Every marketer knows doing things “the old fashioned way” is unsustainable yet most people still don’t think this same way about video. Agencies and brands alike keep getting stuck viewing video through the lens of the “deliverable,” meaning a snappy 15 or 30 second spot that you make once, then syndicate across platforms.
That’s no longer good enough. We’ve seen email and social marketing thrive on the notion of personalized content that resonates with a hyper-specific audience, and we have to approach video in the exact way.
Whether you’re working in a studio or on location, controlling your lighting setup can be a pain. As your setups get more complex, it takes more time to tweak individual lights and even if you’re working with a larger crew making final adjustments can eat up a lot of time unless you have a dedicated pre-light day which is pretty uncommon for the kind of work we do.
In 2014, I worked on a Superbowl campaign that used Rat Pac Dimmer’s Cintenna system to wirelessly control DMX lights via an iOS device and it was awesome. Unfortunately, it costs a lot to get up and running so I wanted to build my own for smaller projects.
Another roadblock was that many of the lights we use (fresnels, Quasar Science LED tubes) might not have DMX control built in like some high end lights do so I needed to figure out how to make a system that would work with that.
This is that system. It’s a combination of a portable wireless router, an ethernet to DMX adapter, and a portable dimmer pack that allows you to have DMX control over any light that accepts a dimmer. This setup works great in the studio, and packs into a pelican case for using on location. You can plug it into any DMX system, wired or wireless and it’ll just work. Here’s what each part does.
When you’re making a marketing video, it’s easy to focus completely on production and lose sight of making content that not only looks great but actually has a positive impact on the brand. Whether you’re working on a large campaign, or a single video this is the pre-flight checklist I always go back to in order to ensure our project is 100% aligned with our marketing goals.
The checklist is divided into three sections with a few questions in each. If I run through this list and don’t have the right information, I know I need to course correct or at least get my facts straight.
If I can answer these questions confidently however, I know I’m on the right track to build a successful campaign and I have a solid vocabulary to communicate my plan to others.
Learn how to take awesome conversations and translate them into increased scope of works to grow your business with heightened capabilities around marketing. Think about the impact, not just the deliverable. Paint a complete picture of marketing.
YouTube is an attractive platform for video marketers. It has a massive built-in audience and it’s designed to help viewers discover content. However, the allure of the platform is hampered by the fact that ultimately YouTube is designed to keep viewers watching any video, not just your videos.
So if you want to use organic YouTube videos for marketing, it helps to use whatever tools you can to help keep your audience engaged with the content you want them to see. An important tool for this was Annotations, clickable links that added interactivity to videos. This was an awesome feature, but had some flaws (like not working on mobile) so YouTube killed them last spring.
Google has now fully replaced Annotations with two lesser known tools: Cards and End Screens. These tools go way beyond their predecessor’s functionality and finally work on mobile. You can use these tools to add interactive elements to your video and build clear pathways to action for your viewers.
YouTube Cards and End Screens are pretty easy to use, but it can be tricky to connect the dots between their functionality and where they fit into your content marketing strategy. Let’s go over both features and talk about how they work and what they do.
Earlier this year I set up our own server as a shared storage testbed. Since we got it up and running, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about it so I put together this quick guide that covers just about everything about it from the parts list to performance testing.
Why did you build your own server?
We were evaluating shared storage solutions for the wider team and realized we weren’t quite ready to take the leap into a system that could support 10+ editors working with multiple streams of RED footage. It’d require a lot of hardware and major infrastructure upgrades.
We decided to pivot our focus to a smaller project where we could make a big impact with less work. Thus the graphics server project was born.
Why is shared storage important?
We have a two person internal graphics/VFX department and they collaborate a lot with each other and our team of editors. Using our current storage workflow (individual project drives) means there’s a lot of passing physical drives back and forth between computers and that can get really confusing.
The graphics team also needs to work in parallel with our editors, so giving them their own dedicated storage space is helpful so they’re not waiting on drives to be free or sending files that need to be organized later.
Because the server is networked, the whole team gets access to the server so folks can send assets and browse for content they need on their own time. Just because someone’s out of the office doesn’t mean you can’t get a render you need to get your edit done.
Putting together a comprehensive video budget is a daunting, but important, task. In this guide, I’m going to run through my own template to provide you a starting point for your own yearly budget.
This template is designed to cover typical marketing video productions including on-location shoots that are typically budgeted between $5,000 and $50,000.
A yearly budget is primarily a forecasting tool and it’s likely your individual project budgets will change as priorities shift and things come into focus. So don’t worry if you don’t have all the information before getting started.
The total budget is comprised of two parts: a master spreadsheet that includes ongoing activities and your project budget templates.
You should build enough project templates to cover the different types of projects you’ll be taking on. Again, things will change and no two projects are exactly the same, but if you’re building a yearly video marketing plan it’s likely you’ll have project types like testimonials or case studies or other serialized content that’s build around a templated format. To start, let’s go over what these project budgets include.
Post-production can get confusing (and frustrating). Clients aren’t sure when things will be delivered or if what they’re looking at is supposed to be a polished draft or just a rough cut. Creatives are confused about who’s supposed to give feedback or what revisions are within scope and what requires additional fees.
In short, the approvals/revision cycle can be a mess. But like many things, it’s a mess that can be fixed with better communication. These are the things you should think about (and talk about, and write down) when you’re scoping out your next project.
For the longest time, everyone was obsessed with view count. Clients were focused on making that number as big as possible and every video maker was fielding requests asking them to “make a viral video.” These days, video makers have a better understanding of what metrics really matter to determine if their video content is working. Similarly, brands are spending loads of their marketing budget on video and are more analytics conscious than ever.
So, as a video creator, how do you make sure your content has a positive Return on Investment (ROI)?
It’s easier than you think. Just set goals based on marketing objectives. Answer the question, ‘What is your video trying to do?’ Increase sales? Drive website traffic?
Once you answer this question, connect those goals to specific metrics to keep track of your progress and prove that you’re delivering results.
The metrics you focus on are called Key Performance Indicators and in the world of video marketing there are a handful of numbers that we use to measure success. Many platforms will give you some of the KPI’s you may be looking for and any platform designed for business should give you all of them (and then some).
Let’s run through the basic 5 metrics you should keep handy during your next campaign. After reading, download a cheatsheet with the basics.
Strategy is more than just executing a smart gameplan, it’s also about measurement and optimization. Today I’m going to break down a small internal sales project at Animus and show how we designed a dashboard using Medialytics to keep the team informed.
This simple tool gives us instant insight into whether or not we were acheving our goals and ultimately helps inform how we produce similar projects.