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  • November 15, 2019

    A GUIDE TO THE VIDEO PRODUCTION PROCESS

    When setting out to produce a video for your agency or a client, there are many factors to consider. It could be as simple as grabbing a camera and just shooting, or it could be as complex as producing a full feature film. The complexity of your production will be determined by the purpose of the video, budget, timeline, and the tools and resources that you have access to.

     

    UNDERSTANDING THE VIDEO PRODUCTION PROCESS

    The video production process always starts with three main phases: pre-production, production, and post-production.

     

    What is video production?

    Video production usually refers to the process of producing video content in a digital format. We define this because it can be a very different process to film production, which usually involves much larger crews, larger budgets, and different equipment. All video production starts with a story that needs to be told. The video should portray this story in an easy to understand and visually appealing way for your intended audience.

     

    To help you along this process, below are the three-phase of video production as a quick checklist to help you determine what your needs may be for your next video.

     

    What is Pre-Production?

    This is when all of the planning and coordination happens. All phases of video production are important, but the pre-production phase may be the most important and most tedious, depending on the complexity of your production. This is where all the preparation takes place that sets the groundwork for your video. By doing your homework and mapping out all the details in this stage, your production and post-production phases will be much smoother and less stressful.

    The pre-production phase includes:

    • Develop the Creative Treatment – This is an important first step to any production. The creative treatment should describe the concept of the video, the look and feel, and what you want your audience to feel and do when they see your video.

     

    • Write the Script – The script is obviously another key element to your production. It is going to determine what shots you need to capture when you are in your field production shoot. It needs to tell a story that will captivate your intended audience and quickly and easily tell the audience what you want them to know. It will also help you determine what elements you may need for your field production shoot. For instance, if you write a point-of-view shot of a bird flying into the script, you know that you will need a drone to capture that type of shot.

     

    • Book the On-Screen Talent – Will you be the on-screen talent? Will you be using people within your organization? Will you need professional actors?

     

    • Scout and Secure the Locations – Before you go shoot, go out and scout the locations you have in mind, just to make sure they will work on camera as you expect. Also, keep in mind that videotaping in certain locations may require approval, which can be a lengthy process, so make sure you plan for that.

     

    • Make a Shot List – This list should include each location you need to shoot at with the shots you need included at each location.

     

    • Define the Budget – Your budget is one of the most important factors for your production. If you are doing a quick Facebook video in a vlog style, you likely won’t need to spend any money. If you are doing a corporate video or commercial, your budget could require a large sum of money.

     

    • Book the Voiceover Narration Talent – Do you need a voice narrating throughout the video? Will you use a narrator and on-camera soundbites? If you do need voiceover narration, you may want to consider using a professional talent for that polished look, if the budget allows.

     

    • Choose the Music Carefully – The right music can make your video really shine. Spend some time just imaging what the look of the video should be in your mind and select music that you think will accompany the shots you want to get. The music may change once you get to the post-production phase, so don’t purchase it until you know it is the right fit.

     

    • Choose the Distribution Channels – Before you shoot, you should define what platforms the video will be used for. Will it be used on broadcast television or online? Be conscious about your platform so that you know what format to shoot the video in.

     

    • Don’t Forget Weather Considerations – This one seems obvious, but you should check the weather and be prepared for inclement weather. If your scene calls for a bright sunny day and it is raining, well, you are going to have to reschedule. Keep this in mind and check the weather before you go out and shoot so that you don’t have to unbook your whole crew.

     

    • Make a Production Schedule – Once you have all of your ducks in a row, you should create a production schedule that contains all of the important information about your field production shoot day. This should include the names and contact information for all crew members, the equipment that is needed, the name, address and contact person at each shoot location, and a timeline with start and end times for each location and what will be shot there.

     

    What is Field Production?

    As you probably guessed, the production phase is where all your pre-production work comes to life. This is the phase where you get out to your locations with your crew, gear and talent and turn your creative treatment and script into real life.

