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How to shoot the perfect video – recap by the Blogger Union

#MrMindChanger and the Blogger Union

What is the big deal with video, anyway?

If you have yet to make your first video for your blog, then get this. It is estimated that three years from now, 82% of all online traffic will be driven by video. You have some time to get ready, so start now! During our October meet-up with the South Florida Bloggers, we learned the basics to making the perfect video.

south florida bloggers girls at how to shoot the perfect video.

And Pascal Depuhl—chief mind changer at Photography by Depuhl, a Miami-based visual content creation company—led the conversation. His school of thought was simple:

Create mind-changing video!

mr mindchanger pascal depuhl at how to shoot the perfect video.

#MrMindChanger

Because the perfect video will make you do something different. And bloggers have this as an end goal in mind as well. We want our readers and viewers to wear the cozy sweater we just layered on, and test out our favorite beauty products. Some of us want them to eat at the restaurants we frequent and order the lobster mac and cheese just like us.

So then now what? We took away some great pointers from Pascal last month and want to share them with you now. Let us take you to the beginning. It all starts with an attention grabber. Like a good blog post, your title has just a few seconds to draw in your audience. The same thing is true about the first glimpse to your video. Have you given your viewers something to care about? Pascal says that if that is not there, then you’re going to lose them pretty soon.

south florida bloggers workshop on how to shoot the perfect video by #MrMindChanger, Pascal Depuhl

 

Here are some other “Video Don’ts” from Pascal:

  • south florida bloggers girl at how to shoot the perfect video.Don’t explain everything. We don’t need a play-by-play like in football. Just explode into the action.
  • No need for a long intro. Viewers might think they are watching the same video if you always start with the same introduction. Once you have their interest, then queue in cameo of self.
  • Make your videos concise. Put the edit together, cut it in half, and then cut that in half. A two and a half minute length video is a good place to start.
  • Have a hero. It can be a thing, a place, a product, or a service—not always a person.
  • K.I.S.S. – it doesn’t have to be long or drawn out. Keep it simple. And make it worth watching. Show us what you’re eating. Show us what you’re wearing. Show us where to get it, or who made it.

south florida bloggers girl 2 at how to shoot the perfect video.

Then we move on to the body of your video, which is what keeps viewers peeping through the end. A video is multi-sensory. You have auditory and visual senses turned on. Pascal shared that more than half of the content comes across on audio. So pay attention to sound. It is just as important as anything else you are providing in your content. And this will make the body of your video a bit heartier.

Let us not forget the end. It has to have a call to action (CTA). Where do you want to end up? People need to know what to do next. And once you have it all together, where do you want them to go? Here is your selling point. But please, make your CTA’s subtle. Leave the infomercials for late night TV.

 

In case you missed it, click the link here with the slides of the presentation from Pascal.

south florida bloggers learn how to shoot the perfect video from #MrMindChanger, Pascal Depuhl


Join us this upcoming weekend to learn from veteran fashion blogger, Daniela Ramirez, on how to monetize your blog.

“How to create the perfect video” – WordCamp 2016 talk

How to create the perfect video talk at #WCMIA 2016

A great video, is like a great blogpost.” says Miami based visual content creator Pascal Depuhl. “You need to capture the viewers attention in the first few seconds, like a catchy blog title – otherwise you’ll loose them.” Pascal, who has been creating still images for his clients as a commercial photographer for over 25 years, recently spoke at WordCamp Miami. Video is a recent addition to the services Photography by Depuhl offers his clients.

He went on to say that the story portion of the video, is like the body of a blog post. “Story trumps everything” says Depuhl “the perfect video must tell a compelling story, engineered to change it’s viewers mind.” Photography by Depuhl is known for creating videos and images, designed to be mind changing; he gave a TEDx talk on this topic called “the Art of Changing Minds“.

Finally you’ll need to know your Call-to-Action before you start production. “Video is powerful, so your Call-to-Actions can be subtle.

Here are the slides of the talk and the links that Pascal mentioned, which will be published on WordCamp.tv in a few weeks.

Slides:

Download a PDF of “How to shoot the perfect video” slides here.

Links:

TEDx talk “The Art of Changing Minds

How to change 100 minds in 15 minutes

On Wings of Hope film

Social Media

Instagram @photosbydepuhl

Twitter @photosbydepuhl

www.depuhl.com

Editing, a quick primer: Cut it short!

Pascal loved editing his letters

Shakespeare must have been thinking about video editing when he penned the words “Brevity is the soul of wit“. There’s a reason it’s called the “cutting room floor” and not the “‘let’s cram some more content into this video’ room floor”. When you’re editing, you’re trimming individual clips, cutting out whole scenes, shortening, condensing and although it seems counterintuitive, the shorter the piece is that you are working on, the longer it’s going to take to edit it. 

