Video Production FAQS For Business and Industry and the Internet

Video production is an effective tool for producing more sales, training employees, and telling the world about products and services. Video presentations can be shown to large groups and be viewed privately by one person. Television is the number one source of information for most people in North American and Europe. Business and Industry has been using industrial films and videos for years. As production costs have dropped, video production has become even more widely used for small businesses. Small businesses can use video to improve their bottom line, but before launching a video production, a little knowledge will help in the overall process and help achieve an effective and useful video presentation.

Here are some frequently asked questions concerning business/industrial video production. Good luck on your video project.

Q. Can we use people from our own company in the video to save talent fees?

A. Talent fees are the key words, here. Generally professional actors are used for voice over and on-screen word. They do a great job. They learn their parts. They can cope with script changes and the many re-takes of scenes. Best of all, however, is that they come across well on the TV screen. In short they have talent. If you need to trim your budget, there are better ways. A good production company can work within most budgets without sacrificing the effectiveness of a production. Using non-professional talent is a risk.

Q. Can’t we have our people in the video at all?

A. Sure. Company people are excellent in video presentations. They are great to have interacting with each other and with clients. Company people can be videotaped for voice over commentary and short sound bites.

Q. Our head salesperson is used to giving presentations on our product all the time. He’s a natural. He’s friendly and people really like him and identify with him. Plus, he knows the product backwards and forwards. Shouldn’t he be the one talking about our product on our video?

A. Sometimes company people can do a good job, especially experts like yours, and we’ve used them in our video productions. One word of caution, however. We’ve seen video productions get shelved soon after they were produced because the spokesperson on the video decided to quit and go to work for the competition. You can’t have your spokesperson (especially, if they’re well-known) saying good things about your product if they are no longer part of your organization. The appearance is that they found a better product or a better company to work for. If companies continue using a video tape with a turn-coat expert, it appears that the video tape is marketing the competition’s product. That’s not good.

Q. How about having our CEO or one of our top managers appear on-camera? Is there anything they can do to come across as professional as possible?

A. Yes, CEOs and top managers are excellent choices for corporate videos. They should be prepared for the shoot with several choices of wardrobe. They should also have their lines memorized. They should review a list of tips and suggestions for looking good on-camera.

Q. Can we shoot our own footage and then have a professional video production company edit the footage?

A. Yes, especially if you have competent people in your organization. We recommend that you read the book, Producing a First-Class Video For Your Business – Work With Professionals or Do It Yourself before you attempt this, however. We’d be happy to consult with you and assist in your production in, anyway. Our book is available at many fine book stores across Canada and the United States. Especially if the book store has a Self-Counsel Press display. Check with your favorite library, as well.

Q. We have some existing footage of our product in the field. It looks really good. It’s on VHS format video tape. Can we use that in the production.

A. We pride ourselves on our ability to incorporate many different types of media into our production. VHS video footage, while it is the lowest resolution format, could be digitized and edited. Results vary. Production companies using digital non-linear formats, could probably handle your request very well, also.

Q. How disruptive is a video production?

A. Full-production, Hollywood-style crews can be disruptive, it’s true. We like to keep crews to a minimum. Sometimes we only use a one-person or two-person crew. This is not only less disruptive, but it also saves money. With new lower-light cameras, the need for the bright lights of Hollywood have gone a little by the wayside.

Q. How long does it take to produce a video?

A. In depends on the complexity, but generally about a month. Video production companies are used to working with deadlines. We’ve done many quick turn-around presentations. We burn the midnight oil for our clients. Visit the PNW Video Production site for a more detailed break down (week by week) of pre-production, production and post-production needs.

Q. What’s the most economical video to produce?

A. A voice/over type is the least expensive. A good, professional voice is essential for the voice over. The more expensive video type is interactive/acting on-camera. This type of production can sometimes double a budget, but produces very effective presentations.

Q. How do we find actors?

A. Most production companies know actors. We have a selection of professional and semi-professional actors to work with. Video tapes and audio tapes (or Reels) are commonly available for review.

Q. Should we ask for a sample tape to look at?

A. Sure. Professional video production companies should either have their own sales & marketing tape (they’re in the business!) or copies of productions that are similar to your project.

What we like to do is talk about the production and budget first. Then we show samples of productions within a selected budget. It doesn’t do our clients any good to show them a champagne budget video, if they’ll be working on a beer budget. The reverse is true, also.

Q. Professional video production companies would have to fly into our location. Wouldn’t it be cheaper for us to hire a local production company?