    The field production phase includes:

     

    • Production Equipment (camera(s), lighting gear, audio gear, memory cards, extra batteries, stands, tripods, lenses, etc.) – To state the obvious, if you are going to be producing a video, you will need gear…sometimes a lot of it. Be sure you have the correct gear for the job. And always make sure you have plenty of memory cards and extra batteries. Audio in video is as important, if not more important than the video. Capturing good audio in interviews and natural sound in b-roll is key to a great video. Make sure you have a quality microphone.

     

    • Release Forms – If you are not using professional on-screen talent, be sure to bring copies of personal footage release forms, particularly if you are shooting people off the street and directing them in any way. You want to make sure you have their written consent to be on camera to avoid any legal trouble with a subject who complains about being in your video without their consent.

     

    • Personnel needs (director, producer, talent, grips) – How large a crew will you need to make your production happen and look good? Some complicated scenes may require extra hands. Of course, if your budget allows for a full professional crew, your finished product will likely be better. If this is not feasible, there are ways a small crew can still accomplish the same quality but be realistic about your limitations.

     

    What is Post-Production?

    The post-production phase is where you will set the tone for your video. While right or wrong music and voice over narration selections can make or break your video, the video edit will shape the video and give it a certain pace and feel. Make sure you edit with your story and purpose in mind, and not just throw shots together randomly.

    The post-production phase includes:

     

    • Video editing software – Once you have shot all of your video, the next step is to edit it. There are many options these days when it comes to editing software but some of the most popular include Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premier, and Sony Vegas. If you are not comfortable with editing the video yourself, consider hiring a professional editor, who can really make your video shine. Editing is one most important steps in the video production process.

     

    • Audio editing software – Just like editing your video, audio editing is a very important step of your production. Using dedicated audio editing software, you can take out some of the background noise, hiss, and breath sounds that may be distracting within your video. Some popular audio editing programs are Adobe Audition, Avid Pro Tools, and Audacity.  

     

    Of course, entire books are written about video production and how to prepare for a successful video shoot, but if you aren’t in the production industry and don’t have time to read a whole book, keeping these tips in mind should help you be prepared for your next video, whether big or small.

     

  • November 11, 2019

    Multiculturalism in Marketing

    Recently, our Vice President of Marketing, Michaela Blanchard, spoke on a panel for Ad Week DC, #ADWKDC, addressing the topic of Multiculturism in Advertising. One audience member asked an insightful question. “How can you tell if a brand is authentic when advertising to minority audiences?” Of course, we can do our research to investigate a company’s culture and brand history. But we have to accept that direct Multicultural advertising targeting will be more prevalent as we enter a landscape where the minority becomes the majority.

    Diversity and inclusion is a business imperative in hiring and profitability. Those who embrace it will be more likely to prosper, and those who ignore it will be more likely to fail. We must remember that the minority population in this country is currently at 41%, according to the U.S. census; and expected to exceed 50% before 2044. Any smart brand would position themselves to benefit from the massive buying power of African American and Hispanic customers in the marketplace.

    If you are determined to use and buy the most socially-conscious goods and services, here are a few ways to see if the brands you support, support you:

    • Look at past advertising campaigns to see how long diverse representation has been present.
    • Have there been any recent snafus in the news, regarding insensitive marketing material or images?
    • Look at the people at the table. Does the agency or marketing department have people that look like you in brand or product development?
    • Is this brand only being supportive of a trend? For example, does this brand reach the LGBTQ audience outside of Pride Month?
    • Finally, when all else fails…ask the internet. Social media has become the whistleblower of all things morally slanted.

    But don’t be discouraged, whatever a brand’s reason may be, we are headed into a direction of a plethora of options for health and beauty, automobiles, and other retail treasures.

     

     

  • November 1, 2019

    29Rooms: “Expand Your Reality” in Washington, D.C.

    For the first time ever, Refinery 29 took their interactive exhibit, 29Rooms, on the road and this year’s theme, “Expand Your Reality”, promised to “connect you to your curiosity and unlock your sense of wonder through mind-bending creativity and bold collaborations.”

    The DC event took place at the DC Armory with installations that were a mishmash of art, activism, marketing and corporate sponsorship under the Refinery29 brand. The exhibit allowed visitors to meander through 29 distinct experiences created by local DC artists Kali Uchis, Yvette Mayorga, NNEKKA and many others.

