Friday, May 8, 2009

More APEX Fun! Or, Can We Meld Creative Processes with Corporate Video?

It’s been instructive to observe our progress as a creative group at Oracle as we strive to integrate our video department into the creative work process.

For the first time we are producing videos that feature neither talking heads, nor corporate profiles, two things at which our video department excels. Instead we are attempting to use our studio’s skills in lighting, sound, camera work, and editing to tell stories. Sound simple?

It’s not. Instead of turning a camera towards an acknowledged expert and letting him/her speak, we’re crafting a script populated with characters who have motivations. That means we must first decide who those characters are and what their relationship is to each other. We must show that relationship while developing an overall message dictated by Oracle product managers. This requires a creative process whereby we generate ideas, we trash ideas; we write scripts, and then we argue over them and hone them with an eye towards the needs of the camera person, the actors, and eventually the film editor.

It also means we must edit video with a new kind of precision and a new level of feeling. We need to edit film with our senses engaged enough to create tension with a pause or humor with a cut away.

We have a lot of learning to do on all sides, but this silly little video represents a big step in the right direction. Enjoy.

6 comments:

Ashish Agarwal said...

That was fun watching and also conveyed the message.

Good show.
Ashish Agarwal
http://www.dbcon.com

Patrick Wolf said...

*lol* That's great!

Patrick

Jeff Erickson, Tech Editor, Oracle Publishing said...

Thanks, Ashish. Conveying the message is the easy part and what we're actually good at. It's the "fun watching" part that is really tough.

Stew said...

Jeff,

Great job! That was a lot of fun and totally true! I shared it with my boss (who's an Apex fan) and she thought it was terrific too.

The only way I think you could have improved it was to have it show a little more of what the Apex Master did to meet the clients needs (using a couple screenshots to show users updating their data live).

Keep up the good work!

Jeff Erickson said...

Stew,
Thanks for your feedback. We went back and fourth on the benefits of adding a short screencast. It's a good idea and will make these stories even more useful. But it could also slow them down and muddy the story. On this first one we decided to just get the story right. In future vignettes we'll work on building tension that can sustain a cutaway to a quick screencast.

antonio romero said...

Jeff,

My thinking: If the video's good enough to watch and spread, a screencast will nonetheless kill the momentum... use a short version of the video to engage people with humor, and drive them back to OTN or some other Oracle presence to deliver a "Director's Cut" of the video or a companio video that has all the screencast stuff included.