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Camera Ready

Market yourself by getting into the film business

December 01, 2006 - With the advent of the home video camera during the last 20 years or so, we all now fancy ourselves as producers, directors and cameramen extraordinaires! Fight the impulse to do this yourself. As in the kitchen and bath industry, professionals bring expertise to the table. Scriptwriters will express your thoughts cohesively. Producers coordinate your project and get you the best value. Directors ensure the best shots, the best responses from your "actors" and the best elements to create the final project. Videographers guarantee quality video; sound technicians provide crisp, clear audio; and professional editors ensure a final quality production.

Despite the seemingly daunting and expensive process of producing a video, consider that it provides a unique opportunity to showcase your projects. Video is visual, so you can see every detail. It has movement to provide a virtual tour, audio to describe the scene, and it can be delivered to your audience in myriad ways, thus making video an excellent marketing tool.

It can be cost-effective as well. Begin by considering how you might use video footage to market your showroom—for TV commercials, web- and podcasts, a showroom video for visitors, part of a showroom PowerPoint display, in your booth at a home show, a tape or DVD to send home with a potential client, a direct mail piece, a video press release, educational tools for your clients (and staff), video tutorials, etc. The more applications you use, the more cost-effective the production becomes.

And although you will have hired the appropriate professionals to produce your piece, as with any project, the more you understand going in, the better you feel about your decisions and the costs you incur. So here's an inside look at getting the biggest bang for your buck. This is known as pre-production, or in layman's terms, pre-planning.

create a message

After you have determined how you intend to use the footage, the next step is to script the presentations. Begin with the lengthiest, perhaps a production that will be used in the showroom and as a direct mail piece showing examples of your designs and discussing how you work. From that script you automatically have two shorter scripts: "our designs" and "how we work." Keep whittling down the words and you have a few 30-second television commercials. Working in this manner allows you to reiterate the points you wish to make in the same way, which helps to maintain your image, your message and your brand.

A shot sheet follows your scripts. This is a sheet outlining the shots you need for your production. These may include professional still photography (video editing software can bring these shots to life with movement), client testimonials or staff on-camera, video of actual installation, animation describing the differences in cabinetry, as well as text, charts and more. As you determine what images will be used for each production, you can economize the process of gathering and shooting the scenes you need at one time. Be sure to note which production uses which clip. For example, if you are using a client testimonial in your long production and a 30-second commercial, you will need to edit down the longer testimonial to fit the time constraints of a TV spot. Be sure you have a good sound bite for each testimonial before you dismiss the client.

final assembly

Editing brings it all together. This is where you choose the best of the images, video, voice, music, graphics and animation to bring your message to your audience. Warning: This is a slow process where spending four or more hours editing a 30-second spot is not uncommon. Good pre-production can help minimize the hours you spend in an edit suite. And plan to edit as many projects in a single sitting as you can—this will help keep the cost down.

A quality, finished production can be distributed through any current delivery system. Be sure you keep all the elements—from videotapes to the final edit decision list—because as new technology emerges, you may want to go back to your production and update or reformat it. You may also want to re-edit your message or freshen it up a bit. It's better to have the original footage and notes than to have to start all over again.

—This article was excerpted from Philip D. Zaleon's book, A Is For Advertising…B Is For Branding…A Hands-on Guide to Improved Profits Through Marketing Your Kitchen & Bath Business. For more information on Zaleon, visit

Copyright 2006 Kitchen and Bath Business


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