Posts Tagged ‘promotional video’

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“Codec” is a technical name for “compression/decompression”. It also stands for “compressor/decompressor” and “code/decode”. All of these variations mean the same thing: a codec is a computer program that both shrinks large movie files, and makes them playable on your computer. Codec programs are required for your media player to play your downloaded music and movies.

“Why do we need codecs?”

Because video and music files are large, they become difficult to transfer across the Internet quickly. To help speed up downloads, mathematical “codecs” were built to encode (“shrink”) a signal for transmission and then decode it for viewing or editing. Without codecs, downloads would take three to five times longer than they do now.

“Is there only one codec I need?”

Sadly, there are hundreds of codecs being used on the Internet, and you will need combinations that specifically play your files. There are codecs for audio and video compression, for streaming media over the Internet, videoconferencing, playing mp3’s, speech, or screen capture. To make matters more confusing, some people who share their files on the Net choose to use very obscure codecs to shrink their files. This makes it very frustrating for users who download these files, but do not know which codecs to get to play these files. If you are a regular downloader, you will probably need ten to twelve codecs to play your music and movies.

“What are the common codecs people use?”

Some codec examples are MP3, WMA, RealVideo, RealAudio, DivX and XviD. There are many other more obscure codecs.

“Isn’t ‘.AVI’ a codec already?”

AVI is not in itself a codec; it is a common “container format” that many different codecs can use. As there are hundreds of codecs out there are compatible with AVI content, it can get very confusing which codec(s) you will need to play your video files.

“How do I know which codec to download and install?”

Your Windows Media Player will often try to communicate to you the 4-character code of the specific codec it needs. Note this code, then visit this website http://www.fourcc.org/fcccodec.htm to obtain the missing codec. For a small FAQ section, follow the link on the left called “Sample Code”.

“What are the codecs I should download and install?”

There is no single best answer to this question. There are so many codec choices. The easiest option is to download “codec packs”. Codec packs are collections of codecs gathered in single large files. There is much debate over whether it is necessary to get a large group of codec files, but it certainly is the easiest and least-frustrating option for new downloaders. Here are the codec packs we recommend at About.com:

  1. CCCP Combined Community Codec Pack is one of the most comprehensive codec packages you can download. CCCP was put together by users who like to share and watch movies online, and the codecs they’ve chosen are designed for 99% of the video formats you will experience as a P2P downloader. It is still virus-free as of February, 2010, so definitely consider CCCP if you think your computer needs updated codecs.
  2. XP Codec Pack XP Codec Pack is a sleek, all-in-one, spyware / adware free codec collection that also offers a good, solid Media Player Classic. Currently just under 6MB in size, XP Codec Pack is truly one of the most complete assemblies of codecs needed to play all major audio and video formats.
  3. K-Lite Codec PackVery user-friendly and well tested, K-Lite Codec Pack is loaded with goodies. It will enable you to play all the popular movie formats. K-Lite comes in 4 flavors: Basic, Standard, Full and Mega. If all you need is to be able to play DivX and XviD formats, Basic will do just fine. Standard pack is probably the most popular – it has everything an average user needs to play the most common file formats. Full pack, designed for power users, has even more codecs plus encoding support.
  4. K-Lite Mega Codec Pack Mega is a very comprehensive bundle…it has everything but a kitchen sink. Mega even contains QuickTime Alternative and Real Alternative.
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Video production can cost as much or as little or as your budget allows.

You can borrow a flip camera, shoot some video and upload it to YouTube – all for free. Or you could hire James Cameron to write, produce and direct your video where you’d be looking at a budget just shy of  half a billion dollars when you include marketing costs and Hollywood accounting. Both options would result in a finished video but you’d probably need special glasses to watch the the more expensive option.

The good news for businesses looking to engage a video production company is that many of the factors that affect the price of a video have been going down over the last few years. Some dramatically. Assuming you find a company that does great work (this is a critical first step by the way – if the company doesn’t do great work it’s not worth paying anything for) the first question to be answered is  ‘how much does a video cost?’ There is no simple answer to that question but here are 25 factors (ranked in order of importance to the overall quality of the video) that affect the price of a web video:

