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Is it a consensus now, is the demo reel a thing of the past?



Reading this article, reminds me that all video production companies go back and forth on the value of a demo reel. We all still need one, as there are potential clients who ask to see it. Our demo reel offers a glimpse into our world – who our clients are, that we can edit and what types of production we do. We’ve also trended to having specific demo reels for target audiences such as event staging and resort amenities. But in the end, as this article points out, clients do want to see the steak not just the sizzle, which is why we direct potential customers to our website Spectrum Video & Film where they can view full, completed projects.

I’d love to hear from buyers of video production on whether they were driven to hire a production company on the strength of their demo reel.

Making On-location Editing Work for the Client

Spectrum Video Robert Troub on location edit system

Most professional edit scenarios take place in an edit suite designed specifically to make the video editor’s job as intuitive and efficient as possible – powerful edit system, multiple monitors, high quality speakers, controllable lighting and a comfortable area for clients to view the work. But sometimes a client requires such an immediate turnaround time that taking footage back to the edit suite just isn’t the most viable option.  So the editor must hit the road and work on location where anything can happen.

Clients who hire editors for on-location projects are often from out of town. They are handling a number of other tasks revolving around the project that you ultimately will be editing – the event, crews, talent, location logistics and most importantly, opportunities that arise with the energy and focus at that very moment.

The client will already be stretched in multiple directions. It’s the production company’s job to put the client at ease and make them feel comfortable about the decision to hire you.

  • Make sure your editor has the editing skills the client is looking for, and then some. Is it a simple content edit, or do they need animation or effects? While being adept in the areas the client asks for is necessary, it’s always ideal if the editor is well versed in many areas.  The ability to jump between different types of edits and software programs on the whim is invaluable in an environment were last-minute requests can, and will, arise.
  • Next, it’s imperative that the editor has the personality and flexibility to work on demand while on location. Call times might change, emergency edits might be required, overtime might be needed or there simply might just be a lot of down time. The editor needs to have the temperament to handle what comes and be professional with the client. That temperament will come in handy to deal with the editing environment, which may not always be ideal – editing at a hotel buffet table, in a banquet room chair with no control of the thermostat, under fluorescent lighting. If you are an on-site editor, expect the unexpected.
  • Keeping a small footprint will allow for the most flexibility to setup in any on-location environment and make a sudden location change much more timely and manageable. Laptops and all-in-one machines such as Apple’s iMac, are ideal in these situations by minimizing the amount of equipment, cables and table space to setup and strike.
  • All this, and having the brains to quickly understand the content of the project and the message to be delivered will put the client at ease. Knowing they’ve found someone they can throw anything at and not have to micro-manage will keep the client coming back for more business in the future, and possibly even bring you to them.

With the right person and the right equipment, on-site editing is a fun part of the production business. It offers the chance to meet new clients and often to travel.

And, there is no better reward than when the client thanks you for a job well done.

For help with your on-location editing, visit us at Spectrum Video & Film.

Article by Ken Liljegren, owner and president of Spectrum Video & Film. Spectrum Video & Film is a professional video production company in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona specializing in corporate, commercial and online social media videos, as well as projection, lighting and sound. To find out more about how we can help with your next video or event, visit us at spectrumvideoandfilm.com.

Tips for Shooting B-roll Video to Enhance Your Brand

Spectrum Video Ken Liljegren B Roll Butterfly Pavilion

With TV news stations often stretched thin and unable to send a camera crew to cover a story or event, it’s a good idea to have your own footage available to provide to them.

Providing professionally produced B-roll to a news organization is invaluable when pitching your story to the assignment desk. It is priceless to have footage to show what your business does in case a story opportunity is presented to you. With footage of the manufacturing process, employees providing a service or exterior building shots with company signage on hand, you are immediately able to provide the file to a news station.

B-roll isn’t just for timeless footage. For companies with events that are time sensitive, footage often needs to be shot and delivered to the stations on the same day.

Many businesses make the mistake of providing amateur footage that never gets on air. When you hire a professional video production company to gather B-roll they have the equipment and the knowledge of what the station needs to increase the odds of it airing.

  • Footage needs to be shot in HD and the shots must be fluid and steady.
  • Shaky camera work is unacceptable. When shooting using pans or tilts, the camera operator should let the motion end before cutting to another shot.
  • If you’re including soundbites, a good camera operator will know how much pre-roll to include and will make sure the audio is crisp.
  • Remember exterior shots matter if you are with a national company trying to localize the story to make it more relevant. If you are pitching a local story to a New York station, don’t send video of your Phoenix office with saguaro cactus in the background.

The footage not only needs to be photographed professionally, but it must also be edited to provide the best shots in a concise package. A professional editor will know to include the ambient sound and know the safe area for graphics on the screen. The editor will create the dubs or digitally send the footage to the station.

As a corporation it’s important to have professional video so your company can best highlight the organization. Whether for airing on TV or other corporate use, brand is the most important asset a company has and by shooting profession B-roll and having it ready, you control how your brand is presented.

One example of B-roll we recently provided was used during an in-studio interview as cover shots during the segment.


