“Danger Will Robinson – I see low quality video”

“As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind – every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder.” – John Glenn

Although things worked out for astronaut John Glenn, I was reminded of his famous quote when I saw this posted the other day:

Poor Quality

As consumers, all of us try to find the best value for the lowest price. But at what point does the price become so low that the quality suffers? Having a nicely produced video on your website is vital in today’s marketplace and that video is a crucial portal to introduce your business/school/group/organization to prospective clients/students/members/donors.  So of course, the goal should be to make a good first impression with a video that portrays you in the best light.  You may offer high quality products or services but a low quality video will be a poor representation of who you are and may not provide an accurate reflection of what you offer.

When it comes to initiating a video project, it’s not that hard to find good value for a fair price.  However, simply going with the lowest price may lead to this sort of outcome:

Always someone who will do it cheaper

So when considering a video production professional, be sure to ask to see samples of work from their portfolio.  Also, be sure to ask about the experience and background of the producers, crew, editors, and other team members that will be working on your project.  In addition, an experienced video professional should be knowledgeable enough to offer insight about the resources needed to produce a cost effective video that accomplishes your goals and stays within your budget.

Wishing you a safe landing with all of your video project ideas…

Thanks,

Mac

Mac Chorlton

The Value of Online Video

I read a recent study that showed 0% of internet users would be willing to pay to use Twitter.  I don’t use Twitter myself, but with all the talk out there about Twitter these days, I was quite surprised to see that even those who use it don’t really see any value in it.

Establishing value is an important tenet in any business so here are some simple valuation points for our business:  Website video and professional video production services

1)    Video combines sight, sound, motion, and emotion to provide the most optimum format of communication.

2)    Video is a great way to introduce yourself or explain a complex issue in understandable terms.  Given the choice, most folks would prefer to watch a two-minute video instead of slogging through pages of text on a website or PDF.

3)    Video provides  a great avenue to engage your prospective clients and stay on your website longer.  People search the web for information on products and services they want to buy.  Video allows you to present information about those products and services in a more accessible format.

4)    Better communication with your customers and clients leads to other benefits.  Product videos can help increase sales and online video has also been shown to reduce return rates for retailers by 60%.  If a customer can see the development of a product, its features, how it works, etc. before they buy it, then that decreases the potential for wanting to return the product once they actually purchase it.

5)    On-line video can be repurposed to use in sales presentations, trade shows & conferences, events, investor relations, television commercials, website pre-roll ads, in-store video, etc.

6)    Three out of four respondents reported watching some type of short, professionally produced videos online regularly (Online Media Daily, June 2010)

7)    You can share videos.  A true “Viral Video” is a rare phenomenon, but a video doesn’t have to go viral to be effective.  A recent video we produced about a new medical device is being distributed to a targeted audience of physicians and health care administrators.  Going viral would not necessarily benefit this particular company but showing the video to specific people with the means, the authority, and the need to purchase the device does provide a huge benefit.

8)    You can drive people to your website by sharing links to your video in your company newsletter, your press releases, and your Social Networking sites (including Twitter!!!).  The more places you post your video the more people you expose to your message.

9)    Mobile video continues to grow and will only get more popular as more and more people begin to use SmartPhones and other mobile devices like the iPad.

10)  Video is awesome!!!

Mac

Telling the Story

My husband is a big fan of the Discovery Channel’s show MythBusters.  We don’t have cable, but he recently discovered he can watch some episodes instantly through Netflix.  So he’s been watching MythBusters.  And on occasion, I watch along with him.

I, too, like the show, though not quite as much as he does.  If you’ve never watched it, allow me to bring you up to speed.  MythBusters sets out to either bust or confirm various myths or urban legends.  According to the website: “Hosted by Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage — and co-hosted by Tory Belleci, Kari Byron and Grant Imahara — the MYTHBUSTERS mix scientific method with gleeful curiosity and plain old-fashioned ingenuity to create their own signature style of explosive experimentation.”  I like the show because they investigate some pretty interesting topics, but even more than that, they tell a great story.  Each episode starts with an explanation of the myth or myths that will be explored and ends with a summary of what conclusions can be drawn from their experimentation.  Often, as they are investigating a myth, they will get sidetracked, and on rare occasions, someone will fully investigate the tangent, leaving the rest of the team to explore the original myth.

