Should we embrace the growing demand for Do-it-Yourself video production? The use of video is exploding and becoming a more dominant communications preference. Therefore, the need to create video is also exploding. Our department goal is to effectively and efficiently support our corporate growth strategies through video communications. Nowhere in these goals does it say, “Only high-end productions”. In fact, it is our responsibility to help employees be aware of all the video resources available to them.
At the recent CMMA National Conference, I shared a case study about the installation of our new Do-it-Yourself (DIY) video recording studio and editing suite. Many of the media managers in attendance shared their same challenge with this business dilemma. Being associated with the low-end productions concerned my colleagues as it might dilute their department’s brand name or quality reputation. However, satisfying our client’s business requirements has enhanced our reputation. Another concern was the DIY facility would take away business. In some cases, these new clients are validating the need for a video to meet their business objectives, and after digging in, they realize they are not qualified to produce video. As a result, they come to us for a producer and we’ve gained a new customer.
The more important question to ask ourselves may be: what will happen if we don’t embrace DIY video productions? If producing low-end, YouTube, or DIY, style videos truly is a new business requirement, employees are going to find a way to shoot and edit these projects on their own. We think it makes better business sense to have a centralized, minimally supported, shared production facility than it does to have little DIY studios popping up all over. In addition to the overall cost savings, this model gives us a better chance to implement production and format standards and asset management.
We started supporting the DIY trend three years ago with an internal Video Library (ala YouTube) and now have over 7,500 user generated videos in the system. It didn’t take long for employees to start asking for a production facility. Our objective was to provide an easy to use, low investment, HD video production facility to capture and edit video with minimal support. With a few muslin backdrops, LED lighting, a remote controlled camera, and simple video capture software, we find with a little training our DIY producers can create great looking videos. The editing suite is simply an engineering workstation PC running Adobe Elements 10, consumer oriented video editing software. So far we’ve only sent out one e-mail communication about this new service and are already seeing 70% usage.
Should you embrace the Do-it-Yourself video production trend? Absolutely! Your group will still be seen as video experts in your company, but also as a group that listens to customer requirements and is willing to adopt new business models to meet them. Adding DIY production capabilities is really a low risk/low dollar investment; you’ll see some fresh creative concepts along the way and engage a whole new group of clients.
Article contributed by Doug E. Salmela, CMMA Board of Directors
Tom MorseTom Morse said:
Ban the ostrich, we can’t stick out heads in the sand. USG is here and won’t go away. Media department success will come from finding ways to provide guidance and assistance, while sharpening focus on those activities that differentiate the department of media professionals. Guidance should include establishing technical guidelines, offering clear direction on legal requirements, and requiring programs adhere to brand standards. Media Managers should establish clear responsibility for production of external communication assets, at a minimum those programs that are widely distributed. It can be a very difficult conversation to have with executive management, but establishing clear lines of responsibility is what Media Managers are paid to do.
Tom Morse said:
An ostrich with its head in the sand is easy prey. So right up front, User Generated Content (UGC) is here to stay. Now, move on. Some perspective. When PC’s took over the corporate desktop, it spurred the growth of numerous internal department newsletters. Internal Communication departments felt threatened. It took awhile, but executive management eventually put “official” employee communications into the hands of professionals hired to do the job. Smaller department newsletters live on, but only with limited distribution. We’re seeing something similar with UGC. Inexpensive production and editing tools have brought video production into reach of more people. But while better technology can make for nice pictures, it does not ensure media adheres to copyright law, meets corporate brand standards, or fits corporate guidelines. That’s the role of true media professionals, those hired to do the job. Media professionals should help organizations establish technical standards for UGC, provide guidance and (some) support, and require UGC to meet legal requirements. Then, go on the offensive. Find projects that clearly differentiate professional work from UGC. Stretch and deliver the best work possible. But don’t stop there. Take every opportunity to promote those projects that clearly showcase professional skill. Management will notice; so will clients.
Today, the targeted nature of video campaigns means there is something for everyone, from the traditional broadcast route to fast changing online and mobile platforms, and often campaigns combining them all are now affordable to a lot of businesses.