Posted By:
Craig Newman
July 22, 2013
Filed Under:
Business Video Tips
2 comments

How HR can turn a conference into ongoing training using video.

A good friend of mine works in HR and recently we were chatting about an upcoming conference that his IT team were taking part in. The conference happens once every 3 years and every time his team comes back inspired and ready to take on new projects. In the three or so months after the conference, the productivity of the IT department is drastically increased, there are fewer issues of absenteeism or tardiness and the overall happiness of the team is evident  Six months later, things are back to normal and they are simply getting their projects completed and managing problems.

After hearing about this I realised that there is an opportunity to turn this one time event into an ongoing performance management tool using video: Create a Conference Communication Video.

STEP ONE: Determine which conference is appropriate.

Depending on the size of your business, the employees may attend 1-50 training events, conferences or trade shows each year. Which one should you film? This comes down to the individual culture and core business functions of your business. The questions you need to ask yourself are, what are our cultural objectives and what section of the work force will have the biggest impact on the overall corporate culture?

For example, if you were a car insurance company looking to create a “Blue World”  corporate culture you may be sending some of the key executives and managers from the claims department to a conference on The Ray Andrew’s Unique Self training. For a bit of background, this conference focuses on identifying the temperaments of people and recognising how these different temperaments filter information in different ways. Having attended Dr Andrew’s training in the past I can tell you that it is invaluable learning for managing a team and working with other people but it is also incredibly elucidating in the context of dealing with problem customers or upset individuals and knowing how to best communicate with them despite their agitation and your personal temperament.

This would be the perfect opportunity to create a Conference Communication Video. Seeing as though the full training goes for six days and costs $180 per person, you couldn’t afford to send your whole claims department but you can send them a video / videos.

STEP TWO: Find out the practical limitations of the videography.

Once you have decided on which of the events work best for you to video, we have to look at the what you can actually film. Many conferences will not let you film the event unless you are hosting it yourself. Others will let you film the event from the back but it won’t let you capture certain sections that they see as their IP. Even if you do have full access to film, there are often other practical limitations. For instance, many conferences break into smaller focus groups and, realistically, you can’t film them all.

Rather then viewing these limitations as problems, recognise that these limitations help shape the structure of the final video. With the Ray Andrew’s training that I mentioned before, he sells the DVDs of his basic training on his website so you can’t film the conference at all. However, you can film your own people outside of the event. Film quick interviews of the conference participants before the conference, during lunch breaks and after the conference so that you get valuable footage of how the training has impacted them. Use the provided handouts and PowerPoint slides to film your own truncated version of the training specifically targeted at the work force, in this case, the claims staff.

STEP THREE: Choose a structure and timeline for your video or videos.

Next, you should decide on the structure of your communications.

I recently completed some Conference Communication Videos for a client in Sydney (who shall remain nameless) where they hosted the event and filmed everything themselves. Because they had all the content, they turned wanted it turned into ten videos each with a duration of roughly two and a half hours which they intend to show to all of their current work force and then play each year to new employees.

This was torture. I doubt that these videos will get used for more than one year because rather engaging the viewer on an emotional level, they will generate negative emotions such as irritation and boredom. Rather then creating corporate culture, which was their goal, instead the videos are just wasting valuable time.

With this in mind, I here are four possible structures that you may want to employ:

  • Complete training sessions.This structure is best if you actually want toreplicate the conference internally. I would recommend that you only do this if the conference is one day or less and you have access to film all of the content. In the editing, rather than just showing everything with thepowerpoints, break the sessions up into smaller videos with a motion graphics summary after each valuable point.If your goal is to convey what was learnt at the conference, remember, the best information retention always occurs when there is interaction so take the opportunity in these breaks to have a Q&A session where people from the audience can ask questions of someone who attended the conference or better yet, you ask questions of the audience and hand out prizes to people who answer correctly. Get people to stand up anddo a dance or play funny YouTube videos; break it up for them.If your goal is to share some of the ideas or new concepts learnt at a conference, then you should break these sessions up by speaker or by concept and then, between each video, you could host a round table discussion so that people can share their thoughts or excitement with other employees.
  • Digital e-Learning sessions.If you have a large workforce and/or you don’t want to hold an event, you can use videos as a part of a e-learning session that your employees can access and complete at their own pace, anywhere in the world. This structure is great if your goal is to transform the conference into interactive training. I would recommend that each video is no more than 15 minutes with the sweet spot being a goal length of 7.5 minutes. After each video you can have a short test on the content they have just seen, this maximizes retention and creates a more hands-on experience. The other advantage is that you have the ability to measure how successfully the information is being conveyed.If your conference went for days and you have hours and hours of content, then this can be the best way to communicate that content.
  • Inspirational Email Videos.If you want to share exciting and challenging content from the conference to inspire people, then this is the best structure. This is how TED broadcasts their content to their subscribers.Each video should be cut for each individual speaker or topic. If you couldn’t film the conference itself then each video can just be those who attended talking about the session and what they got from it. These videos can then be distributed on a weekly or monthly basis giving you a tool to constantly inspire your staff throughout the year(s) until the next conference.
  • Hype Video.This is certainly the easiest of the options if your goal is to convey the excitement of the conference to other individuals however, it allows very little room for the translation of information.A hype video should be around five – ten minutes and as far as the editing goes, it’s quite close to a promotional video with B-roll, quick interviews with those who attended, on location clips of attendee’s reactions and motion graphics to help convey the spirit of the conference. The focus of this structure should not just cover what the conference did but what the management have taken from the conference and what it means for the future of the business.

STEP FOUR: Shoot the video content with a professional videographer(s).

Too often I see human resources trying to find a video editor to save their video after someone in-house has shot it poorly. In order to create videos that are worth your time and money to have produced, you should contact a professional video production service. A professional videographer has the tools to film the event in the highest quality picture and clean audio in an unobtrusive manner. If you don’t have the budget to have your video filmed by a videographer, then at least contact someone to do the post-production (editing) and get their advice on what shots are essential and what b-roll will help for your particular structure.

Whether you get the conference shot professionally or in-house, I would highly recommend a two camera spread for any presentations.

STEP FIVE: Post production workflow.

Every video production company in Sydney will have slightly different workflows but the majority of video editors follow this format:

  • Ingest: This is where the footage is transferred or captured and the multi-angle clips are synced. Basically everything that needs to be done before you can edit.
  • Assembly Cut: This is the rough sketch of the video to come. It’s usually twice the size of the rough cut. This step is not necessary for every structure.
  • Rough Cut: This is the draft of the video. When it’s done, it won’t have all of the effects and transitions but more-or-less it will show you what the video will be like. This is usually where the video production guys will send the video to you for review.
  • Fine cut: Almost the final video. Offline sound mix is done along with graphics and effects. This where the video is finalised by the client (you).
  • Final cut: Online edit, full grade and exporting for the final destination for delivery.

As a guide, you are looking at around 30 minutes of editing time for each minute of footage (not-including b-cam). This is just a general guide and it can blow out to an hour per minute for more complex edits. So if you have an hour of footage, it will take around thirty hours to sixty hours to get the first cut done.

STEP SIX: Follow up with metrics.

You’ve done and delivered your video. Awesome!

Now that you have implemented your video production project, it’s important to follow it up with a survey to find out how effective the project way. Also, keep an eye on those performance statistics and watch your workforce bloom!

Please comment…

Have you produced a Conference Communication Video? What obstacles did you have to overcome?

2 Comments

Nathan WilliamApril 8th, 2014

Really great steps you have mentioned in your blog.

Craig NewmanApril 10th, 2014

Thank you!

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