Posts Tagged ‘Video Production’

Is your brand ready for its close up?

Who wants to read what you’ve been doing everyday? We want to see it. Scroll down for Curly’s tips on how to use new social network Vine.

The growth of multi-platform surfing and browsing has seen a proliferation of video sites. YouTube, Vimeo and Pixorial; they’re all about video-sharing and showcasing your work in image rather than text.

Now the latest platform has launched and it looks set to be a game changer. Owned by Twitter, Vine allows you to create six second videos as an embedded clip within tweets. The video loops endlessly and you’re able to include audio. You don’t need to include one steady shot: Instead you can shoot a microfilm from a variety of different angles using the nifty editing button.

View our first attempts at a Vine video here:

Darth Vadar Attacks!

Baltic Creative in 6 Seconds

Short, snappy videos sharing a moment online are nothing new, Gifs have been doing them for years. What Vine does though is use quality shots and relies on creativity. As Twitter relies on brevity and clarity to make a point in 140 characters, so Vine means you have to make the most out of your shots to clearly illustrate what you’re doing.

Making brands think visually, rather than just through text, is an important part of video production. It’s about keeping the viewer engaged and enthused (although if your attention wavers in under six seconds perhaps your worries are bigger than whether you need a video for your brand or not). Vine will raise the profile of video and encourage companies to think about how they could showcase their work in moving image, rather than just stills. The timeframe is so tight you’ll have to get to the point quickly and effectively.

Inevitably the debate will hint that a social network like Vine will make video producers redundant. Yes, because Twitter has made copywriters obsolete. There will be some who think they can do it themselves. There will be others who will see the potential of the video and decide they want a piece of the action (no pun intended).

So here’s Curly’s guide if you want to try out Vine and explore making your own short film;

*Like all social networks have a browse and watch other people’s micro videos before you film your own, that way you’ll have a better idea of how you can use Vine to promote yourself and what’s proving popular.

*Know what you want to record. Short, sharp and clear messages are really important with a six second film. Pick an element of your business or part of your day to day routine.

*Use the editing tool to record from different angles but make sure it has a coherent structure and makes sense to the viewer watching it.

*Be creative. Exploring the editing tool means you can try stop-motion animation or play with audio and music. Be careful of background noise though if you’re editing shots. Early users say jump shots with music or clattering in the background can be jarring on playback.

*Cross-promote. You can share your Vine video on Tumblr and Twitter. But there are glitches with it’s relationship with Facebook. The app is only on iOS at the moment but anyone with a Twitter account will be able to watch your videos.

Happy Vining!!

Charity celebrates its 2nd birthday by showing what the smallest amount can do

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Curly Productions joins the Liverpool founders of Be One Percent campaign to celebrate their second birthday with a visit to see the projects and communities their donations have paid for in Malawi. 

Two years ago a simple idea was devised in Liverpool. Anyone can tell you there is a vast difference between the poorest and the richest in the world: Few can think of a way to make the world a little fairer, as much as they would want to. Be One Percent was established with the promise of donating 1% of your income to help eradicate poverty.

In its first month eight people raised £166 which paid for malaria treatments for 332 people.

In the following 11 months Be One Percent has funded projects supplying clean water for whole villages, donating 1000′s of vaccinations, planting entire forests, buying malaria nets, school books, school meals and footballs. Be One Percents network of givers now raises £3000 a month for great projects around the world.

Be One Percent teamTo mark the first anniversary of the charity, a team are flying out to Malawi to visit two projects supported by their donations; Mary’s Meals (made famous by the young Scottish schoolgirl who began a blog highlighting school dinners and now supports projects in Africa) and Concern Universal.  The team consists of a musician, an entrepreneur, a filmmaker, a photographer and a designer.  In this trip they will be going into rural Malawi to see water and sanitation projects, school feeding programmes, Seed-banks and Microfinance initiatives.  If you think you could afford to donate 1% you can join a small group of people who are changing the world every month by being 1%.

Christian Hughes, Managing Director of Curly Productions is going on the trip with stripped back camera equipment:

“When I was asked by the Be One Percent team if I would like to go on the trip to make some films to highlight the work that Be One Percent is doing in Malawi, I jumped at the chance.  Curly Productions has always had the ethos that as a business we should always try to use our skills to contribute to the wider global community, and this was the perfect opportunity.  Usually working on much larger productions, I don’t normally get the chance to get hands on and shoot documentary style myself – so going with a backpack filled with a Canon 5D and a few lenses really excites me.  Its film making in a raw but very pure form.”

Be One Percent will be posting a series of videos after the trip made by Curly Productions.

To follow the trip from 22nd February visit www.beonepercent.org.uk or follow us on Twitter @Beonepercent

 

One of the ways we are making life easier for our clients

We don’t like standing still here.  We’re constantly looking for ways to improve our service offering to our clients.  That might be using the latest cameras or edit suites, but one issue was really bugging us – the need to transfer large video files back and forth to clients for review.  Services like Yousendit have a great purpose within a business but we couldn’t help thinking that there was a better solution.  Making great online videos isn’t a one sided process and we value client feedback every step of the way.  What we wanted was a private, password protected screening room for clients to watch their in production videos, and be able to give feedback right there in the browser – no downloads.

We feel we’ve found the right solution called Screenlight, with a client login portal integrated into our website.  We caught up with Co-Founder, Chris Potter to explain the key benefits for our clients.

