Is yours one of those associations that thinks it isn’t glamorous enough for video? Think again.
By Maggy Baccinelli
At the recent Association Media & Publishing Annual Conference session about video production, presenters from TMG Custom Media played clips with varying content and budget support. The more attendees saw, the more video production felt important to the success of our associations’ media strategies.
After laughing and crying at the clips, video’s ability to resonate and move viewers identified the medium as a powerful resource for connecting with members. Best of all, presenters made video production feel accessible: "A lot of associations make the mistake of thinking they’re not sexy enough to make a video. You are sexy and glamorous. There is no reason you can’t create something that is fun and compelling,” said TMG’s Lead Producer of Television & Online Video Mike Wolcott. (Check out Association Media & Publishing's videos.)
Wolcott and his co-presenters, Andrew Hanelly, TMG’s director of digital strategy, and Kate Ottenberg, TMG’s director of video services and media relations, showed attendees examples of different video styles, including montage, testimonial, documentary, film technique, and entertainment/comedy. They also gave attendees basic ground rules to follow when making videos, and then said to "improvise to taste.”
Some rules were intuitive: Have a clear purpose; distribution is key; embrace production basics; and measure and improve. Others were less so: Create content for people, not job titles; and steal from everywhere. Each rule, however, was supported by the presenters’ anecdotes and experiences. Their wisdom offered great takeaways.
On content, Wolcott said: "Videos do not have to be super branded or make a hard sell; they just have to be what your members want to see. Ask yourself, ‘What does my audience care about? What would they watch during their spare time or while they’re bored at work?’”
In their discussion about styles, Hanelly said comedy is the genre with the highest risk for associations because humor doesn’t always translate. "Comedy is deceptively tough,” he said. "The key is making it well written and purposeful.” And when explaining their tip to "Steal from everywhere,” all presenters said that other peoples’ work often inspires their own. They added that referencing pop culture gives viewers something to latch onto. When done explicitly and through parody, video producers are protected by copyright.
Making a successful video, however, is dependent on a good production process. Presenters said that when editing a video, they only use 2-5 seconds of shots that take them 2-5 minutes to get. As a result, collecting a lot of footage is important. Wolcott told attendees about the "80/20 split rule,” which says that 80 percent of video shots should be close-ups, and 20 percent should be wide. Good lighting and audio are also extremely important.
When the audience asked about available resources, presenters said they range in cost and are attainable to associations with small video-production budgets. They suggested taking advantage of royalty-free video-music and image libraries, and added that even Flip cameras and $20 lavalier microphones can produce great videos if shooting is well executed.
By the end of the session, what at first seemed like an intimidating process with a steep learning curve became a possibility for attendees. And Wolcott assured us that it will only get easier. "Video production is like riding a bike,” he said. "If you can ride a mountain bike, you can ride a road bike, a 10-speed, and a BMX.”
(Editor’s note: To view some of the video samples referenced in this article, check out the latest issue of Sidebar.)
Maggy Baccinelli is editorial coordinator for the Association of Corporate Counsel’s ACC Docket. Association Media & Publishing sincerely thanks her for volunteering to cover this session for our members who were unable to attend.