Archive for June, 2014

The iPad is a photographer and videographer’s best friend. Not only is it an amazing digital and interactive portfolio device, but the applications for video producers are constantly expanding. Here are nine that have saved me money while serving a production need.

1. ProPrompter ($9.99)

This app turns your iPad (or iPhone) into a teleprompter. Just be sure to use it properly. You have to place the iPad directly under the camera lens, then position the person reading the teleprompter far enough away from the camera that it doesn’t look like they’re looking below the lens. If they’re too close to the camera, it will be very evident they’re staring below the lens. Find the app here.

2. iMovie ($4.99)

iMovie was engineered to work well on the iPad for basic home movie making. You’ll be able to add transitions, cut clips down and add text. However, adding layers of video is not possible with this app. If you’re making a simple video such as an interview or demo video or home movie of your kids, it’s a great app. Find the app here.

3. Cinemek Storyboard Composer ($14.99)

Cinemek offers a pricy, but very effective storyboarding app. Good video production planning is essential to having a quality final video. This app will help you lay out the scenes, dialog and camera angles and much more. Find the app here.

4. Voice memos (free)

This app is pre-loaded on iPads and iPhones and has been one of my go-to apps for voice recording on the go. I’ve always been impressed with the sound quality and have used the iPad app on several professional projects for voice over work. Just be sure to record with the mic close to your mouth and in a perfectly quiet space.

5. Pinnacle Studio ($12.99)

Editing more complicated videos on your iPad is now possible with the amazing little app. I won’t go into all the features, but you can watch Luma Touch’s video tutorials. Prepare to be amazed! Find the app here.

6. iSupr8 ($1.99)

Want to record some video clips with that signature Super 8 film look? This handy app gives you vintage looking video with the iPad or iPhone to use in your productions. Find the app here.

7. iFilmSlate ($2.99)

If you’re filming a scene that requires multiple takes, you’ll be grateful for this app. Use iFilmSlate to mark your clips on camera as you are filming so when you get into post-production you have a visual cue for each take. Find the app here.

8. ASMP Releases (free)

If you’re producing your videos for commercial or promotional use, you always need to have release forms for the people in your video. The American Society of Media Photographers has created this handy app for creating release forms. Find the app here.

9. JotNot Signature+ ($4.99)

If you have a .pdf or other document that needs to be signed (photo or video release forms) you can use this app to carry them around with you on your iPad or iPhone on every shoot. Then, just have the person sign the form with their finger and even email them a copy. Find the app here.


It’s no surprise that many big name brands can afford to undertake large-scale video production exclusively for the web. Some call them “webisodes.” Others call them web documentaries. In either case, creating and publishing a web video series showcases a brand’s professed values, mission and purpose. A web video series also usually promotes specific products or services.

Take, for example, Dawn Dish Soap’s web video series “The Big Picture.” This series shows how Dawn is helping wildlife and explains how their dish soap helps clean animals affected by oil.

Though big brands such as Dawn, Target and Ikea rule the web video series world, smaller, local brands can produce a professional web video series on a much smaller budget to boost their brand online. Generally, such web video series can be produced on budgets between $10K-$20K for 5-10 videos.

I’ve been helping to produce a web video series for Minnesota Philanthropy Partners since 2010 called “Nonprofits to KnowTM.” I work with a great team of program officers and marketing folks who identify the nonprofits to feature in the series. I then brief the featured nonprofits on the production process and requirements, and film and produce the videos. Since 2010, I’ve helped MN Partners produce more than 30 Nonprofits to KnowTM videos.

I’ve also produced a web video series for a local food coop, Valley Natural Foods, spotlighting their featured vendors: local farmers and vendors whose products appear in the store. The web video series worked in tandem with the monthly print newsletter the coop published.

A web video series can boost your brand in ways no single promotional video ever could.

Here are five big ways:

1 – Stand out as a Thought Leader

A web video series can help you demonstrate insider knowledge of a process, community or an issue and establish your brand as a “thought leader.” In digital marketing terms, a thought leader is an individual or organization that is seen as an authority in a given subject area by their followers or fans. For many businesses and nonprofits, thought leadership can be equated to influence and awareness. Does your organization aspire to be sought out for its knowledge of the staffing industry or its work on health care? A web video series may help it stand out as a go-to resource for questions on a given topic.

PRO TIP: If you create a web video series, be sure to create a homepage where all the videos in the series can live as a sort of web video library, especially if each episode is topical.

2 – Build brand awareness and affinity

Depending on its popularity and how successfully you present your brand, a web video series can win hearts. Successful videos get shared on social media and viewers return for subsequent episodes. And, if viewers like the web videos, they develop an affinity for your organization and another level of awareness of your work, values and impact. This worked especially well for Old Spice. Their web video series built brand awareness and affinity with a new generation of customers who may have previously thought of Old Spice as the distinct smelling cologne dad or grandpa used to wear. Today, Old Spice is one of the most popular bodywash products in the marketplace.

PRO TIP: Use humor and creativity carefully. If possible, employ a creative agency to come up with the funny stuff.

3 – Validate your product or service

A web video series can provide a powerful form of validation by showing—not just telling—how your products or services work. Dawn Dish Soap is prominently featured in episode 1 of their web series helping clean oil from the feathers of a duckling. The implication? It’s safe enough for a baby animal and works on thick industrial pollutants, so it will work in your kitchen.

PRO TIP: Featuring your product in the video series should not be forced. If viewers feel they’re just watching a TV commercial, they may be turned off … or just turn off your video.

4 – Tell more brand stories, but “bite-sized”

A web video series provides your brand the opportunity to tell multiple, bite-sized stories. Today’s web audience attention span is pretty short. In some cases, only 5 seconds long! As brand evangelists, we often want to talk our audience’s ear off about how great our products and services are and how many others have benefitted from them. But, those stories need to be short, to the point and they must resonate on an emotional level. A web video series allows you to tell many stories that all point to a greater truth: your organization can provide solutions that work.

5 – It’s content marketing gold

We all know that social media requires constant feeding. Your brand presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the rest will fade after just a few days or weeks of inactivity. A web video series presents your social media managers with a treasure trove of quality content to share. And, if tied appropriately into your larger organizational goals and marketing plan, a web series can be a critical component to your content marketing strategy.

PRO TIP: Start by reviewing your organization’s strategic goals, refer to your brand guidelines and then develop a content marketing plan that includes all forms of content that you have at your disposal (print, web, social, etc.). Then, develop the web video series within that context. The web video series should ultimately help you in meeting your organization’s strategic goals.