image.

Take advantage of your access to HD recording devices and create beautiful videos – all with the device you have in your hand right now.

DSLR tripodTo maximize the effect of your smart phone camera stay zoomed out to the widest setting and capture your footage in a well-lit environment. Don’t be fooled, even Hollywood admits to the astounding quality of footage captured with  an iPhone.

What will make your footage stand out from other “smart phone” videos is the use of a tripod. Yes, they make tripods for cellphones, pointing to the quality footage that can be captured from the same device that you occasionally use to order dinner.

Option 2:  Medium budget:
Let’s say you plan on regularly producing video projects and you want some versatility in the tool used to create your visuals. A DSLR camera is an affordable way to create professional quality images with an easy to use technology while giving you more control over the depth of field of your images. And at a $400-$500 price point for an entry level camera, it is so affordable and easy to use that Hollywood often takes advantage.DSLR

What is depth of field?: The range of what is in focus in your image compared to what isn’t. When you see an object in the foreground in sharp focus, and everything else is blurry, you have a shallow depth of field. With a DSLR camera you have more options for how you want your image to look.

A DSLR camera will also give you much better color reproduction as a result of the larger sensors (what captures the image) so your images will be vibrant and pop.

Lighting

Option 1:  Low cost:
Light bulbs make light. It’s what you choose to illuminate with that light that will make the difference clamp lightbetween clunky amateurish videos, and professional digital media. By utilizing higher wattage bulbs, such as 150w and 200w, and clamp lights that can be purchased at any local hardware store, you can create a studio right in your office.

How can these lights be used to create a professional image? The term to remember is three-point lighting. This lighting scheme uses two lights to illuminate both sides of the subject. The third light is what really makes the image look professional. The third light, cast over the back of the subject illuminating highlights such as hair and shoulder, creates separation between the subject and the background. This allows the viewer to perceive depth on a two-dimensional medium.

Option 2: Medium budget:
Basic lighting kits are affordable and extremely easy to use, assemble, and store. A light kit is superior to using clamp lights because the light stands are easy to assemble and move around. With clamp lights, creativity is required in identifying objects to which they can be clamped. With a light kit all the tools are available. The height of a light stand can also easily be manipulated, offering many variations of lighting schemes that can be tried out without too much time or effort.

Sound

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Option 1:  Low cost:
For a production, sound is the most important aspect. If the audio is crisp and clear, clean of ambient noise and static, the audience will accept your media as professional grade regardless of what type of camera or camera phone you use. Eyes can fill in the blanks better than your ears, so it’s important for the audience to hear what they need to as if the speaker is in the room. This can be accomplished quite easily and with a low budget.

Wired lavalier microphone: A microphone that clips to the subject’s lapel can be purchased in the $50 dollar range. This microphone is great for capturing the speaker’s voice because it is located so close to the source. This particular microphone is designed to work with mobile devices, however, if you already have a microphone or are purchasing a microphone not designed to work with a mobile device there are solutions. With the addition of an adapter, in the $20 to $30 range, you can easily connect your microphone to a smartphone to use as an audio recording device (use the voice memo app if filming with an iPhone).

Remember that sound and video need to sync. For every time you roll your camera or recording device, film a piece of paper labeled with what take you are recording, then clap your hands together. That clap provides a distinct sound that you can use later to sync your audio and video during the editing process.

Option 2: Medium budget:
If you have any budget at all, it’s always recommended that sound be your first investment. If you can afford it, invest in a wireless lavMic microphone system. Why wireless over a wired microphone? A wireless mic system allows you to record your audio directly into the camera or recording device. There is no need to sync audio and picture when editing and you can immediately view back your footage to test quality of both image and sound. Of course, you should still mark each take with a verbal label (saying take one, take two) so you have an easy way to reference the footage during the editing phase.

