The Future of Video Strategy

EPISODE 21: The Future of Video Strategy | PODCAST

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Show Notes:

On this episode of Pivot Points, Cramer’s Scott Palmer and Elise Orlowski answer your top questions about video strategy. How do you effectively align video to your larger marketing goals? Does your anthem video clearly convey what you want known about your company? Are you creating video assets efficiently? Scott and Elise share the best ways to utilize video and what’s next for the future of video marketing.

Transcript:

Elise Orlowski:

I’m Elise Orlowski, a Senior Video Director here at Cramer.

Tripp Underwood:

And I’m Tripp Underwood, a Creative Director at Cramer.

Elise Orlowski:

And at Cramer, we work with so many incredibly fascinating people from all over multiple industries.

Tripp Underwood:

We have so many great conversations, many that are just too good to keep to ourselves, so now we’re sharing them with the world.

Elise Orlowski:

Right here from Cramer studios.

Tripp Underwood:

This is Pivot Points.

Elise Orlowski:

Cut. Hello, and welcome to another episode of Pivot Points. I’m Elise Orlowski, and today I’m actually really, really excited about this episode. I’m always excited about every episode, but today we get to talk about something I am super passionate about and also, which really fills my day-to-day at Cramer which is video. Video at Cramer is something that we’ve always valued and invested in. And especially in the past two years, it’s become more and more important and also has transformed much like events and other things that have transformed over these past two years. And today, I’m very excited because I am joined by Scott Palmer-

Scott Palmer:

Well, hello.

Elise Orlowski:

My, my boss, so I have to be on my best behavior today.

Scott Palmer:

You don’t have to say that.

Elise Orlowski:

But also, one of our incredible-

Scott Palmer:

Who really cares?

Elise Orlowski:

Video directors at Cramer.

Scott Palmer:

Thank you.

Elise Orlowski:

So to start it off, I’m curious, how have you seen video really transform while at your time at Cramer?

Scott Palmer:

Yeah, I mean, we could talk about the technology and that’s a big part of it. I would say-

Elise Orlowski:

Which we should talk about maybe a little later.

Scott Palmer:

We should. Yeah, I would say, honestly, the biggest transformation over the years that I’ve seen and been part of has been kind of the accessibility of camera gear, software, editing software, and that’s kind of really opened it up.

Elise Orlowski:

Because we used to have huge tape edit days and stuff like that, right?

Scott Palmer:

Absolutely.

Elise Orlowski:

Which sounds like a nightmare.

Scott Palmer:

The quality’s gotten better over the years. We added real firepower with the animation department so that’s been a big deal. And now we’re getting into other stuff, other technology. AR, Pixotope, interactive video so all sorts of fun stuff.

Elise Orlowski:

In terms of video, I feel like we’ve seen, especially in this past two years, video really transform, right? Like, I think we were doing a lot of like commercial work or like standalone videos and now I feel like we’re doing a lot of like marketing assets. I think it just like has really sprung up. Why do you think over the past two years, I think, video has become like different and even more essential?

Scott Palmer:

You know, I think it’s because, going back to kind of the democratization of video and the accessibility of it for not only individuals out there but also our clients and the platforms available to them. Free streaming platforms like YouTube, and Vimeo, and web-based stuff. It’s just really become such an easy way. It used to be hard, but it’s really easy now to get stuff published online. And, there’s really no restricting how much content you can produce. It just, it comes down to really having a plan. And video where it used to be, I think, kind of seen as oh, we got to save up for this, we got to figure out how we want to spend money on this. It’s become more of a, more of a routine.

Elise Orlowski:

Even a necessity I feel like.

Scott Palmer:

It’s a total necessity. There’s not a client out there that isn’t using video right now, and, you know, we’ve been able to help them sort of figure out the best way to do it. I’m always saying we got to make a plan for it. It used to be more tactical, but now it’s being integrated in marketing campaigns, it’s a big part of product launches, it’s a great visual tool.

