Optimising Videos for Mobile


From Copy to Short Videos

Several years ago, scrolling through long copy and huge blog posts was the norm. As you would have noticed, if something looks like too much of a time investment, people will stop paying attention and move on to something more immediately satisfying. It’s sad but true, so you should be keeping your videos short and to the point. Even two minutes can be too long, especially for a social media video on mobile, where 30 seconds is the new norm. To keep them listening, you have to keep up with their attention span, so keep your videos fast, to the point and get out.

Mobile Devices are the new TV

Over half of your business website traffic comes from mobile devices. People spend more of their time in 2018 looking at their smartphone, than they do watching TV. Whether it’s tablet’s or smartphones, people aren’t looking at content the same way they used to. Of course you should already be aware of the rise of mobile viewerships over the past few years. If this is news to you, it might be too late. However, video for mobile has been a little slower on the uptake, and there are still some things you can do to make the best out of mobile video.

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The Call to Action

mobile

In this era of fast paced marketing, you have two things to include. The video and the call to action. The call to action is the thing that will direct your audience to their next step, and that can be getting them to your purchase page, getting them interested or to buy your products. On web hosting site Wistia, you can embed a link that will display at the end of the video so your video does all the work for you. Failing that, you can post a call to action in the description, something like “To find more about our products, click here,” and have the link take the viewer to your product page.

Customise for Mobile

Stop this dreaded screen from happening

There’s nothing worse than buffering, is there? Those endless seconds wasted. If you have a clunky website, or embedded videos that won’t load, you’ve lost potential customers. As we’ve mentioned previously, attention spans are short and there’s nothing more frustrating than a slow loading video, or glitchy web design. Your web designers should obviously be ensuring that the content plays on mobile, but not only that, everything should be optimised for mobile to ensure that there is nothing to cause a pain point for your viewers. A site like Wistia or Vimeo should take care of most issues with unresponsive videos, but it’s still worth checking on both Apple and android devices and tablets.

Be Big and Bold

When it comes to text and images in mobile videos, bigger is better. The smaller screens are getting higher in resolution, but it’s still difficult to show off any small details on a 5 inch screen. So the common trend in social media videos is to display large text over the video with the key messages of the video, or at the very least, easily readable subtitles. This is due to most mobile videos being watched with the sound off. Don’t overdo it as too much text can be overwhelming and difficult to read, your goal should be to have the same message understood with the sound on or off.

Your mobile audience is growing and growing rapidly. If you are looking to create more mobile-friendly videos, get in touch with us today. 

How to Improve Your Corporate Videos


The experienced team at Dream Engine have put together some corporate video tips for those looking to delve into the world of corporate video.

Concept Creation

By refining your ideas early in the process, you can avoid a lot of headaches later on. One key tip that we have learnt through experience is that by focusing your video on one main goal. The goal is up to you, but the lesson here is to not scatter your focus trying to make an “all-purpose” video.

Location, Location, Location

A good location can be a huge help to the success of your video. An appropriate, visually pleasing location for interviews and B-roll (additional footage that can be spliced in during interviews or demonstrations) can set your clip apart.

If conducting interviews, an ideal location will be one that is not going to be interrupted, is quiet and is related to the topic of your video. For instance, a scientific based interview may take place in a lab, and academic based video may take place in a library etc.

corporate video tips

Corporate Interview Tips

One thing that is difficult to control on shooting day is the performance of your interviewees, but there are several things you can do to make things run smoothly on the day.

We make an effort to be respectful and professional by always being on time, dressed appropriately for the environment and by being polite and friendly with everyone involved. (This sounds obvious but it’s worth remembering.) Building a strong rapport with the subject is important to make sure they are relaxed. Nervousness can show on camera so consider asking a few “warm-up” questions to get them used to the environment.  It’s also advisable to have a quick chat with your interviewee if you haven’t had the chance to prior to the interview. This will help the process become less intimidating, as being interviewed on camera can be daunting and some familiarity with the faces around can make things easier. 

