Video Case Study: Triboro BNI Chapter Video

Every Wednesday at noon, I join in some good old-fashioned, face-to-face networking at the Triboro BNI business chapter in Westborough, Mass. For an hour-and-a-half, we meet in the back of Tatnuck Booksellers, sharing information about our businesses, referrals and friendship.

To help promote the chapter, I created this short video:

A lot goes into creating a video story like this one. Here’s how I did it:

Identify Your Goals and Target Audience for Your Video
I had three main goals for our target audience of prospective members:

  • Give the viewer a sense of what it’s like to attend a typical meeting.
  • Explain the advantages of referral networking through BNI.
  • Convey the warm and supportive environment that characterizes our chapter.

These goals guided all of my choices that follow:

Content Development Flows from Strategic Objectives
I prefer a documentary style that uses the voices of my subjects, rather than a narrator, to tell the story, as a warmer, more personal and genuine style of communication. So I needed to plan interviews with several of our members who could speak well and who could explain how referrals have worked for them with specific examples. These also needed to be people with whom a prospective member could easily identify.

Before and after the meeting, I recorded interviews with five members—articulate individuals who represent a wide range of businesses (massage therapy, real estate, tutoring, web development and interior decorating). I was careful to arrange for a mix of men and women.

Be Open to Unplanned, Creative Opportunities
As I set up the interviews, I realized that the bookstore actually made a perfect backdrop—adding not only color and interest, but also information about each person. So for four of the five subjects, I recorded them in front of the book section that related to their specialties. The other source sat in front of a large array of books—in all honesty, she was my first subject, I hadn’t quite worked out the concept for her interview, and we had limited time. So, this was the creative process in action.

The first interview in the video was actually the last one I recorded. I realized, after I had gathered the other four, that I needed someone to say a little about the history of the group. So I purposefully asked my subject to mention the name of the chapter and give some background. More creativity in motion.

I knew I would use parts of these clips mixed with B-roll of the store where we meet, shots of networking before the meeting, and the meeting in progress. Two of my interviewees were also doing a ten-minute presentation that day, a serendipitous fact I discovered after I had invited them to be interviewed, which worked well for cutaways. I captured several moments of joking and playful interactions between our members, as well as some sincere testimonials. These, I knew, would be crucial to the final production.

Putting It All Together to Tell the Story
When it came to editing about  an hour-and-a-half of digital recordings and fitting it all together, I first organized the five interviews in a logical sequence of content, explaining a bit about the chapter and how referrals have benefited members, as well as some of the bonuses of membership—having a group of people that you can rely on for all kinds of help.

After trimming those clips to the core points, I then mixed in scenes from the meeting, in approximate order of a typical agenda, to take the viewer through the experience. I interspersed key sound and visuals from the meeting with the interviews as illustrations of the process my subjects were describing. I also used illustrative cutaways to break up longer interview segments. And I made sure to pick the best clips that showed the warm interactions that are true to the group.

I wrapped the video story with a strong testimonial from one of our newest members, saying how glad she was that she had joined the chapter (can’t ask for anything better than that!), and scenes of the meeting’s close. The final screen includes contact information for anyone who wants to arrange for a visit. I tightened clips and reworked transitions to improve flow and keep the video to three-and-a-half minutes.

I added a short loop of upbeat music that fades in and out of the video’s opening and close—just to give the piece a little boost of energy and extra polish. The video is now embedded in our chapter’s website, and we have plans to distribute it via Facebook and Twitter as we begin our next membership push.

A Professional Production Takes Time, But It’s Worth the Effort
Altogether, including the shoot, production and technical smoothing of color and sound, I spent about 12 hours creating the video. As one of our members said, when I showed the piece to the group and described the whole process, you really don’t know how much work goes into a professional production like this.

Yes, indeed. But well worth the time to present our chapter for who we are—a group of business professionals who are there to help each other grow.


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