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Topic: Turning Raw Footage into Promo
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Aug 12, 2013 08:06PM)
I have footage of several grandstand shows done this summer -- and I want to create a promo video out of them. Aside from suggesting that I source local editors, any thoughts on how to get this developed? What have YOU had good luck with?

David
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Aug 12, 2013 08:19PM)
How's the audio?
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Aug 12, 2013 09:47PM)
Not awful....pretty good actually.

David
Message: Posted by: Dimitri Mystery Artist (Aug 12, 2013 10:41PM)
I think you have answered yourself...
hire a professional to do the work.

Dimitri
Message: Posted by: Michael Messing (Aug 13, 2013 06:37AM)
David, Are you asking what software we have used? If so, I have had great success using iMovie to make my videos.
Message: Posted by: Scott Burton (Aug 13, 2013 09:41AM)
Is it just me, or is the culture changing in that people expect to see some longer performance clips on youtube? In addition to a demo video, I think some unedited raw clips would be good too to have on-line. I'm interested if others agree or not.
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Aug 13, 2013 10:42AM)
I've been 20+ years without a promo video. Strange, huh? So now that I've decided it's time to make one I've really immersed myself in the process. I've spent a lot of time over the past few days watching promos from various performers -- mentalists as well as magicians. And here's the thing: many of them look the same to me. Funny/amazing/shocking moments followed by testimonials from the audience and/or clients.

As I watch, I find myself trying to see both the performers and their sales messsage through the eyes of a potential client. What do THEY see? It's a pretty important question, since THEY are the whole purpose of a demo, right? So I lined up ten promos in a row and watched them from beginning to end. I was struck again by the notion that they were all being made by the same company -- or at least created from the same script...or based on the same idea set.

What IS the purpose of a promo piece? To show the client the flavor and professionalism of a performer AND to intrigue them enough to be favorably disposed toward booking the performer. It's the same way I see my websites.

When I watched all ten of the promos I sat back and tried to list what things really stood out to me: was there one performer that I remembered well -- perhaps by something he'd done...or not done? Not distinctly. There were snatches I remembered...impressions of things I liked.

As I did this, I also tried to put myself into the mindset of a busy client or event planner with a million things to do. I'm mindful that they sift through many of these each day...and that the final impression is just a mish mash of images and people that just kind of swirl together.

It was an interesting perspective.

There were one or two entertainers I liked better than the rest -- but this was on the strength of their live presentations -- not the structure or the script of the promo piece.

I do know the things I liked and didn't like, though:

Music MOST of the time detracted from the power of the video. Too often the music felt "tossed in" and it was like a tap dancing hippo. It kept drawing my attention away from the main message. When the music WAS used well, it had a huge impact on the piece.

I found the optimal time to be about 3.5 minutes. This gave me a good sense for who the performers were without letting my attention wander.

I didn't like promos that used too much text. I was surprised how often this happened. Why scroll endless lines of text across the screen when it is already a visual medium?

I liked performance pieces that were about 45 seconds long -- enough to give me a taste for what was happening and ended just before I had had enough. AND I liked segments where several performances of the same effect were shown with different reactions from different people.

I DIDN'T like gratuitous use of special effects and/or sound effects. This resulted in more D.H.S. ("Dancing Hippo Syndrome")

My question wasn't so much about software -- although the recommendations are appreciated. It was more about trying to develop something unique, trying to turn raw footage into a video with a distinct flavor -- something that would stand out.

Just a pile of thoughts that tell me that once again I am at the bottom of yet another steep learning curve.

I love my job. :)

David
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 13, 2013 10:54AM)
Here is some "general advice".

If the audio is not up to standard but "OK" don't use it. This is simple. If you don't care enough to get the thing done to standards, what is a customer to inturpret that into how you do other things?

OK if you want to get a video done here is how you go about it. THINK about what you want the video to be. Put it together in your head. Storyboard the thing. Seriously. Then don't HOPE you get those shots in your show but rather CREATE them in the show and make sure a video guy is there for you. It may take you 5 tapings or more to get those moments done right, but then when you do the result is a video with the quality all the way through up to your standards.

Also one thing NOT to do is EVER send one with the hope that people know it will be better in your show. People only know what they see and what they hear.
Message: Posted by: Bazinga (Aug 13, 2013 01:07PM)
David Thiel and Dannydoyle,

Those two posts are perhaps the best I've read here in a long time.

