Video

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5 Traits of a Solid Video Production Pro

Video production folks are an interesting breed, but what makes the best of the best? 

People in the production industry are, well, people! They have their own personalities, processes and quirks. However, there are some general characteristics that can really help a production professional stand out and achieve more. 

Whether you’re a videographer hoping to grow in this field or a company wanting to know traits of an ideal partner for your next video project, we’re here to lay out five essential traits that make for a solid production pro.

1. ATTENTION TO DETAIL

Screenshot from a Shoot To-Do list from TrelloIf you heard our latest episode of the Know Content podcast, we discussed effective pre-production processes and noted that creatives aren’t known for being the most organized people out there… 

But what’s interesting about video production peeps is that they constantly walk the line between organization and improvisation (we’ll discuss the latter in a bit). 

There’s a lot that goes into just one video shoot, and missing any of the important details can unravel even the greatest concepts. These project details can be anything from creating a thorough shot list, ensuring batteries are charged, or setting up the perfect lighting for a shot. Any one of these factors (and many more) can drastically affect the quality of a shoot or final video. 

If you struggle in this area, you’re not alone (hi, welcome to the club). Be sure to utilize some project management tools and production/equipment checklists to make sure you’re not missing any of the pertinent details and to streamline your production process.

2. FLEXIBILITY

Gif of man bending over to touch his toes on each side.

courtesy of trainhardliveclean.com

It happens to every video production team. 

Despite your successful location scouting and detailed shot list, you arrive on set to find it raining/loud/crowded, etc. Any number of elements can alter a shoot entirely, and if there’s a tight deadline you may not be able to reschedule.

It can be easy to let this negatively affect your attitude or halt production while you scramble; however, the best video pros know it’s best to just go with the flow. Expecting the unexpected is part of the job. 

Once you learn how to navigate unanticipated scenarios with quick problem-solving, you’ll be invaluable on set. You may even create some of your best work along the way!

3. EFFECTIVE TIME MANAGEMENT

Gif of fleix the cat clock ticking

courtesy of evanimation.net

This may seem obvious, but we feel it’s important to note. 

No one wants to work with someone who constantly shows up late, but this characteristic extends beyond just personal time management. 

Video projects are time consuming, and every minute counts. With everything that goes into pre-production, shoot days and post-production, it’s important to ensure you manage that time effectively to meet deadlines and stay on budget. This is especially true when you’re juggling multiple projects at once. 

Make sure you’re keeping track of your time to keep things rolling! We use Harvest, which integrates with a range of project management software. 

4. CREATIVITY

A white wall with the phrase "Get the Creativity Flowing" painted on it.

Not everyone can be a great video production professional.

Sure, anyone can learn the right software and purchase high-quality equipment, but a solid production pro has a creative eye that can’t always be taught. Out-of-the-box storytelling and unique composition can take any video to the next level. 

If you’re in video production, don’t take a cookie-cutter content approach with your clients. Express your value and stand out from the rest with a creative mindset and unique deliverables.

5. PASSION

A photo of BSM teammate Katelynn smiling at camera while shooting on anSony FS700 camera.

Our amazing DP/Camera Operator/Photographer, Katelynn, in action!

This may be last on the list, but it’s truly the most important. If you don’t love what you do, you can’t do it well. 

Passion is especially necessary in creative industries, and it truly yields the best, most fulfilling work. 

The BSM team attends the STORY conference in Nashville each year, and something we learned there is the true meaning of “passion.” Based on its latin root passio, the word means “to suffer for.” This means you can find and fuel your passion by evaluating what you’re willing to suffer for and recognizing your suffering when NOT doing something. 

Our president Jonathan discovered his passion for aerial videography and founded an entire production company around it! Since then, he has continued to build a team with the same drive to create amazing content (like this incredibly well-written blog post).

The power of passion is truly unmatched and is the foundation of success in any industry.

 

 

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Big Slate Media Team
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Best Video Production Company – Knoxville Big Wigs

We feel like the biggest wigs of all after the 2019 Knoxville American Advertising Federation Big Wig Awards.

