Video Introductions to Web Sites
Written (at least in part), designed, shot, directed, and edited by yours truly.
Because she admired the video I shot for the introduction of my own Web site (at right), the creative director for this multi-service music management company wanted a similar video for the home page of the Web site I created for them.
We decided that the best location was in her musician-partner’s home/office, with some of his extensive collection of professional music equipment in the background. I used my portable lighting outfit, its bright light softened with diffusers, by bouncing the light off the white ceiling, and by her (uncharacteristically) wearing some make-up. She chose clothing, jewelry, and hairstyle that were comfortable for her and appropriate for a professional in the music business.
Because she wanted the monologue to feel “loose” and unscripted, I prepared only bullet points for her, summarizing the major themes of the Web site, concepts she and the business director and I had discussed at length when we originally designed the site; the key was to speak to the needs and concerns of their target audience: artists / potential clients, potential venues, and music lovers in general.
Because she was intentionally unrehearsed, we took a great many takes, to assemble enough material for me to later edit together into a logical narrative. To make the editing easier, we shot the entire narration through almost four times — twice as a mid-shot and almost twice as a close-up — so that cutting (actually dissolving) between the shots (mid to tight, tight to mid) would not be so jarring (as mid to mid or tight to tight, which I did have to do a few times as it worked out).
For branding, as on my video, I included their logo in the front and end titles. And because the “Man in the Moon” logo she had selected was a still from a vintage black-and-white movie in the public domain, I cut some of the footage from the original movie into the start of this video, to draw the viewer in with a somewhat familiar, very entertaining scene.
In addition, because this is the introduction to a company devoted to music, we have encouraged the business director, who is also a longtime composer, to write and record some background music, which I will mix into the soundtrack of the video, balancing it with the narration (which itself I had to enhance, given the poor acoustics of the on-location shoot). We hope to have that music soon.
Finally, to maximize the exposure of this video and, thus, their new company, I posted the video in the creative director’s account on YouTube, with lots of descriptive keywords so that it might be readily found.
I wanted to put a very human face on my Web site (this site), particularly because as my online portfolio, it presents such a large amount and variety of text, image, audio, and video content.
For the location, I chose to stand in front of one of our bookcases, in my home/office. I must admit that I rearranged the books somewhat, to create a somewhat less cluttered, more professional appearance than in everyday life.
I found the acoustics in this small quarters with wood (and book) walls to be superior to those in other rooms of the house, whose larger size creates a lot of echo (“reverberation,” which is extremely difficult if not impossible to eliminate in post-production).
In this tight space, I needed to use my lighting kit (originally purchased for taking references photos in my portrait painting) to provide a balanced frontal light; however, because it is a rather harsh light, I used diffusers on the lights, bounced the light off the (wood-paneled) ceiling, and even wore some make-up (to prevent shiny nose, cheeks, etc.).
Unlike the video for the music management company (at left), I wanted this video to have a very tightly scripted narration, since there was so much material and some very important concepts — as defining “communication” itself — that I wanted to cover, in as short a period as possible (so as to not lose my audience).
In addition, to help “grab” my audience, towards the beginning of the video I listed the categories of wonderful clients and others I have been honored to serve — everyone from presidential candidates and senators to CEOs and everyday people worldwide.
In order to best demonstrate what I have done, I included a sequence of screenshots from my Web site, with my narration offscreen (put together in post-production).
Finally, in order to brand my video and Web site, I included my logo in the front and end titles.
Since I was a youngster, I have always enjoyed making “moving pictures”; and in my professional life, I have appreciated their value to draw and keep the attention of an audience. We live in a remarkable age, in which almost anyone with a personal computer and a video camera (Mini DV tape with a Firewire connection is easiest to edit at home) can create a very involving production. I hope to continue this work, for fun and (mutual) profit.