Economic Development in Doha, Qatar

When Dohaland Corporation reached out to find a firm that would help oversee their film and video production needs in Doha, Qatar, they looked to Multivision to make it happen.

In a true demonstration of “the world is truly flat,” and through a series of connections, we were brought on-board to act as a consultant and overseer of the video production services that would chronicle the massive redevelopment of the downtown area of Doha, Qatar’s capital city.

More than $6 billion dollars worth of work is scheduled to be completed in the city within the next few years, and an entire section of the old city is to be demolished, with its current residents and businesses being temporarily relocated.

With the Qatar Foundation’s intent to showcase the new Qatar to the world, they needed a huge effort to create a video and film record of this modern city’s transformation. Such an endeavor would require building blocks for future television programming, as well as digital corporate and archival video elements. It needed to be a well-organized media acquisition system, with the ability to be a permanent visual record of the project. Multivision was asked to help implement it, for this was, after all, history in the making.  Our experience as a corporate video production expert would come into play.

While in other neighboring Emirates huge buildings of foreign branded hotels and skyscrapers line the vistas, development in “The Heart of Doha” was to be more scalable, and designed with sustainability – the ultimate in modern green architecture and design. The massive project was also to be more in tune with the heritage of regional architecture.

A few years ago Dohaland started the development process by establishing a charrette that invited the world’s leading architects, and their top ideas, from firms in Lebanon, London, various European countries, and within Qatar itself.

Bob-in-Qatar-300x199Video crews from the region were selected for media gathering “on the ground,” and the Multivision video production crew was given the contract to schedule and oversee the crews that would cover each aspect of design and construction.

Seeing some of the amazing things that Qatar (awarded the World Cup Soccer for 2022) has been doing, and their plans for the future, has been a terrific learning experience.

Cheap Money: Helping Developers Sell EB-5 Visa Programs in China and Brazil

The great dream of so many outside the United States is to come to this country to live, work or to be with family members that are already here. You see it in countries like China, Brazil, India and many other nations where economic freedom or human safety are a real concern. With that goal in mind, U.S. residency applicants line up by the hundreds of thousands, and patiently wait for years for a U.S. permanent resident visa, which is often a long and frustrating process mired in red tape.

Twenty years ago the federal government developed a program to encourage foreign investment in the U.S. Named the EB-5 visa program, the program’s goal was to bring well-heeled investors into the U.S. who could make low interest loans to U.S. businesses, in exchange for an expedited visa path, and eventually the coveted green card. The program is set up to allow these investors in certain areas of under-employment to invest $500,000, and almost immediately be on the path to U.S. entry.

Helping potential EB-5 investors to understand these complex programs in places like São Paulo or Shanghai has become a challenge for developers, entrepreneurs and dreamers alike. The thought of low-interest loans, and avoiding having to deal with the heavily regulated banking environment in the United States, has created some great opportunity and need for Multivision to create strategic messaging that sells these deals to investors.

This takes the form of very specifically targeted video productions and presentations that use HD video, graphics and a compelling story to make a case for EB-5 visa investing.

In Mandarin, Portuguese or English, there is nothing like a good story and images to explain the merits of a deal. Road shows are created that take groups or individual wealthy foreign investors on a “journey to opportunity in the U.S.”

Mandarin-Chinese1-300x167For example, Multivision has created programs for clients in Mandarin Chinese to sell a new mall development in the Raleigh-Durham market. The Multivision video crew traveled to North Carolina and interviewed the Mayor of Durham, NC, politicians, civic leaders and Chinese citizens living in the area (in Mandarin) to make the case for Chinese investment in a market with which many Chinese were not familiar.

“It’s story telling in its purest form,” says developer Kelly Yeung. “Many of the Chinese people viewing the presentation have never been to the United States, or understand the real estate market in the U.S.”

Multivisions’ Bob Berkowitz explains it further, “We take the investor from across the world on a journey into the EB-5 visa opportunity being offered, and explain the visa opportunity in their native language. As the old adage goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ In this case the images in these sales presentations are worth at least half a million dollars in investment.”

Multivision has created numerous EB-5 sales presentations, and has developed an expertise in this story telling and in multi-cultural marketing. “Each audience is different,” says Berkowitz. “The Chinese investor is different than the Brazilian investor, for example, and it goes beyond language. These are savvy smart business people, and the message must be clear, concise and tailored to the market.”

Programs to sell a new Casino development in Las Vegas, and a Marriott complex in the Florida Keys, are some of the other EB-5 programs recently developed by the Multivision video production team, and the list keeps growing.

“It used to be that we would help developers to sell the amenities of their buildings, condos or hotels or businesses once they were developed, or after they were designed. Now we get involved in helping to raise the money to get the deal started in the first place,” Berkowitz explained. “It’s a whole new market and set of challenges.”

