To give you the best tips for producing web videos, we’ve brought in video production expert, videographer and coach, Kris Simmons, to share some of his best web video tips. Who’s best person to appear in your web videos, and how can you improve how they present in front of camera? How long should your videos run for? And should your videos on YouTube be exactly the same as the ones on your website? Kris has answers to these questions, and a whole lot more.
You’re listening to the web video marketing show, the podcast for business owners and marketing professionals that will help you connect with your audience more effectively by using video is your host Ryan Spanger.
Hey, you’re on the Web video marketing show with Ryan and today we’re speaking to Chris Simmons of six strong media. Chris is a video producer based in the United States and he’s been producing videos for around 20 years now. I feel really lucky to have Chris on the show. He’s someone that I’ve learned a lot about video production from and there’s not much about video production that Chris doesn’t know. So thanks very much for joining me on the show, Chris.
Oh yeah, thanks for asking me, Ryan. I appreciate it.
Now a lot of people in the video production industry know you and they’re aware of your work and your support and coaching that you do with video producers, but for people who are not familiar with you, can you give me a little bit of background on yourself?
Yeah, I mean, I’ve been a corporate video producer probably, you know, in the ballpark of about 20 years. And, you know, I always say, you know, kind of when I, when I first produced a video that somebody actually paid me money for sort of ground zero for me, you know, which was about 1993 and, uh, you know, and so I’ve just really evolved over time and, and started a full time production company in 2000 and, uh, you know, really just been fighting hard to, to be successful and to grow. And, and, and along the way, um, I found that some of my strategies, uh, in being successful with video production, you know, I found that a lot of other video producers out there were, you know, sort of needing the same kind of strategy. So I really sort of, I don’t want to say shifted gears cause we still produce videos and we’re still very heavy with corporate media, but we started kind of the, the teaching and the consulting, you know, how can we teach and consult other production companies to kind of have similar success that we do.
And, uh, so it’s sort of been this parallel track for us along the way really since about 2007. Um, so, you know, probably a, a huge part of what I do is, is, you know, medium to large corporations. We do work with small businesses, but, but mostly is the, the medium size to large corporation, um, several fortune 500 type clients. Uh, so, you know, without just going on and on and on, I mean, that’s, that’s really it in a nutshell. I mean, we have a good time doing what we do and, and it’s kind of exciting to see where we’re going with this industry.
Okay, cool. So you’ve been doing this for nearly 20 years. The video production industry has changed dramatically over that time. The barrier to entry has gone down in a massive way. I think, you know, back then it was a huge investment to get involved in video production. They weren’t the resources and the support that’s around now and the equipment was completely different. Can you give people a picture of how the industry has changed? Yeah,
I mean, I, I think I was very fortunate to kind of come into the industry sort of right on the fence, you know, right. As everything was transitioning from, you know, in order to accomplish one task in production, it required at least one piece of equipment, you know, so editing might be, you know, you have, you have, uh, a play deck or record deck and then this box in the middle that you’re doing a edits and it was all tape-based and it was just very clunky and, and that’s where you’re talking about it got to be expensive. I mean, back then it would cost upwards of, you know, $100,000 or more just to have, just to have the same edit capabilities that we get, you know, when we go to the Apple store and spend $1,500 for a laptop, you know, so I mean, that’s just kind of a little bit of, have a look at how much it has changed.
Um, over the years. Um, sort of the beginning of my career, I was doing that tape to tape editing. You know, we were shooting with super VHS cameras and, uh, and we thought that was really high quality stuff. And then when I, when I moved into college, you know, that’s really when, when the whole nonlinear digital editing, you know, movement started happening and, and you know, I think it was media 100 was one of the early players with the nonlinear software. And then, you know, premier came into the game and final cut pro and about 1998 is sort of when I jumped in, uh, to final cut pro and, and really had used that exclusively, you know, until now. But I mean, anywhere from, you know, the, I guess probably the, the longest standing sort of broadcast format was beta SP and that’s, if anybody’s seen these really massive, you know, cameras 30 pound cameras with the huge tapes. I mean, talking bigger tapes and VHS tapes, you know, that that was sort of the standard. So if you wanted to play in the broadcast arena, you had to have that kind of equipment. And back then, I mean a good beta cam would cost you, you know, 30, 40, $50,000. So I mean this just, the barrier to entry was pretty crazy in terms of how much it would cost to get into it.
