Butchers Hook Blog
» Video advice category
Posted on 3:41pm Thursday 19th Apr 2012
Group corporate videos are an interesting animal. Many people would think back to rather stiff and staid 80’s style productions of the past. To a great extent – they would be right – in 2012 – group corporate videos are having an identity crisis and it is important to circumnavigate a number of clichés and issues that large organisations frequently fall into with this type of video.
The web video challenge
The first fact is that group corporate videos have a reputation of being quite boring (there – I said it). With the advent of web video – sitting and watching a 10 minute (or longer) video with a corporation talking at length about how wonderful they are seems a bit much.
In fact with the average web punter having such a short attention span, group corporates look positivity archaic. The first obvious piece of advice would be to chop the 10 minute video to bits – perhaps to have a series of shorter videos which can be digested easier online.
Doing the rep a favour.
This would be gratefully received by the kind of people who would be using the group video most actively – the sales representative. If they are conducting a presentation or hosting a conference – they’ll appreciate having a snappier form of video to show.
Don’t use staff if you can help it!
We see a lot of group corporate videos here and there seems to be a classic mistake seems to be using staff as “presenters” for the video. This *rarely* works, the staff end up looking very embarrassed and the wind is taken out of even the most sophisticated production. The way around this (if you insist on using staff) is to interview them in a natural way and allow them to talk in their own voice rather than using a script. The more sensible way – if you want to have a professional looking presentation on the video is to hire a presenter!
The return of the Group corporate
Given all that is laid out above, it is interesting to see some (normally huge) organisations returning to the concept of the group corporate but running with the idea and making the video into an event, which will keep the PR’s and copyrighters busy.
A great example of this is provided by Maersk who shelled out £2 MILLION for this group video – The film was directed by Christoffer Boe, winner of the Golden Camera award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003, and narrated by British actor John Hurt.
Posted on 2:58pm Wednesday 4th Apr 2012
Everyone talks about viral video – but the reality is very different to just sticking a video up on YouTube and hoping for the best. I’ve talked at some length on this blog about the amount of video uploaded each hour of each day – suffice it to say – its A LOT.
Video seeding encapsulates a couple of very different methodologies that allow for your video to be seen by a great number of people. They are tried and tested linear routes to video success online which only use totally white hat methods – I’ll mention black hat and why you should avoid it later.
The first methodology involves using the power of influencers online. Now if you’ve spent time with any marketer involved with social or digital media – you’ll have heard of the concept of influencers. These are bloggers/social media enthusiasts who have a lot of followers and are influential within their area of expertise – and anything that they share is likely to be shared amongst their followers.
Blogger outreach as a service involves the marketing agency having a big rolodex of relevant contacts within the industry that you wish to target. Your wonderful, engaging video is produced – and is (for a fee) shared between the bloggers who are relevant to your industry – thus it is seen far and wide. Blogger outreach marketing agencies will normally have metrics and analytics to enable you to see your videos progress across the blogs and further out into the internet.
This is the method frequently used by major corporations to seed out content- examples of which include T-mobile and VW. Cost could be an issue for organisations without the spending cloud of a blue chip.
YouTube video seeding
YouTube video seeding is a different beast. Video seeding on YouTube involves seeding your video over multiple (legitimate) accounts on the site – then cleverly manipulating the YouTube “hit parade” to ensure that your video beats the many thousands of videos put up on there every day.
Advantages of going down this route are multiple. It is more effective per view than the blogger outreach approach. YouTube also count a “view” as the viewer watching between 60-80% of the video - where as blog outreach might only count for the click – and no proper viewing.
It is worth being cautious when it comes to video seeding. There are lot of shysters will promise you a good deal of views for what seems like very little money. These people can justify this easily in the blog outreach route – as they can very easily set up a few blogs which no one ever sees – and fib about the results. YouTube may seem like a tougher site to fool – but using automated programmes – less than truthful companies can get you lots of video views without anyone actually seeing the video. Both ways will not be appreciated by either Google or YouTube and you run the risk of being penalised or banned!
Be sure to use a professional company that only uses white hat methods – like us!:)
Posted on 3:02pm Thursday 29th Mar 2012
It is an increasingly accepted fact that video is starting to totally dominate the online experience. The advent of increasingly fat broadband pipes around the world and people’s desire to watch rather than read is fuelling this boom. A recent new dimension to this phenomenon is the advent of video SEO – still talked about in hushed tones around many SEO companies, but an area which, if exploited correctly – can greatly add to a corporations marketing mix.
The best barometer to give you an appreciation of how big video is online is to use the stats of the biggest online video site – YouTube.
*source YouTube 2012
Now most people are aware of the concept of viral videos, where an organisation or person puts up and video which they share amongst their network; which in turn spreads further. Video SEO sounds like it should be the same thing, but in fact it is the process of optimising a video in such a way that it will be spidered and ranked by Google. The video will then appear in the new style of search engine pages which feature video results amongst the normal link results.
