Digital Video In Pandemic Times
“Change is the only constant.” Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, said that many years ago. As we approach the end of the second year of the one of the world’s greatest change agents, Covid-19, I look back on a year of constant change. Where “pivoting” became a verb of survival each time new information was discovered about the virus.
At Fuller Digital Media we saw two thirds of our annual production projects disappear in the first few months of the pandemic. Conference and video production contracts were cancelled, and no future work was in sight. What were we to do? In short, we pivoted. We relied on our experience and expertise in video production and began to help others make their online video conference calls better. We became consultants.
According to a recent Forrester Consulting paper “Consumers Demand Digital” the pandemic accelerated digital consumption. In the first three month of the pandemic 47% of those surveyed rolled out new features for digital engagement. As consumers tried some of these experiences for the first time, many discovered the frustration of setting up their first Zoom call and needed quick knowledgeable support. 59% of those interviewed said they saw the expectation from consumers for firms to give advice and expertise during uncertain times increase.
Two weeks into California’s shelter-in-place order our phone began to ring with technical questions as many were struggling to support a remote workforce. Technically challenged and frustrated as they tried to navigate these new features for digital engagement. From educators and yoga instructors to virtual conference hosts they all had the same question, “How do I make customers look and sound better for online?”
In general, we are more acceptable of poor-quality video than we are of poor-quality audio. Good clean and clear clean audio is essential. Be sure to have your microphone as close to the audio source as possible. Use a lavaliere or other mic that you can get close to your voice box. Also, reduce the echo potential of the room if you can. Some folks face the corner of a room which helps bounce sound waves out and away from your mic. Hanging wool blankets on the walls around you helps absorb sound too. Be sure they are not visible to your audience. Finally reduce or eliminate extraneous sounds like HVAC Systems, refrigerators, other family members and outside noises.
Now onto video. If you are on a conference call with lots of other folks what’s going on in your video may be distracting. Our general technical rule is to have a well-lit (bright), uncluttered presentation area. Video cameras, even web cameras, work better with more light. And when I say more it’s brighter than you find visually acceptable while sitting at your desk. To do this you can sit facing a window. Or add to the existing lighting with a portable shop light and white Paper Lantern Ball to diffuse the light.
Next check your background. It’s not just you we are seeing, it’s everything in the camera’s viewing area. Keep it simple and non-distracting. Check the titles of the books if there are books in the scene. Pay attention to what you are wearing. Fine pinstripe or checkered shirts or dresses do not do well one video. They “vibrate” and can be distracting. Wear solid colors or larger patterned clothes. Red colors are noisy color so blues, greens, purples are much better.
With the increase the world’s consumption of digital experiences the Forrester study reveals three important aspects of digital experiences: they must be convenient, informative and authentic. Online video is just one tool by which all three of these can be accomplished. Moving forward in 2021 the study presents its top five critical priorities to improve customer digital experiences and enhance engagement.
For over 30 years Fuller Digital Media has been working to produce compelling content that enhances a client’s brand message keeping their customers and followers informed & engaged. www.fullerdigitalmedia.com