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YouLaw: This Law Firm Video Needs More Speed

By Gerry Oginski | Monday, June 1, 2009

Watch the Video

TechnoScore: 2.0
1 = Lowest Possible Score; 5 = Highest Possible Score

From the corny introduction by a receptionist, to the offbeat background music, to the pregnant pauses by the attorneys at Florida law firm Levin Tannenbaum, I got the sense that the producer of this video needed some help with his editing skills. Lighting needs improvement as well. "Hello! Anyone hear of white-balance?" The video tries to introduce everyone in the office and give everyone a speaking part. Not a great idea especially when some people are, diplomatically speaking, more dynamic than others.

What's with the over-the-ear microphone by attorney Levin while he's talking to the camera? Looks goofy. Ditch the microphone off your ear. This isn't Star Trek. The b-roll footage of the conference room and buildings are okay, but stay on way too long. Edit, edit, edit.

Levin Tannenbaum's managing partner says he wanted to create a law firm that uses sophisticated technology to better handle construction cases. Another attorney says the firm uses technology to lower your cost, but he fails to tell you how. I don't understand how showing us LCD monitors (even dual monitors), a postage meter, or a printer while a secretary types explains why Levin Tannenbaum is technologically advanced.

"What do you want from a lawyer?" asks Attorney Tannenbaum asks. That's a good question. However, it seems like he was told to wait a few moments between each sentence. Not very natural — especially for a trial attorney. This video runs 2:45. With good editing it should run no more than 1:10.

Tip #1: Set Your White Balance Before Shooting

Notice the dark beige background in the video. Notice the attorney's shirts do not stand out from the background. I can't even tell what color the lawyer's shirts are. There's no contrast. The camera can't tell accurately which color is supposed to be white. Can you fix it after you've shot the video? Yes, in post-production editing you can brighten the background, but your producer/editor needs to know how. If it's not fixed, you get this dull color that dampens your message.

What I want to know is why didn't the editor realize the colors were off before putting this video out for public consumption?

Tip #2: Speed Me Up, Bones!

"Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a video producer." Attorneys have long drawn-out pauses between their sentences because some video producer is telling these lawyers to sloooow down. Talk too fast, and nobody will understand you. Guess what? They're wrong. By slowing down to the extent seen on this video you give your viewer a reason to leave. If this lawyer can't discuss his own firm in a smooth flow, how can he try my case? This problem is common with video producers who are not lawyers and who have not vetted the video with real viewers before putting it online.

Edit your video. This video was painful to watch. With good editing and producing, it would have been worth watching. When you watch a commercial, notice that each scene is no more than 3-4 seconds. Why? The common thinking is that a viewer needs to see change. Keep it interesting. Don't use the same camera angle for long periods of time.

Tip #3: Use the Sidebar

Some video companies still don't get it. The sidebar serves two important functions: (1) search engines, and (2) contact information. Yes, this firm uses it well to describe what they do in Florida. Okay, they get my nod for the search engines. Yet there's no phone number or address. Why not? It should be in the sidebar. Don't make your viewer jump through hoops to contact you. If you do, they'll lose interest and go on to the next lawyer.


Somebody forgot to edit this video. At the end of the clip, the logo stays on for 13 seconds with background music playing. Why? I have no idea. That's 12 seconds longer than necessary. Cut out the non-essential fluff. Edit out the people who do not liven up the video; set your white balance and then speed up the lawyers to 78 RPM (like in a Fred video) speed.

Making these tweaks will liven up your video and make it special. Stand out from the crowd, and don't go along with everything your video producer wants you to do.

Till next time, see you on video!

The Back Bench

Certified Family Law Specialist and online video producer Kelly Chang Rickert says: "This video reminds me of the opening of hit comedy The Office — without the humor. I like how they focus on everyone's role in the firm. They convinced me that they run a good company. And they are technologically savvy — we love that! But what area of law do they specialize in again?"

TechnoLawyer publisher and online video producer Neil Squillante says: "While this video needs more polish — especially the cheesy opening, the managing partner with the microphone dangling from his ear, the flying logo, and the painfully drawn out closing remarks — it provides a good overview of the firm."

About YouLaw
YouTube offers law firms a free advertising platform with tens of millions of potential clients. But a poor video can hurt more than help. In this column, lawyer and online video expert Gerry Oginski reviews and rates the latest law firm videos. A panel of fellow experts (The Back Bench) add to Gerry's reviews with pithy remarks. We link to each new YouLaw column and all other noteworthy law firm marketing articles in our weekly BlawgWorld newsletter, which is free. Please subscribe now.

About Gerry Oginski
New York trial lawyer Gerry Oginski has created more than 150 informational online videos for his medical malpractice and personal injury practice. Realizing that most video producers don't have a deep understanding of the practice of law and what potential clients look for, Gerry launched The Lawyers' Video Studio, which provides free tutorials and video production services. If you need help producing a video, please contact Gerry now.

Contact Gerry:
T: (516) 487-8207

Topics: Law Firm Marketing/Publications/Web Sites | Videos | YouLaw
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