    Here is a quick overview of the installations that really caught my eye:

    • Dream Doorways (Collaboration with Kali Uchis): This room put you in a surreal alternate universe to interpret your thoughts, dreams and unconscious.
    • 29 Questions: This room was a social experiment that asked visitors to disconnect from technology and engage with a stranger by asking each other questions.
    • The Art Park (Collaboration with Yvette Mayorga, Dan Lam, NNEKKAA, Hanski, and Trap Bob): A climbable staircase that created a canvas that explored unique ways of showcasing art through playful and creative composition.
    • Dance Break: This room got people dancing by offering up an awesome soundtrack.
    • A Long Line of Queendom (Collaboration with Unbothered): This room was a celebration of and dedication to Black millennial women and the truths that make up their experiences.

    In terms of corporate sponsorship, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) did the experience better than others. ACLU’s exhibit, The Values Stand, was an Andy Warhol-like “news stand” that fit in seamlessly with Refinery 29 branding. It pushed a message of community activism by getting people to pledge to better their communities through voting and signing up for ACLU’s community volunteer teams.

    Other brand sponsorships at the event felt a little out of place at the exhibit and there seemed to be a disconnect between the sponsor’s brand and the Refinery 29 brand.

    Personally, I believe the intent of the exhibit was to showcase the art and create space for conversation about the cultural landscape and political climate. But in reality, I don’t think that 29Rooms pushed enough to expand that conversation, rather it offered up an opportunity for people to take selfies with corporately branded art.

    With that being said, the event was a really fun time. It provided a great introduction to the creativity of some of DC’s best artists and I now have enough selfies to get me through the next few months of #throwbackthursdays.

  • October 30, 2019

    SRB Celebrates National Women’s Small Business Month

    At SRB Communications, we recognize the fiercely talented women entrepreneurs who are paving the path for their peers.

    I’ve been an entrepreneur for 29 years. As we approach our 30th anniversary, I often marvel at the ways SRB Communications has grown in new business, strategic partnerships and retaining the absolute best marketing talent in town. I am also humbled at how entrepreneurship has brought me closer to other strong women business owners across generations – some who I’ve mentored and some who have mentored me. I am filled with gratitude when I think of the ways these women have impacted my life as an entrepreneur.

    This month, we celebrate National Women’s Small Business Month, which means it’s time to honor women-owned businesses everywhere, as well as the progress female entrepreneurs have made over the years. As I reflect on my years as an advocate of women entrepreneurs and the significance of this month, I am reminded of the strides women have made in business and entrepreneurship. According to the latest American Express State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, the growth of women-owned businesses continues at a rapid pace.

    As I honor other women entrepreneurs for their contributions to business, I am also humbled by the advances I’ve seen in my own business, SRB Communications, which was recently recognized by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). Last week, I attended the NMSDC Conference in Atlanta, Ga., where SRB Communications won the 2019 Supplier of the Year award. This was truly an honor because as much as I’ve accomplished throughout my career, the Supplier of the Year award is a testament to the hard work of the SRB team, both nationally and the local honor we received in 2018 from the CRMSDC to position us for the national win. I am proud to say that the staff of SRB Communications is 85% women. And as I continue to grow this business, it is crucial that I continue to invest in other women and diverse communities just as our Fortune 100 clients have invested in us.

    Every Monday morning at our weekly SRB staff meeting, we dedicate a portion of the time to an agenda item we call “Lessons Learned.” It’s a point of discussion for our team to share their wins, challenges and areas of opportunity learned from the campaigns we execute. In Atlanta last week, I started to think about the lessons I’ve learned growing a business in marketing and advertising, being an award-winning diverse supplier to some of the biggest utility companies in the mid-Atlantic region, government and transportation agencies, higher education institutions, and leading a team of marketing experts that is also representative of today’s diverse America.

    Here are three of my biggest lessons learned:

    Lesson 1: Build your board of advisors.

