News Corp Australia is one of the largest media companies Down Under. In addition to offline and online magazines, they publish newspapers and magazines, and produce content for the internet and television—to name only a few of their active fields. And one of their branches, News Corp Studios, incorporates expertise in content marketing.
We talked with Susann Kovacs, Head of Video at News Corp Studios, about storytelling, standardized feedback, and kindergarten lessons.
A Video Is Worth Ten Thousand Words
“We are operating in a world where one good video can lead to a massive social following. But it has to be a great video, and that’s what we produce,” says Susann. Her team at News Corp Studios is responsible for the creation of videos of all kinds. Most people have heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.” But she adds a caveat: “A video is worth tens of thousands!”
Telling creative stories is at the heart of what her team does. “Everyone has a story to tell, and we help our clients tell theirs.” That’s how Susann describes the work she and her team offer. They work for a huge range of clients (local, national, and international) across all business categories.
Get to know News Corp Studios:
“It’s our job to unfold our customers’ stories as creatively and effectively as possible.” Nowadays, getting the message of a story across and creating buzz isn’t always easy. “There are so many competing messages and formats out there on social media. Your work must stand out if you want it to get noticed and get results for your clients,” she explains.
Here’s the first tip Susann has for correctly embarking on your journey to a successful video,: “The more emphasis you place on pre-production, the better the results.” Planning a shoot often takes just as long as the shoot itself, and generally, the more detailed your shot list, the more smoothly the shoot will run. However, you should also leave some room for improvisation. “Sometimes, the best shots don’t reveal themselves until you’re on location with the talent.”
But sometimes, thorough preparation is not possible…
The latest project Susann and her team worked on was not an easy task for the otherwise well-prepared team. “We only had a minimal shot list,” Susann says. But in the end, their cinematographer Greg Henderson still made it work. The result: a unique film for The Creche and Kindergarten Association (C&K), an Australian not-for-profit organization for early childhood education and care. “We had to respond to what the children happened to be learning on the day of our shoot,” she explains.
Watch the video here:
Susann and her team had a blast working with the little stars: “Whoever said ‘never work with children or animals’ is missing out. You never know the genius they are going to deliver,” says Susann. “On this shoot in particular, we let the kids take it in their own direction. That way, we could ensure that the project reflected C&K’s commitment to self-directed learning.”
The animation you can see in the video (for example, the fluttering butterfly, the clumsy piggy, and the racket-guitar) have been created by their friends from Ludo Studio, and the editing and sound design were done by senior editor Lydia Holt. “The animation was designed around what the kids were doing. Everything was filmed in their natural environment, with their everyday playmates,” says Susann. “That was probably my favorite element: allowing the children’s imaginations to contribute to the story.”
As it is in every co-production, keeping everyone involved up-to-date isn’t always a cakewalk. Post-production and the finalization of the project can be especially challenging. “We used Filestage to make it easy for us,” Susann explains.
With Filestage, everyone involved in your project can quickly and easily leave feedback. “You can leave comments directly on the videos,” explains Susann. “But also on all the other media files,” she adds. And once all of the feedback has been implemented and the final version is ready, your clients can download the product right then and there (after giving you their final approval).
“Filestage has helped us standardize our feedback and approval process. The process is far superior to trying to collate feedback with a series of emails, especially when there are multiple stakeholders attached to a project,” explains Susann.
With an open mind he tries to bring a little creativity in everyone’s life. His credo: Communication is key to success.