Indermaur Media, inc.
Visual Narrative
IMG_4128.JPG

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 tagged business
Indermaur Media wins Rhode Island 50 on Fire Innovation Award
IMG_0048.jpeg

Indermaur Media is honored to be a 2019 Rhode Island Inno’s Second-Annual 50 on Fire Award Winner for creating Visual Thrive.

As a winner in the “New to the Ecosystem” category, Visual Thrive frees companies from spending lots of time, energy and money on their social media branding. By combining forces, Scott Indermaur and Lori Giuttari have partnered to bring decades of media and communications experience to small and medium businesses. This Visual Thrive partnership delivers a streamlined, cost effective way for businesses to maintain a steady flow of high-quality social media posts tightly aligned to the company’s brand. Each post tells an ongoing corporate narrative that their website never could.

Both Lori and Scott have more than 25 years of professional experience in the corporate world, and have created an offer that brings their deep knowledge of what works well onto any social media platform. Visual Thrive creates, targets, publishes, and analyzes each post; letting company’s do what they do best - run their businesses!

Visual Narrative Approach To Social Media

This award signifies a shift in the way businesses showcase their companies on social media. As one of the most important ways customers will find you, social media can no longer be treated as an arbitrary task, but has solidly arrived as a necessity for business branding and expansion.

  • Visual Thrive combines decades of professional experience to deliver a powerful visual narrative for your business’ social media presence in a simple format.

  • Visual Thrive takes photographs with professional photographers, writes engaging captions, and schedules consistent content to optimize social media engagement – hashtags included!

  • Visual Thrive provides monthly analytics to continue your company’s strategic discussions, while delivering plenty of photos for your business’ use.

On February 5th Visual thrive will proudly receive its Innovation Award, and the team looks forward to meeting the other Rhode Island companies included in the 50 on Fire Awards.

The qualities that make a company stand out as “on fire” are numerous; anything from incredible scale, to an official launch, to a new product or sustained leadership count make a company “on fire.” Visual Thrive is doing uniquely fabulous work to continue to set the ecosystem ablaze.

Developed during the Goldman Sach 10,000 Small Businesses class that I attending in 2018. It is being scaled at a national level.

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!

 
 
Creating a Foundation's Fund Drive Video

Multimedia assignments include capturing both video and photography in an effort to expose a customer’s story. I truly enjoy these projects because they are deeper versions of my roots in photojournalism. As a photojournalist, I learned to move quickly on my feet. Today my team continues to have that creative photojournalism spirit, capturing the client’s visual needs with photography and video to expose their vision for a multitude of uses.

Non- Profit Video Production
Recently, we had a 2-day video and photography assignment in Connecticut to create videos that tell the story of Actuarial Foundation’s Math Motivators program and drive their 2018 capital campaign. Working with a Chicago ad agency, our team of five included an Art Director, our client, Assistant, Makeup Artist, me as the Multimedia Producer.

The mission of the Math Motivators program is to help close the achievement gap by establishing a volunteer-driven math tutoring program that pairs low-income high school students with professional actuaries and college students majoring in actuarial science, mathematics, or math education.

We arrived at University of Connecticut and setup our video studio in a classroom. We prepared to interview program directors, students, volunteer tutors and the Founder of Math Motivators as they expressed their passion for this program. Each person began their interview with the same questions and it expanded based upon their responses. Those interactions allowed us to create an in-depth video that explains the impact that Math Motivators and Actuaries have on the students.

On the second day we setup our make-shift video production studio in a high school teacher’s lounge. We were able to video and take photographs of students in a Math Motivators tutoring class. I wanted to capture students being tutored and also the concentration and learning they experienced. These photographs and video will be used on their website, in brochures, and as part of their capital campaign.

non-profit video production

In post production, each individual interview was compiled into a video rough cut. The Art Director then selected what clips to use in the final video. The interviews were intertwined to create videos on specific subjects. We added b-roll video of the tutoring sessions to create action in the video and allow us to cut out the "ahs“ and "ums."