    You can learn from your own experience, but it’s better to learn from other people’s experience, especially when those same people have achieved success in the same field as you and other fields. Turn to these women and men for advice on how to run your business. A board of advisors can advise you on your finances and human resources, but also offer strategies to marketing the business and growth in areas you may not be proficient in.

    Lesson 2: Trust and invest in your people.

    As an entrepreneur it’s easy to take on all of the responsibilities required to run your business — though it’s not easy to manage them all. Your team is your biggest asset and a great representation of the work you do. Choose people who not only are good at doing the work but are also a good cultural fit. And make sure you feel empowered to delegate the work, as necessary. You hired them for a reason. Trust they will be able to do their jobs.

    Lesson 3: Embrace new technologies.

    Smart business owners should take advantage of new tools to help manage their business. For instance, digital marketing tools like social media, newsletters and blog writing is a great way to grow your customer base, network with other business owners and helps you lean into the way people are communicating these days.

    Do you have other resource suggestions for women business owners? Which resources have been the most beneficial to you? Let us know in the comment section below.

  • October 16, 2019

    SRB Communications Wins 2019 Supplier of the Year Award from the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)

    Washington, D.C. October 15, 2019 – SRB Communications received the 2019 Supplier of the Year Award in the Class II category ($1 million to $10 million in revenue) from the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). This award recognizes outstanding minority business enterprises (MBEs) for their business growth and development, operational success, support of other minority businesses, and active participation in the community.

    SRB Communications was nominated for the award by Pepco Holdings – an Exelon company, and one of the agency’s Fortune 100 corporate clients since 1996. Currently, SRB Communications serves as the multicultural agency of record for the utility, serving the Washington, D.C. region, southern New Jersey and Delaware. The agency currently has had several multi-year contracts with the utility over the years including providing communications and community outreach work for a multi-year infrastructure project that will modernize the energy grid in the District of Columbia and areas in the state of Maryland.

    The national awards event, which was held on October 14, 2019 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA, recognizes minority entrepreneurs who have excelled in providing quality services and products to major corporations that have a strong commitment to supplier diversity. NMSDC has 23 affiliate regional offices. Each of the affiliate councils selected regional winners over the past year, totaling approximately 92 MBE businesses in the final four revenue categories.

    In 2018, SRB Communications was recognized as Supplier of the Year by the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council (CRMSDC). Only 16 of these regional award recipients rose to the national level across the four revenue categories of which SRB Communications was one of them. Ultimately, SRB Communications won the national title in the Class II category.

    SRB Communications is a full-service advertising, marketing and PR agency in Washington, D.C., with satellite offices in Baltimore and Manhattan, New York. The boutique agency specializes in multicultural markets, public relations, media relations, community outreach and broadcast production. We are storytellers who deliver integrated advertising solutions through all media channels. For more information visit www.srbcommunications.com.

  • October 10, 2019

    Cost-Effective Ad Types for Small Businesses

    Knowing which platforms are best for a company or organization to advertise on depends on several factors and a hyper-focused understanding of your consumer. Who is your target audience? How old are they? Where do they live? What are their cultural experiences? These are just a handful of questions that can help shape what type of advertising your company needs.

     

    For many, especially if you have the budget, a good mix of traditional (print, TV, radio, outdoor) advertising and digital and social media advertising is best. However, for some small businesses and non-profit organizations, those traditional mediums are not financially feasible. Luckily, in today’s ever-evolving marketing world, digital and social media ads are the most effective ways to reach most audiences.

     

    Digital advertising allows companies to be nimble and try new things. You can test your ads and if they are not getting the traction you want, you can continue to swap them out in real-time until you find that sweet spot. For example, retargeting allows you to serve ads to your target audience no matter where they go online. It’s happened to you before; you’d been eyeing a new coffee pot on Amazon and then went to check sports scores on ESPN.com and you were served an ad of that same coffee pot you were just looking at. That is retargeting at work. This type of advertising is great not only because you can see who you are reaching, how many people are seeing your ad and clicking on your ad, but it is also a very cost-effective way to advertise.

