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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 tagged multimedia
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.

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. 

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.

6 Essential Things for a Strong Photography and Video Project
photographer-videographer for commercial multimedia projects in Boston MA

Back in the "day" photographers were hired for photography and videographers for videos. Today you can find photographers that also create video and videographers that take photographs. The range of experience, style, and abilities are diverse.

Hiring an individual that has the experience as both a photographer and videographer is one way to create heartfelt and connected real life stories with video and photography. They can be used for a company's advertising campaign, in-house corporate uses, social media and online content.

In recent years I have enjoyed commercial multimedia assignments in Boston, RI and New England like this because they include "from the hip" style photography, and storytelling through video; while others are more sophisticated in creation. For example, I may take the portraits of an executive team and then engaged them in a conversation/interview on video for a simple, but more in-depth assignment.

Here are a few tips on what to look for when choosing your multimedia partner.

1. Find a photographer or videographer experienced with both photography and video. Shooting still photography and video are two different mind and skill sets. Approaching a subject for photography is different than with a video interview.

2. Find a multimedia (photographer-videographer) crew who can work quick on their feet and are creative in their approach to a setup.

3. A producer is an excellent asset for successful multimedia project management. They help with permits, finding professional actors or "real" people, scheduling, putting together a crew, making last minute requests happen, among other things. An individual within your company or the photographer-videographer may be able to produce as well.

4. Allow simple setups so photography and video can easily be captured. This keeps the team moving to get lots of good visuals in a day's work, and can be used for the long-term.

5. Have the day planned out - This sounds like a no-brainer, though it is critical and is sometimes overlooked. Keep the schedule tight, organized and if the crew is running ahead or behind schedule, let them know. I always like to pad some extra time for those setups that have unexpected delays. Remember to allow enough time for video and photography to be created.

6. Have a vision - you may only need one setup. Focus on making an excellent portrait and interview instead of creating multiple setups. This significantly streamlines the editing process. Keep it simple and narrow down your wants and needs before the shoot.

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.
Multimedia Video for A Small Business in Rhode Island
Commercial multimedia videographer for small business in RI

I thoroughly enjoy projects where we mix still photography and video to create a multimedia video and imagery for a multitude of marketing pieces.  This approach allows us to fulfill the client's video and still photography needs for their website, social media and printed marketing pieces during one assignment. Depending on the vision and budget, I approach these projects with a single crew of 2 up to a team with dozens of people.
 
The Savory Grape is located in East Greenwich, Rhode Island where they have carved out a very successful local business based on their friendliness, knowledge and customer service. Most importantly, by creating a pleasurable shopping experience for their customers in their store, that also supports other local businesses.
 
I am a big fan of small businesses, and I was super excited when The Savory Grape approached me to create a video to showcase their local RI business. During the creative processes, we decided to create a video as a narrative story told by their customers, employees, another business owner, and The Savory Grape's Founder on why it is an experience and not just a store.
 
This multimedia approach project worked best with a crew of 2 to keep costs down and a “from the hip” type of approach to matching a more "real life" and “heartfelt” style of storytelling. We completed the shooting in one day with a mix of conversations from customers and employees at the store, another business, and in a home wine cellar.
 
I chose not to use scripts because I wanted all the people featured in this video to speak from the heart. We had a theme and questions to ask, and I approached it with me having a conversation with the subjects. As a commercial videographer, I find this approach makes it more natural and human to speak from the heart versus a formal interview.
 
The still images are in the video, published on their website and printed in their marketing materials. We used some photographs from their past winery travels to help tell the video story. Also, we created three shorter video stories for Instagram, Facebook, and other social media outlets.
 
This video project was a fantastic way to celebrate The Savory Grape's 10-year anniversary. This project is also an example of how Indermaur Media focuses on creating a team to work with budgets and visions to create a product to be used in a multitude of different marketing outlets.

Shorter Videos created for Social Media outlets

Building your Multi-Media Team - Behind the Scenes

The intended audience of a portrait or multimedia project only sees the final product, not the stages of its development. In some cases, it takes one photographer to create that image or video, while other assignments it may comprise of a team of individuals. Any projects may be joyful or stressful. In either case, I look for a crew that can go with the flow during the fun and stressful times.

I like to build a team that collaborates and enjoys the day working as a team. When there is a bump in the road, our crew can step up and smooth it out, then move on to the next task. Building a team that fits the tone you prefer on set is necessary for a creative and fruitful project.

When it is time to get serious with a corporate photography or videography production, we do. In between those moments, we enjoy our comradely and synergy. This energy allows for more creativity to blossom and fosters a friendly environment. I Thrive when collaborating, I grew up sailing a forty foot wooden sailboat with my dad, and he taught me collaboration was necessary for survival on the water. I have extrapolated that mindset to my art.

With a sailing crew of five, we all had assigned tasks that required us to work as a team although in a moments' notice, if a teammate needed some extra help, someone would jump in to help them. We wanted to win the race as a team. As with racing, when on an assignment, our crew needs to make a victorious finish happen, so we work together to make the client look like a rock star by creating a superior final product it is a real team success when we can do that while we all get to enjoy the project the experience.

Similar to hiring a new employee, keep in mind your photographer's personalities and their experience and who is on their team. Align this with your vision of how you would like your still photography and video assignment's experience to be. 

Do you want a creative (photographer or videographer) with a who has as their stronger style collaboration, vision, excellent with collaborating or someone who completes the tasks exactly as you request? Do you need a photographer that is decisive or prone to remain quiet with their process, vision and or preferences? Be confident your creative team handles the stress related to your assignment demands?