Module 68


Updated: 02/19/2017

Module 68









   Although broadcast television has long been the most "visible" part of the television business, in terms of personnel, equipment and facilities, non-broadcast production is actually the largest segment of the TV field.

Included in the category is institutional video, which includes corporate, educational, - religious, medical, and governmental applications, and avocational television, which is associated with serious personal/professional applications. 

Institutional Video

Video production designed for specific audiences, has proven itself in many areas. These include  --

  • management-employee links   It can be an effective tool for supervisors or management in reaching employees with information on policies, progress, or problems. This is particularly important if the institution has branches in diverse areas. instructional video
  • instructional video In today's highly competitive, rapidly changing world, the ability to keep employees up on the latest techniques and developments is a major concern. Instructional videos are one answer.
  • public relations  Many institutions regularly create videos to explain policies or announce products, research developments, or major institutional changes.
  • marketing  While the mass media may be a cost-effective way of reaching a general audience, it's not the best way of informing a limited number of people about specialized products and services.

    Point-of-sale videos, often seen in the home improvement, make-up, clothing, and hardware departments of retail stores, are one example of this type of marketing.

Institutional television has been particularly effective in seven areas:

1. where graphic feedback is necessary  Seeing something firsthand is generally more effective than someone talking about it. This is particularly true when it comes to feedback on artistic work or athletic performance.

2. where close-ups are required to convey information  The TV camera can make details and information obvious.medical TV It's possible to get cameras into hazardous and hard-to-reach places to reveal information. This is especially true in medical television.

3. where subject matter can best be seen and understood by altering its speed  Often, things cannot be clearly seen or understood without the use of slow motion or time-lapse (speeded up) photography.

4. where visual effects such as animation can best convey information  Animated drawings, flowcharts, and even animated characters can often make concepts clear.

5. when it's necessary to interrelate a variety of diverse elements  Television can pull together and interrelate events and objects so the total effect can be understood. As we noted in the section on editing, the selection and sequence of visual elements can provide meaning and understanding.

factory video 6. where it's difficult to transport specific personnel to needed locations Through television, experts are readily accessible to viewers in diverse locations.

7. when the same basic information must be repeated to numerous audiences over time  It's more cost effective to use personnel to explain information once to TV cameras and then play the videotape to numerous groups thereafter.

Let's say a company spends $15,000 producing a simple, 60-minute production designed to indoctrinate new employees to the company, its policies, and the various health and retirement plan options.

If 3,000 people view the video over a period of 3 years, the cost would be $5.00 per person. This can represent a major savings in cost and manpower, compared to having personnel repeatedly present the information to individuals or small groups over this time period.

Presentation Formats

There are four basic presentation formats.

  • the lecture format In its worst form the lecturer stands at a podium and uses an overhead projector or chalkboard.

    Without the array of attention-holding audio and video embellishments normally associated with television the success of this format rests entirely upon the skill of on-camera talent to hold audience attention. The only advantages of lecture format are that it's easy, fast, and inexpensive.
  • the interview format  Here a moderator interviews one or more experts on specific topics.

    Although it's the mainstay of documentary programming, savvy producers strive to reduce the talking head component by adding as much supplementary B-roll footage as possible. Keep in mind that while executives may be effective in their jobs, they can come across as stilted and even inarticulate on camera.  
  • the documentary approach  Here, ENG techniques are used to cover a topic from the perspective of the corporation.
  • the dramatic format  Although drama can be an engaging way of presenting information, it's the most demanding and it presents the greatest risk of failure.

    Probably the easiest form to pull off is a humorous skit where weak acting or production will be easier to overlook. Even so, for dramatic pieces it's worth the effort to try to find professional actors. Some will work for little or no pay just for the chance to gain professional credits and experience.

Holding Audience Attention

One of the findings that consistently emerges from studies on effective television programming is the need for variation in sound, visual information, and presentation style.

In commercial television the commercials, themselves, provide change and give viewers regular "intermissions" from program content.

Since non-broadcast productions don't have commercials to break things up, change and variation must be introduced in other ways.

Most viewers can't absorb more than about eight minutes of straight information at a time. Unless there's a change in pace, content, or presentation style, attention tends to drift.

Avocational Video

With professional-quality camcorders and editing equipment now within the reach of most people, we are seeing a host of vocational and ▲avocational applications.

Here are a few examples: (We'll use the term, "videotape" throughout these, even though other recording and playback media will probably be used.)

  • An insurance agent videotapes the contents of insured homes for evidence in case of loss.
  • A psychiatrist uses a camcorder to treat anorexia. To help dispel the physical illusions they hold about themselves, he tries to get the patients to see themselves as others see them.
  • An animal rights group videotapes graphic evidence of the inhumane treatment of animals. The tape ends up in a network documentary.  

  • A camp counselor videotapes the daily experiences of a group of scouts and sells the videotapes to stock footageparents.   
  • After doing a creative job of videotaping his sister's wedding, a man starts his own business producing videotapes of weddings.
  • A law student earns tuition money by taking video depositions for law firms.  

  • A young woman videotapes graduation ceremonies and sells copies to parents.
  • A college student videotapes segments from athletic events at area schools and sells them to local TV stations.  

  • A husband and wife team travels the world with a camcorder and then sells their recordings to video libraries to be used as stock footage.

Here are examples on a more personal level.

  • A homeowner videotapes the contents and personal belongings in his home to have as a record, in case of fire, theft, or natural disaster.
  • A dying man records a complete will on videotape, talking personally to each person named.
  • A family member records the embarrassing and dangerous antics of another family member who is regularly under the influence of alcohol. Mortified at seeing it, the person seeks treatment.  
  • By videotaping herself as if talking to a trusted friend, a young woman is able to more fully articulate fears and yearnings. When the recording is played back after a period of time, she is able to more objectively view her feelings and fears.  
  • An organization puts together a videotape explaining the advantages of building a cultural arts center and presents it to the city council.
  • An animal lover videotapes inhumane conditions at a local animal shelter and shows the tape on a local cable channel. The public is outraged, and action is taken to correct the situation.  
  • Parents interview students about gang-related fears and play the tape in front of the school board.  The school board decides to take some action.

Many of the points in this module suggest careers in this field, and this is the topic of the next module.   

The final Matching Quiz will be after module 70.

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