Reshoots for Video Productions: Pros and Cons

Reshoots for Video Productions: Pros and Cons

Let’s face it: reshoots are annoying. There’s no feeling quite like wrapping up a successful day of filming only to review the footage and realize something went horribly wrong. Maybe your white balance was off, the lighting is terrible, or your subject was out of focus, and now the footage is unusable.

Once you get over the initial disappointment, it’s important to remind yourself that reshoots happen to the best of us. Everyone from business videography professionals to Hollywood filmmakers has had to go back and reshoot scenes, interviews, and b-roll. These professionals might have even needed to reshoot for reasons beyond technical issues, such as aesthetics or minor details that ultimately needed to be changed.

Reshoots aren’t all bad, either. In fact, you can turn a less-than-ideal situation into an opportunity. Let’s talk about reshoots and how to do them properly.

How to Do a Proper Reshoot

When you review your footage and see irreparable mistakes, it’s no longer a question of “if” you need to do a reshoot, but “how.” All you can do now is move forward with the reshoot properly to make the most of your film day and ensure you won’t have to go back.

First, you need to identify what went wrong during filming so that you can set up the scene correctly this time. Maybe you conducted a stellar interview but realized later that the entire video was out of focus. How could this have happened? Think about if the interviewee moved the chair once they sat down, or if there were any last-minute adjustments that could have put the subject out of range.

Once you determine what went wrong, you can confidently reschedule filming. While you prepare for film day, think of the reshoot as an opportunity to evaluate what could be done better. Review the footage and look for issues beyond the one that triggered the reshoot. For example, could you have changed the location, wardrobe, or the questions asked? You might also give the interviewee notes so they can prepare better, such as asking them to focus on one subject more or rephrasing something they said the first time. This second opportunity will also allow the interviewee to get more comfortable with the camera, considering they’ve already done this once and can reflect on the experience.

If focus was an issue, make sure on the reshoot day to pay closer attention to the interviewee and instruct them to not touch anything on set, including the chair they’re sitting on, to ensure the entire frame stays in focus. You can also resolve to double and triple-check the frame before, during, and after filming to ensure that you won’t have to reschedule after packing up for the day. Now, you can walk away and enter the editing process with usable — if not improved — footage.

Don’t Be Afraid to Reshoot When Needed

Reshoots are, in general, something to avoid. They certainly cost you more money, cause production delays, and often lower morale. Despite all these negative factors, reshoots can have positive outcomes. Needing to reshoot once in a while is not necessarily the sign of an amateur, and going back to film the right way with the intent to improve upon the first try is a sign of a true professional. Don’t be surprised if the resulting footage is even better than you planned for!

If you need any assistance or advice regarding reshoots, contact Monzo Media Productions

The Importance of Audio for Successful Videos

The Importance of Audio for Successful Videos

In our last blog, we discussed how the quality of lighting in your videos can make or break the final product. Of course, videos are powerful because of their visual nature–they capture attention quickly and are easier to process than text. Their visual nature, however, is not the only reason why videos are so effective. In fact, we argue that it is even more important to have great audio than it is to have great visuals.

Our eyes are wired to our brain in a way that works to fill in the gaps of our perception and gloss over perceived errors (that’s why optical illusions exist). Our ears, however, are more sensitive to what they perceive and not as skilled in ignoring errors and disturbances. When it comes to producing a video, audio is not only important to record correctly, but very difficult to fix if it’s done poorly. 

To help you avoid the pitfalls of inexperienced audio recording for video production, here’s a quick guide to getting started.

Budget for High-Quality Microphones

If you had to choose between a video with fuzzy visuals or a video with distracting, terrible audio, which one would you choose? For most viewers subconsciously, it is nearly intolerable to endure a high-quality video with hissing, crunchy, or inconsistent audio. Clean audio keeps viewers engaged, while unprofessional audio is distracting. If you want viewers to watch more than a few seconds of your video, you should remember that fact when it comes to shopping for microphones. 

There are so many options for great mics, but in the microphone market, price correlates closely with the functionality of the product and the quality of the finished video. In other words, if you’re comparing a $50 microphone to a $1,000 microphone, and your end goal is professional-quality audio, don’t buy the cheaper one. Investing in the more expensive microphone will save you tremendous amounts of hassle and time in the long run, and you will end up with a video that sounds much more presentable.

Choose the Right Type of Microphone for the Video

Just as a lighting setup requires different types of lights, audio setups call for different types of microphones. Most notably, there are boom microphones and lavalier microphones.