Short takes time. Long goes quick.

Blaise Pascal wrote it in 1657 “I have made this (letter) longer than usual, because I have not had time to make it shorter.” If you’re new to editing, you’ll quickly find that cutting together a video will take much more time, than shooting the footage. Our experience in still photography is often quite the opposite. I just finished a 6 day catalog photo shoot and finished editing, i.E. picking the final images by the next morning. A week later I was shooting 3 days of a multi-month motion project and editing that footage will take me much longer than 3 days. 

2 suggestions when you get started editing

Even though editing has a pretty steep learning curve, I strongly recommend that you edit your own work, especially when you’re just getting into creating video projects. It’s going to make you a better cinematographer. Fast.

On the other hand I strongly recommend that you work with an experienced video editor, especially when you’re just getting into creating video projects. It’s going to make you a better editor. Fast.

Edit your own footage – it’ll make you a better cinematographer

Editing On Wings of Hope made me a better cinematographer. Collaborating with professional editors made me a better editor.

I remember coming back from filming my first corporate documentary film in Afghanistan in 2012. I shoot for 2 and a half weeks and had planned on spending a week to edit the movie. Just for the record, it ended up taking me a longer. Much longer. However editing the footage myself, really helped me understand which shots I had missed or screwed up, where I had to abandon ideas, because of a non-existent camera angles or bad takes I had not retaken in the field. Those realizations are painful, but I won’t be making the same mistakes again. 

Collaborate with professional editors – it’ll make you a better editor

I also send pieces of the short film to friends of mine–experienced film industry pros–and the feedback I got from them was sometimes painful, but I learned a lot in a very short time. 

One email was especially painful. It came from a seasoned Hollywood director friend of mine and begins with the words: “Ok. If you’ll notice the time you may give some thought to how much you’re loved and appreciated. For both expediency and brevity’s sake I’m not going to perfume my words…

Then it goes into 3 pages of non-perfumed words, ripping apart every scene I’d lovingly cut together. Telling me (in no uncertain terms) where there was significant room for improvement. Honestly I did not feel happy when I read that email for the first time. Or the second time. But when I finally re-edited the film following his suggestions, they made the movie a million times better. A printout of his email sits on my desk and I reread it from time to time.

In case you’re still not clear about this: Editing is cutting.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: Edit your video. Then cut out half of the footage. Once you’ve done that, congratulate yourself and cut it again by half. Now you’re in the ballpark of how long your motion piece should be. Brevity is the soul of wit, especially when it comes to editing.

Where to go from here

If you’re looking for a great book on editing, check out “In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing, by Walter Murch” its basically the Film Editors bible. Brand new to video? Check out Pascals talk at WordCamp Miami How to step up your video” and learn about story, sound, visuals and edit.

[This post was originally published on the American Society of Media Photographers ‘Strictly Business’ blog.]

WordCamp Miami 2016 #WCMIA coming soon

WordCamp Miami 2016

WordCamp Miami 2016 is coming to Miami next weekend

WordCamp Miami 2016, a tech conference, is back in Miami from February 19-21. South Florida’s longest running non-profit tech conferences (It’s the 8th year WordCamp has been in Miami) is designed for WordPress users, bloggers, content creators, SEO, designers, marketing folks, and developers to hone their blogging skills. It doesn’t matter, if you’re an established blogger, a WordPress aficionado or just starting out in the blogosphere, #WCMIA 2016 has something for everyone –from classes for kids to talks that are all about the code that runs your WordPress blog.

What’s happening at WordCamp Miami 2016

There’s too much to list here and WordCamp’s website is obviously the place to go (quickly, since they always sell out of tickets). Nile Flores –a fellow WordCamp speaker– has put together a great blog post on what to look forward to at WordCamp Miami 2016. She highlights some interesting details about this conference and some the speakers that will be sharing their knowledge at this conference.

Here’s an excerpt from blondish.net:

david-bisset“WordCamp Miami is expected to bring in well over 800 attendees, according to one of the WordCamp Miami organizer’s, David Bisset. He also says that some of the things that attendees can look forward to seeing is the kids activities.

Bisset says “There’s a lot of kids activities like the Saturday Workshop, Sunday STEAM activities, and the Kid’s Panel at the end of Sunday.”

ptah-dunbarPtah Dunbar, the lead organizer of WordCamp Miami 2016, says that attendees should look foward to the JavaSscript Track on Sunday. He says, “We’ve got a great lineup of quality speakers.”

