Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Adobe Creative Cloud – A new way for creative industries to work (and pay!)

Creative-Cloud-Adobe1No matter what your job, if you are in the creative industry, you’ll almost certainly have used one piece of Adobe’s powerful Creative Suite.  For us in the production industry, Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Illustrator, Photoshop and Encore have been invaluable tools.  They are the amazing products that help turn our wildest ideas into reality, and help us craft awesome videos for our clients.

It used to be that we would invest heavily in the software up front, purchasing each new version as they came out and then receiving the big box containing all of the different discs to install the software on our systems.

However, in May 2012, Adobe announced a new way of using and paying for their software called Creative Cloud.  It has moved from an outright software purchase model to a subscription based model, where consumers can pay a monthly subscription fee to access Adobe’s entire suite of apps.

adobe-creative-cloudIn many parts of the creative sector there has been an outcry at this new service.  Over 5,000 of Adobe’s customers signed a petition at change.org calling on the company to carry on selling the packaged software.

We are finding it gives us greater flexibility when bringing on new members of staff or working collaborating with other editors and creatives.  As part of the package you have access to 20GB of creative cloud space to store your files, and where we only used to have our core suite of apps for video, we can now use any Adobe app of our choosing.  It is actually improving our workflow and we are always up to date with the very latest versions of the software.  We can’t wait until they release Adobe Anywhere, which will allow us to work directly with creatives all over the world on shared projects, in the same edit suite.

Adobe is obviously keen on the subscription model as it will provide regular recurring revenue instead of more infrequent sales when customers upgrade their software.  It is also seen as part of a broader trend towards cloud-based subscription software.  Microsoft have started the shift to cloud based software too, with the release of Office 365.

In the meantime, we’re keen to see where this new era of creative tools takes us, and more than ever, it means we can continually stay ahead of the competition with the latest and greatest tools to put together the most memorable online video content.

Curly Productions are a Video Production company based in Liverpool, specialising in online and corporate video production.

Curly’s guide to Vine: Keep it short, keep it sweet.

Vine Logo

Suddenly videos of more than a minute on YouTube seem incredibly long. If Twitter’s 140 character limit made blog posts seem long winded then Vine is set to have the same impact on video.

A chance to communicate a message in six seconds on a looped format might seem challengingly tight when you first read about it. Get in the swing of it and the brevity is refreshing.

It’s one thing to be on Vine but, like with any social media platform, doing it well is often a different matter altogether. You have to get your message across quickly, creatively and succinctly. So no pressure then.

Vine isn’t the only video format social media platform to launch this year. Instagram’s new video feature limits time to 15 seconds. It features 13 custom filters for video.

In Vine, as in Instagram, there’s no room for bagginess so the first step is to know exactly what your message is. Keep it short and sweet. You might be launching a new product line, communicating a new offer like a service or a new office. You might choose to use to announce a new member of staff or unveil an important piece of news.

Even though time is short you still need to have a beginning, middle and an end. What have you got for people to see? How do you want them to feel? The most impressive Vines create a closed loop; the video repeats on a loop with no obvious break or seam when it finishes and goes back to the beginning. It isn’t the be all and end all, however. You need to have a coherent ending that delivers a punch line or a satisfactory conclusion. Without that your audience will feel cheated or will just shrug their shoulders.

You have to make an internal decision about how important production quality is to you. A video shared in six seconds via social media is going to look fairly low-fi. If you’re already producing a company film for one reason or another then using shots from it to create a speedy Vine is a good idea. But if you’re creating a Vine, nothing more and nothing less, then don’t worry about just using the products on your desk. Some of the most effective Vines have been made with a biro and a scrunched up ball of paper. It’s the idea that’s important, not the props.

Learn about stop motion animation, at least the “York notes” version. Vine works by holding your finger down on the screen to record. Take your finger off and it stops recording. That’s how you can fit so much content in. Move anything around you like. Make a character run across the screen and sink a basketball into a net. Chart the lifespan of a cut flower. There’s no limit on how long the gap is between shots only that the shots together add up to six seconds.

Lastly don’t worry about making mistakes. There’s a fear that social networks prime brands to fail. It’s a transient medium and the main thing is honesty and authenticity. That’s why posts work if they are engaging and have a sense of humour. You can’t make sure everything is polished and perfect because otherwise you would never press send.

Have a good idea, think about how to creatively communicate it, add colour and character and keep it short.

Curly Productions are a Video Production company based in Liverpool, specialising in online and corporate video production.