I'm in a similar situation as David. I had my first show 42 years ago and have yet to use a video to get gigs. I have a few handfuls of film and video, including that first gig. I personally think most of them suck. In some of them I look and sound tired. But with David's post I have a list of what to look for, not just in those but in future shows.

And with Danny's advice I have good reminders to be conscience of setting up future shows to look better.

It really helps to be reminded of those things and see them said with different words.

Thank you both,
Bazinga!
Message: Posted by: patrick1515 (Aug 13, 2013 06:27PM)
Although I disagree with a few of David's "likes and dislikes", it is refreshing to see how much time and effort he has put into pre-production. Danny Doyle offered up some great advise also. One bit I might add to the discussion would be to rent a venue or set-up a controlled studio. Invite a crowd of family/friends and previous clients to a free show (think L&L audience) then you can "cast your audience", control their wardrobe and how they will appear on camera. You will be able to have complete control over the lighting, the sound quality and can utilize multiple cameras. And best of all with video shoot everything 2 or 3 times allowing you plenty of footage to get creative in the editing room.
Message: Posted by: DWRackley (Aug 14, 2013 02:50PM)
David, I appreciate your starting this thread. One of my biggest frustrations has been that I can't get enough footage to make a demo (usually because of the audio), although this is HIGH on my list. Seeing your thoughts on what does and doesn’t work for you is extremely helpful in choosing from what I am able to do. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Aug 14, 2013 09:50PM)
I find this very interesting as I have some definite strong beliefs about this as both a performer and agency owner that views and receives hundreds of demos per year. While I will refrain from offering my true full opinions, I will say what most consider "industry standards" or the norm are not what I would ever accept or adhere to. Too many today create a demo for the wrong reasons without a true understanding of it's use. They make it for them, for their needs, likes and beliefs. A demo is not meant for you it's meant for those that have an interest or need in potentially booking your services, therefore it is them and these interests for which it should be created.

With that said, any self recorded or unprofessionally captured video is usually useless to what is needed or required. Forget about your video camera being operated by a friend or spouse or on a tripod (not David, but in general - David's wife is a photog and may be an exception to the generalization). That will rarely ever capture what is truly needed. If you are going to be serious about a demo, hire and trust professionals to do this. As Danny said, you may want to capture an actual performance but it should be predetermined what you want, how it should look and the logistics required to make it happen, to actually create it within your performance. Don't expect it to be done by recording a single show. Once you have the footage you want, then the entire rest of the project comes down to post production (editing). Again, this is what can make your footage come to life. If audio or video needs sweetening this is where it happens. Consistent audio levels is important. Proper cuts and edits that our minds are subconsciously tuned to. This should not be something you get intimidated by, if it is a tool in your success, you need to embrace it, accept it, and become comfortable with it.

If you are relying on a demo to get bookings or representation, this can be one of the most important investments you can make in yourself and your business. Again, if you feel the demo is necessary.

Personally I haven't had a demo in years (12-15) as I believe if you know how to position and offer yourself, and depending on the markets you choose, it is not always as necessary as many think. A demo, like a web site will do nothing on it's own. It's what you physically do with it that determines your actual and expected results.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 15, 2013 08:05AM)
To follow up on mindpros wonderful post I must say I have not had a demo for a LOOOOONG time.

It can be about positioning. I have thousands of hours OF video as I record every show.

So the first thing is to ask why you are doing it? That helps frame everything else.
Message: Posted by: Robin4Kids (Aug 15, 2013 08:25AM)
I think that a professionally produced video (of a good entertainer) is especially important for kids entertainers. It becomes an educational tool to help sell those parents that have never experienced a magician at a birthday party. Their concept of your magic show may be based on seeing magicians on tv that are more aimed at adults. You can tell them all you want to about how your show is going to be fun for the kids, but nothing seals the deal any better than them seeing the kids in your video laughing and having a great time. In a market where magicians are commonplace at birthday parties or you have been around so long that your reputation and word of mouth sells your show... then a video may not be so important. But if someone is trying to decide who to hire and you have a well-produced video and your competition doesn't, I believe the odds of you getting hired are much better.
Message: Posted by: Red Shadow (Aug 15, 2013 09:34AM)
This is my latest promo: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=X1zBIfR--Ho

What I've learnt since making video promos since 2007.