Ptah says that attendees should bring the following: “Bring a friend or two! Learning new ideas and connecting with friends is always a good time. Also, bring pocket notebook and pen to carry with you (leave your laptop at the hotel), for notoriously writing down actionable advice from all the really smart people you’ll be meeting over be next 24-48-72 hours (depending on how long you stay) and their Twitter handles.”

Dunbar also mentioned, “And finally don’t forget to set aside time to enjoy the beach and explore Miami! Keep an eye on the #wcmia slack channel as we’ll be sharing announcements like things to do and other surprises throughout the 18th-21st.”

last year

Guess who’s speaking on “How to shoot the perfect video” at WordCamp Miami (again)…

WordCamp Miami 2016

WordCamp Miami announces another round of speakers

WordCamp Miami (WCMIA) announces speakers for it’s 2016 conference. I am Speaking at WordCamp Miami 2016Miami based cinematographer Pascal Depuhl delivers “How to shoot the perfect video” talk at WordCamp Miami 2016 . If you’re a blogger, social media user or run a website for your company or clients, check out his talk to learn what makes a video perfect.

I’m thrilled to be part of this amazing line up of speakers – if you’ve never been to WCMIA, you need to check it out. This WordPress focused conference is an amazing resource (and a tone of fun) that you shouldn’t miss. Buy your tickets now, it always sells out.

Some of the speakers at WordCamp Miami 2016

Stay tuned for more info and check out last year’s WordCamp talk “How to step up your video” which consisted of 4 steps: Story“, Sound“, Visuals“, Edit“. Here’s what WordCamp Miami has to say about me:

Pascal Depuhl is a visual content creator at Photography by Depuhl, a Miami based production company. He’s been capturing still images for over 25 years and even though he got into video only 5 years ago, you’ll find his award-winning and mind changing videos on National Geographic, Netflix, the BBC and many of his clients websites. It’s common to find him in the mountains of Afghanistan or the jungles of South America and it’s just as common to walk away from one of his short documentary style films with your mind blown.

Photography by Depuhl offer free videos at WordCamp Miami 2016

Pascal will also have a video studio set up again, so that sponsors and WordCamp participants can have him make a free short video on the spot.Video Studio at WordCamp 2015

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Anticipation builds audience – Marketing Hack #28

Anticipation can build an audience

Anticipation = Excitement = Engagement

We’re all looking for ways to expand our audience, but it’s not about the quantity of followers (I know shocking). It’s about the quality of people who consume our content online.

Imagine if I had 100,000 followers that we’re 70-75 year old, female asian women who love knitting. I’m sure these ladies are the sweetest group of followers ever, but how many of them do you think are in the market to hire a visual content creator and advertising photographer in the US, who specializes in making mind changing videos and product photography? I think you’d agree that a more valuable audience would be a 100 designers, advertising execs, production people and content creators, right?

Well I’ve forgone the asian knitting circle and produced a video for the première Design high school in the US, which happens to be in Miami. Year after year it cranks out a group of World Class fashion designers, architects, filmmakers, industrial designers and graphic artists.

Why do this work for a high school?” you may ask “it’ll be years before those kids are in a position to hire a professional photographer or commercial cinematographer.” I gotta hand it to you–you’re right, however there are 25 years worth of alumni that are in that position and being that this was for the 25 year anniversary, you could feel the anticipation for this event by the alumni, faculty, staff, parents, community and supporters. So how do you capture their attention? I’ve got two words for you: Anticipation. (OK that’s one word, but I’ll say it again – anticipation drives excitement, which gives you engagement).

How to build anticipation

Many people knew about the creation of this video. From the school administration and faculty, who helped us find the right alumni to interview to engaged parents and  excited alumni giving suggestions, from the world-class executive producer, who helped me put this together to the current students, who we filmed in their class rooms. Everyone knew something was up.

Of course it helps that the event is built on anticipation as well, that there’s an 25 year anniversary involved, that the person featured in the event and video is one of Miami-Dade public schools top educators. You still gotta build anticipation. Let me tell you about a local event I worked on, although the principles apply to any size audience.

Keep it under wraps

You can talk about it, you can Instagram behind the scenes shots of the project (check out my IG feed and let me know which of those images are your favorites), you should make a quick 16 second edit for IG, but the one thing you can not do is share the video. With anyone. Not with the people featured in the video, not with the people you’ve interviewed, not with anyone who does not absolutely, positively have to watch it – like your producer and one person who has the authority to approve it.

Every time you share it with anyone outside of that circle, you lose some anticipation.

In the end 5 people saw the video (outside my immediate family) before we premiered it at the event: my exec producer, an associate producer, myself and the assistant principal from the school (we wanted to dot our i’s and cross our t’s to make sure there was nothing that the school would object to) and one other principal from another school, who has no connections to this school – I wanted one unbiased opinion.

