On camera talent, spokesperson vs business owner

Alright, you have been saving up your pennies for a new video to promote your business.

You figured out when you need it, how you want it to look and where you want to film it. There is just one question left in your mind: who is going to be the on camera spokesperson? You, a friend or a professional spokesperson? Well, here is some advice to help you choose.

So what’s wrong with you being the on camera spokesperson? In a word, nothing! That is, if you are comfortable with doing it. You see, being on camera is very different that one might imagine; a camera is cold and emotionless and as the on camera talent you have to bring a level of energy and excitement to your performance that you will not expect or be used to. So be prepared to bring your A++ game on the day of filming because it will show if you do or don’t. The benefit of you being the on camera talent is you work for free and you know your business better than anyone. The downside is that unless you do a great job on camera the end result can look a little bleh….

Ok, you have a friend who is really outgoing, funny and the life of the party. That doesn’t mean that their personality will translate well on camera. What do I mean? As mentioned above, a camera is cold and emotionless and frankly, it can feel a little weird to sit or stand staring into a camera lens while reciting the script. The reason this matters is because most of the time extroverted people are great with other people because their emotional energy, jokes, stories, etc get a reaction. Cameras don’t react. In fact they mess with your head because reading a script in front of a camera it is like you just told a joke that bombed and no one knows what to do or how to transition out of it.

That said, if you know an actor, radio show host, etc who is a friend and not a friend who is or aspiring to be an actor, radio show host, etc, it can work very well and is cheaper than hiring a professional spokesperson.

Fast forward a little… you have now scheduled the video production company and are ready to hire a spokesperson for your video. What do you do? You look at their headshots, resumes and demo reel/audition tape and pick the look you prefer. A professional spokesperson isn’t cheap but you can usually secure a talented and professional actor for between $750-$1500 for half a day (at the time of this writing in the Denver Metro Area). Full day rates are more and generally are in the range of $1500-$3500 (depending on experience, type of shoot, etc). Are there any downsides to having your production company hire a spokesperson? Well, no, except for the cost. You know what you are going to get from them in the final product. You have seen them in their demo reel, perhaps watched an audition with a portion of their script and if they don’t perform, the production company has a path of recourse through the talent agency or agent for the spokesperson. Most of the times we have worked with professional on camera talent the desired result was achieved in the 1st or 2nd take, which makes a HUGE budget difference if your video involves complex camera setups, long one takes, greenscreen studio rental, etc. Also, they can take direction if the delivery isn’t quite right, their voice needs to be slightly higher or lower, etc.

So which would I recommend? A professional spokesperson.  Why not a friend? Because they don’t know what is required to succeed on camera. Your friend may have done some fun videos with family and friends, but filming with a full crew is a different animal. There will be a large fuzzy microphone hanging above their head the entire time, a camera with a teleprompter staring them in the face, crew members behind the camera watching monitors, you will be in the peripheral vision mouthing the script with them, basically it will be the weirdest experience they will ever have.

Now why can’t you do it? Well, please listen to the video production company you hire because they can tell which will be a better choice and will save you a lot of embarrassment and wasted money. They have done this so many times before and know what a person needs to look and sound good on camera. Spokespeople continually hone their craft, perfect their skill and receive honest criticism about what they need to change in order to improve. And that’s why they do so well on camera.

If you have any questions about your upcoming video production project, budgeting, choosing talent, etc please feel free to contact us. We are a Denver based video production company started in 2010 and have worked on all sorts of projects and would be happy to guide you through the video production process.

Testimonial Study

You are about to participate in a study and don’t worry, this won’t hurt a bit. Really.

When thinking about testimonials I have often wondered what creates a powerful and effective testimonial. I have my theories about this, but I am going to keep those to myself until the results come in. Those of you who sign up for our twice monthly newsletter by entering your email in the below form will also be entered into a drawing for a $25 Starbucks gift card. 2 weeks after posting this article, I will post the results of the study and the winner of the $25 Starbucks gift card.

Now, there are a total of four testimonials (3 text and 1 video) below for four different B2B service companies that provide the same service at the same price. Read or watch the testimonial, then using the below form, give it a rating of 1-10 (10 being the best) on how likely your are to work with that company. At the end of the form you will also choose which company you would use over the the other three. Now, I have removed the company names and the service type from the testimonials to make sure that brand recognition, etc don’t affect your decision. Ready, set and go!

 Company A

“I probably spoke to about 5 different companies before deciding on Company A. It’s challenging finding skilled reliable people to do this service so I wanted to be confident that I found the right team. As expected, they delivered everything I was looking for and on time. We definitely plan on using them again in the future!”

