With 237,629 km² covered by the State of Victoria, it is easy to feel swamped by the vast array of choices. Just for you, we’ve put together The Jasper Picture Company’s step-by-step guide to choosing the best location for your next shoot.
Your video needs to hit somebody between the eyes and make the viewer feel something. That ‘something’ could be happiness, sadness, fear or anger. Any of those emotional reactions will pique the viewer’s interest. In any case, whatever emotion comes to the fore, you need to ‘lay it on in spades’. There really is no point underplaying this. Clearly, you don’t want your video to get lost among the millions of others exactly the same.
I never thought I’d go to Iraq; it just isn’t who I am. I guess I knew it was always a possibility, given the nature of my job: then – in 2007 – I was the China-based camera operator for Channel 4 News, UK, and that took me all over China and into neighbouring countries like Kazakhstan; even as far afield as South Africa. I was covering news stories, and Iraq was definitely news, so Iraq was always possible. So … one day you find yourself saying ‘Yes’ to your boss on the phone, agreeing to travel into a war zone, to be embedded with US troops. The next thing you know, you’re writing your will and working out your blood type so that it can be added to your ID. This blog is about one particular incident that happened in Mosul, Iraq, but first I’d like to take a moment to talk about arriving in that war-torn country.
WELCOME TO BAGHDAD!For a start (and who knew that, then?) passenger planes were still flying into Baghdad in 2007, but, with the help of mostly South African pilots and crew, they were. Approaching ‘Baghdad International’ at that time was quite different to coming in to Sydney or London: the descent had to be steep and rapid to – hopefully – avoid being shot at. One minute you were at cruising altitude, the next you were on the ground. Having landed, incident-free, the next thing was to get to the ‘green zone’, a relatively safe area in Baghdad that housed most of the international embassies, the UN and the command base for the war effort. We – my journalist colleague and I – were met by a private security firm at the airport and transferred to an old Toyota sedan that sat really low to the ground due to its body armour retrofit. We were given long sleeve shirts to put over our own body armour, to make sure no-one else could see we were wearing it; body armour could have shown that we were important enough to attack or kidnap. A convoy of local vehicles then accompanied us into the green zone. I’m not going to lie, this was one very scary and rather surreal introduction to Iraq. What was possibly more bizarre was arriving in the green zone and being greeted by a Hungry Jacks and a Cinnabon for the troops. We were in Iraq in 2007 primarily to cover the Americans’ surge – President George W Bush’s attempt to throw a lot of resources into Iraq to try and get the situation under control.
ONWARD … TO MOSULWe spent a few days in Baghdad, then got on an army transport plane to Iraq’s second city, Mosul. For the first few days we accompanied the US troops on patrol. The constant threat of IEDs – improvised explosive devices – seemed to be the main worry. Any suspicious item on the ground in front of a Humvee would be investigated and, on occasion, detonated. Sometimes you would be confined to a vehicle while a bomb disposal robot went in and did its job. Our principal location in Mosul was at a combat outpost, the name of which escapes me now. Basically, these were temporary troop locations, places where it an American platoon – probably 20 or so soldiers – would live for a couple of weeks in the middle of the action before returning to a larger base to refresh and regroup while another group went forward. Mosul is a complicated place and at the time (and I can only speak to the time I was there), the Sunni and Shia Muslims were fighting each other, causing bloodshed on both sides.
