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Salon Alchemy test video

Managed to pick up a camcorder from the QVC shop in Shrewsbury for just over 80 quid on Tuesday, as I have been planning on shooting some informational and tutorial videos for Salon Alchemy for quite some time.

Here is my first attempt, which I shot on Friday afternoon:

It would be great if people could let me know what you think; I know the lighting isn't quite right (I just used the existing lights in the computer room), and I would probably look a lot better if I was wearing foundation and perhaps a bit more make-up in general - but I'd really appreciate constructive criticism on the content and the presentation in general...

The plan now is to re-shoot the video - possibly in two sections - one explaining the salon software, the other explaining the web design - as well as shooting tutorial videos for each section of Salon Alchemy...


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14th Mar, 2010 18:59 (UTC)
i like your voice
i just wanted to share that i really like your voice. you are good on camera. well spoken, like voice pattern etc. you seem very relaxed and natural on camera.
14th Mar, 2010 19:09 (UTC)
Re: i like your voice
Thanks Shannon :)

That *was* after a fair few takes though; I found out I was actually better off ad-libbing rather than reading things verbatim from the cue sheet that I had attached to the camera's tripod...

Hopefully that will stand me in good stead for the tutorial videos then, which I hope to start shooting in due course... it would be good if most of them were in place for the beauty trade show next month (25th and 26th April) where I will be demo-ing my salon software system and showcasing my web design portfolio.
15th Mar, 2010 17:21 (UTC)
Re: i like your voice
yes, i agree with this, it was really nice to hear you speak and see you move.
15th Mar, 2010 17:39 (UTC)
Re: i like your voice
Thanks Chloe :)
14th Mar, 2010 20:38 (UTC)
I think you need to explain what Salon software means earlier on in the video before you say you have a new approach to it. What it is intended to do. You use the term Salon software as if everyone knows what that is, whereas you are pitching this at people starting out in the industry. Having listened I'm still not sure if it is a generic term or a proprietary one. Most of your would be customers will have no idea what Salon software means and possibly not know the term to look for it.

So I would segregate the Salon software pitch from the website pitch, I'm not certain where one stops and the other starts.
I would start with
Salon software is software that monitors/controls/logs the following . . .
It is of particular use for the following customer types . . .
It handles the following processes . . .
examples could include things like bookings, purchasing, stock control, maintaining client records, rescheduling cancellations, invoicing, staff availability, re-booking favorite therapists . . .

On the video itself, delivery very good, clear voice and not an um or an ah that I noticed. You probably need to find additional ways of saying "for example", such as, including,. . .

I'd suggest longer sleeves as a more orthodox form of business wear and something that won't go out of fashion.

I'd avoid phrases like "the other advantage", it seems to suggest there are only two advantages; "bog standard", which is a colloquialism; "a lot of the majority", which makes no sense.

I'd say there is too much stress on how small you are. Most businesses will hear solo outfit and be concerned about not being able to deal with an urgent problem if you are sick or away.

I would also suggest you give a link to a demo or better still display one throughout the video, so that if someone finds the video long there is something that speaks for itself that has a second chance of selling the idea to them.

14th Mar, 2010 20:53 (UTC)
Re: Feedback
Some great points there, thank you!

It was just a test, so a demo will certainly be forthcoming when I figure out how to shoot me doing a demo... it will probably need at least two cameras running concurrently - one shooting my face, the other shooting me working my laptop.

I'm definitely thinking of shooting "context sensitive" tutorial videos though - for each aspect of the system - that can be triggered by a help button within the system itself.

And it's a great idea to display what salon software actually *is* too, and how it can help salons manage their business better and more efficiently... thank you for suggesting that! I guess being a geek, I assume that people know what I'm talking about, when that isn't always the case...

