Professional Video Studio for Young Leaders with Chris Gardiner

Professional Video Studio for Young Leaders with Chris Gardiner (Episode 135)

video marketing podcast Jan 09, 2023

Simplifying complex subjects like research and policymaking is essential in producing videos that people will want to watch and understand. Establishing a professional video studio can help educate young leaders about these topics.

In this episode, Chris Schwager (Co-founder and Video Marketer of Ridge Films) is joined by Chris Gardiner (CEO of the Institute of Regional Security or IFRS) in a newly-built podcast studio in Canberra, to discuss why engaging policy makers through videos is the best foot forward to explain complex topics. Learn how developing communication skills for digital platforms play a role in influencing community and global debate. Chris Gardiner also discusses his resolve in signing up for the DIY Video Program to give IFRS an edge over global competitors when it comes to producing professional videos in volume to inform and influence global perception, and give young leaders access to develop and integrate skills towards modern policymaking.

FOLLOW CHRIS GARDINER or check out The Institute for Regional Security website to learn more. 

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Video Transcription:

Chris Schwager: Welcome to the Video Made Simple podcast where we refashion the perception of video and change how you do business today.

[00:00:08] Our guest is Chris Gardner, CEO of the Institute for Regional Security, one of Australia's leading think tanks on security policy for Australia and the Indo-Pacific Region. Chris is also our latest DIY Video Program client, and I'm sitting here for the first time on the show in a newly built DIY multi cam video studio for IFRS in Canberra.

[00:00:32] After months of working with builders and architects to come up with the perfect all in one video solution, I've actually spent very little time. To get to know Chris and IFRS. So I thought, what better way to learn about their organization than to have him on the show? So let's bring him on to tell us how he is planning to use videos to communicate, educate, and persuade his audience.

[00:00:56] Here's our chat with Chris Gardiner.

[00:01:06] What does IFRS do and what's the role in simple terms so that everybody understands.

[00:01:12] Chris Gardiner: We're a not-for-profit think tank. We're committed to the peace and stability and the prosperity of the peoples of the Indo-Pacific, and to make sure we make a contribution towards that, we are involved in policy research, policy advocacy, international dialogue between policy makers, and we have a program for the development of young professional policy makers in the security community.

[00:01:39] Chris Schwager: Very nice. How did you get all started up? I mean, you've obviously got some skin in the game. How'd you get started in all the...

[00:01:45] Chris Gardiner: Well, a long time ago I did my postgraduate studies, international relations, and when this institute was first set up, it was the Kakoda Foundation, an eminent Australian and leading thinker at the time, Ross Babbage set it up and it's evolved. And a couple of years ago I was asked to help the institute reposition itself, uh, and in fact, uh, this project is part of that repositioning.

[00:02:08] Chris Schwager: It's such a big, uh, operation, what you've done here with this studio. Hence, uh, given that the, you know, installation of your new office here is still, you know, empty seats out there. We've got the more seats filled in here than we do out there. But why did you kinda lead so heavily with making sure that the video side of what you are doing was done properly right from the start?

[00:02:32] Chris Gardiner: I don't know how any modern organization, especially when it's got the opportunity to fit out new offices, I dunno how you don't have a digital production, a digital content, uh, capability in place. We should all have digital strategies now. Uh, and uh, it struck me that we had this unique opportunity. We were establishing new offices in Barton. Why not give ourselves the capacity that we should have Yes. To generate content and do it well?

[00:03:00] Chris Schwager: Yes. You've gone from zero to this. How did you make the decision, I guess, to, to, I guess, invest in this way? I mean, a lot of people that were particularly doing fitouts might rely on a builder and say, oh, do you know anyone that can do the av? And you know, guys coming in here with tripods and. buddy, whatever, like really, I mean, it is kind of almost over to the resident to figure out how they gotta do it. How did you go from zero to kind of this, you know?

[00:03:32] Chris Gardiner: Well, first of all, you start with strategy. Yes. You decide that you want to have a digital capability, digital capacity, and then, uh, to your credit, I came across you on LinkedIn and, uh, explored what you were on about uh, and we were at this unique opportunity of fitting out offices and it occurred to me that not only might you be able to provide us with a solution, you could give us advice on the setup from, from the start. So we were very lucky, um, we had that timetable, and you've given us advice and here we are.

