5 Steps (& Warnings) to Make Your Slideshow Top Notch

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With all the easy-to-use slideshow programs out there, many people are able to create photo and video montages who weren’t able to before. You’d think that with these movie-making magic programs available to the average Joe, anything you create will look like a big budget film. However, there is still a huge difference between a montage that looks like it was made by an amateur versus a professional. How can you make sure your presentation gives the quality impression that you want? If you’re willing to put in the effort instead of having a professional create your next slideshow-style presentation, you’ll want to pay heed to these five steps.

Audience Awareness (Length and Content)

Before you put together any type of video or presentation, you’ll want to determine who you are telling your story to. This will affect what type of content you use and the overall length of the montage. Family and friends are willing to watch longer and lesser-dynamic content. Grandpa and Grandma may love to watch your baby’s every little development, but your Facebook friends would appreciate only a highlight reel of their first year. Your office party may enjoy the collage that includes a photo of a manager asleep at his desk, but you want the video you share with your clients to show you on your A-game.

Image Quality (and Sound)

One of the biggest differences between a montage that looks professional instead of amateur is the quality of the images and sound. Thankfully, most cameras on phones today record with excellent quality. Yet the operator still needs to be careful about lighting, framing, and focus. Use the best equipment possible and shoot with thoughtfulness. Pay attention to distracting details in the background and extra noise on videos. Make sure to use large image sizes so that the show isn’t ruined by pixelated photographs once the montage is shown on large screens.

Comparison of photo image quality

Easy on the Eyes (Timing and Camera Movement)

If you have a ton of great images and limited time to show them, what do you do? Speed up the video? No. The best way to trim time is to cut out the images that aren’t as strong in telling your story. Use only the best and clearest in communicating your point. Sometimes speeding up a segment does add to the story, but use fast motion thoughtfully. Jumping to the next picture on beat with the music can add to the strength of the presentation, but sometimes an image is too powerful to cut away from so soon. Also, be careful with camera movement. Instead of feeling edgy and like the viewer is right there, it can often be dizzying and leave you wishing you could readjust poor camera framing to let you actually see what’s happening.

Accessorize (Transitions and Graphics)

All too often someone shows a slide show of the great work their ministry, non-profit, or outreach is doing, but one can hardly watch to join in celebrating the good news—all because someone thought fancy motion would look cool and be exciting. Just like camera movement can give you a headache, so can crazy transitions. Too many busy transitions too quickly can distract the viewer from actually seeing the important content. Graphics and titles should be there to enhance the story. If the photos or videos are busy and cut quickly, keep the captions simple so that the viewer can both see the images and read the information.

The Sound of Music (and Audio)

Finally, make sure your sound enhances the images and message. If it’s just a photo montage, you can leave the music at a comfortable volume the whole time, but if a video includes important sound and dialogue, make sure to lower the background music to sufficient levels. Choose a music style that your intended audience won’t be irritated by or matches your brand essence. Remember to include artist attribution if using music that requires it. The right songs can turn a slideshow into an emotional experience, driving your message home.

As you go through putting your next slideshow together, make sure to go through each of the five steps. Check to make sure all the images tell your best story and that the length doesn’t wear out your viewers. Use the best possible images, that communicate quality and the beauty of your story. When zooming and cutting to different clips, make sure the viewer is encouraged to actually see what they are supposed to. Add transitions and captions that enrich the story and pace well. Finally, make sure any audio is audible and the music enhances the emotion you are trying to evoke. With these thoughtful steps taken, your presentation won’t look like a novice attempt, but will be able to communicate clearly.

Need ideas, direction, or a professional to take over your slideshow story? Check out our Photo/Video Montage segment or contact us with your questions.

Video Isn’t for You

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When people hear about legacy videos, we too often hear things like, “That’s great, but I don’t like being in front of a camera” or “I wouldn’t know what to say.” Some people feel nervous or shy, others don’t think they have anything worthwhile to share. We get it. We too prefer being behind the camera than in front of it. But if you’ve thought that video just isn’t for you, you’re right. Your video – your story – isn’t for you.

A legacy video is about your story, but your fulfilment isn’t the main reason you record it. Your family, children, and future generations are the reason why you get in front of a camera and share your story. They are the ones who will wish they’d asked you more about where your ancestors came from. They are the ones who will wonder what you were like and why you valued what you did. They are the ones who will struggle to recall the memories you think will never fade. Your video isn’t for you, it’s for others.

