Most Common Misconceptions about Screen Capture

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1.) “I Need Expensive Software…”

People often assume that to record their screen they need to buy some high-end software to give them professional results. There are two pieces of software in fact that allow you to capture your screen and audio narration, for free. One is Quick

Time Player and the other is VLC Media Player. Both are available for download from their respective websites.

2.) “I Can Wing It…”

Decide what you are going to say before you start shooting. Knowing what you will say and how you will get from one point to the next makes it much smoother and easier to follow. Use a mind map, outlines, or whatever works for you. By planning in advance, it will take you minutes instead of hours to produce your video. Furthermore this will keep your thought process clear so you are able to keep things concise and not raScreen Capture Sequence.00_09_14_21.Still003mble on.

3.) “I Can Use the Built-in Mic…”

The built-in microphone on your camera or computer is not going to give you good quality sound. Poor quality sound can make listening to your narration unbearable. Instead, make sure you use a quality external microphone to avoid any hiss or static and ensure clear, crisp audio. You can find external condenser microphones that plug directly into your computer via USB.

4.) “I’ll Just Read the Information Off of Slides…”

There is nothing more painful to sit through than a presentation where the speaker is reading verbatim off of Power Point slides. This is a massive turn off for people watching. If you have visual aids, such as slides, to accompany your narration make sure the information on them is in digestible bullet points that summarize what you are saying as opposed to long paragraphs that are transcriptions of exactly what you are saying.

5.) “I’ll Put Something Out There and See What Happens…”

A good presentation, like a story, has a clear beginning, middle, and end. Don’t get caught up in rattling off technical jargon to show how much you know. Consider your audience. Knowing the audience that will be watching, and their skill level, will make a big difference in how you tell your story.

For those wanting to learn a couple of quick and easy (and free!) pieces of software for screen capture, here is my free tutorial:

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Building Your Brand

One of the challenges entrepreneurs face is building credibility for their brand. When starting to put together your promotional materials, it is sometimes necessary to create the content you need that will match the image you want to convey. Rather than “making do” with what you already have, why not have something made that will accurately represent what you want to be known for. And when the goal is to build credibility for your brand, you need a good mix of source material.  A good example of this is in a video we recently created for Malaysian mystic Kabir Khan to position him as an iconic personality.

From the initial concept we arranged the venues and locations, sourced the actors, got the shots we wanted, then edited and scored the video to create a high-end video marketing tool.

 

However, there is no cookie cutter formula for promotional videos. Different markets call for different types of videos. Another video that we just completed was a music video for The Moogician, Todd Charles. One of his many talents is as a musician, and this is the fourth music video we have created together. Todd does shows to educate and promote dairy. For this video we filmed at several locations around Chicago with iconic views of the city, as well as Fair Oaks dairy farm and edited everything into a fun-filled song about butter.

75 Seconds

These days it seems that just about any person with a computer can consider themselves a video editor. While this may serve one’s needs for basic editing, it cannot replace working with a professional. That’s because good editing is more than just making cuts, dragging clips on a timeline, and dropping in some transitions. Good editing, whether through written, audio, or visual media, uses a wide range of creative skills to tell a story. This past year we took on many new projects, each presenting different opportunities.
In 75 seconds you can experience the range of different videos we created and a glimpse of the work that went into creating them. If you like what you see feel free to share it with your friends!

From Concept to Completion

One of the pleasures of being in a creative industry is that I get to travel to new places and work with very talented people. IMG_1349Last month I traveled to East Waterford, Pennsylvania   to work with The Moogician, Todd Charles. You may recall the promo video we made for Todd last year. Shortly after that project Todd came to me with a fun concept for a parody music video. In addition to performing magic, Todd is also an accomplished musician and had previously recorded two parody songs that he wrote.

It is with great pleasure and amusement that I share with you this month two music videos that I shot and edited, on location. First up is a lively, toe-tapping song all about cheese!
 

IMG_1356We filmed this all around New York City in just one day; hitting all the iconic landmarks from the Statue of Liberty to Rockefeller Center. Shooting from the rooftop gave us an even greater perspective of the city but was also the most challenging for me as I am not a fan of heights. And, despite initial weather reports of heavy rain, it turned out to be a perfect day in New York!

The second song, The Milk Song, we filmed over two days at the Lovetwo Farm dairy farm in Pennsylvania.
 

IMG_1331This was quite a unique experience for me as I had never been on a dairy farm nor had I filmed cows before. It was interesting to see how much the cows interacted with us and the camera.  We definitely had some very “happy accidents” that made it into the final edit. I could not imagine a better location to film a song devoted to milk!

A big thanks to Dan Love at Lovetwo Farm, and especially to Todd Charles for writing and recording these fun songs and giving me the opportunity to collaborate on bringing them to life!

Establishing Credibility

When creating any type of promo video one of the biggest challenges is to grab the viewer’s attention and hold their interest. A good promo video should make us care. One of the most effective ways to make people care is by establishing credibility.

This month I would like to share a set of videos we have recently completed for magician Bill Cook.  Bill is a very talented performer with skills as a close up magician as well as a stage magician.  One of the things that makes Bill such a talent is his personality and energy, on stage and off. Bill has been a very good friend of mine for years and recently approached me about putting together a new sizzle video and demo video of his current show. I flew out to Chicago to film two of Bill’s performances and shoot some card flourishes to be used for transitions.  I also worked with some of the existing footage he had to show an even more diverse repertoire. In addition, Bill also had several clips from news shows he had been featured on.  TV appearances are always great for building status. By choosing to open the video with those clips cut to a rhythmic sequence, we get a very impactful opening that immediately establishes Bill’s credibility as a professional magician.

After piquing someone’s interest with a sizzle video, a longer demo video can help convey more of the unique selling points.

Digital Magic

“Jordan takes the time to get it right.  I will recommend him to everyone I know.  He exceeded my expectations!!!”  –  Kevin James

I have just returned from Reno where I was filming Dirk Arthur’s Wild Magic show at Harrah’s. Dirk is just finishing up a 3-month run in Reno. His show features big illusions and big animals! One of things I enjoy most about working with clients is that each project presents a new challenge to create a video that matches their vision.

About a year ago Kevin James approached me about creating a new promo video to promote him to the corporate market.  He said he was looking for this to be the best promo video he’s ever had. I told him I would love to create that.  And throughout the time working on his project I always kept that in the back of my mind; wanting to make something that exceeded his expectations while staying true to conveying the epic sensory experience of Kevin’s show. Ever since i was a kid I have always admired Kevin’s work as a performer and creator of magic. So it was a real honor to work with him on creating a video campaign.

This is the :60 second sizzle video that we created:

As you can probably imagine a lot of time went into developing and creating this. As with every project I always try to push my limits and expand my skill set. Here’s an interesting fact, the logo and first five clips are actually still (flat) images that I animated to look 3D. I think this technique makes, otherwise stagnant, images all the more powerful. Of course, having great footage to work with is always a plus too!

If you are in New York, or will be in New York July 23 – August 29, one of my pieces of video art will be on display as part of the “Digital Magic” exhibition at the BJ Spoke Gallery in Huntington, NY. This was a juried exhibition, adjudicated by Laurence Gartel, known as the “father” of Digital Art. I feel very honored to have been selected.