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Visual Narrative
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Indermaur Media - Visual Narrative Blog by Scott Indermaur

Informational blog about techniques, ideas,industry trends, clients and projects of Indermaur Media. Written by Scott Indermaur, professional corporate photographer.

Posts in Photography
6 Tips for Creating a Successful Corporate MultiMedia Production
corporate multimedia digital production tips for success

An effective production process for digital media production is essential in making any assignment a success, beginning with a solid foundation during pre-production. This allows the content production phase to run smoothly, focused on developing compelling multimedia stories.

Commercial Multimedia Production - Boston MA
While producing a commercial multi-media campaign, using photography and video for a midwest financial company, we conducted a nationwide search for locations that needed a unique vision and style. We decided on Boston, Massachusetts.

This project was a rather large with a multimedia crew of 24 people that included Boston based actors, makeup artists, a wardrobe stylist, producers, assistants, art directors, client and of course the media crew to capture lifestyle still photography and video. With lots of moving parts, it was critical to have a production team we could rely upon. Primarily, a Producer that is organized will understand all the details. The producer’s role entails getting permits and finding talent, arranging many people on location in Boston, and holding a large multimedia video production crew to a schedule that constantly moves to different sets around the city.

A few tips we learned from this project:

  1. Focus mostly on today. During the pre-production phase, there are tons of moving parts and loose ends. Pleasant surprises appear and there may even be a shift with the art direction. For me, as the Director, I needed to look at the production’s overarching big picture with deadlines and tasks. Though the majority of my time spent is focused mainly on today’s tasks. Sometimes looking at the big picture, with the hundreds of tasks to complete, can be overwhelming but concentrating on the immediate production tasks makes for a less stressful and productive day.

  2. Have a fantastic crew. In this case, we created a team that was mostly Boston and Rhode Island-based. New England is my “backyard” so this wasn’t overly stressful; but on other assignments there will times when a local producer, scout or contact is worth their weight in gold. It is common, especially on larger projects, to hire local connections to ease local logistics. From a permit that needs a local to push it through, to knowing certain areas that may not be the ideal place for a visual production.

  3. Create a detailed schedule. Have an agenda that is minute-by-minute and also lists all the crew members and their contact information, location scouting photographs and talent headshots. This agenda keeps everyone accountable, and allows them to see the big picture and understand what the photography and video production entails.

  4. Be prepared for surprises. There was one location we thought we had a permit for and we unknowingly crossed the line into another town by about 50 feet. The crew was in a park that extended into two different cities. We didn’t realize that until a police officer asked us about our permits. We had the correct permit for one side of the park, and we needed a different permit for the part we were shooting on at that time. Kindness and understanding goes a long way, and the officer allowed us to finish our work on both sides of the town line.

  5. Weather. This 3-day production was blessed with perfect weather. Though we were watching weather patterns weeks beforehand. A while back, we had a similar project where we needed to postpone a Georgia media project for a week because of weather. We made the right decision because it turned out an extremely turbulent wind storm went through some of the locations we had planned. We would not have had the opportunity to capture what we needed, or do a retake. Always watch the weather, and have a backup plan if the weather isn’t right and the outdoor production needs to be postponed or caught inside. This is a detail no one can control!

  6. Be prepared for a shift in art direction. After researching locations, scouting, discussing and finalizing plans, there are still times when we show up to a site and decide to shift course with the visuals we want to capture. This shift could be due to lighting, weather, a perspective we overlooked or even art direction. It is always a good idea when hiring a strong and supportive crew that each person is able to shift with ease and maintain positivity.

With large or small productions, this overview of a Boston multi-media project will make it easier to understand a multi-locational multi-media project. We do the same type of planning for projects with a crew of 2 or 24. Everyone likes a good solid schedule that keeps everything flowing with ease, and ultimately creates a successful commercial photography and lifestyle videos.

Boston Biotech Photography and Video Project for Marketing
Boston Biotech photography and video in a Lab with life sciences technicians

As I mentioned in the past blog, Rhode Island Commercial Photographer For A Restaurant, I thoroughly enjoy multimedia projects of all magnitude from 100% photography or video to a mix of video and photography elements. These assignments may be smaller visual projects with only a crew consisting of myself to the large multimedia projects that include extensive travel and a team of a dozen people to accomplish successful photography and video project.

