Online Video: Does your website need it?
You may have noticed that over the last few years video on the web has become an integral part of how information gets delivered to the world. Whether it be breaking news, a clip from last night’s sitcom, live stream event coverage, or a homepage introduction to a new company, online video has become a part of many of our lives–especially on our mobile devices. There’s some amazing statistics out there on how much online video has grown and is still growing.
- 80% of executives are watching more online video today than they were a year ago.
- Mobile viewers watch video about 3X longer than those using a desktop PC.
- By 2013, over 90% of internet traffic will be video based.
- Companies using online video for promotion have seen sales lifts from 20% – 40%.
- Vistors who view product videos are 85% more likely to buy than visitors who do not.
These are some astounding numbers! One more for you: 85% of the US internet audience watches videos online. The 25-34 age group watches the most online videos. (Source: Hubspot, nielsen) So basically, what I’m saying is if your website doesn’t have some kind of video content, you’re missing out!
Lets make a video!
So dust off the ol’ shoulder-mounted VHS recorder, grab the work light from the garage, and lets make a dark, shakey, tough-to-hear video… right??
Please don’t…. for the benefit of us all, please ‘don’t try this at home’. I can really only think of one thing worse than not having any video on your website, and that’s having low quality video on your website. I think there’s been a misconception out there that hiring a production company is just too expensive that it’s not worth it. I disagree. Based on all of the statistics, if done correctly, this could be a wonderful investment no matter what size your company. That being said, I don’t necessilry think you should be putting 50-75% of your annual marketing budget towards video production–it just doesn’t need to cost that much.
Like many other services, usually the more you spend the better ‘product’ you’ll get. Being that the barrier to entry in the video/filmmaking industry has become so low however, you’re able to get amazing quality for well under $50k (arbitrary number, but you see what I mean). This can be a blessing and a curse as I must caution you to the fact that you may find many folks out there who will call themselves ‘filmmakers’ and ‘videographers’ but simply have all the equipment and none of the knowhow.
It’s always helpful and more cost effective if you can work with your creative team–marketing, strategy, etc–before looking for a production team. Most production companies are all-encompassing but there is cost associated with pre-production and planning. Let them help with that as they’ll bring a different perspective to the conversation, but make sure your branding experts are helping keep within your guidelines and let the production company handle the logistical part of the pre-production.
Questions to ask
When searching for a videographer/production team, here’s a few good questions you can ask:
- Do you offer storyboarding? This can be helpful for you to visualize the video before production starts. It’s not a requirement but is a great option.
- Do you do your own editing or hire it out? Editing is how the video can really come together, although it is not essential the same person who is shooting the video is editing it, it can be a great way to not have to do so many rounds of editing/proofing.
- How big is your crew? While a multi-person crew is imperitve for big productions that have tons of moving parts, this is not necessary for smaller production shoots and can be a huge money saver–1-3 people on a production day should be the limit.
- Do you own or rent your equipment? This will often depend on the scope of the project, but if you see a rather large fee on the quote for rental equipment, it’s ok to question it and find out what specifically it’s for. Anyone you hire should have the basics–cameras, lenses, lighting, etc–and should only be renting rare, esoteric gear like sliders, steadicams, and other accessories.
- What happens after the production/shooting day? I find that the post-production process differs for many. This is why the pre-production process becomes so important because if everyone is on the same page, the editing after the shoot is easier and faster. Just make sure to be reasonable about turnaround time–remember, videos are big files and they take a long time to render, compress, and upload in addition to the actual editing process.
Questions you’ll be asked
Every production comapny is different (obviously), but here are a few things you should already know before ever talking to a potential production team:
- How long do you need the video to be? Keep in mind that many people have a low attention span and unless you’re producing more of a story or documentary style video, it shouldn’t be much longer than 2-3 minutes–1-3 if it’s on the home page of your site.
