Quality: everybody wants it, but what is it?

“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.”  Aristotle  

“Everybody wants to be on TV.”  Marshall Thompson

In photography, film and video, great art and garbage both spring from the same tools.  As the tools of image production and distribution get cheaper and more widely available what is the result?  Is there more art or more dreck?  Professional communicators will use whatever tool will get their message across to the greatest number of people in their target demographic

Cheap digital camcorders linked with YouTube make everyone a content producer.   A lot of it is funny and engaging, shocking or repellant, and in today’s culture these are the items that get the widest circulation.  If an item is attractive to a diffuse and broad audience, does it make sense to go after your stakeholders in this scatter-shot approach?  Perhaps not.

In this lowest-common denominator of production, can the case for quality in PR and advertising production still be made?  Yes it can, and a comparison can be made with fast food and great cuisine.  If a short piece of video has a funny or shocking bite to it, it gets sent around to a lot of people.  You receive it, consume it and then you are ready for the next segment.  In video the picture can be fuzzy and the sound quality poor but if the sticky elements of surprise, embarrassment (think disgraced California Assemblyman Mike Duvall), pratfall or clever remark are there, the defects in production quality are ignored.  It becomes a largely forgettable experience, like fast food. 

Great media experiences are remembered and cherished and can become an integral part of our culture.  The point is, do you want your brand to be linked to a pratfall or flatulence joke – perhaps you do! – or to a video that tells your story with great photography, clear and well-mixed soundtrack and compelling graphics?  Then there are budget concerns to confront as well in this dreary economy.

PR video is not generally considered the realm of great art but instances like the iconic “Harry and Louise” TV couple worried about Hillary Care in the 1990s had a great message and  Hollywood quality video and audio production values.  Twenty years later, knock-offs are still surfacing to support or oppose big ticket political items.

The challenge today is to support you or your client’s message with a quality, engaging, informative and memorable video that has punch and a solid call to action.  Plus, you have to pull it off with a lean budget.  And with stakeholders increasingly coming from diverse communities, your producer’s ability to communicate in both English and Spanish is no longer optional.

Quality in the writing and technical production of your project directly reflects on you and your client.  Viewers will take away important impressions as to the validity of your message and the integrity of the clients you represent, based on both the content and the way you put the video together.  Think:  once released into the waters of the Internet, those images are impossible to retrieve.  Quality will never embarrass you.

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7 Responses to “Quality: everybody wants it, but what is it?”

  1. marilyn Says:

    You go PR Videoguy!

  2. Susan Says:

    Marshall has worked on many projects over the years and taught a number of classes for me. He’s right – quality is critical. Here’s a new promo video he did for me that i can send to TV reporters as an email link without being embarrassed. Jump for the Cause Promo http://bit.ly/RfzFn

  3. Pamela C. Says:

    All very valid points. It’s critical to be able to rise above the information pipeline clutter in which we navigate daily.

  4. Rick Says:

    Quality is not only in the finished product – but also in the professionalism in the team interaction while the project is being completed. That ensures smooth sailing and promotes creative thinking and solutions. Those are PR Video hallmarks.

  5. prvideoguy Says:

    Rick is totally right because video and film productions are collaborative by their very nature: it’s a team thing from the conceptual stage through the writing, production organization, assembling the production team for the shoots and all the other steps leading to a successful finished project. Not to get overly romantic, but there can be beauty in the doing of the thing. Plus you have to keep foremost in mind what the client’s communications goals are and closely shepard the budget.

  6. Linda Says:

    Absolutely correct-I am beyond tired of video that targets the worst in people- horrific acts of violence and cruelty to others, seamy sexual videos, concentrating on drunken people and anyone that can be ridiculed or embarassed. As a country we seem less concerned with compassion than with degredation. Quality is not what is sought- and it is a pity. You can be proud of your work- which so few can say anyonymore.Bravo fratello!!

  7. jim Says:

    Well said and well defended! True quality in video and film last past the weekend! Tell the story with intelligence and integrity. It works!

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