In a recent multimedia assignment, a Boston Biotech video production also included Biotech photography with a style of corporate photography. This company is actually not based in San Francisco, it is located in Watertown, MA (a suburb of Boston) in which there are several exciting biotechs, and Life Sciences are established. The visuals were to be used for their website, social media, blogs and public releases for articles. This project was spread over two days in which we captured b-roll video footage of their busy biotech lab, biotech lab photography, and more of a corporate photography style of their associates working throughout the offices. Also, the majority of this Watertown, MA biotech photography was of active employees to share the culture of their growing company.

We also photographed headshots and portraits of their primary team for the website's team bio page. The studio setup was created to be simple and easily duplicated as the organization grows. That way portraits will always have a consistent style and look as if they were taken on the same day. One of their conference rooms was used to create a studio for these portraits. We have since visited their location two more times to create additional biotech team portraits that are added to the website with the same consistency and style as the previous executive portraits. These portraits are also used for corporate headshots for public relations uses and on their social media Linkedin Company page.

The crew consisted of myself and my assistant to allow us to be nimble and at times work as if we are a fly on the wall. We captured Biotech lab video and photography for their marketing uses. Working with their creative director, we developed a list of office and lab locations to be photographed and placed in the video. This included making sure I shot specific team meetings. At times we set up individual scenes to look candid, and other times I would walk around and document what was actually happening.

The photography was edited down to a presentable number of images and shared with the client with an online photography gallery. Also, the video clips were packaged into one video and shared online for their review and to make comments for future video edits. Making comments directly on the video at specific time codes makes this process of editing video seamless and efficient.

I visit Massachusetts often, and as a Boston corporate photographer, I enjoy all the vibrant businesses in that area. I find my career beginning as a photojournalist working at newspapers and being efficient and creative has been very critical to my style and how I approach photography projects and New England video productions. My commercial photography experience has allowed me to understand light in the studio and as an on-location photographer, I have extensive experience in setting up studios in a corporate setting. It is always fun to travel nationally for visual projects, and that increases my experience with approaching local New England multimedia projects and making them success as I did for this Biotech photography and video project.

Rhode Island Commercial Photographer for a Restaurant
Rhode Island Commercial  Photographer for a Restaurant with a video timelapse in RI

There are many types of commercial photography and advertising campaigns. A number of my advertising photography projects and corporate video assignments are for small and medium-sized businesses that I thoroughly enjoy. Having lots of experience with more significant projects allows me to create an even stronger plan for smaller marketing campaigns.

Typically a smaller project involves myself and an assistant with different levels of collaboration and expectations with the client. In most cases the client wants me to create a majority of the art direction and production of images. We have conversations on their vision, goals, brand and the narrative they want to share. Also, I will research their presence and competitors in what they are sharing visually, creatively and with the written story. In other cases, I work closely with the client in creating visuals with their vision.

The smaller multimedia projects are wonderful because such a significant portion of the creative collaboration process is baked in without managing a large logistics crew to make it happen.

Successful Restaurant Photography Project - Cafe And Bakery

I recently completed a Rhode Island restaurant photography assignment and their 2nd location for the pantry. The client hired me to photograph their restaurant and bakery to capture the fresh, high quality food they prepare along with the fun personality of their staff. I also created their new websites for both the cafe and bakery; which allowed me to be a partner in their creative process from conception to publication.

We visited their Rhode Island locations a few times to capture candid style photography that portrays this vision for use on their new website and for their social media. At times I photographed people in action and other times asked the barista to hold up a delicious pastry towards the camera to create a social media style photograph.

The production crew was just myself as the Rhode Island commercial photographer and the owner, collaborating to create their impactful marketing photography visuals that tell their narrative and make a strong marketing presence. During the photography sessions, the restaurant owner was with me to point out potential strong visuals, and I shared my ideas with her. We made a terrific visual team as her small business narrative unfolded.

I kept the actual production simple with using ambient lighting and an occasional 1-2 Profoto A1 small battery flash units. This allowed me to work without an assistant and be nimble in a small, busy bakery and restaurant. Most restaurants have limited space so it’s easier when I am solo vs. working with an assistant. It brings me back to my newspaper photojournalist days of working creatively, but nimble and fast. This technique allowed me to stay out of the way during active business hours when they are serving their customers.

Also, I suggested we create a video for their home page of their website. I then created 2 videos from time-lapse photography to capture the busyness of their locations with a social media style video. This added action, movement and energy to their website’s opening page. It’s become a much watched, very popular video!