- How many people will be on camera? Ever simultaneously? This will be important to the videographer for equipment purposes–i.e. camera/lens choice, lighting, audio recording.
- What’s the background going to be? Obviously a very broad question, but very important if you’re having any ‘talking heads’ on camera. Does a solid white background work? Or would you rather a colorful, soft focus, more natural background?
- Where will the filming take place? Will you need a studio? Can it all be done at your office? Will there be location scouting involved? This can get pricey if you start needing permits and/or clearance etc, so be aware of the fact that you may have to pay some extra fees to be in the place(s) you want to be.
- When do you need the final video? As I said before, please be reasonable about deadlines and timeline. Video production is a multi step process that shouldn’t be rushed. There should be pre-production, production, and post-production in that order. Involve your production team early in the process–even if they’re not helping with creative–so they can be in the loop on everything that’s important.
Online video is going to continue to grow and it’s only going to get more important in getting and retaining customers. Think outside of the box. Don’t think you’re quite ready for live action video? What about an infographic or well designed presentation with voiceover? Many production teams–including myself–have the resources to do any type of online video you want, you just need to ask!
Consumers can now rent photo and video equipment from their phone
LensProToGo, one of the nation’s largest camera, lens, and DSLR video equipment rental companies, today announced the release of its free iOS app, which allows renters to browse and order equipment right from their phone in less than 30 seconds.
The app adds two new features not yet available on the website to make the rental process easier and more efficient. Users can mark select gear as a “Favorite” while browsing over 400 items by brand (featuring an up to date line up from both Canon and Nikon) or type. Favorite items are always quickly accessible in the “Favorites” view so a renter can immediately select gear from their personally created list. Additionally, experienced users will benefit from the new “Quick Add” icon which allows them to add multiple items to their cart instantly, even from their Favorites list, without viewing the items detail page.
If users do want to learn more about a piece of equipment, the app’s item detail page provides photos, descriptions, technical specifications, suggested accessories and even a related item for comparison. Because LensProToGo is staffed entirely by working professional photographers and DSLR filmmakers, their expertise is essential to providing these relevant suggestions. The app also provides links to camera manuals for photographers to view while in the field or on the go. Additionally, customers can access LensProToGo’s social media accounts and blog, as well as find directions to the store.
“The idea for the LensProToGo App came from a desire to make it easier, faster and more convenient for photographers and filmmakers to get the gear they need no matter where they are.” said Paul Friedman, Owner of LensProToGo. “Whether they are on location, waiting in line at the grocery store, or on the side of a mountain renting gear is just a few taps away. From a development standpoint, we wanted to really focus on efficiency. As photographers and filmmakers ourselves, we understand just how precious time can be.”
The new app can be downloaded from the App Store by searching “LensProToGo” or through the following link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lensprotogo/id577126746?ls=1&mt=8
Located just outside of Boston in Concord, Mass., LensProToGo is a national online photo and video equipment rental company. It is staffed only by working professional photographers and DSLR filmmakers, who provide their customers with an in-depth understanding of the field and the equipment. Hard sided, watertight Pelican Cases are used to ensure the gear is protected during transit and ready for the customers shoot. This ensures the quality provided to customers is always exceptional.
The goal of the company is to get the customer into the right piece of gear, not necessarily the most expensive. Using their personal knowledge and unparalleled customer service, LenProToGo ensures that renters will have a successful and top-notch experience. For more information, visit the LensProToGo website at http://www.lensprotogo.com.
Find LensProToGo Online
- Visit Us: www.lensprotogo.com
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/lensprotogo (@lensprotogo)
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/lensprotogo
- Blog: www.lensprotogoblog.com
- App iTunes Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lensprotogo/id577126746?ls=1&mt=8
Just had to share this, it’s really just amazing–particularly for anyone that’s knows me :).