Teasers build anticipationTease it to influencers

5 days before the event launched, a short teaser video goes up on social media and is featured in an email blast to everyone at the school and the community, who is invited to the event. Many people came to me in the days leading up to the event saying they are excited to finally watch the final version.

Control you content

As soon as we had picture lock on the edit, the password protected Vimeo link, used to collaborate with my production team, went dark. Downloads were never enabled and even the AV team got their copy for the show the evening of rehearsal day – barely 24 hours before the event – with explicit instruction, that the video was embargoed until the actual first showing. It wasn’t even used in rehearsal – I had created a special clip for that.

Strike the iron while it’s hot

Once the cat’s out of the bag–so to speak–share your content as broadly and as quickly as possible. In this case the official copy of the video was on social media, less than 90 minutes after the live showing – I had to get home from the event and had the first comments soon after.

Share it from one central place

Figure out where you want the attention, which followed the anticipation, focused on. Release your content in one place and then share that place with everyone – in this case I embedded Vimeo link on one Facebook page and shared that page with my other pages, the schools page, the alumni page, the PTSA page and key influencers.

Don’t be afraid to ask for the share

I’ve done the same for other social media launches. Don’t be afraid to ask certain people (especially those that take the time to like or comment on your content to share it with their followers. Be polite and nice about it, thank them for their contributions, but ask for the share straight up–oh and don’t do that with each one. Pick 2 or 3 a year, find the audience that loves to share the anticipation and go for it.

The philosophy behind riveting story telling: ASMP SB Story telling in Motion

Story is the most important element of good video

Story trumps everything

Story is the most important part of any video. Great story trumps great visuals, amazing audio or an intricate edit every time. As a photographer you’ve been a visual storyteller for as long as you’ve captured still images, so I’m not gonna waste your time on how to craft visual content that tells a compelling story designed to change the viewers mind.

(If you want to learn more about that kind of story telling check out Alex Buono’s Visual Story Telling Tour that’s running through September 20th – don’t forget yourASMP member discount – or check out the How to Step Up Your Video talk I gave at WordCamp Miami this past May.)

3 ingredients necessary to create a powerful story

I believe the philosophy behind creating a powerful visual story is simple. It consists of three basic steps that, when followed, make your story irresistible. These three ingredients are simple to learn, yet difficult to execute. I discovered them when creating my first documentary in Afghanistan, shared them in my TEDx talk called The Art of Changing Minds and try to incorporate them into all of my video productions:

Step#1: Vision

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others – Jonathan Swift

Without vision you have no story. Without vision you are literally flying blind. How are you going to tell a story, if you don’t know how it ends, where it begins and what twists and turns there will be along the way? By the way, it was Aristotle who wrote that every story has a beginning, a middle and an end.

Your vision is imperative to transform your viewer. Without vision it’s the blind leading the blind. True vision can not be manufactured, it has to transform you first.

(As an aside, if all you have is vision – you’re a just dreamer. Someone with a great idea, who’s afraid of going out on a limb with his or her idea. You need the next step to get the driving force to help you get your dream off the ground.)

Step#2: Passion

If you don’t have a passion for what you do, any rational person is going to give up – Steve Jobs

Without passion your story is dull, boring, uninteresting and lame. Without passion your story is a carbon copy of someone else’s at best–a counterfeit clone at worst. How are you going to excite your audience, if you’re not sharing something that you deeply believe in? More importantly, where are you gonna get the strength to deal with the people who will discourage you from telling your story without having that fire in your belly? It’s easy to give up if all you hear is “No!” – unless you have passion driving your vision.

Your passion is vital to inspire your audience. Without passion you’re producing a story that’s gonna put everyone to sleep. True passion can not be faked. Passion has to inspire you first, before it inspires your audience.

(As an aside, if you have passion, without vision – you’re like a bull in a china shop. There’s a lot of noise, but nothing good is gonna come out of it. Shoot first and ask questions later does not work.)

Action

Your aspirations are in heaven, but your brains are in your feet – Afghan proverb

Without action your story is going to die. I don’t care how transforming your vision is and how inspirational your passion is; without taking action, you will fail. It’s as simple as that. Without action your story never gets told and an untold story is worth as much as an unprocessed piece of film.

Your action inspires, or breathes life into, your story. Without action your story remains lifeless and dead. It stays buried inside your head or entombed in some dusty screenplay or faded storyboard, that’s never gonna get shared. Great stories need you to get your head out of the clouds and get going.

The philosophy behind riveting storytelling

  • Be a true visionary and create a transformative story, by staying true to your vision.
  • Become a person of passion, who shares an inspirational story fueled by the burning passion in your gut.
  • Take action! Produce an inspiring story that follows your vision, and combine it with passion to let it rip …
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