Tag Archives: video editing

This May Get Technical

Do it yourself video editing can open up a whole new set of problems for those looking for what they think may be an easy way in.
Take for example the newest consumer HD cameras. Many of them use a technology developed jointly by Sony and Panasonic called AVCHD. This is actually a professional MP4 format that was developed for use in Blu-Ray discs. It’s a big problem for do it yourselfers.
You see, AVCHD files take a lot of processing power just to play them back properly. A LOT. And before you even move the clips from your camera to your hard drive, you have to navigate the labrynth file system that comes with shooting in AVCHD.
On laptops, the video clips will look out of synch. You’ll need something with at least quad core processing to play your video. And if you cant play it, how are going to find your edit points?
Be prepared to shell out close to $3000 for an editing system with enough processing power, RAM, and the kind of video card you’ll need to edit with any kind of ease.
Most businesses who want to add video will turn to a professional – for shooting or editing or both. DIY can be fun, and somewhat inexpensive . And as they say, the devil is in the details, so if you’re going to edit professional looking video for your website, make sure you system is up to it.
–That’s a wrap.

Showing Our Stuff

 

The past three years has brought a lot of new friends our way.  Every project we do is different and exciting.  The new year gives us an opportunity to take a look back and put together some of the work we’ve done for our clients. Here’s our 2012 demo reel. I hope you enjoy it.  When can we get started on YOUR project?

–That’s a wrap.

6 Lines From The Godfather That Explain Why You Should Use Video

Just in time for the Oscars. Ready?

“Why didn’t you come to me first?” (Websites that use video convert visitors faster and easier.  A good category is Attorneys. Well, maybe not for the Godfather, but for our purposes – Studies show that folks will search an average of 7 websites when they are looking for an attorney.  But when there’s video, that number drops to 2. )

“Make them an offer they can’t refuse” (Video makes content they can’t refuse.  A compelling message about your company will keep visitors on your site longer. Videos can also very easily enhance your credibility. Companies with three or more videos on their website are perceived as the authority.)

“I need a man who has powerful friends” (The neatest thing about video is that folks can share it with their friends.  Make something WORTH sharing. People don’t search for, nor do they share commercials – so don’t make one. The hardest thing about video is coming up with great ideas. That’s where we can help.)

“My client promises to make that trouble disappear “ (With video you can not only show the features and benefits, but you can have your customers tell their story too. That’s called a testimonial, and man, do they work!)

“Times have changed. It’s not like the Old Days, when we can do anything we want.” (Yep.  Here in the digital age, customers are more informed. They WANT to be engaged. They don’t have a lot of time to read everything you want them to read.  So, say it and show it in a video. Or better yet, a series of videos.  Not to worry. We can have you communicating 21st Century style in no time.)

“And let me be even more frank, just to show you that I’m not a hard-hearted man, that it’s not all dollars and cents.” (Customers, especially the tech-savvy under 30s, want value. If you’re a plumber, do a video on how to fix a sink.  An accountant? What are the top deductions that many folks miss?  THAT’S content. It’s content that can be used. Content that they can’t refuse.

NOT to use video can be a website’s kiss of death.  Let that happen to the other guy. Wise up and start putting Videos On Your Website now.

Or just call us and fergitaboutit.

That’s a wrap.

Quality Videos Reflect The Quality Of Your Business: Part two

Tonight, a friend passed a referral to me. I went to look at the company website – we’ll call them “LLC.com”. Their web design firm has posted some videos about what a great place this company is to work for. Now, defining your corporate culture is an excellent use of video in today’s climate. Google has done it with the Life At Google series on YouTube. The Google series is shot well, and has compelling themes.

The videos I watched tonight on the LLC site were
• Grainy – if I didn’t know better, I’d think they were shot with someone’s camera phone.
• Used the on camera microphone – a very big no no. Sound is as important as picture, and since all of these shots were extreme close-ups, to have the voice sound like it was coming from a barrel is quite rude from the position of a viewer.
• Looked cheap. One of the persons were shot sitting in front of a window. The light coming from behind washes the subject out.

Another web designer called to tell me about a client who needed video. Before I could respond, however, he called back to say the client had shot the video himself. He said the quality was just “OK”. The webmaster wouldn’t offer his opinion, and unfortunately, his client may suffer.

Producing videos for businesses is a lot more than Point And Shoot. I completely understand the DIY point of view, BUT. . .

• You have to have an external microphone, period. No discussion.

