PowerPoint as an Animation Tool

PowerPoint can be an effective animation tool in business videos.

powerpointGone are the days when PowerPoint was associated with college presentations and school tutorials. Today, a lot of marketers link the mighty tool with their day to day routines, and we see that PowerPoint presentations are staples of meeting and presentations.

But the flexibility of PowerPoint can be leveraged to create animations in videos that do a great job of explaining concepts that might otherwise be difficult to understand.

We recently undertook some San Jose video production work for a client. When we did a pair of marketing videos for Sphere3D’s Overland Storage Division, we were given the tough job of explaining their shareable storage concept. But the budget was not there to create elaborate 3D graphics. Here is one of the videos we created for them (another shorter version was also created that eliminated about 1/3 of this version):

Benefit #1 – Saving Time and Money

A major benefit in using PowerPoint over many other complicated tools is that we are able to save clients’ and developers’ time. Marketing videos using PowerPoint is a relatively simple and fast method of demonstrating concepts. In a matter of few short minutes, you will be able to connect huge volumes of data. Above all, a single presentation will be sufficient to showcase product details, images, tutorials and much more.

Benefit #2 – Visually Compelling

Visual information is a key selling point in PowerPoint videos. According to a recent study, marketing videos with unique visual content are likely to attract more audiences than the rest. Moving on, you can demonstrate critical benefits of your service or product in an attractive and convenient form. Visually compelling slides can be very worthwhile as they explain concepts not easily understood by others.

Benefit #3 – Professionalism

Last but certainly not least, the use of graphics serves to to enhance the professional reputation of our clients. PowerPoint presentations can be so much more than simple word slides, and these graphics show it.

Microsoft PowerPoint can be downloaded here, of course, but it has a steep learning curve to use its features fully, especially when it comes to 2D animation that tells a great story on video. Why not hire the experts at Penrose Productions instead?

6 Ways to Create Social Media Brand Continuity

Creating social media brand continuity is crucial for serious businesses of all sizes.

With Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Vine, LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, Digg, Google+ and so many other social networks at your fingertips it can get quite overwhelming to communicate with all of your followers at once.

social media brand continuity

Your social media brand continuity must have a common root.

And as if keeping everyone engaged wasn’t challenging enough, it is also crucial that you create brand social media brand continuity across all channels. In other words, while you should adapt to the different platforms and their various audience types, you will also have to stay true to your core message that unites your target audience and entice them to keep returning to your brand.

How can you do that? Let’s take a look at six ways to create social media brand continuity.

1- Editorial Voice

Your editorial voice can evolve over time, but it should be clearly defined early on. Should your posts sound playful, serious, educational, professional, or even sarcastic? Decide for yourself which tone fits your brand best and stick to it. Over time, your audience will get used to a certain way you “talk” to them and they will come to expect it.

Your voice will also need to shirt slightly due to the constraints of the different media platforms. So be aware of any restrictions and what audiences usually use each platform. See more on #6, below.

2- Images, Design and Colors

After defining an editorial voice that reflects your brand’s core values and social media brand continuity, do the same for all the images, design elements, and colors you want to use. If you have found the perfect Facebook cover image, for example, use that same image and reformat it to fit the featured image areas on other social media platforms. Consistency is key.

Additionally, as every graphic designer will tell you, it helps to define an overall color scheme that you stay within for all your images and graphic components (e.g. buttons and frames) in order to establish social media brand continuity. Ask yourself, “Is my brand better represented by warm colors like red, orange, and yellow or cool colors like blue, green, and violet?”

3- Customer Relationship

Some brands are very close to their customers and provide 24/7 customer service to be easily accessible; others prefer to keep a distance and establish more of an authoritative role as a result of which customers feel a sense of privilege when getting to “talk” to them.

Both works, but once you decide which role your brand will play in customer relations, you should stick to it so that your customer base learns what to expect. Social media platforms are a perfect way to establish this role by using a clear editorial voice and a certain frequency in posting content and replying to customer requests.

4- Re-post Other Content or Critique It

Before a small business owner can worry about social media brand continuity, they have to worry about getting enough content. When companies start out and still have to work with small staffs, it can be a daunting task to fill the walls of all your social media accounts with fresh content on a consistent basis.

Instead of letting the quality suffer by producing more content with less substance, consider re-posting content from other sites and companies that could be valuable to your audience. This not only portrays confidence that you trust your audience enough to return to your brand after sending them somewhere else (of course try to avoid direct competitors), but it also shows that you know your domain and what you are talking about.

Or course, you must ALWAYS give attribution to the original author. No use risking your whole social media brand continuity strategy for ripping someone off.