I came across an interview with the two main MythBusters, Adam and Jamie, this morning, and I was surprised when they referred to telling a good story.  After all, these guys are just trying to prove or disprove some urban legends, right?  Here’s the excerpt:

Sometimes, it seems like what you wind up investigating isn’t the same thing you were originally testing. For instance, testing skunk-smell removal methods wound up being as much about trying to get skunks to spray you in the first place as it was about how to rid yourself of skunk smells. How much do you veer off onto different paths when they come up?

Adam: Well, you’ve honed in on what I think is the single most favorite part, for both me and Jamie, about doing the show. Which is that the narrative really is guided by what we’re interested in determining. And that is also informed by our desire to answer the original question we set out to answer, but if there are other things along the road that help to illuminate something for us, we’ll absolutely make sure that gets into the episode. And that’s fantastic, because it’s not like you’re leaving a bunch of stuff along the wayside that you’d like to be tackling; we’re tackling all of that.

Jamie: It does, however, cause a bit of a conflict here from time to time. In particular, I’m notorious among the staff here for being much more interested in the little side trips that we run across than the central story, and we have to be able to tell a story that has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and is relevant. So production’s not about to let us just get halfway through something and then do something else.

So it does highlight the fact that that is, really, often the most interesting part of what we’re doing, is the little tangents on the side.

Both of them say that they’re telling a story in each episode and with each investigation.  In case you missed it, Adam says, “the narrative really is guided by what we’re interested in determining,” and Jamie adds, “we have to be able to tell a story that has a beginning, a middle, and an end.”  Jamie goes on to say that “production’s not about to let us just get halfway through something and then do something else.”

I think it’s great that they are aware of the story they are telling.  And they allow themselves to get off track without venturing too far.  Or rather, they trust their production team to keep them on track, telling the story they started to tell.  That’s what a good production team does: it lets you tell your own story by helping you figure out what story you want to tell and then making sure you don’t start telling a different one.

Those MythBusters guys are so funny!

TiVo wants to be the Google of TV

I’ve talked about this before: the way we watch TV is changing.  I watch some TV shows live (LOST), and I watch some online after they’ve aired (Glee).  I watch other TV shows after they’re no longer on air – either on DVD (Six Feet Under) or streaming through Netflix (Dexter).  Now Netflix allows customers to watch streaming videos through their Wii console, which is much more convenient than hooking up your computer to your TV.  I don’t have a DVR, but I know a lot of people who do and use them to record shows and watch them when it fits into their schedule.

A few weeks ago, as I was driving to work, I heard a story on NPR about TiVo.  You know TiVo.  In fact, if you have a DVR, you might say you TiVo’d something, even if your DVR is not a TiVo.  Well, it turns out that Tivo wants to streamline all of our TV-watching options:

Joe Miller, TiVo’s senior vice president for retail sales and marketing, touts the new box as the “Google of television.” .

Take a popular show like House. Right now, you can watch it live on Fox, record it on your DVR, stream it on your computer or even download it from a service like iTunes. It’s possible to do all this from home if you have the tech savvy, money and patience — plus a bunch of wires and remote controls.

Miller says the new box, dubbed the TiVo Premiere, can do all of that: “Your TiVo would find you House that’s on broadcast, House that’s in syndication, all of the past seasons that might be on Amazon or another service.”

Also, the TiVo Premiere, which starts at $299 plus service charges, will find any House episode that’s on YouTube and let you listen to the soundtrack through a music service. And, Miller says, it will play on your TV with one box, one set of wires and one remote.

It will be interesting to see if TiVo Premiere becomes the phenomenon that the company is hoping for.  And although I like the idea of using just one device to watch online videos and TV, I don’t think I’ll be getting a TiVo Premiere.

(If you’ve read my previous post, In a Flash, you might be interested in reading Steve Jobs’ open letter regarding Adobe Flash.  I don’t know if Adobe has responded, but if it does, I will link to their response here.)