For a good part of this year, I had the great honor of being a part of a historic undertaking in Providence, RI–The Providence Portrait Project. Along with Jim Hooper (the photographer for the project), we set up a studio in downtown Providence where Jim photographed all the ‘movers and shakers’ that have been instrumental in the rejuvenation of downtown Providence. Throughout the project, I did some filming and I’m happy to share the final video with you all. There was also a book published–find out more at http://providenceportraitproject.com/
Well, it’s been a few months since I’ve posted anything here, but for very good reason–I launched a new company!
Focus Point Central is an online Photography and Videography resource center for anybody and everybody. We have content for beginners to pros from some of the most amazing and prominent professionals out there–and that list is growing every day! We’ve also teamed up with some great partners like Westcott, Lensbaby, The Slanted Lens and more. We truly believe that there is something for everybody: we have Workshops which will be in person and live online; On Demand where you can find piles of free and paid content–everything from quick tip videos to written tutorials–all to learn at your own pace and on your own time; and a Marketplace where we’ll be offering things like books and DVDs from our instructors. Coming soon: Memberships where you’ll be able to sign up to get access to premium content and discounts across our site.
I’d like to personally invite you to visit FocusPointCentral.com with the hopes that you’ll learn from these amazing photographers and videographers. And as always, if you have suggestions on content you’d like to see or workshops you’d like us to offer please don’t hesitate to let us know!
How cool! Nasa and Google have teamed up to bring street view of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Here’s some cool links to check out and also the video Google made to promote it. Enjoy!
Tired of sending all those images to your clients with Lightroom’s wonderful ‘-Edit’ on the end? Shot the whole day tethered, spelling someone’s name wrong? Or maybe you just need to change the name of a whole bunch of file names in Finder at once. Here’s a great little trick I use all the time utilizing Apple’s built-in ‘Automator’ application.
Note: this can only be done on a Mac (Sorry PC guys…)
1. Begin by opening ‘Automator’ from the Applications folder.
2. Once the ‘New’ dialog comes up, click ‘Workflow’ and then ‘Choose’.
3. Open a new finder window and navigate to the files you’d like to rename or replace some text. Highlight all the files you’d like to rename, then click and drag to the area of Automator that says: ‘Drag actions or files…’ and let go. You may see a dialog come up asking if you want to copy the finder items first–say ‘Don’t Copy’.
4. On the left column under ‘Actions’>’Library’, click ‘Files & Folders’ and look for ‘Rename Finder Items’ in the next column.
5. Click and drag ‘Rename Finder Items’ to the right large gray area directly beneath the ‘Get Specified Finder Items’ and let go.
6. Click the dropdown that says ‘Add Date or Time’ and choose ‘Replace Text’.
7. Type in the text you’d like to ‘Find’, and then what you’d like to ‘Replace’ that text with.
8. Finally, click ‘Run’ in the upper right corner of the window.
Been messing around a bit with Apple’s new Final Cut Pro X? Also been playing with shooting more video? Well one thing that can easily separate the ‘men from the boys’ is knowing about color grading. Color grading is not just correcting bad color or changing colors here and there–it’s SO much more and can really step up your game if done correctly. FCPX’s new color correction features are amazing and can do a lot. The tricky part might be learning it right the first time and not having to piece together an education. This is where Color Grading Central comes in.
I stumbled across this website and proceeded to fall in love! Not only is the content incredibly informative, but is laid out and presented in a structured, easy-to-learn way. I find a lot of online instruction to be boring, too long, and incredibly disorganized. The folks at Color Grading Central have all of this really dialed in–oh, and the 15 part series is FREE! Here’s the link to the entire series: FCPX Grading Tutorials
Here’s the first video in the series–all VERY interesting!
The long awaited major update to the entire Adobe Creative Suite was announced today. There is some seriously major updates to many of the applications, but perhaps the biggest news is the new Creative Cloud. Creative Cloud is Adobe’s new offering where you pay a monthly fee to get full access to all of Adobe’s software, plus much much more!
I’ve compiled a handful of links here–including how to download Photoshop CS6 right now!