  1. Production Experience. Doctors, mechanics, lawyers, videographers… whatever profession you care to mention, experience matters more than any other factor and, all things being equal, you do tend to get what you pay for. There are many, many moving parts in the creation of a video but at the end of the day you are paying for the expertise and experience of the key people responsible for your video. 
    Costs:
    You can pay $25/hour for a recent film school graduate or $250/hour for a top flight video veteran. On average most production companies will charge between $50/hour and $150/hour for the people involved in key activities such as shooting and directing.
  2. Concept / Script / Storyboard –  Doing video for the sake of video is a waste of money (although it’s great for the video production industry!) What measurable business objective are you trying to achieve?  How is this video specifically going to achieve that objective? And of greatest importance, do the people creating your video have the experience or guidance to create a video that will help move your business forward? Lighting, sound, framing and editing are all important but they don’t matter in the least if what you are creating has no value to your intended audience. Like companies that spend $10,000 on website development and little or no money on content for the site, many companies waste a lot of money on nicely shot but otherwise meaningless video.
    Costs: Expect to spend between $60/hour and $125/hour for an experienced marketer (does it make sense to have an entertainment script writer or video production assistant develop your marketing script?) to develop a concept, script and storyboard that serves as the blueprint for you video.
  3. Editing. The editing process is highly nuanced. Editing is where you create the style and substance of the video – you sequence all of the available assets into a cohesive story that communicates your key messages in a clear and engaging manner. Editors arguably should be the most highly paid (and skilled) in the entire process (quite often they are not.)
    Costs:
    Editing costs run between $40/hour and $125/hour.
  4. Actors/Presenters. Do you need to hire professional presenters, actors or models to improve the quality of your presentation? Not everyone is good on camera. You may need to make difficult decisions about who should represent your company. In a broadcast commercial quite often it is not someone in your company. Even in a corporate video you may decide that hiring outside talent is the best decision.
    Costs:
    Presenters, models and actors can range anywhere from $50/hour to $200/hour or more depending on experience, demand and union costs.
  5. Camera. The quality and flexibility of the camera you shoot with can make a huge difference in the finished quality and editing options for your video. Are you shooting on a $ 500 DV camera, a $2,500 DSLR, a $10,000 Full feature HD camera, a $20,000 RED or are you shooting on Film? The pace of technology advancement in film and video is breathtaking and the features and capabilities of cameras are changing weekly.  Bottom Line: You should be able to see the difference in the final output quality in more expensive cameras. If you can’t, then it’s not worth paying for.
    Costs:
    You will spend between $25/hour and $150/hour or more depending on which digital camera is used. Film cameras, lenses and stock will take you well over $1,000 /hour.
  6. Equipment. The more experienced video production companies tend to have a wide variety of tools and equipment on hand for each shoot. Do you need a track dolly or a jib-arm to create a shot with movement? Do you have a high quality field monitor to know exactly what you are getting (or not getting) as you shoot? Do you have all the necessary audio equipment (lav’s, direction mics, booms etc) to capture the audio you need?  Lighting and framing are everything in video. Do you have lights – lots of different lights to accommodate a wide variety of shooting scenarios? Do you have a variety of lenses to create the specific feel you are after – wide angle, fixed focal length or Cine lenses for narrow depth of field, etc?
    Costs. Equipment cost can run anywhere from $25/hour to $100′s/hour or more depending on what specific equipment is required.
  7. Crew. If you’ve ever watched a movie or television show being filmed you might wonder why you need so many people standing around idle on a set. Most business web video productions don’t require more than two people (and sometimes one is enough) but depending on the complexity of the shoot you may require a crew of three or more. If you are conducting man on the street interviews as an example, you need a cameraman, a sound man and a directer or interviewer. Concept videos like commercials will often require more people to help with the logistics of the shoot.
    Costs: Expect to pay between $ 25 and $75/hour/person for experienced crew.
  8. B-Roll / Cut-away shots. Most videos benefit from the addition of footage that supplements what is being said on screen. If you are interviewing a business owner who is talking about their new equipment you should cut away to shots of the equipment as they speak. Showing the viewer what is being described in the video is more informative (show me , don’t tell me) and also helps to keep the attention of the impatient viewer.
    Costs: The length of time and equipment used to capture the b-roll will increase production costs. You can add anywhere from 10% to 50% of the total shooting costs if you need to supplement interview footage with b-roll.
  9. Locations and production time. Where are you shooting? How long will each scene/interview/shot take?Are you shooting in one location or many? What are the specific requirements and constraints of each location? Are you indoor or outside? If you are shooting outside is weather a factor? If so what happens if it rains? How much set-up time is required? Are the locations close together? The most important factor is the total amount of time required for production. There are few economies of scale for time – but with good planning you can do a lot within a specific period of time.
    Costs: This cost is arithmetic. Two days of shooting is twice as expensive as one day. {If shooting extends for many days or is regularly scheduled then most companies offer a discount}