Editing

Option 1: Low cost:
Editing video is not as hard as most people think. You choose the footage that you want and discard the rest. The digital revolution has ensured that everyone can be an editor and with great ease. Youtube offers editing capabilities, as well as other free online options. If your video and audio was recorded separately remember to locate the exact second the clap (previously discussed) occurred, as well as the sound of that clap; match the two and you have just synced sound and picture.

editingOption 2: Medium budget:
For basic digital media there is no need for excessive editing software. This is not because of the price but rather the learning curve required to maximize your purchased editing software. If you are willing to put in a little time to master such techniques as color correction and more intricate editing, look into tools like Sony Vegas Movie Studio, or the higher end Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. A list of other recommended software can be found here.

We know video is one of the fastest growing content tools, and consumption rates are at an all-time high. We also know that video builds relationships between organizations and their customers.  Now you know just how easy it is to make your own!  Have any additional tips related to video creation?  Let us know.

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For more information about the role of video in the news process, we suggest the following articles


Business Wire’s Video Content Is Now Featured On the AP Video Hub

August 17, 2015

Business Wire continues its dedication to the evolving media landscape by announcing a new distribution program with the Associated Press. The new content enhancement will place videos released through the newswire service directly onto AP Video Hub.

AP Video Hub offers media subscribers from around the globe access and usage rights to a wide range of video news footage, including world news, entertainment, sports, lifestyle, breaking news and archive stories. AP Video Hub subscribers include 350 of the world’s largest media companies in 100 countries. Journalists, industry bloggers, and media professionals at all levels use the AP video hub to access news video footage to supplement a story and give their media-hungry audiences what they crave. News release video distributed by Business Wire will now sit alongside breaking news video from around the globe, providing new, broader visibility to this key content.

“From earnings releases to content marketing, more and more public relations and investor relations professionals are enhancing their news announcements with multimedia assets including video,” noted Laura Sturaitis, Business Wire’s executive vice president of media services and product strategy. “With this latest content amplification arrangement, Business Wire continues to lead the industry in the distribution and discoverability of its clients’ news and branded content.”

Thanks to an evolution in technology and human behavior, visual story telling is the growing dominant force in the news industry. Smart technology offers people instant access to multimedia and they’re taking advantage, whether following a story on their phone, tablet, computer or television. According to Pew Research Center, digital news video consumption has been on the rise consistently since 2007 and those most likely to watch that content are the young, educated, and affluent. Exactly how many people are watching digital news video? Over half (52%) of Americans with a bachelor or graduate degree consume the kinds of videos that Business Wire will now be presenting via the AP video hub.

Videos distributed by Business Wire now receive global visibility via AP Video Hub

Videos distributed by Business Wire receive global media audiences via AP Video Hub

Why should communicators include video in their news releases?

  1. Media outlets want it.  Every day, media outlets from around the world turn to AP Video Hub to find multimedia content to round out their news stories.  Companies that include video in their news now receive additional visibility of their story simply based on their multimedia components
  2. Creating professional digital video is easier than ever. Even Hollywood is taking notice! According to Casey Newton, Silicon Valley editor at The Verge, “one of the best films at Sundance was shot using an iPhone 5S.” A smart phone is easy to use and can be used to create video that is both impressive and professional looking.
  3. Videos are highly engaging content that work as an educational tool, explaining and reinforcing your news release and message points. Consumers want it – with more than 63% of the world learning from visual and interactive media, the fastest way to increase adoption of your news is to use video.
  4. Video allows you to create visual consistency for your brand, one that will be remembered by audiences and potential clients and consumers
  5. Videos are easily sharable across social and other digital platforms

Want to learn more about Business Wire’s multimedia distribution services? Drop us a line today.

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[DOWNLOAD NOW] Business Wire Launches Let’s Get Visual: Multimedia and the News Release

July 9, 2015

Earlier today, CommPro.biz published a piece outlining the new Business Wire multimedia report Let’s Get Visual: Multimedia and the News Release. This guide offers comm pros best practices for releasing company news that will connect with modern audiences in the digital and mobile age. While the importance of a news release is timeless, the communication landscape is changing and PR and IR teams need to take advantage. Find out how.