Using SEO Video to increase traffic to your website

For years, many companies have been using simple keywords as their main Search Engine Optimization (SEO) technique to increase website traffic and their rankings in search engine results.  But there’s been a lot of talk lately about how Google and other search engines are increasing their use of blended media types (articles, pictures, video, & other content) to provide more relevant search results.  The importance of video in those search engine algorithms is helping many websites that have video content increase their traffic and wind up on the first page of those search results.  In fact, according to a recent study by Forrester Research, the use of SEO Video makes you 53 times more likely to end up with a “Page One” ranking on Google.

Right now, it’s hard to separate yourself from the pack, because many competing businesses are all using the exact same keywords within traditional SEO.  But adding SEO Video to your website helps set you apart from your competitors and increases your likelihood of being ranked above them in search results.  Posting non-SEO video to your website, or to YouTube, or to a YouTube embedded player on your site is good start, but it won’t necessarily increase the search engine rank results for your website.  In fact, that strategy may actually just create search engine results for YouTube and ultimately send people directly to YouTube instead of your website.

But posting SEO Video to your website is the best scenario of all… Using keywords and key phrases in your video’s file name, the captions, etc. as well as incorporating other traditional SEO techniques along with your video is the best strategy to bring people directly to your website and generate additional traffic.

Also, USAToday.com small business columnist Steven Strauss recently wrote an article citing “research indicates that if you have video on your homepage, up to 80% of your visitors will click that first.”

That’s right:  If it’s an option, 80% of your visitors will be drawn directly to the video on your website as the first thing they want to click on.  So if you plan to add video to your website in 2010, you want to make sure that 80% of your visitors are seeing a high quality, professionally produced video that accurately portrays the message of your business, organization, etc.  Of course, that’s one of the most important things to remember as you develop your ideas for incorporating video into your website.

Mac Chorlton

“You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch!”

For me, part of getting into the Christmas spirit involves watching the animated Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! I remember, as a kid, lying on our living room floor surrounded by my sister, brother, and parents as we all watched.  As an adult, I usually miss it when it airs on TV, but I make sure I take the time to revisit it sometime before Christmas.

With the incredible computer-generated animation by the likes of Pixar, the hand-drawn animation of The Grinch seems so boring.  So flat.  Why, then, do we return to it year after year?  How does this short video gain a new audience with each generation?  It’s because Dr. Seuss knew how to write a good story.  The story draws us in.  And that’s true of all good videos.

At Tweedee Productions, we are storytellers.  What story do you want to tell?

TV Online on TV

Amy's looking for something good to watch

I don’t know about you, but I find myself watching more and more TV on my computer.  As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, I’m a big fan of Glee.  However, I am usually not home when it airs.  And even if I were, I couldn’t watch it because we don’t get FOX.  (We don’t have cable or satellite TV, and FOX’s over-the-air signal doesn’t get to us, for some reason.)  In order to get my Glee fix, I have to watch it online.

Last week, CSI did a trilogy that started on CSI: Miami, continued on CSI: NY, and concluded on CSI.  I was intrigued and wanted to check it out.  But I knew I wasn’t going to be home to see all of them.  So what did I do?  I watched them online.

My husband also wanted to watch these shows, and watching them on one of our laptops is far from ideal.  Fortunately, we are able to connect a laptop to our television, allowing us to watch the online episodes on our TV.  It’s not a perfect situation, but it beats watching them on a 15″ laptop screen.

And in the past year, online video quality has improved.  Last week, YouTube announced that it would have videos in full HD 1080p.  A lot of the networks already post their shows in HD.

On my way home last night, I heard a story on NPR about watching TV on your computer on your TV.  They talked about how easy it is to hook up your computer to your television, and they also talked about some products that can be a permanent addition to your entertainment system.  It was good timing, because I knew I’d be watching the final installment of the CSI trilogy later in the evening.

But it also got me thinking about the increasing importance of the quality of online videos.  As more and more people watch videos online and as more and more people watch those online videos on their televisions, the videos need to look good.  That starts with the format used in the shooting of the video and ends with how the video is encoded for the web.  That sounds very technical, I know, and it can be easily overwhelming.  When clients come to Tweedee Productions, we start by asking them what the video is going to be used for, how it’s going to be used, and where it’s going to be viewed, and with that information, we can make sure the finished product will look great, no matter where it’s viewed.