Now most would assume that the easiest way of achieving this would be by sticking your video on YouTube (indeed most Google video results tend to be from there) however, as I’ll explain later in this article, that would be fairly pointless in SEO terms.
Google can't see
Video SEO works in a very similar way to normal SEO, although the content is visual (and Google can’t actually read video) the title, transcription, tags and embedded links can help build your site’s authority to Google – particularly if the video is shared and embedded in other websites across the internet.
Having a series of videos optimised this way with different key terms means that your organisation will be visible visibly (rather than just with a mere text link) across swaths of search results that wouldn’t be possible with traditional SEO.
YouTube is selfish
Going back to YouTube - what is important is to realise that sticking your corporate video onto the site is fine – and you’ll achieve views for your project and it may even go viral – however, from an SEO point of view; YouTube is fairly pointless. This is because even though your YouTube video might be embedded nicely into your site, any link juice from people sharing the video will benefit YouTube, not your site.
We would suggest hosting video content on your own server and using a custom player, to ensure that all the SEO goodness is coming your way – instead of being eaten up by the big dog of web video – YouTube.
Posted on 2:38pm Tuesday 27th Mar 2012
Sound is one of the most critical aspects of any kind of video production, from a student film to a corporate video or a Hollywood blockbuster. It is also one of the most neglected, so here I’ll address some of the issues I frequently hear about from sound recordist specialists and how to circumnavigate them.
The eye is more forgiving than the ear.
The fashion currently is for very “reportage” type photography – lot’s of hand held, shaky cam and Lo-fi footage; (we’re actually producing a series of videos for a client that are SERIOUSLY Lo-fi – but will be very funny ) but what is TOTALLY inexcusable in any flavour of video production is a to have lousy sound. It’s difficult to define why this is the case with sound, but not with visuals – it seems that the eye is more forgiving than the ear!
DSLR camera sound issues
In relation to this – the first issue to cover is that of the DSLR camera. Elsewhere on this blog I talk at some length about the pluses and minuses of DSLR for hi def video – what I explain is that – as DSLRs were build as stills cameras first, the onboard sound facilities on most is fairly poor. It is usual for the corporate video world (a great majority of who use DSLR) to have a separate audio unit to record sound – it’s certainly not something I would risk personally.
If the video is being shot in a studio or other controlled location this shouldn’t be an issue, but if you’re out on location, it is important to have a good scout of the location. This will ensure no nasty surprises when the time comes for the shoot, trying to interview someone important next to a railway line or shoot a tender love scene under a flight path isn’t a good idea!
With the recording itself, it is important to have your mikes set up correctly. Radio mikes need to be at the correct distance from the interviewees’ mouth so neither to cause distortion for being too loud, or the opposite if too faint. Nothing is more frustrating than bad sound levels (although it’s a hurdle we got over some time ago I might add!)
After your shoot, it is always wise (no matter the subject matter or type of video) to get a good bit of ambient sound to give a nice undercurrent to your scene or interview.
Get a separate sound recordist
Personally (and this is of course budget related), I would suggest employing a separate sound recordist. They will come with their independent kit and mikes and take that particular head ache away from the Director/Camera operator – who already have quite enough on their hands! The sound person will ensure the sound is perfect and pick up ambient sound and check sound levels.
Butchers Hook Corporate Video
Posted on 1:01pm Friday 23rd Mar 2012
The pharmaceutical industry was an early adaptor of corporate video for presenting various aspects of their business to the general public and inter-industry. This harks back to the early days of the medium – where everything was filmed on VHS or super 8 – and John Cleese and his Video Arts production company seemed to single handedly create an industry.
Since the advent of the internet and web video, technology has revolutionised the way corporate video can help a pharmaceutical company communicate – this article will explain how.
Drug trails and medical procedures
Having a video record of drug trials has been a great benefit for the industry since the technology has been available. Complicated processes can be easily conveyed on video. This has improved miserably thanks to miniaturisation of tech – meaning that cameras etc are less cumbersome themselves – as well as lenses being able to pick up microscopic detail.
Progress in computer animation has also helped a great deal in being able to illustrate complex chemical reactions and other processes. These also can be more cost effective than previous hand drawn methods
Large scale events are also of course an important aspect of the industry. With large auditoriums comes the need for large screens showing the action to everyone from a distance. Production companies can cover the event with as many cameras as is necessary, with a director mixing great visuals for the event and a video for after.
There are many complicated and often dangerous aspects of the pharmaceutical industry that need explaining to the general public in an engaging and straight forward manner. Whether it is a video showing an elderly person how to take their medication correctly or how to administer CPR – a video awareness campaign can save a lot of time and money.