Excuses to following through with recording your story might seem justifiable, but when they are considered from an “others first” mentality their strength fades. Let’s consider several common arguments people often use to avoid the discomfort of what they think they’ll feel.

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“I don’t have a story.”

Some people have exciting histories and stories that sound like a movie. Other people lead quieter lives and can fall into the trap of thinking they have no story worth sharing at all. However, friends and family members would most likely disagree. Talking with people who know you can help clarify the key moments and values that make your story. The interviewer also helps guide the process by asking questions to help reveal your unique and valuable story.

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“I’m not good on camera.”

Similarly, many people feel they would be too uncomfortable or that they don’t have the gift of good storytelling. Even though these may be true, they don’t have to cut you off from telling your story. Interviews done in a relaxed, conversational style help you engage as you normally would with a friend. This is for your loved ones-there is no need to perform. If you happen to be someone who greatly struggles sharing your thoughts and feelings, encouragement from friends and family who love and enjoy your story can really help!

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“There’s no way I’d cover everything the way I’d want to.”

Sometimes the task or a person’s vision can seem so large and daunting that it keeps one from trying. For that I offer three statements of advice: Make it a priority, let go of perfectionism, and just get started. Take the steps to gather the information and photos you want to include, yet don’t feel as though you have to include everything. Your legacy video will give an essence of your story. If you have more that you want to record or pass on later, you can certainly do it. The point is to make sure there is something tangible for your loved ones, and to be honest they’ll probably be happier with a 2 hour video than a 5 hour one!

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 “I don’t have the resources now. I can do that later.”

Finally, don’t deceive yourself into putting it off—it can easily become too late. If finances or time are tight, go with simplicity. Older people obviously run at a higher risk of passing away or losing their capability to recall the information they would want to pass on. Many also believe that legacy videos are only for old people who have lived a “full life.” Yet younger people have plenty of things to share. Values and vision can be shared for children to grow into, milestones can be celebrated, and dozens of other worthwhile ideas can be captured. If there is something you want to say, it is best to do it today!

It is easy to become focused on oneself and the obstacles to recording a family legacy, but widening one’s perspective to the viewers brings clarity. The right technology, support, and mindset, ease discomfort and enable everyday people to become excellent storytellers. But again, it’s not for you, it’s for ones around you.

Learn more about our different packages to tell your story on our Legacy Interviews page or contact us for more information.

Movies and the Men Behind Them

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Storytelling is a powerful tool. The stories we tell affect how we believe and act. We see this when writers release books that captivate audiences, leaders cast vision to rally crowds for a common goal, and when educators teach lessons that reach our hearts in addition to our minds. Moviemakers are also some of the great storytellers of our time. Their work not only entertains but also adjusts our mindsets, dares us to dream, pushes our boundaries, and opens our minds and hearts. Good or bad, that’s how storytelling works. These four documentaries tell the stories of men in the movie-making (or television) business; their goals, struggles, and successes.

Five Came Back

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When I saw this documentary on Netflix, I was curious because it’s about filmmakers and it’s a historical documentary—two things I find interesting. I was unaware of how truly excellent it would be. When current directors like Spielberg, Greengrass, and Coppola were introduced to the screen to walk the viewer through the journey of the film’s five directors, I had my first inkling this was going to be excellent.

Five Came Back tells the journey of five successful Hollywood directors who chose to leave business as usual and use their abilities as filmmakers to aid in the WWII war effort. Clips from the directors’ movies and their war footage are plentiful. Rather than show a sequence of their actions and films, the modern filmmakers expose the inner journeys and how it impacted their lives. The five directors wrestled with how to use cinema in the war and resulted in reenactments, propaganda, training, and documenting in unanticipated ways. Through it all, these men worked their storytelling genius to capture both the beauty of humanity and the terrible gruesomeness of the war they saw around them.

I’d originally intended on watching the mini-series one episode at a time, but once started I wanted to know how their stories would unfold. There went the whole afternoon. Five Came Back is excellent for its ability to tell history in a deeper and honest way. These men weren’t perfect. Neither was the world around them. But just as they saw, one of the great reasons we record history is so that we can work to stop perpetuating the bad and focus instead on building a better future.

See more in the trailer for Five Came Back.