Multivison has several new developments in the works in projects all over the U.S. It ranges from hospitals, to colleges to malls. Projects must create at least 10 U.S. jobs for a period of 5 years, and must meet stringent government regulation. The lawyers in these projects (largely immigration-focused) play a huge role in packaging and developing each deal, and in handling mounds of paperwork.

It goes way beyond creating a video production. Producing these EB-5 presentations is becoming a whole sub specialty for Multivision, and developers from across the country are seeking us out based on our expertise, track record and multi-language capability.

 

Helping Infrastructure Developer Communicate: Port of Miami Tunnel

Ever since the Port of Miami Tunnel (POMT) was awarded the job to build the 1.1-mile tunnel under Biscayne Bay, from I-395 to PortMIAMI, Multivision has been on the job of helping MAT Concessionaire LLC, and French contractor Bouygues Construction, to communicate information about the tunnel project to anyone that is interested in, or is affected by, the $1 billion dollar monumental project.

The tunnel is part of a dynamic expansion of PortMIAMI, and it will help alleviate heavy truck traffic in downtown Miami. A project of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), it is the biggest single public works project undertaken by the state agency.

Multivison video crews have been there from the beginning, shooting early conferences, public outreach meetings and job fairs, as employees were sought from Miami’s job-hungry construction community.

2011-06-25_12-47-01_7791-ARRIVAL-300x169Every aspect of the project has been closely followed and documented: from the groundbreaking ceremony, to the day that the $50 million dollar German tunnel boring machine (TBM) arrived at Watson Island from Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and into continued construction.

Throughout the project Multivision has kept a record of the ongoing progress from day one. The Miami-Dade County Girl Scouts Troop named the TBM Harriet.

View_of_TBM_Cutterhead_and_Tunnel_Workers_Exiting_Machine-300x224The amazing machine and its crew started digging their way down and across government cut on a journey to PortMIAMI.

Says Chris Hodgkins, Vice President of MAT Concessionaire LLC, “Multivision has been with us each step of the way.”

A Phase I video was completed and shows all that went into the process, up until the TBM started its journey under the critically important waterway.

photo-11-300x224“We were also there when Harriet broke through at PortMIAMI, and the confetti went wild,” explained Multivision’s Bob Berkowitz. “It’s really exciting and great to be a part of history like this, and to be one of the first persons to gounder Government Cut and into the port.”

photo-21-225x300Now, as the TBM makes its final 1-mile trip back to I-395, Multivision crews are following it all the way, and will be there when construction of the tunnel is scheduled to be completed, and will be subsequently opened to traffic in May of 2014.

 

Steadicam® Production Crew

Multivision recently completed a location shoot for an important architectural presentation. Our video production crew shot along Biscayne Bay, using our Sony® XDCam® 1080p camera mounted on a Steadicam® harness rig.

photo-13-e1354225424779-225x300The gimbal and spring balanced equipment allows for smooth shots while the cameraman is walking, avoiding the normal bouncy look of a shoulder-mounted shot.

It will be a “before and after” comparison of a bayfront property, before and after development. The “after” part of the edited comparison is a 3-D computer generated animated model of the planned structures and landscaping details, as envisioned by the architects and engineers of the project.

 

The Perfect Pitch

Winning Concepts for a Successful Presentation.

Winning Isn’t Everything… Ah, Yes It Is!
It’s so much more fun to be on a winning team, reaching for the prize and actually attaining it. Well, that’s what we have been taking on over the last 20 years as a big part of our business. In fact, over the last few years we have seen it grow, along with the amount of new infrastructure projects that are out for bid by the government, and being chased by the large multinational consulting, construction, and engineering companies.

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Up for Grabs
These huge contracts are up for grabs, meaning these large companies must invest heavily just to get the jobs. Bidding companies assign project management teams, even before they’re awarded the work. They even design some of the key parameters as part of the competitive challenge. It’s always been so, it’s always been expensive, and traditionally they win a small percentage of the pitches to which they respond.

The Secret
Over the last few years we have found a secret that has helped many of our clients win pitches for large government infrastructure jobs; a strategy and a technique that has helped many of our clients increase their win record substantially.

In many ways, it all comes down to their willingness to change the way they enter this arena in the first place. Certainly, bidders will continue to fill out reams of background data on their companies, on their key personnel, on the financial strengths of the their firms, and on the information that makes them compliant with bid criteria. One false move here and, without explanation, they’re often left out.

After all is said and done, usually the top 4 or 5 firms percolate to the top, and are ranked and selected to make a final presentation to a selection board that are usually made up of either elected officials, citizen volunteers, or appointed government staff. At this point the contract can be considered up for grabs. Depending on the selection rules it can be anyone’s game, or it can be stacked in favor of one bidder. Politics can, and often does, play a part in the process.

The Sweet Spot
This has been the entry point where we have found a sweet spot – a place where we can, and have, made a difference for many companies and bidders who find themselves short listed. How do you win from this position? How do you get those extra few points to get on top of the group of those short ranked with you?