I enjoy working at all levels of production, as I move a project from pre to post production workflow. As a commercial photographer, every advertising or marketing photography project is a unique experience. From the planning of the types of a commercial advertising campaign, envisioning the visual narrative, to the coloration of the actual photography and video productions in my home state is very rewarding. Being creative with images or adding a social media video clip as a new style and asset for the client makes projects more exciting; but more importantly, it delivers what type of narrative the client wants, which can be challenging and very rewarding. While I travel nationally for video and commercial photography projects, I do enjoy the journey as a Rhode Island commercial photographer - Rhode island has so much to offer!

#AirlineFeet Photography

I have traveled to all states but three, and about 13 countries. Mostly for photography and video projects for my client’s marketing uses. The only states I haven't visited are Alaska and Hawaii, and for some reason, I also skipped over Montana.

A few years ago I was working on a project in Washington DC that included video interviews of governors. One of my subjects was the Montana Governor Steve Bullock. After introducing myself, I told him I had never been to Montana, but that it was on my list to visit. We had a little chuckle, and he told me where I need to go on an extended weekend visit. I still look forward to visiting Montana someday.

Video Production - Location Research
I always enjoy traveling for my work. Photography and video production, allows me to really learn about a location. It’s the adventure of finalizing the creative, travel logistics, local insights, and a crew to create a strong visual narrative for the company’s project.

A few years ago while I was traveling on Southwest Airlines and was sitting in my favorite seat. It's an exit row seat, over the wing with no seat in front of it. I can stretch out my long legs and enjoy the extra space. One day, I took a photograph of my feet stretched out in front of me, happy that I had secured my favorite seat; and I posted it on Instagram. I’m sure the taller basketball players that board after I do give me the evil eye.

I am lucky to get this seat often, and I’m sure everyone is envious. :) Now, every time I sit on a plane, I photograph my feet, especially when I grab my winning seat!

I find other people now do the same thing and tag me: "Hey, @scottindermaur look, I got your favorite seat!"

Over the years, I have accumulated 55 photographs on Instagram of my feet on the plane. A fun little thing to share and you can check them out with hashtag #airlinefeet or at my account @scottindermaur. I can't wait for the day I'm flying to Montana so I can tag their governor!

Bostitch Office National Multimedia Campaign

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My client, Bostitch Office, wanted to develop a multimedia campaign to showcase their new product, creating videos for use in social media ads, point-of-purchase displays, and installation instructional videos, and photography for packaging and advertising, as well as for trade show collateral.

We began with meetings to outline concepts for their multiple visual needs. Shooting the video and photography during a three-day multimedia assignment allowed us consistency with the actors, location, and style. It streamlined the visual process to save on the client’s budget because we would be able to run photography and video concurrently. During this phase, we created a video storyboard, a photography shot list and produced a detailed schedule to capture the ideas for their photography and video needs efficiently.

In phase two, scouting for locations, we visited locations throughout Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts. We found a perfect site in Boston for our video production and as a Boston advertising photographer. I also added it to our location library for future projects. The Boston location is a very modern looking office with lots of glass doors and large windows with new furniture, and we were able to have full access to it for our three-day multimedia assignment.

Timelapse of a messy desk to organized by Bostitch Office Konnect Workspace + Cable Management System.

The new product is a modern workspace and cable organization system. It includes spaces to organize and store desktop clutter, management of cables, among other ways to keep the desk area efficient and free from clutter.

Now that my team had the assignment tactics approved, and secured the office space, we contacted a few talent agencies for the casting of our three actors.

The client wanted people that would be comfortable in front of the camera, but we also included an employee who knew the product well and could easily set it up for the instructional video.

Moreover, before we began the assignment, the entire office needed to be propped with office supplies and accessories that made the office look as active and productive as a typical busy office. We wanted to be sure to use as many as the client’s office products as possible. A product manager focused explicitly on the setup on their new workspace system, which was still a prototype at the time.

Our Multimedia Production Crew
The Indermaur Media Boston multimedia production crew consisted of myself, as production director and photographer; a New England videographer, two multimedia assistants to set up and attend to anything that keeps the set running smoothly, a wardrobe stylist, a makeup artist, and a producer/prop stylist.

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Day one, of production, was primarily focused on product setup and photography. No models were needed. It also gave us the opportunity to watch the limited daylight time and adjust our video schedule for this winter assignment.

The remaining days were a mix of environmental photography and video. We’d set up a scene and video record it, then photograph product close-ups and office overviews for web, packaging and other print use. Then we’d setup and move on to the next scene.

Also on set were four people from the client’s marketing and product development team to manage art direction and set up of the product. They also acted as extras during the video scenes. We typically had 2-3 setups at any given time in different stages of setup to keep the photography and video production flowing.