  10. Studio shooting. Do you require the use of a sound stage or studio? Do you need a controlled environment to shoot in? Are you shooting green screen and keying out the background in edit? The use of a studio has to be factored into the overall cost of the production one way or another. Larger companies may include studio time in their shooting costs and other companies include it as a line item as studio rental time.
    Costs: Factor in between $100/hour and $ 400/hour depending on the size of the studio. (If you need a studio you will be charged for it – one way or the other)
  11. Set, props, equipment, extras. Aside from video production equipment are there other special props or pieces of equipment that need to be included as part of the costs? Do you need to rent a van, rent furniture, hire extras, hire a plane or helicopter for an aerial shot or bring in special equipment for the shoot? These all have to be factored in to the cost of the shoot.
    Costs: Depends on what is required.
  12. Stock footage Do you require supplemental footage or images to support the video? There are many websites that sell high quality still and video footage. Some videos are comprised completely of stock footage, text and voice-over.
    Costs: Stock images can be as cheap as $3 and great quality HD stock footage can cost as little as $50.
  13. Narration Do you need a voice-over to tell your story or to tie the video together. Video is a powerful medium but it is even more powerful if you take full advantage of audio to support what is being shown on screen.
    Costs: Voice-over costs have dropped dramatically over the last five years. Many voice artists work from home and can produce great work for almost any budget. $100 – $400 for a 2 minute video is reasonable depending on the experience and demand for the specific voice artist.
  14. Audio files. Do you require a music bed, special sound effects or other audio to supplement your video?
    Costs: Good quality music for video starts as low as $30 for a two or three minute track. Custom audio can cost $1,000 or more depending on the experience of the musician and what is required.
  15. Teleprompter. A teleprompter can save a shoot. Even the most experienced speaker can be intimidated by lights and camera. It’s true that you can usually tell when someone is reading a teleprompter but that may still be preferable to the agony of a shoot spiraling out of control because the CEO can’t remember his lines.
    Costs: Teleprompter and operator usually cost between $350 and $600 for a half day.
  16. Geographic Location. New York is more expensive to shoot in than Central Lake, Michigan because the cost of living is higher in New York. Half day rates don’t exist in some large cities today.
    Costs: Expect to pay between 25% and %50 more if you are shooting in a large city.
  17. Digitizing, transfers, rendering and uploading. Video takes on many forms during the production process. If you shot on film you have to transfer it to a format that works in your editing system. After you edit it, you have to render it to a presentation format (for web, for broadcast, etc.) and depending on where it’s going you may have to upload it somewhere (your web server / YouTube / The Academy Awards, etc). All this takes computer and human time and you generally have to pay for both.
    Costs: Sometimes these costs are buried, sometimes they are line items. Tape transfers are still very expensive ($100′s of dollars).  Rendering and uploading time are usually buried in the costs but can also be charged out at an hourly rate ($50 – $100 per hour).
  18. Length of the Video. The longer the video the more it is likely to cost. Web videos tend to be around a couple of minutes although this varies considerably depending on the type and purpose of your video. Filming an articulate talking head (limited editing) for 10 minutes is much cheaper than creating a 30 second commercial. So…
    Costs: All things being equal (they never are) consider longer to be more expensive, but it’s not arithmetic. An extra minute of video might only cost you %10 more if you have planned the extra requirements into the overall workflow.
  19. Licensing/Union Fees. Are you using any media assets or talent that could be subject to ongoing licensing, usage or union fees? The web continues to drive all costs down including licensing fees – but they still exist. The best talent is usually a member of  SAG, ACTRA or some other union.
    Costs: Varies depending on the project and talent.
  20. Direct or Third party. Are you dealing directly with the video production company or are you going through an agency or other middleman?
    Costs: You should expect that you are paying at least a %30 mark-up if you are going through a third party.
  21. Interactivity. Are you creating linear video or are you building in interactivity? Is there a direct call-to-action that you want to get the viewer to follow? Do you require flash programming do build the video into a special player that will sit on a specific landing page? The future of video is interactive video.
    Costs: Expect to pay between %10 and %30 more to develop interactivity and flash support elements into your video.
  22. Hosting. Your video is going to live on the web. Where is it being hosted? You might end up hosting it on different servers (your own, YouTube, a business portal, etc.) depending on your business needs.
    Costs: Hosting is either free or relatively inexpensive ($ 5 – $10 / month/video depending on bandwidth usage.)
  23. Formats. How many different formats does your video have to be rendered in? Where is it going to be seen? Do you need a short version (editing down) and a long version? Does it sit in a multiplayer or is it in three different players? Should you break it up into pieces to make the length of it a little less evident and also to allow the user a bit more control?
    Costs: Adapting multiple formats for a video could add %5 to %10 percent to the cost of the job depending on how much editing is required.
  24. Language and translation. Do you need close captions? Do you need language versioning? Do you need onscreen text to change per language? Do you need to dub in different narration for different markets?
    Costs: Language versioning can add %10 to %20 to the overall cost of the job. (Editing and proofing of different languages is usually much more time intensive than one language alone.)
  25. Miscellaneous fees. Ya, everyone hates lawyers ‘disbursement fees’. Video production has the equivalent in ‘Miscellaneous fees’: Travel costs, meals, mileage, hotels, transportation, out-of-pocket… it all adds up.
    Costs: Usually in the $100′s and sometimes in the $1,000′s of dollars on larger shoots.

