My Top Aerial Shots from the Memphis River Walks off the Mississippi.

horse and buggy driving down riverside park walks near memphis suffrage monument and local law school by mississippi

Since moving to the Midsouth, I’ve certainly received flack for choosing a pad near Memphis. The perception of Bluff City isn’t very cloudy. People either love it or they (have learned to) hate it. But I’ve found that a lot of the negative chatter comes from the outside. Many locals don’t even know that a long stretch of modernized River Parks are being constructed along the Mississippi (parallel to and south of the Wolf River Harbor). From uptown and the Memphis river walks to the eastern suburbs, there is plenty worth peeking in on.

When you actually immerse yourself in the culture and interact with people, the stereotypes disappear. I would know. As I’ve been finding myself over the past few months, I sort of forced myself into the heart of Memphis. I won’t go into detail how (yet), but I will say the shaded southwest corner of Tennessee is home to some of my top encounters. Although I haven’t even scratched the surface of what the city brings to the table, I can say I’ve been very encouraged by the people. It was a pleasant surprise I’ve really learned to appreciate.

The Best Sights From My Memphis River Walks.

On a few of my downtown treks, I brought my drone. It was hard to resist. Since there is a lot of ground to (un)cover, an eye from the sky always helps. It also gives me a great opportunity to capture the architecture of the city and full layout of the land. To be honest, I wasn’t aware of the construction project myself. There is a lot of history off the Mississippi and I was simply hoping to film some of it. But after seeing what Memphis has planned for its community, I was definitely intrigued.

Although the project isn’t near finished, you can easily see it starting to come together. People are already enjoying most of the hardscape. Nothing about the area seemed dangerous or risky. It was a peaceful environment that will soon be host to an abundance of activity. You can almost sense it brewing in the air. After 2020, the public needs it. With a cold breeze always blowing off the Mississippi, it’s going to be a solid place to gather this summer.

Anyways, I’ll stop rambling now. Here is the drone footage I liked most during my two trips to Riverside Drive and Beale Street Landing.

1. The Mud Island Amphitheater.

Instead of waiting until the end to reveal my favorite, I decided to kick things off with my top shot from the Memphis river walk. Mud island has plenty to do, but the aged amphitheater is a sight worth seeing. There just aren’t many venues like this anymore. Seated next to the boat ramp, between the Memphis sign and island’s marina, the venue has quite the surrounding view. One of my favorite parts about the first picture is the simple fact you can see the unique riverwalk in the background. I wish there were some upcoming events scheduled.

aerial view of mud island amphitheater along mississippi river by riverpark museum and harbor in downtown memphis tn
broad photograph of classic amphitheater in downtown memphis near riverpark walks by drone photographer jordan trask of prefocus solutions mississippi river in background with stage and lighting closed down

2. The Floating Pavilion at Tom Lee Park.

Jam packed with playgrounds and open grass, this Mississippi River Park should be a future hit for Memphians. As you can see, it’s currently under construction – but it’s expected to open by Labor Day weekend. I really like this shot because I was able to capture crews at work on a sunny day while decorating the background with the city’s skyline. The architecture at Tom Lee Park is very unique and it adds a lot of flavor to the urban bank near Uptown.

overhead structure for public events and gatherings at tom lees park in riverside memphis drive bluffs being constructed for community engagement captured by prefocus solutions drone photographer desoto county ms
walking pathway near butler park entrance connected to tom lees recreational center on mississippi river memphis public relations specialist drone services olive branch ms

3. Univ. of Memphis Law School Skyline.

It was hard to pick a favorite shot of this building along Riverside drive. Since it’s raised quite a bit higher than the shoreline, I was able to capture low and high angles of the iconic building. The pedestrian bridge (which frequently supports a horse and buggy) leads away from the Tennessee welcome center and runs straight into the Memphis Suffrage Monument.

The stunning property offers a lot to the community as they prepare students to pursue change in America. I wish I would have gotten a closer look at the design.

beautiful architecturally sound building in riverside drive memphis tennessee civil rights monuments in midsouth captured on banks by drone photographer desoto county ms
beautiful angle of pedestrian bridge near memphis suffrage monument and riverboat queen line tours with tn-arkansas bridge and railway in the background cityscape photographers midsouth prefocus
high aerial view of memphis downtown uptown area where cecil c humphreys law school is located near riverboat tours and other public activities for the community midsouth drone urban services prefocus

4. An Overlook of Beale Street Landing.

I heard a lot of good things about this hotspot in Memphis – and I wasn’t disappointed. Like the other River Parks, the design, layout and purpose is modern and unique. You could spend a few hours just admiring the details and structural reasoning. There is a civic space, a cultural arts center and even a designated space for “blues musicians to gather”. Once this stretch becomes a little more popular, Beale Street Landing is going to be a lot of fun to explore.

close up of large green lawn in front of beale street landing cultural center for memphis community gardens and river park upgrades captured by drone city skyline photographer prefocus solutions in desoto county ms bass pro pyramid in background
wider angle of memphis tennessee bluff city scape aerial drone imagery new and improved riverwalk park project underway 2023 jordan trask prefocus solutions HD pilot

5. The Mississippi River Museum.

Next to the Amphitheater on Mud Island is a information-filled center for all ages. Connected to a pedestrian bridge, it’s easily accessible and surrounded by additional fun. As you can see, there is a great view of the Hernando Desoto Bridge that runs into Arkansas. The boat ramp and marina that connects to the Wolf River Harbor is beautiful.