Our team was incredibly honored to take home THREE Big Wig Awards this year, including Knoxville’s Best Video/Film Production Company. Additionally, our own Jess Gutman was awarded Best Social Media Specialist, and our newest team member Katelynn Oltrogge was awarded Best Intern.

Jess and Katelynn accept our award for Best Video Production Company at the Big Wigs.

Jess and Katelynn accept our award for Best Video Production Company at the Big Wigs.

This tenth-annual affair was a fun chance to connect with other advertising/marketing pros and celebrate the awesome people KILLING IT in our industry and community. The Big Wigs recognize behind-the-scenes advertising ninjas that flat out get. it. done. Printing companies, TV reps, radio reps, media buyers and more are awarded for taking their craft to the next level each year.

Nominations for the AAF Big Wig Awards are accepted from the public, and the top nominees become finalists. Winners are determined by popular vote, and this was the biggest year of voting numbers in Big Wigs history!

We are truly so thankful for this recognition and are grateful for the work we get to do every day with our amazing clients and partners. On behalf of our whole team, thank you so much to everyone who nominated and voted for us! All are welcome to swing by our office to bask in the glory of our new conference room trophies.

photo of three Big Wigs trophies on white background

AAF-Knoxville is the local chapter of the American Advertising Federation (AAF). They work to protect and promote the well-being of advertising through a unique, nationally coordinated grassroots network of advertisers, agencies, media companies, local advertising clubs and college chapters. We love being part of this organization and highly recommend getting involved.

P.S. Congratulations to our many friends/partners who were also recognized with Big Wigs this year! You can check out the full list of winners here.

 

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Big Slate Media Team
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VLOG: 5 WAYS TO BEST UTILIZE INSTAGRAM STORIES

One of the latest and greatest methods for engaging your audience is Instagram stories. 

More than 500 million people are daily active Instagram story viewers. It’s a great way for businesses to increase brand awareness, get on the top of people’s feeds, and drive engagement with their followers.

Stories allow you to connect with people in a more impactful and engaging way, and they help build that trust that makes people want to work with you.

In addition to video production, our company also manages several social media accounts in Knoxville, and we’re excited to share with you our top 5 ways to best utilize Instagram stories for your business. 

Let’s go! 

 

1. Use Them Regularly

Active posting is crucial because the more recent your story is, the more likely the content will appear first on top of someone’s instagram feed. If you’re wondering what types of IG story content works best for businesses, some of our favorites are: 

  • Behind the scenes – show people the inner workings of your business or life; it makes you more relatable
  • Teaser – if something big is coming up, get some hype built up around it by teasing it on your story
  • Polls – helps you learn about your followers, and is one of the primary ways to actually get them to engage with you through stories
  • Questions – a classic Q&A sesh allows your followers to ask you questions about yourself or your business, and  be sure to actively respond to them
  • Go live – this allows you to respond in real time to comments from viewers -nothing is more real than that

2. Encourage Engagement

Iphone with IG poll feature displayedIG stories are a great way for you to interact directly with your loyal followers and gain insights directly from them. Use polls to learn about your audience, whether it be the type of content their looking for from you or their favorite taco place, it’s a great way to engage your followers. 

 

Also, a Q&A session really allows your followers to engage with you as they ask questions about you or your business. You could even go live to respond in real time to their comments or questions.

 

 

3. Run Instagram Story Ads

75% of instagram users take actioniphone with IG ads interface on it – like visiting a website or making a purchase – after looking at an instagram ad. 

You can create story ads directly through the Facebook Ads Manager, or you can use the “promote” button on an existing story post to turn it into an ad (like boosting a Facebook post). 

These allow you to send viewers right to your profile, DM’s or your website. Make sure to use an active visual, like stop-motion, animated text or a regular video to capture the attention of your audience right away as their swiping through stories. This is a great way to get people to a certain webpage if you don’t have that swipe up feature that comes with 10,000 or more followers.

 

 

4. Utilize Instagram Story Highlights on Your Profile

Your Instagram profile is really like a landing page for your brand (business or personal), and using highlights allows your audience to view the content they’re most interested in. It also allows new visitors to your profile to get to know you right away. 