2015 WP_Cover Graphic_Lets Get Visual

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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Journey of a News Release

July 7, 2015

We can tell you how a press release develops into breaking news, reaching everyone from industry reporters to regular folks enjoying morning coffee with their tablet. We can also show you the same information with a cool sharable video. What’s the difference? The difference is the same as reading a recipe for the perfect steak or watching Gordon Ramsey prepare one, step-by-step. Visuals relay information that is both unique and engaging and when executed correctly, highly effective.  These are the reasons why we won’t tell you how a news release works – we’ll just show you.

The release of How Your News is Made – An Inside Look at News Releases and News Distribution aims to showcase the steps that a company announcement takes before issuers can celebrate the full results of their communications outreach.

The new media playing field is changing. Taking full advantage of social and mobile platforms, as well as advances in smartMastercard Sample Release technology (even air conditioners seem to be smart these days) can make significant impact in maximizing news release visibility. How does that happen? First a news release needs to be written. Not all releases are written equal and certain actionable tips can go a long way such as crafting a compelling headline, ensuring the first sentence contains key information, inserting calls to action and leveraging well placed hyperlinks to drive inbound traffic.

The next step shows just how much influence the digital revolution has on how people communicate. Once you have crafted your interesting news release, it is time to add in supporting multimedia. The reach of a text-only news release is minor compared to the reach of a release that includes multimedia. An image, an infographic, a video—these assets push your news across the internet and keep audiences engaged while consuming your core messages.

3 times as muchThe reason for multimedia’s success is how easily it relays ideas. Humans process images 60,000 times faster than text. When reading text you try to paint an image of what you’re reading with your imagination. A video offers information in such a way that can’t be misinterpreted, both offering information and explaining it, simultaneously. Business Wire CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz does not hide her confidence in the role multimedia will play in the communications industry.

“My prediction is that multimedia will be a part of every single news release.” – Cathy Baron Tamraz during a conversation with Tim Bahr, CEO of Nextworks.

Once the release has been built and sent to Business Wire, our editorial team reviews the release, suggests edits and distributions to ensure the release meets your goals.  Once edited and approved, the final news release is disseminated across the wire and into the hands of your key constituents.

But you can’t celebrate just yet!  Once the release is out, media outreach performed and online discussions have begun, it is time to measure the results of your work.

Business Wire provides a wide range of measurement and monitoring tools to help you track the impact of your news rulerrelease. Business Wire NewsTrak and NUVI reporting shows not only how much activity your release received, it provides detailed information on social discussion and shares surrounding your news. For more specific data, the Market Impact Report tracks the impact of your release upon your (and your industry’s) stock price.

Your release has been crafted, assets added, received editorial review and feedback, crossed the wire, activated your key and secondary audiences and provided you with data to help craft the next one.

This is the path of a news release.

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How Has Digital Changed Communication

June 25, 2015

The internet changed almost everything. Most facets of life are now either shaped or directly dictated by the internet, especially the way we communicate. How has the internet changed communication? Cathy Baron Tamraz, CEO of Business Wire, answers that question with one word: multimedia.

“My prediction is that multimedia will be a part of every single news release,” Cathy said to Tim Bahr, CEO of Nextworks, during a conversation on the future of business news communications. The conversation, taking place during this past SXSW, touched upon the Smart News Release (SNR), a news release enhancement first launched by Business Wire in 1995. The ability for a commercial newswire to embed graphics into a news release and transmit it to news media outlets via the SNR was the first marriage of multimedia with text. It wasn’t just a news release with an image or video, it was an entirely new and unique asset for media recipients. What are the benefits of this marriage?

A recent study by Microsoft finds that human attention spans have dropped to 8 seconds. That means by the time you’re reading this sentence, you’re probably ready for some visual stimulation. Today’s constant stream of multimedia might be a cause for society’s diminishing focus, but it can also serve as the cure. A picture has long been touted as being worth a thousand words, making video exponentially more valuable. By including a video with a news release, you are intriguing the audience on multiple senses. According to Northern Michigan University’s Academic & Career Advisement Center, approximately 30% of people are auditory learners. By incorporating video with audio into your news release, you are reaching a larger audience than by just including images alone.

