Lawyer Video Marketing – The ABC’s of Video Production

PRODUCTION

This is it. The video shoot. A team of people come in and take over your office. They’re setting up lighting, setting up their video camera, plugging in electrical devices, setting up sound equipment and microphones. If they’re really good, it will take them about 20-30 minutes to set up their equipment. It takes me 10-15 minutes when I do my video shoots.

Then there is the calibration of lighting and sound checks to make sure everything works properly. You must do a white balance calibration in order for the camera to know what is really white. The camera then adjusts all other colors accordingly. If you do not set your white balance, I guarantee your video will come out dark and the results will be poor.

SOUND CHECK

Have you ever just sat in your office and listened to the sounds? If you did, I bet you’d hear traffic, a siren, a horn, a hum from your computer, the cackle of secretaries laughing at some joke, your partners walking by your office talking loudly, your phone ringing, and on and on.

When you are deciding on a place in your office to shoot video, you must consider all of these elements and ways to eliminate or reduce these ambient sounds. Otherwise, your pristine looking video will have unwanted background noise. Yes, that noise can be minimized in the post-production phase with video editing software, but the better practice is to eliminate it while taping instead of later during editing.

LENGTH OF YOUR VIDEO

How long will your video clip be? The short answer is “Not too long.” The longer answer is “Not too short.”

You are not limited to thirty or sixty seconds of a quick commercial of you screaming at potential clients that they must come to you. With online video, you can use your time to explain to clients how you can help them. That’s the key. Again, if you’ve taken the time to watch some attorney videos, you will see that most videos do nothing to help explain anything to potential clients.

Most website companies will tell you they need to shoot a few hours of video in your office that could take most of the day. You think “Ok, that’s fine. I expect to get lots of usable video for all those hours, right?” No, you’re wrong. These same companies take your video and multiple re-do’s of the same topic and will edit them into maybe four or five video clips. “Four or five hours of video shooting, and all I get is four or five video clips?” Yes, that’s true. “But how long is each video clip?” “About 1-2 minutes each,” comes the suave reply.

“Wait a second…you’re telling me that after spending four, five or six hours shooting and re-shooting videos; spending an entire day disrupting my office schedule doing this video stuff, all I can expect to get is a total of eight to ten minutes of video??!!” Yes, that’s correct. “I don’t get it! I’m paying all this money, spending all this time, and this is the end result? That’s crazy!”

Yes, it is crazy. These same website companies tell you that potential clients have limited attention spans. This has some truth to it. They also tell you that in their “experience” viewers can absorb only one to two minutes of video. I disagree. I think one to two minutes of video are not very helpful and do not give you enough time to explain a particular legal concept or answer a particular question.

If you put your videos on video sharing sites like YouTube, Yahoo Video, Blip.tv, Metacafe, Mefeedia, etc. you don’t pay a dime to have these sites host your video. However, there is a drawback to only using these video sharing sites to “host” your videos: You lose control of that video. Ads will appear as an overlay on your videos that will entice viewers to click away, never to return to your video.

I firmly believe that your video clips should be anywhere from two to four minutes in length. I have found that if a viewer has found your video and has a pressing legal issue, they have no problem watching a few minutes of your video if you are answering a legal topic that applies to them. In fact, I have had people call me telling me that my videos were so helpful, educational and informative, that they spent hours and days watching all of my videos.

That’s impressive since I currently have over 250 educational videos online about medical malpractice, wrongful death and personal injury law in New York.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

To give you some insight into how I create my own videos, it takes me 15 minutes to set up my equipment, one to two hours to get one full hour of video tape, and 10-15 minutes to take down my equipment. From that one hour of video, I can usually obtain four to five usable video clips that average from two to three minutes in length.

Now we enter the post-production phase.

POST-PRODUCTION

What happens now that the video-shoot is over, and the video techs have left your office? The video tape has to be uploaded to a computer. If I’ve shot one hour of video, it takes a great deal of time to get the video onto the computer. Once it is physically on my computer, I must edit it using video editing software. This is very time consuming and labor intensive.

VIDEO EDITING

For a one hour video, it will take at least six hours (or more) to edit the video, add graphics, background music and convert the video file to a file that is internet-compatible, compressed and ready to be uploaded to your website and the video sharing sites. This is by far, the most time consuming part of making the actual video.

Once your video clips have been edited and are now “ready for upload” they must be optimized for the video search engines, and the regular search engines. The videos are useless if they’re not recognized by the search engines and indexed by sites like YouTube and Google.

The editing is the “behind-the-scenes” work that makes your video come alive. Most attorneys just want to see the final product, and that’s ok. However, when a video editor spends 8 hours to edit your videos, you will begin to understand why website companies charge so much money.

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