– Happy Customer

Company B

 

 Company C

“Company C took on the task of pulling together a product for an upcoming event and did it with integrity. When (my) travel plans got messed up, they readily took over the whole process for me. My clients gave very positive feedback from their experience talking with them and I saw the same too as we talked through our plans. The resulting product was something we were all proud of. I’ll hire Company C again next time I need similar services, I didn’t have to worry about a thing through the whole process.”

– Happy Customer

 Company D

Company D did an amazing job bringing to life my vision for the product.  Company D and their team carefully listened to my ideas and gently suggested alternatives.  They was very responsive to alterations and patient during the creation process.  The synergy created a fantastic and powerful product that exceeded my original vision.  I highly recommend that you consider working with Company D on your next project.

-Happy Customer

Time to vote!

 

Thanks for participating and if you have any comments about what you think makes a great testimonial, feel free to leave a comment below!

Why we use Full HD DSLRs for corporate video

So for filming corporate videomarketing videotraining videomedical videoTV commercials and web video I have been asking myself a couple of questions recently- 1) why do my company and I use DSLRs to film our projects and 2) would my production company benefit from moving to 4K for all our projects? Here at Provident Media Group, we film the vast majority of our projects at 1080p using DSLRs. Here are my reasons along with some pros and cons we have found, heard and learned about.

Disclaimer: I have never filmed using a 4K camera (I have been a camera assistant to a DP using a RED Epic for a project), but I have worked with and edited 4K files in Premiere Pro on a recent documentary project.The biggest reason why we film 1080p video from a DSLR is because 1080p video is fairly cheap to film, edit and store these days. When it comes to filming corporate video projects, file size plays a role in the budget. At the end of the day 4K files are almost always larger than 1080p files from a DSLR. This means more hard drive space and faster computers are required for editing 4k, which means more cost for the company and eventually the client. Now at this point it would be fair to point out that SD is cheaper to film and edit than HD, but I will address that later. So why do we film 1080p? Screen resolution and price is the answer. According to a 2012 article by TechCrunch the most popular screen resolution is 1366X768, which according to StatCounter.com is still true in the last 12 months.

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If I create a project at 4K and my client and the targeted audience don’t have monitors that support 4K, will they see a quality difference? From what I have been able to see the answer is Yes and No.

  • Yes. Cameras that film at 4K generally produce a better image than DSLRs that film at 1080p, in terms of dynamic range, color, etc, etc and the detail is better when 4K is down-scaled to 1080p. Now I say generally, because there are exceptions to almost everything.
  • No. While you will see benefits in down-scaling 4K to 1080p, you won’t be able to leverage all the benefits that are possible with 4K. I have viewed 4K footage on a 4K TV before and the results are stunning! However 4K shown on a 1080p monitor? Still very nice, but nowhere near the impact of 4K footage on a 4K TV.

With all that said, is the cost of filming, editing and storing 4K worth the benefits to me and my company? Right now for Provident Media Group it isn’t. Why? None of our clients have ever asked about filming or delivering a project in 4K. I will say that one client did jokingly ask (sometime in early 2011) about filming a training video for IMAX viewing. Gulp! Now I am not saying that cheaper is always better. SD is generally cheaper to film, edit and store than 1080p. However, 1080p footage looks much better than SD (barring operator error when filming) when viewed on a higher resolution monitor (1366 X 768 or more), especially when viewed full screen. Also, this benefit of increased resolution (SD versus HD) can be enjoyed by the majority of viewers as shown by the screen resolution chart above. By comparison, the resolution of 4K currently can’t be fully leveraged on the vast majority of computer monitors and TV screens.

Finally, a tool is a tool. Even if your camera shoots at 4, 5 or 6K the increased resolution won’t make a poorly composed, lit, staged or blocked shot look better. The viewer will simply see the mistakes more clearly. Now I know there are DSLRs that do offer 4K recording, however the issues with screen resolution still apply even though the cost of 4K capable cameras has come down. There are possibly still the same issues file size, though I can’t say that is true for every 4K DSLR.

So all in all, we will continue to film at 1080p for the reasons stated above. However, if a client specifically asks for a project to be filmed and delivered in 4K, I can guarantee that after getting off the phone with them the next phone call will be to the rental house to secure a 4K camera.Thanks for reading! If you have any comments, questions or criticism about the article or my opinions on the subject please leave a comment below. I love to have other people’s opinions and input on ideas. Cheers!