The importance of video to public relations is not a surprise. Tamraz elaborated on her comments about multimedia explaining that, “people think visually.” Videos provide the public with news in an easy to consume and engaging format.

It’s been twenty years since the launch of the Smart News Release. How have communications assets evolved in the age of Web 2.0?

PR pros are always looking for ways to amplify a news release – a tool that raises visibility of a company, and encourages engagement of the news within key audiences. And, as Tamraz says in the video, assets such as News Capsules provide that very boost to any news release. A News Capsule is a tool that allows a brand to tell a story using interactive multimedia. It’s the gamification of the news release and it boasts an average reader engagement time of 6:12 minutes. That number really jumps out at you when you compare it with the 20 to 30 seconds it takes to read a text-only news release.

Why are capsules so effective in increasing the impact of a news release? Tamraz describes this multimedia asset as the “crossover between news, corporate communications, and marketing.” Advances in internet connectivity continue to blur lines for every industry, whether it is multimedia, communication, or distribution. By offering information in a way that can be learned both visually and kinesthetically, the News Capsule is a tool that blurs the lines between varied forms of communication. This makes it an ideal asset for amplifying a company message on a multitude of platforms.

The future of public relations and audience activation is interactive content. For Meghan Gross, president of Gem Strategic Goulston StorrsCommunications, a picture capsule was the best way to tell a year’s worth of stories. She recommended using a picture capsule to a professional services client of hers as a way to reach their core audience. In this case, the client wanted to showcase the importance of climate change by bringing attention back to all the great content they created that year. The News Capsule allowed Gem to create one single asset that hosted all of the client’s created content, allowing them to present their entire story in one outreach. Of course, once a capsule goes out, as Cathy Baron Tamraz says, it “travels.” Capsules are sharable and embeddable allowing users to embed it in stories, social channels, websites and more.

The internet proved to not be a trend and neither will mobile platforms. The digital revolution succeeded and we now find ourselves in the digital age. And now, every aspect of life revolves in some way around the era we live in, just like during the Industrial Age that preceded it. How are you adapting your communication practices for the growing needs of today’s digital, visual society?

To learn more about digital influence on news distribution read the following articles:

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The Rise of Digital Video and Why it Matters

May 26, 2015

By Hannah Herreid, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire

“Instead of couch potatoes, we have digital potatoes.” Ryan Van Fleet, Senior Director of Insights and Analytics, Tremor Video

There is no arguing that the digital sphere is here to stay. In fact, digital video may soon take the reins from cable television. According to a study by Limelight Networks, Inc, “More than 90% of consumers are open to ‘Cutting the cord’; a shift led by the desire for flexibility and increasing availability of on demand programming.” Additionally, digital video advertising is growing faster than any other advertising platform. Online video ad revenue is estimated to reach $5 billion in 2016 whereas TV ad revenue is predicted to decrease by 3% each year (BI Intelligence).

With mobile and digital use on the up and up, it comes as no surprise that companies, journalists, and thought leaders have taken notice of the trends and practices encompassing it. The Publicity Club of New York recognized the rise in digital video at a recent luncheon where 6 leaders in digital production discussed the current happenings and future of digital video.

PCNY Panel of Producers

PCNY panel of producers: Mike Schmidt – Mashable, Christopher Booker –  The Financial Times, Shalini Sharma – Fast Company, Joanne Po – The Wall Street JournalMarcos Bueno – Vox Media, Laura Petrecca – USA Today

The Power of Live Streaming + Social Media

Joanne Po, Executive Producer at The Wall Street Journal stated, “The path of journalism has changed. We’re creating our own journalism, not necessarily tied to the paper anymore.” The Wall Street Journal like other publications in attendance, have practiced live streaming for multiple years. According to Po, viewership of their live video stream is much higher than traditional cable networks through syndication with other sites who repost the videos. Presence on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Meerkat, Periscope and others also contribute to the increased number of viewers. Livestreaming has served as a great media platform for breaking news and creating content in an efficient manner for digital media.