Elise Orlowski:

Yeah. And it’s interesting too because I feel like now with one shoot that we do it gets spread out through like so many different like content media platforms now. We’re making one standalone video but that’s also being used for like social media, for like Instagram, now TikTok, YouTube. Like, we’re really like spreading out the content too. So it’s nice to see how like you can also you know film one thing but also be able to like spread it out into the event, the marketing strategy, even like the post-marketing strategy as well, which is very interesting.

Scott Palmer:

Yeah. No, that’s exactly right. Yeah. And, it’s also too, I’m finding that because of the importance of video and social media for clients nowadays, it’s not unusual for them to have somebody on their team that just focuses on that part of it. So that’s great to have them involved in the conversations early on.

Elise Orlowski:

Totally, totally. So, I know I want to talk about a lot of things, but I think the first thing is, why do you think that being a video director at Cramer is like very different than being a video director at like a different agency? I feel like we cover so many, so many things. But I’m curious on your perspective of like how do you feel like it’s different than other things.

Scott Palmer:

I’ve been other places before, and I think the big difference for me is the accessibility of the people here. It’s really, it’s kind of unusual to have writers, producers, designers, animators, editors, the production team all in one place. So that’s been an incredible opportunity to tap into different brains.

Elise Orlowski:

Totally, totally.

Scott Palmer:

The thing that really struck me about Cramer when I first started was the … Sort of the, even the nature of the space itself, there’s so much stuff to play with here. And we’ve always embraced a spirit of creative R&D, which is that if we want to try something new we can come in the studio, we can set stuff up, we can do screen stuff.

Elise Orlowski:

Which we’ve done a lot.

Scott Palmer:

I’ve experimented on things that ended up being stuff that we’ve done for clients. It’s kind of unique in that way. There’s not really, I can’t think of another place that you can do that. And, you know it’s kept me interested and excited.

Elise Orlowski:

I remember, I think it was a year and a half ago, when we just put in the LED walls when we did that whole shoot just like experimenting-

Scott Palmer:

It was fun. Yeah, we just did it for fun.

Elise Orlowski:

With the LED walls.

Scott Palmer:

Right. I mean, it was practical because we wanted to see how the lights would interact with the screens and to see if we could pull off sort of a semi-realistic.

Elise Orlowski:

Oh, totally.

Scott Palmer:

Brought the smoke machine in, the wind … The turbofan. And, we just had a blast.

Elise Orlowski:

But that was really cool too because I feel like I used … Like everything that we did that day, I used a lot of that knowledge to be able to create. When I couldn’t shoot in four locations at once, I shot in here. Or, even, I think, on a lot of events, we did a lot of stuff where we were able to like use the LED walls and use the space. Again, all out of that R&D day. So it’s fun to be able to mess around with that.

Scott Palmer:

Those are the type of things that just reignite your imagination. And it’s just a cool aspect.

Elise Orlowski:

Totally, totally. And it’s cool too because I think being at Cramer, like you’re a video director but I think we also make content for like big LED walls. We’re doing like… I mean, I just did this opening experience with dancers, but it’s also like animation and video. So I think we get to kind of like flex our theatrical muscles as well or experiential. I don’t know. We get to just do more than this 16×9 screen as well which is fun.

Scott Palmer:

And there’s something too, even about that, is, you know, the idea that we get to see our stuff up on a screen in front of an audience is rewarding. It nourishes that, you know, the ego side of, you want people to see your stuff. Doing stuff online’s great too-

Elise Orlowski:

Oh, totally.

Scott Palmer:

Of course, but having something play at a big event and getting the audience’s reaction in real-time is-

Elise Orlowski:

It’s really fun.

Scott Palmer:

Kind of special. Yeah.

Elise Orlowski:

I love that. So what do you think are the common misconceptions about video production, in general? I feel like there’s a lot.

Scott Palmer:

There’s some, and some of it’s true. I mean, it’s expensive, it’s time-consuming. It’s, you know, we don’t have time to plan this. And some of that is true, those are valid points. But nowadays, like it’s more about go back to planning. There are ways to take this thing which used to be yes … it used to be the cost of entry to do a video year’s ago might’ve been prohibitive for some clients.

Elise Orlowski:

Totally.

