Indermaur Media, inc.
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 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.

#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!

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.

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
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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).

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.