Use highlights to introduce your brand, your product or services, and show what it’s like to work with you. Make your highlight covers cohesive and branded to have a more polished look. We  recommend using Canva, which is a free online design software to create some awesome covers. They even have IG story templates already created that you can adjust to fit your brand.

photo of IG story highlight covers from the Peaceful Side of the Smokies account

Highlight covers on @PeacefulSmokies

5. Don’t Be Too Salesy

You’ll lose followers if you’re constantly using stories to make sales pitches. While you can definitely use them to convert followers to customers, stories are best utilized to show authenticity and create brand trust.

We hope these points gave you some ideas and inspiration on how you can best use Instagram stories for your business. If you ever have any questions about social media management, be sure to slide into our DM’s or contact us here. We’d love to help you out!

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Big Slate Media Team
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BSM GUIDE TO SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEO SPECS

Visually engaging content is the best way to attract audiences’ attention and drive brand awareness – in today’s world, that means video. 

Compelling video can be used in a variety of ways across your social media channels, and it’s important to ensure the viewer’s experience is fully optimized. It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation – each platform requires its own unique set of video specs and sizes. 

You shouldn’t have to Google every time you need to create a channel-specific video. 

That’s where we come in. Here are the most important social media video specs you need.

You’re gonna wanna bookmark this. 

FACEBOOK

Facebook offers this as a general rule-of-thumb for optimizing your videos: “Use custom settings when you export your video: With editing software like Final Cut Pro, Avid or iMovie, we recommend you try H.264 video with AAC audio in MOV or MP4 format, an aspect ratio no larger than 1280px wide and divisible by 16px, a frame rate at or below 30fps and stereo audio with a sample rate of 44,100hz.

Upload the highest resolution video available that meets file size and ratio limits.

aspect ratio guide for Facebook

from Facebook

Facebook Feed Video

  • Recommended dimensions: 1280 x 720
  • Minimum width: 600 pixels (length depends on aspect ratio)
  • Aspect ratios: 16:9 (landscape), 9:16 (full portrait), 2:3 (vertical), 4:5 (vertical), square (1:1)
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Recommended video formats: .MP4 or .MOV
  • Max video length: 120 minutes

Desktop News Feed Link Video Ads (Landscape, Square & Right Column)

  • Recommended dimensions: 1280 x 720
  • Minimum dimensions: 600 x 315 (1.9:1 landscape) or 600 x 600 (square)
  • Aspect ratios: Landscape is 16:9 | Square is 1:1 
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Recommended video formats: .MP4 or .MOV
  • Max video length: 240 minutes

In-Stream Video Ads

  • Recommended dimensions: 1280 x 720
  • Minimum dimensions: 600 x 315 (1.9:1 landscape) or 600 x 600 (square)
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 recommended
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Recommended video formats: .MP4 or .MOV
  • Video length: 5 – 15 seconds

Facebook Stories (& Story Ads)

  • Minimum dimensions: 500 x 500 
  • Aspect ratios: 1.91 to 9:16, with colored gradient bars rendered above and below videos under 9:16
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Recommended video formats: .MP4 or .MOV
  • Max video length: 15 seconds

Facebook Cover Video

  • Recommended dimensions: 820 x 462 (min. 820 x 312)
  • Required length: 20 – 90 seconds

Sources: 

INSTAGRAM

Like Facebook, Instagram’s recommendations are similar and you’re urged to use the highest video resolution possible.

aspect ratio chart for instagram

from YouTube channel Javier Mercedes

Instagram In-Feed Video (& Video Ads)

  • Recommended dimensions: 1920 x 1080; 1080 x 1080; 1080 x 1350
  • Minimum resolution: 600 x 315 (1.9:1 landscape); 600 x 600 (square); 600 by 750 (vertical)
  • Aspect ratios: 16:9, 1:1, 4:5 (& 1.91:1)
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Recommended video formats: .MP4 or .MOV
  • Max video length: 60 seconds

Instagram Stories (& Story Ads)

  • Recommended dimensions: 1080 x 1920
  • Minimum dimensions: 600 x 1067
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16 (and 16:9 to 4:5)
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Recommended video formats: .MP4 or .MOV
  • Max video length: 15 seconds

(Consider leaving roughly 14% (250 pixels) of the top and bottom of the video free from text and logos to avoid covering these key elements with the profile icon or call-to-action.

