“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

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Screaming with Video

“Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.”

– Mark Twain

Maybe “scream” is too strong of a word to use for my purposes, but are you using on-line video to “loudly proclaim” the story of your business, organization, or message?  Video combines sight, sound, motion, and emotion to create a message that helps you connect with your potential clients and customers.  Video allows you to tell a deeper story and has a more powerful impact.

Consider this:

–      75% of C-Level Executives say they watch work-related videos on business websites at least once a week (Forbes/Google Survey)

–      YouTube is now the #2 search engine trailing only Google (comScore Internet Survey)

–      Videos that are run through a simple search engine optimization program are 53 times more likely to end up on “Page One” of a search engine result than just a text-only webpage (Forrester Research Study)

A short video (up to three minutes is an accepted norm for website videos) can help you tell your story in a direct, concise, and powerful way.  In keeping with that theme, I’ll keep this blog post short because Twain also said:

“The more you explain it, the more I don’t understand it.”

Mac

Viral Videos, Thanksgiving, & Turkey Testicles

Anyone who tells you that you need to make a “viral video” is not giving you good advice.  We’ve produced hundreds of videos here at Tweedee Productions and the only one that has truly gone “viral” did so by sheer luck.  A few years ago, we produced a short video feature about the annual Turkey Testicle Festival in Huntley, Illinois.  We posted the video to YouTube and it got about 200 hits in the two years it was up.  Then last November, some national blogger looking for something to write about leading up to Thanksgiving stumbled across our video and posted a link on their blog.  From there, the video started getting passed on, forwarded on, re-posted, etc.  Suddenly, I was receiving e-mails from people in Florida, California, and Colorado with links to our video.  The video has now been viewed more than 1.2 million times (truly a viral video with those kind of #’s).

But aside from posting it to YouTube, we’d done very little to promote this particular video.  In fact, most videos that go viral do so under similar circumstances to ours.  So basically, there is no guaranteed method to create a video that will go viral, and anyone who tells you they can help you make your video go viral is probably not leading you down the right path.

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.  The company just received FDA approval to officially sell their product.  However, they’ve been out showing the video to potential clients for almost two years so they’ve already laid the groundwork for a successful product launch.

However, if you still have your heart set on trying to create a viral video, just follow our successful blueprint:

1)      Tie your video into a National Holiday

2)      Feature people eating some sort of fried avian testicles

3)      Find a four-leaf clover

Mac

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

OK! I talked me into it!

Well, I took the plunge.  I made the leap.  I threw all common sense to the wind and got a smart phone.  A SMART PHONE!  It makes me feel smart just to say the name – Droid Eris.  “Why yes, I have the Droid Eris.”  

But, will it make me smarter?  Will I work and live smarter?  It’s only A PHONE!  

I don’t need a smart phone.  In renewing our cell phone contract, I could have gotten a new, simple, easy to use cell phone.  But then, I don’t need an electric garage door opener either.  But it is sure nice to have when it’s pouring rain or the temperature is 20 below!  

So I talked myself into it.  Really, once I heard my arguments for getting one, I was convinced.  With more and more ways to watch video either on the internet or on mobile devices, I need to understand video delivery technology.  I need to understand what the buzz is all about.  After all, Tweedee Productions is in the video content production business.  I better know how all this stuff works.  

Mac Chorlton, our business development guy, has had a Blackberry for a couple of years now.  He understood the potential right away.  I remember the day he got it – he was all excited.  He explained how quickly and easily he could show someone one of our videos at a networking or sales event.  Image that you’re at a cocktail party and someone asks you what your company does.  You get that “why, I’m glad you asked me” smile on your face as you whip out your smart phone and play for them a short video that explains your product or service in three minutes or less.  Brilliant!  Instant emotional connection. 

Now, if I could only figure out what this button does…  

Gregg Schieve trying to figure out his new smart phone.

Turkey Testicles Go Viral

Tweedee Productions is currently riding one of those YouTube viral video phenomenons that you hear about.  By the time this blog entry is posted, we will probably crack the 1,000,000-view mark of a story about people eating a most unusual part of the traditional Thanksgiving bird.