The answer is simple…

You’ve Gotta Knock Their Socks Off!
You want to create a presentation that turns your presenters into heroes and geniuses, differentiate your company as the only safe choice, and leave an impression with the  election committee that your ideas are the ones that hit the mark.

That’s what we have been doing; looking at each presentation (specifically for engineering, consulting and construction assignments) like a well-orchestrated episode of The Discovery Channel’s Modern Marvels. It must be thought out, scripted, created, rehearsed and timed.
Presenters must be shown how to stand, deliver, look to the supporting screens, and be genuinely excited about the prospect of digging that tunnel, or building that roadway. This is often the hardest challenge an engineer has to overcome. Let’s face it. He/she went to engineering school, not drama school. Additionally, these timed presentations are always cut short (by law) when the presenter reaches the end of the allotted time period… a bad thing.

Rehearsals with a Stopwatch – and Lots of Them – are a Must

Media must be created that enhances and supports the message of the live presenter, not steal his or her thunder.

We design creative and very short video modules that perfectly support one thought at a time, and are immediately enhanced by the live presenter, who confirms their content, guides us through the presentation, and leaves the viewer wanting more.

The presenter should be the host of the show, and must excitedly move from segment to segment effortlessly, aided by – but not supplanted by – visual aids. They should not mindlessly read PowerPoint® slides, or ignore the viewer. Instead they should be shown how to engage their audience with facial expressions and specific statements aimed at individual members of the selection board.

It’s a show, and what we have been doing simply enough is creating a good show that influences a finite number of audience members that we get to know, and get them to like us more than the other guy.

You do the elements I’ve just outlined and you win… a lot.

We are enjoying guiding our clients through successful presentations. They in turn have been granted more than $3 billon worth of business in the last few years, thanks to us.  Our video production services come with a lot of experience in winning big jobs.

It works.

 

The Birth of a Branding Campaign

Producing “Diego Galante” to sell Colombian Emeralds International

As with many great branding campaigns, the idea of how to market a chain of jewelry stores with outlets throughout the Caribbean came from Turkel, an advertising agency with whom we have worked closely over the years.

The idea was to sell the concept of what it takes to find emeralds and precious stones in the mines and jungles of Colombia, doing whatever is necessary to get them, and bring them to market.

Turkel created Diego Galante, a fictional character who makes it his job to trek through the jungles and mines of Colombia to supply the stores with these magnificent goods. It was a great idea from the start, and it would give the client a branding position than no one could copy.

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Turkel called on Multivison to partner with them to bring these stories to life, and to capture on video the adventures of this cross between Indiana Jones and Michael Douglas from “Romancing the Stone.” The storyboards were imaginative and fun, and it was very exciting from the get-go.

We at Multivision decided that even though most of the action was to take place in the jungle, we could get the look, the dense foliage, and the feel of the deepest and darkest jungles of Colombia at Pinecrest Gardens, in the suburbs of Miami. With this backdrop we found that all the scenes had a perfect setting where we could shoot: a river bed for a rusty old canoe, the jungle itself for Diego to hack through (there was plenty of that), a tropical lake, and even a little old restored bungalow. This last component was to serve as the final scene where Diego would walk in for each of the 3 spots and say triumphantly “Come to Colombian Emeralds International, and see what I just brought back from the mines.” It took a lot to get to that point however. First we had to find Diego.

Castings were held at Multivision’s Coral Gables studio, and over the course of a week many leading men (adventurer types) were auditioned and they got to read the lines. After much searching and auditioning, Brazilian actor Fernando Plentz won the part, and was slated to become Diego.

Costumes were selected from specialty stores all over Miami to find the right look, and props were sought out to exacting specifications.

Multivision brought on Director of Photography Carlos Prio to lens the project. Along with Turkel Creative Director Mike Tesch, the shots were planned out to each detail.

Our location production would need generators, along with a light truck, to create the shafts of daylight needed for true authenticity.

We selected another location, the Wings Over Miami Air Museum, near Tamiami airport. Here, a working replica of a World War II era plane was used in one of the shots. There was also a motorcycle scene shot in deep west Miami-Dade County, along with a moving Jeep scene. Even a mule from a farm in Hialeah Gardens made an appearance, and he steals the show and the carrots.

Multivision shot the project on the RED® Epic camera system to create brilliant high definition images, and to allow room in the video frame for any color correction or image manipulation that would be needed during postproduction.

Back in Coral Gables at Multivision’s studios we “propped” and shot a museum scene, as well as several tabletop product shots, with diamonds and emeralds.

The spots were finished and will start airing on November 1, 2012.

Thanks go out to producer Laura Becerra and an able team of assistants, and to the Turkel team of Mike Tesch and Allison Filella, make-up and stylist by Rory Lee, post-production and color correction all done in-house by Multivision’s René Borroto and Pedro Mendez.