THE IDEA FACTORY- BaxTrek: The Sequel
By Bob Ketchum

Because Advanstar Press ceased publication of Newtekniques Magazine recently, all links to the original articles are down. Due to the number of requests for the content of my Idea Factory and Hear Ye! Hear Ye! columns, and in the interest of making the information in these articles available to the public, I have posted them here through my site. I am told that the original html docs and image files are being released soon. When I get them I will add the extra text and images and the columns will LIVE AGAIN!.

Idea Factory
Subject: "BaxTrek: The Sequel"
DEC 2000
By Bob Ketchum

Last year, when I wrote an article for The Idea Factory about "How To Make Training Videos Fun", I reported about a training video for Baxter Healthcare Corporation we called "Baxtrek: The Dualities Incident". The video was so well received by corporate management that Mike Rotenone (Human Resource Trainer of Information Technology) decided to use the Star Trek spoof again as a recurring theme for this years QUASH Training Video.

I had not intended to do a follow up for this years project, but changes in the game plan this year sheds a new light on Baxter's corporate video production techniques. Time and technology have caused Baxter to rethink their traditional video training methods, and I decided it would be good to share this information with you, as you may also also encounter this new strategy with your own corporate clients.

First of all, it might help if you have not read the previous article to go read it now and lay the groundwork for this update. You can find it HERE. Go and read it now. I'll wait..

(Have they all gone? For those of you who have already read it, good for you! You're one step ahead of the game and obviously have what it takes to be a professional videographer. With your trusty Toaster/Flyer you are the envy of all those wan-be's stuck in Delusiveness Well, they will be back in a moment. I just wanted to say "Thanks" for reading The Idea Factory)

Are you back? Good! And now. I bring you the sequel to "BaxTrek: The Dilithium Incident".. (drum roll).. "BaxTrek: The Wrath of Q.S.I.T."

Baxtrek II: The Wrath of Q.S.I.T. from Bob Ketchum on Vimeo.

What makes this years production unusual is that it was designed for a completely different type of presentation. Mike called me two weeks prior to shooting to tell me a decision was made for him to have more direct interaction with his class. With that in mind he produced an MS PowerPoint Presentation, using a sophisticated computer controlled multimedia system. He addressed the class wearing a wireless mic and controlled the PowerPoint presentation on a video projector with a wireless mouse. All the audio was routed to a Mackie mixer installed in a roll around rack with video recorder/player, DVD player, CD player, and two diversity wireless receivers. All the necessary A/V cables and computer cables were routed from the rack located at the rear of the presentation room. The computer was located at the front of the room, closer to the presenter for convenient access to the keyboard.

The "BaxTrek" video segments were projected on the same screen and used as teasers and to retain the story board thread throughout the presentation. They also help to break up the monotony of a what could become a glorified slide show. The training content is the usual fare, full of rules and regulations and acronyms and other corporate necessities. If anything can wake people up every 10 minutes or so it would be a funny video. That's where we come in. Spoof segments were written and in a single pre production meeting I blocked out all the animated segments we would need, all the locations we intended to shoot at, and what sound effects and music tracks I would need to have ready for post production.

Now, the bad news is: Since he makes the "meat and potatoes" part of the presentation I am essentially cut out of the video work shooting and producing those segments. Instead of CG pages, footage, and stills with voice-overs, Mike used PowerPoint to essentially deliver the same content. So the studio won't get the hourly rate to shoot and produce it. That means instead of $4.5K I'll only make about $2K.

The good news is: I didn't get completely cut out of the project and I still get to produce the animation and the spoof material. That's all the cool stuff ! The cost reduction will no doubt make the corporate bean counters happy. Another plus point for Baxter is that if regulations, policy, or content change (which often happens), Mike can make the appropriate changes to his live presentation instead of having to produce and insert new segments into a completed video project. Considering the additional savings to the corporation, perhaps another department can produce a similar multimedia concept next time where it was cost prohibitive before.

That's really the point of this article. I used to have a sign over my control room door that said "Improvise, Adapt & Overcome". In this day and age when you're dealing with corporate strategy you have to be prepared to seize the moment. At that first meeting when I learned that the training concept had changed, instead of worrying about what business I was losing I instead concentrated on what was needed to make his presentation complete. More and more corporations are examining their training concepts and curbing "unnecessary" expenses. Make sure you're not the fat being trimmed. Be productive and supportive when new concepts are implemented. Use The Force, young Flayer.

Bob Ketchum, the Shameless Sultan of StarTrek, has been beamed aboard and is now in space on his next adventure

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