Instagram TV (IGTV) 

  • Recommended dimensions: 1080 x 1920
  • Minimum resolution: 720
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16 (and 16:9)
  • Max file size: 10 minutes or less is 650MB. Up to 60 minutes is 3.6GB. 
  • Recommended video formats: .MP4
  • Max video length: 15 seconds to 10 minutes (Larger accounts and verified accounts can upload videos up to 60 minutes long, but they must be uploaded from a computer.) 
  • Recommended cover photo size: 420 x 654 (1:1.55 ratio)

Sources: 

YOUTUBE

Youtube video sizes graphic

from learn.g2.com

Video Player (Standard YouTube Video)

  • Recommended dimensions: 426 x 240 (240p), 640 x 360 (360p), 854 x 480 (480p), 1280 x 720 (720p), 1920 x 1080 (1080p), 2560 x 1440 (1440p) and 3840 x 2160 (2160p)
  • Minimum dimension: 426 x 240
  • Max dimension: 3840 x 2160
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 (auto adds pillarboxing if 4:3)
  • Max file size: 128GB or 12 hours, whichever is less
  • Video formats: .MOV, .MPEG4, MP4, .AVI, .WMV, .MPEGPS, .FLV, 3GPP, and WebM
  • Max video length: 12 hours

YouTube Video Ads

Ads follow the same dimensions as the non-ad videos, but differ in video length

  • Skippable video ads: maximum length of 12 hours, skippable after 5 seconds
  • Unskippable video ads: max length of 15, 20 or 30 seconds
  • Mid-roll video ads: minimum length of 30 seconds
  • Bumper video ads: maximum length of 6 seconds

Sources: 

TWITTER

graphic of computer and mobile twitter video dimensions

from Zubtitle

Twitter Landscape & Portrait Videos (& Video Ads) 

  • Landscape recommended dimensions: 320 x 180 (256K bitrate), 640 x 360 (768K bitrate) and 1280 x 720 (2048K bitrate)
  • Portrait recommended dimensions: 240 x 240 (256K bitrate), 480 x 480 (768K bitrate) and 640 x 640 (1024K bitrate)
  • Minimum dimensions: 32 x 32
  • Maximum dimensions: 1280 x 1024
  • Aspect ratios: 1:2.39 to 2.39:1
  • Max file size: 512MB
  • Recommended video formats: .MP4 for web and .MOV for mobile
  • Max video length: 140 seconds

Sources: 

SNAPCHAT

snapchat longform video specs listed on phone

from SocialPilot

Snapchat 10-Second Video Ads

  • Recommended dimensions: 1080 x 1920
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16
  • Max file size: 32MB
  • Video formats: .MP4 and .MOV
  • Max video length:  3 – 10 seconds

Long-Form Video Ads

  • Recommended dimensions: 1080 x 1920
  • Aspect ratios: 9:16 or 16:9
  • Max file size: 1GB
  • Video formats: .MP4 and .MOV.
  • Minimum video length: 15 seconds (no max)

Sources: 

LINKEDIN

photo of three phones displaying Linkedin videos

from eDigital agency

Shared Video

  • Maximum size: 4,096 x 2,304 
  • Minimum size: 256 x 144 
  • Aspect ratio: 1:2.4 to 2.4:1
  • Max file size: 5GB
  • Video formats: .ASF, .AVI, .FLV, .MOV, .MPEG-1, .MPEG-4, .MKV, and .WebM
  • Minimum video length: 3 seconds (max: 10 minutes)

 

Video Ads

  • Required dimensions: 480 x 360 (360p), 640 x 360 (360p wide), 640 x 480 (480p), 960 x 720 (720p), 1280 x 720 (720p wide), 1440 x 1080 (1080p), 1920 x 1080 (1080p wide)
  • Maximum file size: 200 MB
  • Video format: .MP4
  • Max video length: 30 minutes (LinkedIn’s guidelines state most ads perform best at around 15 seconds)

Sources: 

PINTEREST

aspect ratios of Pinterest videos on a phone

from Pinterest

Shared Video (& Video Ads)