[00:04:05] Chris Schwager: Okay. So you talked a little bit about the strategy side of it. What major, uh, obstacles or challenges are you faced in the communication side of your business that weren't having all this?

[00:04:17] Chris Gardiner: Uh, you know, globally there's a contest for ideas. There's a contest for influence. Nationally, we're one of a, a number of think tanks. So one of our challenges is how do you communicate complex things simply with good quality, uh, that ensures cut through. You want to be able to influence the debate. And you need to be doing that, I think professionally. Uh, so this was to me an obvious element in our overall, uh, capability of being able to take our messages. Explain them well. Communicate them credibly.

[00:04:56] Chris Schwager: Let's break it down to specifics then. How does video fit into the narrative? What, what's your plan, I guess, for, for integrating video or to, to your point, audio media in general into your organization.

[00:05:10] Chris Gardiner: Well, video and audio, uh, podcasts, uh, they're just one element, but we accept that nowadays digital is an important part of everybody's life. Most of the community debate, in fact, now, um, globally, most of the, the global debates are influenced by high quality communication digitally. As part of our work, we'll be bringing people together for dialogues face-to-face. We'll be developing young policy makers. We'll be publishing research papers, but in explaining our organization in terms of attracting support and certainly in trying to influence decision makers, and decision makers who are pressed for time. We want to include in our set of tools, the ability to communicate quickly, effectively, and in a number of media. And so this digital studio will be a crucial part of that, and it'll also be made available to our young strategic leaders, uh, in a program we have.

[00:06:09] They will generationally be much more engaged in using digital content, uh, making contributions to policymaking and also in influencing community perception, global perception. So they will be given access to this studio, um, to use it, develop those skills, and, um, integrate in all of their doing digital capability into modern policymaking.

[00:06:34] Chris Schwager: I just realized something. This is the first podcast out of 135 episodes or whatever we've done. I've done face-to-face with somebody . Really? Yeah. Uh uh, we started I think in 19 or 20, and it's all been via Zoom and then Riverside to do the recordings and all that, but all digital. , I don't think I've actually sat down even as a guest with anybody face to face. Isn't that funny?

[00:07:02] Chris Gardiner: I'm glad that, uh, I'm your first time .

[00:07:06] Chris Schwager: Well, I thought it certainly was befitting to, to do this while I'm in Canberra. Um.

[00:07:11] Does video quality matter? There's a lot of people out there that we know we're bringing them on and they've gone through the pain of the ring light and the DSLR camera, and the tech variables, and the recording themselves, and their iPhone and their car and all of that sort of rubbish, right?

[00:07:28] And so they're taking the leap. For you, you could have done the same thing. You could have had, we could have one of these, your desk, and we could have done a little makeshift, low grade type of solution. You could still had your young people come in and use it and whatever. Why'd you scale up? Why? Why this?

[00:07:42] Like, why, why do the full, you know, it's obviously a bit of investment here. This is the first show, so we're still listening to noise and creeks and this that I heard a plane, did you hear that plane earlier? Mm-hmm. Okay. It was a very low level, but um, yeah, there's a couple little extra things we need to consider, but yeah, I guess, you know, There's gonna be teething issues. So why, why all this? Why why'd you go with the sort of accommodate such a, you know, reasonable size operation here?

[00:08:10] Chris Gardiner: We have a lot of competitors and so we have to compete on the basis of quality. Right. And as I said, uh, we, there's a contest for influence globally. Yeah. , you need to have high quality content. Mm-hmm.

[00:08:25] Influence is about credibility. Mm-hmm. So if you're going to, in my view, if you're going to do it and you've got an opportunity to start with a clean sheet, uh uh, to fit out an office. Mm-hmm. , I thought we should invest in the capability to do it well.

[00:08:40] Chris Schwager: Well, I gotta say, man, I am impressed and I think to have the foresight to do that. I mean, we're advocating video, obviously we're in the business, but businesses need to lead with video these days.