We then created the final 8 videos and delivered them.

A few things we learned, and will consider next time: 

1) One unexpected surprise was the our teacher lounge “studio” had a basketball court directly above. There were short periods of time when students were running and doing drills right above us. We did find enough periods of silence to record the interviews, but this was a reminder of the surprises that can come up when creating video on location.  - - There is always some unavoidable and unexpected twist in the road, that will challenge an onsite live production, but it’s one of the reasons why I have always loved on-location video and photography.

2) You may not always have enough b-roll. While we set time aside for photography and b-roll during the tutoring sessions, an additional 30+ minutes would have helped a lot! 

3) By having the Art Director ask the interview questions while my assistant and I handled the cameras and sound, it allowed him to remain focused on the answer, creating a more in-depth discussion, while the crew remained focused on the technical side.

4) A Makeup Artist will always help the subjects relax before being interviewed. They focus on make-up and hair so that the subject looks and feels special - prepared to shine for a great video presentation.

How A Producer Can Better Organize Your Shoot
photo-video-equipment-01.jpg

With all the aspects of a photography session in play, it may seem like the greater task at hand is hard to manage. My blog has represented various ways of improving the quality of a shoot, such as hiring a makeup artist or having a solid understanding of visual narrative, and increasing the likelihood of a satisfied client, like my helpful advice for a successful headshot.

When it comes down to it, a photographer and their client may find themselves with totally clear senses of their roles in the shoot, but outside forces conspire against the shoot itself. Changing weather, a multitude of crew members, and accounting for on-site necessities have an effect on everyone involved, and may introduce pressure into the situation. In conditions like these, we need all the help we can get.

I find a producer is critical in many photography and video projects; while some assignments may be as easy as scheduling a subject for the photography session, others are more in-depth and necessitate an experienced producer that allows the assignment to go very smoothly and blossom into a stronger finished product.

I have often collaborated with Stacey Koch in both small and large projects, and I have worked with her for many years. She knows how and when to get permits, negotiate fees, find the best talent, help the crew find parking, make sure we all have food on set to keep everyone from becoming “hangry,” and many other small yet critical tasks. Working on larger projects with Stacey has taught me the importance of a detail-oriented producer and what they offer to our team.

The aspects to a shoot’s success for myself as a photographer, are very much in-line with a producer’s idea of success. Here are some elements of an effective session that are improved with the presence of a photography - videography producer like Stacey:

  • Timeliness: Having a producer on-site to handle the small and big issues, as stated above, allows the photographer to remain focused on what their final product may look like.
  • Shared Vision: As someone who understands what must be done to ensure a good shoot, a producer also has a vision of how the shoot can be optimized, allowing for a photographer to do less guesswork and, by extension, do less unnecessary work.
  • Collaborative Strength: A producer and photographer that work together over several projects can often pinpoint what must be done, what angles work best and how to achieve them, how much equipment and supplies to bring, and what sort of timeframe a specific shoot may occupy. Most importantly, the learning experience is shared, so each shoot makes a photographer and the producer more knowledgeable and more aware of what to expect for their next potential video or photography production collaboration.

You can visit Stacey’s website. She has been a phenomenal help in all my Boston-based projects, and her presence can inspire a better, more efficient, more successful session.

Expanding Your In-house Photography and Video Skillset
social_media_photography_training.jpg

Creatives in marketing departments wear many hats from being a designer, writer, to a social media asset creator with photography and video. With busy schedules, one may not always have time to grow their photography and video skills or learn about the latest technology in digital asset management. Many have visual projects that do not have the budgets for a professional photographer or videographer and need to create these visual assets in-house.

OUTSOURCED OR IN HOUSE?
For years I have trained corporations and organizations with creating better photography, video and managing their visual assets. I offer this training through my Visual Creative Coaching services for businesses, photographers, and videographers. This avoids the greater cost of outsourcing photography and marketing services, as it is much more affordable to have me train their internal staff. 