Walt: The Man Behind the Myth

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Although most of us know of Walt Disney because of growing up with his movies, this film explores who he was. Narrated by Dick van Dyke, the storyline is brought to life with archived footage or photos and interviews with employees, family, and even Walt himself. Following Walt through his career, one sees his ingenuity, persistence, and high standards. He was a future-thinking man, pushing the boundaries of possibility. This in-depth look into Walt reveals just how much he impacted storytelling, animation, movie-making, and later, family entertainment through his parks.

One of my favorite quotes from Walt, is “We shouldn’t just be thinking of this as a cartoon. We have worlds to conquer here.” Cartoons were but a fraction of the ground he wanted to conquer. The fear of failure didn’t stop him, but he also scrutinized plans and drafts to make them as best as they could be. He was an exacting boss, yet managed to inspire teams of artists, writers, and others to accomplish dreams no one else had attempted. He pushed the limits of technology with color, sound, animation, and even retelling stories with live action.

While Walt Disney obviously achieved success, he also faced his share of setbacks. Rejection, health, money problems, wars, betrayal, and fires threatened to destroy his vision. Time moved Walt from creative and ambitious to legacy-driven. His dedication speech at Disney Land concluded, “with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.” He spoke of the park that day, but it’s true of his other work as well. This documentary shows us once again how creative visionaries with the tenacity to keep moving forward can impact so many facets of our lives.

See more in the trailer for Walt: The Man Behind the Myth

The Kid Stays in the Picture

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There is a cool effect that some documentaries use to make old photos look 3-dimensional. It’s called The Kid Stays in the Picture effect because of its heavy use in its namesake film. I wondered what this documentary was about and discovered it didn’t tell the story of a child, but a man named Robert Evans. Created with the classic Hollywood feel, this autobiography follows the career and life of Evans from businessman, to actor, to producer and vice president of Paramount Pictures. Evans himself narrates the film and it’s almost entirely covered with vintage film, clips from his movies, and many photos which received the 3D treatment.

His storytelling mixed with animated visuals keeps the story engaging. Evans was full of drive, but also business acumen, an eye for art, and the down-and-dirty lifestyle by which so many in Hollywood win and lose. One sees that he reached both the pinnacle of success and the dregs of despair. While you learn his personal story, it is interwoven with the growth of Paramount and the changes in movies over the decades covered. At a critical point at the end of the 1960’s, Evans explained his goal for Paramount by saying, “We at Paramount don’t look at ourselves as passive backers of film. We look at ourselves as a creative force unto our self. And that is why Paramount is going to be paramount to the industry in the 70’s.” They did just that with blockbuster films like Rosemary’s Baby, Love Story, and The Godfather, which pushed the edges of what was typically considered a successful script.

Robert Evans had a powerful hand in producing films for the late 20th century and continues to create films today. Unlike some of the other moviemakers highlighted in this blog, Evans’ film is gritty and reveals the darker sides of his story. I was surprised to come across a documentary that was rated R, but it was for good reason. The F-word lightly peppered some of the dialogue and nudity was shown during a movie clip and photo. The adult content limits the viewership of The Kid Stays in the Picture, but shows a genuine demonstration of the world Evans lived in and created.

See more in the trailer for The Kid Stays in the Picture.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor

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While Fred Rogers didn’t make movies, he impacted generations through television. Mr. Rogers’ strongest focus was on children and it became his mission to use mass media to help children through the difficult transitions of life. This documentary is not just sentimental to adults who grew up watching his show, but an inspiring revelation of Mr. Rogers’ authenticity, values, and endurance.

Interviews with an array of his friends, family, and co-workers gives the viewer insight into Mr. Rogers as he truly was. The film also relies heavily on archived interviews with Mr. Rogers and clips from his shows. The production is simple and straightforward, just how Fred liked to make his shows. For being gentle, quiet, and simplistic, the concepts tackled on “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” were often difficult or divisive topics. He wanted to equip children with the understanding and control needed to deal with deep emotions, learning and mistakes, fear, racism, self-value, war, love of self and others, and even death.

 With his background in childhood development, television production, and foundational faith, Mr. Rogers didn’t preach, but communicated straight into his viewers’ hearts. He believed, “television has the opportunity to build neighborhoods out of our entire country.”