Will definitely think about what to wear for the next one too...
14th Mar, 2010 20:47 (UTC)
As someone who is totally non technical, I would like to see a demo of what it does, as without seeing it, I'd not be able to judge what it is. I'd also change the lighting and the angle you film from, a more 'newsreader' position would seem more professional. I wonder if it would be worth trialling the software in a couple of salons and getting them to talk about it, that way potential customers would get to hear all about the advantages from a working point of view.
14th Mar, 2010 20:56 (UTC)
A filmed demo is a definite then - I also like the idea about trialling the software in a couple of salons and getting customers to talk about how it's helped them with their business... an excellent idea, thank you!

The lighting and the angle was definitely not quite right though - it was a hastily put together test just to give me an idea of how it might work out...

I just hope that what I said was OK in the main...

I think I definitely need to get hold of some decent video editing software too - so as to be able to splice in some screenshots of the websites we've done in the bit about web design too, for example... and to just make it look a bit more "slick" all around...
15th Mar, 2010 00:01 (UTC)
what are you trying to achieve with the video?

is this supposed to be as a professional presentation or as a basic webcam information thing?

if its part of an instructional tool then, its arguably OK for now. If its part of a sales pitch its very weak!

I certainly would not be looking to use a company with apparently such poor presentation skills to design what will be a major sales vehicle for my company especially if I was in the beauty business, with its very high standards for look and style.

that's not a comment on your performance more on the look of the presentation. I'm assuming you want actual feedback not friendly comment

One of the key things that fail most companies is poor presentation. If you want to make a better presentation than find people who are interested in video/movie production and have invested the time in learning their craft

thankfully a lot of people are trying to build a name for themselves in commercial production and you may find costs maybe zero or exchanged for skills you have.

if you interested in pointers of where to look for these people, i have a few ideas.

the sort of kit i would expect someone to have would be a separate sound recording device, lights (often work lights from DIY stores are fine) and gels to soften the look, a good tripod and something like a canon 7D/550D for capture and then post/edit on FCP/avid software

Just because the target may be a webpage displayed at low resolution doesn't mean your source can be. To display images well you need devices which allow good latitude, reasonable bit depth for colour etc. Against that is cost. Clearly if you had a Red MX your going to get a lot more latitude and bit depth than a 550D but that's designed for professional production.

for comparison this a 7D test from a makeup shoot taken from vimeo

Show media Loading...

Canon 7D Test - Behind the Scenes of a Photoshoot from Todd Mizomi on Vimeo.

Edited at 2010-03-15 00:23 (UTC)
15th Mar, 2010 09:07 (UTC)
Oh yes, that's much better quality all round on that Canon 7D! Do you think a Panasonic GH-1 would give similar quality video, as that was what I was after originally, but simply can't afford at the moment (so I had to make do with a JVC GZ-MS90 which only shoots standard def video and is definitely a consumer model as opposed to a prosumer model - but does cost around 13 or 14 times less money than a GH-1).

At the moment, I'm working along the lines of "having something up there is better than nothing" and probably *will* re-work any videos in time on a GH-1 or whatever.

Have already got a separate sound recording device I can use though - an M-Audio Microtrack II with a Beyerdynamic MCE-82 microphone - which will almost certainly record better audio than the built-in mic on the JVC camcorder! So I think it will be worth experimenting with that for the audio and replacing the audio from the camcorder with an audio track recorded on the Microtrack...

Even so, I think most of my effort will be spent in other places than shooting too many more videos at the moment - e.g. finishing off people's websites and finishing off the appointment booking side of things in time for the Birmingham beauty show next month...
15th Mar, 2010 11:57 (UTC)
I would avoid four thirds cameras like ... blue eye shadow. how often have you seen me where any makeup anywhere!

The basic issue with the four thirds range is the lenses are bloody expensive for what they are offering you

On top of that trying to use GH1 for video is like trying to the latest distros on a pentium 1. Yes it can be done but why??

If your going to spend money on a camera right now the only choice is canon 550D. Yes a 7D is better but for the price dif you can buy some really nice glass.