If you think Memphis is a dirty place, how do you explain these angles? If you haven’t dropped in the Mississippi River Museum and all of the stops on Mud Island – you should!

mississippi river museum and history center on mud island next to memphis yacht club and wolf river marina where pedestrians can walk across lagoon to explore walk ways and educational material midsouth drone services prefocus
hernando desoto interstate bridge in background of drone photo of mississippi river museum at the end of pedestrian catwalk over wolf river harbor next to boat ramp and wide open mississippi waters by drone pilot olive branch ms prefocus solutions

6. The Condos on Riverbluff Place.

This is one of my favorite shots on the Memphis River Walk because of the golden, natural light and evolving landscape. You have to drive down here to truly appreciate the space the city is developing for its residents. I don’t think I have to say much for you to appreciate this shot.

What’s crazy is, Vance Park isn’t even completed yet. I’m sure plenty of young families will be attracted to this little Midsouth pocket of charm. Nearly everything you need is within minutes of this residential area.

construction crane blue skies behind mississippi river park residencies with green front lawns in facelift area of uptown memphis caught by drone pilot camera prefocus solutions real estate photographer
side angle of new development park projects along mississippi river in uptown memphis butler and tom lee park in front of upscale housing developments by drone photographer jordan trask of prefocus solutions in olive branch mississippi

7. South Bluff Homes Near Butler Park.

You don’t have to travel too far south of Tom Lee Park to find some upscale housing on the Mississippi. I love these two drone shots because I would have never guessed something like this existed in Memphis. With all of the parks popping up in this area, it doesn’t seem like a bad place to raise family.

Located just west of Uptown, this riverside walkway really caught my eye – especially from the sky. The stairs leading down to the recreational area is pretty cool. The video I made turned out great.

original photography from memphis river walks park and recreational development projects and urban housing alongside mississippi banks with memphis-arkansas bridge and other downtown buildings in the background by prefocus aerial media services
aerial view of construction development for community parks near mississippi river for memphis residents looking for things to do outside in 2023 captured by real estate drone pilot jordan trask fo prefocus solutions

8. Welcome Center, Pedestrian Bridge.

One of my favorite features to film at the Memphis River Walk (by far) was the pedestrian bridge leading the the museum. The design is sound and really cool to look at. I was able to get quite a few close ups that show just how much thought went into the construction of the new addition to Bluff City.

I like how you can see the Amphitheater and Bass Pro Pyramid in the background. The Riverside drive Welcome Center and Wolf River Lagoon provide a modern feel to a unique environment that compliments the land well. You don’t even notice the busy interstate buzzing above your head.

steel iron pedestrian walk bridge at tennessee welcome center connecting across wolf river lagoon to river museum near uptown memphis captured by drone pilot prefocus solutions
straight overhead shot of mississippi river walk bridge connecting to mud island and local marina from welcome center near uptown and i40 by drone photographer prefocus solutions
overlooking roofing for construction architecture downtown memphis portfolio photographer bridges parks and walkways for midsouth community builders prefocus solutions
entrance of pedestrian walkway at mississippi river park welcome center for mud island near riverboats and other community attractions for businesses and locals construction development updates memphis aerial media projects prefocus solutions

9. Memphis Riverboats on Riverside Drive.

Although this shot is similar to the Law School photos, I couldn’t help myself. The Memphis Queen Line is pretty popular in the region – and rightfully so. This shot not only shows a lot more of the Mississippi River, but it also captures the extent of the Harahan and Memphis-Arkansas Bridges. If you look closely, you can see a few cruise ships and the “Memphis” sign on Mud Island.

Although Memphis isn’t quite the tourist destination it once was, the Riverboats have been a staple for nearly 70 years. So there’s a lot of history in these drone images.

tip of mud island and entrance to wolf river harbor near queen line memphis riverboats aerial photographer jordan trask city skylines exploring bluff city in winter
looking down on memphis riverboats business and other corporate buildings along coast of mississippi river at new development parks for bluff city community improving perception caught on camera by drone pilot and aerial videographer prefocus solutions

10. The Memphis Yacht Club.

The little marina just south of i-40 in the Wolf River Lagoon was an amazing capture from the sky. Not only does it have a small town feel in a large city, but it’s surrounded by major urban developments. The cleanliness of the facilities, calmness of the water, and opportunity to incorporate some of the bridges grabbed my attention.

awesome drone portrait of memphis yacht club near mississippi river museum and boat dock with hernando desoto bridge in background high altitude cloudy skyline prefocus video services desoto county ms
peering through modern park walkway over harbor looking down on memphis marina near riverparks new development for bluff city residents to explore caught on camera by drone pilot videographer jordan trask of prefocus solutions in desoto county ms

Stay Tuned As I Continue Exploring Memphis.

Nearly everything about the Memphis River Walks is appealing. Nothing feels unsafe or looks disgusting. If you haven’t taken the time to swing by, I highly recommend it.

I hope you appreciate some of the photography I was able to capture! If you’re ever in need of an elevated vantage point, don’t hesitate to reach out. info@prefocus.solutions. 

11 Types of Video Content for Every Phase of the Customer Cycle.

When it comes to video production, there are a number of angles worth considering – and I’m not talking about literal vantage points here. In other words, there’s more ways to leverage videography than you might think. In today’s digital world, a majority of business owners publish media that’s geared towards selling a product or service. They don’t exactly think of the entire sales cycle. So today, I wanted to talk about the types of video content you can use to promote your brand and better engage your ideal customers.