1: It requires at least five different performances on video to make a decent promo. Basically, you want different backgrounds to show that you do lots of shows and so that the image varies a lot. It also helps to have the camera at a different angle each time so that when editing clips next to each other, there is a visual change in the viewing angle. If they all come from the same angle it just looks wrong.

2: You don't need a pro camera crew, family and friends holding the camera will do for what you want from the footage. Some of my videos had the camera left on the windowsill sat still for the entire show. 95% of the footage was useless, but that 5% which made it was golden. Because you only going to be after seconds from each video, you should be able to get that from what your family can get.

3. If you use multiple cameras, try and keep the video settings the same. All widescreen, at the same resolution. Don't bother with HD, its more trouble than its worth. Stick to standard video settings to make your life headache free in the edit suite. If you get footage recorded on an iPhone, make sure its in landscape view (not horizontal). You will have trouble matching video formats later for editing but any footage you can get is better than none.

4. If you can educate the camera operator before the show, ask them to limit zooming in and out like a madman. Its better they walk forwards and backwards if possible for technical reasons. Zooming isn't a big problem and can sometimes work, but more often than not, its not worth dealing with it. Tell them to try and capture audience reactions but keep you in the frame of the shot. Footage of a laughing child looks good, but only when its clear to the viewer that you were the one that made them laugh. If possible, ask them to change positions (unless you have multiple cameras) between the tricks. The varying camera angle will help you later in editing. Go through your entire show with them and point out certain times that are defiantly needed on tape like your big ending. You don't want them to be changing tapes in the camera during your finish so let them know what tricks are less visual and better times for tape changing or battery changing.

5. Visual tricks are key. Mentalism is useless and you want the magic to be visible without you having to say anything. So go through your show and perform the most visual tricks you can. If during those five shows you could do all different tricks, you will be rewarded with more options when its comes to editing it together later. But I understand that wont be an option for everyone.

6. If you can, control your sound. In the above video, I was working next to a generator powering a bouncy castle. It was so noisy that even with my microphone it was tough for the audience to hear me. I can do wonders in the editing process, but I'm not a miracle worker. At the set, turn off all electronic devises that you can, especially fridges. They are an invisible noise that the human ear has learned to ignore but the camera amplifies badly.
If the footage you got was bad for sound (like mine), you can cover the 'hum' with music.

7. Choose the right music for you. The music sets the tone and atmosphere and is crucial to the viewer watching past the ten second mark. Avoid music with lyrics or sends the wrong message. There are lots of great royalty free tracks you can buy from audiojungle. I've seen promos without music, and they simply don't sell the performer enough in my opinion.

8. Having said that, like suggested above it doesn't hurt to have an unedited live performance of one effect from your show to place on your website with the promo. That footage would have to be well chosen and show you in the best possible way. Avoid static camera clips if possible and do edit it with an intro and outro leading to your website.

9. Length should be around the 2 minute mark for the promo. Just enough to make them interested. If the song you choose is around this length, then edit it with the music and find points where the clip your watching blends seeming with the song.

10. If you host on YouTube and embed the video in your site, deactivate the rating and comment options. Its not worth dealing with bad comments and constant people asking you 'what is the name of your music?'.

11. Editing programs come in a variety of difficulty levels and price tags. Windows movie maker will do a sufficient job and is free but lacks placing layer over layer which limits what you can do with the promo. I use adobe premier cs3 but it took me years to master and I'm still learning.

12. At the show, try and set-up under a room light to give you better illumination. Avoid windows like the plague as back lighting will stick you in silhouette. Watch what's behind you, as you don't want to get visually lost in front of a loud background or some woman walking a dog in the field behind you during your show. In the real world, we block these things out, but on camera they are very noticeable. If you know how to white balance, don't forget to do it.

13. In most cases, keep the camera on auto settings. It may mean you get some soft shots and focus issues on the tape. But your only after segments anyway and I've learnt that unless the camera operators knows what there doing and understands the camera your giving them, your more likely to get better end footage with the auto settings.

14. A picture is worth a thousand words. Don't overload the video with text for the client to read, that's what your website is for. The video is suppose to be something they watch, not read. A website address and your name will often suffice.

