Archive for September, 2012

Weekly Online Video News Round Up – Punk Rock Edition

Saturday, September 29th, 2012
Weekly Online Video News Round Up – Punk Rock Edition

So Sunday I saw The Vibrators, some seriously old school punk rock. They're touring the US and have been around for 36 years. Go see them if you dig punk. If not, read this weekly news round up on the world of online video. See what I did there?

Tapshot, Releases Videokits App: Kits for Making Great Videos of Life’s Events

Tapshot Inc. is the developer of the Videokits app, which gives iPhone users a guided video creation experience. Each creative kit includes suggested shot lists, on-screen scripts and recording tips, high-quality title graphics, music, a powerful mobile rendering engine, and the ability to share videos directly from the phone without the fuss of editing. The company’s goal is to make the process of mobile movie-making as easy as snapshot photography.

There are three kits included free in the Videokits app download: birthday party, newlywed advice, and travel postcard. Additional kits are available for in-app purchase, at $0.99 each, to create videos for different events, holidays, and activities such as Halloween, youth sports, birth announcements, cooking shows, restaurant reviews, product reviews, and pet portraits, with more kits on the way.

Source: Press Release

Twitter Debuts New FOX Show

The social media platform will be one of the digital hubs for a full-episode preview 11 days ahead of the third-season premiere of the Fox comedy "Raising Hope." While the episode will be available on other platforms, only Twitter users who retweet will be rewarded with a video message from the series' cast thanking them for spreading the word.

Source: Variety

Nook Become Video-rific!

Barnes & Noble has announced its new Nook Video offering will premiere this fall with newer hit movies, classic films, and original TV shows from major studios including HBO, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Starz, Viacom, and Warner Bros. Entertainment, plus movies from The Walt Disney Studios.

Source: Engadget

YouTube Show Goes TV

Show convergence continues to expand as YouTube sees a show move to TV (formerly Kevin Smith's Hulu show went to Canadian TV).

Trium Entertainment’s “Recipe Rehab,” hosted on the Everyday Health channel, will begin broadcasting on hundreds of local ABC affiliates beginning on October 6, with 11 total episodes in the works.

Source: TubeFilter

Encoding.com Private Cloud

Encoding Automation for Studios, Broadcasters, and VOD Providers

Transcode catalogs of long-form HD video content with unparalleled speed at market disruptive pricing. Designed specifically for today’s premium content providers, the EDC Private Cloud offloads, automates and scales video transcoding systems to enable high-quality, secure playback on all web, mobile and home theater platforms.

High Speed Processing

  • Faster than real-time processing of HD content on powerful 32-core, multi-threading servers (3X faster than EC2)
  • 6X faster data throughput vs. cloud storage
  • 600Mbps connectivity to AWS, Rackspace and Azure clouds

Massive & Secure File Ingest

  • 1Gbps ingest/egress using Aspera fasp 3™ technology 10GbE network on 170Gbps switched backplane
  • Single tenancy
  • Tape ingest
  • Private-line dedicated fiber for high-volume,high-bandwidth needs

Universal Formats

  • All edit and delivery codecs including ProRes, Avid DNxHD, HDCAM, MPEG2-TS, H.264, MP4 and more.
  • Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 Surround and HE-AAC

Adaptive Bitrate & DRM Packaging

  • Generate Apple HLS, Adobe HDS & Microsoft Smooth Streaming files
  • Package for Google Widevine DRM playback on iOS, Android, Web and STB

Ultraviolet

  • Generate UltraViolet Common File Format (CFF) content
  • Full Subtitle support
  • Widevine DRM, PlayReady in Q1
  • Coordinator and EIDR integration in development

Source: Encoding.com

Nielsen Drops 500,000 from U.S. TV Households

The number of U.S. TV households fell by 500,000, reflecting the popularity of online viewing and results of the 2010 census, according to Nielsen, producer of the weekly ratings that help set advertising prices.

The adjustment in U.S. TV households to 114.2 million took effect Aug. 27 and will apply to the television season starting this week, New York-based Nielsen Holdings NV (NLSN) said today in an e-mailed statement.

Source: Bloomberg

Channel Manager HTML5 5 V1.0

Eyepartner has released Channel Manager HTML5 5 V1.0, which allows users to publish video and audio into playlists by seamlessly dragging and dropping content in an easy-to-use channel lineup. The Channel Manager HTML5 V1.0 allows users to build unlimited scheduled programming for playback on Roku set-top boxes, and HTML5 5-compatible players, including the iPad and iPhone.

By combining Eyepartner’s Tier1 service with Level3 CDN delivery, streaming capacity is unlimited. Channel Manager HTML5 V1.0 also offers many customizable features, including the ability to drop in advertising placements fast and easy. The Channel Manager HTML5 V1.0’s cropping editor allows users to trim and edit the timeline. Users can develop their own channels, and include videos from other websites or video-sharing sites such as YouTube.