So video production has really become democratised. I mean it’s, it doesn’t cost a huge amount to get yourself set up to produce videos. There’s even people doing exceptable sort of work on their iPhone. So as a video producer, how do you feel about the fact that this barrier tan street entry has gone and just about anyone can now be producing their own videos to promote their business?
You know, the, the thing I say to people usually with this question is, you know, at first as it was happening, it was sort of difficult to, you know, we really didn’t know what was going on. I mean, YouTube came on the scene and everybody’s producing video and, and you kind of thinking, well, you know, this really stinks because we’ve invested a lot of time and money and, and you know, to get educated. Uh, and then, you know, these guys just coming off the street and they’ve got a platform to send their videos out in a YouTube and they go to the store and they buy a digital camera and they’re off and running. Um, but over the years I’ve seen that no matter how easy it is to, to, to technically create a video, it’s still very difficult to tell a story. It’s still very difficult to be creative with those tools.
And so, you know, I just kind of decided, I guess five, six, maybe seven years ago to say, you know what the bottom line is, there’s always going to be good producers and bad producers. And as long as I can stay one of the good producers, I’ll, I’ll probably always do pretty well in this, in this industry because there are, you know, little companies popping up everyday. Like you said, I mean they spent five $10,000 and they’re in the business full force working out of their garage, but they don’t have the experience that we do working with the big companies, understanding business, understanding marketing. So, so even though the technology has a low barrier to entry, I still think, you know, there is a barrier based on the kind of clientele you want to work with as it relates to how to work with them, experience quality, that kind of thing.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. As you mentioned, there’s the technical side and there’s a storytelling side. So given the new reality that anyone can produce video, I mean, I think one of the positive sides about that is that it pushes everyone to perform better because there’s more competition for these people who are fairly new to the business. What are the common mistakes that you see people making and what are the sorts of things that people can do to improve the quality of their videos?
You know, I think first and foremost, just from a pure production standpoint, I mean, a lot of people, you know, newbies, if you want to call them that, uh, you know, they’ll, they’ll buy this really good quality, you know, HDS LR camera and they’ll go out and they’ll shoot some good looking stuff. But, but the sound is terrible. You know, they’re not using microphones. They’re not, they’re not thinking about where they’re shooting the interview, you know, find a quiet place, use a microphone, do all those kinds of things. Um, you know, another huge differentiator between, you know, amateurs and professionals, I guess you could say is, is the lighting aspect, you know, I mean, I mean, how do you like something, how do you make that interview look really good as opposed to kind of flat and in the shadows and those kinds of things. So, I mean, those are more of the technical sides of kind of mistakes that people make that I think if they just invested a little bit of time and energy into learning, you know, how to improve on those things, you know, the quality of their production is going to increase substantially.
Um, now from, you know, there’s, there’s a whole litany of mistakes that can be made in the, in the preproduction phase, you know, which is basically the, all the planning that goes into what you’re going to produce before you start rolling cameras. And then as well as after the fact when you’re editing it together, you know, how do you estimate how much time it’s going to take? It’s time management, expectation management. We kind of all of the above. Ryan, I could probably go on that for a day and a half just cause there are so many things that, that people don’t realise go into making a good quality production.
Well you mentioned planning, that’s an important one. And I think sometimes people think it’s just a matter of switching on the camera and away you go. But what other sorts of things that people should think about covering in planning to improve their videos?
Well, I mean, you know, there’s a lot of different kinds of videos, but if we take a, a video that we do a lot of, you know, we shoot a lot of uh, interview type, uh, productions with executives, high level executives at corporations. So, you know, the first thing you have to think about is, well, when’s that person going to be available and, and how does that match up with your schedule? And then where are they located? Where are they going to be? I mean, are they going to be an office? Is there anywhere there that you can shoot? Do you need to try to remove them from the location to bring them somewhere else? Whether it’s your own studio, maybe you have a green screen studio or you know, just kind of what, what are all of the parameters or the variables that go into, you know, shooting that executive, how long are you going to have?
