Monthly Archives: July 2013

Animation or Live Action… What Kind of Video Should I Use?

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a significant shift toward using video to connect with an audience. From YouTube and vimeo, to news sites and now even Instagram, video offers users rich and engaging content.

But what kind of video is best?

Video CameraAnimation, which starts with independent pictures / objects and pieces them together (think movies created from still pictures or illustrations and cartoons), provides an easy way to describe complex stories, ideas, and information. With animation, you can do just about anything. It performs very well for tech companies and internet services, and it’s a great method of demonstrating something abstract or conceptual. Animation makes it very easy to brand your video. By using similar colors, styles, and themes, your video can easily fit in seamlessly with your website and advertising and marketing collateral. And if your product or service is continuously developing, it’s simpler to make an update to an animated video than it is to a live one.

However, it’s harder to elicit emotion with animated videos. They are much less realistic and it is harder to gain the audience’s trust. Production can be time-consuming.

Live-action video, which uses filmed footage (anything from a C-level executive in front of a green screen to aerial shots taken from a helicopter), is a great alternative to animation and is certainly more appealing to an audience.

“There is a very economical way to produce executive messaging depending on the length of the message (usually one to three minutes) utilizing minimal graphics and the client’s location,” according to Bob Nastasi, Infinitely Big’s executive producer.

Viewers tend to feel more of a connection to the message. Live action is a good way to demonstrate a concrete product or service. When offered the choice, most people prefer to see a product or service in action. Live action is also a great tool for connecting with your audience, especially if you run a personal business, like a consulting firm or an eatery. People like seeing other people. It gives them an emotional connection, which can be influential and effective when telling your tale. Actual people and real life, as opposed to make-believe characters, help in developing trust with the audience.

But with live-action filming it can take days to get the right take; the equipment (and sometimes the talent) can be pricey; and editing can be a headache – especially if you want to alter the script or the setting, because then you’ll have to reshoot.

With both options, cost is always a consideration.

“In my world, true animation almost always is more expensive than live video depending on the content and degree of difficulty,” Nastasi said. “Animation actually can be costly – but let’s match apples to apples. What type of animation are we estimating? Is it 2D or 3D? What type of creative are we pitching? How many talent voices are needed? What about music and sound design? What is the total running time of the animated program? All these elements factor into the total cost, and how easy or difficult updating the program can be.”

“I can say with confidence that live action video can be produced for competitive rates and even for less than animation,” he added.

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Build a Better Banner…

149282846Running a big meeting? Tradeshow? Networking event?

If the venue is big enough — and even if it’s not – it’s likely you’ll need a traditional print banner or similar signage to inform and direct attendees.

Here are some tips for making sure your banner makes its point.

  • Don’t fill it up. You should have as much content as a postcard. People are going to be looking at it from a distance, so you need room for larger fonts and images.
  • Make sure it’s the right size. Too small and it will go unnoticed; too big and people will wonder what you were thinking. Consider the location and venue. If you’re looking to attract drivers-by from a high-traffic road, make sure it’s big enough to be seen without squinting, and that the content is simple enough to be read with a glance. If your meeting is being held in a hotel ballroom, you’ll want something large enough to be read from pretty far away, but not so big it looks out of place.
  • Use an appropriate font. Choose a large and easy-to-read font that contrasts well with the background color.
  • Choose the right images. Make sure the pictures you use clearly relate to the type of event you’re running. Most people see images and “translate” them first.
  • Point people in the right direction. Are you directing attendees down the hall and to the left? Don’t send them a roundabout way, and make sure your banner points them in the correct direction. Plan ahead for where banners will be placed throughout the venue. Better yet, create a banner that allows you to print out separate arrows that can be attached with tape or Velcro.

Print banners serve a purpose… but better yet, check out digital signage, which can be manipulated by a viewer and is easy to update frequently.

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Focus on the Message…

Whatever you’re saying is important and you certainly want it to be treated that way.

We get requests all the time for presentations to be done in the latest and greatest software program. But what it really boils down to is not how your message gets out, but what the message is in and of itself. Your focus should be on effective communication.

Of course you want your delivery to be engaging, but if you’re putting all of your energy into developing a cool-looking Prezi instead of working on the message, your audience will walk away thinking, “That was a cool presentation. What was that meeting about again?” And that’s every presenter’s worst nightmare.

So before you decide your presentation has to have amazing animation, cool colors, and tantalizing images, think about what it is you’re trying to say and focus on making it audience-worthy.

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