Category: Video Production

Recently AV Strategies provided audiovisual support and multimedia production services for Matt O’Donnell at Tantalus Productions. Matt’s client, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, holds an annual awards program for top producing Real Estate Agents. This high-end event is a highlight for real estate agents from all over Metro Vancouver. With a new theme each year, Matt turned to AVS to help create the multimedia components designed to leverage the theme. This year’s event had a Las Vegas theme so all of the dΓ©cor, graphics and opening video were created to bring the theme to life. AVS produced a high energy opening video to set the stage and then developed a PowerPoint template and motion graphic elements to enhance the overall theme of the evening. The event which took place in the Vancouver Convention Centre, West Ballrooms BCD included dual 13.5’ x 24’ screens plus a centre screen in the shape of the β€œWelcome to Las Vegas” sign. We created a mask for the centre screen so we could project an animated logo and award category graphics for each of the awards.

Under the direction of Matt O’Donnell at Tantalus Productions, AV Strategies developed the event logo and graphic design for the multimedia as well as the event program and other print materials. Once the initial design was complete, we storyboarded the Opening video which established the theme and got the attention of the audience right from the start. We also created the PowerPoint template so Matt could add the content including awards categories, and names & photos of each winner. This collaborative approach enabled us to focus on creating a dynamic design without spending a significant amount of time adding the specific show content.

As presentation specialists we are often required to help put the finishing touches on presentations or create them from scratch. One of the questions we have to answer is whether to use PowerPoint or Keynote? There are good arguments for both so we decided to provide our perspective on this question. I have to state from the start that I am a Mac user but for many years worked primarily in a Windows environment. I switched to Mac about 6 years ago after starting Direct Impact Media so much of my early knowledge and experience with creating presentations was using PowerPoint for Windows. I now use both, but I am still more familiar and faster when creating in PowerPoint.

I like PowerPoint because of my familiarity with it and the fact that it is a much more universally used program. I also like the fact that I can create a PowerPoint presentation on either platform and play it back on either platform whereas Keynote is strictly for the Mac. Since I am a Mac user, I often create PowerPoint presentations using my Mac knowing that they will likely be played back on a Windows PC.

A word of wisdom…if you create a PowerPoint presentation on a Mac and play it back on a PC or vice versa, remember that even though the transition of PowerPoint from Mac to Windows is usually fairly seamless, it is always necessary to test your presentation prior to presenting. Never assume it will work perfectly and expect to do some troubleshooting or re-formatting when switching platforms.

Now for some of the differences:

Themes and Templates

When it comes to building your presentation, both PowerPoint and Keynote do basically the same thing. If you are building a new presentation using the built-in themes and templates then Keynote has some really nice looking themes that seem more contemporary than the ones available in PowerPoint. PowerPoint 2013 does offers an updated selection of templates and themes although they still don’t have the elegant appearance as the standard templates in Keynote.

Text

Although Keynote provides more control over text spacing and kerning which is very convenient, PowerPoint provides the ability to create more interesting text effects than does Keynote. For instance, in PowerPoint you can give text a 3-dimensional look with shape and embossing, which is something Keynote does not allow you to do. To create the same look in Keynote you need to create the text in Photoshop or Illustrator and import it into Keynote. That makes last minute text changes much more difficult and time consuming. PowerPoint allows you to add a variety of 3-dimentional effects right in the program, which can elevate the look of your presentation.

Transitions

Transitions are also somewhat more interesting in Keynote and offer some animation techniques that are just not available in PowerPoint. I do like some of these transitional effects and they do look more sophisticated than what is available in PowerPoint. Surprisingly, with the launch of PowerPoint 2013 the transitions and animations have remained basically the same as previous versions. The transitions and animations in Keynote add improved production values when used appropriately and have been the reason we have opted for Keynote when building certain presentations. Always keep in mind that one of the most common mistakes is to overuse transitional effects. It is important to remember that β€œless is more” and the fancy transitions should be used sparingly.