• The basics of 3 point lighting are simple to learn. So use room lamps, and buy some Perfect Daylight bulbs so at least your colors come out right, and your subjects look like somebody you would want to watch.

• Seriously consider using a professional. The expertise we bring in storytelling and getting the right message across with the right pictures and edits can make all the difference.

If you’ve made an investment in an attractive website, it’s only right to make sure your content stands out as well.

———- That’s a wrap.

Making Memories – Preserving Memories

There are no treasured possessions greater than memories. Holidays always underscore that fact. When I was growing up, or when I was going home for the holidays, I had the most fun digging thru the family pictures. There was always a point during the holidays when Dad would set up the slide projector and focus it on a nearby wall.

We had a deep, wide cardboard box filled with other boxes – narrow plastic ones holding the 35mm slides, and each one labeled with its contents. There was a box for my 10th birthday. One for my sister’s wedding, Two or three containing the remnants of a Mexican vacation. One that attempted to document our family’s move cross country.

The lamp on the projector was hot, and bits of dust bunny flotsam hung in the stream of light emanating from the lens. For awhile we laughed and shared stories about what was going on in each of the pictures.

Then, the trips home became fewer. I never knew time to move so fast in my life. Mom passed first, in 1996. Dad in 2005. My sister had the big box buried in the back of a closet.

This year, I had her send me the box so I could start making digital copies of all those old slides. I was surprised at which slides were now fading and which ones still looked pretty good. But with this great software, I was able to make many of them brighter and sharper than ever.

Now, my sister and I don’t have to wait for those too few times when we get together to look at those old photos. There’s no more hot, musty slide projector – we can view them on our computer, or laptop, even our TV if we choose.

Do you have a big box of slides like that somewhere? Go take a look. Many of them may be starting to fade. If you’d like to preserve and pass on those memories, I can scan them to DVD for you. Each member of your family can have their own copy. Let me know if you’d like more information.

–That’s a wrap.

What They’re Saying About Real Estate Videos

So, I starting reading one of those articles about “What Your Real Estate Agent Won’t Tell You” and I got less than a quarter of the way thru it when the author mentioned how a listing’s photos and videos can be misleading because of Photoshopping or creative editing. I wouldn’t deny that those things take place, but not in my experience.

First of all, real estate agents are notoriously…(how shall I put this)…frugal. Many of them take their own pictures, and some even make their own videos.
Secondly, the kind of photo manipulation or video editing really takes some time to master. Many agents are known to be…impatient.

Actually, real estate videos can be rather quick to produce. Most agents simply want a walk through to show prospective buyers the layout point of view. Any additional editing, whether in amateur software or on a professional level, is an expense of both time and money. It’s been my experience with real estate videos that if the home is attractively staged, a video will do a much better job of selling the property than photos. It’s real. You don’t need Hollywood effects or deceptive editing to make it work.

It’s nice to see some popular websites for real estate professionals that agree with me: Homes.com reports that successful agents understand social media. And they add, “Video is another great way to promote your business and your listings online. After posting virtual tours or walk-thrus of your listings, start adding videos that discuss real estate trends and give advice. The better the content, the more it will be passed on.”

And PropertyGuru.com takes it one step further: “Keep your videos alive. Online video content should never be considered a final product. If the property doesn’t sell immediately, change the video to encourage new buyers and give them a different interpretation”

I have also seen actual customer emails thanking agents for providing videos, rather than just photos, in their marketing efforts. Even in the relocation forum City Data, one poster implores agents to “spend a few hundred bucks on a well shot and presented video tour and sell a six or seven figure home.”

There is a myriad of ways to sell real estate, even in a down market. But the wise agents and brokers would do well to discover the advantages of video marketing.

–That’s a wrap.

Behind The Scenes – Part Two. Editing

Picture this: a shot of the top drawer of a desk. A hand moves into the shot, and opens the drawer. We see – a pistol. What’s the next shot in this story?
-a closeup at a man’s reaction, surprised at his find?
-an over the shoulder shot of someone, an aggressor, standing in front of the desk?
– a medium shot of a man looking into the drawer. He is a police officer, and there are other police officers in the room, but in the background.

Each one of those tells a different story. It’s up to the editor to tell the story of what the cameraman has been shooting.

Even with business videos, I have to do the same thing. I have to ask myself, “Where do I want the viewer’s eyes next for maximum impact?” This is the main thing that sets amateur videos apart from professional videos: amateurs tend to want to get everything in one long take. And they end up with mistakes, and gaffes that need to be removed but aren’t because editing has a steep learning curve.

