We recently received a testimonial from Caroline Radway of Fit Body Fix bootcamps and I thought it was worth sharing to see what our clients thought of our work. The video was filmed in 2-3 hours and edited in 8 and really shows what we can do within a tight timeframe.
Handing it over to Caroline to talk about the experience:
I took Skysoclear on to initially fix my website having seen their excellent work on a fellow fitness professional’s website. I already had a video on it that I had lovingly made, but there were serious flaws – I had cleverly managed to edit me out of the video, focussing on my clients and testimonial clips. I thought that was fine, but of course in my industry, people need to see the person!
We agreed to shoot a new video, and the whole process was so simple. They turned up (we even got sunshine!) and did their stuff during a fitness bootcamp session, then interviewed me (several times as I am rubbish in front of a camera and talk nonsense and waffle!) very patiently. They edited the video professionally and a few days later there was a fabulous, professional video on my site that perfectly captured the essence of what I want to convey about what I do.
I find it hard enough to explain in a minute myself, so the fact that Skysoclear expertly selected my less waffly comments into an eloquent sounding clip was incredible. I simply am too close to my business to be able to be so selective, hence my previous video being too long and missing me out altogether.
It was a pleasure to work with Skysoclear and they have done an excellent job – I have even recommended them to local competitors in my field!
One of the most compelling cycling events of 2011, the Wiggle Super Series videos, produced by Skysoclear have amounted to over 47,000 video views.
That’s astonishing, considering that each video is getting double the numbers of entrants per event. Having been featured in British Cycling and Cyclosport certainly helped gain popularity within the cycling community.
Our last co-working meetup of the year is coming – this Friday. If you’re local to Southampton and fancy coming along with your work/laptops in the morning, followed by festive cheer afterwards, please let us know!
Southampton Jelly, for those that don’t know, is a FREE co-working group in Southampton, made up of mainly freelancers, who escape the home office for the day and work from The Trago Lounge, in Portswood.
Hope to see some of you there! There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but if you’re not having a business christmas party, make this yours! Sign up now!
When I go to networking, and explain what we do, I often get asked “why should my company use video?. Here are my reasons for using video:
Explain something better
People are 75% more likely to watch video than read print. (ref)
Would you rather read a year-end report or watch a video illustrating the results? Apply that to your audience and workforce – video gets the attention that PDF will never get.
Capture an event or experience/emotion
Photos take a snapshot, but how can you capture the experience of actualy participating in something? Our videos for UK Cycling Events aim to capture the experience a rider has at an event from start to finish. Here’s our latest road production:
Analysing the results, half of the views for the video are from participants, so the other half must be from people that have picked up the video from friends or on sports blogs. The reach a video has is amazing.
Improve your search ranking
Did you know that having a video that is correctly keyworded can improve your listing on search results?
Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL are among the hundreds of search engines that give priority listings to websites that host video content. In addition to this, you can build in ‘tags’ on the video and this enhances it’s potential on the internet. (ref)
Create a video, title and tag it up correctly and embed it on your website. Then see the change on your search rankings. It will help.
We did this recently for a client’s website. Each page of their site featured an introductory paragraph and to go alongside that, we created a video as well – same words, different presentation. We’re keeping an eye on what visitors decide to do – watch the video or read the text, but simply repurposing information and giving your customers a choice to consume your content is a good way to ensure your message remains relevant with your audience.
If you had an article, or a research document in text format, you could convert this into a video to put on to YouTube or Vimeo or Facebook, repurpose again into podcast or vodcast, and if you really wanted, on to a dvd (but you know our thoughts on that). So from one piece of content, you have many channels to push it to – and many different groups of people to watch it.
To be different
You would be surprised to see that not a lot of your competitors are using video, and if they are, may not be using it well. Be the first. If you want some help with ideas, let us know – maybe we can help.
Here are some of the main reasons I come up with, but here’s some further ideas you can use:
A number of companies now use video testimonials to spread news about their good service – from their customers perspective. Seeing and listening to real people outside of your company talk about their experiences with your company and the results they achieved is much more authentic than telling people what you do and why they need you.
I bet no one is doing this in your sector. All it requires is guts, some time and a little preparation. Like your blogs, formulate a strategy and stick with it.
Say you make environmentally friendly bird boxes (like thesmallgreen company). You release one video per week following this plan:
What is the problem with current bird boxes and how does this product solve it?
How did you approach the design, how did you source the materials? How environmentally friendly is it?
A trip to the factory to see the bird boxes being made – an interview with the team and the finished product going into boxes
Getting the product into the shops and into peoples hands – what’s it like? Does it solve the problem?
Whatever your strategy is, it’ll be bespoke to your company. You’ll probably find your competitors are looking at it and learning something from you too!
Behind the scenes
I love seeing behind the scenes videos, and I’m sure I’m not alone. If you go to my blog, you’ll find I post a video that I like and then the behind the scenes, which as a videomaker, I find more interesting. Behind the scenes shows transparently how you did something. You can’t get more real than seeing how something was made – and your audience will love you for it.