Scott Palmer:

But now it’s just like we can shoot it on our phones, we can do … I don’t recommend that all the time, but it’s an option. So there are ways to do things less expensively. There are ways to, if you plan for it, there are ways to get more out of the content.

Elise Orlowski:

Absolutely.

Scott Palmer:

You know? And there’s ways to be efficient about it too. So that’s the key. Like I just going back to getting involved in the planning part of it early on. So when our clients are discussing maybe the marketing plans for the year and how they’re going to spend their money, also involve … Getting involved and having a seat at the table early on is helpful because we can be more tactical and strategic about it.

Elise Orlowski:

Totally. Yeah.

Scott Palmer:

Looking ahead and looking for places where we can amplify some of their campaigns, and messages, and essentially just program video into the marketing calendar for the year.

Elise Orlowski:

Yeah. No, absolutely. I think it’s interesting too because I think being able to like kind of be in that conversation for strategy early on is great, but, I think, also, I think, even in my experience, I think, really like putting that work in ahead of time like in pre-production. I’m a big fan of like storyboarding everything out, like being able to really communicate, and really plan ahead so that by the time you come to post, like everything’s already decided. And like you can flex from there and be able to like create more content but also, like, you spend a lot less time in post-production which is always good. And then, I have had some clients who are like “Whoa, this is exactly what the storyboard looked like.”

Scott Palmer:

That’s good.

Elise Orlowski:

“This is really cool.” And I’m like “Yeah.” Like that’s why we spend that time upfront so that we can kind of pay it off and spend less time in post. And also being able to work with strategy and be able to really plan that out as well.

Scott Palmer:

You do great storyboards too, I’ve seen them.

Elise Orlowski:

Thank you so much. It’s all my years of art school paid off.

Scott Palmer:

You can draw. You can draw. And you don’t have to. It doesn’t event have to…It can be a sketch. You know? And it’s one of those things that sort of gets forgotten.

Elise Orlowski:

Totally.

Scott Palmer:

And I’m like notorious…Like I don’t. You know? I’ll just go do it. I’ve done it for so long that sometimes I’m like I don’t really need a storyboard, but it’s always beneficial.

Elise Orlowski:

Oh, yeah. And it helps you think it out too. So, I definitely agree. We’re not just doodling, we’re-

Scott Palmer:

No.

Elise Orlowski:

We’re planning ahead.

Scott Palmer:

We do a lot of that too.

Elise Orlowski:

What do you find are the most exciting advancements that you’ve seen in video production? I know we’ve touched on the LED wall, but what are some things that you’ve been seeing that you’re really excited to either learn more about or even just dive into?

Scott Palmer:

I’m loving A, cameras are getting smaller, better, the sensors are better, stuff looks more like film ya know, traditionally, the color correction capabilities are better. Computers are faster, render times are going down so we can do more stuff in real-time. I’m excited about camera stabilization technology like the DJI stuff, the Ronin, the Movi. And I just think that, you know, we got something recently, it’s for one of our smaller cameras but it’s a handheld stabilizer and it looks great, it fits right in, and it’s something that you can kind of, bring onto a shoot kind of, last minute. It can be an add-on. It takes one person running around. It looks beautiful. The other thing I’m excited about too is motion tracking software-

Elise Orlowski:

Oh, interesting. That’s so true.

Scott Palmer:

That is integrated into the camera system itself. So we’ve been using, as you know because you worked on a couple projects with, Pixotope and Unreal Engine, and I think that’s going to get better. I think that’s going to be better.

Elise Orlowski:

Digital and Virtual Production.

Scott Palmer:

Virtual Production, absolutely. So I’m excited about that stuff.

Elise Orlowski:

Yeah. Virtual Production’s really cool. And it’s really interesting to see even where we could go, even from an event standpoint, in that and just being able to like bring people as like avatars into different worlds and being able to really combine, I think, the gaming and video production space. It’s really exciting.

Scott Palmer:

Yeah. Absolutely. ANd we do, we have some great 3D capabilities here. You know? We’re creating immersive environments. And, one of our animators is really taking advantage of everything that the Unreal Engine can do.

Elise Orlowski:

Yeah. Unreal 5 is crazy. It’s amazing.