We continue to live in a time struggling with hate vs. love, tolerance vs. belief; our entertainment and media perpetuates violence and destruction. Mr. Rogers was a rare example of a man who held firm his beliefs and yet truly extended his arms wide in acceptance. His closing phrase, “I like you just the way you are” wasn’t shallow justification or entitlement, but an impartation of each person’s intrinsic value. He chose to use television to tell stories that would help his viewers navigate through the darkness of our world. “Try your best to make goodness attractive,” he once said. “That’s one of the toughest assignments you’ll ever be given.” Tough, yes. And worth it.

See more in the trailer for Won’t You Be My Neighbor.

Each of the men from the four documentaries believed the stories they made into movies were worthwhile. Ambition and creativity helped build their success even though each faced personal struggles and doubts. Not only can we learn from their work, but these documentaries allow us to learn from their lives.

Remembrance Days – Are They Worthwhile?

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September is full of days that beckon us to remember and to appreciate. VJ Day and 9/11 Remembrance Day remind us of victories and loss, sacrifice and heroes. We appreciate the hard work that allows us to celebrate Labor Day and Citizenship Day. We recall our roots on Grandparents Day, Step Family Day, and Native American Day, while also celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. But is it even worth your time to pay special attention to them?

A casual acknowledgement may not have much impact, and can actually end up deflating the deeper concepts. Some educators believe we ought to teach children how to think critically about memorials rather than rote, empty observance.1 If we were to take a little time to dig in, we would gather not only appreciation, but also a clearer world view.

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Allied military personnel in Paris celebrating V-J Day. Photo by Public Domain.

Remember Sacrifice

VJ Day and the rest of the WWI & WWII commemorations are stories quickly fading into the unobserved past. They seem like a world away. Yet a brief study of history or humanity would quickly remind us how easily situations and choices can arise again. Remembrance days shouldn’t solely mourn lost lives and celebrate heroes. If we let them, they could teach us politics and philosophy, or remind us of hope and reconciliation. September 11th reaches closer to the memories of our hearts and minds. For some, it’s a chance to honor the memories of those who perished that day or in the conflicts since. For the children born since then, it is important for them to sympathize with the loss, but also recognize how this event catapulted the world into what we see today.

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Rockefeller Center Construction Site on September 20, 1932

Remember Service

Labor Day pays tribute to the hard work of American workers. We like to take advantage of not only a day of rest and enjoyment, but a long weekend! We enjoy leisure due to the fruits of the labor of many people. Hard work provides for the needs of the laborer and creates purpose and achievement. Workers’ contributions build a better world for each of us. Meanwhile Constitution Day and Citizenship day remind us of our nation’s unique system which strives to give each person a chance to better their lives. Through these rights given at birth or naturalization, a person has the ability to engage in serving our country and enjoying the benefits.

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Immigrants on board a ship arriving in New York. About 1910. (Photo by Franz Hubmann/Imagno/Getty Images)

Remember Your Source

September is also filled with days honoring one’s family and ethnic roots. Grandparents Day and Step Family Day are relatable to many. These days encourage us to recognize and appreciate the values and heritage that were passed along from generations and married-in family. Native American Day and Hispanic Heritage Month are part of the observances that bring up questions of diversity and representation. Some results can end up negative if they do not encourage deeper understanding and growth. Rather than focusing on only a few themes that stereotype or propagate friction, it’s a good idea to bring out a variety of topics. We grow by understanding and appreciating the diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and abilities. We celebrate our shared values and victories. These stories of our sources can help us continue together with a better future.

It’s easy to let the month fly by without appreciating the value of each observance. The stories behind commemorations teach subsequent generations a community’s history, social and political customs. The stories we tell of events and our heritage give us a better appreciation for the people who went before us. They explain the world we know today. This month, look into the deeper meanings of these holidays yourself to celebrate your foundation and honor the life-changing events of the past!


  2. VJ-Day Photo via <a href=””>Good Free Photos</a>

Summer of Action Videos

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Summer sunshine peaks over the horizon early. You’re up too, ready to get in some “me time” before heading off to work. You’re looking forward to your special time in the mountains, on the trails, at the golf course, or in the studio… Summer days are full of activity! The balance of hobbies and work is punctuated by what you love to do. Your summer goals could include enjoying some R&R with your family or increasing your work productivity. How often do we capture and share those things, inviting our friends and clients to see what it is that we do? This blog will discuss how action videos can be used both personally and for your business.

