High-End Retail Business Video: DHR Guitar Experience

Not long ago, DHR Guitar Experience found themselves in quick need of an overview video for their retail store and online business. I received their call on a Friday and a week later the finished video was being shared online.

 

I could tell that DHR Guitar Experience was an exceptional business from the first moment I stepped inside. The beauty of the guitars and the renovated house used to display them, along with the warm and welcoming atmosphere, made me feel immediately at home, as did owner Dale Rabiner and staffers Terry and Chris.

As with every project, we started with a discussion about the business and the key points. What really stood out to me were the warm atmosphere, the quality of the inventory (including handcrafted guitars from premier luthiers), and Dale’s passion for the business (and, specifically, left-handed guitars). My notes from the discussion were then converted into a two-page guide for the shoot.

In creating narration for video, I most often prefer to casually interview subjects in order to receive genuine responses, as opposed to working with tightly scripted words. It’s so much better if subjects are prompted to relay their message naturally and in their own words. That’s what I refer to as the “friendly, editorial style” of Talkington Media, as opposed to canned marketing techniques. Today’s savvy media consumers can definitely tell the difference between an honest, authentic story and heavy-handed advertising.

I am pleased to report that Dale dubbed the finished video “Fantastic!” and we’ve already launched into additional projects, including recent two-camera coverage of the DHR Guitar Experience grand opening celebration event.

Are you a business in need of video detailing your products or services? Or a nonprofit that seeks to motivate decision makers, members, or donors with online video? I am always happy and available to discuss your needs and potential solutions.

Sincerely,

Jim T.

Video Storytelling : University of Cincinnati Cultural Diversity and Inclusion

I recently completed a video for the University of Cincinnati to reward the Department of Chemistry for the success of their cultural diversity and inclusion initiative. Through strategic and deliberate efforts beginning in 2005, the UC chemistry program has effectively elevated their program by broadening diversity. 

 

Since this video was conceived as a reward for the department, they were instrumental in helping guide the message. When asked what they, as a department, would like to convey, they didn’t hesitate: “fun” and “family” would be the operative words. The Office of the Provost, the presenters of the award, desired an inspirational model for other departments to follow. The marketing department wanted a piece that would appeal to a diversity of potential students.

I am happy to report that the video has been celebrated by all invested parties and recognized for its realistic storytelling. In addition to filming at the university, we also attended a couple of timely external events to add variety and perspective to the footage. A microsite celebrating diversity is also being discussed as part of the project, where complete interviews and unused footage can be further leveraged.

As your business or nonprofit budgets for online marketing, let this be a reminder of the power of video in telling the story of your key priorities and initiatives. What are you currently working on? I would enjoy any opportunity to discuss your ideas and the possibilities.

Sincerely,

Jim T. 

Video for Nonprofit Organizations : Bringing theatre arts to underserved middle schools

I firmly believe that the arts are an essential component of every child's education, so this project has been especially gratifying. It has also been quite familiar, as I am the former Director of New Media for the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), the sponsoring organization.  

The JumpStart Theatre pilot program was launched in the 2015-2016 school year in order to create sustainable theatre arts programs in middle schools where there currently are none. Three schools in the Greater Cincinnati area were chosen for the program's initial year and this video documents that journey. 

Happily, both the JumpStart Theatre initiative and the resulting video have received universal praise from those invested. Looking back at the creation of this video, it is easy to identify a few key elements that I feel contribute to the effectiveness. 

1. Early planning and investment in the video process.  It was a strategic decision to periodically document the first year of the program. Footage collected throughout the year was shared quarterly with invested parties (donors, board, staff) as welcomed program updates. Then, at the conclusion, all of the assets were on hand to create the comprehensive overview video shown. 

2. A collaborative client/vendor relationship. Being a first-year program, there was no ready template for how to tell this story. The truly collaborative relationship between Talkington Media and EdTA allowed us to evolve the storytelling together in order to meet objectives. For example, the script for this video was an initial draft by EdTA that was refined together. They also provided the voiceover talent. 

3. An editorial approach to coverage (as opposed to a large commercial production). I often work with a small team or as a solo filmmaker, which allows capturing genuine moments and commentary without the distractions of a larger production team. Stitching together the sincere and unrehearsed commentary of the subjects, collected over time, is a key component to the story. 

Do you have a story that needs telling? Or questions on how video can benefit you, your business, or nonprofit organization? Please do not hesitate to let me know by email or phone. 

Thanks,
Jim T. 

513-519-8587

jim@talkingtonmedia.com

 

Welcome Spring 2016 short animation

After discovering our family movie camera at the age of ten, some of my first films were stop motion animations. Forgotten G.I. Joe and Evel Knievel action figures were dug back out of boxes and pressed into service as character actors, often battling clay monsters on distant, papier mache planets.

Under hot movie lights I would click the shutter once, adjust the figure, click it again, make another move, and so on, in order to create motion. Exposure values were determined by the film instruction sheet ("use f11 with the lights five feet from the subject") and periodically the camera's spring crank required rewinding. Yes, all of that was tedious for a ten-year-old but it wasn't the hardest part of the process. Waiting two weeks for Kodak to return the fully processed film (about two and a half minutes of run time) always seemed like the greatest challenge. 

I fell in love with the stop motion process way back then and, though the tools are largely digital now instead of mechanical, my fondness for the process has never waned. So it was with great enthusiasm that my friend Michelle Blades (of Bird in the Attic Studio) and I starting talking about creating an animation a couple years ago. Her characters are brilliant and full of life just sitting still...imagine giving one life through motion. 

The idea remained just that until we met again this January, determined to make it happen. That's when the concept of celebrating spring came up. Not only did we like the idea, it came with its own built-in deadline - March 20, 2016 - the first day of spring. Given the short timeline, the film would have to be fairly simple and the major work would need done over a couple weekends. Fortunately, our mutual tastes run toward an organic feel rather than high polish. Though it wasn't said, I think we both just hoped to create - in a word - something "charming." And I think we did just that. 

Thanks, Michelle, for a great first animation project. Here's to the next! 

- Jim T.