  • Recommended dimensions: 600 x 600 (square); 600 x 900 (vertical)
  • Minimum video resolution: 240p
  • Aspect ratios: 1:1 & 9:16
  • Portrait recommended dimensions: 240 x 240 (256K bitrate), 480 x 480 (768K bitrate) and 640 x 640 (1024K bitrate)
  • Max file size: 2GB
  • Video formats: .MP4 and .MOV
  • Max video length: 30 minutes

Sources: 

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Big Slate Media Team
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VLOG: TIPS & TRICKS FOR MARKETING YOUR EVENT

Some of the work we enjoy most is helping our partners out with their incredible events! From elegant award galas, to multi-day, action-packed music festivals, to educational conferences and seminars – we love diving into event social media marketing and video production. 

There’s never a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to marketing strategy, but we wanted to share some of our basic tips and tricks for creating some buzz around your next event.

Here’s the vlog with Lucas to get things going: 

PRE-EVENT MARKETING

You gotta pay to play on social media to get noticed. Run ads on channels your target audience uses – we recommend Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. These can be general ads that simply provide event details, or a video ad with sponsor interviews, a hype promo video or ticket giveaways. If we’ve learned anything about pre-event social media marketing is that people LOVE free stuff. 

Seriously, they go nuts. 

The integration between Facebook and Instagram makes it super easy to manage your marketing budget and content for both platforms in one place – the Facebook Ads Manager. You can create custom or Look-Alike audiences to target the exact people you want at your event. 

If this is a first-time event without any prior video footage available, don’t worry! It’s still possible to create an awesome promo video with stock footage, animation or interviews with your talent or emcee. Just be sure to snag some video at the event for next year’s promotion.

 

 

DURING THE EVENT

The most important part of live event coverage is actively engaging with your attendees on social media and making people at home wish theywere there! 

Go live on Facebook or YouTube, get some shots of people having a great time and post it on your Instagram story and comment on posts about your event. Also, make sure your event uses a singular, memorable hashtag for all posts, and encourage others to use it as well. This provides you with user-generated content to repost, and increased engagement will ensure your hashtag is more visible on people’s feeds. 

Check out this Instagram highlight from one of our most recent events, Brimstone White Knuckle, to see some of the live event social coverage. 

white knuckle logo

 

OTHER RESOURCES

A great way to thank your sponsors and showcase your successful event is to create a recap video to post on all your social channels. These are some of our favorite videos we get to create because we’re able to share some incredible experiences and show off just how awesome our partners are. 

Recap videos can also be easily reworked to make a promotional video for the next event. That’s some great double-dippin’ for all the video footage you capture. 

If you’re working on a shoestring marketing budget and have to choose between pre-event coverage or a post-event recap video, we recommend focusing on pre-event marketing (especially for the first year) – because you want people to actually show up, right? 

Here’s the recap video for the Brimstone White Knuckle event mentioned above! 

 

If you’re planning your next event and need some help with social media strategy or video marketing, give us a call! We’d love to offer suggestions and partner with you.

OTHER RESOURCES

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Big Slate Media Team
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The Importance of B-Roll: Painting the Whole Picture

We have a rule here at Big Slate when it comes to any video project – commercial, company overview, event coverage, you name it – OVER SHOOT. This becomes especially true with pick-up shots or B-roll.

We talk about and utilize B-roll a lot. So, we wanted to share our thoughts on the importance of this footage and how it can be best used in your next video. (Roll that beautiful, B-roll blog…

What exactly is B-roll?

BSM team shooting b-roll

When shooting a video, shots of your primary subject are called A-roll. Therefore, any extra footage you capture in addition to the main subject is referred to as B-roll. “A” comes first, “B” comes second… makes sense, right?

Although B-roll is considered secondary or supplementary footage, it definitely should not be considered secondary in importance. Both are necessary in conveying a powerful message. While A-roll tells the story, B-roll provides necessary context.

No Film School has a great analogy for it. “A-roll is the hotdog and B-roll are the fixins. You have a full meal with just the hotdog, sure, but what kind of freak would eat a plain hotdog?