While you most certainly don’t have to invest in each, all will give you a better idea on how to take your business to the next level. At the end of the day, consumers (who are people) want to see and hear from people. They don’t want to listen to bots or a radio announcer tell them what to do. They want to feel your brand aura – and they ought to. It’s their hard-earned dollars we’re talking about here. When coupled together in a seamless way, each of these features can really enhance value perception.

At PreFocus, I’m not in the business of helping companies improves sales pitches. I’m genuinely passionate about the authenticity of your brand. Keep this in mind as we roll through. Hopefully, you’re even able to come away with a couple of ideas.

1. About Us Videography.

This type of video production is pretty straight forward. Anyone creating a website or some form on online presence ought to be looking to promote the mission, vision and values of the company. While you can type all of this out, it will always be received a lot better when it’s communicated by the face of the brand. Who you are, what you do, how you do it and why you’re invested is absolutely crucial when it comes to loyalty. This kind of footage details your origin story, purpose, and inevitably where you plan on going.

Depending on the extent of your offering, this could be short and sweet or extremely long. At the end of the day, this is totally up to you. But your ability to extract and spread out the video content will make a big difference. What I’m trying to say is, don’t try to cram too much into one feature. If you’ve got a lot to say, present and overview and segment the details in later videos.

If you’re manufacturing a product, talk about the specifics of your ideation. What problem are you looking to solve and why? If you’re delivering a service, you better be able to stand out. What makes you unique and why would people appreciate it? No matter the root of your business, you have to be able to encompass the experience. Out of all the types of video content on this list, the way you present yourself starts here. So take it seriously.

2. How-It-Works or Explainers.

This type of videography is becoming more and more popular every year. People want to know how to do things themselves. Sure, you can write out the instructions or explain how to use something in a – but nothing beats a visual example. To me, watching an online video about drivetrain mechanics is a lot more understandable than sifting through a manual for my 1992 Chevy. Taking the time to invest in some quick pointers or detailed tutorial can go a long way for any business – even if you’re a service company looking to explain an app.

3. Customer Video Testimonials.

If you really take the time to truly analyze this type of media, it might shock you. Although you may have thousands of reviews on Google or Amazon, a couple dozen video testimonials is usually far more appealing. These days, you just never know who Dave M, Suzy B, and Geoff R might be. If you’re not catching my drift, I’m talking about pictureless, hand-written reviews that could’ve been bought or left by someone’s mom. People don’t know who or what they can trust anymore.

Data and “leverage” is sold all over the place in 2023. An ability to see someone, look them up and confirm they were actually a customer carries a lot of weight. While it may seem like overkill to invest a few hundred dollars to grill your customers about their experience – let me be the first to tell you, it’s not! If you’re afraid to ask satisfied customers why they appreciate you, then how are you even in business? Did your grandpa hand over the company to you or something?

If you take the time to ask, you’ll find that most people will be more than eager to help you out. It actually ends up making them feel even more special. Quality companies usually grow through word of mouth anyways – so you might as well capture some footage to share yourself!  Out of all the types of video content to choose from, testimonials are normally the most rewarding.

4. Brand Culture Video Insight.

No matter what any videographer is filming, the culture should always be the focal point. Finding a way to showcase the personality or identity of the business is important – at least it is to me. Nonetheless, there are plenty of ways to go about capturing this in a stand alone video production. A swift pass through from a number of angles to encompass the architecture, design, layout, amenities and people is usually enough to do the trick. Videos that provide insight on the culture don’t always require a lot of talking.

The reel can be fun, serious, insight or personable. Either way, the atmosphere speaks for itself. If you are looking to produce something with more of a featured spotlight, then it’s never a bad idea to include a voiceover. Sometimes, simple conversations with employees, leaders or founders can really brings out the essence of the culture. In contrast to the about video and others that I’ll mention below, verbal insight needs to stick to primary promise and aura of the brand.

5. Thank You Videos.

Out of all the types of video content examples, this is by far the easiest to produce. Whether you’re thanking someone for subscribing, submitting a form, donating money or supporting you in any way – and personal thank you video goes a long way. Think of it like a hand written card. It makes people feel a lot more special than a generic form of appreciation. Every business owner has 5-10 minutes to sit down and record and thank you.

These can be posted on stand alone pages that are redirected after some sort of conversion (on or off site). Welcoming a subscriber or first time customer with a personal video is just as effective. You’re taking the time to actually tell someone that you appreciate their attention or business.

6. Event or Occasions Footage.

Many businesses don’t even consider promoting what they do behind closed doors. While some have good reason, others don’t. Any way you can encompass the actualities of your company, do it! Are you hosting an awards banquet, charity event, company outing or even an in-house brainstorm? Capturing it and sharing bits and pieces on social media (or writing a blog about it) only increases your chances of getting in front of your customers.

Most any form of authentic content is extremely valuable. It also gives you an opportunity to let your hair down a little bit outside of the office or workspace. Although it may seem like a bit much, try me. Any short video is a qualitative approach with quantitative measures – even if you’re shooting from the sky.

