The New Audio and Video Producers-You Just Don’t Know We Exist

by admin on February 3, 2014 · 2 comments

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Http://LeonardSipes.Com

There is a new generation of professionals creating audio and video. We are also creating and maintaining websites, shooting and editing photos and employing a wide array of new tech tools.

What’s so special about us? We don’t have an ounce of formal training in any of the above.

What’s so interesting about us? We are probably creating more audio and video than those professionally trained.

What’s not recognized? Those providing equipment and instruction don’t know we exist. For example, video-related firms are almost exclusively focused on people shooting and editing for film and television; we are creating for the internet and internal use.

Is this the future? It is. I just came from a Public Relations Society of America seminar in D.C. on the future of PR. Many mentioned video production and the need for  staff to become proficient in its creation.

Why is this important? Content is king. Video and audio products are preferred my many. It conveys information powerfully and it respects learning styles.  In many ways it’s easier to create than written publications.

What’s the reaction from staff? They don’t look forward to the new responsibility. The mitigating factor is that it’s probably much easier than they realize. But they need to be trained.

So what’s the problem? We don’t need or want the high-end training or equipment. The professionals don’t get us. As stated by a video representative at a recent trade show, “OK, I know you are shooting green screen with a non-color separation camera but the purist in me just feels that it’s wrong.”

What we need:

A little respect? More importantly we need instruction we can understand and use. For example, you can dwell all you want on the merits of the Adobe Premier Pro and related cloud products (editing for experts) but if I can’t get it done with Adobe Premier Elements or iMovie, it’s not happening.

Nothing personal but we have our regular jobs to do and higher end tech products are usually explained and taught by people who see us as problems rather than solutions.

Yes, I know there are hundreds of ways to compress video but we only need two or three. Anything beyond that is a waste of my time.

I belong to national content creators, public affairs and webmasters groups and we are looking for instruction or possibly remote seminars on the creation of video and audio with subject level experts in mind.

What do I mean by subject level experts? Well, I’m a criminologist and public affairs/social media person. I have no formal training in audio or video production.

I need basic, quick, cheap and effective and suitable for the internet. I want to create a nice product but it doesn’t have to perfect (i.e., for TV or movies).

My Background:

I’ve been producing audio on my own since 2006 for my federal agency. I host and produce television shows since 2006 but a studio does the filming and editing. I  hosted radio and television shows for a large state agency ten years previously. I’ve been on the internet for approximately 15 years. We have a considerable number of national and local awards for our work.

The premise is that I create my own audio in-house (taught by a co-worker) rather than go to a professional studio. I do it on my own with my modest studio, some simple software and a MacBook Pro.

If I can create my own high-quality audio then why can’t I create my own high-quality video?

My friends at NPR tell me that my radio shows are 80 percent as good as theirs and to me that’s a major accomplishment considering the money spent (about $15,000 a year total for radio and television). If my audio rivals that of a professional studio with a minimal investment in training and equipment, why can’t I create video  and green screen video with equal quality?

Our Agencies/Corporations Have Limits:

Our agencies are not staffed with video professionals or if they are, they are assigned to other duties. In my case our television productions are done in a studio which is great but we need to create more than our TV budget allows.

As I talk to other PR professionals, I find that the same holds for corporate public relations professionals. We need to do more and it’s going to get done by people without audio and video backgrounds.

We Need Help:

The vast majority of video training is geared towards professionals creating television and movies. For us it’s overkill; we create for the internet or for internal training purposes.

We are looking for the easiest and least expensive methods and equipment. We need simple yet we need to create reasonably nice products that are several cuts above the average YouTube video (thus an emphasis on green screen).

For example, most are shooting video for green screen with higher end consumer video cameras rather than suggested color separation cameras (although the Blackmagic Pocket camera is beginning to get some serious interest based on price and its suitability for green screen color separation). But the results for better-than-average video cameras (if properly lit) are more than acceptable. If fact, some are rather nice.

More than a couple of us are shooting video on our smartphones and tablets. We are taking highly portable gear to conferences and filing video and audio reports. What’s unacceptable for film pros we embrace.

Most are using Adobe Premier Elements or iMovie as editing platforms. We light our productions with inexpensive or portable lighting kits. We mike with Shure wired lapel mikes. We use iPads as teleprompters. We post on WordPress websites powered by shared servers. We spend a couple thousands of dollars (beyond our laptops) where others are spending tens-of-thousands or more.

Final Analysis:

Somewhere out there someone will recognize an emerging market for instruction and platforms that will allow non-video and audio professionals to create high quality products.

Think I’m overplaying my hand? Then read http://www.niemanlab.org/2014/01/guide-ditches-news-anchor-avatars-in-favor-of-a-streamlined-automated-video-production/.There is a growing need for video (see the referenced New York Times article for a real eye-opener).

The need for video is growing rapidly. My guess is that the majority of government/corporate/nonprofit videos will be produced by people without video production backgrounds in the near future.

And my final guess is that someone out there will recognize that we exist and will start catering to our needs and profit greatly in the process.

Please follow and share.

Best, Len.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bob Kovacs February 6, 2014 at 3:55 pm

I think you’re right on the money with this. For years, I’ve been producing short videos about concerts, lectures, events and activities in my home town that I post to YouTube . I do this with less-than-professional gear, but I edit them and use simple techniques that make them several notches above typical amateur videos. (For editing, I use Corel VideoStudio Pro, by the way… it’s $50 or so on Amazon, and will work with and create any format you’d want.) Like you, I have no formal training in video production, although I have worked as a video engineer for years.

For your own training, you can find almost anything on YouTube. If you want to know how to do an effect between two video tracks, there’s a video on YouTube explaining how to do it. Whatever you want to know, it’s almost certainly there. For that matter, if you want to fix your car or washing machine, there’s probably a video about that, too.

I have LOTS of tips on how to make good-quality video inexpensively, such as using Walmart clamp lights with daylight-balanced bulbs, which cost about $12 ready to go. They look great on camera. So keep plugging away and letting the so-called “pros” think what they think. All you need to do is get the job done.

Bob Kovacs
http://www.bobkovacs.com

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admin February 7, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Hi Bob: It’s an honor to get a reply from you. Many thanks. I read Government Video Magazine weekly. Thanks for your comments.

I’m working with three groups (Federal Content Creators, Federal Communicators Network and the National Association of Government Communicators) to get video and audio training for all. This includes state and local government people. It seems that the article got quite a reaction within these forums. Any suggestions?

If you have ideas, you can reach me at work at 202-220-5616 or at leonard.sipes@csosa.gov.

Best, Len.

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