15. Save your project constantly while editing as video editing software have a high crash rate and don't auto save. Also save it often under a new filename each time, as some crashes can corrupt the original file and destroy all your work, no matter how many saves you did. Working with video is often a strain on a pc computer especially.


That's it for now. Good luck and don't expect perfection first time out. Like magic, editing and video production takes years of practice. We may live in a word of instant gratification, but you didn't master the double-lift in five minutes, so don't expect to be making broadcast quality video on your very first try.

Steve
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 15, 2013 09:56AM)
All of that might be great for kids performers, but the direction of what is produced there might not cut it in other markets.

I could not disagree more with not having professional video camera operators. They are worth the expense. They have an eye for framing, they have an eye for light and contrast and you can get some fantastic shots. It really can make a difference.

Also the problem with an all music video like this is simply that they have no idea who YOU are. It is a showcase of your video editing skills more than what it is you are selling. After that video nobody has even heard you utter a single word. They are buying YOU and hiring YOU and that is what should be showcased in a good video that is designed to sell YOU.

Keep in mind I have NO idea how kids performance works. I have no idea what a good kids show video would look like. I just know that in other markets this type of video might need to be a lot different to be effective.
Message: Posted by: Red Shadow (Aug 15, 2013 10:03AM)
A little old now, but here is my close-up adult promo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IJzrbBsx0E
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 15, 2013 10:09AM)
Yes it seems to have the same thought process.
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Aug 15, 2013 11:00AM)
The more I work on this project, the more I realize it's one of those Really Big Jobs.

On the one hand you have Steven with a number of clips that just show kids and the performer having fun. The whole emphasis is on the interaction between the performer and his audience. An outstanding video geared to people looking to book a kids performer. This promo tells me that I'm going to get a guy who likes kids...a performer the kids like back. I really enjoyed this one because it did exactly what it was supposed to do. It made me smile.

Steven's promo is light years better than some I've seen. Many have horrid lighting, unintelligible sound and camera people who are just at the beginning stages of some sort of seizure. We can call this "anti-promo."

On the other extreme are those WAY over-produced promos aimed at the corporate market. Honestly I don't like these a lot better. Special effects, ballsy voice overs, perfect camera angles. While I understand why they are made this way, they so often don't show me the performer's unique heart.

Then Danny posed an interesting question: "Why are you doing it?"

I see no actual business reason for this other than to show a prospective client the performer in a real world situation. A good promo answers the unspoken question: "What am I going to get with this person?"

Honestly, I find that many of the videos (is that an old guy word?) I've seen lately -- and I've watched a LOT of them -- really obscure the answer to that question. I see words...I see testimonials...I see corporate logos and supernovas exploding. But my honest sense is that these really tend to get in the way of introducing me, the potential client, to the performer.

Isn't that what a promo REALLY is about? Aren't you trying to interest the client in booking YOU?

I can see from the way the performer carries himself, the way he treats his volunteers, the way the audience responds to him -- what caliber of performer he is. Testimonials help -- but I think most savvy clients know it's not too difficult for a half-way decent performer to get someone to say nice things.

How about a reasonably well produced "real world" performance clip? No words...no narration...no testimonial -- just a performer doing his thing. And YES...I realize this is not a full promo package...but it does seem to satisfy many of the criteria.

What do you guys think?

David
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 15, 2013 11:06AM)
David you hit the nail on the head.

SO many want to showcase their video editing skills they lose site of the fact that it is about them. They lose the personality they are selling.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Aug 15, 2013 11:36AM)
If your going to do it yourself I suggest is getting good editing software. And edit the live footage yourself. If you decide check out the people at the local cable axis station in your town. They may be able to help take footage that is better than a guy with a camera at a party - taking footage.

If you are really serious about video and doing your own. I would suggest taking a class at the local axis cable station in town. When I wanted to do DVDs and edit my own video. That is what I did. These local axis statins produce local TV for the local station. When I took my class it was free.

I learned how to storyboard the project and how to frame shots and a lot of TV know how.

You should also learn how to edit for show business. The problem I have had with people that edit that are not magicians is - many people in TV have no idea just how to video tape magic and edit. You knowing how to edit is an advantage even if you are not doing the work.

Also taking a class in axis cable TV might also give you some contacts that you can use for a promo video.