Boom mics are mainly stationary, and most people are familiar with their use in movie and TV show production sets. In this setup, the boom microphone hangs overhead to catch sound from above, out of the camera’s sight. 

Lavalier mics, also known as lapel or clip mics, are wireless and attach to the subject. The downfall of these microphones is that they sometimes rub against the subject’s clothes when the subject moves. It’s important to keep this in mind if your subjects are in motion or performing actions. 

Many video producers choose to use a combination of boom microphones and lavalier microphones to make sure all the essential audio is captured with the highest possible quality.

Take the Time to Properly Record Audio

You will record and store your audio with a digital recorder. In post-production, you’ll upload these files to your computer and add them to the video files. Keep in mind that the better the audio recording, the easier your job will be in post-production to edit a successful video.

First, location is key. Avoid echoes by using a smaller room with carpet, as hardwood floors and large areas allow for sound to bounce around. If you can’t control the location, keep the microphone as close as possible to the subject without revealing the mic in the shot.

Second, control background noise. Turn off any inconsistent noises like air conditioners that intermittently turn on. If the noise is a consistent hum, it is easier to remove in post-production, but if it’s inconsistent, it’s difficult to remove and likely distracting to viewers. In the case of any unexpected sounds, like dropped car keys or a doorbell, you should stop recording and re-record that section before you move on. 

Sync Your Audio Correctly in Post-Production

Now, it’s time to sync up your audio with your film’s audio. You can do this manually if you want, but make sure to reference the sound wave visuals so you can match up the waves to align the sound perfectly. If you have multiple audio files from different microphones, it’s more prudent to use a software tool. There are many software options on the market that will automatically sync all your audio files for you. 

Looking for more guidance in your audio recording experience? Contact Monzo Media Productions for professional support.

How to Use Student-Parent Experience Videos to Highlight a School’s Success

How to Use Student-Parent Experience Videos to Highlight a School’s Success

Part III of the School Video Deep Dive Series

In part three of our school video deep dive series, we’re going to focus on the concept of “social proof” as a way to promote your school. Specifically, we’re going to explain how to showcase various success stories by highlighting student and parent experiences in a marketing video. These videos, which we’ll refer to as “student-parent experience videos,” focus on both the experience and transformation that families can expect if they choose to invest in their student’s education through enrollment.

How these videos take shape largely depends on the values and priorities of the school. For instance, parents may choose enrollment in hopes that their children become more adjusted, successful students. In that case, your school marketing videos should emphasize transformation through education. On the other hand, if your school focuses on offering a loving and nurturing environment, then your marketing should highlight the emotional experience of the school community. Regardless of exact messaging, these school videos ultimately fulfill a family’s need to hear from other families about their experiences before they commit.

What Is a Student-Parent Experience Video?

A student-parent experience video is simple yet open-ended. In 3 minutes or less, this video should highlight what it’s like to be a student and parent at your institution using testimonies and relevant footage. This asset within your school video marketing campaign should follow the lead of the flagship general admissions video by carrying out the already-established themes and values.

The student-parent experience videos should speak to both students and parents because the opinions of both work together to create a compelling narrative. Students understand the experience of your school firsthand, while parents invest their money and time into helping their children thrive. Typically, parents like hearing from other parents about their experiences, and students likewise appreciate hearing from their peers.

There is a lot of room to get creative and tailor the student-parent experience video towards your school’s priorities. It can be helpful to take stock of inspirational success stories in your community and identify any trends or common themes. Keep in mind that this video should target the specific type of family that your school focuses their marketing efforts on, so the success stories should be relatable to that audience.

Types of Student-Parent Experience Videos

The key to successful student-parent experience videos are powerful, sometimes emotional, interviews with students and parents. Beyond that, the video can follow a few different formats. Which format you choose will depend on the kind of success stories you have in your community and whether you have leftover footage from filming your general admissions video (evergreen video assets) that you can incorporate. 

One way you can frame your student-parent experience video is to think about it through the lens of the arts, academics, or athletics. For example, if there are students that found refuge in your school’s art program or turned around their grades because of your exceptional academic offerings and excellent faculty, then the video can focus on the students’ experiences in those programs.

How many student-parent experience videos you choose to produce is entirely up to you. Some school marketing campaigns might be more effective with multiple videos that cover various stories, programs, or grade levels in-depth. On the other hand, you can choose to have one video in which you compile several testimonies into one overarching theme. Ideally, your video production company will have developed a video marketing plan with you prior to filming and helped you prepare the school for a video production.

