Posts Tagged ‘web video’

YouTube, SEO & Other Video Data

May 15, 2013

My email and LinkedIn group inboxes are constantly flooded with the latest information concerning every aspect of video. While often the information falls into the common sense category, sometimes I see data that piques my interest. Two such summaries came across my screen this week, one focused on YouTube’s algorithm for ranking video and the other containing an infographic with more off-beat statistics concerning the use of video by marketers and advertisers.

Several months ago the Official Youtube Content Partners and Creators blog announced that it would rank videos based on the extent to which viewers actually watch them rather than simply the number of clicks any given video receives. The blog noted that the company wants to “reward engaging videos that keep viewers watching.” This approach is consistent with the SEO focus of Google (which owns Youtube) on substantive content on websites.

This information interlaces with the infographic, posted by Larry Thomas on the Latergy Social Video Channel. According to a recent study by videoexplainers published by visual.ly, videos that are over one minute in length produce more click-through rates than shorter videos, except for videos that are 15 seconds or less. Videos that fall into the category of 16 to 60 seconds in length are 41% less effective than videos that are over a minute.

So putting these pieces of information together: Though it is commonplace today to lament the lack of attention span across wide swathes of the population, it seems that many folks out there are actually interested in more substantive content and are watching it in video form — and Google/Youtube is rewarding those producers.

My advice: Short sound bite videos (particularly those under 15 seconds) containing clear, articulated information are impactful (153% more effective in terms of click-through rates than videos between 16-60 seconds, according to the infographic) and should be included – in multiples – as part of an online video strategy. But they should be anchored to longer, content-filled videos. Of course, “longer” is a relative word, and it does not have the same meaning as “long.” An examination last year of Youtube codes seeking the length of the top 950 viewed videos on Youtube determined that the ideal length in terms of audience engagement (other than for music videos) is 2.5 minutes. That sounds about right to me. If the content is interesting, I think it is okay to stretch the timeline a bit. If there is more to say after that, it is, in my opinion, time for another video.

Two other interesting statistics that came out of the infographic:

  1. 4 in 10 social videos are humorous and viewers of those videos are more than three times as likely to click to a brand’s Facebook page than viewers of non-humorous videos.
  2. Celebrity videos drive 12% fewer visits to brands’ Facebook pages than non-celebrity videos.

My takeaways? Comedy over celebrities, and make sure your video budgets reflect the outcomes you are seeking.

Using an In-House Video Studio to Respond to Industry Current Events

February 20, 2013

Outside of the news industry, corporations are not broadcasting stations with staff positioned in key locations or contracts with international wire services, set up to report on current events as they unfold. Yet unending waves of news events are filled with stories that affect different companies in myriad ways, and responses by those entities have potential public relations value. How can a corporation ensure it is a valued commentator of relevant news as it happens?

For many companies, press releases or other textual documents are the fastest way to respond. Say, for instance, the Supreme Court issues an opinion about tax law. A large law firm with a tax department might want to post information explaining the impact of the decision. Time would be of the essence, since the case is fresh on the minds of folks in the target audience and because it is always better to beat competitors to the information landscape. The speediest approach might involve an expert in the department writing some text responding to the decision, then posting it on the website immediately.

Yet this is the era when more folks watch than read. Yet again, producing a video response generally entails hiring a corporate video production company, finding a mutually agreed upon date for the shoot, then waiting for post-production to be completed, approved, and electronically sent to the folks who will be posting it. ZZZZZZzzzzzz…. (That’s the time window sizzling out.)

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Model of a Video Studio V&V is designing for EisnerAmper

An in-house corporate video production studio is the perfect solution for this challenge. The type of studio envisioned would be designed and set up by a video professional, who would help the company purchase and place the lights, camera(s), microphones, backdrops, and other equipment in stationery spots that have been pre-tested to generate the best quality video. In the hypothetical example cited above, the tax lawyer charged with responding to the consequences of the Supreme Court decision would go into the studio and sit on a chair around which the gear has been pre-arranged by the video professional. Someone on staff, perhaps in the IT department, would be trained on usage of the equipment, so he or she could simply turn on the lights, clip on the microphone then put it in the “on” position, and start the camera(s) rolling.

This type of video would entail very little editing. It would generally consist solely of a fade up from black at the beginning and a fade down at the end, a title card, perhaps a few graphics underscoring key points, and occasional transition devices if the presentation requires a few cuts. An employee at the firm with basic editing skills might be able to do the job. Alternatively, the firm could outsource these minor clips to a corporate video production company, signing an agreement that provides for the need for immediate turnaround. This latter solution would also ensure that adjustments could be made in color correction and audio sweetening for any production missteps (such as a failure to fine-tune lights for a person taller or shorter than the average for which the lights were pre-set).  Since the type of editing involved is basic, the editing costs should be affordable.