INTO THE THICK OF ITOne night it was the platoon’s job to venture out and protect a group of truck drivers and construction workers who were placing a wall between the two warring sides in one part of the city. The workers were being attacked as they put up giant concrete barriers. My ‘journo’ and I went too. We were in the middle of what was, practically, an empty field, with nothing but a flatbed truck that had offloaded its cargo. The platoon commander was chatting to the leader of the truck drivers (through an interpreter), trying to ensure that they were getting the support they needed. I was shooting the conversation using infrared, the only feasible way to extract any vision in the pitch dark without having to use a light and drawing very unwanted attention to ourselves (you’ve probably seen this type of footage; it nearly always shows up as a ghostly green image). My journalist asked for permission for me to turn on my light to capture things more easily and the platoon commander’s response was ‘Yes, no problem’. We were safe; or so he thought. I didn’t switch my light on. I don’t know why not, but I’m certainly glad I didn’t! Some 30 seconds later, there was a giant ‘BOOM!’ – an explosion about 10 metres away from us in the direction I was pointing the camera, then the unmistakeable sounds of machine gun fire. It was right above our heads. I remember the tracers as being green, and only a metre or two above our heads. The bad guys knew we were there, they just weren’t sure exactly where. Everyone dropped to the ground, then the three or four soldiers close to us started to fire back in the direction of where the tracers were coming from. Of course, because the Americans also had tracer bullets, the bad guys then had a much better idea of where we were, so the tracers got closer. The platoon commander then yelled, ‘Journos, with me!’. We stood up and took off, blind, across the field behind the captain, so he could get us out of the empty field and into the back of an armoured personnel carrier, and safety. Although it was probably only 50 metres, it felt an awful lot longer, particularly in the dark – you never knew what you might be running over, and you certainly couldn’t slow down to be safe. The gunfire continued, increasingly, behind us, and we quickly got into the back of the APC, while the captain went back to continue the fight. My journalist, by this time, was all fired up, almost apoplectic that we had to hide in the back of the APC. He yelled: ‘We shouldn’t fxxxxxg be in here, we should be out there filming this!’ I offered him my camera. He declined. Within a few minutes, with gunfire continuing, we heard the sound of a Black Hawk helicopter, then three very large bangs – rockets being fired – then, suddenly, all of the gunfire stopped. The bad guys had been ‘switched off’ and it was again safe to get out of the truck. We were transferred into a Humvee, to be returned to the Combat outpost where we found out that the captain had run straight through razor wire and opened his leg up to the bone in his attempt – thankfully, for us, successful – to get us to safety. After a couple of stitches to hold everything together, he went straight back out to help his men. Gutsy stuff. My journalist was keen to know if I had been ‘rolling’ during the whole gunfight, but I honestly couldn’t tell him. I couldn’t remember if I’d pressed the red button or not. Thankfully I had, I was rolling when the initial mortar hit and throughout the whole fight. Instincts obviously kicked in, but a greater force was self preservation, and with all of the adrenalin I had no real recollection of what I had been doing during those few important minutes. The fighting was over, but our work wasn’t. As a news team, we had to edit video and audio together for the program the following night. This meant, of course, that we needed, in a way, to relive that experience as we watched it again and again, so that we could edit it down to a bite-sized chunk suitable for a 7pm audience in the UK. It’s very hard to explain how the events of that night may have affected me. It still comes back to me from time to time. I know others have been through much worse, but experiences like that affect everyone differently, and I guess I will carry it with me forever. It was enough that it should have stopped me ever going back and putting myself in that position again. It didn’t. I was back there again the following year, but that’s another story. I’m just glad I didn’t switch my light on!
20 VIDEO IDEAS FOR YOUR BUSINESS OR ORGANISATION
“We’re from the Jasper Picture Company … and we’re here to help!”
So … how can we help you, to the benefit of your company, or your organisation?
The short answer is ‘in many ways’; the longer answer could include one or more of the following:
Designed for internal use, a video here could help train people about new tasks, techniques, technology or legislation – just as examples.
When someone new comes on board, have them watch an informative video explaining the culture of your company along with other important information they need to know.
How do you attract the right staff, with the right attitude? Produce a video for external use highlighting all the reasons potential employees might like to work in your business.
EMPLOYEE PROFILES – WHO’S WHO?
Why not tell – and show – the world how good your employees are, one employee at a time.
Take people on a tour of your facilities from the comfort of their home or office. This could also be shot in ‘360’.
