Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Makes Perfect

Over the past 9 years I’ve learnt a lot about video and how you can get the best out of the content you make. But the biggest thing I’ve learnt is that it’s a journey, and something that (for me at least) will never be finished. I look back at the videos I made in 2012, and 2014 when I first started making videos like this and cringe. They’re awful! 

But I had to start somewhere, how could I possibly improve if I were too scared to get started? You might feel that some people might laugh at how bad they are (unlikely), or maybe you’re afraid that people will ignore them altogether (more likely). But you never know what will happen, and you’ll never going to improve unless you start somewhere. 

I’ve felt that feeling all over again since I started making weekly live videos. I haven’t got it to the point yet where I’m happy with how they look, or how I’m presenting. The whole thing makes me nervous. But the big thing is I know that I can make something that looks amazing, and with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work will get a lot of engagement. 

If you’ve made videos before and have stopped, or want to get started but are feeling nervous, ask me a question about how you can get started. I’d love to help. 

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Don’t cancel your event yet!

Don’t cancel your event yet!

Don’t cancel your event yet!

With everything going on with COVID-19, it’s hard to look past the possibility of cancelling any event you had planned for the next few months. The likelihood of having anything more than 20-50 people in a room before the end of the year looks pretty unlikely even for the most optimistic of event planner. 

At Red Book Productions I’ve been looking into the possibility of moving an event online. That’s why, at the start of July I helped Coconut Creatives move their usual ‘Franchise Fest’ from an ‘in person’ event to an online event. 

The usual format is simple:

 – 2 days where a few hundred people come along to a hotel in Warwickshire. 

– 1 main stage where there’s talks from expert speakers from the franchise industry.

– Break-out rooms with seminars from more expert speakers in the franchise industry. 

– Obviously networking goes on throughout the day. 

– Live evening music after day 1.

The people at Coconut quickly found ‘Hopin’ a website only launched early in 2020 that hosts an online event in one place. Main stage: check. Break out rooms: check. Networking: check. Sponsors and Suppliers area: check. It’s the kind of thing you could host on multiple zoom calls but all in one place and much more simple to navigate. 

It was my job to handle the main stage from the studio in Andover, and the Coconut team prepped speakers throughout the day. The feedback from the event was fantastic. And moving your event online could be a real possibility. 

We’re putting together an online events package, so let us know if you want us to keep you posted: 

The New Normal

The New Normal

The New Normal

Coming out of lockdown has meant that we’ve all had to adjust to a new way of life. With social distancing, masks and washing your hands every 5 minutes. In this week’s episode of #TheVideoShow I’ve decided to discuss the tools that I’ve found useful making videos within the limits of social distancing. 

It’s meant I’ve had to invest in a few new bits of equipment (and a rug) to make my life easier and my customer’s life a little less stressful.

 

1. GoPro – I’ve had some form of GoPro for many years, and I use it quite infrequently. But over the past few months I’ve used my GoPro more and more. It’s a great camera for somebody to wear whilst they demonstrate their work, and I can view what they’re seeing from a safe distance. Not to mention they’re waterproof so they’re very easy to clean. 

 

2. Boom Microphone – Before lockdown I was using lapel mics. This meant clipping a microphone onto somebody. This was usually done by the person themselves, but it often required me to get close to them to check that it was fitted and working before we could begin. With this new microphone I can record from a distance.

 

3. Rug – It sounds really weird, but by investing in a rug for the studio it gives the subject somewhere to stand and I can move around them. I may need to move cameras, lights and microphones, but if we’ve all got our own area, we’re all safe!

 

Take a look at a few of the videos I’ve made under social distancing. The first from Practical Car and Van Rental and the second from No5 Dental Care.

I’d love to know how you and your business are adjusting under the constraints ‘new normal’, let me know in the comments.

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Making videos in lockdown

Making videos in lockdown

Creativity in Lockdown

During lockdown it’s been hard to create videos. Usually I’m out and about all over the country creating content with people. But due to the constraints of coronavirus, I’ve have had to change the way I work.

Firstly, I thought this ‘new normal’ meant a lot of editing, which it did for a time. But then it became clear that I could still create content with people using Zoom. 

I first worked with Cameron and Tony from TRUTH a few years ago, and when they asked me to help with their new project I saw it as a great opportunity to create something interesting with the constraints of not being able to leave the house. 

