7 tips to hire a video production company

When it comes time to hire a video production company, there are a few things to keep in mind that will ensure not only a great experience before and after the production process, but also stronger returns on your investment.

1) Get your message and strategy straight.

Who you are, what are your goals, and how you are going to achieve them is key to any company and brand. If your strategy, brand positioning or message is ill-defined, it will be that much more difficult for your video production company to come up with creative ideas and visuals that fit in.

At contrary, having a strong brand positioning along with a clear strategy will ensure that your video production partner has something they can amplify, magnify, and ultimately deliver on.

2) Define your audience(s), demographics and channels.

I’ve had too many clients who invest a lot into their video only to post it to their website and forget about it. It makes me feel like I’ve wasted my time and eventually it makes them feel like they wasted their money.

Video marketing starts ahead of making the video.

Knowing what the audience(s), demographics and distribution channels are before even starting to write a script will influence the style, format, and overall type of video(s) you create. You should not do the same video if you advertise on FB to millennials or Linkdin to an older professional crowd, on your website or on TV.

3) Prepare a pitch and gather examples

A lot of producers and creatives are ninjas when it comes to understanding an industry or product quickly and efficiently, but at the end of the day, you are the Sensei. You know your product and service better than any outsiders and have probably seen what works and doesn’t within your industry.
If you don’t have any idea of what you want to produce, research it and provide your video production company with a comprehensive pitch that includes any marketing material and background information: on your product/service, on the industry as a whole, and on your strategy to market. If you can, include video references from competitors or examples of styles and format you’ve seen perform well.

Visual ideas are better conveyed…visually. And doing so will ensure that everyone is on the same page, speak the same language, and ready to produce a killer video that is on brand and on message.

4) Understand what a video production company does (and doesn’t do)

A lot of video production companies brand themselves as full service. What this means is that they will take care of the whole production process. This usually includes:

-Creative direction

-Scriptwriting

-Casting and location scout

-Identifying and providing the right talents for the shoot (Directors, Director of Photography, Producer, Camera assistant, Sound Engineer, Make up, Stylist etc…)

– Identifying and providing the right equipment. (camera, lighting, grip, sound)

-Editing

-Animation and VFX

-Sound mix and Music

-Insurances, permits

-Accounting for the project

etc…

Basically, a “full service” production company will take your brief and turn it into a finish video ready to be promoted on the web or TV. The only thing you should have to do in the process is say yes or no to the idea proposed and sign a check at the end.

A production company is not a marketing agency however. If you don’t know how to go about defining items 1) and 2), there are plenty of awesome agencies out there who can help you out.

5)Put your money where your (video) is.

More often than not, the price you pay will reflect the resources and talents used. In turn, this will be reflected in the quality you get.

As you’ll probably find out when you start researching your options to produce a video, there is a ton of different offers out there, with varying price tags. Between the solo videographer a friend recommended and the 50+ employees production powerhouse whose videos you love on instagram, you may sometimes find a 10x quote difference for a similar brief. That’s because video production is usually not priced in terms of length or style but based on the resources needed, such as crew, equipment, talents, locations etc…

And you may think: “who cares? What I want to make sure of is that the quality of the deliverables, not how many people worked on set.!” You would be right. But keep in mind that there is probably a good reason for the bigger company to use that bigger crew and the better equipment. They know that each one of these people or piece of equipment will bring an added value to your project and show on screen.

6) Get detailed estimates and research past work

That said, even within a same category, prices do vary and some production companies may have more overhead, or simply be more greedy. So do not hesitate each time you ask for an estimate to demand details on how they got to this number. Looking at quotes like this will not only inform you on how they price each items such as crew members or equipment pieces, but also what each producer thinks your project will take in terms of resources.

According to Forrester, watching a minute of video is worth 1.8 Million words. That’s true for the video you’re trying to make to boost your brand. That’s also true when looking for a video partner. Watching several of their past work both on their website and vimeo/youtube page will give you a good idea of their quality standard (and therefore what you can expect) as well as the types of videos or style they’re really good at.

7) Make time to meet with them and discuss your project in depth.

Unlike other services, video production companies provide custom products that are built from the ground up with each new clients and there is a rarely a one size fits all approach. Think of it as buying an expansive car that have several dozen options that could make it either drive, fly, or go amphibious. You do want to be able to understand each options with the sales man to see what would fit your lifestyle the best (i.e your brand) and what is overkill. And you need to be able to trust that the salesman understands what you’re looking for and has your best interest in mind.

At the end of the day, finding a video production company means finding a partner who understands your brand, business, and goals so that what they create do stand out and represent who you are and what you’re trying to achieve.

First and foremost, it is a relationship that has to be built on trust.