For assistance on producing your B-roll footage or soundbite clips, visit us at Spectrum Video & Film.

Article by Ken Liljegren, owner and president of Spectrum Video & Film. Spectrum Video & Film is a professional video production company in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona specializing in corporate, commercial and online social media videos, as well as projection, lighting and sound. To find out more about how we can help with your next video or event, visit us at spectrumvideoandfilm.com.



3 Reasons to Use Animation for Corporate Videos

Spectrum Video GoAnimate 2D annimation edit

Professional video production can be expensive, but it provides a great return on investment (ROI). However, the rise of 2D animation has offered an affordable alternative while still offering a great ROI. As quality and streamlined usability of animation software improves, it is becoming a more popular tool for use in corporate videos. From training sessions to explainer videos to advertising messaging, the use of 2D animation is ideal for getting the message out in a unique and exciting way. Here are three reasons to use animation for your next corporate video.

Cost Efficiency

  • By using 2D animation for an entire video, there are no live production costs or on-camera talent fees. Your costs are contained to editing, voiceover talent and music. The video can also be revisited indefinitely to accommodate changes in your company without reshoots.


  • With millions of images, characters and backgrounds to choose from, you have flexibility in design. Assets are all interchangeable to suit your needs. Characters can be highly customized. You can show any scenario you want, going beyond what can be photographed. Plus, you can import your logo and branding wherever needed.

Universal Use

  • Animation comes in especially handy if your project is international in scope. By implementing a universal design and using voiceovers in multiple languages, the video can be used around the world. I’ve shared a sample link that we produced to illustrate this.
  • For the Best Western Rewards Loyalty Program message, we used GoAnimate and Adobe Premiere. We created the animation in 19 languages. Visually, the video had to be coherent in multiple countries. This meant there could be no words on screen. The icons and graphics had to represent ideas and objects that all markets would recognize. We used Premiere for timing support on the varying lengths of languages.

Let me know how Spectrum Video can help you incorporate 2D animation into your communication plan.

Article by Ken Liljegren, owner and president of Spectrum Video & Film. Spectrum Video & Film is a professional video production company in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona specializing in corporate, commercial and online social media videos, as well as projection, lighting and sound. To find out more about how we can help with your next video or event, visit us at spectrumvideoandfilm.com.

Will video holiday cards replace traditional ones?

Spectrum Video Ghost Busters Holiday Card

While Emily Post would be politely screaming “Noooooo!” with video playing such a large part in our daily lives, is that day coming? Spectrum Video’s annual holiday card is anticipated by our customers and vendors. And, each year we introduce a new creative concept – we’ve performed a holiday rap, flown through the sky in a sleigh and even done a little slow motion action. But we’re a video production company, so it’s expected that we have a video card.

Will such personalized video cards eventually replace the ones we receive in the mail from family and friends?

Tips for Optimizing Your Live Events – Budget, Purpose, Room Layout

Spectrum Video live event video productionWhen producing live events with a focus on achieving the maximum impact, the strategy should be more than a list of tasks leading you from “lights up/curtains open” to “lights down/curtains close” or a maze of equipment and wiring diagrams. A mindset of flawless production is essential, and with a crew that is synchronized, it becomes a culture of success. The staging crew must work as a team, anticipating the more complex transitions – from one presenter to the next, after video playback and even those revolving around walk-on and walk-off music. This will make the event seamless. Without proper direction, it’s hard for a presenter to make a natural transition when they are on stage. When a video playback stops, it’s key for the presenter to keep the event flowing – a video’s music ending and volume can provide that transition.

Predicting the potential shortcomings of budget, venue and equipment constraints is a reality shared by the most seasoned professionals on the live event talent roster. The end result of understanding your constraints can be broken down into a short list, and knowing those handful of metrics and planning for them is what sets seasoned crews apart.

  • First, let’s address budget. It is imperative to understand that budgets might fall short of the ideal equipment and crew necessary to easily accomplish a flawless show. Accept this as fact and plan for it in pre-production. This will leave you plenty of leeway when discussing technical options with your team, while providing ample evidence to support the essentials of success. It’s the difference between reactive and proactive production. The best way to ensure success is to budget for rehearsal time to go over the most important transitions – there can be 10 to 50 of these during an event. You should also check your budget to see if you can accommodate rigging the audio and lighting from the ceiling. This will fill the room with even sound, and the higher the lighting the less light in the presenters’ eyes.
  • Secondly, know the essential purpose for holding the live event.  Whether it is to entertain, inform, unveil or award, the approach to realizing the vision is varied. Understanding the intention will guide you in structuring an event that highlights where needed and saves cost in all possible places. Openness during the design phase will garner trust from clients and crews alike, and it is often the deciding factor in repeat business and a recurring customer relationship. Knowing the purpose can dictate the equipment list – do you need spotlights, handheld mics, props, video playback or projection? You don’t want to find out there is a live band performing the day of the event.
  • Next, understand your room capabilities and seating layout. Stage lights that allow a properly lit stage are essential, but never allow the stage wash to bleed onto your audience, blinding the front rows. Also, avoid washing out any screens present with stage wash – this is why we use shutters and barn doors. Proper light fixture placement is vital, including decorative lights and moving fixtures. These should draw the audience to your show’s focal point rather than distract and detract.