Over the course of a few weeks we put together the video explaining what TRUTH does and how they’re adjusting to life and business under COVID-19. After a false start (a video that looked awful) I quickly realised there were a few things that were vital to making a video under these different circumstances: 

  • Access to Existing Footage: We were lucky enough to have footage from a few years ago that we could re-use (in our case it was shots of London) which were unattainable between March and June for obvious reasons.  If you’re not lucky to have access to old footage then you can always find stock footage, but that usually comes at a price. 
  • Zoom: Having regular video calls helped me direct Cameron and Tony and the other staff at TRUTH to get the shots we needed on their own phones. 
  • Camera Equipment at home: By moving a lot of my equipment  back home for lockdown meant I could shoot footage in my house and garden that looked great! 
  • Helpful friends: Having a few friends who were willing to film themselves for short clips in this video was really handy. There have been a few people who have helped me in various projects over lockdown, and I can honestly say I couldn’t have made these videos without their help. These short clips fill in the gaps and tie everything together.

Overall, I think the finished video looks great, and by having these constraints that a global pandemic brings, we were able to create something that stands out. To be honest, if I were making this video normally, it wouldn’t have been half as creative. Having to make videos this way has forced me to look at creating videos differently and it’s taught me a lot about creating videos in the future. 

You can watch the full video below: 

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Should I waste my time scripting?

Should I waste my time scripting?

Do I need to bother scripting my videos?

In this landmark episode of #TheVideoShow (in as much as 271 is a landmark) I discuss scripting videos with friend of the show Evelyne Brink. 

I’ve always been one for being quite loose with scripting my videos, that’s because the vast majority of my videos are just answering questions about video itself. I may write down 3-4 points that I want to cover, but more an more I find myself mentally making notes. That’s probably a product of creating so many videos, it does get easier and easier with practice!

What I would recommened, particularly if you’re starting out, or if you’re making a video for your website homepage or a sales video is to spend some time planning your video. Whether this be a strict script, or a detailed document of everything you want to cover I PROMISE you it will be worth it and save you a lot of time when it comes to shooting. 

But take a look at this week’s episode and let me know how you script or plan your own videos in the comments or by emailing me

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There’s something you need to know about me

There’s something you need to know about me

There’s something you need to know about video…

When you come to make a video with me, there’s a few different things you need to consider that you may not have thought about before. 

1. Why are you doing it? 

Tell my why you’re making videos in the first place? Is it to grow your existing audience? Is it to show you off as the expert? It’s obviously got something to do with generating new customers, but how does that fit in with your business? After I know this, I can let you know whether or not I can actually help. 

2. Who’s it for?

You’ve got to have a good idea of your audience before you come to me, if you haven’t got a clue who you’re targeting we’ve got a lot of work to do to refine your audience, their viewing habits and what kind of content they’ll actually watch. 

3. What platform?

This point is down to me to advise on what platform you should concentrate your upload efforts on. And it links into your audience’s viewing habits. If you get the platform right you’ll save yourself a hell of a lot of time. 

4. What are you going to say?

It does vary with the type of video you’re making, but having an idea of what you want to get across in your video will save us a lot of time in the planning stage. Of course we will refine your script and your delivery before shooting, but having an idea of the content before hand will be very useful. 

5. What are you going to wear?

This is something that a lot of people don’t consider in their videos. They sometimes turn up in clothes that aren’t suitable for video (such as chequered shirts which create a horrific strobing effect). I’d recommend you dress for your audience, think about what they’d expect to see you dressed in and wear that. 

6. Where are we filming?

This seems to answer itself pretty quickly, but consider your options. You can come to my studio here in Andover, I can come to you, or we can shoot at multiple locations if needed. If we need to shoot at  multiple locations there will of course be a bit more planning, but the time think about it is before we even get started. 

7. Who’s involved?

Who will be in the video? Is it just you? Do you have staff or customers lined up to give testimonials? All this is worth considering before we get started, and it’s something I need to know before we get started. 

 

I hope this has given you an idea into what I need to know before making a video, so if you’re thinking of getting started with video, get these questions answered (at least in part) before we start our planning stage. If you have any questions, leave a comment below or send me an email to.

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I’ve run out of ideas

I’ve run out of ideas

I’ve run out of ideas!

After 269 episodes of #TheVideoShow you can bet that I’ve struggled for ideas now and again. Over the past few years I’ve literally answered hundreds of questions about video. 

