Polycom is a collaboration communications provider headquartered in San Jose, California. We spoke with Senior Video Production Manager, Tim Rose, about life as a punk rocker, the importance of the production process and how Hightail changed the way Polycom gets feedback on videos.
Polycom helps organizations unleash the power of human collaboration
We’re best known for the conference phone, which most businesses already have. Now, our video conferencing solutions are helping people defy distance and collaborate from whenever and wherever – whether it’s a meeting room or mobile phone. We integrate with lots of popular services, like Microsoft’s Skype for Business.
I lead Polycom’s video production team
We’re part of the company’s greater creative services team within marketing. We do a lot of product marketing work and right now are working on six videos for all the different features of one product. We’ve just wrapped up some customer stories and will shortly be traveling to shoot some more. There’s always stuff in the pipe. On average we make 30 videos a quarter, which is a lot for a team of three people. We’re busy.
In a former life I was a punk rocker
I was in a punk rock band that toured for six years. At the height of our success, a friend of mine offered to shoot a video for us for free, as he had just graduated from film school and was building his reel. Being on set was an eye-opener for me as I’d never thought about filmmaking as a viable career path. As things with the band started to peter out, I went back to school and focused on cinematography and camerawork.
I never thought I wanted a corporate gig
After graduation, I was freelancing as an Assistant Cameraman and Director of Photography. I was offered some contract work at Polycom, which soon became full-time. It was early days for the team and we were pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps. We converted a conference room into a production studio and started buying equipment. It was all very exciting. We’ve since moved into a new building where I’ve had the chance to build two new studios, which was a lot of fun.
We have a successful format for telling a product story
First we make a short teaser that just shows the product being used. If you see this cool thing and want more information, we have an in-depth overview video that demonstrates everything the product can do. Next you get how-to videos and customer stories. It takes you on a journey.
It’s a nightmare if you don’t have a system
We try to be disciplined about how we work. Otherwise, with so many videos to produce, everything gets out of control. But it’s one thing for us to have a process. You also need everyone outside the creative services organization to understand how things work and that if they follow our system, the end product will be better.
Making a video is an iterative process
We’re always sending cuts out for review and had been looking for the best way to handle getting feedback. About three years ago, we got in a rather expensive review and approve tool but it was a little cumbersome to use and never caught on. We went back to getting feedback the way everybody does – writing timecodes in an email, which is time-consuming and not very accurate.
Hightail completely changed how we do reviews
The whole vibe is a lot friendlier so people use it. And it allows reviewers to be specific, which was great for us. If they want a cut made, they mark the exact spot. It has made a world of difference and makes the process a lot faster. The comments become a checklist of tasks so we just have to look at a Space to see what edits are needed.
The Versions carousel is huge for us
Before whenever we’d send a new cut for review, we’d have to share a new link. But by uploading the new version to the existing Space, it’s the same link each time. It also eliminates confusion about which is the latest version. In the past, we’ve gotten notes on the wrong version because someone was looking at an old email with the previous link. That’s a non-issue now. You have one link but you can still go back and view the previous versions to see how we got to where we are.
Hightail’s ease of use is priceless
The interface is so friendly it already feels like something you’ve seen before. It’s not intimidating for people to jump in. When we first started using it, we sent a short email telling people that they could use the Space to watch the view and add comments in real time. We’ve been getting a lot of really positive feedback on the process from our clients and everyone seemed to understand it easily, much more so than with our previous approval tool.
Polycom helps organizations unleash the power of human collaboration. More than 400,000 companies and institutions worldwide defy distance with secure video, voice and content solutions from Polycom to increase productivity, speed time to market, provide better customer service, expand education and save lives. Polycom and its global partner ecosystem provide flexible collaboration solutions for any environment that deliver the best user experience, the broadest multi-vendor interoperability and unmatched investment protection. Visit www.polycom.com or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to learn more.
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