Scott Palmer:

It’s beautiful stuff, it really is.

Elise Orlowski:

So getting back to more of the marketing, I think, and strategy side of it. What are like some key things that you feel like you always like to tell clients when thinking about a marketing … Or sorry, a campaign strategy for video? What do you find are like the key questions or the key points that you try to figure out before you start actually like ideating creative?

Scott Palmer:

Part of it is to doing our homework upfront, really digging into what they’re doing already. Going online, seeing where their videos are playing. How they’re doing? What their user community is? How they’re engaging with the video content. And looking at all the channels too. They’re putting a video on LinkedIn, and Facebook, and Instagram so everybody’s doing everything. So that’s good. But again, without a really well thought out plan, I think that can just be like you’re just putting stuff up and you can’t do that. What I like to do is look online see what they’re doing, but also see are they missing anything. Are there gaps? Are there things like…Some of our clients do an amazing job. Like they’ll have content that kind of fits what … I was inspired years ago by the YouTube Creator’s Playbook, and they had a very well-thought-out plan for how to create content, how to start a YouTube channel. So I use some of that philosophy meeting with clients and talking about their video planning and content plan.

Elise Orlowski:

How content builds on itself, it’s not just standalone things.

Scott Palmer:

Right. Right. In creating content for different levels of audience engagement. Some people may not know about what your company does, and so how do you not give them almost too much information? And that would be the top tier, the hero video, so it’s really just more of an emotional appeal, communicates what your brand stands for, and it’s really the introductory piece of content. So there’s that stuff. And then as you go down you get into stuff that’s a little bit more detailed, right, so we’re talking about product stuff, we’re talking about essentially what services and products the company is providing, and why they’re different, and why they’re good. If there’s anything missing in there it’s like let’s talk, let’s figure out how we can make this a more complete playlist. So we like to look at things like playlists and really just assess. Do you have the right mix of content? Are you missing something? Is there a part of your audience you’re not communicating to? You know? So, yeah.

Elise Orlowski:

And I think that’s a really good point. Because I think, what I try to tell clients a lot too is that you know we’re kinda of the fresh eyes when viewing your brand. A lot of people that we’re working with, they’re in their brand every day, they have a very laser-focused, detail-focused perspective of their brand. But I think what’s great about being able to collaborate with creatives and also strategists is being able to be like… We have the fresh perspective. Like, we don’t think that this is as important as this. Or, I don’t think this is, you know, as effective as it could be. Or, we don’t really need to know about this. We really just need to have that hero … Those hero points and stuff. So I think it’s a good opportunity just to be able to really collaborate. And I think even these past two years, I think, we’ve been able to do that even more because video’s gone up so much and become so much more important. But also being able to, I think, yeah, just have that fresh perspective and be able to tell things in a clean, clear, and creative way.

Scott Palmer:

Right. Right. And also too, it’s just even things like scheduling content releases so that there’s a tempo to delivering content online. The worst thing would be have a successful video program or series, and the audience is clamoring for more, and then you’ve got this gap of … You know, we all see it with the shows that we love. Sometimes you got to wait two years until the next season comes out.

Elise Orlowski:

Yeah, totally.

Scott Palmer:

It’s the same with corporate content that we create as well.

Elise Orlowski:

Oh totally.

Scott Palmer:

So, yeah.

Elise Orlowski:

So, I know you’ve done a lot of fun things here, obviously, but I really want to hear about that one interactive, choose-your-own journey experience that you did. I’m just curious what kind of went into that and like how did that come off? If you could just tell us a little bit more about that.

Scott Palmer:

Sure. I think the inspiration came from a Black Mirror episode.

Elise Orlowski:

Oh, the Bandersnatch?

Scott Palmer:

Yes. Which was very cool and it worked really well. I think it worked when you’re remote. But, we did a project…The client was interested in audience interaction so this was going to be played at a live event, and there would be physical buttons that you would pick to make choices.

Elise Orlowski:

So fun.

Scott Palmer:

Honestly, the planning that went into it, it was intense. You know? If you could see the document, it looked like an org chart.

Elise Orlowski:

A big family tree.