When seeking to engage the general public with an important, but not necessarily too dynamic product or service – a good way of doing it is creating an interactive video. Fundamentally these tend to be based around a video with multiple different outcomes. Like a modern version of “choose your own adventure stories”
There are of course many different variations on the theme, the benefit is the amount of interaction and time people spend with a well produced interactive video. Here is a great example by our friends at Scene Stealer
The final and most important component of corporate video in the digital age (if you’re looking to engage the public) is video seeding. Video seeding works by getting your video in front of influential bloggers and other highly regarded users of social media. These influencers then share your video content with their network - and the network then share the content with THEIR network - thus the video is seeded and goes viral.
Posted on 1:14pm Tuesday 20th Mar 2012
One common enquiry we have here is marketing directors and agencies asking advice on how to produce a video featuring a companies’ CEO as the main “character”. Frequently organisations use this type of corporate videocor to give a large multinational’s CEO a regular presence in the working lives of the companies’ employees.
There are numerous ways of producing one of these videos, below are some examples as well as pitfalls to avoid.
A CEO is frequently extremely busy and it is difficult to find time to record a video in any other place but one which requires as little travel for the boss as possible – i.e. In their office. The CEO’s office can often lend itself well to the production of a good video – as by definition they will have the best office with potentially the nicest views and best light from the biggest windows.
Companies should be aware though that, with all the best intentions, video production crews have a habit of getting in the way and causing disruption in busy offices. The same factors happen in companies that use factory space etc. This should definitely be a factor to consider when conceptualising the video!.
A good alternative is to use exterior locations for the interview shoot. Obviously this ties in better if the company is represented well in an outdoor location (a shipping company would be a good example). The biggest pit fall for using exteriors for your shoot is the weather (particularly pertinent in the UK where the weather is changeable to say the least!)
A good alternative that nicely side steps both the issues with filming in a company premises and exterior locations is a studio. Studios are very easy to control in terms of light and sound and provide a environment without the distractions of the other venues mentioned in this blog.
A potential downside is actually getting time in the busy CEO’s schedule to go to the studio and sit around whilst the corporate video crew set up.
Within the studio there are various set ups and considerations in terms of the style of video that can be produced.
Perhaps the most traditional style would be to have a two chair “interview” type set up between the CEO and another employee/interviewer. This works to an extent but feels a little 70’s Parkinson in my opinion.
A clean way of producing the video would be to have either a white background or dressed set, with the CEO being interviewed off camera by the production crew and addressing them (rather than looking at the camera)
Our favourite way of doing CEO videos is to have the boss sitting in front of a green screen and interviewed off camera. In post production the green is keyed out with the computer and replaced by stats, photos, video or what every the client wants. The video is cut in such a way that the questions that were presented and the CEO’s responses are turned into the CEO giving a natural presentation – like the videos we made here for Remeha.
Posted on 1:13pm Wednesday 15th Feb 2012
There are many ways in which a web video can help any business, from a huge blue chip multi-national all the way to a sole trader, working from their garage. Frequently, clients come to us, knowing they can benefit from web videos – but having no real idea of what the many benefits are. In this article I’ll explain some.
A well produced web video on a home page delivering a strong message adds hugely to a website’s perceived professionalism
A video can give a concise explanation of the features of the website, something which can be difficult with endless banks of text
Further into the site, well constructed seminars and webinars can help clients with more technical aspects of your product.
Testimonials and case studies are ideal for showing off your company’s professionalism to potential future clients. What better way than to have existing client’s raving about your services?
Another great idea is to chart the progressive of a large project with ongoing production videos. These visually chart how your company works and is also a big draw as the more video on your site – the better for the Search Engines.
A massive draw for many types of marketing video – as this type of web video draws the potential client in and retains their interest with intriguing content. A great example of this, from our friends at Steal Stealer/Reflow can be seen here.
For marketing, web videos are becoming significantly more important. For any organisation, having a video go viral is fantastic of course for brand/product awareness. It is also very important for Search Engine Optimisation reasons. Google rates websites with a lot of videos well and ensures higher results for those sites with video content.
Probably the most important aspect of getting high results on the Search Engine results pages is to have good quality back links. A viral video, which is shared across the internet will gain your site a lot of vital high quality inbound links. Proper optimisation will ensure your site is riding high!
Butchers Hook Video Productions
Posted on 1:35pm Tuesday 31st Jan 2012
Now that we’re in 2012, it is interesting to see the difference between organisations that have really adopted the potential for web video production and others that are still a little cautious.
It is understandable in these times of recession for SMEs to be reticent about spending a good deal of marketing budget on a series of corporate or web videos. Spending thousands of pounds on a product that may not meet the company agenda, or get lost in the quagmire of content available to the public is daunting.