Don’t be the freak with the plain hot dog.

hands holding hot dog with ketchup and mustard on it for b-roll blog

Types of B-Roll shots

Really, the possibilities are endless in terms of what types of shots make good B-roll. Depending on the type of video, location of the shoot or the client, it can really be anything that adds to the video flow. This could be:

  • Establishing shots of the room, building or outdoors
  • People working on day-to-day activities (on a computer, machine, etc.)
  • Signage
  • Interviewee smiling, nodding, etc.
  • People holding awards, framed photos, etc.

You can see several of these types in this video we created for Helen Ross McNabb Center:

Why is it useful?

Beyond providing context and setting the stage for the primary story, there are many other practical uses for B-roll footage.

It can REALLY help during the editing process. Odds are, you won’t have perfect shots all the time, especially when shooting long-form interviews. It could be as simple as a sneeze that you need to cut out. If you want it to flow better than using a quick-cut to remove the shot, overlaying some related B-roll makes it a much smoother transition that no one will think twice about.  

Will Ferrel as Ron Burgundy in Anchorman sneezing gif for b-roll blog

Speaking of long-form interviews, a video can quickly become pretty dull if you’re just watching someone talk on camera for several minutes. Switching the shot over to some B-roll related to what they’re talking about makes the video much more engaging.

Check out this video we made for Sonny Brooke Stables, and imagine if we just kept the shot on Krystle the whole time… not nearly as fun as watching horse jumping (No offense to Krystle, she’s awesome)!

Make it part of the process.

Now that you have some perspective on the importance of B-roll, make sure it’s integrated into your pre-production process. Consider your primary shot and what supporting visuals could make it stronger. When scouting locations, also consider what pick-up shots and angles you should incorporate into your shot list. Be thorough.

It will definitely take your video to the next level.

If you ever need help with any facet of video production, or have more questions about B-roll, you know who to call.

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Big Slate Media Team
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4 Types of Content We Love Shooting in Studio

In case you haven’t heard – which would be incredible considering we’ve been BRAGGING for months – we built a studio near downtown Knoxville!

Besides having a new, controlled space for our hilarious internal video ideas, we’re super excited to have a location to create even more engaging, meaningful content for our clients. *Please note hilarious content below* 

 

There are so many possibilities when it comes to in-studio video content, and we wanted to share some of our favorites that work for any business across all industries.

1. INTERVIEWS/TESTIMONIALS

This type of content is the best way to tell your overall story. Interviewing staff members to talk about company culture, what you do and why you do it is the foundation of every great company overview video. Similarly, recording client testimonials allows you to talk about your products or services through the experiences of people who are already utilizing them!

 

Both can be easily managed in a controlled studio setting. It provides the ability to ensure high-quality audio/lighting while allowing for multiple camera angles, making the video much more engaging for viewers.

2. VLOGS

Vlogging (or video-blogging) has truly blown up in the past year or so. They are simple videos, typically involving one person, just talking about what’s going on. A video studio is the perfect spot to shoot these if you’re like most people who don’t want to be doing this kind of stuff in public (You know, like the random guy vlogging his day around town? You’re not a celebrity dude, just give it a rest).

Describing what’s happening with your company – new products, events coming up, staff introductions – is fun, interesting content for your current/prospective clients because it can really show off your personality. Vlogs can also be used to discuss industry topics and position your business as a thought-leader.

Quick-cut edits, personable subject matter and tone-of-voice, and fun use of text and animation in post-production can make vlogs fun and engaging for all viewers.

P.S. This type of content can easily populate a YouTube channel.

3. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

This one’s easy. If you have commonly asked questions regarding your company, products or services, answer them on camera! It’s way more engaging than having an FAQ accordion on your website. You can even display and manage products when answering specific questions, which leads us into our final content type… 

4. PRODUCT SHOTS/DEMONSTRATIONS

NuCanoe Product Shoot in Studio

A bright, shiny studio can be an amazing setting for some stellar product shots or demonstration videos. It is so much easier to show customers how a product works through video content rather than explaining it in a body of text on your website. This can also provide great, bite-sized videos for social media and an archive of b-roll for future videos.


Now that you’re full of some awesome ideas for your own video content, book some time with us in our studio. We’d love to help you out with your upcoming projects! 

