Archive for 2012

The expert’s guide to making a company video

We’ve all learnt how important it is to make sure our company is visible online. Websites, social media, online newspapers and magazines, blogs, articles; you name it, you’re probably doing it.

Yet the most impactful and easiest way of getting your message across is video, yet many company’s shy away from making one. Cost, technique, technology are just some of the reasons many firms say puts them off.

The truth is, you’re missing out. Video allows you to communicate your message in your own words. You can get right in-front of target customers and potential clients, showing them exactly how you could benefit them.

1) Content is King – Don’t make a video just for the sake of it. You need a clear purpose and narrative in mind before the cameras start rolling. The more time you spend in pre- production (planning and scripting), the better the result. Video is a more powerful medium than static text/photos but only if you have something to say!

2) Always think about your audience – Who will want to watch your video and why? Gear the content towards the interests of your target audience.

3) Length – You’re not making Ben Hur. The average attention span for online videos is around 60 seconds, so make sure your video is concise and grabs the viewer’s attention straight away. Think about episodic content that encourages the viewer to return to your site each week/month.

4) Let your customers sell you – If you are promoting your company or product, the viewer is more likely to trust the opinion of another customer rather than your CEO. Think about interviewing a customer giving an honest testimonial. People trust people rather than corporations.

5) Check your shot & check again – It sounds obvious but it is a very common mistake. Make sure that everything in your shot looks perfect, staff look presentable and there isn’t something in shot that shouldn’t be, like sensitive documents, untidiness or somebody misbehaving in the background!

6) Quality – Much like your website, the quality of your video reflects the quality of your brand or product. If you are shooting it yourself, use the best camera you can get your hands on, use a tripod, and make sure the sound quality is good. If you are contracting a production company, make sure they are reputable and always ask to see examples of previous work.

7) Soundtrack – If you are going to use music in your video, bear in mind you usually have to pay thousands in royalties for copyrighted tracks. Try stock music sites such as stockmusic.net where you can buy a track with a full license for around £40.

8) Provide the backup – Don’t just expect to make a video, put it on YouTube and watch the video go viral. Make sure you publicise the video through press releases, social media, relevant websites and through your staff.

 

Curly Productions are online video production specialists based in Liverpool, UK.

How to recycle your old Xbox 360 by turning it into planter

When my Xbox 360 was struck down by the infamous red ring of death, tragically it was out of warranty and to be honest, it just didn’t get enough use (with 2 young children!) to justify the £80.00 bill to repair it.

So there it was, gathering dust in our cabinet, until my wife decided to have a clear out.  Under pressure to throw it in the bin, I wanted to see if I could brighten up our new office space and give the Xbox a new lease of life as a plant box.  Some may say its criminal to turn such a processing powerhouse into a mere box to hold soil and plant roots, but I felt it was more respectful than chucking it in the bin.

Xbox’s are notoriously difficult to get into, as Microsoft don’t want you tinkering with the innards.  I’m not going to jot down step by step how to get in, as there is a much better video here that tells you how to do it.

So, with nothing more than a few screwdrivers I opened up my old console, and one by one took out each of the Xbox’s vital organs – the DVD drive, processor, motherboard, fan.  The console slowly became the shell I was looking for.

I then purchased some heavy duty gravel bags – the idea being that the inner metal container becomes a natural drainage system out of the screw holes at the bottom, with the plastic chassis catching the drainage water.  Therefore I had to seal the plastic outer case with the heavy duty bags.  The metal case then slots back in.  I also sealed around the edges of this metal case so that bits of soil didn’t escape.

The case then gets filled with soil and whatever plants you want in there.  Finally, you snap the side and front panels on, and voila!  Water the plants and hope it doesn’t leak!

 

If anyone has any other broken consoles looking for a new lease of life in the Curly Productions garden, then we’d be very grateful!

Christian

 

 

 

Curly Productions are online video production specialists based in Liverpool, UK.

Our top 5 Christmas films with great visual effects

Deciding which is your favourite Christmas film is tougher than deciding your favourite film.

It’s harder because it has to be perfect; you can watch most movies any day of the week but Christmas films only have a short window in which it’s acceptable to watch them.

A chat at Curly Production towers revealed that the majority of Christmas films at the top of our lists have really great visual effects, motion graphics and animation. This probably shouldn’t be a huge surprise. Filmmakers are going to be putting their biggest budgets into movies that are released when people are off work or school and are actively looking for something to do. Big budgets, increased production value, the belief goes, means bigger audiences.

Visual effects are about more than having more cash to splash around though. When they work well they elevate the story. Even if you’re making a short film or an online promo, visual effects can help make your audience feel like they’re part of a different world; they are immersive and make it easier to articulate ideas.

This Christmas the cinemas will hope we’ll all flock to see The Hobbit but having special effects on at Christmas is nothing new. Here are our top Christmas films with the best visual effects;

1. Die Hard. Yippee Kai Yay Melon Farmers!

Die Hard

Yes, Die Hard IS a Christmas film.  John McClane, played by Bruce Willis, obviously, fights to save his wife and her colleagues who have been taken hostage during their Christmas party. Sounds quite dull when you read it like that. It is the visual and sound effects though that lift this film and make it a classic. It won two Oscars for sound and visual effects. The best effect is when the top of the building blows away as McClane jumps from it. Astounding.

2. The Snowman

The Snowman animation

There are many who will shed a manly tear when they watch The Snowman. It’s such an important part of our childhood we can sometimes forget that it’s an astonishing piece of animation. It could be argued that the stripped back graphics are what makes it so personable. A silent film with just a few sketches and beautiful music. When it’s one of the key ingredients the animation had to be a step above the rest. The effects are done using traditional animation techniques with pastels and crayons drawn onto celluloid and then traced over hand drawn frames. It makes it timeless and nostalgic, as the best children’s illustration should be.

3. Hugo

hugo-movie

Pixomondo, who worked on the visual effects in Hugo, won their first Oscar for the film. Directed by Martin Scorcese it’s a story about the birth of cinema so it seems fitting it should be the first film that uses 3D in the most successful and arresting way so far in film.  The inspiration for the visual effects was the “persistence of vision” of early filmmakers. It mixes homages with a use of innovative technology. The film creates a new world in the train station it’s filmed in and the shots as the camera ducks and weaves to follow the action – reminiscent of the epic Orson Welles shot as the camera flies through a neon sign – which makes it immersive as well as thrilling.

4. The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas Animation

Christmas films don’t have to be mushy. Tim Burton taught us that. The film tells the story of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King who presides over a world of ghouls and goblins who celebrate Halloween. Disillusioned with the holiday Jack explores the world outside his own front door and discovers Christmas. The film uses stop motion animation which is the perfect video production technique to bring the weird and wonderful creatures to life.

5. Gremlins

gremlins

What are the three rules for looking after a Mogwai? If you know that without using Google then you’re probably aged between 28 and 35 and you grew up with Gremlins. Written by Chris Columbus the movie won the Best Special Effects Oscar in 1985. The guy who worked on it, Chris Walas, also worked on The Fly and Arachnophobia. Perhaps that’s why the Gremlins are always a little creepy.  Who wouldn’t want a Mogwai for Christmas?

Merry Christmas to all our lovely Blog readers.

The Curly team x

 

Curly Productions are online video production specialists based in Liverpool, UK.