A. Sometimes. There are many good production companies throughout the world. Even in small communities. There’s a difference, however, in video production and business/industrial video production. There’s no magic in producing a good looking video. What’s more difficult is producing a video that sells a product, service, or viewpoint.

Q. What does a video cost?

A. There are many factors. The usual figure given in the industry is $1,000 to $1,500 hundred per finished minute for quality productions. Many Betacam-SP productions run about $3,000 per finished minute.

Q. We only have a small budget. Is there anything we can do to help cut costs?

A. Certainly. Please, tell the video production company up-front what kind of budget you have in mind. The production can be tailored for your needs and requirements. There are many ways to make video productions more economical. We’re experts in trimming costs.

Q. What video format are used in industrial/business video production?

A. It depends on the budget. There are a wide variety of video formats used by industrial video production companies. VHS is the lowest resolution. Betacam-SP is one of the highest. There are many formats in-between.

Sometimes we shoot on Betacam-SP, a high-resolution broadcast standard. Most often these days, however, video camcorders are recorded in digital format, so the information can be easily transferred to editing computers.

Q. Can you put our completed production on DVD, or CD-ROM for distribution and the internet?

A. We like to know exactly how you intend to use your production. But, no matter how you are distributing, we will use the best format for your video.

Q. What’s the first step? What do we do?

A. Take a few minutes to think about your project and your needs. To produce a video a good industrial video production company will need to know a few things about your company and the presentation.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

1. In what setting will the video be shown?

2. Who will be watching the video?

3. What is the purpose of the video?

4. What do you want people to do when they’re through viewing the video?

5. What do you want people to remember about the video?

6. How many poeple are going to view your video?

7. How are you going to distribute the video?

Write your information down and share it with other people in your company to get their responses.

E-Commerce Website Development and the Indian Service Industry

The internet as a medium has become a powerful voice in the global village and satisfies the aspirations of millions of lay individuals. Brand awareness among consumers is constantly increasing and it is important that companies connect with customers via various media to stay relevant and market their products. E-commerce has emerged as the key to business engagement and survival in a globalised world where boundaries are being re-drawn and the end user is magnified. Individual empowerment and a proportional increase in disposable income and has resulted in an e-commerce explosion. A purchaser in any part of the globe with the right purchasing capacity can command any product of his or her liking at will thanks to the internet.

E-commerce solutions are extremely advantageous for companies since a physical brick and mortar is avoided. Employee salaries, rent, electricity and other overheads are minimal thus translating into better deals for the end customer. All payment transactions are immediate and virtual offering best terms for a business in terms of cash flow and security. For consumers, the advantages are that they can get any product they desire at will irrespective of seasonal availability for a reasonable price. Travel time is eliminated and comparison shopping gets them the best deals with a few mouse clicks.

Web design and development plays a key role in determining the fate of a business in the online world since the first step in retail e-commerce is the development of a catchy website. It should have an aesthetic look and feel, easy navigational features and proper security. Further, all the products must be showcased effectively. Payment gateways must be secured against malicious attacks and servers programmed to accept heavy traffic. The aim is to master the art of delivering perfect solutions that leave a pertinent and positive impact on end users without compromising on security. A right mix of creativity, technology and strong business acumen goes into the development of successful e-commerce solutions and websites. It is thus a highly skilled and knowledge intensive process that slowly transforms rustic thoughts into world class solutions.

The Indian service industry has grown from strength to strength over the years and has built a solid reputation based on efficiency, timely delivery and cost effectiveness. It encompasses a broad gamut of operations right from software development to back office processes. Many Indian companies have specialised is in the development of e-commerce websites and solutions. They cater to clients from all corners of the globe and have developed cutting edge solutions with their mastery of various programming languages. It is thus no wonder that the services sector has clocked rapid growth over the last few years. The secret of their success has been their ability to adapt and quickly master rapidly evolving technology that is continuously changing n a daily basis.

E-Commerce is a powerful tool that can engineer an instant change to the entire business structure, merchandising, pricing, marketing, and sales process in an organisation and the Indian service industry is playing a pivotal role in ushering this transformation.

Communication Skills in Any Service Industry Are Still Necessary for Success

Communicating well with the public is important for any business, but it is especially significant for service businesses. Instant text, voice and image communication technologies make it faster and easier to communicate with our customers than ever before. But the content and quality of communication still rely on good verbal and written communication skills. We can use the method of communication our customer prefers, but what we communicate to them remains much more important than how it was sent. It continues to be important for us to hone our verbal and written communication skills and make sure new hires also possess those skills. There are three general types of information that service industry professionals need to communicate to their customers.