Shoot Some B-Roll

Having quality B-roll is hugely helpful in making your video look visually exciting, and can be extremely helpful in the editing process. As most videos require cutting the best soundbites from interviews, B-roll can disguise the edits and provide some interesting visuals to accompany what is being said. Even if the video is simple, having access to film people at work, equipment or other appropriate footage is golden when it comes to creating an interesting video.

Conclusion

By following these simple suggestions, a potentially uninspiring video can become something much more visually exciting and engaging to your audience. By being involved throughout the process, we can help you create an exciting corporate video that showcases all you have to offer.

Choosing the right size camera crew


There is a lot of planning and preparation involved when it comes to creating a video. When you are planning, you must consider what size crew you will need to get the best results possible for your project. This post will walk you through the process that goes into choosing what size production crew you will need.

Single Camera Operator

For the vast majority of our video work, a two-person crew is the bare minimum. There is just too much work involved to ensure that both sound and vision come out perfectly. However, there are a few instances where you can get away with just a single camera operator who will also operate the sound equipment.

If absolutely required, for example if there is an interview to be filmed, one person can operate the camera and monitor sound, but be wary of getting an operator to do too much, this can mean trying to focus on too many things at once, meaning the quality won’t be as high.

Or, perhaps you are filming an interview and the budget is tight, most camera operators can also direct a simple shoot and ask questions to the interviewee. At the same time they need to make sure the subject is in focus and the audio levels are correct.

 

2 Person Crew

A two person crew (director/camera operator and camera operator) is a great place to start for an average project based on interviews and most corporate interview work.  It’s perfect for talking head style interviews, as two cameras can be operated, giving you options to cut between angles and give you much more room to edit.

The director can set up the shot, guide the interviewees or actors into place, and make sure everything is running to schedule, while the camera operator can set up cameras, lights and microphones and make sure everything is ready to roll.

3 Person Camera Crew

crew

We firmly believe that every crew should have a director on set,  someone to keep everything on track and someone to defer to with tricky decisions. But it’s a great idea to have at least three crew members on set to make sure no aspect of the production is left unattended. Two focused camera operators give the editor more cutaway options and footage to work as well as less pressure for someone to monitor the shots on two cameras. If you’re looking to shoot an interview but need to ensure the shoot runs smoothly with the best possible footage, we suggest a three person camera crew. The additional member can do the odd jobs that pop up on a crew; charging batteries, moving lights, and applying make-up.

This simple setup, when polished and edited in post production will have a refined, elegant style.

The Rest of the Crew

Green Screen TVC setup

For simple things like an interview or a bit of B-roll, a larger crew than 3 will be overkill. However, the more people on camera at once, the more camera operators you will need. For a TV interview chat with say, 4 participants, you will need at least three camera operators and a director, and the scale just gets larger as the production gets bigger. For example, a sound recordist is required if your video will feature more than 2 speakers. A gaffer (electrician and lighting expert) may be required if the filming needs a specialist shot, like large outdoor scenes or shots on a moving car. Production assistants, runners, camera assistants will all get involved as the project gets bigger and more complex.

Hopefully this post gave you a brief guide as to what size camera crew you will need for your upcoming project. For more information, get in touch with us today.

Camera Review: Sony PMW-FS5


With 4K internal recording, up to 240fps at 2K resolution and a brilliant electronic ND filter, the Sony FS5 fits a lot of high-end features into a very small camera. We recently got our hands on a Sony FS5, a camera that is fast becoming a standard for video production.

Mobile Production

One of the first things you will notice about the FS5 is its size. Gone are the days of bulky production cameras and back spasms, at less than 1kg, it has been designed with mobility in mind. So if you are a run and gun style documentarian, a wedding shooter, or are just sick of weighty cameras, the FS5 will suit you well. The lightweight body means that it works on our camera stabiliser the DJI Ronin, mounted on sliders, jibs, you name it. When paired with a light zoom lens, you can have a completely mobile, extremely versatile camera.