First of all, what is an Action Video? According to our Action Stories webpage, the goal is to capture your passion. This could range greatly and doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical activity like sports, but also the arts and sciences. One of the key elements of these stories is that a variety of cameras, shots, and editing show a bigger, more exciting picture of your activity of choice than a simple description.


When I think of an action video, my first imagination usually looks like taking advantage of all that the Colorado outdoors offer. I wouldn’t be far off when it comes to the highly active lifestyle of many Coloradans. Many people are passionate about their sports skills, hiking 14ers, or fly-fishing. Rather than just telling friends about your skillful moves, arduous climbs, and peaceful moments, an action video recreates it visually and emotionally.

Mountain Biker's Sunrise View Action Story Visual Legacy Productions /

Even though we live with camera phones and constantly post on social media, we find that those tools don’t actually help us remember the moments like we thought. This is just one reason why having a beautiful video created can encapsulate the experience while leaving the living to you. Both the mountain biker and the runner in our Action Story samples realized they will not always be able to enjoy those past-times at the same caliber. Someday, those videos will be the best way to recall the struggles, sights, sounds, and satisfaction they encountered. Capturing the essence of your glory days or crowning victory becomes an expression of yourself that becomes a personal treasure.


The Action Stories on our website tend to be for more personal use, but the principle of “show, don’t tell” carries over into business videos as well. As a professional, you can be just as active. What better way to show potential clients what you do and the quality of your service than to show them?

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While not a technically an “Action Story,” Brand Essence videos carry more personality when they show your clients your passions outside of work. Sharing your activity of preference invites a connection based on common interest as well as your service. But you also can also keep the action strictly professional! Skilled tradesmen can show their handiwork. Following a professional to glimpse the process of their day gives legs to an otherwise unknown quality of service. You work hard to promote business and deliver quality products. Adding the element of action to business videos helps that hard work go further.

The very purpose of video is to show life. Those things that wake you up excited in the morning are worth capturing. Work doesn’t have to be boring or impersonal. Recreation isn’t vanity or a waste of time. Allow action videos to celebrate your passions and hard work this summer!

Scripted Videos for Businesses

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Not too long ago, our company didn’t have a teleprompter. Now we have three. We love the natural way people speak when they share their story unscripted and through interviews. However, there are some great advantages to following bullet points or a script.

We use scripted videos when the client has a lot of specific information that they want to communicate. Coming up with the structure, flow, and important terms ahead of time allows the person speaking on camera to present with more ease. A teleprompter can also help reduce the amount of retakes caused by figuring out how and what you want to say. There are many ways to use pre-planned talking points to enhance the story your business is trying to tell. The next three companies serve as examples.

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Land Title Guarantee Company is the largest locally-owned title company in Colorado. With 50,000 closings every year, they work with a lot of realtors. The Land Title marketing team provides many resources and reports to realtors, but emails easily get lost in busy inboxes. One way to stay top-of-mind and relevant is through vlogs. Slides provide industry information while the host strings together numbers and charts into a story of the marketplace that any realtor could grasp. The structure of a scripted vlog amplifies the power of the expert insight and visuals.

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Long Presentations

Many teachers and schools have become more effective due to the work and materials provided by Marzano Research. Now, years of research by Dr. Bob Marzano and his team at Marzano Research is increasingly made available worldwide through videos online. These informational videos follow a script of topics and examples to teach educators new and deeper concepts. These too, use slides for structure and graphic visuals while allowing the presenters room to elaborate.

Short & Structured

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Some people don’t have long educational pieces to communicate. Instead, they need to summarize and convince the viewer quickly and succinctly. Advance Your Reach works with public speakers to hone-in their abilities to research, find, and book more speaking engagements. Of the tools and principles they acquire, the speakers also create a Why Me video. These videos help public speakers interact with meeting planners. They are strategic and quickly communicate what problems they solve and how it helps the audience. Every word is important and following a script allows the presenter to focus on how they deliver and not their next statement.

Scripted videos can be an invaluable tool for telling your story. They allow for preplanning and smoother presentations. The next time you have detailed or educational information that you need to share, you may want to consider a scripted video.

Video for Real Estate

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There is no denying that we live in an increasingly digital world. People are more interested in attaining information on their own via the internet before speaking to a person or seeing an item in person. This trend goes for real estate as well.