In this episode of the show, I’ve come up with a few ideas on how to generate content for years and years…

1. Answer questions – I’m glad this is something I learnt early on in my career. Write down EVERY SINGLE QUESTION you ever get asked, whether it’s on your phone or in a notepad, have somewhere you can write down interesting questions that you can answer in your future videos. I can’t stress how much this has helped me over the past few years. 

2. What problems are you having? – What things have you struggled with in the past? What problems do your customers have? If you or somebody else is having a continuing problem with something, the chances are that there’s someone else who’s having the same issue. 

3. Myths – What myths and misconceptions are there about your business? What do people believe to be true, but aren’t at all? Write them down and then set about dispelling them once and for all in your videos. 

4. Conversations – Having a chat with someone sometimes brings up interesting topics for videos. Maybe they have a differing opinion to your own, or they made you remember something interesting. But by having lots of conversations with people, and writing down a few notes on what you spoke about, it’s a great way to generate new video content ideas. 

5. What’s new? – What’s changed in the last 6/12 months in your industry? How does that impact your audience? By looking at the things that have changed in your industry you’ll be keeping your viewers up to date with what’s going on. 

If you have any ideas on how to come up with new content ideas, I’d love to hear them, I’m always looking for ways to generate more videos, and after 269 episodes it does get harder!

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How video will change in 2020

How video will change in 2020

What to expect from video in 2020…

 

Video is an ever changing medium, since I started Red Book Productions in 2011, I’ve upgraded cameras multiple times, been using different equipment and have invested in some equipment I’ve barely used. 

But lots of things have changed behind the scenes as well, the way we watched video has changed almost incomprehensibly in the last decade. Back in 2011 I’d be expected to supply a video on YouTube for somebody’s website. Some people would even ask for the video to be supplied on a DVD as well. Now I’m uploading videos edited for specific platforms for specific audiences who watch videos at specific times of the day. 

I only expect video to keep changing and evolving in the years ahead, but for this video lets concentrate on the next 12 months…

The biggest thing I expect to see is the continued rise in episodic content, and the way people watch a business’ videos online. I expect every marketing agency to become a studio of sorts, to create not only their own video content, but also for their customers. Viewers want to binge watch well made content and well told stories. And if your business can get that right in the next 12-18 months you’re going to be ahead of the curve for the next few years. 

How can your business create binge worthy content that will keep viewers involved, get people sharing and create new opportunities?

Well here are a few of my ideas: 

1. Invest in people – Whether it’s one person or a team of people, invest in creative people who have the ideas to make things happen. By creating quality regular content you’ll stand out from the crowd. Anybody can make content on their phone, but if you were making regular ‘shows’ what would that say about you?

2. It will take time – It’s not going to happen overnight, don’t expect a deluge of customers off the back of one video. But if you’re doing things right you’ll build up a loyal following of fans who will share your message for you. 

3. Have a clear vision – Know WHY you’re making this content, WHO it’s for and WHAT kind of things they want to know. Let that be the foundation to build your content on. 

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How to be remembered

How to be remembered

When I meet somebody, whether it be online or at a real life event, there’s a few aspects that lead to me remembering them.

The main one is the amount I see of them after originally meeting them, so this can again be in person, or it can be online in the form of content.

There are far more people that I’ve totally forgotten after I’ve met them because I’ve never heard from them again. So what am I trying to say?

If you want to be remembered after originally meeting somebody, the best way to do that is to create regular and engaging content. This doesn’t have to be consumed all the time, it may only be glanced at on the off chance. But by creating this regular content (such as videos, blogs, podcasts) you’re nudging your acquaintance, and creating somebody who feels like they know you. Even if you don’t see them again for months or years.

One day, they might buy from you, they might recommend you. But they won’t remember you if you don’t make the effort to create quality content.

Does your personal brand matter?

Does your personal brand matter?

Is hair and make-up that important?

To be honest I’ve never given the subject that much thought. I have regular conversations with Evelyne Brink who is an expert of presenting on camera, she’s an advocate of hair and make-up but done in the right way.

In our conversation, Evelyne told me that if you’re a woman and you wear no make-up, you’re likely to appear tired and messy. Contrast that with too much make-up and you look like you’re going out to party! So the key is to fall a little bit in the middle, so you look smart.

For men, it’s a bit different, Evelyne gave me a few tips, for example, my own brand is being quite casual, so it wouldn’t make sense for me to appear on #TheVideoShow in a suit, but maybe I could put a little wax in my hair to tidy it up, and put a bit of concealer over the bags under my eyes.

Watch the next few episodes to see if I take her advice!