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By Christine Scioli, owner Zan Media

Expert EditorialI live and work producing films and videos in the San Francisco Bay area, where tech and startups abound, but creativity doesn’t necessarily follow suit. A great deal of time is spent looking just like the competition on company websites and social media portals, so the new guy can appear to be on equal footing with the slightly older gal, and mind blowing company videos consist of a bunch of words jumping onto a white screen and/or hand drawn animation that isn’t.

Wineries deserve a robust round of applause for not resorting to such cheap tricks in creating their tasting room and marketing videos. However, there are still a few caveats that deserve mention.

1. Don’t Over Drone

Drone shots are great with wide expanses and sweeping visuals of the vineyards below. However, whether you create them yourselves or buy them online, everyone’s using them, way too often as an opening montage.

Focus on drone shots that are unique to your winery if possible, and don’t let the fetching shots get in the way of telling your story.

2. Be Wary of Those Smiling Faces

Many of tasting room videos include a lot of clips of happy customers sipping on wine and toasting each other. Most folks who are at a lovely winery like yours and drinking wonderful wine like yours are going to be happy campers, I guarantee it.

However, make sure your wine label is visible in every shot; no matter how attractive your customers might be, your wine is the true “talent” even if you are shooting B-roll (supplemental footage to intercut with main shots).

3. Go Heavy with Your A Game

When you’re not shooting B-roll as per above, you are most liking shooting A-roll, that is, the main story, the on-camera talking, the pith of your pitch to the viewer. It might take more time to concentrate on the A-roll both when shooting and when editing, but it makes for a much more sincere final video.

Realizing that the winemaker or tasting room associate or customers enjoying your wine are not professional actors, asking a lot of well-thought-out questions can help tell your singular story. Work with your production team to create questions, the answers to which you want to hear. Also, have whoever is answering state the question in their response. For example: Question, “what do you think is the best single word description of this pinot noir?” Answer, “the best single word description I would use about this pinot is (fill in the blank).” Remember too, your bottle should be visible in the shot throughout.

4. Lighten Up

A lot of people take wine too seriously. Most of the exceptional wine experts I have filmed are having a grand time, all the time, when it comes to wine. For example, distinguished Silver Oak winemaker Daniel Baron practically bounces off the screen with joy answering any question about his wine when interviewed. Sonoma State wine professor extraordinaire, Master of Wine and hobby vintner, Dr. Liz Thach’s eyes twinkle when she wine talks, and The Wine Bible author Karen MacNeil absolutely enthralls you with her vivid words and wine descriptions that lesser aficionados could not pull off.

Let your wine video be joyful, authentic and never stodgy.

5. Less Is More and More Is Less

The plethora of video these days has caused attention span deficiency. Three to four minutes is the most you’re going to get and that’s pushing it, unless someone is intentionally watching a long-form wine documentary.

Opt for shorter-form videos and if you still have more of your story to tell, create a series format and add segments in a modular style.

Engage your viewer directly by asking what other information they would like to see. Interactivity is a win-win!

Christine ScioliExpert Editorial
By Christine Scioli, owner Zan Media

Christine Scioli owns Zan Media, a Bay area certified green film and video production company. She has written and produced scores of winery related video and documentary films, a recent release being The Routes to Roots, Napa and Sonoma. She is currently in production on her first documentary film devoted to spirits, A Cocktail Orange which is slated for release in early 2017. Contact her at [email protected], 415-897-8393.

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