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Big Slate Media Team
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Picking an Interview Spot that Doesn’t Suck

You know those interview/testimonial videos where you can’t hear anything? Or see anything because it’s too dark or super pixelated? Or that are just really distracting because it’s on a train track or something?

Those videos suck.

Wether you’re using your iPhone or professional video equipment, an important factor you can control to improve quality of your video is the location. When choosing the best interview spot for the shot, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Reduce Noise

Reducing “noise” – both audible and visual – is key in finding a great interview spot. Make sure to choose a place that is relatively quiet without a ton of loud activities occurring around it. This will make it more difficult to hear the subject, which is the entire point of the video.

Also, a shot with a ton of visual “noise” – random objects, people walking in and out of frame a bunch, piles of trash in the corner – is distracting to viewers and should be avoided. You want people to be fully engaged with your video content, and distractions could draw them away from the message you are trying to convey..

We know sometimes it’s unavoidable to shoot in a noisy area – like when you’re shooting interviews at a horse stable – and in that case, you would turn to some quality audio equipment, and a whole lot of patience, to help out.

interview at Sonny Brooke Stables

Light it Up

When picking a location for an interview, try to find an area where you have some control over lighting.

Indoors: Rooms should have shades over the windows in case of harsh sunlight, and you should have the ability to turn off any overhead lighting.

Outdoors: Consider shooting during the “Golden Hour” – either the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset – when sunlight is more soft. This could prevent harsh shadows on the subject from direct sunlight. If you can’t shoot during that time, an overcast day works great as well!

Lighting is a huge reason we LOVE shooting in our new studio. Complete control of lighting makes for a beautiful shot, like this one of Kelly:

3to99 studio interview

Choose a Space with Options

The best interview locations are spacious areas with plenty of options for various angles and set-ups. Larger areas allow for a shallow depth of field – keeping the subject in focus with the background blurred. You don’t want a massive, echoey room, but there should be enough space for your entire set-up and team.

You also want the ability to change set-ups, especially if you’re interviewing multiple people in the same video. Changing angles keeps the viewer engaged and allows for a more dynamic flow.

Knoxville Chamber interview

Knoxville Chamber interview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These three simple things can drastically affect the quality of your video interviews, and keeping them in mind during pre-production can ensure your final product is stellar. Picking the right location with minimal “noise,” controlled lighting, and plenty of room for options can truly take your interviews to the next level.

Want to work with us on your next testimonial video or use our studio space for an interview? Hit us up!

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Big Slate Media Team
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Measuring YouTube Success: 3 KPIs That Matter

So, you’ve built your YouTube channel, populated it with some organic content, and dove into the world of advertising – so you’ve done it all right? You’re now a YouTube advertising master?

Not quite.

In order to fully understand the quality of your content and how well it engages your audience, it’s important to monitor certain data within YouTube Analytics. This is integral in learning how to best optimize your videos and positioning your efforts for success.

Here are some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that we recommend monitoring:

Watch Time Reports

Use the Watch Time report to see data about impressions, impressions click-through rate, views, and how long viewers watch your content. This is significant as all YouTube algorithms are focused on watch time.
Impressions: How many times your thumbnails were shown to viewers on YouTube through registered impressions.

Impressions click-through rate (CTR): How often viewers watched a video after seeing a thumbnail.
Views: The number of legitimate views for your channels or videos.
Average view duration: Estimated average minutes watched per view for the selected content, date range, region, and other filters.
Watch time: The amount of time that a viewer has watched a video. This gives you a sense of what content viewers actually watch (as opposed to videos that they click on and then abandon).

Audience Retention Report

You can use the Audience retention report to get an overall measure of how well your video keeps its audience.
Average View Duration: Estimated average minutes watched per view for the selected content, date range, region, and other filters.

Average Percentage Viewed: The percent of each video the average viewer watched. Anywhere above 60% is a really good.

Traffic Sources Report

This report shows the sites and YouTube features that viewers use to find your content. It’s great for understanding and evaluating which marketing channels are working for you.


A/B Testing

After reviewing your reports, it may be time to make some adjustments. Don’t try to change too much at first. Work with what you have for a few videos and then, after gathering a decent sample size, make your adjustments by changing some of the these variables.