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Online databases circulate house listings and make them available for the world to see. This is critical and expected for real estate transactions, but how does one take listing homes to the next level and stand out above the noise of everything else clamoring for our attention? Video is an ideal tool. Video allows a potential buyer to see more than photos can relay. They make the dream home come to life. They also make an engaging platform to share pertinent information with clients. Here are some ideas on how to use video to bring that extra dimension to marketing homes and staying top-of-mind.

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Video Listings

A video listing can look like many things, but at the end of the day it leaves the potential buyer with a better impression of the property they are interested in. It could look like a virtual tour or the realtor could highlight key features of the property. Perhaps a deeper view of the listing’s great location to shopping or outdoor recreation would increase interest. Drone footage shows off exteriors in a new way and gives a bigger impression of location and views. Finally, sometimes having a broker on camera and on location is the element that makes a virtual encounter not only more real, but personal. Clients are able to feel as if they can more accurately judge real estate themselves, resulting in inquiries that are better educated from the get-go.

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Vlogs/Reoccurring Videos

Realtors are great at finding helpful and interesting ways to keeps themselves top of mind. Aside from social networking skills and fun events to invite clients to, they also provide up-to-date market information. Unfortunately, emails with the latest statistics don’t have the best opening rate. Videos can help with that. Many viewers are more likely to click on and watch a short video with helpful and interesting bits of information. Graphics in addition to graphs as well as music, photos, and interesting filming locations all add life to the information or story trying to be communicated. Done right, vlogs not only present information in a memorable way, but add to the real estate broker’s, apartment, listing, for sale, buying, marketing, market, property, real estate, realty, realtor, interview, Filming, indoor, view, tour, information, Colorado, team, monthly, quarterly, vlog, report, Matthias, Remax, video, story, tell your story, Visual Legacy Productions

These two broad ideas help inspire new ways video can be used to advance real estate marketing. They improve not only showing off listed properties, but promoting the agent through useful and interesting information. There are lots of ideas on how to use video for real estate. Each agent will have their own goals and intricacies of what they want to promote and how. Armed with video and their vision, they are able to better equip clients and potential buyers with what they need to make their real estate transactions.

The Powerful Heart of a Personal Narrative

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There are times when we are reminded of an innate desire to share who we are with others; to create and leave a personal narrative. Few events touch heartstrings so notably as observing the passing of a loved-one. Early in March a dear woman finished her fight against cancer. Later we paused to remember a grandma on what would have been her birthday. In the midst of it all, International Women’s Day brought forward a multitude of stories about women who left their mark on the hearts of people around them. These women’s legacies remind me why it’s so important not only to live one’s life to the full, but to share it.loving, memory, death, memorial, remember, love, personal narrative, calligraphy, legacy, handwritten, pen, story, tell your story, Visual Legacy Productions

Each of the two women mentioned above had recorded something about their life’s journey for the benefit of future generations. It brings me comfort and joy to know their great-great-grandchildren will know them not just by name, but by sight and story. By story I mean the essence of who they were communicated through moments of their lives. Their struggles, values, joys, and character all came through in their interviews. Those are the qualities that resonate.

How Memories Live On

As a company built on the value of family, personal narratives are always near and dear. But how does one tell their own or someone else’s story in a succinct and impactful way? How do you connect a person to viewers who may not have even met them? We believe it’s through a heart-felt connection.

Often times when people think of passing on their story or family history, they think they have to give facts like names, dates, and locations. However, it’s the feelings and the stories that tend to empower and endure.

Let’s say I were to ask you to share one of your favorite memories of your grandmother. If you did not know her well, you may tell me her name and where she lived. You may even know a fact like where she worked for a time. But if you knew her, the memories would be more meaningful. Perhaps your grandma always made sure there were treats to eat – not only showing us her sweet-tooth, but her giving nature. Possibly her hobby was to collect what you consider junk, but it came from a thrifty personality that saw beauty and purpose in all manner of things. Maybe you experienced something hilarious together that revealed your similar sense of humor. These types of stories would not only tell me more about who your grandmother was, but are also relatable qualities.

Narrative of the Heart

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The women we remembered last month not only lived well, but shared that life. The tales of early marriage conflicts were laughed about, but also taught patience and grace. She used her business savvy to prepare her own family for the world. Her endurance and innovation through hardship encouraged the next generation with theirs. Her deep faith was not only hers, but lived out before others.