I mean, just because an executive is onsite for a day doesn’t mean you have a day to work with it and you might have 15 minutes, you might have five minutes. And if you don’t, if you’re not aware, you know of how much time you have before you show up. The whole, the whole effort could be lost. I mean, if they say that they’re going to be available at nine 30 and it’s a high level executive, that means they need to be sitting in the chair and you’d better be rolling camera at nine 30 you know, not getting ready, not doing any of that. So it’s just little things like that that people have to prepare for and that kind of production environment.
And what do you think are the type of videos that people should first look at producing for themselves and when should they look at bringing in the professionals?
You know, I think if we’re talking about a company that’s saying, okay, I want to use video marketing to promote my business. You know, I want to look at using video to market our products and services. Um, and I want to see how much I can do on my own before I start bringing in the pros. Uh, the first thing I recommend to clients is look at the kinds of things that you’re already producing as part of your regular marketing activities and see if you can piggyback on some of those. You know, like we have clients that give seminars on a monthly basis where they invite a bunch of people from the public and it’s a financial seminar. And you know, they might have 30 or 50 people in the room. And my first question to them is, well, why aren’t you videotaping that? Why aren’t you capturing that?
Listen to me videotaping that. Why aren’t you capturing that on video? Because it’s, to me, it’s like if it’s, if it’s worth the time and energy and money to get that many people in the room and to have presenters develop presentation so that they can speak to a group of qualified customers, why not capture that on video so that you can repurpose it for your website or so that you can take an hour presentation and cut it down into, you know, 12, five minute chunks or even more than that if you want to. And then just sort of leaking those little two to three minute clips on a, on your YouTube channel once a week or even once a day, depending on how often you put together a seminar. Um, you know, that’s kind of a, a quick way to do that. The other thing is look at sort of what your overall branding is.
Uh, for instance, if you’re a, if you’re a big well-respected, uh, established company, um, you probably, well you probably would have the budget to bring in professionals in the first place, but you might want to be careful about not putting a lot of video content that isn’t polished on the web. Um, you know, if you have that established brand now, if you’re more of a, of a grassroots, new company, small business, or maybe you’re, you feel like your target market, your customer base isn’t going to expect that kind of high polished type of video presentation, you know, then that’s where you can really, I mean, literally it’s as simple, Ryan is getting a decent webcam for your computer and a, you know, if you’re on a Mac going into quick time and, and record and just talking into a microphone, whatever’s on your mind as it relates to your customers, what, what type of questions did they have on a regular basis? And you can literally take every one of those questions and each question becomes its own video. Your answer to that question becomes its own video.
Great idea. So it sounds like you’re talking about things like blog posts or even videos to go on social media where your audience isn’t necessarily expecting the most polished video production, but what they are interested in is good quality content.
Yeah, I think so. I mean, you know, an example I use is let’s say, I mean this happens to us all the time, my wife research, she’s probably researching, you know, companies on YouTube before anybody was even thinking about it. I mean, she just, she loves watching video content no matter what the business is. And so the thought is, okay, if, if you know, if you, if you need to hire a painter for your house, right with you, and you look at, you know, you search for painter in whatever city you’re located in. And the first two listings is painter number one and painter number two, painter number one might be the painting company that’s been around for 50 years and they’re at number one just cause their website’s been on the web the longest, right? So you click on that and you open it and it’s a basic one or two, you know, three maybe page website, nothing fancy, very static.
Maybe the site hadn’t been updated in five years, right? Just cause they’re number one, that doesn’t mean much. Then you go to the second, you know, painter and that site, as soon as you go to the homepage, it’s got a welcome video where maybe it’s literally the guy that owns the company and in coveralls that are just paint all over him. He might be right in the middle of a room that’s just, just tore all to pieces cause they’re just getting started with the project and he addresses that audience member by saying, Hey, I’m, you know, I’m Johnny rocket with X, Y, Z painting service. And you know what? We’re just getting started here, but you’re going to see in a few minutes at the end of this project is going to be amazing and we can do the same kind of thing for you. And then basically have a series of other videos on your website that shows that before and after, or maybe it’s that pain or giving tips, how can you prep a room so that you can save money?