Speaker quantity and placement can be a battle when room design is imperfect. The target is vocal intelligibility for the presenter. Whether it’s a business presentation, musical stage production or rock concert, vocals can create a cornucopia of issues when not addressed properly. Where speakers are set is the easiest way to combat on-stage feedback, using software or a well-trained ear can assist in identifying problem frequencies. These frequencies will vary from room to room, set to set, microphone to speaker. Enough speakers in the correct locations can eliminate feedback and provide solid intelligibility throughout the room. Use subwoofers whenever there are important video or musical cues. This adds impact and drama, but never send microphones used on stage through the subwoofer without a crossover.

I hope this helps in planning your next live event.

Article by Ken Liljegren, owner and president of Spectrum Video & Film. Spectrum Video & Film is a professional video production company in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona specializing in corporate, commercial and online social media videos, as well as projection, lighting and sound. To find out more about how we can help with your next video or event, visit us at spectrumvideoandfilm.com.

How to Make Amateur Talent Work For Your Videos

Spectrum Video Amateur Talent Directing

After directing corporate videos for the last 25 years, I’ve found the most challenging aspect is dealing with amateur talent. Whether they are presidents of companies, department heads or just regular employees, it’s my responsibility to make them look good. Most of these people are busy and don’t really want to be in front of a camera, plus they aren’t even getting paid. They know the importance of video in todays market but they would rather be back at their office. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way to get the best out of my talent and make it a positive experience for them as well.

Discuss the script with your talent

  • If there is a set script, go over it with your talent and put it in their own words. Most corporate writers tend to be to formal. What looks good in print doesn’t necessarily come off well on camera. When using a teleprompter, keep the text large and not too many words on one line. Watch for wandering eyes. Let them know that the camera is a PERSON they are speaking to. If it is an interview, give the talent the questions a couple of days before the shoot so they are comfortable with the subject matter. Be attentive to your talent when they are answering your questions. Keep eye contact and be interested in what they are saying.

Be prepared

  • If your shoot is in the studio, set up early, make it neat and uncluttered. Don’t be lighting and scrambling at the last minute. Depending on the message it’s often better to go to their office or home so they are more comfortable. The goal is to put them at ease. Talk to them about things they are interested in before you start shooting. Have drinks and snacks available and if there is no makeup artist in the budget, bring your own powder. No one wants to see shiny talent.

Be patient

  • Don’t rush your talent. Encourage them constantly. Don’t linger too long on one section, you can always come back later after they have had more of a positive experience.

Record while they rehearse

  • A rehearsal will help your talent become more familiar with the material and more comfortable in front of the camera. When you do rehearse, it’s not a bad idea to record. Spectrum has found some of the best takes may come when the talent is relaxed and not “on” for the official shoot.

Give ’em a break

  • Sometimes it’s good to let your talent get up and move around a little if things aren’t going very well. Keep encouraging them and make sure they keep their energy up. If they feel they are over preforming, that’s probably just right for the camera.

Be personable

  • Call each person by name and make sure you’re genuinely friendly. This will help your talent feel more comfortable and at ease. They will respond to your coaching better if they think of you as a caring friend. Respect their time. They have interrupted their busy schedule to do something most of them don’t want to do. Make it enjoyable and they will keep coming back.

Let them see themselves on the monitor

  • Before you record tell them how good they look and how great the set looks. Some directors don’t do this, but I find it puts the talent at ease.

It’s ok to talk with their hands.

  • As long as they don’t over do it, it gives them a more natural look and gives more energy to the shot.

Eliminate distractions

  • Usually, the fewer people in attendance at the shoot, the better. Your job is to help them concentrate on their role and the topic at hand. Too many people milling around can make your subject uneasy.

Keep takes short

  • If the subject is not teleprompted, encourage your subject to speak in sound bites, keeping answers to less than one minute each.

Be flexible

  • What works for one person may not work for the next. The situation largely depends on the individual involved. Some people improve with practice while others get worse. Some accept coaching easily and others become more irritable. Be prepared to tailor your coaching technique to each person you tape. You don’t to beat a dead horse.

Your talent is the star

  • Great camerawork, lighting and editing are wasted if the on-camera talent is not up to snuff. It is up to us to get the best we can out of our talent. After all they are paying us to make them look good. If you have any comments or tips to share, please let us know.

Article by Ken Liljegren, owner and president of Spectrum Video & Film. Spectrum Video & Film is a professional video production company in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona specializing in corporate, commercial and online social media videos, as well as projection, lighting and sound. To find out more about how we can help with your next video or event, visit us at spectrumvideoandfilm.com.

How Social Media Has Radically Altered Advertising



You may wonder why a video editor is so interested in ad agencies and social media gurus. Well, I work with these people every day. The more I know about what they are thinking, the quicker I can deliver not only what they think they want, but deliver what they really need.  As video guys, we need to keep up with the latest trends in advertising. I think this article does a great job of illustrating that things just aren’t what they used to be. Visit our website to see how we can help you. www.spectrumvideoandfilm.com

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