So make time to meet with a few of your top contenders either in person or over skype. Not only will you get a better feel on the team and whether you’re likely to have a positive experience with their company, but each one of them may also have different ideas, perspective or approach that could make your next project better and/or cheaper.

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About Helium Films USA:
Helium Films USA is a San Diego Video production company. We’re a full service video production that services businesses and brands both locally and internationally.
If you need help with your video production, feel free to reach out. We’d be happy to take a look at your market and come up with cost-effective quality ideas for you!
For more information about us, visit www.heliumfilms.us
To contact us for a quote, click here.

 

Video content marketing 101

Video Content Marketing 101

For the past couple of years, content marketing has been the hot topic on every marketer’s mind. Originated from the idea that regular advertising is nowadays less effective and costly, content marketing has risen as a way to engage customers in a more efficient way.

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” (Source: SmartInsights)

Along with big data, content marketing is today the main marketing strategy brands employ, gathering a projected 20.2% of the marketing budgets in 2017.

From the get go, video has been one of the most efficient medium for content marketing. And for a reason, since it is a powerful storytelling tool that tends to grab people’s attention better than regular text or photos.

WHERE TO START?

As I mentioned, the hallmark of content marketing is creating something that is valuable for your audience. While it should be connected to the product or service you’re selling, the main goal is to make it relevant to the particular audience you’re targeting.

If you are a headphone brand, your audience is surely music inclined, and a piece of content could be a mini documentary on music creation. If you’re a surfboard company, some tips on how to ride the perfect wave. If you’re a travel agent, some insights on the best spots in the world to travel to.

Recently, we worked with HGTV and the Travel Channel to create some online video content for them. The audience they were trying to reach were respectively 1) people who likes to build stuff and 2) people who like to travel. To reach these audiences, they came up with an effective content marketing strategy. They fill their social media channels with tips and hacks that empower people like this to build cool stuff out of their home or to use ingenious hacks when they travel (see ex. below). And it works.

Because that content was relevant and valuable, people took time to watch it (the Campsite breakfast hack below has over 500K views on FB), share it, and use it, which in turns built brand awareness, reinforced viewership, or created new viewers for their TV channels.

SOME TIPS:

Here are a few tips on how to grow your brand through content marketing:

Tips #1:

Identify your ideal customer, figure out what they are interested into and create content that is relevant for them. (Tips and hacks like the example above are super effective, but other types of videos like engaging documentaries can be just as good)

Tips #2:

-Don’t advertise your product in it. Content marketing is not traditional advertising. If the video you create is too “salesy”, that will most likely be a turn off. There is a different time and place for your high-end commercial.

Tips #3:

-Know your channels and format your content accordingly. Content for Instagram, Facebook, Youtube or your blog should not necessarily be the same. It be the format, or length, each platform have different viewing habits or requirements.

Tips #4:

-Be creative when it comes to the topic, or executions of your videos. If what you come up with has been put out over and over by your competitors, chance is your target viewers have seen it already.

Tips #5:

-Use a call to action. After all, you do want people to look into what you have to offer.

Tips #6:

-Post on a regular basis and offer variety in terms of the type of content you provide. At the same time, track how each video performs and emulate your champions on future videos.

Now as you surely know if you’ve produced anything video related, production can sometimes be costly, which would make it hard to follow tips #6 to post on a regular basis. It does not have to be. While producing videos will most likely cost you some money, there is ways to limit the initial investment. Some things you can do yourself with your smartphone (through FB live or periscope for instance), some others you can create in volume to lower the cost of each individual videos.

It may take a few trial and error, but with a strong strategy, the right topics and the right platform, content marketing is set to grow your brand’s audience and engage your customers.

——

About Helium Films USA:
Helium Films USA is a San Diego Video production company. We’re a full service video production that services businesses and brands both locally and internationally.
If you need help with your video production, feel free to reach out. We’d be happy to take a look at your market and come up with cost-effective quality ideas for you!
For more information about us, visit www.heliumfilms.us
To contact us for a quote, click here.

 

The Rise of the “lifestyle” commercial

As consumers increasingly use a multitude of online platforms and devices for their daily errands, brands can find themselves in a hard spot, where ad dollars are stretched thin across a variety of options.

Video production is proven to be one of the most effective ways to engage an audience. But beyond merely producing video content, brands don’t always know which route to take to get the best out of their productions.

Unless the product you’re selling is completely redefining a category or so innovative that people’s mind are blown away by simply learning that it exists, features are rarely what closes a sale.

What sells is establishing a real human connection. And in that regards, lifestyle brands and lifestyle commercials have a proven track record for being effective.