If you have a very strong singular story you can focus on, you could make a video just about that one family. Ideally, this video would be a few minutes long and show the transformation of the family in a three-part structure (the family’s situation before, during, and after their experience at the school). This type of video is especially powerful if the family is representative of a target audience that would relate to the message.

Repurposing Student-Parent Stories for School Marketing

Once you have finished your student-parent experience video, you can maximize its value by sharing it across multiple channels. First, you should ensure that your video is properly featured on your school’s website. Then, you can distribute it through targeted Facebook advertisements, email marketing campaigns, and even at open houses.

Ready to begin creating student-parent experience videos for your school’s video marketing campaign?  Contact Monzo Media Productions today to set up a consultation about your school video marketing campaign.

How to Prepare Your School for a Video Production

How to Prepare Your School for a Video Production

Part II of the School Video Deep Dive Series

Finding a video production company to make awesome marketing assets for your school was a challenging first step, but the hard work isn’t over yet. Now that you have a great video crew and marketing partner on your side, you’ll need to begin the planning process for filming. The most important thing you can do before filming day is to prepare your school for video production.

If you’ve never had to coordinate and prepare a school institution for filming, you might not know where to start. Without proper planning and organization, you could end up disrupting your school’s daily activities and wasting valuable time. To get the most out of your experience and investment, check out the following step-by-step guide.

Scheduling Film Day for Your School

Ideally, you’ll want to schedule your film days according to your school’s calendar. Ask yourself if there are any important exams or events that will cause the campus or population to look differently on camera. Find a stretch of time where activity on campus will be “normal” or typical. When it comes to capturing interview content, students, teachers, and staff shouldn’t be preoccupied with extraordinary circumstances or too stressed and busy to participate. Otherwise, they might perform below average on camera, leaving you with unusable footage.

In addition, filming during special events will limit the crew’s ability to film certain scenes. For example, if it’s final exams week you don’t want to disturb the students, or if there is a field trip for a whole section of the school, there might be a lack of students in the hallways to film candidly. Even if you can organize all the key participants, there won’t be enough content for a video without quality B-roll footage. 

Communicate Expectations to Students and Faculty

In order to get the most out of your film day, the entire school body must understand your expectations. Announce that there will be camera crews and instruct everyone about proper behavior during filming. 

Even if your school doesn’t enforce a strict dress code, emphasize appropriate attire. As a precaution, keep an extra wardrobe on hand for those who may need to change. Replace any overt branding or offensive prints with school pride clothing.

Finally, remind everyone that not all footage will be used. You’ll have a lot of content to work with, so not everyone will make it into the first school marketing video. Preemptively addressing this expectation will spare hurt feelings.

Map Out the Day for Filming the School Video

Identify the locations and interviews you need and allot the appropriate amount of time to effectively capture each scene. While creating your schedule, remember that a common mistake is to only shoot one video at a time. You’ll end up having to schedule another film day for each video and run the risk of disrupting educational processes at your school.

Thorough planning will allow you to get a lot of footage that you can repurpose later for other marketing assets, otherwise known as “evergreen” video content. Allow ample time for shooting B roll and substantial interviews that might come in handy for other videos. Write out a schedule that everyone can follow, including interviewees. For B roll, line up all the locations before film day and verify that the film crew can capture daily activity in those settings.

One warning to be aware of is knowing which students you can and can’t film. Most likely parents signed a waiver to allow their child to be photographed/filmed for your schools marketing materials. However some parents may have opted out of that and choose to not want to have their child photographed/filmed. Please make sure that whoever is filming/editing is aware of those children that way you can avoid them when filming/editing.

Overall, be prepared yet flexible. Things can change at the last minute, whether due to the sudden unavailability of an interviewee or a change in location or scenery for the shot. Regarding the latter, the film crew might identify and advise you on a better filming opportunity for your marketing assets, and it may be in your best interest to change plans in that moment.

Prepare Interviewees for the School Video Format

It’s hard to predict how interviewees will perform on camera. To avoid discomfort and unclear messages, run pre-interviews. During these meetings, identify and address any issues and preview what to expect during on-camera interviews. Try going over the questions with interviewees ahead of time and practicing their answers, though they don’t need to answer exactly what they practice, just the idea is fine. 