To those who haven’t totally adopted the genius of well made marketing web video – here are some thoughts
Articulating your message
Whatever your business might entail, the chances are that the product or service you are selling has some complex attributes, which the layman may have trouble understanding. With a good marketing video, you can articulate your message visually – perhaps showing off complicated machinery or having a potentially unexciting proposition explained with beautiful, colourful visuals.
A well produced video lends instant credibility to a brand. Note the emphasis on “well produced” – equally a poorly produced video can damage a company’s standing online. A good example (the client’s words – not ours ;) of a well produced web video we made last year for Remeha can be seen here.
The most interesting and exciting area of how web video is developing is with social video marketing. This is the process of getting your web video in front of influential internet folk who will share the content with their peer groups – allowing the content to go viral. This process is of course a lot more involved than merely sticking the video up on YouTube. Fortunately, we here at Butchers Hook Video are very accomplished at social video and are excited about its future potential for both we and our clients.
To conclude we feel that marketing web video is potentially the most cost effective and wide reaching way of articulating your company’s message to your client. We’d love to help you out when the time is ready for you!
Butchers Hook Video Production
Posted on 1:32pm Thursday 26th Jan 2012
Wardrobe and make up are a very important, although frequently underappreciated aspect of any corporate video production. The work of people in this industry can frequently make the difference between an average and outstanding piece of work.
These vital ladies and gents are amongst the hardest working on a video set. The first fundamental for their role is ensuring that the acting talents natural perspiration doesn’t result in a head sheen that reflects off the lights. This happens to pretty much anybody in front of hot lights for a period and is not simply the bastion of sweaty fat people! Application of foundation and maintenance throughout the shoot is very important, particularly if the subject happens to be naturally sweaty – this really doesn’t look too great on camera at all!
Makeup people are great to have around during the course of a shoot. A big part of their work is finished before the cameras start rolling, so they can act as a second set of eyes for the producer/director and also even act as continuity – as they have to focus on the acting talent a good deal.
“Image positioning” is a recent buzzword prevalent in the corporate makeup industry – the importance of having the right style of make up for the video – i.e. Funky, conservative etc. As organisations spend more on videos and need to have their productions stand up through the noise of video online – considerations like this as important.
Wardrobe doesn’t tend to be quite as much of an important factor to the sort of video productions that we get involved with. For corporate videos, generally the client will have their own clothes for interview type situations – or employees will be working insitu in their normal work attire. For demonstration videos and promos, wardrobe companies can be involved, but in our experience, even large corporate productions are happy to ask the acting talent to bring along a choice of their own clothes to wear in the production.
One area of contention is when the video features chroma key. This is the process of filming a talking head (for example) on a green background and then placing interesting graphics/pictures etc into the background with the computer. Effectively, what happens is the computer concentrates on the green colour and removes all of the green from the raw footage – changing the background accordingly. This causes issues if the subject happens to be wearing green – all the green bits of clothing will disappear! There are also issues with very stripy clothing.
You can see a good example of how it IS done here
Butchers Hook Video Production
Posted on 9:31am Tuesday 24th Jan 2012
Actors are a vital part of all sorts of corporate videos, from viral campaigns to sales presentations and product demonstrations. With budgets tightening, a put upon marketing director will frequently (and understandably) think about using nearby staff or others to perform in front of the camera. Here are a few reasons why we think actors can add such value to corporate video production.
Firstly - the pit fall of roping in employees of the company to perform for the video production. Note - This is quite different to having the relevant person being interviewed naturally for a talking head.
We are talking about a poor employee having to act the goat for a health and safety video or having to parrot scripted lines whilst looking as comfortable as a turkey on Christmas Eve. We get to see a LOT of corporate videos here at Butchers Hook and it’s quite frightening how often we see dead eyed employees having to make a fool out of themselves for free. It doesn’t look good.
Having professional actors taking these roles usually results in a much more natural result. These people are used to be being asked to do odds things in front of camera. They also are aware of their performance, so can be consistent over multiple takes, which helps the edit a lot.
Another benefit of having actors play employees is future proofing your video. You may have a manager perform in a corporate video and then quit a month later – instantly outdating your video. Perhaps more worryingly – your manager may have jumped ship to a competitor – which would make the video totally unusable.
As I mentioned above - even for a competitively priced acting agency you might expect to have a day rate of a couple of hundred quid per actor – but then an image buy out which may bring the cost per artist over £1000. This is really a case of weighing up the options – you may be able to get a friend or colleague to do it for little or no money – but you get what you pay for. A poor performance, particularly on a launch promo video reflects badly on your organisation and could even go viral (which would be a disaster!)
Having good actors conversely will add volumes to your video and general brand presence both on and offline.
To conclude, including actors in production can take the corporate video from the realms of the embarrassing and potentially quickly outdated - to dynamic, editorially fluid and future proofed.
Butchers Hook Corporate Video