Bottom Line?

Taking all of the above into consideration there are reasonable ballpark figures that you can use as a guidepost for budget purposes. A two to three minute web-based corporate video presentation might cost between $2500 and $7500 depending on the variables mentioned above. If you use the time honored “$1,000 a minute” for a professionally produced online corporate video as a starting point, that will give you a reasonable idea of where to begin in the budgeting process.

Budgeting Tip:

The best way to get a quick estimate is to have a reference video to compare to. (I.e. “How much would something like ‘this’ cost.”)

Visit us on the web at www.adr-productions.com

Reprinted from PCWorld

Why Video?

Video on the Internet is still novel enough to be compelling in its own right. People now routinely use the Web to search for information about products or services that they want to purchase. And if you can dig up a typical Web site’s traffic patterns, you’ll find that an enormous percentage of site visitors click away from the site in less than a few seconds. They scan the text and pictures and make a snap judgment about whether or not the site has anything to offer them. It is extremely difficult to get them to read all the way through the home page, let alone click through to get more information on subsequent pages.

In contrast, once they start, people are more likely to watch video clips through to the end than they are to read a whole Web page. This gives you a better chance to engage them and get your message across.

What’s Your Message?

The most important step is to determine what you want to tell your audience. Maybe you have a novel product or service that customers may not understand. In this case, an “education sell” might be most appropriate, in which you explain the category as a whole and the benefits it offers. If the product or service is familiar to your prospects — such as buying a house — then you want a “comparative sell” that showcases the advantages that your particular product or service has to offer. Or maybe you want to use a “promotional sell” message that makes a special offer such as a discount or bonus item for people who see the video.

Designing Your Video Clip

Keep it short. Four or five minutes long is a good limit for a promotional video. If it runs longer than that, your audience is likely to lose interest and click away. Also, the large size of longer videos makes them more difficult to manage.

If possible, create a widescreen format video in MP4 format. This is the new lingua franca of Internet video, and has efficient compression to keep your files smaller. The widescreen format matches the newer HDTV aspect ratio, and thus immediately gives your video a more current appearance.

Create your video in 720p resolution (1280 by 720 pixels). This is easier to do now that many under-$400 digital still cameras will also record 720p video. Many sites–including YouTube–now support high-definition clips, so the extra resolution will make your video look better.

One note on tone: Be cautious about using humor in your videos. What might be funny to one person can be seriously offensive to another. Unless you’re appealing to a narrow and well-defined audience that you know well, you might want to avoid making a comedy clip and stick to a straightforward approach.

Distribute Your Video

Just as a Web site is not likely to increase business on its own, you need to do more than just post a video. First, you need to put it in lots of places so that more people are likely to find it. Consider using an uploading service for distribution. TubeMogul is a free service that will post your clip to seven or more video sites including MetaCafe and Yahoo Video, as well as YouTube. It will automatically adjust your video if necessary to meet the sites’ requirements (though all will accept widescreen MP4 files). So you just have to upload your file once to TubeMogul, and it will take care of the rest.

TubeMogul--click for full-size image.The TubeMogul service makes it easy to post a video file to many video sharing sites in one easy step.

You also need to keep search optimization in mind when you post. Choose your tag words carefully so that viewers will be more likely to find your clips.

Note that posting your video to these video sharing sites makes it easy to embed the clip on a Web page. YouTube creates HTML code that you can cut and paste to put both a player and your video clip on your Web page. You can even choose the format for the video player that appears on your page. Promote your clip by finding other sites that will link to the video’s location on your site, or that will embed the video right on theirs.

YouTube--click for full-size image.Use YouTube’s “Embed” entry (in the right-hand column) to get HTML code that you can paste into a Web site so that you can play the video right on that page.

If appropriate, consider sending out a press release announcing your video. Send it to local news outlets if you sell to your local markets. Try low-cost services that will deliver electronic press releases to a broad range of media outlets, such as SBWire or PRFree.