Here is my old video promo from my web site. I use this to sell my hypnosis show.

http://www.glennbishopproductions.com/video/hyp.wmv

Here is my magic video promo

http://www.glennbishopproductions.com/video/glennbishopcastle.wmv

I hope this helps
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Aug 15, 2013 11:47AM)
[quote]
On 2013-08-15 12:36, bishthemagish wrote:

If you are really serious about video and doing your own. I would suggest taking a class at the local axis cable station in town. When I wanted to do DVDs and edit my own video. That is what I did. These local axis statins produce local TV for the local station. When I took my class it was free.

I learned how to storyboard the project and how to frame shots and a lot of TV know how.

You should also learn how to edit for show business. The problem I have had with people that edit that are not magicians is - many people in TV have no idea just how to video tape magic and edit. You knowing how to edit is an advantage even if you are not doing the work
[/quote]

This was the kind of advice gurus gave in the 80's. It was poor advice then and still is nor. Local Cable Access is run by amateurs, interns and beginners. They are the last people I'd go to for advice or a professional job. Today's do-it-yourself software is much better than their level of work. Even their classes teach only the basics.

I do agree the video should be created for the intended viewer not the performer. That's why you must start backwards with the markets you are specifically targeting, what they need, want or expect and tailor your project to them the recipient, buyer.

In this youtube generation the old "MTV-style" format of quick cuts and editing is a thing of the past (so are testimonials in my opinion). Even if I received a well-produced demo from someone I was interested in I'd still want to see a complete performance in many situations. It's quite common knowledge anyone can make anything look good, appealing and exciting in 3-4 minutes, but there's so much that this type of demo doesn't show.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Aug 15, 2013 12:05PM)
[quote]
On 2013-08-15 12:47, Mindpro wrote:
This was the kind of advice gurus gave in the 80's. It was poor advice then and still is nor. Local Cable Access is run by amateurs, interns and beginners. They are the last people I'd go to for advice or a professional job. Today's do-it-yourself software is much better than their level of work. Even their classes teach only the basics.
[/quote]
I am laughing out loud at this post.

Television axis does teach the basics - a foundation. If one wants to learn video it is still in my opinion a great way to start. And through TV axis I did meet different people from local TV and went on from there. That were not television axis people.

[quote]
On 2013-08-15 12:47, Mindpro wrote:
I do agree the video should be created for the intended viewer not the performer. That's why you must start backwards with the markets you are specifically targeting, what they need, want or expect and tailor your project to them the recipient, buyer.
[/quote]
Basic advertising - and I also think that magicians should study and get at least a basic level of advertising. And I do think that basic cable axis falls into this - if one wants to start and get a basic idea of television and video.
[quote]
On 2013-08-15 12:47, Mindpro wrote:
In this youtube generation the old "MTV-style" format of quick cuts and editing is a thing of the past (so are testimonials in my opinion). Even if I received a well-produced demo from someone I was interested in I'd still want to see a complete performance in many situations. It's quite common knowledge anyone can make anything look good, appealing and exciting in 3-4 minutes, but there's so much that this type of demo doesn't show.
[/quote]
So what you are saying is that you book acts, shows?

A video is nothing more than a teaser - a taste of the show. It should make the client (in my opinion) want to see more. I don't book acts - and I do not work for agents because I have yet to meet an agent that meets with my old school high standards of the way I do business.

A video is in my opinion and always should be a short segment to show talent of the artist.

Not to make a client that is looking for reason's not to book someone find fault with an artist.

I hope this helps.

Cheers!
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 15, 2013 03:17PM)
I am confused. Is it cable axis or "access"?
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Aug 15, 2013 04:06PM)
[quote]
On 2013-08-15 16:17, Dannydoyle wrote:
I am confused. Is it cable axis or "access"?
[/quote]
You and everyone else it is most likely access.

To me and my dyslexic mind it can be axis or many other ways depending on how my brain intakes data that day.

However I am not one that regards people that make correction of spelling and grammar on internet forums in high regard (unless it is the monitors). Especially when in my opinion some often do it to insult.

Nice try - yet again. Still did not work.

My opinion!
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 15, 2013 04:18PM)
Hey dude I was ASKING BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW.

Can't you answer a simple question without taking offense? It was a simple question. I have never seen it spelled before so I asked which it was as I thought it was another.