It is nice of Windows to add a Windows Movie Maker to every version of it’s operating system that is produced. However, editing with Windows Movie Maker is like trying to run a race in wooden shoes. It can be done, if you’re patient, but overall, it’s – clunky.

There are some very good consumer editing software on the market. The problem is, it’s not plug and play. There was a learning curve in video editing even for me, and I’ve been cutting audio for over 20 years.

The shots I make that tell the story but will have little or none of their sound used is caller “B-roll” These are the shots that are the demonstration, while a voice explains what’s going on. I consider my B-roll to be probably the most important footage I can shoot. Because while I cut away from the main speaker to show the demo, I can then edit the speaker’s AUDIO without making the video jump cut. That’s very helpful for taking out extraneous phrases or noises and making the person on camera seem more polished.

Morey: Ask me what is the most important quality of a great comedian
Henny: Ok, What is the..
Morey: TIMING!

I’ve always loved that bit of dialog. It’s so true, not only in comedy, but in anything that tells a story. And a good editor has a good sense of timing. You know when you’ve stayed on a shot long enough and it’s time to move on. Many amateurs stay on a shot waaaay to long. Unfortunately, if you look at much of the stuff that is posted on You Tube, you’ll find that the rule instead of the exception. The eye is quick, and the brain is quicker. Usually, three or four seconds is all you need before it’s time to change shots.

Watch your favorite movie or TV show again and pay attention to the editing., the scenes that were used and the decisions that were made to tell the story. I know you’ll see something that will open your eyes.

Now, what do you want for YOUR project? What’s the story you’re going to tell?

That’s a wrap.

Behind The Scenes part one – WHAT IS POST PRODUCTION?

Part of our core message is : “We write, shoot, edit, do post production, then deliver the files to you.” And while I try to keep that core message simple and as targeted as possible, I want to do some in depth blog posts to explain what makes Videos On Your Website a valuable resource.

Every video gets a little post-production. It may be as simple as adding a music track. Oh, wait – did I say simple?

Music should enhance without being obtrusive. All music tracks have to be edited themselves – so that they fit the same timing as the video. Sometimes, whole segments of a music track have to be moved to match scene changes.

Voiceover is part of post production. Being a voice artist for 20 years, I could go into fanatical detail about this. But I won’t. I have another blog for that at ronharper.com. Suffice to say the voice tells the story. Narration entails a lot more than reading.

Everyone likes nice graphics, whether it’s a logo, or a great still shot. But how about a little blip at the bottom of the screen that shows the speaker’s name? That is usually made up of two different video files: a background, called a “lower-third”, and the text file. How big should it be? Where do you want to place it on the screen? Want to match the color to the logo? Those are some of the decisions we make at that point. Still shots don’t always fill the screen, and they need a background. Or, maybe you’d like to start at the top of the still and pan down, or slowly zoom in.

Is the color right on all of the shots? If not, we can adjust it in post. Want a special filter, or other effect – it’s all done in post production.

Come back soon, and we’ll have another peak behind the scenes.

–That’s a wrap.

5 Ways To Make DIY Videos Better

Of course, I’m a big supporter of using videos on your website. There are many ways to record videos for business. One way is to do it yourself. Some of these new pocket-sized cameras are making it very easy

So what’s being shown in all these videos? Not much more than talking heads.

There is so much that can make a great and compelling video: different angles, close-ups, b-roll. But it’s hard to take those shots and mix them in, because the selling point of the little micro-cams is that they will upload directly to the web. And that means no editing.

Editing is how you tell a story. Look at all of your favorite programs on TV. They have different shots, and various angles, reaction shots from the other players, location shots to establish where they are. You can do that if you’re doing it yourself. It just takes a little planning. Planning will make a mediocre video a GREAT video.

If you’re going to shoot with a microcam, here are five things that will make your videos better from the start:

  1. Make sure you have a steady platform. Use a mini tripod.
  2. You can’t see what you’re shooting with most microcams. Try not to get that “in your face fisheye” effect. Don’t be afraid to shoot it again and again.
  3. If there are going to be two or more speakers, don’t swing the cam from side to side. You’ll just make the viewer dizzy.
  4. Shoot in different locations. Use a background shot to show where you are, then in one edit, you can be moving forward with your content.
  5. Plan Plan Plan Plan Plan Plan Plan.

If everyone’s video looks the same, these tips will set yours apart. Many folks, however, are attracted by the easy shoot and quick upload of these microcams. If you already have an expensive looking website, don’t sabotage your image with a poor quality video.

–that’s a wrap