Shoot in 4K

One of the biggest trends in video production over the past few years has been the introduction of 4K sensors. 4K has been a staple for a few years now, even most new smartphones can record 4K, but why is 4K so special? Well for one it gives you a an added dimension of creativity by letting you reframe shots in the editing suite. In some instances it can even act as a second shot, by zooming in you can have a wide and a close up shot with just the one camera. Secondly, with many new TVs now 4K capable, the standard will move from 1080p to 4K.

Slow Mo a Go-Go

Another huge advantage the FS5 has over cameras in a similar price range is its ability to shoot in multiple high frame rates. Capable of recording 2K video at 240fps (with an external recorder) you can capture fine details in movement, or give a simple shot a more dreamy, impactful feeling.

fs5

As the FPS gets higher and higher, shutter speeds need to be faster and faster to capture sharp frames so at some point there is a point where you will need to crank up the ISO especially if light is inadequate.

By using slow motion wisely, you can add some serious creativity to your arsenal.

Electronic ND

The FS5 features an ingenious electronic, variable ND system that allows you to dial in anywhere from 1/4 to 1/128th ND filtration in the camera body, allowing you to forgo your old glass ND filters. This is a feature that is fairly unique to the FS5, although when the industry catches on to how helpful it is, I guarantee you will see more of the The electronic ND really shines when you are shooting outdoors on location. Instead of ramping up the shutter speed or getting out an optical filter, you can now just spin the handy dial and lower the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor, allowing you to choose your desired aperture and achieve a shallow depth of field, even in bright sunlight.

FS5 RAW Output

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When combined with an external recorder, (Such as our Atomos Shogun, or others like the Gemini) you can unlock further advantages from the FS5. By bypassing the limitations of the internal storage, you can really tap into the strengths of the camera. With a firmware upgrade, you can record 12-bit RAW files in 4K to your recorder. For most purposes like web videos, this won’t really offer a huge benefit as the size of the RAW files can be huge, but for the best image the FS5 can produce, this is what it is capable of. So if you’re shooting something for visual effects work or a TVC, you should be working with an external recorder and shooting to RAW.

Conclusion

The Sony FS5 is a well-designed, lightweight camera that has been created with videographers and documentarians in mind. It packs in a huge amount of features for the price, as well is an industry leading electronic ND filter. When paired with an external recorder, the FS5 is a formidable camera with huge creative potential. Get in touch with us to learn more about your next video production.

Cameraman Story: University of Sydney


Back on the road and this time shooting at The University of Sydney. Our assignment was capturing a series of interviews and some b-roll to showcase a new coding collaboration platform that has been introduced at the university. As we learned, coding has become a huge part of university research and learning. Having a state of the art system that allows it to be stored and shared is crucial for the university.

This video had a few requirements that were fairly unique to the project. Firstly, our producer and art director was in the US and wouldn’t be joining us on this shoot. To keep her involved, our Sydney cameraman was in constant contact with her, sending though stills from the monitor for approval. This meant that each shot could be approved and tweaked to ensure they were right for the project.

The other aspect to this video that we needed to keep in mind was that it would need to be shot in a way that allowed the images to be converted to black and white and still look great. Because the footage would potentially be used for different purposes, shooting it straight to black and white wasn’t an option. There isn’t a whole lot of difference between shooting for colour or monotone. The standard rules of videography are still the same. But to get the best looking footage you need to look for opportunities in creating contrast. Playing with silhouettes, gradients and negative space are great ways to make black and white footage look great.

 

With 5 interviews to capture in the one room, a lot of our time was spent re-shuffling our setup to create a shot that would look completely different. We were given a large room with huge windows and plenty of natural light. This can be a blessing and a curse. Melbourne weather seemed to have followed us because the sun was constantly ducking in and out of the clouds and a shot that looked great one minute would need adjusting when the sun came out.

This time of year was also exam time for many of the students. With people sitting their end of year tests all around us, it was important to be respectful of the environment and avoid distracting the students. With our small Sony PXW-FS5 we were able to keep a low profile and move around fast. This camera also allowed us to shoot some footage at high frame rates for some dynamic and creative footage. 