7. Updates or Announcements.

Some types of video content may seem unnecessary, but updates or company announcements shouldn’t be viewed that way. Whether you’re making internal or external changes to the business, some form of communication is essential. Not everyone will get that email or make the meeting. Having a process that allows you to broadcast changes, big plans or exciting news is invaluable. While not every business has a premier video studio, it doesn’t take much to ensure people (in general) are in the know and on the same page.

I personally like the way the Desoto County Chamber of Commerce handles their weekly updates. The gal uses a little microphone and keeps things under one minute. Good stuff, easy production.

8. Educational Videography.

If you have a website and any type of social media presence, you’re more than likely already invested in some form of educational content. It’s not too difficult to find a topic that the general public wants to learn more about. The problem is, writing a blog just isn’t as effective as showing someone speak on their knowledge. Even when business owners or key employees are unable to teach something, an expert can always join in on the conversation. This is called affiliate marketing.

Think of it as a guest posts. Relevant topics that are discussed openly create a lot of intrigue. When you’re able to show consumers that you care about providing accurate and detailed learning, they tend to trust you more. It’s just another way to get in front of people and show who you are as a person – instead of typing things out behind a screen ( like I am right now). Out of all the types of video content to choose from, finding a way to teach people your knowledge is a gamechanger.

9 . Informative Videography.

Unlike educational content, an informative approach has more to do with the specific knowledge and experience of people within the culture. Think of it this way: instead of teaching, you’re invested in learning. This is where interviews with team members, management staff, directors, leadership (in general) and even partners comes in handy. Speaking on the industry, different trends and how ideal customers can improve their lives or better use their products and services is a good way to build trust.

Many companies do this by hosting a video blog or podcast. When an array of topics or subjects are tossed around, a ton of information is processed and shared. You can host special guests to attract more viewers or venture out of the office for random conversations with the general public. Participating in stuff like this often creates an endless supply of original ideas for blogs or social media posts.

10. Interview Videography Sessions.

Even though I’ve mentioned this a few times already, a true interview is a lot different than sporadic, question-and-answer sessions. In reality, this can be one of the more complex types of video content to produce. In most cases, you’re going to want to have questions planned out ahead of time – and even approved. In my opinion, the best interviews are always off-the-cuff; but they are very uncommon for major business. They just don’t like the vulnerability.

Nonetheless, interviewing every level of an organization and its customers is a great way to curate some quality, unique content. If you can avoid approaching it like a media session, any form of authentic conversation can really generate some buzz online. Although some look for a reason to hate, most people want to hear what a business and its people have to say. Keeping things simple, relevant and safe can make for an intriguing production.

11. TV Commercials or Video Ads.

Advertising is the last of my types of video content worth mentioning. In 2023, you cannot discuss the sales cycle without media drive sales pitches. I mean, they’re everywhere. I won’t go into too much detail on this here, but a lot goes into this form of production. Not only do you have to consider the neurological insight required, but also perception and remembrance. Many ads are focused on repetition or humor, but the best are always rooted in quality an value.

With that said, be purposeful with everything you do guys – and always remember to Prefocus!

 

Marketing Data and Perception Needs Balance in Today’s Online Marketplace.

tI know I haven’t been as consistent (or constant) with my video content lately, but life happens. In the meantime, I’ve taken some time write down a number of topics worth a discussion or two. Once I’m able to get my studio finished, it’ll be a whole different ballgame. Anyways, at PreFocus, I’m committed to helping businesses truly discover what sets them apart and whom it speaks to the most – or best. Far too often, brands focus more on popular concepts instead of really digging into the ways they approach strategy. With that said, I wanted to talk for a minute about a quote from a book by Peter Druker. It really fired up my brain about marketing data and perception.

Somewhere in the pages of the book, The Effective Executive (sorry I can’t remember), he says “computers can be logical but human beings are perceptive. Immediately this makes me think about robots and people. AI and person to person analysis. Automated drip campaigns and tailored ads. No matter what initially comes to your mind, this sheds a grip of light on marketing in general. If you haven’t noticed, many initiatives have shifted to computer generated campaigns.

Out-of-Touch-Efforts Create a Glass Ceiling.

Whether you’re running a drip campaign, sales texts, click funnels or display ads – all of these marketing arms are computer generated. The list is a lot longer when you really think about it. Brain-run marketing efforts and general creativity is becoming even more obsolete as the internet evolves. It’s only a matter of time before public places target you with ads on display screens based on your mobile behavior (what you do on your cell phone).

Aside from privacy concerns, the unique touch of individual creativity is fleeting. To me, this is a big problem. For example, why aren’t Super Bowl commercials funny anymore? Everything is turning into a quantitative game of: remember me! Companies (especially corporations) know once consumers click or call, they can aggressively target them longterm.

But is this really all that effective? With marketing data being used in a number of ways these days (despite the ignorance of many), it’s becoming rather simple to prey on people.

Perceived Value Cannot be Shallow.

Which brings me to my next problem. The perception of people just isn’t valued anymore. While a certain campaign may breed profits, it doesn’t mean it’s your best bet. In fact, you could be missing best buyers with bland content. What’s so wrong with raising the bar? Who says catering a genuine message that matches the culture of your brand is silly? The thing is, it takes a little work. Not many marketers in this day and age want to take the time to think outside the box.

It’s far easier to automate things and compare results with similar industries. Sorry folks, perception matters. Ruining a first impression altogether, or failing to wow your audience is not only lazy – it’s risky. It’s not that difficult to talk to your customers or those of a competitor to determine what they like most. What they appreciate, consider, delve into or latch onto can make a big difference in returns. At the end of the day, marketing needs to be rooted in the nurturing of trust.