Get over yourself.

I have never ONCE made a spelling post of another. NOT ONCE. Now you accuse me of it? Lame, very lame. It shows YOUR agenda and paranoia and self centered attitude toward everything.

See Glenn the only way I learn is when I don't know something I ASK QUESTIONS and LISTEN TO THE ANSWER. Not high on your priority list I know as you are the worlds foremost authority on EVERYTHING. But we mere mortals are forced to do this.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Aug 15, 2013 05:44PM)
[quote]
On 2013-08-15 17:18, Dannydoyle wrote:
Hey dude I was ASKING BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW.

Can't you answer a simple question without taking offense? It was a simple question. I have never seen it spelled before so I asked which it was as I thought it was another.

Get over yourself.

I have never ONCE made a spelling post of another. NOT ONCE. Now you accuse me of it? Lame, very lame. It shows YOUR agenda and paranoia and self centered attitude toward everything.

See Glenn the only way I learn is when I don't know something I ASK QUESTIONS and LISTEN TO THE ANSWER. Not high on your priority list I know as you are the worlds foremost authority on EVERYTHING. But we mere mortals are forced to do this.
[/quote]

Nice try - again.

I thought you would know by now at this late date that nothing winds me up. And this above is nothing more than your opinion of me. However as you said in another thread about facebook. When you called a person oh wizard of wise - you don't know me - and know nothing about me.

Cheers!
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 15, 2013 05:54PM)
Don't derail yet another thread because you imagine people are saying things they are not please.

Nobody is trying to wind you up. I asked a question. You took offense because you made an incorrect assumption about my question. That is all on you buddy. Nobody is trying to wind you up. I don't care enough about you to even try. I thought that should be clear.

Just stop assuming things. It makes life easier. (Incidentally it was "wizard of smart".

And Glenn I know nothing about you and it makes me smile. So please stop.

Though I know you are a last word sort of guy so go ahead. I know you can't resist. (Another thing nobody knows about you LOL.)
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 15, 2013 05:55PM)
Now that the paranoia is out of the way lets talk about video editing and why it is or is not useful.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Aug 15, 2013 06:02PM)
[quote]
On 2013-08-15 18:55, Dannydoyle wrote:
Now that the paranoia is out of the way
[/quote]
Nice try again - why don't you go back to name calling?

This reminds me of buskers all over again. Please remember I can't be wound up so you can insult me all you want to. Any insults directed toward me has no effect on me - and in my opinion it makes me look good.
[quote]
On 2013-08-15 18:55, Dannydoyle wrote:
lets talk about video editing and why it is or is not useful.
[/quote]
Again I take the high road.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 15, 2013 06:17PM)
Yes you look great. Lets talk video.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Aug 15, 2013 06:54PM)
I always look great because I can't be insulted because the insult has no effect on me. Being called paranoid or to GET OVER MYSELF and this kind of posting (See Glenn the only way I learn is when I don't know something I ASK QUESTIONS and LISTEN TO THE ANSWER. Not high on your priority list I know as you are the worlds foremost authority on EVERYTHING. But we mere mortals are forced to do this) is a worthless waste of time because it has no effect on me.

People seem to want to do this in my opinion because they have some sort of agenda. Or they want to get back at me. Or they just want to put me down because they want to act like they are right - or cooler - or have more knowledge about magic etc. (my opinion).

However I have found over the years that people that do this are usually the one’s with the problem. The advantage I have is that I book and do show under my own business plan. Just as I post my opinion coming from my own point of view. Even when others seem to want to wind me up.

Do you have a video?

The only reason I have a video is because I have a web site. Those large packs of promo I used to send out with a video tape. Was replaced by a web site.

Granted my video is about 10 years old and needs to be up-dated. However when I did edit my video I sent it on DVD to Bev Bergeron who played Rebo the clown on the Magical Land of Alakazam for a thumbs up on if it would sell me.

My way of doing video is based on show them several shows in a montage. Then slow down and show segments with "laughter" and situation comedy (more laughter). And end with laughter and hopefully after the edit the client wants to see more - so I give contact info. My web site.

I hope this helps.
Message: Posted by: Benji Bruce (Aug 15, 2013 07:04PM)
Rule number one of making a good demo video is....don't make it yourself. Just because you can edit video doesn't mean you can make a demo video.