[00:08:56] For those out there thinking that video is just video, or video serves at purpose, it's on YouTube or something you put on your homepage, take it from Chris. You know, the opportunities are vast. Now, they might not be going hardcore on, on, you know, marketing activities from a, from a, you know, homepage videos and, and all that sort of stuff. But they have the capacity to do that now. You have an incredible origin of, um, of content, particularly what I said earlier about leading with something like this, which is just interview style content.

[00:09:30] It's, you know, ends up on the podcast. You've got video capabilities thereafter that you can segment that social content. It's stuff that you can cross promote and push into getting more and more bums on seats or listeners if you like to, to actually, to actually make sure that your thing gets known and that that is a process that takes time and planning to be able to enable that sustainability to not only have a regular show, you know, for us it's once a week, but to also have capacity, in the long term that you have, you're up to leverage so much of this content. And we're in now after two years, starting to point people to specific episodes of their show because they offer real value at specific areas of people's journey.

[00:10:16] For instance, um, uh, presentation training. Somebody was like, well, can you present so well? And I like, absolutely hate myself in front of the camera, and there's like nothing I do either live presenting or on camera that, that makes me feel like I, I've got this nailed down. It's like, well, the phobia isn't that I can't train your brain to, you know, convince yourself that you're better.

[00:10:38] You know, that's, that's, that's you and, and probably some other coaching support. You know, that's not presenter training. That's like you managing limiting beliefs about the way you come across on camera. So I was able to point him to a, an episode with Dr. Greg Schreeuwer, you know, that was, that was perfect. It, it went through that because, and, and, and I guess for you from the, the point I'm making is, uh, we have that indexing an asset there ready to go, uh, no matter whether it was long form or a short little video, whatever, like we have all of those assets, information assets, video assets. These are hugely beneficial, uh, in the world of, of video because you are building a library of content. It benefits the SEO, it benefits your, uh, audience that you can market and support and help nurture through there. All of the people that you've got coming on the show, they, they're obviously got, um, you know, searching for their own content. They can cross promote that. So you kind of get this swell of activity happening. I'm completely aware I'm on a ranch right now. And I feel like I'm kind of trying to coach you, even though I've probably gone over this before, but I just wanna make this a particular point that Yeah, by having this system allows you capacity to do things that competitors potentially are not..

[00:11:58] Chris Gardiner: Yeah. Uh, it'll take us a while to develop the competence. We, we've given ourself the tools. Mm-hmm. We, we are looking to generate both, uh, promotional material about our organization. We want to communicate, as I say, some complex ideas so that we will be regularly producing information. Uh, we are also going to use this to create, uh, uh, content in micro-learning units for professional policy makers. So all, all of that, I'm hoping in a couple of years I can, um, come onto a show and rant like you, uh, about the library of content we've got. And how we are referring people to past episodes.

[00:12:42] Chris Schwager: We'll be back in a short moment with Chris Gardiner. Are you sick of setting up video equipment and all the tech hassles that come with producing your own videos? Nowadays, video is everywhere, and this is a more streamlined way to present yourself professionally on your website rather than a crappy quality webcam, and you can do it from the convenience of your desk or in this case, from the convenience of this purpose-built studio.

[00:13:05] It's called the DIY Video Program. And it allows you to create course contents and personalized sales videos. In the emails record regular video updates for social media and look and sound amazing in every video interaction with a single push of a button. And of course, let's not forget about podcasts.

[00:13:24] You get professional gear and all the video coaching and editing you need to supercharge how you sell, market and teach. Learn more and go to

[00:13:38] What does life look like in say, two to five years for you? Now that you've got this system in place, producing videos made easier, more convenient for you?

[00:13:46] Chris Gardiner: I suspect that other organizations will be trying to take up the same capabilities. So we will always be looking at how we stay, uh, at the front. Yes. We've adopted this technology. How do we skill ourselves up? Yes. How do we continue to produce excellent content? Yes. That will be the challenge I think, to always stay ahead of our competitors, to always be seen as an organization that produces really useful content. We want policy makers here in overseas when they, they're driving, uh, back from work or they, they have a moment and they want to, um, consider they've, they've seen a, a reference to a clip and they know that if they come to our materials, they will get a five or 10 minute succinct explanation of the, uh, the subject or they know that they will be able to go to, uh, a leading thinker and really understand an issue. We want to be that organization and the challenge will be to stay on the edge with the technology and with the quality of the production tools. So first, uh, establish our competence and then, um, establish our, uh, reputation for being very good at it.