Also, take advantage of the social networking sites available on the Web to promote your video. Put it on your Facebook page. Get people to submit it to sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon, del.icio.us, and Reddit. Just as with a Web site, you need to drive people to your video in order to get them to see it.

Finally, don’t abandon your clip. Nothing dies by itself on the Web, so if your products or services change, or your promotional offer expires, or for some other reason the content of your video clip is no longer current or accurate, remember to take it down from the sites where you posted it. Just like a Web page that is never updated, an out-of-date video can hurt your business rather than help.

But a well-crafted video that gets promoted to your target audience will deliver your message in an efficient and effective way that engages your prospects and boosts your business.

Visit us on the web at www.adr-productions.com

More and more companies are using video to deliver their message on the Web – and not only media companies. In a recent article in USA Today, many different types of customers are using online videos to market, communicate, educate and inform. These include companies like AFL-CIO, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Archive of American Law Enforcement and the Asia Foundation, to name a few.

It’s estimated that over 200 billion videos will be streamed over the Internet in 2011, which is a 24% increase from last year. This growth is due to faster Web connections and the fact that 98% of the world has access to Flash, which has become the dominant technology thanks to YouTube, the social networking site. What makes video on the web so powerful is the combination of audio and visuals working together. It’s the same principle that makes TV advertising more powerful than print. People no longer have to look at static pages filled with information that has to be read. Instead, online videos can talk viewers through the highlights and more salient points of the information, and those who choose to can read more at a later time.

Examining our own customer’s experiences, they are see signifcation lift on conversation rates from using a professionally produced video. In fact, some of our customers are now seeing a ten times increase in conversion rates. Even more interesting, we have explored the impact of professionally produced videos vs self produce. Interestingly, a low res, poorly produced video actually has the impact of hindering conversion rates.

So what do you need to get professional looking web video? You have to start with a script – one that lays out the actual content and suggested visuals. Then you have to choose the right on-camera talent to appear on your website. Make sure the person is “product appropriate” – if you’re selling women’s intimate apparel, don’t have a young male talent on camera! Your best bet is to hire a professional studio (professional studio, video production, video studio) to shoot the video. They know all about lighting, shooting – and editing! Maximize your investment with a quality production.

 

Author: Bill Murphy

Why use professional videos on the Web instead of doing it yourself? After all, you have a small video camera; the resolution on the Web doesn’t have to be that high, and besides, you’ve shot video before. Remember Aunt Ethel’s wedding?

The fact is, consumers are becoming more and more sophisticated. And an amateur video is a poor reflection of your company’s image. It’s not just a matter of having someone stand against a wall and shooting some footage. There’s a lot involved in the process, including concepting, scripting, finding talent, lighting and most important – editing. All of these factors come into play in the final outcome of the video you plan on putting on the web.

The first telltale sign that you’re watching an amateur production is often the lighting. If it’s poorly lit, with too many highlights and shadows – you’re probably watching a homemade production. The fact is, like in everything else you get what you pay for. A well-produced video will do more for your company than the cost involved, in terms of image, professionalism and in the return on your investment.

Remember, your online video is all part of your image and your brand. That’s why using a professional makes sense. You wouldn’t want a “do it yourselfer” to take care of your accounting or legal matters. Nor should you want to have a “home-made” video production representing your brand.

A professional video production company can provide everything from the script and talent casting to editing and shooting in their perfectly lit video studio. It’s well worth the investment you’ll make to have a professional quality video representing your company

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/marketing-tips-articles/professional-vs-amateur-videos-1217646.html

About the Author

Throughout Bill’s 25 year career, he has focused on improving communication effectiveness through information technology. In his early days in retail banking at Citibank, Bill pioneered the development of the countries large marketing data warehouses. Through the use of advanced analytics tools, Bill demonstration how to translate massive amounts of raw data into knowledge to optimize marketing communications. Bill soon learned that to be successful in the new information driven marketing environment, he had to become proficient in not only marketing, but also technology.

Over the next 25 years, Bill continued to develop both his marketing (product development/marketing, direct/online marketing, marketing communications, event management, creative development and brand management) and his technology (database, audio/visual, programming, web design, networking and software design) skills. From his role as Chief Marketing Officer, at information giant Experian, to his role VP of technology for software giant Siebel Systems, Bill’s unique blend of marketing and technology skills has allowed him leverage technology to solve key business challenges. With each new technology advancement, Bill has learned to quickly exploit the technology to improve his company’s bottom line.

Bill is now founder and CEO of Egghead Productions, the country’s leading Video Marketing organization with its studios located in Northern California.