YouTube does not yet have an A/B testing feature, so you’ll have to use a third party if you really want to dive into this. Also, be sure you’re tracking and linked up with as many analytics tools as you can across all platforms (Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel especially).


We hope this YouTube blog series provided you with enough information and actionable items to start a solid video ad campaign. We know it can feel overwhelming at first, but once you get going, you’ll be thankful for all the hard work you’ve put into it.

As always, if you have any questions about it you can reach out to your friendly, neighborhood content creation agency.

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Big Slate Media Team
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Getting Started: Paid Advertising on YouTube

We’re on a YouTube advertising kick.

In case you haven’t heard – at the beginning of this year we spoke at the Knoxville Chamber’s Digital Marketing Series about YouTube and we’ve been sharing all that content right here on our blog! (If you missed the first two installments, you can click here to see the 8 Things to Get Right on YouTube AND click here to learn all about organic content on the platform).

If you’re ready to take the leap into paid video advertising and make it a regular part of your content marketing strategy, you’ve come to the right place. In addition to driving organic traffic to your content, there are also several paid options for promoting your videos on YouTube to expand your reach. We’re covering all of them right here.

Begin with the End in Mind

Your advertising goal is the foundation of your entire campaign, and it affects the types of video ads and bidding strategies available to you. So, before setting up your video campaign in Google Ads, consider what you want to get out of it:

Leads: Generate customer leads and conversions with video ad formats designed to encourage people to express interest and take action
Website Traffic: Bring interested people to your site and get more conversions with a compelling call to action and other features that encourage people to take action after your video plays
Product + Brand Consideration: Get more people to consider your products or brand with video ad formats designed to encourage engagement.
Brand Awareness + Reach: Increase awareness for your products or brand with video ad formats designed to get more views and expand your reach

The Five Ads Types

Keep in mind – there are other ad types that can be placed on Youtube (like graphic ads); however, we’re going to focus on the video ad formats you can utilize. The video ad content is hosted on YouTube and managed through Google Ads.

1. TrueView Discovery Ads

These ads show up on Youtube via the homepage, search results, and related videos based on targeted keywords, chosen audience or placements. The ad consists of a thumbnail image from your video with some text, and it invites people to click to watch the video. The video then plays on the YouTube Watch page.

2. TrueView In-Stream Ads

TrueView In-Stream ads show up before, during or after other videos on Youtube. They are your most malleable video ad type, and there are three subgroups:

Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads: Only offered to a high percentile of spending users. They are no longer than 15 seconds in the US, and the viewer has to watch it entirely.
Skippable In-Stream Ads: Sometimes called Standard Video ads in Google Ads. Really, you have the most flexibility with this ad type as there is no limit to how long these can be.
Shopping: Allows you to put up to six cards on your skippable TrueView ad to drive consumer action. You must have a Google Merchant Account to be eligible.

In both skippable and non-skippable in-stream video ads, we recommend keeping ads between 60-90 seconds and having your logo or business name show up in the first five seconds.

3. Bumper Ads

These are short six-second ads that are non-skippable. They should be catchy, simple ads that make a viewer want to visit your website. That’s right, you only have six seconds to catch someone’s attention – go watch some Vines (RIP) for inspiration.

4. OutStream Ads

OutStream ads are mobile-only video ads that play on partner websites and within apps. It includes a logo, description (with a CTA), a link to your Youtube video, and a link to your website. These are great for driving traffic to your already existing Youtube account or website.

We recommend only using this ad type when you have a Youtube page that is updated consistently with content, and as for your title – keep it catchy, creative and clear. People may only see it for a moment, so make them stop dead in their scroll.

5. Ad Sequence

This is a pretty impressive ad type because you can actually send a consumer on a step-by-step journey using different Youtube ads. Each step has a distinct goal and can have different bidding strategies. In short, you can use In-Stream, bumper or a variety of both to take a consumer on a trek to purchase.

This will take the most forethought out of any of these ad types.


Yeah, we know that was a lot.

So, we made a chart to help you out!

Keeping all this information in mind, you’re off to the ad races! However, it’s not enough to simply run these campaigns, you’ll want to actively monitor them…

We’ll cover that next in the fourth and final part in our YouTube blog series.

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Big Slate Media Team