Here is my demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yqhszLsnIs

And here is where I go into a lot of detail about creating a demo video: http://www.paidtoperform.com/demo-video-structure/

My demo was made from footage that was recorded with several cameras (the guy editing the demo didn't film anything except the b-roll footage of me on the white background). Some were professional (like the Remax & Fox News clips) and others were just done with a phone or normal camera. The footage was sent to a pro and he edited it perfectly to fit my style.

If you follow the demo structure I listed on the Paid To Perform site then it's much easier to get a good demo.

From the very start, you must have social proof. When the demo starts, the viewer should immediately know it was done by a pro (on my demo, you see the quick cuts on a white background with voice overs so you can tell it was professionally made). But if your demo starts with a logo of you, your name, etc, then the viewer isn't invested in you yet to even care. Top event planners can tell a professional demo from the first 10 seconds.

As the demo continues, you need to include pattern interrupts (every 90 seconds or so) because that is the time our attention spans wane. The pattern interrupts bring it back.

The testimonials in your demo must borrow from the social proof of the person giving the testimonial. It's much better to have a testimonial from a CEO than from a random person. And the footage itself should show more of the response you get rather than the routine itself. It should also show the crowd, not a close up of you (When you're in front of a crowd of 500, it makes you look better).

There's a lot more info about demo's but you should always find someone to edit your demo for you. Not only does it free up your time to do other stuff for your business but you get a better demo in the long run.

With that in mind, if you can't afford to hire a pro, don't try to make a demo...just make a video with quick cuts like this... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmqUO2HLc0w

You'll notice that video wasn't meant to be a "demo video." It was just meant to be a collection of reactions.

In short, hire a pro.
Message: Posted by: jugglery (Aug 15, 2013 10:36PM)
One thing to keep in mind is that most viewers don't use their imaginations when watching the video. So, a video of you doing exclusively grandstand entertainment will be great for booking more grandstand entertainment.

It probably won't be good for booking corporate events or schools, or what have you. What people see on the video is what they will expect from you in real life.

So, great for grandstands. If you want to promote to other venues, it would be best to use footage that matches the venue that you wish to market to.

Seems like obvious advice, but many performers overlook the obvious.

Make your marketing fit the market.

Best of luck with your video project.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Aug 16, 2013 12:55AM)
Benji offers some great advice on video.
Message: Posted by: MagicJim (Aug 17, 2013 12:32AM)
I was always struggling to get good quality raw footage. Promo videos are important. There are a lot of things to think about... angle of effect, angle towards audience to gather their reactions, scheduling of a professional videographer, and the scheduling of a videographer with the ability to be energetic to gather video testimonials after the show.

Here is my latest promo video. I did hire a professional videographer at one of the two locations. I gave my best effort at editing it. Not sure if I should gather more footage and/or hire professional video editors...
Jim
Here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMcB3gQ9CyA&feature=youtu.be
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Aug 17, 2013 04:32PM)
I enjoyed your demo very much, Jim. Cleanly photographed and very precise in its message. Thank you for sharing it here.

David
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Aug 17, 2013 05:02PM)
Good points jugglery.

I am not a fan of doing testimonials in a video. To me a video is nothing more than selling like a movie trailer would sell a movie. Why send anyone the whole show? Unless it is for a special client or a special show date. Which would be only once or twice.

Testimonials slow the video down in my opinion and if the magician shows the same people saying different things over and over again. I think that it is like showing segments of the same show over and over again. Like the person did just one show and got that one show on video.

To me having a montage of several shows and different audiences - shows the that the performer has been performing for a while. Doing shows in different venues helps - then show some entertainment - and as I like to - let them listen to the laughter.

In my opinion - audience laughter sells.

Again - one size does not fit all - I a just saying what has worked for me.

Cheers!
Message: Posted by: Jon Mac (Dec 18, 2013 03:14AM)
I'm a novice magician, but I've been involved in video production for a long time. I'll leave the content issues to others, but I might (hopefully) have some helpful input regarding the technical side of things. I've worked in video production for many years and my current day job is encoding Blu-ray video for Hollywood studios.

The big question is how much you are willing to spend. You need to decide the worth of the video to YOU. It's like any other business expense. Obviously you want the most bang for the buck.