You know, when you hire a painter, maybe those, those kinds of topics. And then you can also have the, uh, you know, the homeowners coming in and saying, Hey, you know, we hired Johnny rocket painting and man, they just did such a fantastic job. We highly recommend them. I mean, which painter are you going to call at that point? You know, and it’s just, you know, and it’s, and it’s just, that’s, that’s kind of the, the vision that I try to paint paint for the clients is saying, you know, it’s the company that has the most interactive on their website that are going to get those calls.
It’s really a no brainer, isn’t it, when you put it that way. Um, so you’re talking about the sort of videos that people can do by just setting up a camera on a tripod, you know, maybe even by themself, uh, in their place of work. And speaking directly to the camera as if they’re speaking to a prospective client. So with these sort of videos, what other sort of mistakes that you see people making, particularly with the content, with the way that they speak? Couple of things that I notice is sometimes people will just talk about themselves. Uh, rather than speaking about the client and the problem they might be able to solve. And they’ll also sometimes, you know, use a lot of like technical, formal language rather than being conversational, you know, what are the sort of things that people can do in the situation to improve the quality of their, of the videos and really engage with the viewer.
I think the first thing you have to consider is whether or not your, the person for the job of being on camera. I think, you know, we do see a lot of people, you know, more or less attorneys, accountants, you know, types that are very, they’re very good at what they do, but they don’t present very well. And so you kind of have to just look in the mirror and ask yourself, you know, am I the face that that needs to be doing all these videos? And, and if you’re not the face, then at that point, you know, there are options. You can hire talent. Maybe, maybe you’re the, the, you know, the, the main accountant in your practise, but you have a parallel, you know, an office clerk or a or a whatever, a marketing assistant that’s more personable that probably can tell the story a little better.
You know, consider playing around with, with having that person go on camera and present it, you know. So in terms of how to be on camera, I tell people, you know, think about if you’ve started, I mean, I’ve started my own business. You started your own business, Ryan. And, and at some level in our business, it really now, just at a different level, at the very bare bones level, we had to be in presentation mode all the time. I mean, every time we saw somebody, we had to tell them who we are, what we do, how we can make them better, you know, all that stuff. And it’s very presentation. It’s, it’s, it’s how, you know, how we can help you, not I, I, we, we, we, I mean it’s all about you, you, you, and, and so you kind of have to be in that same mentality when you’re on camera, you know, acting like you’re standing in front of a room of five or 10 prospects and you’re trying to pitch your company or pitch how you can help them.
But you’re doing that through the lens of a camera. And a lot of people can, you know, they, they don’t respond well. They don’t, you know, they, they get nervous by the camera, but all you can really do is just set it up and do it. I mean, the thing I learned, even though I’ve been producing video for all these years, I’ve really just started going on camera and kind of recording my own promotional videos for like the last six months. And the first time I got on camera, I was like, man, this is kind of awkward, you know, but you just have to push through it and the first couple of videos you record are going to be terrible. But then you look them, you kind of, you kind of coach yourself and you say, okay, well next time let me try this. Maybe I don’t move my hands this way. Maybe I need to comb my hair different, whatever it is, uh, to critique yourself. But, but the reality is you just gotta kind of take that first initial step, record something, laugh at yourself, improve, and then, you know, repeat.
I found the same thing as I’ve started to record my own videos. That’s been quite confronting and challenging. But the thing that I noticed is each time I do it, it just gets a little bit better. So a lot of it is just practise, like a new skill, like riding a bike or something like that. And I guess often people just assume because when they’re watching presenters on TV who make it look easy, they assume it’s going to be easy. But it’s really one of the hardest things to do in our industry.
Yeah. I, I just, uh, you know, what I’ve learned is by being on camera, it’s really made me a better director because when I’m directing talent now, I, I almost, I really know what they feel like, especially if it’s an amateur talent and, and I can kind of tell them, well, here’s, here’s what I do when I’m on camera and here’s how I, you know, overcompensate for that. Or here’s how I do this. And, and it’s, it’s, it’s really, I don’t think it’s that hard. I mean, if you’re the kind of person, I mean literally if, if you’re, if you have to do sales in your business, you can go on camera and present your company because the same kind of thing you have to do at the conference table to close new business with a prospective customer. That’s essentially what you would do on camera.