Multimedia

The ability to insert photos, graphs, and video is important when building your presentation and both programs do a good job. Typically, when inserting video on a Mac you want it to be in an .mov format and on a PC you want to use a .wmv or mpeg format. A Mac will play .wmv’s if you have Flip for Mac or another third party plugin. Most Windows machines with QuickTime installed will play .mov’s but the recent release of PowerPoint 2013 has expanded capabilities and support for .mov’s and numerous other file formats. One feature in Keynote that I really like is the ability to use a looping video file as a background image for a slide. This allows you to have a moving background and is quite useful for adding a very high-end look to a title slide or sponsor logo.

There are good reasons for using both programs and it may come down to what the user is most familiar with. The best advice is to assess your needs before creating your presentation and decide which one works best for your specific needs. If you have trouble with either there are many good online tools and videos to help you out and I always recommend lynda.com as a great source of online tutorials.

How to Present Yourself

Welcome to part two of our three-part blog series on preparing for a video interview. In this segment I am going to provide some guidelines on how to present yourself during a video interview.

Video interviews are sometimes conducted standing up and sometimes sitting down. If it is a sit down interview it is important to sit forward in your chair. Leaning back will give you the appearance of not being fully engaged and can make you appear complacent or even arrogant. When I interview people on camera I often have both the interviewer and interviewee sit on stools. A stool forces you to sit forward, sit up straight, and to exercise better posture. You want to appear engaged with the interviewer so sitting forward and straight up will make you look more professional, more engaged and more credible.

When sitting on a chair or stool it is also very important not to swivel. Usually the director will choose a chair that does not swivel but in some workplaces they can be hard to find. Plant your feet firmly on the ground and make a conscious effort to hold your body still. Since the camera has a limited field of view, even small side-to-side movements make you appear like you are moving and will create a distraction.

In a standing interview the thing to avoid is shifting your weight from side-to-side. This has the same effect as swiveling in a chair. When standing for any length of time it can be hard not to shift your weight so a technique to use is to angle yourself toward the camera and place one foot pointing to the camera and one foot behind the other, positioned perpendicular. In this position, if you shift your weight you will be moving forward and back which won’t be nearly as obvious to the camera. Angling yourself to the camera will also make you look better. Think about the before and after photos they use on a weight loss ad. When you stand square to the camera you take up more space and look larger and less flattering.

Whether you are sitting or standing, hold your chin slightly down. When you hold your chin up it accentuates your neck and forces you to look down your nose at the camera. Hold your chin slightly downward, forces your eyes open, and is more flattering.

In summary if you can follow these three tips, you will come across much better in a video interview:

  • Sit up and use good posture
  • Angle yourself toward the camera
  • Don’t sway or swivel

Our next segment in this blog series on preparing for an interview will provide you with some good tips on responding to questions. Thanks for reading and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or subscribe to our RSS Feed

avs at the Pacific National Exhibition

Each year Vancouverites look forward to the Fair at the PNE. The Fair is considered the best part of summer with exciting exhibits, rides, nightly headline entertainment and plenty of food & drink.

AV Strategies provides audiovisual services for many of the live venues throughout the Fair. This year we are providing audio, video projection, LED Star Drape and live cameras in the Pacific Coliseum for both the SuperDogs and UNBELIEVEABLE: A Magical Experience. This show includes magic, comedy and breathtaking illusions showcasing a line-up of internationally renowned magicians and illusionists. We are also providing our Stageline SL-100 Mobile Stage and the PA sound system for Festival Park, a summer celebration of everything Canadian in anticipation of Canada turning 150 in 2017! Festival ParkavsΒ is also providing the audio system and lighting for the Plaza Beer Garden featuring the Dueling Pianos.

In addition to providing audiovisual support, the Fair’s Entertainment producer, Patrick Roberge Productions, engaged us to create a number of multimedia presentations to enhance many of the Fair’s live shows. We’ve created video components to support UNBELIEVABLE by producing the show’s impactful video opener and various vignettes throughout the performance. We developed the screen graphics for Hit the Deck, a dance show featuring Canadian music and our team also created the animated show logo for Mermaid Tales – a Journey under the ocean.

We are proud to be involved in the Fair and selected as the AV and production vendor for these events by great partners such as the PNE and Patrick Roberge Productions.