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

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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.

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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.

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

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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. 

Corporate Video for Social Media


If you aren’t using social media video to promote your brand, you are missing out on one of the biggest marketing opportunities at your disposal. It’s an invaluable resource that’s easy to get started with, and most importantly, it can expose your brand to an enormous worldwide audience. When it comes to using video in social media, it’s smart to uniquely tailor your videos to make the most of the strengths and weaknesses of each medium, Here are a few things you should know before you dive in.

Facebook

Facebook had humble beginnings as simple site for Harvard students to a global media superpower. Facebook has slowly introduced more video into news feeds, but the nature of the newsfeed means that you have about 5 seconds to reel in a viewer before they scroll down to something else. Videos will now autoplay with the sound off, so you need a striking opening image or descriptive title that gets across what the video is about. Remember, you have only a couple of seconds to grab someone as its all too easy to keep on scrolling if the video hasn’t grabbed the viewer’s attention.

First you must consider that Facebook videos, by default play on mute, the user has to actively unmute it. So videos that have bold titles, subtitles will perform better on Facebook. As with YouTube, you need to select an appropriate custom thumbnail that will give the viewer a fair idea of why the video is about.

So the key adjustments to make to your video for the Facebook audience is to make sure you can still get your point across without sound, use large, easily readable captions (or at least make captions available) and most importantly keep it brief!

YouTube

         social media

YouTube is the biggest video sharing site in the internet, with an estimated 300 hours of video content being uploaded every minute. Every minute! There are “channels” on YouTube with over 50 million subscribers, and regular viewing audiences that would be the envy of many major TV networks.

To take full advantage of this massive viewer base, you need to know the best ways to maximise your reach. The first thing to understand is that if a viewer isn’t interested in the first few seconds of a video, they won’t bother watching the rest. So you need to start off with the hook of your video right away. YouTube should be where you house the most comprehensive version of your video, as that’s what people are there for, after all it’s solely for sharing videos.

This doesn’t just mean the first few seconds of your video however, this extends to everything from thumbnails, the description beneath the video, metadata and playlists all have to be managed and tailored to fit your business. If the viewer likes the first video they see from you, and you haven’t set up a playlist to AutoPlay another video from you, you have just lost a viewer. So make the most of Youtube’s features to make sure your video is getting the views it deserves. And YouTube comes with a handy closed captioning feature that you can input your script or transcript into and it will produce a .srt file that can be used elsewhere. It even has an auto-transcribe feature that uses intelligent tools to make a subtitle track automatically. But be sure to read through it first, it isn’t quite perfect just yet.

Instagram

Instagram began its life as a pure photo sharing app with vintage filters for smartphones but has now become a social media platform in and of itself. A few years ago, Instaram expanded into short videos. As with its parent company Facebook, Instagram videos will Autoplay as the user scrolls down, giving you just brief second to capture their attention. Instagram originally had a 15 second limit to it’s video length, but this was recently extended to 60 seconds. However, we would recommend staying closer to the original 15 second limit as shorter is usually better at keeping eyeballs on your video, especially as Instagram is very visually focused. Instagram is a smartphone app, so when cutting an Instagram version of your video, make sure that text is large enough to read on a small screen and close-ups will work better if you are filming a presenter. You should also lead with the most striking images first to grab attention.

Twitter

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Twitter can itself play videos natively, but often it relies on links to YouTube or other more full-time video hosting services. As with Facebook and Instagram, Twitter will also autoplay videos but remember they will be muted by default. Large, easily readable text is again a key to getting attention, as is having an option to have a video in a vertical orientation, as the majority of twitter users will be on a smartphone. Twitter videos can be up to 140 seconds long, although as is the case with all social media videos, the more concise the better.

Social Media Customisation

When planning a social media campaign with video, it is really worth making several versions uniquely tailored to each social media platform’s strengths and weaknesses, and being aware of the limitations. You’ll need to take this into account when you’re planning the video so you have the right content to edit unique versions of the one video. Each have their own demographics as well, so the content might be tweaked slightly for each different video.

If you are looking to improve your video skills for social media, get in touch with us today.

Drones For Corporate Video


Drones have opened up a whole new dimension in the video production industry. Whereas previously you would have had to fork out big money for a helicopter ride, now with a bit of training you can get dramatic aerial footage with two feet planted firmly on the ground. Drones, also known as quadcopters, can be a hugely valuable tool in your video production arsenal, from corporate work to documentary and narrative. They add a really dramatic and unique element to videos and they are the best tool to use to show scope and scale from above.

Establish Yourself

Most corporate videos will contain an establishing shot to give the viewer a sense of place and time. This could be a sweeping shot into your corporate headquarters, a convention centre, over an outdoor event, there are dozens of possibilities. Establishing shots are crucial for setting the tone and atmosphere of the video, and with a drone you can show an impressive aerial view of the space with very minimal set-up time required.

Make Everything Cinematic

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The use of drones extends far further than just establishing shots. Drones have the remarkable ability to add a cinematic, epic, high-production value look to any video (if done properly). Drones work especially well when filming events or videos with a lot of movement lot of movement, and some higher-end drones will allow you to track a subject with a GPS, which can be brilliant for sports and outdoor events, and they are commonly used by extreme sportspeople to capture their movements. Drones can also create many opportunities for memorable “wow” moments in videos. Slowly lowering down from the sky to reveal your new headquarters, or soaring up to show a beautiful cityscape can really add a unique perspective to your video.

Drone On and On

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The best part about including drones in your video is that drones are a new tool that has a huge amount of potential for creative uses. Many video production tools are quite fixed in what they are capable of, but drones can open up approaches and angles that would have been completely unattainable before. Want to follow someone through a crowd from above for an event video? You can do that. Want to show off the size of an event? You can do that. You can even set drones up to become something like a floating tripod, so they  hover for a shot, then you can zoom away and quickly set up another shot.