As always, I want to create a fun, high energy environment as the team comes together for a multi-day assignment. We focus on what’s needed and get straight to work. On video recording days we work non-stop to meet the client’s vision, and having a fully engaged, professional team is the key to our success.

Please take a look at the video and photography outcomes from this exciting assignment, and let me know what you think!

Also, visit our new venture for your company’s social media marketing - Visual Thrive.

Introducing Visual Thrive!
 
iPhone photography
 

Some of the best ideas come to us when we aren’t focused on anything particular – like when we’re in the shower or running…

Indermaur Media is fortunate to be able to work with lots of businesses on their professional photography needs and video introductions. I watch many of them struggle to keep up with the fast-paced demands of maintaining a strong social media presence, often posting unplanned photos and quick captions just to stay top of mind with their customers.

Companies have also shared how employees can be distracted from their job responsibilities when they participate in the company’s social media posting. The lack of consistency in the style of each post lends itself to diminishing the company’s brand with no oversight. Companies also spend hundreds of dollars on social media advertising without a focused goal, and without much insight on their return on investment.

I’ve always been passionate about telling the stories of a business, and I’ve had great experiences producing a wide range of corporate media campaigns. How could I take that knowledge and translate it into a workable formula that would serve the smaller companies?

So one day, I was running in preparation of an upcoming 10K race and thinking about my business – as one does…

How could Indermaur Media provide a visual solution to a business’ social media dilemma at a reasonable price point?

If Indermaur Media could extend its production capabilities and expertise while capturing a visual narrative using the world’s most popular camera, an iPhone, we could maintain a simple and streamlined process aligned with what people are used to seeing on social media. The difference would be, using a professional photographer’s eye and editing experience will develop a strong narrative and deepen the customer’s brand.

Adding strategic research and writing to optimize the posts; and providing analytics each month would show the customer their return on the investment.

And then I came up with the name Visual Thrive.

Visual Thrive combines decades of professional experience to deliver a powerful narrative for your business’ social media presence in a simple format. Visual Thrive takes photographs with professional photographers, writes engaging captions, and schedules content to optimize social media engagement.

While attending a three-month business development class, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, my main objective was to work ON my business and not work IN my business – taking time out to plan for growth, and not spending 24/7 in the daily grind. As part of this objective we needed to create and present a Growth Plan. This was perfect because for over a year I held on to the Visual Thrive idea.

I was able to develop and refine this idea; and introduce Visual Thrive publicly. With a national network of photographers, Visual Thrive is available throughout the United States.

The exceptional combination of high-quality visuals, strategic consistent content, and sound analytics will allow you to focus on what your business needs, while it THRIVES!

 
 
The Day I Realized I Was a Multi-Media Producer

Creating stories with vision….

Multimedia Producer.jpg

It finally hit me. 

About three years ago, I changed the name of my company to Indermaur Media. I had a thriving corporate photography business based in RI (with clients nationwide), that included commercial and editorial photography, but began branching out into other forms of media. By changing the name I wanted to set the course, and the intention, to operate in the fields of photography, video and full production to create even stronger visual narratives for my clients.

Recently, I sat back to take stock. I had created video productions for new clients, my photography work continued, and I had maintained my corporate work; but something was different. I was trying to find the best description of what I do now. New projects were incorporating photos and video, social media projects, and creating original content to deliver the best story possible. I found myself in a position of Directing and Producing more than before, and not even operating a camera.

Indermaur Media is now a Multimedia Production Company

So, I reached out to my daughter, Caitlin Indermaur, who is a Video Producer on the west coast. She has been a muse of mine, and in addition, my assistant before she even graduated from high school. We've collaborated on many projects through her college years and before she moved out west. For all those years, she always has excellent feedback and thoughtful insight. She immediately said, "Dad, You're a Multimedia Producer." 

For me, a Multimedia Producer is responsible for telling stories using video and still photography. I often manage the entire production process: generating and executing ideas, meeting budgets and deadlines, and expanding the team when necessary to accommodate a client's vision. On some projects, I am primarily a still photographer, on others a video camera operator. Then there are times I am simply the lead Producer, managing and directing the team to create a story. So, I had to agree - I am now a Multimedia Producer. 

For myself, and Indermaur Media, new modern "photography" delivers a much richer story when a tool box of skills and an excellent team can come together to execute and deliver the finest visual project possible. I continue to share the nuts and bolts of this transitional process in my Visual Creative Coach business. 