At the end of the shoot and safely back in Melbourne we created backup versions of the footage before sending it off to San-Diego for editing. Our high speed internet connection allows us to send through files the same day rather than worrying about a slow courier to the US. As usual, our Sydney cameraman also kept an offsite version for added redundancy. 

Tips for Shooting Slow Motion


The technology in professional video cameras have come a long way since the days of the days of tape . Our trusty Sony PMW-FS5 is capable of shooting 240 frames per second at 2K resolution when paired with an external recorder, something that 10 years ago would be unimaginable in anything but the most high-end cinema cameras. It can open up a whole range of possibilities when it comes to shooting stunning product shots, or capturing the smallest details in dramatic slow motion. We’ve compiled a few tips for shooting beautiful slow motion.

Light it Up

The slower you want your slow motion to be, the more light you will need. Let’s say your standard is the 24 frames per second used by film cameras. At 240 frames per second, of which the FS5 is capable, you will need 10 times as much light to get the same exposure as real time. So if you plan on shooting indoors, you will need a controlled environment with plenty of lights just to get a correct exposure. You may also experience some pulsing effects if you are using fluorescent lights as a source as the refresh rate of fluorescents is 50hz, invisible to the human eye but will be picked up by a high frame rate. Shooting outdoors in sunlight should give you enough light to shoot 120fps at least, but be wary of changes in light conditions and clouds darkening the image.

Pick a Fast Lens

slow motion

Another tip that will make it easier to get enough light onto your sensor is by using a fast prime lens. Our .95 50mm lens is perfect for low light applications as it is a versatile focal length as well as being extremely fast. It does come with some drawbacks as shooting with such a wide aperture will mean that is can be very difficult to keep things in focus, so if you’re shooting something like sports, the best option is to sacrifice some light and shoot at f4, and up the ISO to compensate. This will result in some more visible grain, so if possible run some tests before the shoot to get your settings right for the conditions.

Steady and Stable

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Because every moment will be stretched out by up to 10 times, movement in real time can might not be obvious when the shot is slowed down. For shorter shots it’s not always necessary to use a tripod, but for longer slow motion shots we recommend it for the best final product. If you are shooting at says, 60fps, or 100fps, shooting handheld can provide a dreamy, natural feel, especially when paired with some movement and tracking the subject. Using a stabiliser like the DJI-Ronin can also create a beautiful floating look that is ideal for dramatic tracking shots.

Choose Your Frame Rate to Match the Motion

How slow should we go? If you’re looking to capture something like a starters pistol going off, the slower the better. Capturing things that are moving fast already will benefit from the slower movement. However, you should take into consideration the end result of the shot. Is it just a small part of a finished product? If so then you don’t want to shoot 240fps for some B-roll of someone walking. You will fill up your storage media quickly and the extra slow speed won’t add anything apart from time. Many shots will benefit from just a slight change to 50 or 60fps as it can provide good B-roll and a can really emphasise the importance of a shot.

If you’re looking to shoot beautiful looking shots for your project, get in touch with us here.

Four Kinds of Video Your Business Needs


There are many different types of video you can create for your business. You can solve problems, introduce your new products or show off the culture you have developed in your business. In this article we will be looking at the broad types of video that nearly every business can use to improve their online marketing. Explainer videos are perfect for building content on your blog or website, or even acting as a brief tutorial if your product is simple enough. If you find that your customers have a recurring question about your business or products, why not make an explainer video to save you the hassle? You’ll know that an explainer video is successful when your support staff are less stressed from not answering the same questions again and again.

Product videos

Do you provide a service or sell a product that is difficult to explain in a succinct manner? Or maybe you’ve had some success with putting product videos on your website to entice visitors to learn more, hook them in and convert that into a sale.

Product videos show the benefits and special features of your product and they will often show a quick example of how it works, all while engaging the audience and keeping them on your site. Product videos are beneficial for customers who are perhaps considering buying from you, but they need to feel confident they’re choosing the right product.