Chris, what are the sorts of things that you suggest to people who, particularly amateurs or you know, someone from a business who’s just been roped into making a video and they’ve turned up at the studio? How do you help them to present better? What sort of tips do you give them?
You know, I think it’s just, uh, a lot of it is you just have to practise. I mean there’s, there’s, there’s different kinds of people. Some people respond well to having everything scripted out and on a teleprompter, right? And then there’s other people that they just, they can’t stand it. They just do not do well with reading line by line. You know, those are the kind, you almost have to just create bullet points and, and they read a bullet point and then they just sort of brain dump on that bullet point. And then when they need to get reminded of what the next bullet point is, they look at the next point and then they brain dump again. And so it’s, it’s really kind of finding the, I’m not sure exactly what the right wording would be, but the right presentation setting for you, I guess, you know, is it, is it in a studio, a green screen studio like we have here, like you probably have at your studio, is it, you know, literally just sitting in front of your computer with the webcam.
Is that most comfortable for you? And, and I think that has a lot to do with it in terms of what’s the, what’s the comfort level, what’s the, you know, and I say this because we do a lot of healthcare videos, but there’s a, there’s a word in the healthcare industry that’s like friction. You know, how do we do things with the least possible friction? And so I asked kind of the same thing with clients. I mean, if you’re, it’s more important. I mean, what did say done is better than perfect, you know? So I would rather a client just start recording videos on their webcam at their desk until they got comfortable with their delivery, the type of content they want to produce. And then as they get comfortable with that, maybe phase two, two or three months from now or six months from now or whatever, they go, you know, I’m ready to take it up a notch.
So maybe, you know, maybe they want to bring in, uh, maybe they want to hire a company to do some graphic stuff for them that they can edit in, or maybe they want to say, you know what, I don’t have time to edit, so I’m still going to record these videos, but then I’m going to send this footage to an editor and I’m going to let that editor kind of piece it together the best possible way. And then once that level kind of gets perfected, now that person may say, you know what, I’m ready to get in a studio. I want to get in a studio and either build my own studio or just use a local studio. Whatever makes sense to them financially and, and, you know, let’s, let’s see just how good we can make it kind of thing. Um, and that’s, it’s fun to see clients kind of progressed over that, that period. I mean you can pretty much go watch any video marketing for any company online. And if it’s a YouTube channel, the most recent videos, the difference between the videos they just posted and the videos they posted a year ago is night and day. I mean it’s staggering sometimes how different they are.
So we’ve talked a bit about presenting and how to present better in front of the camera and setting and all that sort of thing. What about content? I find often that clients will prepare content in the same way as they might for a documents and they don’t realise that it’s a very different sort of form of communication and it requires a different type of content at different way of speaking. You know, maybe more conversational and more hooks to keep the audience engaged. So do you have any tips on how to create content for these type of web videos?
Well, if we’re talking about short kind of videos that are designed to attract people to your website, like a YouTube type video or a Facebook type video, I mean the, the key word there is short. I mean it’s, it has to be short. And that’s the one thing to keep in mind, you know, and I mean statistics that we have, I mean it, it really has to be under two minutes to get the kind of of of you know, response that you hope to get. And so really what we found is it’s almost better. There’s a tendency when you’re talking in a video that even when you’re writing a document, you just want to keep writing and keep writing and almost ramble to a point and, or you want to make that writing so perfect that it takes forever to finalise it. And the same thing with video.
I mean you don’t want to just turn the camera on, pick a topic and then just talk to, there’s nothing left to say because the video is going to be too long. I mean you almost want to, you know, if you have a topic, I always use this sort of a visual that you know, if you have a a pyramid and your main topics at the top of the pyramid and then as you come down each level there’s sub topics and then sub sub topics and then you know, and then you know it, there’s four or five points you can make for each subtopic under the main topic. Well, when it comes to video marketing on the web, take that pyramid and turn it upside down. You know, ultimately your topic might be, I mean, I don’t know, pick a company. Let’s say that you’re, you’re a florist, you know that ultimately is you want to teach people about that trade and, and why they should hire you and all that.