Recently I worked with a client that creates lovely social media imagery for their brand to promote their consumer products. They approached me because they needed improvements in lighting and photography techniques and wanted to make their small studio more efficient.

We began with a quick review of the equipment they used and the workflow they established around how they created their images.  I then created a list of new equipment that would work within their budget and needs in order to build the imagery they desired for Instagram and other social media outlets.

I visited their offices to redesign their studio space to be more efficient for the team to work in. We then discussed their photography and video challenges with lighting and other skills that needed improving. I suggested we focus on actual examples and asked them to create the next few projects they were planning so we could approach solutions within a real assignment. As they built their Instagram and social media visual setups, we played with different techniques and practices that allowed them to expand their photography and video studio skills.

Teaching them within actual projects allowed me to observe how they approach their visual setups and I could offer suggestions based on their style. These techniques included simple positioning of the camera, how many lights to use and their position, in addition to using tools like bounce cards.

SOCIAL MEDIA ASSET CREATION TRAINING
Another technique we discussed was creating multiple social media images from one setup by simply changing the camera angle and the lights. This way they are more efficient with creating more photography and video to be shared on social media outlets like Instagram.

It was a fun and an information-packed day for the marketing department. The in-house marketing designers are now creating professional level social media photography and video clips.

 

Save Money by Combining Multiple Projects
 
Industrial Photographer time-lapse
 

I often get awarded corporate photography projects that are smaller productions. Then I discover the client has many other corporate video and photography needs that are not being addressed. For example, they may initially call me for a portrait of their CEO, then with some discussion find out they need headshots of executives, a video about one of their associates for their Youtube channel, and a group photograph of the Sales Team.

If you have lots of little visual needs and don't have a large budget, or the time, then combining the projects into one sizable project will allow you to get more photography and video projects completed and save you thousands. I created a quick estimate to illustrate the savings for a corporate photography in Boston project and figured it will save about $5,000 if we combined four half-day assignments into a 1-day project.

Create a full day (or more) jam-packed with 3-4 assignments you may typically complete on different days.

A few tips on combining corporate photography and video projects to save money on your yearly budget:

  1. Keep a project calendar
    1. This is very helpful with planning your current and future visual needs.
    2. When you have a visual need and a tight deadline, look at this project calendar and see what you can also get completed with your current assignment.
  2. Work a few months ahead to allow yourself enough time to combine projects into one more extensive project, find the appropriate photographer/videographer and schedule the projects.
  3. One crucial factor is to work with a multimedia vendor that creates excellent photography and video and most importantly enjoys this type of assignments.
Timelapse of a painter in an industrial painting booth painting the finishing touches on a piece of machinery.
What Makes a Great Assistant for Your Photo or Video Production Assignment
IMG_2664.jpg

I am a firm believer in creating a crew that you work with often and are able to build a trusting business relationship. An assistant is a significant asset to any photography or video media production assignment. A team that works together often allows for smoother productivity, creates a great synergy on set for everyone else to follow and if the "shit" hits the fan, it is the assistant and myself that works right through it without any moments of panic.

Assistant Nonni Muller is invaluable on many levels. Together we created a list of what a good assistant brings to an assignment:

  • Provides relief by being the second pair of hands onset.
  • Allows the photographer or videographer to be free of the smaller details so they can focus on the creativity, subject, and client.
  • Anticipates the photographer's actions and is ready to spring into action when needed.
  • Listens and is mindful of the project’s objectives.
  • Provides insight with constructive feedback regarding creativity or logistics.
  • Works as an extra set of eyes to make sure the set and subjects look great.
  • Makes the day more comfortable for everyone on set.
  • Helps with moving quicker when needed.
  • Helps with smoothing out unexpected bumps in the road.
  • Keeps track of the gear and keep it organized.
  • Helps connect with the subject(s) when needed.

Nonni has been both assisting and shooting photo or video herself for eight years in the media industry and has worked with both keen and unappreciative lead photographers alike. The dynamic between the assistant and myself is essential for a smooth and successful project.