THE WORD FROM ON HIGH – a message from The Boss
Perhaps you have staff in more than one location. Have the woman – or man-in-charge – record a message to everyone and send all staff a link to watch it. This could be a recurring series.
Let your current customers help you get more customers by telling their stories and how you helped them.
WHAT ARE WE ON ABOUT?
Tell the world about your business using moving pictures and throw it on the front page of your website. Websites with video have a much higher click-thru rate than those that don’t.
Are you building a new supermarket, or maybe you’re mining under the stars? A timelapse video can help tell a very long story in a very short time. They look pretty good as well!
CUSTOMER CASE STUDIES
More in-depth than a testimonial, these videos will spend longer telling the story of one particular customer, the problem they had, and especially how you solved it.
VIDEO BLOGS … VLOGS!
Does your company blog? If so, maybe you could consider adding video blogs to your lineup. Blogs are still one of the best ways for potential customers to interact with your website.
Maybe you sell a whole range of different products. Why not think about creating a short video on each and uploading one a week to social media? (Like these guys did)
Get the word out that you’re selling something new and let people know why they need it.
Are you making changes to your company name? Perhaps you’re updating that all-important logo? Why not make a video to let people know about the change and how it might affect them?
Tell potential customers how you do things so that they know the value you can add.
Got something that you want sung from the rooftops? Make a video to let everyone know just how good your company is.
Maybe you supply kit garages to your clients. You can tell them, very effectively, by a video how to put one together.
Did your business start trading moments after the first fleet arrived? Let potential customers know where you’ve come from so that they can understand where you’re going.
VIDEO NEWS RELEASES
Maybe your company makes a chemical that kills all deadly germs (and not just 99.9%!) and it just isn’t practical to have twelve news crews traipsing through your lab. Have a VNR made and send it out to media outlet, or throw it on social media.
All of the above can be used on Social Media. Pictures may, however, need to be reformatted or re-edited. For example Instagram only allows 60 second videos.I hope this list sparked your imagination. As always you can contact me direct on 0467092907 or firstname.lastname@example.org
a piece of narration in a film or broadcast, not accompanied by an image of the speaker.
Often, when producing videos, there is a moment in pre-production when the following question comes up: “So, who are we going to get to do the voiceover?” This is a question to which there is never really an easy answer. Do you get a really famous voice because you are running a national ad campaign? Do you get a less well-known conversational trusting voice because you are doing an explainer video? Should the voice be male or a female? Do you need a character voice, or someone with a strong Aussie accent?
To give you an idea of how to approach some of these questions I spoke with Australian voice artist Teresa Lim, based in Brisbane, who kindly answered some questions about being a voice, often not accompanied by an image. Teresa is currently the TVC channel voice for Cartoon Network and Boomerang TV AUS NZ.
When did you first know that you wanted to be a voice artist?
How did you go about becoming one?
Do you remember your first paying job? What was it?
What should people think about when they are looking at booking a voice artist? How do they decide what voice to use: Male or female? Old or young, and so on?
When someone is writing a script that will ultimately be read by a voice artist, what should they keep in mind?
You are in Brisbane, we are in Melbourne, but that doesn’t matter any more, right?
How does someone go about booking you for a job?
What would you say to people who would like to become voice artists; what should they be doing?Once you have the basics of studio and demo sorted, I can’t stress enough the importance of networking.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN PLANNING A VIDEO FOR YOUR BUSINESS
You think video – colour, movement, and sound – might be the most effective way to tell your story, right? So what do you need to take into account? Here are some things to think about:
HOW SOON DO YOU NEED IT?
What’s your timeline? Do you need it for a grant application next Tuesday, or is it for an expo next month? That – very obviously – is a major consideration!
It’s important to know your timeline, so that the production company can plan their timeline around it. They’ll need to set days aside for editing, as well as the shoot days. You will also have to consider the approval process within your company: Will you be able to sign off on it, or does it have to go up the chain of command, with 11 stops along the way?