The Power of YouTube

Youtube logoThe world of television and online video is blurring at an ever-increasing pace.  Five years ago, these two distinct areas of screen entertainment were separated into;

a) Traditional television channels, broadcasting expensive-to-make TV shows according to highly competitive schedules.  These were shown only on your television.

b) The digital world of online video which meant booting up your laptop or desktop PC/Mac and sitting in front of your computer monitor to watch UGC (user-generated content) – back then mostly videos of cats falling off curtain rails.

These two worlds have now combined and the TV landscape has changed forever.

Software

Iplayer image

BBC iPlayer was launched on 25th December 2007 and brought catch-up TV to the masses.  In its first three weeks, there were 3.5 million programme streams and downloads.  By 2012, 40% of online adults were using iPlayer.  Other broadcasters obviously followed suit later, and now according to a YouView survey, catch-up TV services account for a fifth of all TV viewing in the UK.

Netflix is another success story, with U.S. subscribers of its video streaming service hitting 30 million and shares up 170% from last year.

TV Hardware

The best software in the world would be useless however without the hardware infrastructure to support it.  The fast moving technology market has focused its attention on your living room, with big players such as Apple, Google and Roku all releasing set top boxes that allow you to watch channels like YouTube on your big screen TV from the comfort of your sofa.  Smart TVs with access to apps such as iPlayer and YouTube make it simple for people to pick and choose their content.

Apple TV

Mobile

We are increasingly watching YouTube, catch up TV and movies on mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads.  Mobile now makes up more than 25% of YouTube’s global watch time with people also using iPads as a second screen whilst watching TV.  TV viewing is becoming more social through this second screen technology with social network interaction, commenting and feedback throughout programmes.

 ipad

YouTube

In the last 5 years, YouTube has made the huge transition from being a UGC provider to being a rock solid platform for small-medium production companies making professional entertainment for a global audience.  YouTube is the largest and most varied TV channel in the world.  YouTube has more than 1 billion unique users each month and according to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults aged 18 – 34 than any cable network.

Audiences are clearly shifting from a passive viewing model dominated by television to a user-guided on demand model dominated by smaller, more nimble production companies that can produce great quality entertainment for much smaller budgets.

It’s a world that we know very well.  For the last three years, our MD Christian has created several side projects that target the vast global YouTube audience.  In 2010, Christian started making video blogs about becoming a Dad for the first time.  Entitled “How To Be A Dad”, the videos have, to date, had 850,000 views.

Toddler Fun Learning

A second project called Toddler Fun Learning came about when Christian was searching for fun, educational content to watch on the iPad with his 2 year old.  “Most of the videos on YouTube were filled with hyperactive American CGI, done really poorly, with little or no educational value,” says Christian.  Three months later, and Toddler Fun Learning has 11 videos, 2500 subscribers and 1 million views.

Signing up as a YouTube partner is free and opens up a plethora of benefits.  The most obvious benefit being that you can start to monetize your content.  If you can draw a large audience to your content then you can easily start reaping the economic rewards.  The monetization process works on a pay-per click basis, with YouTube paying you every time somebody clicks on an advert before, during, or after your video.

Christian comments, “whilst we’ve already seen tremendous changes in this entertainment landscape, I do believe this is just the beginning of a major power shift from the large, established broadcasters, to hundreds of smaller production companies that are producing amazing content for a fraction of the cost.  As experts in both online video production and in video marketing, social media and YouTube partner programs, we are best placed to capitalise on this new chapter in the history of screen entertainment.”

So, what does this change mean for brands?

Quite simply, brands are now able to connect with a huge online audience using broadcast quality video, for a fraction of the cost of a traditional TV commercial.  More importantly, they are able to connect with their audiences in a more useful and social way.  Where traditional TV adverts were purely passive, YouTube videos allow you share the video with your friends, interact with the video right then and there, and buy the product right there from within the video.  In May, Google introduced a new gadget that is available as a premium offering for Google’s consumer goods clients, that allows “shoppers to seamlessly move from browsing videos and featured products to finding which retailers carry them, check availability, compare prices, and make a purchase.”

lillets

YouTube annotations are also a new and powerful way to allow viewers to interact further with your videos.  Jamie Oliver’s FoodTube channel does this to great effect. Check out this video from Jamie’s Food Tube featuring an interactive Mashed Potato recipe.  The user is able to create their own story, and navigate to different sections of the video, and even select specific products to learn about.

We have worked with many of the UK’s most well-known companies to create online video campaigns that attract their target audience and build brand loyalty.  We worked with Lil-lets on their successful Becoming a Teen campaign, creating a series of videos featuring 2 teenage girls interviewing female celebrities about growing up and becoming a teenager.  The videos reached over 80,000 views in the first 2 weeks.

Work with us, and we can help you harness this power and connect with millions of people all over the world.

Click here to make an enquiry.

Curly Productions are a Video Production company based in Liverpool, specialising in online and corporate video production.