BUT that was not the point of the post! Get someone else who has invested the time, and the energy and the skill in learning how to shoot, cut and post well and swap them your skills.

Lots of people are interested in shooting shorts and knowing someone who can apply make-up that is something other than standard feminine face is bloody useful. You have web design skills, they may well not. you certainly have coding skills and they may not have that either.

So get someone else to sort the shooting etc and you can do something for them later, something that you might actually do just for the enjoyment anyhow, but will pull them out of a hole
15th Mar, 2010 12:00 (UTC)
btw if you have a look at my latest public post you can see some 550D's in action
15th Mar, 2010 08:55 (UTC)
i don't see a video... Mac OSX 10.4.11, firefox v3.5.8
15th Mar, 2010 08:56 (UTC)
ok, and... now i see it. odd. I'll take a look.
15th Mar, 2010 08:57 (UTC)
er, I'm a moron. The video I see is the Canon 7D test in the comments. don't see yours...
15th Mar, 2010 09:10 (UTC)
Ah, it's the one right at the top of the page... here's a Youtube link if you can't see the embedded player... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNAwAVZtVQU
15th Mar, 2010 09:15 (UTC)
Hey there :D Long time no speak! You're looking good in this video - but I think the lighting does need a fix... I stumbled upon this the other day:


I know it's for still photography, but the cheat-sheets might help for film lighting too.

Also, I think your idea is brilliant... my dad is a hairdresser and I've been telling him to have a similar system for years, but he is odd... never wants a website (long, long story) BUT I know there's a ton of salons out there that would want a system like this (and mobile hair dressers, too)... one of the main problems my dad has is that people still want to pay via cheque, because he is mobile - they don't always have the cash... I am not sure if you covered this in your video, but the ability for customer to book appointments and pay online with card via a payment system would be awesome for a mobile hairdresser. My dad hates the cheques, they take too long to clear and well, they're just on the verge of being obsolete now...

The only thing with this video is perhaps you need to break it down either in to separate vids covering different aspects of the system / customer service / what you actually provide... or get some musical interludes with a demo of the software in-between segments...

Anyway! I hope all is well and happy with you both and that Salon Alchemy is a brilliant success :D xxx
15th Mar, 2010 09:39 (UTC)
Thanks Kitty - I know the lighting's a bit naff (although the low-energy LED spot bulbs in the computer room *did* give a better colour balance than the fluorescent lights in the lounge on some of the dog videos we also shot recently [just for fun] as they have a much higher colour temperature - around 6000K - so maybe getting a lighting rig where I am directly illuminated by some LED spotlights might be a good idea?)... thanks for that link though! Also one of those silver reflectors looks like it could be a godsend for the lighting too - and I know that Sonia is after one as well for her photography stuff...

*So* glad you like the idea though! It is on my radar to have a facility where people can make payments using a credit card via Paypal or Google Checkout; I've already got a few online shop websites up and running accepting Google Checkout - http://www.pandsjewellery.co.uk/ , http://www.loveandroses.co.uk/ and http://www.nouvatan.co.uk - and I plan to integrate Paypal in shortly too...

I do think that having several shorter videos will be the way forward though - one of the more important things I will be doing is shooting tutorial videos for how to use the system itself, e.g. setting up treatments, clients, appointments, etc...

But things are OK with us thanks - we are so glad that we are nearly on the light side of the year (less than a week to go until the Equinox, yay) - as Sonia especially much prefers the lighter and warmer months...

Am still running around like a headless chicken though - too much to do, too little time LOL - but the weeks are usually more productive than the weekends for some reason...
15th Mar, 2010 17:19 (UTC)
my only criticism would be that's it's very quiet indeed. i had to turn up my speakers way up.
15th Mar, 2010 17:40 (UTC)
Right... I'll be a lot more careful with the audio on subsequent videos then... hopefully if I edit everything using Adobe Premiere or whatever in future then I will be able to tweak the audio as I need to too...
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