     

    Social media ads are another way to make a big impact with your advertising online without spending a ton of money. The best social media platforms to advertise on currently are:

    • Facebook: Facebook has about 2 billion active users. That is a huge potential audience for your ads. However, you likely don’t need to reach the whole world. With Facebook ads you can run geographic-specific banner, native, full screen ads and video ads. They also offer detailed performance tracking with ability to make instant changes to your ads, if necessary.
    • Instagram: Instagram caters specifically to mobile users; enhanced targeting with paid ads; Instagram users tend to follow brands. Once users start seeing your ads, it is likely that some of those people will start following your Instagram account, which will increase your visibility and potential business leads.
    • Twitter: You may want to consider using Twitter Ads if you want to reach users who are very active in current events. Twitter also uses an auction system, which allows you to advertise by bidding on your ads, based around your budget. Then, you only pay for the ads that users take action on.
    • Snapchat: Snapchat is one of the best platforms for reaching mobile users in the 18-24-year-old range. If you need to reach a younger crowd, this is where you want to be, especially if you have interactive video ads.
    • LinkedIn: This is likely the best platform to advertise on if you are trying to reach business professionals. With LinkedIn, you can advertise in a few different ways, either with Sponsored InMail (sending direct messages to inboxes), Sponsored Content (in-feed ads), and Text Ads, which are pay-per-click ads, based on the amount of impressions the ad gets. Text ads are cost-effective because you only pay for ads that get impressions or clicks and because there are no graphics, you can create these very quickly.

    Because of the ability to identify your target market so specifically with digital and social ads, advertisers can reach exactly who they want, where they want, and how often they want.

     

    To learn more about cost-effective advertising strategies, reach out to us with any questions at any times. By using our advertising capabilities – traditional, digital or others – we can help your company deliver results. Learn more about our advertising and marketing services at SRB Communications.

  • October 3, 2019

    ARTECHOUSE: Experiential Marketing in the District’s Backyard

    We had the pleasure of attending the preview for “Lucid Motion”, the newest exhibition at Artechouse, an art museum dedicated to showcasing experiential and technology-driven works by local artists. This particular work, by Daito Manabe x Rhizomatiks Research, used light, music, next-level technology and dance to explore human motion.

    Earlier this year, Artechouse also showcased an exhibit themed in honor of Washington, D.C.’s iconic Cherry Blossom Festival. The exhibit had multiple rooms that ranged from recorded imagery on the wall of an underground abode to 3D interactions that visitors could activate using the Artechouse app on mobile devices.Visitors could use the app to activate dancing people, a nutcracker marching or moving shapes over a drink through the lens of a mobile device.

    Obviously, this venue is a great place for a family outing, date or a happy hour, or for marketers who are passionate about immersive experiences. We are moving beyond an era where you can simply share a message and hope people read it. Consumers are savvy, and with a world of options we are seeing a shift in decision-making that are rooted in people’s emotions. Experiential Marketing, tying people’s emotions to a service or product, has become the next big thing in marketing with a multitude of sponsorship opportunities for brands.

    Who will be the first to take this leap of faith?

  • September 24, 2019

    Meet Our New Team Member: Adiya Mobley

    We are very excited to welcome our newest team member to SRB Communications, Adiya Mobley,

    Vice President of Marketing and Communications. We thought it would be fun to have her answer a few questions about herself so we can learn more about her journey to SRB. Read on to find out what she had to say!

    Name: Adiya Mobley

    Hometown: Atlantic City, NJ

     

    Tell us a little bit about your background:

    I am what I like to say, “your everyday agency girl.” I have 10 years’ experience working at some of the leading marketing agencies in the world. And I’m ready to bring my breadth of experience in creative marketing, content, digital brand storytelling to

    SRB Communications and its roster of client partners. From entertainment to philanthropy, I have had a beautiful career working across several industries (one of the many perks working at an agency). And I’m passionate about bringing a multicultural lens to every project I have the opportunity to contribute to, which I believe gives me a competitive edge over the landscape of today’s marketers.

     

    Why did you want to work for SRB Communications?

    After meeting Dr. Brooks and the SRB team, I knew immediately I’d be able to make a significant impact to the work. SRB Communications has a culture of creativity, mentorship, leadership and inclusivity.