It all started innocently enough back in the fall of 2008.  We assigned Sandy Kowal and our good friend Carrie Cokins to do a simple little story about the annual Turkey Testicle Festival (see video below) in the great city of Huntley, Illinois.  That’s right, a festival celebrating the eating of turkey testicles!  Deep fried.  Dippin’ sauce.  Tastes like chicken.  After much fun and frivolity, the story was put together and posted on Tweedee’s YouTube channel where it has lived in relative obscurity (by YouTube standards), generating only about 1,500 views throughout the year.

This fall, things changed.  It started with the organizers of the event asking for permission to post our testicle eating story on their web site.  At the time we thought any exposure was good exposure, right?  Besides, it would be nice if a few more people saw one of our videos, right?  Within a few days we started to notice a slight increase in the trickle of views.  A couple of mouse clicks later and that trickle turned into a flood.

As Thanksgiving 2009 approached and viewership continued to grow, we were amazed at the numbers we where getting.  In a matter of a few days we went from 3,000 to more than 150,000 views!  Over the long Thanksgiving weekend we surpassed 700,000 views.  It kept growing – 880,000 on December 4th – and growing – 950,000 on December 7th – AND GROWING!  Just when we thought that viewership would trail off, wham, another 20,000 views!

Up until now, in the vast video wilderness known as YouTube, we had never received more than a few thousand views for any of our videos .  So, naturally getting 1,000,000 views for any video let alone one about a testicle eating festival made us happy.  In YouTube numbers, however, it’s a drop in the digital bucket.  There are millions of videos on YouTube and millions of video producers trying to be the next big thing.  So why have viewers flocked to our video?  What has attracted viewers and, more importantly, kept them watching, prompting them to spread the video virally?  Apart from the rather unusual subject matter, it tells a story pure and simple.  It pulls you in, explains an event and leaves you with a good taste in your mouth (pardon the pun).  Simple is better.

Watch our video and share it with a friend – it’s the viral thing to do.

-GS

Five Ways to Create Hype with Viral Video

I’d like you to get to know “Gentlemen Broncos”. This film is coming out in October and it looks very funny. It has drama, comedy and great visuals. I don’t get to movie theaters a lot, so watching trailers and finding out about films typically are done online.

The trailers not only tell a story but they lead to creating opinions. They help build anticipation for the movie event! Hazzah! Buzz is built!

Like movie trailers, you can build HUGE buzz by making a video invitation viral. People pass it around, they tweet it, they facebook it, and so on. But it should have the right elements.

I believe that there are a bunch of viral videos that get hype created and we can learn from movie trailers!

1. Know your voice. If you don’t have footage or photographs, you can make a short film that gives you the “flavor”. When “Spinal Tap” was originally teased, they didn’t want to give away the joke, so they ran this trailer.

2. Keep it simple. It’s easy to throw every message in the world into a teaser but the great ones know how to produce indelible images that stick with you.

3. Create contrast. I used to work for an agency in Kansas City and the president of the company used to tell media buyers to place our client’s spots where they could not only target the market but also create CONTRAST. It helps bring attention to your very effective message. In 2000, “X-Men”, “Gladiator” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” were big movies that had blaring, super sonic speed trailers. Meanwhile, M. Night’s trailer for “Unbreakable” was simple and quiet while it slightly unfolded the mystery of Bruce Willis’ character. I distinctly remember seeing this trailer and being stunned.

4. Call to Action. I made this trailer for a buddy of mine who was competing in this year’s Ironman Wisconsin. I started off without pulling any punches, “MARK YOUR CALENDARS”. And the end gave you the date. Bookends.

5. Have Fun with It. Mock your competition. Have fun with what you’re doing and who’s part of it. Make fun of your own business. If you’re not enjoying it, then it will show in your work.

Viral videos create stunning visuals and make things real. It makes me wonder why we don’t do this more…? I’ve made a few and they’ve done a great job at making an event come to life. Here’s one last video that I created for The Aquathon racing series.

Donovan Delivers Viral Video for Tweedee Productions

Donovan Delivers Viral Video for Tweedee Productions