Questioning Your Marketing Strategy.

If you’re not investing in the perception of your business, what are you really doing? What people think is a big determining factor in their purchase behavior. Sure, entertainment or dangled carrots draws appeal – but how are you establishing loyalty? Whether you go with marketing data or perception as your groundwork, this is all that matters – right? In the grand scheme of things, your ability to keep the business afloat relies on repeat business. So pursue it!

Ads and marketing campaigns that don’t truly understand their customers just aren’t sustaining. A good blend of entertainment, value and resonating relevancy takes any initiative to the next level. This is even true within the culture itself. While statistics and forecasting is great for blue-print-work, the knowledge of people helps you lay a sound foundation. So it burdens me to see so many brands investing in basic efforts. Originality and an authentic vantage is what I’m all about.

Combining Marketing Data and Perception.

When you get back into the office on Monday, take the time to take a look at all of the marketing campaigns you’re doing (or even sales efforts). Challenge yourself to analyze your attention to consumer perception. Are you formulating strategies based on date (the numbers), demographics or what your competition is doing? Are you pouring a bunch of money mimicking things or duplicating efforts? Or are you really getting to know your ideal customers and their actual tendencies?

When you understand people’s hidden wants and needs (not just their obvious wants and needs), you’re able to present them with an adequate and valuable solution. Instead of vying for attention or leaving a cheesy mark, make an impression that means something. Going off data or playing it safe can really limit repeat business. A meaningful memory with a quality first impression is far more profitable.

My Final Thoughts on Cognitive Messaging.

Marketing data and perception, when blended well, can be a game-changer for your brand. So figure out your identity and who’d value it the most. This root grows strong. Be purposeful with everything you do guys and always remember to PreFocus.

Want to Talk About It?

A number of things go into a quality marketing strategy. Taking the time to iron things out will drastically enhance your aiming point. Let’s hash it out – the first discussion is on me!

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A Quality B-Roll Brainstorm Session to Enhance Your Video Content.

No matter what I’m working on, brand identification is always at the forefront of my mind. If you’ve read or watch and of my stuff, it’s hard to ignore my branding prerogatives. So I wanted to start to PreFocus more on content creation in general – video content in particular. Creative direction has always been a passion of mine. It’s a lot of fun blending purpose and value in production projects. Whether I’m filming a talking head or telling a story, the quality of the presentation matters. So I thought I’d have a B-Roll brainstorm session to provide some pointers on visual appeal.

Regarding action footage, there are tons of topics worth covering. But nothing beats an off-the-cuff thought starter. Any business or personal brand can easily improve their video content by capturing purposeful B-Roll footage. So here is a little inspiration and a few ideas on how you can improve your videos to enhance your presentation and overall perception.

1. Using B-Roll for Scene Transitions.

The first thing you want to focus on is your transitions. If you’re going into a new room, entering a building, leaving the scene, changing topics, or simply ending the video – you want to have a quality transition that makes sense. Sometimes, simple B-Roll footage like the twist of a door knob, key turn, wave, drive away or pull in can be enough to keep viewers engaged. Transitional concepts are truly endless.

The sun could be setting, it could be rising. A waterproof camera could submerge into or emerge out of water. A drone take off (in and out) or landing can be extremely captivating. Smoke or steam is also a great way to blend scenes together. One of my favorite transitions is the use of an obstruction. It’s really easy to do when you’re following someone that’s walking and talking or the camera is in motion. If you’re going into a drawer pulling out a prop, nobody wants to see your back or watch you fumble around. Providing a little action helps you entertain and draw viewers in while giving you time to present adequately.

Oftentimes, videography involves a little bit too much action or quick movements that distract the audience. Jumping back and forth from different angles may provide some variation, but it can be nauseating to watch. When you’re all over the place, it detracts from the purpose and intrigue of the content itself. When you really take the time to think about it, sensible, smooth transitions are truly invaluable.

2. Detailing Video Topics with B-Roll.

Another thing I covered in my B-Roll brainstorm session is the importance of filming close-ups of the activity itself. Visual examples of an interaction, demonstration or the topic at hand inevitably builds trust and credibility. For example, if you’re filming a pickup game of basketball, there are a number of things worth zooming in on. Although match-ups can be fun to watch, you can communicate a lot more by showing how someone interacts with or reacts to the dribble. What kind of shoes, socks or gear are they wearing? Is there a lot of sweat dripping from their brow? Are there any onlookers?

When two people are meeting up to discuss an idea, how can you show them coming together for a common goal? This could be a firm handshake, an embracing hug or even big smiles with unique salutations. Like Chris Voss said in his book, Never Split the Difference, “Emotions aren’t the obstacles to a successful negotiation, they are the means.” Firmness and delicacy can be visually expressed in many ways. Body posture or waste down footage also provides different vantage points that detail the characters involved.

close up shot of a glass with water in it at eatery with drink powder added and stired for b-roll affect during video shoot by prefocus solutions near memphis tn

Thought Starters for Action Based Footage.

During a B-Roll brainstorm session, remember that relevancy matters – even if it’s a chirping bird in the background. If you happen to be filming a sporting event, don’t muzzle the sound of a referee’s whistle. Recognizable noises don’t have to be seen as a distraction. You don’t have to film the entire referee, but a split-second close-up of the whistle is easy to do. So zoom in on the blow and the stature of the action.