[00:15:01] Chris Schwager: Yes. And are you putting any sort of, uh, marketing teams in place? Obviously a lot of it, like when we've got four people producing this show, right? Um, you would not think that, but there's somebody handling the scripting. There's somebody handling the video editing and the audio editing, there's somebody publishing it and writing the subject lines, the body of the copy, publish. You know, like there's a lot going on. I've gotta sit here and I do the easiest part, like presenting, right? I read from a pro prompter and talk to you for a couple minutes. That's the easy part. Um. But having that, it doesn't, it's not instinctive. It's not intuitive that that putting a show together like this requires that much love.

[00:15:40] Yes, you can pull out your iPhone, couldn't you? And publish, and you've got an I, uh, Podcast done immediately. Great. But it's not produced, not well filled out, not, you know, and you probably won't get too many people listening to it. So I guess question is, what's, what's your preparation? Who, how are you gonna put that team together?

[00:15:57] Chris Gardiner: Uh, step by step? Uh, at the moment, um, the organization has accepted as part of its strategy that it has to have a digital backbone. Yep. That's the first. We've experimented with digital, uh, content in explaining complex issues. Put our toe in that water. Now, uh, we have this, uh, studio established. We will need to build our capacity around it and to a certain extent I'm going to be, uh, cheating by bringing in young young, um, members of the defense and security community who are, uh, employed in a wanting professional development and drawing on their skills. Yeah. Uh, getting them excited about this and, uh, building them into our program.

[00:16:40] Chris Schwager: Yeah. And just so our audience knows, this is not Chris doing his own thing here. He's already appointed, uh, somebody to champion, to be the champion for, you know, operating and being kind of like the go-to person for setting these things up. Obviously there's a little bit of work in the setup and whatnot, and prep preparation, making sure this all looks, sounds the best it possibly can, as well as the recording of it and all that type stuff.

[00:17:06] Make sure it's all safe. But you know, as I mentioned to you earlier, it's not just, you know, okay, we've done the recording now and then what, you know, like it's gotta then. , you know, produce flow down downstream, right? It's gotta go to the editor. It's gotta go to people that can actually managing publishing script, uh, really copywriting.

[00:17:22] As I was saying to Elizabeth earlier, the importance of getting their subject lines right, you know, my scriptwriter, even after a year of her employment with us, um, I'm still having to get in there from time to time and tweak those headlines. Yes, it might be technically correct with the control to the controlling id, but it's not interesting. It's not real enticing. And as you'll discover, that can be one of the most difficult things to deal with, is like, all right, we're doing all this work, building the show. Why aren't people coming to watch it, listen to it, right? Um.

[00:18:00] Chris Gardiner: We've already, um, tried to, uh, sharpen our, our, um, skills in that regard by producing two to three minute clips, digital clips that explain complex things, political influence from overseas actors. Uh. The challenge of the Antarctica. So people can go to our website and see those, so we are very much aware that this is the technology. Now, we have to bring the human. Um, Ingenuity and creativity, um, intelligence to this, to be writing those scripts, to be getting the right headings that make people click on this.

[00:18:35] Um. So yes, we'll be building all of that capacity around it. Um, the good, the good, uh, news about this setup, I think is just that it is, it was relatively simple, um, to get established with your assistance, get it established now. Now we utilize it, we exploit it. We leverage it by bringing talented, mainly young thinkers together to make sure that we use this technology to build, uh, peace, prosperity, and stability in the region.

[00:19:09] Chris Schwager: Well, Chris, thank you for gracing us with your presence today and giving us, uh, such amazing value to our audience. If you wanna learn more about digital diplomacy and IFRS or Chris Gardiner, have a look at show notes for details.

[00:19:24] Aiding diplomacy through videos improves awareness and communication, much like we're demonstrating here today from the IFRS studio in Canberra. And to make things better and more informed decisions and effective governance, you need a streamlined video solution, allows you to broadcast your message as easily as we've done here today.

[00:19:46] Thanks for tuning in. That's all for this episode of the Video Made Simple podcast. And see you next week.


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