It also serves as a great second video for a user to watch, keeping more eyes on your brand. Berghaus recently launched a brilliant ad for their brand, but the behind-the-scenes is equally as good!
So here’s a few ideas and reasons for using video. The best thing you can do is try and measure the success. If you have any further questions or ideas, please leave them in the comments.
To get into the Christmas spirit, our final co-working Jelly of the year will have a festive flavour.
Southampton Jelly, for those that don’t know, is a co-working group in Southampton, made up of mainly freelancers, who escape the home office for the day and work from The Trago Lounge, in Portswood.
So for Christmas, we’re going to work in the morning (as I find it to be the most productive of the day), and when that midday bell tolls, we’ll put the laptops away and get in the festive cheer – probably with a group lunch.
We recently filmed a web video for a local cleaning machine company. The project consisted of five videos that would go on each key page of their new website, to act as an alternative to text and bring in some personality.
While filming the pieces to camera, a phrase came to mind that sums up how I feel about pieces to camera: Trust is through the eyes
It’s true, and I’m going to trademark it (not really!). The fact is, when it comes to presenting to an audience, if you don’t have eye contact, you’re not caring and people will look away.
The same can be said for general appearance. If you’re looking tired, or sweaty, you can often be taken as “dishonest”. That’s why most good video production companies have “powder” with them, which is essentially a clear foundation (tip: If you need to get powder on the morning of your shoot and go to a 24 hour supermarket like a large Asda, bear in mind they open the makeup counters at 8 am – no earlier. Is makeup like alcohol or something?).
It’s the small things that really make or break a business video, so if you’re looking to do some video in the future, consider how you will come across – will you keep eye contact with your audience?
I’ve never been truly happy with our logo. I had searched high and low for a font that really summed us up, but over the years, never really found one that suited. Ultimately this led to the decision that we really needed something bespoke, and needed to turn to an typographer.
With our renewed focus into video production, it was time to bring in a professional to help realise our vision. We knew what we wanted – a clear logotype that could be applied to most situations and would align ourselves with the types of clients we wanted to work with.
I had spotted the work of typographer Rob Clarke, who has previously worked on identities for the likes of Rowntrees, Currys and Hovis and asked him whether he could help. He agreed to work with us and we set about creating a bespoke logo for Skysoclear.
After the project, I asked Rob about his approach to the project and the process on creating our identity:
How did you approach the new logo design?
Rob: It was a fairly clear brief so I had little research to do, but I did look at some sporty/surfy/outdoor logo examples – especially ones that use a script/calligraphic approach. There were a few I liked because they used a swoosh stroke under the word but these were all forced and unnatural – I wanted the swoosh to feel more connected and fluid.
The problem with an off-the-shelf script font is that they can lack craft and uniqueness, especially with how one character sits next to another. Therefore, I aimed to explore some quirky – maybe unexpected letter connections that give the logo its distinctive quality. Having said this, while trying to inject personality – it is also very important to retain legibility.
What was your process?
Rob: I would like to say that I get all my favourites pencils out but nowadays most of my work is done directly on screen. However I do print out as I go along and sketch over the top. Initial exploration is always done quite quickly and once a final route is determined I then completely redraw in order to achieve smooth curves and overall consistency. The points are plotted as if the script was being written with a pen – that is I don’t only plot points around the edges.
We’re really happy with the outcome and can’t thank Rob enough for his ideas and expertise. The new identity will be rolled out into our marketing material and video idents which we’ll produce in the new year (to go on the end of our future video productions).
Usually I’d attempt to do something like this myself (evidently in this case, with very little success), but putting trust into an expert can really get great work done. I would certainly look to bring in further expertise in the future, not just with client projects, but with project we have in the works.
An expert knows all the answers – if you ask the right questions.
Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge.(ref)
They go on to say that the “new” infographic is in fact a “videographic”. This is nothing new. A video that is essentially a motion graphics piece that shows a bunch of information in an illustrative way has been around for quite a while. Here’s a couple of examples:
When you need to show information and your first thought is to turn to an average chart or boring graph – don’t. Look at using a visually rich videographic. Yes, it’ll take some thought and quite a bit of time to make, but seeing information presented using appropriate iconography and illustrations can really explain a difficult concept simply.
An added benefit to these types of videos is they can often blur language barriers, so if you’re looking for a video that can be read across the world, a videographic might be a sound investment.
Have you seen any videographics recently? Please do share them in the comments.
In terms of video and film distribution, we seem to be in a state of flux. DVDs, Blu-ray discs, but also downloads, streaming, LOVEFiLM, iTunes subscriptions and not forgetting the cinema are all methods of watching videos – today.
Sales of DVD and Blu-ray discs have slid over the first half of the year, just as spending on digital downloads and streaming has taken off ref. We’re only now starting to see a real tangible shift to digital:
“Digital is growing and has huge potential with the growth of internet-connected devices such as smartphones and tablets now an accepted norm for video viewing” Lavina Carey, British Video Association (ref)
I know we have this in music, but with stores like HMV diversifying and Virgin selling their megastores, I think we know where music is headed. If anything, it will have the positive effect of creating a small niche of cd shops, taking on from what vinyl did for the generation before.