You want to show your knowledge as the expert in that industry. Well, instead of having this really rich full video that’s 10 minutes long, it has all these different things. Pick one item and record a video, record an answer or a point that’s 45 seconds, a minute, a minute and a half. And do 20 of them as opposed to, you know, one 10 minute video that’s going to have all that stuff in there. Number one, it’s going to take you a heck of a lot longer to prepare the script and feel like you’re ready to produce the video. If you do the one longer video and the other way is just awesome to just boom, rapid fire, you’re answering a question. People, you’re kind of building your personal brand. People say, Hey, I like this person. They’re smart, they understand, you know the questions that I have and they’re helpful. And the fact that, again, I go back to my ex, my example with the painter, if if, if you have dozens of dozens of videos that are answering people’s questions and helping them accomplish their goals and and solve their problems, you’re going to get chosen or contacted over the company that’s not doing that.
That’s a really good idea because I guess each time you make a video, you’re improving at presenting, but also you’re deepening the engagement with the client. They’re seeing a slightly different side of you and it’s not such a huge investment for them. You know, they can say, sure, I’ll watch a one minute video, a two minute video, don’t know about a 15 minute video. I’m not sure if I’ve got the patience for that one.
Right, right, right. Well, and the thing I tell people is you can do, there’s a couple things, I mean, get their attention with the short really short videos, right? Get them to your website. Then at that point when they’re at your website and they’re trying to, now they’re trying to make a buying decision. Your marketing has got them to the website. They’re learning as much as they can about to, they’re really serious about paying for your service that just not quite sure you’re the one that’s where you can do some longer content, longer format interviews. Maybe, you know, you had all these little, a 92nd quick tips about whatever your service is and then when you get them to the website, that’s where you can have that full four to six minute or three minute really high profile, super produced. You know, marketing video, brand video, that’s gonna make them go, Oh, this is the company that I want to do business with.
You know, that kind of thing. And in terms of talking about what kind of videos should you, should you do yourself versus what should you hire the pros to do? I think that’s kind of where that line, where that line happens. Ryan, I think when they get there and the clients are hot and they’re like, man, I wanna, I want to pay for this. But maybe what’s your charges a little more than I want to pay. But man, look at this video, man. Look at those facilities. Look at these customer testimonials. This is going to be hard to say. No,
I saw you talking about this on your blog, Chris. This idea of front end marketing where you create short videos to get attention and drive traffic to your websites. So you’re talking about putting these videos in places like YouTube? Yes. Okay. So just to break that model down, then someone uses YouTube as a search engine to search on a particular topic or service. They see your video, their interests grows, they click on a link and they go to the site, they’re more hungry for information at this stage and they might want more detailed information about a particular topic. And at this stage they prepared to invest a little more time.
Yeah, I think so. I mean that’s, that’s, I mean that’s what I find with our clientele that that’s what the statistics show. Um, and then that’s really where, you know, the term stickiness on a website. I mean that’s, that’s that term is pretty much as old as his websites are. But it, but it’s still, I think applies today. I mean the longer you can keep them on your site checking out your stuff, the more likely they’re going to hire you over a competitor.
So Chris, for people who have been making videos for themselves quite recently, they’ve bought a camera, possibly some lights, but they try to improve their skills. Are there resources on the internet that can help them, that can sort of, I guess fast track their success rather than just kind of doing it by trial and error?
Yeah, I mean, YouTube is a gold mine for a lot of reasons. I mean, anything you want to learn, go to YouTube. I mean, it’s crazy how much, how to stuff. I mean, if you, if you’re looking to create a certain kind of graphic, if you want some ideas on lighting, if you’re looking to improve sound, go to youtube.com, plug it in the search engine or you know, in the search box and you’re going to find something that’s going to show you how to improve what you do. And believe it or not, a lot of that content is geared towards the beginner. It’s Guild geared towards the amateur. So they might show you how to do a really good lighting setup on a budget of $250 stuff that you can go buy at the local hardware store. Um, which is, is, is really mind boggling when you think about the kind of money that we invest in equipment, Ryan. But you know, it’s, you look at the finished product and I mean, yeah, as a pro you can kind of see the difference, but, but if you’re not a professional, you know, video guy, uh, you know, most people aren’t gonna know. And so there’s a tonne of, of resources on there to do that, uh, to improve, if that’s in fact what, what the goal is.