“Lifestyle brands, […] differentiate based on subjective, hard to quantify things like design. Lifestyle brands are fundamentally vehicles for self-expression. They don’t play by the rules of old-school marketing. They don’t try to be all things to all people. They simply are what they are, and in a world in which we’re increasingly defined by the products we buy, they can be an important part of our lives.” (Source: Emerchant.com)

In the realm of video, lifestyle commercials can encompass a broad range of narratives and styles,  but a few features are common:

-A “realistic” shooting style that gives you the feeling of being part of the action.

-Talents that consumers can identify with.

-Scenes that reflects real-life situations

-A concept that is grounded into real world concerns.

Here is a couple examples taken from Helium Films’ portfolio:

Lifestyle Brands and lifestyle advertising has been around for decades now. Take Nike, Apple or Under armor for instance who literally became cultural phenomena thanks to their strong lifestyle positioning.

Recently however, we’ve witnessed uptick in lifestyle branding for product categories that used to advertise in a more traditional way, such as travel or technology companies.

“There are a lot of opportunities for lifestyle brands to grow in the coming years, including in new lifestyle categories such as housewares and home furnishings.” (Source: Forbes)

For these brands, using a lifestyle approach allows them to more clearly differentiate their products by focusing less on the specific features (which can be difficult to appreciate for the layman consumer) and more on the overall experience they offer. Thereby instigating a sense of recognition and, if the brands deliver on its promises, long lasting trust.

The reason why lifestyle commercials are so effective is that they create in consumers a sense of belonging. They relate to their self image and desire for self expression. If produced correctly, they can be a powerful tool to shape the perceived image of a brand into a cohesive set of symbolism, personality, and values.

Using visuals, and in particular video, is the best way to truly embody a brand’s culture and style. Video advertising can create a sense of recognition that will connect with consumers in a much more effective way than other types of marketing products.

A strong brand that conveys clear values and an image of authenticity is extremely important in today’s marketplace. It’s not enough anymore to simply push out a product, even if this product is the best on the market. What drives consumer to go out of their way to buy a new product is a feeling that the brand behind it represents their aspiration, needs, wants and that sporting their product will be a way to make a statement.

Ressources:

http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/what-is-content-marketing/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kateharrison/2017/01/09/top-10-trends-that-will-transform-digital-marketing-in-2017/2/#1d73bca2713c

http://www.emerchant.com.au/blog/a-definition-of-lifestyle-marketing/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lifestyle_brand

https://finchbrands.com/rwb54/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahweinswig/2016/04/01/are-lifestyle-brands-squeezing-out-luxury/2/#673c26112691

https://medium.com/@amalucky/the-rise-of-lifestyle-technology-brands-c9566ab8d3f4#.wn71kotc4

About Helium Films USA:

Helium Films USA is a San Diego Video production company. We’re a full service video production that services businesses and brands both locally and internationally. For more information about us, visit www.heliumfilms.us

To contact us for a quote, click here.

OurPact: Bring Back the Moments that Matter

Earlier this year, we had the pleasure to work on a new commercial for OurPact. Nowadays, we know how much we all get easily absorbed by our different technological devices. We struggle turning them off, and are constantly finding excuses to check our various apps. When as adults we find ways of disconnecting, Our Pact’s mission is to empower parents to guide their children through the balanced use of technology.

OurPactShootingDay1_FB-64

OurPactShootingDay1_FB-91

To tell the story of this new app, we casted two families, and picked two different locations around San Diego. We shot three scenes per family so they would represent the multiple uses of this app: during a family dinner, at bedtime, while doing school work, or even in the car.

OurPactShootingDay2_FB-96

OurPactShootingDay2_FB-57

OurPactShootingDay1_FB-83

OurPact is a leading parental control app for iPhones, iPads, and iPods that makes it easy for you to set limits on how much time your children are spending on their mobile devices. Create schedules, block all internet and app use at a moment’s notice, or reward them with the allowance feature. Parents have the ability to download the OurPact app from the App Store or sign up with the OurPact Web App for free.

OurPactShootingDay2_FB-39

OurPactShootingDay2_FB-42

It was a fun a project, and we discovered some new talented young kids from Bensimon Models, who totally understood the necessity of shutting down their devices… after a few tries… 😉

Photo credits: Shaan Couture.

How to make your B2B brand stand out with video

The rate of change that is happening is quite high. Which means that the people who are keeping up with the change — or forcing the change and making it happen — will likely be in a really good position.”
Robert Kyncl – Chief Business Officer YouTube.

B2B organizations have a very specific set of challenges.

Where B2C businesses strive in creating content that appeal to a very broad audience, B2B sales executives usually have very narrow and specific decision maker they need to target.

Identifying and engaging the right decision maker is key. And unlike with B2C corporations, finding and selling to this one person can dramatically impact your bottom line. 
  