    I had the opportunity to first come on board at SRB Communications as a consultant, but then quickly felt empowered by the team to contribute in an even bigger capacity. Additionally, Dr. Brooks is a legend in her own right, and is the quintessential leader. I believe I can learn so much from her! This is a marketer’s dream come true.

     

    What has your career taught you? Tell us a little bit about your background:

    I’ve learned that marketing is multicultural at its core. And in order to make a positive brand impact, you need to create messaging and tell stories specifically for targeted communities.

     

    Describe yourself in 5 words:

    Integrity-Driven, Leader, Extroverted-Introvert

     

    Favorite movie:

    I have so many! Perhaps it’s a toss up between Love Jones and Forest Gump.

     

    Favorite book:

    This is another tough one! I’m currently rediscovering The Bluest Eye by the late, great Toni Morrison. That book is brilliant.

     

    What do you hope to accomplish in your new role?

    My goal is to bring best-in-class execution to the already incredible work we do at SRB Communications.

     

    Life motto:

    “Be a rainbow in some else’s cloud.”  -Maya Angelou

     

    We’re excited and happy to have Adiya on board!

    To keep track of what the SRB Communications is up to, follow us @SRBCommunications and make sure to visit our blog regularly

  • September 12, 2019

    Meet Our New Team Addition: Brea Hewitt

    We are very excited to welcome our newest team member to SRB Communications, Brea Hewitt. She has joined the team as an Account Executive and will be supporting the team with business development, account management and project management of our client roster. We thought it would be fun to have her answer a few questions about herself so we can learn more about her journey to SRB. Read on to find out what she had to say!

    Name: Brea Hewitt

    Hometown: I was raised in Houston and Ashburn, Va., but also lived in Dallas, Texas, Denver, Colo. and Madrid, Spain.

    Tell us a little bit about your background: I graduated from Boston University with a B.S. in Communications, Public Relations and a minor in Political Science. Shortly after college, I moved to Denver and started working as a project manager at a retail marketing agency. After a few years, I transitioned to another Denver agency as an Account Manager.

    Why did you want to work for SRB Communications? Dr. Brooks is a legend! She has so much experience and insight in the industry and I was really excited to have the opportunity to work under her tutelage.

    Describe yourself in 5 words: Competitive. Creative. Curious. Caring. Conscientious.

    Favorite movie: My favorite movie changes every week, but today it is High Crimes.

    Favorite book: I have so many! I’ve always loved Sci-Fi. If I had to narrow it down, I’d probably say the Dune Series” by Frank Herbert, “Hearts in Atlantis” by Stephen King and “The Century Trilogy” by Kevin Follett.

    What do you hope to accomplish in your new role?

    My hope is to learn something new every day.

    Life motto: “Keep your inner world loving and hopeful, and your outside world will begin to reflect exactly that.” – Cleo Wade

    We’re excited and happy to have Brea on board!

    To keep track of what the SRB Communications is up to, follow us @SRBCommunications and make sure to visit our blog regularly for updates!

  • August 19, 2019

    Building a Company Culture Worth Sharing

    Although we have been in business for 29 years now, we still get excited about receiving new awards and celebrating team member’s accomplishments! Recognition for the work we do and the skills on our team is what makes all of our hard work worth it in the end.

    At SRB Communications we pride ourselves on professional development. We have an environment that promotes creativity, inclusion and most importantly, growth. Most recently, our resident PR pro Amber Bentley, Communications & PR Manager, was nominated for “Outstanding Intern Supervisor” by The Washington Center from our most recent summer intern. The Washington Center is an independent, nonprofit organization that provides hundreds of students with state-of-the-art internships, and we are a proud partner of the program.

    This isn’t the first time that an SRB team member has been nominated for this award and it really speaks to the commitment and work ethic of our staff. Receiving award nominations for the agency is indeed a true honor, but nominations for individual team members means so much to us. We are so proud of the impact that we make on others, beyond the walls of SRB Communications. Not only is our team getting nominated for awards, but others are enrolled in prestigious professional development programs, speaking on conference panels, and so much more.

    We have a culture that promotes productivity and passion which creates the great work environment that is SRB.

    #SRBProud