Assistants may take a back seat, but they are proud of the work that we do as a team. They are an essential part of the process regarding image making and vital to the success of the whole media production.

Why Having a Makeup Artist is Helpful
New England Makeup Artist Maryelle O'Rourke applies makeup on an actor before a Boston video assignment.

New England Makeup Artist Maryelle O'Rourke applies makeup on an actor before a Boston video assignment.

I get often asked if we should hire a Makeup Artist (Makeup Stylist) for their corporate and commercial photography or video assignments.
Does it make a difference? 
I have worked with Maryelle Makeup & Hair Artistry for many years on Boston Photography assignments as well as video assignments and New Rhode Island projects. We recently discussed how it makes a difference and these are her insights.

  • An artist will create the right amount of color on the subject's face to allow the photo/natural lights to work with you rather than against you.

  • Save on retouching time and expenses as a result of a makeup artist. Retouching is always more natural and less has to be done when a makeup artist has evened out the skin tone, created a smooth, consistent, nonshiny skin texture.

  • Style, soften and eliminate frizzy and flyaway hair.

  • Makeup appears very different in photographs and on video, having an artist will ensure that you are “camera ready.” It is quite different from everyday makeup and having an artist to apply the makeup for this makes all the difference.

  • Having a makeup artist prep your subject will help them feel more confident and more at ease in front of the camera which creates a more comfortable environment and as a result helps you with natural/healthy body language and facial expressions in front of the camera.

  • Eliminate the bald head shine that is so distracting in images.

  • Wardrobe check: an artist will help with small adjustments to wardrobe (wrinkles in a shirt, adjust ties and gathered material) that make a significant difference in overall appearance and prevent retouching after.

  • Makeup artists have the experience needed to help you look your very best and add to your confidence level during a photo shoot or video production. They will choose and apply makeup for you that works in harmony with the lighting and as a result will create your best look for the photos. Your photo is the first impression people have of you, make it count!

I recommend we use a Makeup Artist because there is much more going on than just applying eye-liner. It starts with creating a relaxing environment for our subject and then applying the appropriate makeup and offering an extra pair of eyes to make sure their wardrobe is in check. Of course, we can also bring in a wardrobe stylist for an additional level of perfection. This extra team player allows us to create a more profession and better quality end portrait or video.

A Diverse Onsite Video Production Crew
Video production project manager Boston

The crews I create for business photography, and video assignments are always cross trained in more than one specialty. The projects I manage are typically more fluid in nature, and I need a crew that is willing to take on unexpected tasks. For example, if an extra person is required to hold a reflector, my makeup artist may take up that task. If the crew needs help setting up some lights, I will jump in and assist. Moreover, when it is time to strike our set, we all jump in to pack it up with a smile.

Recently we had a Boston video assignment with the following production team:

On site video production crew Boston MA
  • Director of Photography - Scott

  • Camera Operator - Mike

  • Sound Engineer - Nonni

  • Grip - Isaac

  • Makeup Artist - MaryElle

  • One client and 8 actors

 

That is the traditional lineup. With a flexible crew our Camera Operator Mike was a big part of the creative discussions with myself and our client. Also, our Sound Engineer Nonni and Grip Isaac switch roles at times since they are both experienced with sound and being a grip.

During our second scene, we decided to add a 3rd camera, and Grip Isaac became the 3rd Camera Operator. Setting up a 3rd camera was a decision made at that time and gave us more diversity with what we wanted to accomplish. Having a crew that is flexible allowed us to shift his focus to being a camera operator.

This flexibility makes it possible to shift gears within an assignment if needed and to make it happen rather quickly. When you are creating your next business video project, keep in mind that a larger team may not always be necessary to create your corporate video. A smaller crew that is diverse in their experience and enjoys working as a team can create a successful video assignment.

Here is an interesting article, Tutorial Videos: Top 21 Tips to Create Better Video (in 2018), by instrktiv.com.