Documentation:

Most documentation is required by law, industry standards or company policy and must be communicated to each customer. It usually describes the service performed and the limits of any guarantee or warranty. In addition there is usually some information the service company requires for the customer’s service record or file. Service reports are normally designed so the technician can communicate most of the required information by simply checking off appropriate boxes, but there must be space for the technician to relate specific information about his/her actions. Those comment sections require good written communication skills. As a trainer of new technicians I always warned them of the importance of what they write on those legal documents. They are not only communicating with the customer but also with their supervisor, a regulatory agency, or even a lawyer, judge or jury if there is ever litigation involving the service. Because customers seldom read the service report completely before signing it, it is important for technicians to verbally communicate the information to them to make sure they understand it. This adds value to the service and requires good verbal communication skills. Although documentation is necessary it has the drawback of being primarily one-way communication with little participation from the customer.

Education:

Communicating this type of information involves some customer participation because it is normally provided in response to a question from them. Educational communication should be professional and clearly understood. It requires that the technician have a thorough knowledge of service performance and techniques. Experience, training and third party reference materials help make this type of communication possible but it still requires good verbal communication skills. Educating customers about their particular problem and the solution provided for them will add much value and credibility to each service.

Expression:

This type of communication is often underused or completely overlooked because it is not required by law and is not technical or educational in nature. However, it just may be the most important and fruitful line of communication we can establish with our customers. It expresses our concern, empathy, appreciation and attentiveness. It adds a personal touch to the relationship with our customer. An attentive technician listening and responding to customer concerns; an administrative assistant dealing with customers in a pleasant, efficient and caring manner; a salesperson following up with each new customer after the sale to make sure the problem is being addressed to their satisfaction; or the owner or supervisor sending customers a thank you or holiday card with a brief personal message. These are all examples of expressive communication. We can express ourselves verbally, in writing or even implied by our body language or tone of voice, but we must be sincere. It is this type of communication that turns a customer into a friend and we all know how much harder it is to fire a friend than it is to fire a contractor.

The Service Industry – Cancellation Fees and Other Irritations

What do we do about people who book to see us but then fail to notify us that they are not going to keep their appointment? It is one of the dilemmas of running an appointment based service business. Restaurants, beauty salons, hairdressers and counsellors are some of the people affected by this problem. But there are many other types of situations that we also have to contend with.

– Cancellation fees tend to depend on the client. If someone is a regular client and has simply failed to turn up it can be a good idea to telephone them and try to discover if there is a legitimate reason for them not showing. It can be a gesture of good will to waive the fee on the first occasion. If someone has paid in advance for a course of treatments it can deter them from doing so again if they get a forfeit for not keeping an appointment. It depends on how much you want to keep the client. Certainly being over-accommodating and constantly letting clients mess you about does not give a good professional message to clients. They need to respect you, and if they don’t then it can be worth billing them for not keeping their appointment. If you lose them as a client, well it’s not really much of a loss.

– New clients who are a no-show can be invoiced for their lack of appearance, if you have their details, but they rarely pay the cancellation fee. They are unlikely to book again to see you and often have to be written off as one of those things.

– Late arriving clients are often stressed and in a rush. They’re the ones who frequently look at the clock and are aware of how much time you have actually given them. The fact that they were late is irrelevant. They often expect their appointment to start from the time of their arrival. It can be a good idea to intercept their expectations at the start of the session and flag up how much time you have left. That way they will learn to appreciate that if they want a full session they will have to arrive on time in future.

– Early clients are often nervous, nervous of being late, nervous of traffic conditions, of getting lost, they want to get their appointment over with. It can be good to start by defusing their concerns. Maybe make them a drink while they wait, thank them for being so prompt and enthusiastic about their appointment. It can then provide time for them to relax and feel more comfortable.

– Demanding clients may insist on a lot of attention at the beginning of the session and then expect the allotted time to be spent on their treatment. They may feel the need to talk for ages but still want their treatment afterwards. This may be a temporary situation due to circumstances. You may feel that it is important to provide the extra support, give the extra time, answer their phone calls and emails at no extra charge. But be aware that you are a professional and it is important to protect your own time, space and free time too. Be firm if they contact you at inconvenient times and say how long you can give or that it is not convenient at the moment.

– Discounts and free gifts of sessions or products are a personal choice. Sometimes it may be worth offering an inducement for people who pay in advance or who are regular customers, but be aware of setting a precedent. They may well tell other people about your offers. Was it something you provided just for them as a favour? Be conscious of the implications of reducing fees.

Being competitive in a difficult market is often about the extras, the quality of service, the personal touches. But it is still a business and needs to be run professionally as a business. Maintaining a balance can be a tough call on occasion.