Run and Gun…

Are you ready to create your own videos?

By Patty Swisher Posted on November 19, 2013

LoriMillerAre you in a situation that’s ripe for shooting video, but there’s no time for preparation or pause? Do you want to capture real-time quality content, but there’s no time to set up lights, diffusion panels, scrims, and reflectors – let alone hire a professional videographer, write a script, and pay for editing and sound engineering? Welcome to the world of “run and gun” video production; it’s about capturing real-time quality content with no crew, no time, and no (or little) preparation. I talked with Lori Miller, Marketing Leader and Executive Coach at Perkins Eastman, about her first steps into video production.

Q: What led Perkins Eastman to create its first set of videos?

A: The senior living practice group had been discussing the use of video to tell our story for some time, but we kept getting stuck on the high costs of hiring professional videographers, sound engineers, etc. It was important to us that we produce relevant video content that was professional in appearance and upheld the firm’s quality brand; we hadn’t crossed the bridge to producing our own “amateur” videos as yet.

The whole idea that your video can go viral and be rapidly disseminated worldwide is daunting. But, you can’t ignore the fact that there are more than 100 million unique visitors per day on YouTube! As a marketer, it’s easy to see the opportunity in that, but it also has the potential to put your organization’s reputation at risk if not done properly.

Q: So, what was the impetus for crossing the bridge?

A:  Well, we were preparing for a large national conference – the most important one for our senior living practice– and we were branding our master planning process at the same time. I wanted to use the conference as a springboard for introducing this newly branded process and to create videos and QR tags, and use email marketing for promotion. Once we had our message down, everything happened really fast. David Hoglund, FAIA, President of Perkins Eastman and the Practice Area Leader for Senior Living, travels quite extensively, but happened to be in the office one day and I stopped him in the corridor and said, “Can you introduce the IDEAS process on video in less than 5 minutes….right now?” It was an avalanche from that point on. We wrapped up all the videos (which came from different people and offices), edited them, and worked with our Communications Group to place everything on our Vimeo channel for launching. I was able to pool the firm’s resources (other marketers, graphic designers, communications and knowledge resource staff) to help with this project and everyone responded quickly. It was a huge learning experience for all of us, but really fun.

Q:  Do you have any tips or suggestions for folks who might want to get started today?

A:  Just do it. If you think about it too much, you’ll become overwhelmed and procrastinate. A camera, tripod, on-camera light and external microphone are really all you need. Shaky camera work (no tripod) and poor audio are the biggest mistakes; don’t use the camera’s microphone. Use a wireless mic, especially in exposition halls. If you’re using handheld, be aware of your surroundings. Stand 3 feet away for best sound and visual. Use your cell phone for those on-the-spot Q&A moments. If you’re doing a one-on-one interview, stand directly behind the camera. Trust me; if you move to the side, their eyes will follow you!  If shooting two people, the easiest thing is to use two cameras.

Q:  What opportunities do you see?

A: There are so many opportunities. Promote a special project, as you can see below. Events and conferences are no brainers. Take “establishing shots” of the event and close ups of activities; edit them into your final video. Grab a presenter/speaker and use your smart phone to get their top 5-10 salient points. Schedule interviews with industry experts; ask open-ended questions about the future: http://vimeo.com/31491637 Third party testimonials are worth their weight in gold. Authentic moments are priceless.

Q: Any final thoughts?

A: Do your research. Make a plan, and set a budget. See what the competition is doing and look at non-competing industries for ideas. In general, most architectural sites have video in the following categories: business principles, thought leadership, process, firm experience, and animated fly-through for projects. These videos are a mix of professional and amateur. Keep them short and sweet; two to three minutes for most; five minutes maximum…unless you’re sharing in-depth, useful information that requires more time.

Patty Swisher is a 15+ year veteran marketing communication professional for IKM Incorporated Architects (@ikminc). She holds a Masters Degree in Journalism/Mass Communication, and Bachelors in Business Administration. She is an active member of the A/E/C community, writes a social media column for the AIA Pittsburgh Chapter, is Past President of SMPS Pittsburgh, current member of the MBA Social Media Task Force (and presenter), and co-founder of Social Media Group Pittsburgh (@smpgh) – a professional organization dedicated to sharing best practices in social media marketing. She can be found on Twitter  @pmswish.

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