Taking people’s attention away from the action eliminates unnecessary pauses and awkward moments. It’s the little things that speak volumes and pull people into the actual setting. Catching an object (ball or a pen across the room), nonverbal, or facial reaction only adds flavor to the production. Even raindrops hitting the face, or a subject catching a snowflake on their tongue, shows a videographer’s keen ability to communicate detail. Showing and telling viewers what’s going on gives them a better understanding of the full picture.

Physical contact is another great way to detail relationships and the way people interact. Holding hands, touching a shoulder, side hugs, and general comfort levels can all be expressed via video. The way an individual adjusts their own apparel or fixes someone else’s tie can say a lot. The angles of these shots should also be considered. In short, intimacy levels are obvious from an observant vantage point. Every moment can elicit specific emotions.

Natural B-Roll Footage is My Favorite.

To me, walking around in nature (or the woods behind my office) gives me plenty of opportunities to capture amazing video content. It’s also a perfect place for a B-Roll footage brainstorm session. Every season provides a different setting that presents a unique perspective. Leaves, sticks, mud, snow all sound different when walked upon. How can you capture rainfall, streams, or water droplets falling from trees? What kinds of plants and animals are in the surrounding area? How can you incorporate these things with purpose?

close up b roll videography of grill with bison meat for local farm near desoto county mississippi by prefocus production services some of meat is flipped with hotdogs to the side

One of the easiest things you can film for B-Roll is the wind. Even though it’s invisible, moving air affects nearly everything around us. Swaying trees, runaway debri, hair, flags, kites all encompass the wind. The effect it has on people, animals or an activity itself also provides additional insight on the overall setting of the video. At the end of the day, a warm breeze is nothing like a cold gust of air. If you can hear water rushing in the background, then find it! What’s it look like? Where is the best angle? How can you skim across a stream or scale down a waterfall?

Understanding how to leverage sprinkling rain or a downpour also helps a videographer eliminate distractions. How does the rain interact differently when it hits the ground, surface of water, or an object like an umbrella? Is the main character affected by the water? What are they wearing that caters to the environment? Do the elements affect their demeanor? How can you communicate someone’s personality or fortitude in the moment? Instead of waiting for a sunny day, could the shower communicate something? If you’re filming indoors, can you still paint a picture from the outside?

Positioning Your Camera’s Focal Points.

Remember, perception is everything when it comes to video content. Whether you’re shooting from the ground level or above, an ability to encompass the scene in entirety is extremely appealing to viewers. It’s just like writing a story. You want to be as descriptive as you can so people will feel as though they’re a part of that moment-in-time. Talking at people with a lazy or cheesy presentation just isn’t as effective. If you want to execute a return, then captivate them with an original production. It’ll always speak louder than a predetermined script.

The angles at which you capture B-Roll footage are also advantageous. Aside from nature in general, what else is going on in the background? Are the skies clear or cloudy? Are you dealing with sunshine at noon? How can you incorporate dawn lighting or a colorfully forming sunset? What are some unique specs about the space you’re in or shooting in front of? What about the overall environment or geographical features in your area? Is there anything that stands out and how can you incorporate these things into the mission of your video?

If you’re filming one person, how are they interacting with their surroundings? What are they intrigued by and what builds the intrigue around them. If you’re having someone walk down a flight of stairs, how are they coming in contact with the railing? Are you able to get subtle audio if they’re wearing rings? What other elements might they run their fingers through? How are they positioning their hands and what does this communicate? There are so many things worth filming to add a little zest to your content.

video title screen for b roll ideas by prefocus production strategy near memphis tennessee jordan trask

Examples of Brainstorming for B-Roll.

Before I wrap things up, I wanted to detail two simple settings to show you how simple it is to pull away from those you’re filming. I may not be as organized with my presentation here – but spitballing and unloading ideas is the whole point. Something will stick during any B-Roll brainstorm session.

1. Filming Video Inside a Vehicle.

In this type of scene, you might be shooting video of someone driving, people in the back seat, or just the car ride in general. Either way, there is enough to work with. You might feel limited or a little overwhelmed (in a tight space), but do your best to think outside the box. With that said, what’s going on outside of the car? Is the weather bad? How is it affecting the driver? Are they daytime driving or cruising at night? Can you see the stars? Is it a full moon that provides additional light? What about the terrain? Where are they going or coming from?

What do the tires look like spinning? Determine if certain elements are affect the rotation. What kind of tires are they, or what are they designed for? Are you traveling on gravel, a dirt road, the highway, rural, urban or neighborhood setting? What type of shape are the roads in?  What about the paint job, body details, and engine? How does the vehicle sound as it’s passing by or as you trek along with it? Zooming in on the grill, manufacturer details, rust, sun spots, license plate and even bumper stickers say a lot about the owner.

dusty dash of honda ruv during short video reel for wholesale reseller near memphis tennessee production ride along videographer jordan trask prefocus solutions

Finding a Seat Inside the Car Ride.

Remember, perspective matters. So how are you able to encompass the vantage points of the passengers? Looking outside through the windows, windshield, sun roof, or rear view mirrors is a great place to start. From here, try to determine if other vehicles affecting the ride. An 18-wheeling or railroad crossing can be unexpected at times. Is there a lot of traffic or are you traveling on an open road? How does this affect everyone? The more ways you’re able to create a relatable setting, the better.

