And, since this time of year marks an occasion for family and loved ones, I’ve decided to hand over the reins of this edition of The Emmy Winning Blog to my very own brother, Kenneth Parker.
Not only is Ken family, he is also a twenty year veteran of multi-media presentation and audio-visual production at one of the region’s largest hospitals. When it comes to slideshows, video, PowerPoint presentations and anything else involving multi-media showcasing Ken is the man.
So without further ado The Emmy Winning Blog presents…
It’s Showtime! The Forgotten Step for a Successful Project
By Ken Parker
One of the easiest things to overlook when doing a project for a customer is the actual showing or reveal of the completed project. In some cases the project may be available online for the customer to view at their leisure while other times they may come to you to see the multimedia project. Other times you go to their place to show off the project. In all these possibilities the last thing you want to happen is something to go wrong with the viewing. You are trying to sell the project and if the website does not display properly or the video does not play when everyone is expecting it to, it can be very embarrassing and damaging for the success of the partnership.
How do you avoid this? Well, one of the most important things you can do is make sure that whatever your project is outputted to whether it is an .avi, .mpg, .ppt, .jpg, DVD, Blu-Ray, or website that you know it will display properly on the client’s equipment.
Sure, you can bring your laptop to their office and show them your progress but ultimately they will want to see the finished project on their computers or at least know that the product will run properly once they are ready to show this to their customers.
In the case of a web design or a file that will ultimately run off a website it is important to view the product from as many different situations as possible. View your project with the different web browsers and on different types and brands of computers as well as mobile devices, tablets and phones. Try different resolutions and even different Internet speeds. Make sure the video runs on all or most common video players. It is not uncommon for a client not to have QuickTime or Flash installed on their computers. All of these factors change the way your product comes across. Your website or video may load perfectly on your Mac. Yet, once you put it on a Dell running Internet Explorer, it could be a different story entirely. Conversely, a Flash video may run great on a PC, but is totally unsupported on an iPhone or iPad. Telling your client “It works fine on my computer!” is not something they want to hear.
You may also want to test all this before you get too far with the project. There is no reason to complete it and find out that it doesn’t work well with Internet Explorer or on most mobile devices. You can’t tell your client “Here it is, just don’t use Internet Explorer or your iPhone or iPad”. You need to make sure it works in as many situations as possible. Right away you will need to figure out what needs to happen to make your project as adaptable as possible. It goes without saying that creating compatibility adds a fair amount of work and difficulty to your presentation, but being ready before you hand it off to the client is vital.
Sometimes you will have to find a compromise in trying to create a product that will work in as many situations as possible. You may have to change something that reduces the quality or functionality just to make the project compatible with as many media as possible.
Working with a client, one thing you need to do is find out their output needs. Are you creating a training video for the client’s employees to view on their PCs at work? Then you want specs on those PCs, so your product is customized to those PCs.
In many situations you are creating a product that will be viewed on a computer monitor or even a TV in the client’s conference room. It may be a commercial for television or ultimately a product that will be shown at a conference or meeting. Knowing if the client has the proper equipment to display the product is important.
In order to cover all your bases, you should create different versions of the product. Make a DVD, Blu-Ray, video file on a disc, video file on a flash drive and bring your laptop and even your own projector and speakers just in case. The last thing you want to happen is a failure to show the product because you don’t have the right media.
Some of this may be too much and you may not have the time or resources to cover every possibility. Usually things can be made easier by communicating with the client and finding out what their display options are. That way, you have an idea and know what you are in store for.
A few other notes: If you are connecting a Mac laptop to the client’s projector or monitor, make sure you have the correct adapter for your Mac. Mac is known for using and updating different adapters each time they update their models. Having the correct adapter will ensure that you can connect your Mac to their system.
Don’t blame the client’s display limitations. By all means if your HD commercial looks horrible or the image is cropped or squished on their old standard definition TV then you should tell them that the commercial looks better in HD, but don’t say their TV is “horrible” or that they shouldn’t be using that brand computer. Ask if they have access to an HD TV or a computer that can play HD files. Suggest to them to try the product at home on their HD Televisions.
The many different platforms for web display and video playback can definitely hamper a project. You pick out the best of the best, but then realize not everyone has done the same. When dealing with your clients you have to adapt and make sure the product work. That’s when “The Best” may not be what’s the best.
So folks, there you have it. Ken’s take on multi-media formats and how to best prepare for your client presentation.
Compatibility is a very hot topic for many professionals and amateurs alike. Ken touched on many of the most prominent issues facing multi-media presentations. However, as technology evolves so will the compatibility of multi-media. Ken and I will be discussing this topic in future blog articles.
In the meantime, be sure to check back next time, as I will be continuing with part four of “Dr. Strange Client”. And as the Holiday Season draws closer, The Emmy Winning Blog will be bringing you a special Yuletide video surprise.
Oh, yeah. Almost forgot. I’ll also be revealing the results of my multi-media poll I presented some time back. For those who don’t remember, just click here and VOTE! Vote Your Head Off! (This poll is hosted on the Emmy Winner Chris Parker Facebook Page so be sure to click over there, answer the poll and of course “like” it and “share” it.)
So give a warm hand to guest blogger Ken Parker and be sure to “like”, “share” and spread the word from The Emmy Winning Blog. Thank You All!