Internal training videos

Every business has a training process, and of course every business has a unique way of doing things that can be a big adjustment for new staff. Even staff that have been with the company a long time can often need a refresher or a reminder about best practice. This is where the magic of training videos come in to play.  Here’s where video’s special powers come into play.

By creating an internal training video, you can lead your employees through a step by step process in the company’s operations, you can save time and make sure that it’s 100% best practise and all your employees are on the same page. Training videos also have the advantage of being more memorable than a pamphlet or slideshow, and diagrams simply can’t compete with a video of the real thing.

Testimonials

corporate

Positive word of mouth is one of the key aspects to building your business. Positive encounters with your customers will lead to satisfied customers, which may lead to them giving you a recommendation. Facebook reviews, Google reviews, they all contribute to your company’s image. By creating a testimonial with real, satisfied customers or clients can give you an advantage over your competitors. Hearing about a real experience from a client or customer is much more valuable than a simple online review. If a customer is willing to put their name and face to your product to vouch for it, you have a powerful tool for your marketing.

Business Explainer Videos

explainer

Explainer videos are videos that show your viewers how to solve a problem. It could be a problem that your product solves or it could be a video about the service your company provides.

That problem could be something your product solves, or it could be a service you provide that saves time and money. Whatever it is, by the end of the video, your audience should fully understand your product or service and be able to take action based on what they’ve seen. When an audience understands you well, you build a rapport with them and they are more likely to enlist you to solve their problems.

 

If you’re looking to create a corporate video for your business, get in touch with us today. 

Melbourne Cameraman: Deakin Waurn Ponds


Our latest assignment was for Washington based media company Websedge. We’ve done a few jobs for Websedge before and as usual, we were to be conducting interviews and shooting b-roll. This piece would eventually end up as an international conference video.

For this assignment we were being sent to Deakin University out at Wuarn Ponds.  A mere 1 and a half hour drive from Melbourne. Our subject was the Institute for Frontier Materials. Their research is based around creating new materials that will support the worlds rapidly advancing technology. Batteries that are lighter and faster, efficient carbon fibre and even silkworm silk that will repair a human ear – it’s all part of the Institute for Frontier Materials at Deakin.

Shooting Interviews

The main part of our assignment was capturing a range of interviews in different environments. They needed to look good, sound good and we needed to work quickly. The right tool for the job was our brand new Sony FS5. This little camera has everything we need for quick interview setups that look great. We can plug a microphone straight into it and it performs well without needing a lot of light.

B-Roll

When shooting for another client, you ideally want to be handing over all of your footage from the same camera. This just makes life easier for the editor because they don’t need to worry about trying to match different footage. This isn’t always possible as the same camera that is perfect for interviews might be too big for fast paced b-roll.

Our Fs5 solves this problem because it does everything we need to shoot an interview but is also perfect for running around chasing scientists.

Delivery

Like most of our clients, Websedge wanted the footage fast so that they could get to work cutting. In the past we would express ship a hard drive overseas but with cable internet we can beat the courier. With the country time difference working in our favour it meant by the time uploading had completed on our end, the editors were just waking up on the other side of the world.

Melbourne Cameraman – Social Media Video for Jenny Macklin


In September 2017 we headed to The Centre in Ivanhoe, Melbourne to film a community forum hosted by Jenny Macklin. The forum was an information session on Alzheimer’s.

The video we were making was being used for social media. Therefore it needed to get it’s message across quickly and it needed to look good. This is because people are in a browsing mindset when they’re using social media – they won’t invest much time in a video. They also have high expectations, especially coming from bigger brands or public figures. So videos that look good are more likely to get an audience.

The video was a way to leverage content from the event itself and promote the work Jenny is doing in the community. So showing Jenny interacting with the community and participating in the forum would be a big part of what we needed to capture.