Once you’re inside, take a look at all of the features, gadgets and compartments of the vehicle. Like the rest of this B-Roll brainstorm session, what actions are taking place? Are there things being opened, closed, pushed or pulled? Does the vehicle have to shifted manually? What buttons are being utilized and what music is playing. What do all of these things sound like? What’s actually in the glovebox or console? There could be maps, magazines, snacks or random items stuffed behind or under the front seat. Are there TV monitors behind the head rests? If so, what movie is playing and why?

What is the Environment Itself Like?

The cleanliness of the vehicle also communicates quite a bit. Is there trash everywhere or dust on the dash? The belongings that passengers bring along also paint a picture of the trip itself. Do they have blankets and pillows along? Is the climate inside comfortable for everyone? Are people getting along? If not, what’s causing problems and how are they being solved? When the temperatures are freezing outside, are you able to capture frost around the windows? Is the sun shining in people’s eyes? Do they have sunglasses or a hat to block the rays?

At the end of the day, there is plenty to focus on inside of a vehicle. So don’t overthink things during your B-Roll brainstorm session. It doesn’t matter if you’re filming a simple conversation, travel experience or full blown documentary. Zooming in on the details will never let you down. Imagine what you can do in a much larger setting.

mac book pro sitting on desk by open window at memphis tennessee office place original photographer images by prefocus signifying shutdown for content about maximizing blog posts jordan trask

2. Shooting Footage at the Office.

An office setting may seem even more overwhelming. There are a lot more doors, drawers, compartments, handles and buttons to capture – not to mention designs, decor, furniture and rooms. But when you have a strategic shot list that make sense, the production process is a breeze. Try to be creative with the way you go about things. You don’t have to just focus on computer power buttons and keyboards. What about the buttons on drinking fountains, coffee makers or vending machines?

While the exterior of the building can help you create a quality intro, indoor B-Roll footage is what makes the space pop. Are there TV’s, whiteboards or projector screens in surrounding areas? Is there a lounge, break room or kitchen? What do each of these spaces entail? Quality furniture and equipment says a lot about the space. Is it comfortable, outdated, bland or exciting. How do people get along and who’s interacting? What’s the climate like? What do people love most and what embodies the energy of the space. All of the little things matter – especially if you’re trying to capture a culture and not just a space.

Purposeful B-Roll Footage Works.

When you’re able to pull away from the action and showcase the surroundings, viewers are able to stay engaged. If you’d like to schedule a B-Roll brainstorm session before shooting your next video, I’m always down to spitball. Either way, be purposeful with everything you do guys!

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Invest in a Review Strategy or Influencer Marketing?

I know I can be overly critical – but it’s the little things that make the biggest of differences in my line of work. Even the simplest of marketing strategies require some sort of knowledge, experience and skill to execute. I mention this because a good number of business owners are often sold on limiting concepts they don’t fully understand. Whether you want to invest in a review strategy or influencer marketing, you have to acknowledge the correlation between the two.

Going all-in on any marketing ploy, without much insight, can leave a lot of money on the table.

What Do I Mean by a Review Strategy?

First and foremost, when I say reviews, I’m talking full blown testimonials. I’m not depicting these two sentence, “he was great” submissions. If you want to preview the experience (which you should), then you have to do more than asking for Google review. Garnering quality feedback, that speaks to people, requires a sound plan. There are a number of ways to go about this in the post purchase phase.

Whether you capture reviews virtually or in person, they can be optimized and used for a number of marketing initiatives. While an “average Joe” may not draw as much attention as a well-known ambassador, a multitude of testimonials may. Determining what might work best before you invest in a review strategy or influencer marketing is definitely worth looking into.

Invest in Reviews or Influencers?

Certainty is the key to adequately positioning and promoting any product or service. While a certain idea may seem advantageous, it’s never a bad idea to be sure. Paying someone to help you PreFocus a little may seem wasteful, but what if your investment doubled? With that said, let’s break down both options in five ways to help you better determine what might better benefit your brand image, long term.

1. Detail Your Ideal Target Audience.

If you haven’t already mapped out personas, developed a market mix or identified loyal buyers – do so immediately. This is important because it can be difficult to operate strategically when visibility is low. Keep in mind, you may have a certain audience you appreciate most, but it doesn’t mean they are or will be carrying the business. Take the time to fully understand who’s spending money with you and think about how you want to be perceived.

Whether you invest in a review strategy or influencer marketing, every angle of insight matters. I personally like to go as far as analyzing hidden wants and needs. Once you have a list of potential suitors, try to define their values to better understand yours. Deep down, what do different audiences really appreciate – for the most part? More importantly, what don’t they appreciate? What might be seen as spammy or even overkill to a specific demographic – or geographical area? Is the audience fairly narrow or super broad?

How Do You Know if an Endorsement Will Appeal?

Will you need to invest in multiple personalities or are you able to find an influencer that can speak to them all? Will they appreciate being told what to do? Will they listen to a popular recommendation? If they’re the type of group that likes to do their own research, will a paid plug even sway them? If you really have no way of measuring this, ask them!

A simple email that shows you value a loyal customer’s opinion can do wonders. The reliability of reviews within your industry is also something worth stewing on. Sleazy tactics by competitors can often tarnish your ability to be effective on review platforms.