Why are we still using DVDs? I’d say it’s because there isn’t (yet) a better alternative. Brands are trying to tempt us, but nothing, yet, has come out simpler or easier than what we have now.
Notice how the brand that knows everything about our future habits is showing us the way. Apple’s recent computers do not have a DVD drive and exporting to Blu-ray from Final Cut requires more than just a few clicks. I know that when Apple makes it really difficult to do something, they mean for us not to do it, because it’s not the right way.
If you’re interested in finding out my thoughts on where I think Apple is going, check out my previous blog on the subject of the future of TV, but I forecast that they will enable iTunes (or iCloud) to make it super easy for people to share videos – whether it be personal or professional.
At Skysoclear, we don’t deliver to DVD or Blu-ray. Absolutely not. We’re here for the long-term, and I personally don’t see any point in investing in the technology that has little future.
Currently, we deliver to YouTube and Vimeo at HD. This enables the client to embed this on their website or share on Twitter and Facebook – much more useful than a DVD that gets watched once and then sits on the shelf for the rest of eternity.
If clients want a copy, we will supply a download. This keeps it all online and keeps costs down. And if someone really wants their video on DVD, we know a few companies that will do it, just not us.
But the whole case of distribution gets even murkier with some recent statistics suggesting that total consumer spending on all forms of home video has dwindled to $8.3 billion, down 5.1 percent from the 2010 numbers at this point in the year (ref). I know we’re in tough economic times, but maybe there’s a bigger issue here to address. Time will tell.
This week we needed to share some initial edits with a client to approve before they went live. We use YouTube to share edits because it has a really useful feature where you can “unlist” a video. This means that you can upload a video, it creates a link and you can share that with the client – but because it’s “unlisted”, it doesn’t go on YouTube as a live video. This becomes really useful when sharing edits that may need changes, or sharing internal videos. We’ve used this process to great effect when sharing videos with UK Cycling Events, and it really speeds up the edit and approval process.
Recently, YouTube have redesigned their upload process and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Yesterday morning, I had to share seven edits with a client to approve. Uploading them at the same time and selecting “unlisted” was a great time saver (and allowed me to run into the local Apple store to get a replacement power cable).
On my return, I just copied and pasted the new YouTube links to the client, which meant they could view the edits before they went live, and because it’s on YouTube, they didn’t need to download them individually or ensure they had the right software to play, so a real time-saver.
With a speedy sign-off, getting the videos live was a simple trick of ticking a tickbox and they’re ready to share with the world, or in this case, embed on to their website.
The new uploader is on YouTube, but I believe it’s only enabled on a few accounts as a beta.
Thank you YouTube, for making our lives just a little easier!
In a recent client meeting, the client mentioned that in the past, they had asked a friend to video them in a training session, only to find that the finished video had a big hum in the soundtrack – which can’t be removed.
I understood their situation. They wanted a video done at a moment’s notice, so they could share the training to others, whether that be people in their other offices, or to put on their website to show the viewing public that they care about training their workforce.
So why did they not use a local video production company to do this for them? There’s a few reasons that I can think of:
This is usually the be-all and end-all. Either get a friend to do it for free, or pay for a video production house.
Some people confuse cost with value. Value is essentially saying “what is this worth to my business?” In this case, the amateur video was low-value, because it didn’t do the job of accurately capturing the training session in a way that people could understand (if you can’t hear the sound clearly, you’re not engaged and you might as well not be watching a video).
Whereas paying for a video company to plan, film, edit and deliver – all to a high standard – that has high value – because it is something worth sharing. Cost isn’t as important as value.
In this situation, the client only thought about filming the training session earlier that day. Getting hold of a professional to come in and film that day would have been unrealistic.
While things might seem urgent at the time, taking a long-term look can often help craft solutions to immediate problems. For this example, I would suggest that the business say “video-ing a training session would be a good idea to share our skills to a wider audience. Let’s consult with a video company to develop this idea”. Video teams such as Skysoclear having been creating videos for a while, and know what makes a great video. Getting your company’s marketing director or team together with a local video expert and developing ideas can lead to something great.
It’s easy to ask a friend to help out, bring their camera and film. The alternative is looking on Google for local video suppliers. This can be a time-sucker. Luckily for us, we’re on page one of Google for “southampton video production“.
Again, this comes back to value. Nothing against your friend, but getting them to film, edit and deliver on-time, with their other commitments, may take longer – and chasing your friend for when your video is going to be ready, can not only harm the relationship, but the longer it goes on – the less relevant filming the video becomes.
We endeavor to get your video out as soon as possible after filming. We want to keep the excitement of it going and the longer it takes, the less excited we all get!
Being a video production company, of course we would say you should use one, but hopefully through this blog post, you can understand why we think that.
One point that is worth mentioning – the hum that the video had. With the skill and kit that a professional video company has, this wouldn’t have happened. Professional video gear costs quite a bit (which your friend wouldn’t have) and the expertise of professional videographers can be priceless.
Investing in the expertise of a video expert can give you more value-for-money – as the finished product looks great, does the job and gets done efficiently.