As video overshadows other types of communication avenues on the web, embracing this format becomes increasingly advantageous. The key is to find ways to do that while maintaining a commitment to quality reflective of the company that posts the clips. A professionally designed in-house video production studio is a very good mechanism. It has value for many types of videos — among them, responses to current events that put the corporation at the forefront of information and action.

Investor Relations Videos

January 17, 2013

Funny thing about the category of “investor relations videos”: it does not enjoy the popularity of other adjectives associated with video, like “marketing video” or “web video.” The expression just doesn’t seem to have search engine appeal – at least not in this particular three-word combination.

Perhaps that is not so surprising. Traditional industries like financial services clothe themselves less in fashionable (or any) video than other business types. And digits – while long known to possess magical qualities that might make the stuff of a good story – often seem most legitimate when presented in typed black numbers on sterile white pages.

Certainly the nature of some types of financial services companies is less amenable to colorful storytelling than others. But investors today are presented with unlimited opportunities in a market that is still recovering economically. They have the difficult job of distinguishing between a wide array of different kinds of funds in which to invest as well as companies to trust with their investments. In a world in which people prefer to watch rather than read, why not enliven the marketing pitch with a compelling video?

www.riversidecompany.com

Storyline is key here.  Private equity and venture capital firms have an easier job than others in the industry since they are comprised by definition of companies in an array of industries that have wonderful stories about their origins, growth and substance.  But even traditional investment firms can unearth good stories to share with their investors. For instance, a new policy roll-out that is investment-friendly would be of interest to current and potential investors and could be presented in a creative way. Or a video created for a different purpose – such as an HR video – could be modified to focus on the skill sets and personalities of staff who play key roles in successful outcomes (and therefore impress investors).

An investor relations video can be a very helpful tool, especially in an industry in which this type of marketing initiative has not yet come of age, but the ages of younger investors see the world in visual motion.

Video Production Tip: Proper Lighting

August 21, 2012
curt, photography, video production, lighting, voices and visions, corporate video production, professional video productionThis week’s video production tip comes from our Director of Photography, Curt:

Proper lighting is an often-overlooked aspect of production because cameras can be forgiving, but this separates home movies from professional videos. You need a location that’s correctly lit. Poor lighting techniques will result in a longer time in post-production and even then may not yield the appearance you are seeking. Occasionally I keep the cameras rolling as I’m setting up so I can see the interplay between the lighting and the images I’m creating as they develop. There are many books and other reference sources about lighting techniques. Do your homework!

Tune in later this week for an in-depth discussion on some key differences between amateur video and those produced by professional video companies.

See last week’s tip on business travel.

How To Optimize YouTube Videos For SEO

July 30, 2012

According to studies conducted by the marketing research firm Forrester, sites with video are over 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of a Google search results page than those with text alone. Recognition of the value placed on video by Google probably accounts for the popularity of this form of media; a survey conducted by the Association of National Advertisers found that 80% of marketers are using video this year. Yet equally important to the proliferation of professional video is optimizing the productions  for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.

Above is an example of a YouTube video we uploaded and optimized.

There are several key elements to optimizing marketing videos on YouTube which begin with the file name and description. The title should not only reflect the nature of the video, but it should have keywords that cause Google to pay attention. Additionally, posted videos should contain an accurate description of the content. to ensure that folks searching for this type of information find them.The reason keywords are so important is because Google can’t actually read the content of videos (yet!). Rather, the title and description of the video tell the search engines what it is about. The more accurate, content-rich and keyword-filled, the more information Google will be able to use in its optimization formula. Ever a step ahead, descriptions that are bombarded with random keywords put the videos with which they are associated in jeopardy.Another SEO clue is to provide a URL to a website – preferably the page where the video lives on the website – in the video description, creating a link between two respected sites. Significantly, when there is an increase in the number of locations to which content is uploaded, Google views the video as having more authority and ranks it higher.

The Tags section of the uploading process is where all the keywords that don’t weave smoothly into the description can be highlighted. Prospective clients and customers will search for products or services using specific words, which can be tagged. The tags should be separated with commas, and each should not be more than one or two words.

Finally, the video should be accurately categorized, and the visibility option should be set to “public.” These details may seem obvious, but they are often overlooked and can affect the reach of a video (or lack thereof)..

In addition to Youtube and website postings, videos should be posted across a wide range of social networks. Online communities should be encouraged to share them. Repostings on separate sites increase the authority of the material in the eyes of Google and Bing.