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New Expectations for Journalists
Reporters are now expected to take a video and be able edit and understand the production techniques whether they are on the production side or not. This is especially true for breaking news. Some producers prefer to send a reporter and shoot the footage themselves as opposed to a PR person’s video in order to keep the digital consistent and in line with the publication; however, news outlets are always looking for qualified experts to comment on breaking or national news stories. For a Public Relations professional, it is still recommended to submit your videos to news sources. Make sure that it is relevant and topical, and try to relate it to a current event. The publication may or may not use your footage, but they will follow up if they like the story regardless.

The Evolution of Media Strategy
According to Jim Pavia the Senior Editor at Large at CNBC Digital, the video component a few years ago was a regurgitation of what had already appeared in an article, and viewership was low. The audience wasn’t necessarily getting anything out of it. Now the strategy behind online video has changed. Videos now offer the viewer a bonus or added value as incentive to watch. “The consumers of media have evolved in their practices of consumption therefore, media must also evolve.” Since the rise in digital video consumption has increased exponentially, CNBC among other media outlets have added digital video components to almost all of their online articles.

Branded Production for Digital Media
The shift from broadcast television to digital video can be attributed to millennial consumers who lead the pack with an average of 4-7 hours of online video intake a week. They consume almost twice the amount over any other age group (Limelight Network, Inc).

Digital video is no longer about clips, but about building production brands, and this is a trend we’ll continue to see. Fast Company is a prime example of this with multiple segments that tap into millennial interests. For example the “Fast Comedy” that features funny workplace skits, “Brand Evolution” which highlights iconic brands’ past, present, and future, and the “29th Floor” a platform for editors and writers to take on whatever is current.

It’s safe to say that we’ll be seeing a lot more online video moving forward. From digital ads in the marketing realm, to online production, to company created videos, evolving with the consumer is what media outlets and public relations professionals must do to keep current.

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A picture’s worth a thousand words – but how much for the caption?

April 24, 2015

By Hannah Kelly, Business Wire Paris

Here at Business Wire, we know that over half of journalists and media professionals are more likely to review a press release that includes multimedia, and that images/photographs are one of the top content types for the online newsroom, but in order to truly launch effective multimedia, we must remember one very important detail – the caption.

When looking for the first time at a news release, readers’ attention immediately goes to the caption, and then the added image. This creates the ideal opportunity for you.  With up to twice as many people reading captions than body copy, captions provide an excellent opportunity to attract the reader’s attention. This short but sweet accompanying paragraph is your key to unlocking the image – it is the who, what, where, when, why and how, all rolled into one short sentence.

Small Town Big Fish Caption

Immediately after reading the caption, the reader will flick back to the image, and view it, usually, from a different perspective. This is more commonly known as the loop, and is essential to engaging the reader. The photo and the caption complement each other, building suspense and satisfying curiosity.

But it is not only that captions define images, captions put images into context. In many instances, the caption and image can result in coverage when an article is not possible. Business Wire captions can be up to 100 words each, more than enough space to create a connection between image and story.

ServiceNow Caption Example

Given the importance of captions, and their role in not only increasing coverage but building connections between your product and your customer, what are the best practices for writing one?

  • Use prepositional phrases, interesting adjectives and action verbs
    The caption should focus on action, and help the article to progress, while providing as much information as possible as to the relevancy of the multimedia to the news you are sharing
  • Use phrases that have been cut out of the main narrative
    This is the ideal time to retrieve phrases that were cut out for length reasons, but that are still pertinent to the text and work well with the release
  • Do not repeat body copy
    For the simple reason that nobody likes déjà vu, whatever they’re reading!
  • Provide information that’s not available by simply looking at the photo
    A reader will look at the caption to learn more, not for reinforcement of already formed ideas. Captions allow you, the brand, to define the image and those captured in it, properly.
  • And, finally, do not use the phrases “above” or “pictured here”.
    These phrases are of little use to reporters who may choose to use your image and caption instead of the entire press release.

Tony Romo Caption

Multimedia is more important than ever within the news creation and sharing process. The caption serves as a reference, increases the impact of the image and adds to the credibility of the piece.  Don’t overlook it, instead take advantage of this space and use it to not only increase coverage of your news, but conversions as well.

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