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.

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.

Maximize Your Reach

I have just returned home from Chicago where I was working with magician Bill Cook, filming some performances and other segments for a new video project.

It’s no secret that video is a powerful tool for promotion and marketing. Prospective clients want to see who they are hiring and what they are getting. One of the most important aspects of video marketing is to know what image you want to convey, and for which market.  Once you have established that, it becomes easier to create the story you want to tell.  Since most businesses reach out to different markets, it becomes necessary to have multiple videos that “speak the language” of each specific market.

This month I would like to feature 2 videos we created for Comedy Magician Tim Gabrielson.

The first is a Sizzle Video. Short and sweet, this style of video helps establish credibility and give people a tease of the excitement and energy of the performer’s show.

When you want to reach a specific market, it is ideal to have a solid Demo Video. This style of video is a bit longer and more involved and should convey the benefit of your service to the desired market.

Jordan’s creativity, talent, communication skills, and patience,
combined with his entertainment background sets Red Spade
Entertainment far above industry standards.

After years of dealing with several different video production companies and
experiencing the difficulty of trying to explain the vision in which I
wanted my video to be portrayed, and not knowing what of my stock
footage I was to use…led me down a road of costly and unprofitable
demo reels that did not show “ME” on stage. With the footage that was
given to Jordan to choose from, I could not be happier.  Jordan…you
have a wonderful gift, thanks for sharing it with me…I only wish I
would have found you years ago.

Tim Gabrielson
The Magic of Comedy

 

Worth the Wait

Getting to work on a new project, be it a live show or video, always fills me with anticipation. Anticipation of what it will become, how it will evolve.  Since one of the things I do is work with clients on creating a concept and developing their media image, each video is its own unique endeavor. Jordan - at work behind the cameraTransforming a collection of video footage and show clips into a concise, high energy marketing tool does take careful planning and attention. And I never quite know what each video will become until I start working on it. But as they say, good things are worth waiting for.

We have just completed a new promo video for Fire Performer & Illusionist Antonio Restivo. Antonio had accumulated a lot of footage over the past few years and was ready for a new promo video.  If you have seen Antonio you know he has an iconic look, a fitting character for a fire performer. I knew I wanted the video to capture that look as well as highlight many of his accolades. In addition, being able to use the element of fire for this video opened up a lot of possibilities visually.  To be consistent with Antonio’s branding, I animated the graphic files from his logo and website in the promo video and the DVD menu.

Take a look at our latest creation:

On another note, as some of you may know one of my earliest creative endeavors with film making was making conceptual video art. For those interested in seeing some of my video art, you can now view them on my website. Here is a direct link to the portfolio: http://www.redspadeentertainment.com/videoproductions/video-art/

Pushing the Comfort Zone

“I don’t like to be out of my comfort zone, which is about an inch and a half wide.”
Larry David, creator of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm

Reading this quote reminds me of myself at times. Perhaps we all have a tendency to get comfortable with the way things are.  I have just returned home from a week of shows at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

This year I performed a new show in the Close Up Gallery, a theater I had never performed in. It presented a new challenge for me. Having now returned from the week in the Close Up room I realize what that (seemingly) little leap outside my comfort zone did for me creatively.  We can only grow if we are willing to feel a bit awkward by trying something new.

Earlier in the month I spoke to the faculty of the College of Marin here in Northern California.

To kick off the new year they brought me out to speak about transforming reality through Surrealism. It is always a great feeling to be a catalyst for transformation and change.

I try to push my comfort zone with each new video I make as well. I do this by experimenting with new techniques, trying to create different styles and moods. This month I would like to share with you a recent promo video we did for The Moogician. This video was to promote the Moogician to fairs and festivals. Using his existing footage, we animated his logo and edited the video into its final form.