When it comes to leads, B2B companies therefore have to focus heavily on quality over quantity and marketing material should be catered specifically to these qualified leads. With customers being 174% more likely to buy your product after watching a video, your chances to lend this big contract are much higher if you just put this presentation/sales pitch/demo in moving images and sound!
  
Here are a couple of ways B2B companies can use videos along their sales funnel to ensure a stronger engagement and higher sales:
 

1) Homepage videos:

Getting warm leads to your online platform is already a great feat, but converting those visitors into paying customers is obviously a plus. A well crafted, short homepage video is a great way to explain what you are about in a timely manner. No one wants to scroll through your entire website in the hopes to understand what you do or sell. In fact, while 20% of web visitors will read the content of a website, a whooping 80% will watch the same content in a video
Getting all of your sales pitch and product description in a video under 2min is therefore a great way to ensure that prospective leads will contact you to chat some more. 
  

Mir3
https://vimeo.com/126197830


2) Demo videos:

Sometimes a little bit more detailed than a typical homepage video, demo videos are a great support to an in-person sales pitch. Using this carefully-produced material, your sales team can focus on the details of the sale, rather than having to explain your entire business. By streamlining your sales meeting with a strong video that already answers most of your client’s questions, half of the work is done. Please bring me a pen to sign this contract!
 

H1 Video explainer
https://vimeo.com/123229795


3) Blog and PR videos:

Giving back and helping your peers is often a great way to engage customers and improve brand recognition. By creating video content that answers industry-wide questions and that are posted on well known forums, send in newsletter, or blogged on, B2B organizations can ensure to be seen as leaders who can provide useful solutions to their key target demographic. Here again, the numbers speak for themselves, with an increase of 13% in open rate of emails that includes videos.
  

How to teach us
https://vimeo.com/131026264


4) Webinars / Training videos:

Once sold on a product or service, getting a customer to do repeat business with you is key to your growth. Webinars or training videos are a great way to do that. By providing with new information and/or by ensuring that the new functions or capabilities of your product/service are known by your current clients, you can improve brand awareness, recognition and insure that your customers come back for their next big project. 
  

Office of Emergency Services San Diego
https://vimeo.com/140101798


Not convinced yet? A recent study by Cisco is predicting that video will account for 80% of ALL web traffic by 2019, most of it being on mobile. So if you haven’t yet, jump on the bandwagon and create your next big B2B video campaign!
   

For more information or questions, contact us at Helium Films USA

The Future of Education [Video]

Educating future generations is a huge challenge. Fortunately, some great minds are putting all of their time and effort in making the best of it, every day. Whether they are teachers, educators, or researchers, they are creating the basis on which tomorrow’s education system will grow.

We were really fortunate to work recently with one of the leading organization in this space. High tech high, a project-based school out of San Diego, contacted us to create a series of mini-docs aiming at introducing one of the leading education framework: Learning Mindsets.

Those pieces are now live on a free 3 week online course available on Coursera and are set to reach thousands of people across the world.

So whether you are an education professional or just a parent/student willing to learn more about the possibilities offered by 21st century education, sign up here!

It’s FREE and full of great content and insights.

Or, if you just want to check out our mini docs, here they are below.

Enjoy!

LEARNING MINDSETS EXPLAINED
https://vimeo.com/142589223

ASSESSMENT OF LEARNING MINDSETS
https://vimeo.com/142589224

REFLEXION AND DIALOGUE
https://vimeo.com/142589225

Produced by Helium Films USA

Scouting San Diego

We are lucky to be located in Sunny San Diego, the “finest city in America” as they say. From being able to shoot in various locations across town, I can tell you that there is definitely truth to this, and we are very lucky to have such variety as to ambiances that the city offers. From beaches, to urban decors, from cliff falls to desert views, here are a few tips on location scouting for your next local projects.

We are lucky to be located in Sunny San Diego, the “finest city in America” as they say. From being able to shoot in various locations across town, I can tell you that there is definitely truth to this, and we are very lucky to have such variety as to ambiances that the city offers. From beaches, to urban decors, from cliff falls to desert views, here are a few tips on location scouting for your next local projects.

Read more

Scriptwriting: A Project’s Backbone

For many of us - video professionals or clients - what makes filmmaking a fun and entertaining job is the shooting part. Cameras ready, actors prepared, light equipment in place, and action! Suddenly a whole new world is created, filled with amazing stories. Most of our clients understand the process of shooting but not necessarily what comes before or after.

For many of us – video professionals or clients – what makes filmmaking a fun and entertaining job is the shooting part. Cameras ready, actors prepared, light equipment in place, and action! Suddenly a whole new world is created, filled with amazing stories. Most of our clients understand the process of shooting but not necessarily what comes before or after.

Read more

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