Social Media Video

The Gear

The success of any video production comes down to planning and preparation. This job was no different. We packed the bags with the following challenges in mind:

  • The town hall would be dark and there would be no light on any of the attendees
  • We needed to be mobile, the event would only go for a few hours but we needed a lot of variety in the shots
  • We needed a backup camera that would always be filming the stage so we could roam with the second camera
  • Two interviews were required at the end of the event

We decided that the best camera for this job would be the Sony A7s. It’s strengths are that it’s tiny and it can record a very clean image in low light. This meant the cameraman could get around fast without worrying about how dark it would be during the presentation. It also has a nifty feature that lets you switch the sensor from full frame to APSC. This meant that our 70-200mm lens would become more like a 300mm lens. So we could zoom in really close to the speakers from all the way at the back of the room.

We also packed a Sony FS100 as our backup camera. This is a larger camera but a reliable workhorse. We knew we could set it up at the back of the room and let it record for a few hours without worrying about batteries or overheating. It also has XLR inputs that meant we could record sound straight from the audio desk behind the stage.

Knowing that we needed to do some quick vox pop style interviews just meant bringing a battery powered LED light. Lighting your subjects is always crucial to make sure they look their best and stand out on camera. We packed the Westcott Ice Light 2 because it gives out a soft flattering light and has a professional colour output (it won’t make skin look green or purple).

The Shoot

The shoot itself went without a hitch. Having packed our bag carefully we had every tool for the job and it was just a case of getting all the coverage we needed. Before the shoot started we made sure to introduce ourselves to the building manager and build a rapport. This came in handy because she agreed to unlock the balcony area just for us. This allowed us to get some shots from high up. Our small mobile setup also allowed us to be discreet and unobtrusive.

The Result

The final video turned out really well and captured the feeling of the day. It was used on Jenny Macklin’s Facebook page and quickly gained over 2000 views.

 

 

 

 

The Branding Videos You Need to Have on Your Website


Back in the day, video branding mostly meant a commercial, or maybe a recruitment video. Maybe it played before a movie at the local cinema. With the internet involved in almost every aspect of our lives now, the game has changed. Small startups and companies that might not have the budget for a big advertising campaign can still create video content to market themselves and can distribute it globally to a potentially massive audience, all pretty much instantaneously, it’s a remarkable step forward in technology. Video marketing doesn’t have to be bound by the strict rules and guidelines of TV anymore, so you are free to get creative with the videos you create. By the end of this year, it is expected that nearly 3 quarters of all internet traffic will be video, so don’t let your business fall behind.  Here are a few solid foundations for your online video presence.

Branding Video

branding

One of the most important videos you can have on your site is a “branding video.” This is like a digital business card. The story video needs to show the world why they should be choosing you over your competitors.

This will be your digital calling card, and it needs to show the world why your company exists, your values and why they should choose you over your competitors.

You should address your mission statement, your backstory, and what your company offers that no-one else does. Tell the human story at the heart of your company. Don’t approach it as a corporate necessity, take it as an opportunity to really express why you love your company. Audiences can see through corporate jargon and they can see through shallow fluff pieces. So be authentic and real!

Testimonial Videos

corporate

People are far more likely to listen to a recommendation from a friend than they are from you telling us about how good your company is. Customer testimonials are a brilliant way to spread your message and is a great nudge for customers who are thinking about using your company but just need a final push.

Use customers that have a some authority in their area to film a testimonial, it also helps if they are natural in front of camera. Make it as easy as possible for the person kindly giving you a testimonial, come to them and get it done quickly, they are volunteering for you after all. Testimonial videos will give your company a trustworthy appearance that transfers into sales and more happy customers to give you great feedback.

Educational Videos

If a potential customer is visiting your site, it is for one sole reason, to learn more. Whether they want to learn more about your product or just the company as a whole, we are driving by wanting to know more. Posting a video that can educate as well as show off your products is a holy grail of marketing as it is shareable, subtly promotes your business and the viewers are getting something out of it too.

Every business has their area of expertise, so use that knowledge to create an instructional video! You don’t have to give up all your trade secrets, but just a quick snapshot of something that people are interested in can do wonders for your marketing reach.

Conclusion

These three videos can form a powerful foundation for your companies online video marketing presence. And that is just the start! There are many branding options that can be tailored to each individual business, as every business has something to offer in the realm of video.

If you need to improve your online video presence, contact us today.