Lost at Sea, the value of planning

Always have a backup plan and consider the possible outcomes.

So why am I talking about this? Well, because I didn’t during a recent shoot and almost lost video footage and a camera. Let me bring you up to speed.

I was filming a documentary project in Scotland. The project required 2 weeks of filming in the magical land of kilted men, painted blue warriors and William Wallace (Braveheart is the movie if you want to learn more about him). We filmed 1 week in the Lowlands, primarily in Edinburgh and surrounding cities, and 1 week in the Highlands, the landscapes you see in Braveheart. Anyways, it was the second to last day of filming. We were on the island of Iona in Mull on a beach on the north end of the island (here is a link to view the beach https://goo.gl/maps/5kNhw1z8aYn). To make the best use of the time I set up a GoPro, that we had been using throughout the day to film B and C camera angles, to capture a timelapse of the tide coming in and eventually washing over the camera. Don’t worry, the camera was in a very waterproof case.

After setting up the GoPro I continued filming b-roll with the director, Colin Gunn. After about 5-10 minutes I turned back around to see that the gopro was gone. I looked frantically where I had put it and couldn’t find it. Thinking perhaps it had washed into the ever rising tide Colin and I waded out into the water and began searching through the waist and chest deep water to find it. After 45 minutes of wading, getting very wet, cold, offering silent prayers and Colin getting knocked over by a particularly vicious wave we gave up. Walking back to the primary camera which had been placed a very safe distance from the waves I looked down and saw the handle to the GoPro sticking out of the sand. Pulling it out of the sand I let loose a few yells and screams worthy of a war movie.

Lost GoPro

So why tell you this? In business and marketing you always need to have a backup plan for the important things from a physical backup of business files to an alternative ad idea in case the one you spent hours on isn’t well received by the target market. Also, consider what might happen if not everything goes according to plan. Basically do what I didn’t do, consider as many of the possible outcomes as you can, have a backup plan and don’t think that everything will go according to plan. Like I learned, almost the hard way, the sea does what it will no matter our plans.

Cheers, Corey
Provident Media Group
Creative video production is the new show and tell.
providentmediagroup.com

The Power of Video Testimonials

Video testimonials are a powerful tool for your marketing arsenal.

Whether you live here in Denver, CO or elsewhere, you have probably heard the above statement before. But I want to show you some evidence for why video, video production and especially video testimonials are a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. I have four points to illustrate this, so let’s get started.

  • First, lets start with video in general. According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of people are visual learners, 30% learn by hearing and the remaining 5% learn by doing. So right off the bat video pretty much covers 95% of learning styles in that it combines visual and audible learning.
  • Second, lets address testimonials in general. Entrepreneur.com posted an article by Derek Gehl, an internet marketing expert with years of experience, on how to effectively use testimonials. Derek laid out the three reasons why testimonials are so effective. Testimonials build trust, aren’t “salesy” and most importantly they overcome skepticism. You have probably heard the phrase “People will buy from those that they know, like and trust”. When you can overcome skepticism, build trust and do so in a way that doesn’t sound like a sales pitch, you will have a stronger relationship with your clients and customers.
  • Third, Kim Kardashian uses them. Ok, not exactly Kim, but the company that she, Brian Lee (co-founder of legalzoom.com and The Honest Company), Robert Shapiro (co-founder of legalzoom.com) and M. J. Eng launched in March of 2009 called ShoeDazzle. ShoeDazzle is a shoe delivery service that for only $39.95 per month ships high fashion shoes, bags and accessories to women monthly. ShoeDazzle solicited it’s most loyal customers via Facebook and email to submit a video about what surprised them the most about ShoeDazzle. The results were pretty incredible, with over 70,000 videos being viewed online, leading to 1,000 member sign-ups (FYI, that is a gross of $39,950) and their website traffic in the month of March following the campaign increased to 2.4 million monthly visitors compared to 956,000 only two months prior.  You can read more about this from the original article by Inc.com
  • Fourth, they just work. A personal recommendation from a current or past customer is extremely powerful. Watch the below video and you will see what I mean.

 

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your reasons for using video testimonials and any other comments below!

Why we use Full HD DSLRs for corporate video

So for filming corporate videomarketing videotraining videomedical videoTV commercials and web video I have been asking myself a couple of questions recently- 1) why do my company and I use DSLRs to film our projects and 2) would my production company benefit from moving to 4K for all our projects? Here at Provident Media Group, we film the vast majority of our projects at 1080p using DSLRs. Here are my reasons along with some pros and cons we have found, heard and learned about.

Disclaimer: I have never filmed using a 4K camera (I have been a camera assistant to a DP using a RED Epic for a project), but I have worked with and edited 4K files in Premiere Pro on a recent documentary project.The biggest reason why we film 1080p video from a DSLR is because 1080p video is fairly cheap to film, edit and store these days. When it comes to filming corporate video projects, file size plays a role in the budget. At the end of the day 4K files are almost always larger than 1080p files from a DSLR. This means more hard drive space and faster computers are required for editing 4k, which means more cost for the company and eventually the client. Now at this point it would be fair to point out that SD is cheaper to film and edit than HD, but I will address that later. So why do we film 1080p? Screen resolution and price is the answer. According to a 2012 article by TechCrunch the most popular screen resolution is 1366X768, which according to StatCounter.com is still true in the last 12 months.

StatCounter-resolution-na-monthly-201307-201406-bar

If I create a project at 4K and my client and the targeted audience don’t have monitors that support 4K, will they see a quality difference? From what I have been able to see the answer is Yes and No.

  • Yes. Cameras that film at 4K generally produce a better image than DSLRs that film at 1080p, in terms of dynamic range, color, etc, etc and the detail is better when 4K is down-scaled to 1080p. Now I say generally, because there are exceptions to almost everything.
  • No. While you will see benefits in down-scaling 4K to 1080p, you won’t be able to leverage all the benefits that are possible with 4K. I have viewed 4K footage on a 4K TV before and the results are stunning! However 4K shown on a 1080p monitor? Still very nice, but nowhere near the impact of 4K footage on a 4K TV.

With all that said, is the cost of filming, editing and storing 4K worth the benefits to me and my company? Right now for Provident Media Group it isn’t. Why? None of our clients have ever asked about filming or delivering a project in 4K. I will say that one client did jokingly ask (sometime in early 2011) about filming a training video for IMAX viewing. Gulp! Now I am not saying that cheaper is always better. SD is generally cheaper to film, edit and store than 1080p. However, 1080p footage looks much better than SD (barring operator error when filming) when viewed on a higher resolution monitor (1366 X 768 or more), especially when viewed full screen. Also, this benefit of increased resolution (SD versus HD) can be enjoyed by the majority of viewers as shown by the screen resolution chart above. By comparison, the resolution of 4K currently can’t be fully leveraged on the vast majority of computer monitors and TV screens.

Finally, a tool is a tool. Even if your camera shoots at 4, 5 or 6K the increased resolution won’t make a poorly composed, lit, staged or blocked shot look better. The viewer will simply see the mistakes more clearly. Now I know there are DSLRs that do offer 4K recording, however the issues with screen resolution still apply even though the cost of 4K capable cameras has come down. There are possibly still the same issues file size, though I can’t say that is true for every 4K DSLR.

So all in all, we will continue to film at 1080p for the reasons stated above. However, if a client specifically asks for a project to be filmed and delivered in 4K, I can guarantee that after getting off the phone with them the next phone call will be to the rental house to secure a 4K camera.Thanks for reading! If you have any comments, questions or criticism about the article or my opinions on the subject please leave a comment below. I love to have other people’s opinions and input on ideas. Cheers!