The Evolution of Video Production, Part 2

July 23, 2012
As the video industry continues to evolve at an exponential rate, it becomes increasingly important for video production houses to stay ahead of the curve. Evolving with the market is no easy trick, but it’s also not a foreign concept to Voices & Visions’ principals Ellen Friedland and Curt Fissel, who’ve been in the business since the nineties. They’ve successfully made the switches from linear to digital and from SD to HD, and they are excited about the latest turn: video going social. video production new jersey, video production new york, curt fissel, ellen friedland, voices and visions, corporate video production
As an active user of LinkedIn since its inception, Ellen names it as her top network, stating, “I listen to a lot of conversations happening on LinkedIn and read articles showcasing statistics about everything related to video, which keeps me up to date on trends in the industry.” Ellen uses this information to inform her conversations with clients. “We make sure that what we do and what our clients do is in harmony with the latest marketing information related to video,” she says.
A big influencer in the social video world is YouTube, and since it is owned by Google, it serves as its own search engine for video. “Google values quality and substance in its text and videos,”  Ellen notes. “Pre-Google’s ownership of Youtube, home videos of people’s dogs walking across the floor were acceptable, and even companies grew accustomed to the unprofessional nature of many of the video postings. Today people recognize that they need to have professional videos.” The quality of the videos is not the only trend Ellen has noticed Google preferring; she believes the quantity of videos matters as well. “It’s my understanding that Google pays attention to sites that post numerous substantive videos,” she tells clients. She adds that additional videos need not multiply the costs of production. Says Ellen: “The amount of video captured and the time spent editing may be the same whether one longer video or several shorter videos are produced.”
This shift to shorter, more numerous videos is just another in a long line of industry transformations for Voices & Visions’ senior editor, Curt, who considers the changes all part of the job. He names professional seminars, conferences and active involvement in user groups as his primary sources of information gathering. While these activites are very time-consuming, Curt recognizes that, “this is the profession I’ve chosen to immerse myself in, and I want to stay on top of it.” His reference to staying current is focused on both the changing styles of video production as well as  the software editors use to produce them.
After the switch from linear to digital, Curt became proficient on the AVID editing system, which he used for 10 years. Several years ago he made the switch to, Final Cut Pro, to which he now feels a strong alliance. “The ease of Final Cut Pro, when working with a Mac, made the transition necessary,” he says. Curt is, however, open-minded to ever-new technologies, which is how he’s been able to stay ahead of the game.
At the most recent National Association of Broadcasters conference, it became clear that industry choices have expanded to include other systems, like Adobe Premiere. Curt appreciates the creativity of all the new offerings and never opposes adopting new software that improves on the old.
Conferences like the annual NAB and sites like LinkedIn help small businesses to gain footing in the never-ending tidal waves of industry shifts.. But that’s not enough; it also takes a willingness – and excitement — to be ready to learn and implement the next best products and services.
Read Video Production, Part 1

Photo of the Week:

July 13, 2012

Who can guess where this week’s photo was taken?

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Creating Harmony in the Workplace

July 9, 2012
It’s been said that one can win more bees with honey, but in the case of workplace harmony, concerning oneself with the happiness of the team can be just as crucial to the bottom line. According to the Detroit Free Press, since October 2008, the stocks of public companies scoring in the top 10% in employee satisfaction outperformed the S&P’s 500 by 15.5%, but how did they do it?
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For Voices & Visions chief producer, Ellen Friedland, the key to a happy office begins with respect. “No job is more important than another job. All of them are parts of the whole and everyone needs to respect the work of others,” said Ellen. V&V is a small business and relies heavily on the production of a few staff members for the success of the company. She believes an employer can and must create an environment where people want to work. “That means an environment of understanding that the team is comprised of individuals who have personal lives that are important to them,” she said, also stressing the importance of injecting a little humor into the day-to-day operations.
Krystal Sancho, Director of Operations for Voices & Visions, rates happiness at the top of her list, stating, “It’s probably my number one thing: being happy at my job.” Krystal, who left her last workplace due to disharmony in the office, believes happiness plays a big role in how much effort people put in. “If you’re in an environment where you’re not being treated well, you’re just not going to work as hard,” she said.
Some jobs are more demanding than others. Chief editor Curt Fissel, who comes from a news background, is used to working under stress and has learned to cope with it well. “I always give 100%. Under stress, I work fine. I don’t like it, but I manage,” he said. Curt’s experience has made him empathetic toward those he oversees. “There’s nothing worse than having to deal with stress on top of having to manage multiple tasks,” he said, including that he knows how hard everyone on his team works. Curt says he tries to create the kind of atmosphere where people feel welcome and supported. Ellen mirrors this sentiment: “I think when people work in this kind of environment, they enjoy being here and they want to be a part of our team,” she said.
Small companies with fewer staff sometimes need employees to step outside of specific job descriptions and put on other hats for the benefit of the greater entity. Krystal says the genuine relationships formed at Voices & Visions makes her much more likely to help out on a night or weekend. “We consider ourselves a family here,” she said. “Ellen and Curt make us feel as comfortable here as clients who come in for meetings or editing sessions.” And that makes all the workplace difference.