Genealogical facts still have their place, however passing a story changes a list of names into real friends and family. The insight gained through others’ personal narratives give us wisdom and strength in our own circumstances. In the words of Bruce Feiler in his 2013 New York Times article1, “The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: develop a strong family narrative.” Take advantage of the time you have now to not only live in such a way that impacts future generations, but pass those values on to others.


4 Benefits of Web Videos in 2018

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The wide usage of business/web videos has continued to grow until it is an expectation if you want your products or message to be taken seriously in 2018. There are dozens of reasons why many businesses and customers value video. Whether one prefers its ability to quickly deliver a message, entertain or stir pathos, increase your SEO reach, or encourage trust between a company and its customers, the reasons can be boiled down to three main benefits.

Videos Save Time

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While text is still vital to communication, there are times when videos can convey your message better and quicker. It is said that one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words (Forrester Research). Our brains are able to pick up far more by seeing and hearing than by reading alone. Not only can we receive far more information on both the conscious and subconscious level, but “viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text” (wirebuzz). This may be in part to the fact that 55% of people pay close attention when consuming videos — more than all other types of content. (HubSpot)

According to a survey by Wyzowl conducted in December 2017, if “both video and text are available on the same page, 72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service.” But it isn’t just the consumers who are choosing video over text. 59% of senior executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic on the same page, they prefer to watch video (Digital Information World). If you have the ability to have both text and video, it’s a good idea to take advantage of both of their strengths.

Videos Retain Viewers Longer

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Video has the ability to maintain our attention and activate our emotions better than written words. Whether you instill trust in your company or product or produce pure entertainment, the result is viewers staying on your webpage longer. In fact, 80% of marketers say video has increased dwell time on their website (Wyzowl).

Getting viewers to stay on your page longer has good effects. Traffic increases your SEO, and the more time spent engaging with your brand message, the more likely you will see conversion. A study by found that “including a video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%”!

Do beware of making sure your video message has content that people actually want to view and that it isn’t too long for your purpose and audience. 33% of viewers will stop watching a video after 30 seconds, 45% by one minute, and 60% by two minutes (Ad Age). Also take note that 82% of consumers have closed a browser or exited a webpage because of an auto-playing online video ad (HubSpot). Videos can communicate a lot, but only if people want to watch them.


Videos Improve SEO

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As mentioned above, videos can boost your search engine optimization. This is for both videos embedded in your website and posted to YouTube or social media. Since Google owns YouTube, it only makes sense that their analytics work well for the algorithms deciding where your website shows up in online searches. The difference is substantial with “companies using video enjoy[ing] 41% more web traffic from search than non-users” (smallbiztrends).

In addition to brand essence videos, social videos, and specific messages or invites, the top three most effective types of video content are customer testimonials (51%), tutorial videos (50%), and demonstration videos (49%) (CURATA). Those top three types of videos are important since they reflect consumers’ desire to research into credibility, quality, and the “right fit” of a company or product. ThinkWithGoogle found that almost 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store. Your videos are a simple but powerful first step in engaging with your clients.

Videos Increase ROI

investment, key, invest, investing, wealth, ROI, return, financial, marketing, success, buy, customers, web, analytics, google, blog, video, story, tell your story, Visual Legacy ProductionsVideos help answer questions before your potential client has to ask them. This reduces the chance of them walking away and taking their business elsewhere. According to the Wyzowl survey, 95% of people have watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service and 81% of people have been convinced to buy after watching a brand’s video.

Consumers like seeing what they are getting into without having to contact anyone; marketers like seeing the results! In fact, 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI (HUBSPOT).

Don’t forget to utilize the power of social media to generate business. If your video is interesting, viewers won’t mind that it was produced by a business. Not only will people watch, but 76% of people say they would share a branded video with their friends if it was entertaining (Wyzowl). That’s “1200% more shares than text and images combined” all because of a good social video (SmallbizTrends.) These social videos can instill brand awareness into new people as well as present opportunities to buy your product. According to Tubular Insights, 64% of consumers purchase after watching branded social videos.

With these numbers in mind, it’s easy to see how video has become a benefit and integral part of life for 2018. When you consider your own business videos for this year, remember to take full advantage of this powerful medium of communication!