Making Compelling Visuals for Social Media Optimization

I had the pleasure of giving a talk recently as a guest for Newport Interactive Marketers. NIM collaborates to provide their clientele with helpful advice and useful tools to keep their businesses in top shape. The subject of my talk involved making compelling visuals and improving photos and video using social media sites like Instagram or Snapchat. Social media is the perfect bridge between your business and public identities, showing your potential clients recent developments as well as photos that are important to you or your company. Here are a few basic tips I discussed to get the most out of each post:

  • Use the Camera App on your phone rather than Instagram’s camera feature. The amount of data that’s kept by a photograph upload brings much more detail and fidelity to your photos, making them much more impressive than the direct upload from the Instagram app.
  • Take a few pictures per session, especially for group photos. Having a selection give you better odds of shooting a photo or video clip that everyone likes.
  • Have fun with the filters! Some can add a sense of light or can make the shadows deeper, enhancing your original photo exponentially.
  • Make good use of the framing options for photos that won’t normally fit into the square shape of Instagram.
  • Use the power of the timeline to your advantage. Tell an engaging narrative story through your arrangement of pictures through social media.

Telling your brand's narrative story should be simple and fun. Keep taking those photographs and videos and connect with your customers, while making sure you optimize your visuals for social media.

 

Mobile Phone Photography & Its impact on brands
IMG_8043 4.jpg

I was a guest on 1540 AM WADK's Interactive Marketing Insights hosted by Suzanne McDonald. We spoke about mobile phone photography and how it impacts businesses and brands large and small in today's world. Here are a few highlights from the show

I find the biggest challenge of social media today is time, commitment and creativity. With the phone, it can be effortlessly, making an average photo excellent.

I am a big fan of the square image because on Instagram it feeds so nicely through the phone. I find the horizontal and vertical photographs a bit jarring when displayed on a format designed for square images.

Tighter shots are always better for viewing on the phone. For example, when a company promotes a fair booth with a large group of people that are taken head to toe, the image is not very dynamic. Instead, shoot a tighter photograph, possibly at a different angle instead of straight on. Experimenting with angles and getting in tighter may simplify the image, making it more exciting and creative to catch a viewer's eyes.

Consistency is necessary with the same type of filter and color pallet. There are 3-4 filters I prefer because the style ties closely to my brand and allow my photographs to be more aligned with my vision.

Keep your phone photography simple and focused on humanizing your brand. For example, a restaurant should take more than photographs of the food. Take pictures of your staff, or a chef cooking is a beautiful photograph that humanizes your restaurant and allows your customers to connect with the "behind the scenes" activities.

Anticipate taking lots of pictures, and you will still only use less than 10%. Don't hold yourself back. Shoot more than you need. Having an inventory of photographs and then choose the best images that allow you to be more creative and have fun with experimenting with your brand.

The Interactive Marketing Insights radio show includes several other tips from myself and Suzanne McDonald from Angles and Insights. A few days later I was a speaker at NIM (Newport Interactive Marketers) - Get Seen! Video and Visuals: Pro's tips at your fingertips.

I also want to mention this fantastic article, “Finding Your Inner Photographer: Making the Most of Your Camera.” The website, Groom + Style, created a fun and simple piece that is full of excellent tips to become a better photographer with your camera and your smartphone (iPhone or Android).

Why I Create Personal Photography Projects

When I was in college I listened to a professional photographer speak to our class and he mentioned how important it is to work on personal projects. At the time I didn’t understand that comment because everything I photographed felt like a personal project. It was all new to me.

As my career blossomed I deeply experienced a feeling that I needed to create a meaningful personal project. I came up with the project REVEALED. From there I realized how much growth, joy, and accomplishment I get from personal projects. It fires up my passion for photography.

Recently a friend asked me what my next personal project will be about and when I will be working on it. I responded that I had nothing in the works. She then proceeds to tell me she looks forward to my next project because when I dive into one I talk about it with such passion and share that. This was a wonderful reminder that I’m due for another personal project.

PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECTS HELP YOU DISCOVER THE REAL YOU
I typically create personal photography projects to learn more about myself. While it is a creative exercise it also allows me to grow my photography skills, and I learn more about myself within these projects. With REVEALED I was exploring my own spirituality and as my subjects explored their expression of spirituality, their process deepened my own work.

SELF LOVE was another personal photography project where I had the same experience. It became an opportunity to not only explore Self Love personally but to gain a deeper understanding of my subjects.

I feel video and photography Personal Projects are necessary for creatives in this field. And I have already dove into my first 2018 photography personal project. I can’t wait to see what I learn from it creatively and personally.