And for people who are getting a little bit more established, they might even be producing videos for other people. You have a company called create insights, which you run with Michael Gibbons where you support video producers to improve the quality of their videos, but also to learn better business skills. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Yeah, it’s, it’s actually the companies create enterprises, but the website is create insights. It’s K R E a insights.com and Anissa in essence, you know, what we set out to do was, you know, the, the tagline is the world’s largest resource for video production, business training. And the idea is there’s so many places out there to find information about, you know, the, the, the, the technical stuff, the creative stuff, the cameras, lights, audio, studio, I mean everything, you know, that the manufacturers are producing, there’s just tonnes and tonnes and tonnes of content out there to teach you about the tech, what there is very little of his stuff out there that’s going to teach you how to turn that tech into dollars, how to turn what you invest in technology and education into an actual career, into the ability to, to, to run your own company and be an entrepreneur and be successful financially.
And uh, so we’ve had just, just a really great a response to people that, you know, on a, on a weekly basis, we do a live group coaching call and we’ve got people logging in from all over the world. And basically they’re just, they’re asking us their questions that are just, you know, this is killing me in my business. I don’t understand how to do this. And we just right on the spot. We’re giving them answers in real time and helping them work through it. You know, we’re helping them in some cases write their contracts, you know, figure out how to pitch a certain kind of project. You know, we’ve got, we’ve got members that, you know, we’re doing projects at two and three and $4,000 a pop that, you know, we’ve been able to help them get to to 10 15 and $20,000 a project. I mean it’s just, just really helping open their eyes to really just business as a whole and more specifically how it applies to video production.
Okay, awesome. So that’s a website is create insights.com KRE eight insights.com. So for people who are just getting into the video production game now, I mean, if, if you are entering the industry now, what are some of the things that you would do, you know, what would you do that might be different to what you did when you started off?
I think the first thing you have to do is you have to kind of create, you have, you have to develop your product, you know, and it, and it doesn’t have to be really, I mean, where people make mistakes is, you know, they may just get into the industry and then they’ll run across my website and they’ll look at my demo reel. Another thing, Oh, well I give up, you know, I mean, there’s no way we can compete with those guys. But the reality is there’s a cost. I believe there’s a customer for every videographer at every level of experience, right? So you may just come in to the game, into the industry. You, you kind of know how to use your camera, but not great. You kind of know how to edit but not fantastic. So you just, you, you work on what’s a product you can create with that existing level of expertise.
And it could be, you know what, let me go out and shoot some local sporting events, high school games or whatever and put together something that I think, Hey, this is a pretty good product. And then maybe, you know, you can get somebody to pay two or $300 for it. Well guess what, that’s a product. It’s not where you want to be 10 years from now or 20 years from now. But that’s a great place to be right now. You know, it could be, I mean, literally Ryan, we’re, we’re teaching people how to, uh, you know, Michael and I with create insights just about everything we do is through Skype. So literally he’s on one side of Skype, I’m on the other, we’re recording the video live, and then we put like a Photoshop skin over top of it. If you go to the website and you see those videos that we record with each other, that’s, that’s all it is. It’s a Skype video with a Photoshop, a skin over top of it. And it’s, it’s, you know, it’s good quality content and it looks nice and that, and that’s a product. I mean, we’ve had members that have said, Hey, we’d like to offer that to clients. How do we do that? So we teach them how to do something as simple as Skype recording. You know, to, to be able to create those videos.
So it sounds like it’s a service for people in the video production industry, but it’s also for people who they might be that crossover if they might be running a web company who’s producing videos or uh, they might be involved in, in multimedia, but they starting to make videos as well that their clients are asking for. It’s, there’s, there’s a wide audience there.