Another sub-approach to this method is to comment on (either pro or con) about the content of the article. It takes much less time to do so than develop content from scratch.

In a way, you are using other, compatible companies’ content to extend your brand continuity.

5- Stay Authentic

Once a company is growing and the customer base expanding, chances are that a larger amount of people and potential advertisers will pull you in all kinds of directions to fulfill their needs. It’s crucial – now more than ever – to stick to your guns and stay true to your core values, what you stand for as a brand.

While that big check from a potential advertiser seems pretty sweet, it could potentially alienate your customers if the product you endorse does not align with your brand promise.

6- Platform Focus

“The more the merrier” principle does not apply when it comes to selecting which social media platforms to focus on. In fact, it will hurt your brand (and search engine rankings) if you try to reach everyone everywhere and as a result start copy-pasting the exact same content.

That’s because each network’s audience has different interests and ways of communicating. So focus only on a handful of social media channels that your marketing team can become an expert in and represent your brand in a tailored way that is still consistent with your overall message.

Conclusion

In general, take your time to research which social network platform has the largest share of your target audience and aligns most seamlessly with your brand promise. It will be much easier to create and maintain social media brand continuity. Make that your primary focus, and add the others to support it.

We have a variety of standard and customized social media programs to help get you started.

 

Nick Rojas for Penrose Productions

 

Obstacles to Video Marketing Success

Recently we read about video marketing success in a report that was published in June 2014 entitled “B2B Video Marketing: B2B Benchmarks and Best Practices.”

This report was produced by Demand Metric Research Corporation in partnership with Ascend2, and it was sponsored by VidYard. video marketing success as found in demand metric study The report was a study in which 398 marketing sales and business professionals worldwide were polled regarding their use and video marketing successes with B2B videos. And all of the respondents had either used video for BtoB marketing or were planning to.

There were a number of interesting findings in the study.

One included what the respondents felt were the obstacles to video marketing success. We were dismayed (but not surprised) to read that 47% of the people responding to the survey cited a lack of budget for their video has an obstacle. Fully another 45% indicated a lack of in-house resources or a problem.

I suspect strongly that these two categories are both largely the same respondents to the survey.

Creating compelling content was another major factor users said was another obstacle to video marketing success.  To us this merely underscores the fact that many of the people in the B2B marketing world do have an understanding of the need for Media Marketing, but do not have a strong comprehension of what it takes to create a successful video. In the remainder of the study, B2B marketers indicate strong understanding of the process. This indicates that they know how to what to do with the videos once they have been created.  However it did not seem that many of them on grasped what was necessary to create those videos in the first place.

As a professional video production company, our job is to lower those barriers of entry to B2B marketers who realize the need for good strong videos.

Obviously if they do not understand how to get them created efficiently and effectively, they are not going to continue with the video production process. The plain truth of the matter is that many videos are not very expensive to make and instead can be produced at a price that’s returns a great ROI. Many videos such as this one below have in the relatively simple production cycle and do not require extensive (if any) use of video cameras and the recording of video and audio on location or in the studio. As you can see in this video we have not used a video camera to create the visual images necessary to communicate, yet it is a video marketing success. Instead we use the video editing process to merge graphics, narration and music. We also have the ability to use stock footage in video production as well, also avoiding the need to hire a camera and crew.

The primary challenge begins with the lack of an effective media strategy before beginning the video.

And as it turns out this was the fourth greatest obstacle to video marketing success as defined in the study. In fact 33% of the B2B marketers realize that they lacked an effective strategy. This indicates some awareness of the problem, however a full 26% of the of people who responded suggested that producing studio quality video was also an obstacle to video marketing success as mentioned above. Studio quality video is NOT necessary in order to effectively communicate the message and of course this is particularly important when budgets are limited. So if we may be so humble we would like to suggest that you contact us at Penrose Productions so that we can discuss with you ways in which the video production process can be effective for you and maximize your ROI.  Time after time we have seen that he budgets do not have to be nearly as high as you fear.

Bay Area Video Production a Hit at Fancy Food Show

A simple Bay Area video production for a new local food packager helps launch them at a huge San Francisco food show.

As a Bay Area video production company, one of the great treats is that we get to produce videos on such a wide variety of topics. We’ve done videos of a tropical hotel, a Welsh wafer fab, a Chinese lead frame manufacturer, at the zoo for an 8th grade science movie, Gold Country supermarket training videos, and so on. The diversity helps keep this business fresh for us.

We were delighted recently to get a call from the folks at Dio Deka Restaurant in Los Gatos CA to help them unveil their new line of Hellenic foods (read Greek-inspired) that they are rolling out to supermarkets and delis.