2. Analyze the Volume of Business.

The number of customers you interact with on a daily basis should also play a big role in the business choices you make. If you manage a longer sales cycle, are you able to engage your audience in every phase of their decision? How much weight would a 3rd party voice really carry throughout the process? In most cases, multiple forms of encouragement and engagement are required.

Is this attainable or will the investment only cater a small corner of the market? Walking through different scenarios and putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes is the best way to really determine what makes the most sense. If you offer a click-to-buy solution, a multitude of testimonials may appeal to you. But if you live in a competitive market, a vocal endorsement could easily expand your market share.

The answers to these questions are privy to the brand. I believe every offer is unique in some way. So as long as you’re able to differentiate yourself, it’ll be a good move.

What Percentage of Your Volume is Return Customers?

Another thing worth considering is loyalty. Getting people to come back is a lot more laboring than a quick, one-time transaction. If a majority of your income is repeat business, you ought to really think things through before trying anything new. When this is the case, I’m certain there are plenty of customers willing to speak on your behalf.

Do you really need to pay an influencer or will a legion of reviews suffice? When a lot of people already support you, do you need to muddy the waters? Does a sound reputation not speak well? Is the ability to uphold equity not of great value? In my opinion, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. At the same time, most companies don’t have this luxury.

Although paying mind to customer feedback is rarely a bad idea, the right influencer can be enough to deliver. Just be mindful of the amount of people you serve before you invest in a review strategy or influencer marketing tactics.

3. Who Exactly is the Influencer?

This is pretty straight forward. If you’ve taken the time to establish brand standards or have a certain aura about your business, then it’s extremely important to find an influencer that seamlessly aligns. Any type of deviation can actually detract from your own credibility. While the voice of popular icons have the ability to move many, it doesn’t mean their plug is going to set you up for the longterm.

For the most part, influencers are short term investments. Nonetheless, their future choices can haunt you. What happens when they’re nothing like the personality they promote? What if they door a poor job with the promotion or add their own twist to it? What type of contractual details are you experienced in?

How are you holding them accountable and making sure you’re not getting taken advantage of? Many influencers are fake and simply full of themselves. So you have to proceed with caution.

Who A Brand Ties Itself To Matters.

The last thing you want to deal with is questions about someone you paid a lot of money to in order to garner attention. That’s awfully difficult to come back from. This usually happens when a business owner (or decision maker) invests in someone they personally enjoy watching – or most of their customers follow. While this may seem like an sure way to get in front of easy targets, in can be risky. This is especially true if a longterm partnership is agreed upon. Things sour, guys. 

Would a bad outcome be better than a bad review? Besides, you may not even know if the people listening are in the market to buy. General interests don’t always equate sales. If you need an immediate return, an awareness campaign isn’t going to help you much. Taking the time to find an influencer that’s relevant to a problem you solve is always a good bet. A random plug can be fruitful, but it may take some time to see the results. So if you’re set on influencer marketing, take your time.

4. What Does Your Budget Look Like?

The main thing I want to cover here is desperation. Far too many brands invest in influencer outreach without much rhyme or reason at all. The past few years, there has been somewhat of an obsession over captivating millennials. Many companies feel as though they have to purchase attention or support instead of driving home an identity and culture.

My point is, if you have a tight budget and you’re struggling to make money, there may be other things to address. Do you really think pouring everything into someone’s voice will save the business? Testing the waters of advocation is a lot easier once you’ve sustained things a little bit. Is an affordable influencer really going to do you much good?

Companies with wiggle room in their budget (or a lot of capital to spare) have a better chance at locating and managing ideal influencers. So don’t let desperation drive your decisions and manage your money wisely. Focusing on customer reviews could be just what you need.

5. The Extent of the Influence.

If you’re trying to figure out if you should invest in a review strategy or influencer marketing, you have to at least consider one question. How long will the influence last and can adjustments be made? Testimonials, for the most part, are controlled and extremely authentic. If done right, early every review will speak to unique consumers in different ways.

When you’re in control of the strategy, it’s hard for anything to go wrong. When you wait for reviews to be left, you’re taking a risk. My point is, customer feedback is evergreen. As long as the review is published, the influence is permanent. Unless an influencer is making a lot of money off of you, or truly appreciates you, it’s going to be hard to stay atop their ambassador feed. Sure you can incentivize certain voices, but you’re still leaning on their effort to make you money.

It may be exciting to pay a rapper to showcase your product, but what happens after two months? Will they embody your brand or forget?

Customer Feedback Will Always Be Essential.

Are you able to take advantage of an influx in sales? Will the awareness drive loyalty or only “likes” and “follows”. What happens when your landing page or overall presentation is detouring? How will people respond if you don’t have any reviews to support a bought claim? It’s really important that you know how to leverage self expression. Since we know the impact reviews can have, we have to be certain an influencer can deliver the same or better results, right?

Final Thoughts on Reviews, Influencers.

To be honest, you really ought to have review systems in order before thinking about paying a mouthpiece to promote your brand. Capturing reviews from the customers they send your way is invaluable. Likes and shares really don’t mean a lot anymore guys. Getting people to convert and share their experience or value is what doing business is all about. If it was easy, everyone would do it. 

In my opinion, even the smallest of budgets can fund a solid idea that involves customer testimonials and a prominent plug. Who says you have to invest in a review strategy or influencer marketing? Why can’t you do both? It just takes a little effort and creativity to piece a good idea together. So don’t be so quick to jump the gun! Be purposeful with everything you do and always remember to PreFocus.