Stand Out From The Crowd

Drones can really set your corporate video apart from the pack, and that is their relative rarity in the corporate video space. Although they are rapidly becoming an essential part of any good video producer’s toolkit, they are still quite rare to find in many production companies, or they are only hired when requested on rare occasions. By using professionally shot drone footage in your video you can stand out from the pack a bit, and add a lot of production value.

If you are looking to add some high production value to your corporate video with drones, get in touch with us.

How to Avoid Video Marketing Mistakes


YouTube alone contains upwards of 819,417,600 hours of video footage. 300 hours more are uploaded every minute!

This is why making your video unique and interesting is so important for a successful video marketing campaign.

Working in the video production industry puts us in a position where we see a lot of different work. We do this for inspiration, to keep on top of trends and see other peoples approach to video marketing. But doing this means we see a lot of mistakes and the worst part is that they’re easy to avoid.

In this post I’ve put together the most common mistakes that I see so that you can avoid making them!

Nobody is watching the video

As simple as it may sound, the number one problem I see is videos that aren’t being watched. So what are video creators doing wrong? The main issue occurs after the video has been made. Parking your video on Youtube or Vimeo and then walking away isn’t enough, the video will get lost in the sea of content. People won’t necessarily come looking for you and if they do, how will they find it amongst the millions of other videos already on internet? You need a strategy to get it in front of them. A strategy might involve paying to have your video promoted but there are also many things you can do that won’t cost you money. The bottom line is that being active in getting your video in front of people is the only way to ensure it’s being seen.

It doesn’t engage

The internet is full of distractions and your video is competing against all of them. The best way to rise above the competition is to make something engaging. This is easier said than done but there’s a simple rule that will give you a head start: ‘show, don’t tell’. Boiled down, this means that you should give your audience something and you certainly shouldn’t patronise them. Show them a feeling, a result or a concept and let them work out the message themselves. Take the ‘1984’ Super Bowl commercial from Apple as an example. At no point does it explicitly tell the viewer to buy or do anything. It gets it’s point across by showing a pretty blatant but impactful message: ’think differently’. I’m not saying your video needs Ridley Scott directing – but think about how you can show people instead of telling them and you’ll be rewarded with more views.

Apple Video marketing

It doesn’t tell a story

Just like showing your audience instead of telling them, using a story to get your message across will help make engaging content. This is because a story creates intrigue by presenting a problem or a question that we curious human beings want an answer to. An easy and effective way to tell a story is to create a corporate documentary.

The writing is bad

Thinking about your target audience before you put pen to paper will help ensure that your content is relevant and valuable. With so many sources of information at their fingertips, viewers will only stick by you if you’re giving them what they want. Its tempting to write something for a wider audience in order to reach more people, and this brings me to the next point:

It isn’t focused enough

The issue here is simple, you can’t properly target your audience when you try to cover everything. If your information or your message is too broad then it becomes less and less valuable. Worse still, the video tends to get longer and longer to accommodate all the information. Seeing a clip that requires a significant investment of time (usually longer than 5 minutes) is an easy way to lose viewers.

No call to action

If your goal is to make people do something then make that clear. Without doing this you could be defeating the purpose of the project. It could be anything from asking viewers to ‘like’ your video if they enjoyed watching it to providing their email address or directing them to your website. The goal is simply making sure you get something out of what you’ve created and it’s fine to be direct about it too.

If you want to create an effective video marketing campaign then contact us today.

How to Make Your Corporate Video More Exciting


Hearing “corporate video” may not be the most exciting thing you hear all day, but there are many ways to inject excitement and some fun into your corporate videos.

Question Yourself

Before any shooting takes place, sit down and ask yourself what you want to get out of this video. Ask yourself who is watching, and why are they watching? What do they want, and what is the easiest way to provide that?

Once you have answered these questions you can put pen to paper and start writing your corporate video.

Start With A Structure

Structure isn’t just something used in feature films, it can be used to great effect in corporate videos as well. Narrative gives the audience a sense of flow to the video and gives some clarity as you move between your points.

It also can make it easier for you to write your video, as you can give a brief introduction that covers the main points of your video, go into further detail, summarise and give the viewer a call to action, like a link to your website’s product or contact page.

Who will be the star?

Casting the right talent in your videos can go a long way to making your video and engaging and professional looking. Consider casting a professional presenter if possible, or otherwise use your most charismatic employees or people that are comfortable in front of a camera. Presenting is a lot more difficult than the professionals make it look, so make sure you allocate extra time if working with non-professionals.

And here is the result. This is straight from in-camera – no grading whatsoever.

Corporate Doesn’t Mean Dull

Sometimes a sitting, “talking heads” interview is your best bet when covering serious topics that you also want your audience to take seriously. But if you’re doing a less serious video, have some fun with it! Move the camera, with a slider, a stabiliser like the DJI Ronin or even handheld (make sure it’s an appropriate video for handheld, this technique can look amateurish if not done well). You can also add a little spice to an otherwise plain interview by shooting with 2 cameras, this allows you to edit out sections with greater ease, improving your video’s pacing.

 

Spice it Up

Once your video is shot, you can add some polish to the finished product by adding titles, graphics and lower thirds (Names and job titles beneath the video subjects). Titles and graphics in your company’s colours and style can really take your video up a notch in production values. You can also weave in some graphics to introduce different sections of the video which can also add structure to the video.

Edit, Edit, Edit

The hardest and most time consuming part of the film-making process is editing. It can be very difficult to “kill your darlings” and cut something you love. But if it slows the video down or doesn’t serve a purpose, it needs to go. Keeping your video short and fast paced goes a long way to keeping your corporate video exciting and entertaining.