One of the highlights was getting to dine with the owners at the restaurant and enjoy many of these incredible foods. I know, it’s a tough job but someone has to do it!

Greek food

Greek food

 The big unveiling for their new food line and our Bay Area video production was at the San Francisco Winter Fancy Foods Show at Moscone Center.

Dio Deka had hired an amazing food photographer from Southern California, Brian Leatart to photograph the new foods they were unveiling. From there is was up to us to create a simple edited video production in the Bay Area. The purpose was to have this video play on a large screen at the back of their booth at Moscone while the Dio Deka folks cooked up samples of the food to share with buyers at the show.

From our experience in doing Bay Area video productions used in trade shows all over the world, we know that trade show videos need to compliment rather than dominate the sales efforts at the booth. If a trade show video gets too detailed or technical, the viewer does not remain engaged.

Trade show videos need to attract potential buyers, not sell them.

Because of show rules, audio was not allowed on any videos played in the booths. That’s why we relied heavily on graphics and character generation to let viewers know what they were seeing. I guess you’ll have to imagine what it was like at the show with the buzz of a huge crowd and no music playing on this video.

But apparently the whole experience was a huge success as reported by Zagat.

We’re glad our Bay Area video production could contribute one small piece to the successful show.

Here’s the video:

I know we’ll be celebrating soon with some Dio Deka foods! Yum!

Video Production the Fun Way

We love a video production that inspires us to get creative.

We’ve done an awful lot of video productions in our 30+ years in the San Francisco Bay Area.

As with any job or profession, the work varies from the mundane to the truly exciting. And like others we revel in the opportunity to do a video production that is flat out fun — and get paid to do it.

video production at the flooring store

We’ve done lots of these over the years, but the trend for quite a while has been away from that as companies feel they can’t afford to appear frivolous.

We just put the finishing touches on the first edit of a marketing video for Abbey Carpets/Blossom Valley Interiors in San Jose. Owner Steve Delamore is one of those business owners that is truly marketing focused and he realizes the need to do videos as part of his marketing mix. And we love how he lets us get creative with the vision.

In this case Steve wanted to highlight the opening of the new Karndean Design Center in his store. His store is the only one in Santa Clara County where such a center exists, and his goal is to use it as a great competitive advantage.

He actually had to close his store for a week to install the design center and when he told us that he was going to do so, we suggested that we create a video production around it. We further helped him find a video camera that shoots at a very low frame rate, so that when the video is played back at normal speed everything is in fast motion.

We suggested that he set up the camera in a fixed location in the store and keep it running during the installation. Steve did that and got some very cool video footage of the installers and workers scurrying around.

Watching the fast motion inspired us to create a script done in the style of an old time silent movie, complete with black and white footage, film scratches, title cards and piano music in the background.

Steve approved and embraced the video production concept wholeheartedly.

We since have shot the necessary footage and crafted the first edit. We’ll share the complete and full video production once it has been finalized and approved. We’ll post it on YouTube with a link here.

Fun and creative video production projects like this one are too few and far between, but they serve as a source for great satisfaction and inspiration when they come along.

And we’re always going to be on the lookout for more.

 

 

Free Adobe Photoshop Graphics Software

You can get the world’s gold standard of graphics software for free – sort of.

free graphics software

We use graphics software extensively in all aspects of our business: video production, image correction, web design, etc. Not a day goes by that we don’t use Adobe Photoshop for one or more tasks. Photoshop is the gold standard for graphics software; the one that others try to copy because of its power and flexibility.

This graphics software is so powerful in fact, that we don’t use the vast majority of available functions. There is a great set of tools available and a great help system in the software if we want to do more. It’s truly designed for the graphics professional.

In fact, we used Photoshop to create this image of the software package in less than two minutes, combining the software box with the “free” sticker.

The problem is, while it’s an amazing graphics software package, it’s too darn expensive.

To appeal to the lower end of the market for graphics software, Adobe has been selling Photoshop Elements for quite awhile. It’s often bundled with other software packages and replicates many of the basics of Photoshop. But to get Elements you still have to reach into your pocket.

A great solution to the hand-in-wallet thing for graphics software is available at no charge. Adobe is GIVING AWAY older versions of the full Photoshop package at no charge.

The catch? These versions are several versions old and are no longer supported. And Adobe claims that they may not be compatible with newer operating systems. However, we have not seen this to be a problem.

So to get a full Photoshop version that will have way more horsepower than you ever need, you can go over to the Adobe site and download either the PC or Mac version of CS2  for free.