If you want to DIY, then you'll need to learn some skills that I'll go into later, but if you don't have the time or inclination, then you'll need to hire a pro (or make friends with somebody who has skills and access to equipment.) Freelance videographers (or talented film students) are often willing to barter. Maybe you can work out a trade.

Think backwards, i.e. want do you want as your end result? Even though you might just want a video for web use, the higher quality you start out with with mean a better end result. If your goal is a YouTube video, it is still best if you shoot in HD. The reason for this is that the video will be compressed once it goes online. Watch a compressed movie trailer, then watch the average YouTube video. Even though both are compressed, the movie trailer obviously looks much better because it started out at much higher quality. Plus, if you have a high quality HD master, then you can also use that as a source for making a DVD or any other needs you might have down the road. Everything is HD these days. DVDs are still around and are, of course, SD, but they are created from HD masters. You won't save any money by shooting SD using outdated technology.

If you decide the technical quality is important, then make a budget. It doesn't have to be a huge budget, since the cost of gear has gone down and competition has increased. But, you need to put in some work researching your area to find the rates of professional videographers. There are two things you are paying for: equipment and skill. You want a decent camera/lighting/audio package AND an operator who knows how to put that gear to best use.

These days, it's relatively inexpensive to get a pro who comes with a decent camera package, including lighting and audio. As mentioned above somewhere, good audio is crucial. The kind of gear a good video freelancer has is often the same kind of equipment used to make independent feature films.

Pay attention to the videographer's own demo reel. If he or she doesn't impress you with their demo, then they probably won't shoot a good one for you. It's good if they have experience shooting cinematically. Some videographers specialize in corporate events, weddings, or documentary style shooting, but I would think you'd want one that has done short films. Think of your demo as a little movie starring you and your audience. It should be theatrical, right? So you need to hire someone that you can work with and that will understand your special needs as a magician.

But that's only the first step. Once you have your footage, you then need somebody to edit it. The editor will also need to be somebody you are comfortable with and is capable of working with you to bring your vision to life. Here's an important tip: have the editor and the videographer communicate before you start the project. There are lots of different cameras and lots of different video formats, so you want to make sure the editor's system can handle the files that will be provided by the videographer.

Ideally, you want the editor to provide you with the highest quality master file of your final cut. This will be an HD master file. You'll keep this file and back it up (multiple backups are best) and put it in a safe place. You then have a pristine final master cut of your demo, which you can then use if you want to make a DVD or Blu-ray disc, or provide to media outlets, etc. It's best if the editor can ALSO provide you with a web version of the file. If they are familiar with making high quality YouTube or Vimeo encodes, then that is very important. Optimizing the specs for online video sites can be tricky, so rather than struggling through it yourself, it's great if they can do it for you. Make that part of the deal, if possible. If not, then you at least have your highest quality master file that you can compress for online use.

If you've read this far, you are probably wondering how big of a budget you need. I don't know. That depends on where you live. I live in LA and just did a google search of "Los Angeles Actor Demo Reels." I found a place that does three 60 second scenes for $1190. That includes audio, lighting, and editing. Obviously an actor demo reel is not quite the same as a magician's performance, but I bet they would be willing to work with a magician, and it gives you a ballpark figure. I'm thinking (I don't know for sure) that a company that specializes in shooting cinematic scenes would be a good fit for a magician demo. Hollywood has outsourced so much these days, that you can probably find this kind of service in most states (although still probably easier in LA, New York, etc.)

Depending on how techie you are, you might want to educate yourself on the different cameras available and learn about HD formats, etc. Try googling "Red Camera", "Canon EOS 5D Mark III", "DSLR Filmmaking."

Finally, if you decide to go the DIY route, you should take a class, or at least google up some tutorials. A low budget solutions is to have your cousin shoot with whatever camcorder they have and editing in free software such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker etc. Don't use the camera microphone if you can avoid it. Hopefully the camera will have an external mic input and you should at least rent or buy a lavaliere mic that you wear that is connected to the camera. You can get lights from home depot or shoot outside. When you edit, keep it simple. Avoid cheesy transitions and effects and graphics.

There are definitely ways of working on a shoe string and making it look good, but it takes time and knowledge. As the old saying goes, you can have "fast, cheap, or high quality, pick any two." But, again, you need to decide the worth of the demo to your business, and budget accordingly.

Hope this helps :)