Maximizing The Professional Corporate Video Dollar

May 17, 2012

Once a year for two days, private equity firm The Riverside Company gathers together its partners and other employees from around the world as well as the CEOs of their global portfolio companies – around 300 people – at the Riverside Leadership Summit (RLS). The crowd hears about the  latest directions of this firm that invests in small to mid-sized companies; meets with colleagues across portfolios in N. America, Europe and Asia; and listens to speakers discussing topics ranging from the state of the worldwide economy to social media marketing.

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For video purposes, the gathering of so many people in one space is an ideal time to collect professional interviews. Riverside recognized that, and dived with us into a new marketing video project over the course of those two summit days.  The preparation work began several months earlier, as we plodded knee-deep through the points to be emphasized in the final videos and the individuals who would be good messengers. Utilizing a quiet and private room at the resort where the event was held, our director of photography designed a set with five lights and gels expressive of the firm’s branded colors. We interviewed numerous individuals, altogether securing a collection of wish-list sound bites in one place at one time.

The cost of corporate video production encompasses time three basic phases: pre-production (the preparation that goes into defining concepts and arranging the shoots to get the necessary materials for the end product), field production (videotaping) and post-production (the totality of services needed to transform the videotaped material into the final edited piece).

Field production is a daily rate determined by the size of the crew and amount/type of equipment needed for the parameters of a particular job. If the number of days can be condensed because all the interviewees are in a single place, the cost of that line item can be greatly reduced.

Depending on the nature of the forum, there may also be opportunities to capture relevant b-roll of the folks who are being interviewed. B-roll is always a good idea, since most speakers dot their responses with “um”s, “you know”s and “ahem” types of throat clearings that are better left in the digital timeline’s trash can, but then call out for images to cover up the smoothed-out comments.  At events where attendees are eating at networking breaks, b-roll can be a challenge, and consequently, the final product might call for an extra day or two to videotape appropriate visuals of the subject matter.

Between presentations at the RLS we hustled to get quick shots of our interviewees engaged in conversation with their colleagues, gently reaching over to take their drinks, noshes and nametags while the camera and its operator did their jobs. We went down our checklist of visuals and were glad to get most. With the large library of Riverside b-roll we have already accumulated over the years, the new video recorded, and the creation of sophisticated motion graphics, we are confident that we have collected the materials we will need to produce new, clever and stylish marketing videos at a good savings for our client.

Videotaping Bonus in Austin, Texas: The Dedication of the Tejano Monument

April 10, 2012

As a producer, for each video shoot I attend – whether marketing videos, web videos, business videos of any kind, documentaries, whatever! – I bring a checklist of all the details I want to capture in interviews and b-roll (visuals). But I view this list as more of an outline than a blueprint; invariably we find surprises along the way, the inclusion of which enhance final productions (as well as our own experiences, since having fun is also, always, part of the program).

A good recent example happened a week and a half ago. We were videotaping in Austin, Texas, updating an informational video for the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) of Texas (more about the update tomorrow). We stepped outside during an interval between interviews to get some b-roll and chanced upon a huge ceremony unveiling the Tejano Monument which was taking place at the Capitol, across the street from TRS’ office.

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The Tejano was 12 years in the making, a grandiose undertaking by sculptor Armando Hinojosa, depicting the early Spanish explorers and Tejano families, who introduced cattle ranching and farming. The sculpture includes a life-size scene, encompassing an equine statue with a cowboy, two longhorn cows, a family of settlers, and a Spanish explorer standing on a raised mesa, surveying the land before him.

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The work was significant since it was the first of 18 others on the Capitol grounds to celebrate the contributions of Texas’ early Spanish and Mexican explorers, settlers, and their descendants. Attended by hundreds of people, the unveiling ceremony was heralded with a Mariachi band whose members are students at University of Texas and who paraded through the streets for much of the remainder of the day trumpeting their contagious dancing melodies.

Roll the cameras! One of the messages of the video is that the Teacher Retirement System benefits the entire state since members live throughout Texas, spend their retirement monies locally, and volunteer hours in their communities. Here – right outside the door of the headquarters of our client — we found a gathering of Texans from around the state, all focused on an art project of importance. What nice and unanticipated visuals to mix into the final video alongside many other shots and graphics! And how lucky we were to get an unexpected and interesting history lesson about Texas, made possible by a slight veering off the pre-planned path.

One other thought: The unveiling committee was obviously aware that along with an official dedication of a state-sponsored sculpture comes the traditional and welcome spate of publicity. But they might not have imagined that their special event would have web video ramifications far beyond their intended audience. While only accounting for a few out of numerous shots in the video we re-created for TRS, the Tejano makes an actual and symbolic appearance that will be shared with millions of people in the State who benefit from the teacher retirement system. Yay for the ever-multiplying power of online video!

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