Yes, we know: no-one wants to talk dollars from the outset, but your budget will go a long way to deciding what you can and can’t achieve, what’s very possible and what’s not.
Do you want helicopter shots over the city, at night, with fireworks exploding below, or a guy in a lab coat giving a lecture? Very different scenarios, very different costs!
Letting the production company know your budget upfront can help them tailor their plans to your expectations and give you the best return on your ‘video buck’ investment.
WHO WILL APPROVE THE FINAL VIDEO PRODUCT?
We already mentioned that it’s important to work out – from the beginning – who will approve the video once it’s complete. At The Jasper Picture Company we generally offer two rounds of edit changes as part of the quote. If you have six people who need to sign off the finished product, that might mean everyone contributing changes through the main point of contact so that there aren’t six (often differing) views on how it should look.
WHO IS YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE … AND HOW WILL THEY WATCH THE VIDEO?
Who’s the video for – what is it’s real purpose? Is it to ‘drum up’ new customers, or is it a training video meant only for your sales team? Knowing your market from the outset will help you focus in on the structure of your video; it also helps the production company provide a much more accurate quote.
Next: will they be watching on Vimeo or YouTube, or will it be available on the company’s intranet via an email link? Or maybe you need it in a form that you can take with you to sales pitches and show on your iPad?
HOW ARE THEY GOING TO KNOW IT EXISTS?
Advertising your advertising!
Spending $10,000 on a video, then having 12 views after three months on YouTube may not represent a great return on your investment!
How will you let people know that the video exists? There’s no simpler measure of success than to be able to point to a number on Facebook and be able to say that, “13,000 people have watched our video in 4 hours”. You need to have a plan to get the video to market, whether that is a social media plan or merely emailing it to everyone in your database. At The Jasper Picture Company we offer the expertise of a social media marketing expert who can propose a plan for you that can be implemented through all your social media channels.
WHAT DO I WANT TO HAPPEN AFTER THEY’VE WATCHED OUR VIDEO?
After someone watches your video, what do you want them to do: buy your product? Visit your website? Enter a competition? Knowing your call to action from the beginning will help all parties define and focus the narrative and the story within the video.
HOW LONG SHOULD THE VIDEO BE?
In our opinion, in this Facebook/Snapchat/Twitter world, the shorter the better. “Less is more” works for video as well. Some social media channels have a limit on how long a video can be – just one minute on Instagram, for example. A video for training purposes would most likely be longer than a video selling a new product.
WHO IS GOING TO WRITE THE SCRIPT?
Are you supplying a script, or do you expect the production company to supply that? If it’s the production company, you’ll clearly need to allow for a little more pre- production time. Also, who signs off on the script? This is where the approval process will come into play again. All of this takes time.
HAVE YOU SEEN A VIDEO SIMILAR TO WHAT YOU’RE WANTING?
Were you watching cat videos on YouTube one day and stumbled across a video that would be perfect for your business? It is often a good idea to provide reference videos to your production company so that they have some idea of your thinking and expectations. It might let them know that they need to contract an armourer and an explosives expert as part of their crew … or a lion tamer. These kind of things will affect the budget. Obviously!
Thanks for reading this blog. If you would like to discuss any of this, please don’t hesitate to contact me on 0467092907 or at email@example.com.If you want more information on the production process please see my blog here.
We have provided a few quotes this month for those planning for the next financial year, so let me know if I can help in that way as well.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]
Recently, at a business expo, it became clear to me that, quite often, the video production client doesn’t understand all of the charges that go along with making a successful video, the video content process. Sometimes – and I’m as guilty of this as anyone – we talk in industry-speak, and you, the client, can feel left out and somewhat bamboozled. At other times, you may not know exactly what you’re being charged for, or the processes involved. I hope the following explains some of the steps necessary for a successful outcome, and why they are all important.