Even investing only 10 minutes to go over the basics can improve the finished video product. Try to catch students in the hallway during recess or at lunch. Schedule time during free periods for teachers and staff. If there’s anyone in particular who doesn’t seem prepared or comfortable, prioritize speaking with them to improve the articulation of their ideas on camera.

Maximize Your School Film Day Potential

Without prior experience, you can effectively prepare your school for video production by following the steps outlined above. Get your school community excited about film day with proper organization, planning, and troubleshooting. With the right strategy in place, you’ll obtain not only stellar interviews promoting your school, but also evergreen video content to strengthen your marketing funnel. Monzo Media Productions can assist you throughout the school video preparation and filming process. Looking to start your video production project? Contact us today!

School Video Deep Dive: General Admissions Video

School Video Deep Dive: General Admissions Video

Part I of the School Video Deep Dive Series

We’re now in September! With classes back in session, the energy in schools is at peak excitement for the year. However, the conversation should never have to “return” to enrollment and admissions if a level of enthusiasm and interest is sustained throughout the year. This raises an important question: How are you using your school video marketing strategy to get prospective students and families aware and excited about your institution? 

In this blog series, we will take a deep dive into how a robust video marketing strategy can improve enrollment and retention. We’ll explain in detail which videos you should add to your marketing armory, and how you can maximize their value. These are the same types of videos we recommend to our own school clients.

For this first blog, we’ll be focusing on the cornerstone of this strategy, the general admissions video.

What Is a General Admissions Video?

The general admissions video is the flagship of your marketing strategy. In this video, you’ll need to showcase the core of your institution, including values and unique offerings that set it apart. You should be highlighting school culture, value proposition, and extracurriculars. Most importantly, you should encapsulate the student journey and experience that’s promised to prospective families during the admissions process.

To start, capture a combination of staff interviews, student testimonials, and action shots that showcase the essence of life at the school. Focus especially on how teachers add to that experience and reveal what makes these educators excited to work every day. 

Usually, general admissions videos should be between 90 seconds and 3 minutes long. If a video is too short, it could lack the substance that tells a compelling story. If it is too long, you might have too much “fluff” and lose the viewer’s interest. Extending beyond 3 minutes is justified, however, if you are expertly weaving together a fascinating story that keeps viewers engaged.

At the end of the day, the most important result is that a prospective family gets a gut-feeling about the school. This is the video that will determine if they want to continue learning more or not. They won’t decide to enroll their student right away, but this video will play a key role in capturing their interest so that they take further action.

The Role of the General Admissions Video in Marketing

On one hand, people think of marketing as casting a wide net and capturing as many leads as possible. On the other hand, an unorthodox way to think about good marketing is that it not only nurtures good leads but also turns away leads that aren’t the right fit. The latter can be an effective marketing framework for a school admissions process, when the end goal is not to drive revenue but to build and foster a community and culture. When creating and marketing this general admissions video, you shouldn’t be afraid to narrow in on what sets your school apart and which prospective families it serves.

For example, if the school serves students with learning differences or takes a different approach to student testing, your goal should be to market specifically to those families. Identifying which niche you serve will likely turn some families away, but it will save you marketing dollars and improve retention.

When it comes to marketing the video, make sure it’s accessible. Feature it at the top of your website’s homepage and pin it to the top of social media feeds. Direct site visitors to play the video by making it prominent enough to command attention, setting up a click-worthy thumbnail, and including a “watch video” graphic or a play button graphic. 

Expert tip: Uploading a general admissions video directly onto social media platforms instead of linking it from other sites like YouTube or Vimeo helps promote more views.

Further, use this general admissions video to engage in more targeted marketing. Send it out in your direct email marketing campaign as an introduction for prospective families and a way to nurture leads. You can also use the video for advertisements such as pay-per-click (PPC) Google ads[2]  in combination with a landing page, or Facebook ads. Finally, don’t forget to use this video at events such as open houses, which will help set the tone for the event and encourage discussion. 

Start Your School Video Marketing Campaign

Your general admissions video is a solid foundation on which to build the rest of your video marketing campaign. Other types of videos for the school, such as those that highlight sports and special extracurricular programs, should all follow the lead of your first video with tone and themes. 

If you had to only create one type of school marketing video, the general admissions video would be it. However, at Monzo Media Productions we strongly encourage clients to build a suite of videos, and therefore a marketing funnel, that will attract and nurture leads. If you’re interested in learning more about creating a great general admissions video and marketing campaign for your school, contact Monzo Media Productions today.