Scott Palmer:

Right. It starts here and-

Elise Orlowski:

Of timelines.

Scott Palmer:

Ends up … I think ultimately there were eight different potential outcomes.

Elise Orlowski:

Okay.

Scott Palmer:

It was a fairly simple story.

Elise Orlowski:

Which is actually not that many, but also is a crazy amount of planning.

Scott Palmer:

It was really piecing the puzzle together but it worked out really well, it worked out well. We did two of them, and we took some of the things that we learned the first time around and applied them the second time and it worked out really well. It was actually really smooth. It seemed…If you looked at it you would say, “Oh my gosh, this is so complicated, how are we going to pull this off?” But, it’s still…It’s linear storytelling with this layer of interactivity on top of it that you could string it out and you could look at the whole thing from end to end. And I think it was like all the content together for like the experience maybe took eight minutes, but the amount of finished content we ended up with, I think, was 45 minutes. So if you watch everything and you did it every time that’s how long it would take to watch it. And the interactivity was actually pretty simple. We figured out a way to make it work with PowerPoint ultimately.

Elise Orlowski:

Oh, amazing.

Scott Palmer:

Yeah. I want to do more of it.

Elise Orlowski:

Oh, yeah.

Scott Palmer:

It was fun.

Elise Orlowski:

I know that we don’t have much more time, even though I feel like we could talk about this forever. But, what do you think something that is that you’re seeing right now, whether in film, TV, or experiential, that like you’d really like to incorporate into like more video work that you’re working on?

Scott Palmer:

What would I like to incorporate? I don’t know. I don’t know. That’s a great question. I was going to say-

Elise Orlowski:

I can go.

Scott Palmer:

Live animals.

Elise Orlowski:

Love animals?

Scott Palmer:

Live animals.

Elise Orlowski:

Live animals on set instead of-

Scott Palmer:

I haven’t done that yet.

Elise Orlowski:

Didn’t you have a guinea pig in one your-

Scott Palmer:

Oh, I did, yeah, that’s true.

Elise Orlowski:

But like big animals.

Scott Palmer:

No. I think just more cinematic stuff. You know? I love shooting on location, it’s great to be in the studio. I want to do more of this sort of XR, extended reality, stuff.

Elise Orlowski:

With the LED wall.

Scott Palmer:

I think we’re just dipping our toe into that.

Elise Orlowski:

Totally.

Scott Palmer:

I’m excited about…We’re talking about doing more stuff with Pixotope, which is the camera tracking software. So, yeah, that stuff’s exciting. Bigger, better stuff.

Elise Orlowski:

Yeah, I agree. I think even-

Scott Palmer:

Faster, right?

Elise Orlowski:

Faster, [inaudible 00: 00:20:33]. But I think even just being able to get back out on location. Being able to film things like with the story again, and being able … Not to have to be contained to remote filming and all that kind of stuff, I think that’s just exciting.

Scott Palmer:

I mean, I think that’s here to stay-

Elise Orlowski:

[inaudible 00:20:50] back out there.

Scott Palmer:

Because there’s an ease to it regardless of the situation in the world. I think there’s-

Elise Orlowski:

An organic creativity.

Scott Palmer:

But, I am so thankful to be able to go do shoots on location and work with actors, and really, you know, craft scripted content, which is really nice. Yeah, and also not having to, you know, tell people how to adjust their camera on their laptop.

Elise Orlowski:

It was helpful and we became experts at it. But…

Scott Palmer:

We’re good at it. Yeah.

Elise Orlowski:

Being able to do it far and few between is nice.

Scott Palmer:

That’s right.

Elise Orlowski:

Awesome. Well, Scott, I always appreciate your wisdom, it’s always nice to be able to talk to you.

Scott Palmer:

So fun.

Elise Orlowski:

To be able to talk to you on camera-

Scott Palmer:

It was inevitable.

Elise Orlowski:

Right now, it’s been great.

Scott Palmer:

Thank you, thank you.

Elise Orlowski:

And as always, thank you so much for listening to another episode of Pivot Points. We actually do have a video strategy ebook that we’re going to link to the bottom of this video. And as always, thank you for listening and we’ll see you next time.

 

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