Video production client review

How did you come up with the concept of Screenlight?

The story of how we got started is one we share with many great startups. One of my partners, Rich Keating, worked at a company that produced corporate videos. He was frustrated with the process of sending out review videos to clients, so he started hacking together a custom web page with a Flash player for each client. This worked well for clients, but didn’t really save him any time, as it was labour intensive and not repeatable. Together we saw a way to automate the process and make a better experience for production companies and their clients alike.

How does Screenlight improve the workflow between production company and client?

ScreenLight is designed to make it easier and faster for production companies and their clients to communicate with each other throughout the video production process. ScreenLight benefits clients by:

1) Providing them with an easy way to review project material. When the production team uploads a video, it is automatically converted into web friendly formats that can be viewed by anywhere, anytime, and on any device.  Project participants don’t have to worry about things like codecs and whether videos will play back for them, because it just works. Essentially, this removes technology worries from the equation, so everyone can focus on the task at hand, which working together to tell the most engaging story possible.

2) Improving project communication. Clients can login to the service and provide detailed feedback on videos with threaded comments that reference specific points in the video timeline. This means that the conversation about what needs to be done next takes place right in the context of the videos. Since all of the participants can see and respond to each others comments, it keeps everyone on the same page. This helps eliminate ambiguous comments and potential miscommunication. It also helps get rid of long and confusing email threads.

3) Helping production companies make better videos faster. With online video review, it’s easier for everyone to provide feedback whenever, and wherever it’s convenient. This means that scheduling delays associated with review meetings and conference calls can be avoided. The faster your production company gets feedback, the faster they can turn around any requested changes. As a result, the whole process becomes more collaborative.

4) Working together online also means that it’s easier for production companies to source the best talent from around the world. This can provide better quality, cost savings, or both. The end result is that it’s easier to meet today’s increasingly tight production deadlines.  The bottom line is that we have created a system that helps make everyone on the project more productive. The service has YouTube’s ease of use, combined with the security and privacy that you would expect when producing material that you aren’t ready to share with the world (yet).

What problems does Screenlight solve?

ScreenLight solves three major problems that production companies and their clients encounter when they are collaborating on a project.

1) Transferring video files is difficult. It’s slow and expensive to ship hard drives by courier. Large file sizes mean that email isn’t a great option unless you are sending very short postage stamp sized videos. FTP is difficult for clients to navigate and it’s a hassle for administrators to keep secure. Other options like YouTube don’t provide a secure and professional user experience for clients.

2) Encoding videos so that they play on different platforms is difficult. Alternatives like FTP and Dropbox allow production companies to share large files. However, they do not automatically encode video so that it will playback on phones and tablets. It’s time consuming and challenging for production professionals to encode and share videos in a way that their client can easily view on different devices. ScreenLight takes care of this dirty work, so that the production team can focus their time on higher value activities.

3) The process of getting feedback is on video is difficult and time consuming. In most projects there are a number of different stakeholders providing feedback on videos. They all have different schedules, priorities, and opinions. In person review sessions can be great, because they can get everybody on the same page at once. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to coordinate schedules and these sessions can drag on as people debate what needs to be done.

The alternative of sending out videos and getting email feedback is much worse. The conversation easily gets fragmented across different email threads, some people get left off important messages, and sometimes new people show up in the conversation and you don’t know who they are and why they are providing feedback. This conversation is complicated by the fact that everyone is trying to describe visual material and changes that need to be made, and this whole conversation is taking place outside the context of the video.

All of this creates potential for miscommunication, and it wastes time, as someone has to sift through the various conversations and put together a prioritized list of what needs to be done next to move the project on to the next step. With ScreenLight, communication is kept in the context of each video. Time coded comments ensure that feedback is precise and meaningful, and everybody can review videos at a time that is convenient for them.

Adobe Premiere ProWhere do you see the future of online videos for companies? 

It’s great to see how companies of all shapes and sizes are using video to communicate with customers and build their trust. One of the most exciting aspects of this is that we are really at the start of the video revolution.  Rather than simply moving 30-second television spots online, I see companies embracing the lack of constraints afforded by online video to tell deeper and more engaging stories that people actually want to watch and share with others.  It doesn’t take massive budgets to do this either. As an extreme example, look at dollarshaveclub.com, a startup that created an amazing explainer video that brought their product to life, went viral, and turned a $4,500 investment into millions of dollars worth of press.

For business to business marketers, I think online video presents a way to engage with customers in a more direct way that sidesteps some of the formality that big companies usually employ.  Online retailers can use video to showcase their products to life and reduce some of the friction of buying products online. Zappos is one example of a company that is doing a great job with this.

Finally, online video presents a way for big brands like Red Bull to engage with their audience in totally unique ways. Their sponsorship of Felix Baumgartner’s freefall from the stratosphere is an amazing example of how video can eclipse the awareness and engagement of traditional advertising campaigns.

I think the key thing to remember when starting out with an online video market is to define your objectives, understand exactly who you are trying to reach, and then work from there to create the most engaging stories possible. You don’t need your content to be viral or to generate millions of views, you need it to connect with your target audience and motivate them to take action.

 

Before founding ScreenLight, Chris Potter spent over a decade advising companies in the technology, media, and telecommunications sectors on business strategy, marketing, innovation and product development.

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