Yeah, it really is. I mean, that’s the, you know, it started out with like, you know, what, let’s help videographers. And then the more that we got into it, the more we realised, well, you know, we’re not so sure that the term videographer really even applies anymore. That is just a one trick pony. I mean, it’s like, you know, w video guys are, they’re making websites, they’re producing podcasts, they’re doing marketing for people. They’ve got social media marketing packages that they’re offering search engine, Optum. I mean, it’s just crazy how the, the modern video professional is so much more than just a camera and an edit system. And so it more or less with create insights, it’s, Hey, listen, if you want to learn how to make money with, you know, video production with the those skills, number one, we can help you learn how to make money where you are and we can help you grow based on what your goals are.
And the key to with, with our community, Ryan, is that we’re, I mean, it’s, it’s completely, it’s positive. I mean, if people get in there and they start acting negative, we kick them out, give them their money back. I mean, it’s just, you know, it’s, it’s a, it’s a no judgement zone, if you will. I mean, we’ve got guys in there that have been in the industry 35 years and we’ve got guys in there that just started yesterday, you know, and so it’s, it’s, and it’s the ability to, to pull number one, there’s younger guys that are helping the older guys see the light of how things have changed. And there’s older guys that are helping sort of apply those old school techniques, uh, in business and even in production, uh, to kind of help everybody in the community move forward.
Awesome. That sounds great. So we’re just about at the end of the call, Chris, I’m just wondering if there’s any final words of wisdom or suggestions for people who are trying to navigate their way through this new world of video production? Any tips that they can take away just to, uh, to improve their video production?
You know, I, I think to me, um, the biggest, if we’re talking just to the content creator, the thing you have to realise is if you want to get better at something, you have to study it. You don’t have to practise it. I mean, there’s, there’s really no other way around it. You have to do it. It’s, it’s, it’s one thing to just read and read and read and read. You have to actually apply, but you have to do both I think. Um, and so get out there and just start making videos, improve it. If you’re the one trying to shoot yourself on video, just give it a shot. Try it. I mean, you know that you’re, I promise the second video you make will be better than the first and the third will be better than the second. And you know, extrapolate that over hundreds of videos and you’ll be making some really good stuff.
You know, depending on how long it takes you to get that far. But the thing where most people make mistakes in, in creating content from a marketing perspective is frequency. It’s time. People don’t, people underestimate how much time they have available. And so if you know, so if you’re a content creator, study the craft, practise the craft so that you can improve whether it’s for your own clients or for your, your, you know, your bosses inside your corporation, whatever that is. If you’re sort of a, a marketing organisation or marketing person or an internal person who’s trying to create video content for their organisation, again, look at Todd, look at the time factor. You know, does it make sense for you to spend a year or two trying to get just adequate with production? If your company has the budget for you to just be the producer, the manager of production, and you can outsource those components? Those are questions that you have to ask yourself because people say, well, we can’t afford to outsource it so we’re just going to do it ourselves. But what they don’t realise is it might take you 80 hours to produce a video that would take, you know, Ryan or myself, 15 hours just because we know what we’re doing. And yeah, your costs might be a thousand $1,500 but look, it’s your salary over the course of that 80 hour timeframe and are you really saving money? And that’s kind of the big question. I think
it’s an important question to ask, you know, is this something that I should be doing myself? Is this something that should be contracting out? And if it is something that you can, that you’re going to do yourself, what can you do to reduce the friction? Like you say, how can you make things easier? How can you get things set up so they can be a little bit more automatic. Chris, thank you so much for joining me on the web video marketing show. You know, over the years you’ve been a source of great information and inspiration, so it’s been a real pleasure talking to you and sharing your insights with the audience today.
Great. Thanks, Ryan. I appreciate it. It’s been fun.
Thanks Chris. See you later.
Well, thanks a lot for listening and I hope you enjoy this week’s episode. I want to say a big thanks to the people who’ve gone on to iTunes and given us a ranking and put their comments there. If you’re liking what you’re hearing, please go onto iTunes and give us a ranking and put your comments. I’d really appreciate it. Look forward to talking to you in a couple of weeks time. Bye.
Ryan Spanger is one of Melbourne’s most respected and sought-after video production professionals. Ryan founded Dream Engine in 2002, and specialises in helping medium to large corporates, government departments, and the non-proﬁt sector to connect with their audience more effectively by using video.