The Channel Manager HTML5 V1.0 is a server-based H.264 streaming solution that requires absolutely no proprietary hardware. The software was designed to manage content timelines easily on the fly, and in real time, allowing the content producer to ingest LIVE breaking news or sponsored media spots at any moment.
With the Channel Manager HTML5 V1.0, anyone can manage an unlimited number of Standard or High Definition channels and playlists that can be transcoded to be delivered over various device players such as HTTP, Flash, Silverlight, as well as other popular mobile devices.

Source: Press Release

Tags: ABC, Adobe, Apple, Bloomberg, Disney, encoding, events, programming, real time, software, streaming, Web Video Industry News


How to Strengthen Your Online Video Brand with the Primal Code [Creator’s Tip #58]

Friday, September 28th, 2012
How to Strengthen Your Online Video Brand with the Primal Code [Creator's Tip #58]

In this week’s Creator’s Tip we again speak with Patrick Hanlon author of "Primal Branding: Create Zealots for Your Brand, Your Company, and Your Future." After reading his book, I started applying the seven aspects of the Primal Code to my personal vlog channel and started seeing a increase in engagement, our subscriber rate increased, we started getting more comments, and views increased, as well.

Earlier this week, we talked with Patrick about how to turn viewers into brand advocates through the art of primal branding. Today I share some of the practical ways in which I tried to implement the concepts of  Primal Branding into my personal vlog channel with the hope that it may provide you with a solid base for how to implement it into your online video content and start strengthening your community.

Click here to watch this video.

Applying the Primal Code for Online Video Communities

1) The Creation Story:  For people who were with me from the beginning they know about our back story. However, there are a number of viewers who jumped in later and it’s like jumping in the middle of a TV series and knowing none of the characters. To avoid this, I created a one-minute animated video that gave a brief background.

Click here to watch this video.

I chose animation because I wanted it to be engaging and interesting and felt that animation would be just different enough to hold people’s attention.

One of the things I do to ensure viewers know where to see this is at the end of every single video I put an annotation link to the video, giving viewers a call to action. Providing the creation story is important because it provides a link, something to make the viewers feel attached to the creator.

2) Creed: This came naturally to me which is basically my belief system. A lot of companies and organizations seem to forget this part. They do a great job of describing the content but forget to give the reason they believe in something.

3) Icons:  As mentioned before, icons are things that people associate with a video. Things that connect them to the video or they expect to see. For my vlog channel it would be things like my hat or even my kids.

4) Rituals: These are the things that are repeated over and over again that people learn to expect and look forward to. If you post your videos on a very regular schedule, like Creator’s Tip videos are scheduled every Thursday at 9 a.m. Pacific time or noon eastern time. Rituals are really the repeated engagements we have with the brand or with the brand community. They’re important, and they can be positive or negative. Having a negative experience or negative ritual, is not good. You want to make them positive. For my video, I always start with introducing the topic. The ritual includes the logo, intro, and content.

5) Language: These are the things that you commonly expect to hear from people that are things that only that particular community would really understand and know. It’s not just the words. The mannerisms, the articulation, and the vocalization are all part of it. They’re instantly identifiable. If you know the words you’re a part of that community.  How well you know them kind of sorts out where you fit within that hierarchy.  If you guys watch Chez Carl on YouTube, you know the “Hey! I’m vlogging here!” You’ve got that thing. Toby Turner has tons of different rituals and different sacred words in his videos that you learn to expect. You know, he does the, “bless you,” if you sneeze in the middle of the studio. You grow to expect that, and it has become a part of that. Only the people that are a part of his community know what he’s talking about.

6) Anti-Believers: There are always a group of non-believers who go against the code or creed.   With my videos my creed was basically that we believe that life is meant to be shared and the non-believers were all those who didn’t believe in that. Just realizing there is that piece was freeing for me as a creator because as a human we want everyone to like and watch our videos, but you have to realize that the content is not necessary for everyone in the entire world. It’s meant for your  niche and it helps you to better cater to that group.

7) Leader: This is the person that everyone looks up to. It’s the person that’s kind of leading the charge. The creation story’s often wrapped around them, as well, in some ways. The leader’s recreates the world from their point of view.  It’s really the leader’s responsibility to pull together all the seven pieces of primal code. When all seven of them are together, it’s just turn people’s heads around. People feel like there’s something whole there. There’s some kind of wholeness and completeness. For my vlog channel, my wife and I are definitely the leaders. You are probably the leader of your content. You probably have part of the primal code in place even though you may not realize it. The key here is to realize the role and the position that you play and to really capitalize on that. You need to pull the seven aspects together to really drive your brand.

QUESTION: How will you implement the Primal Code into your video content to strengthen your community?

Tags: branding, Video Marketing, vlog


Pre-roll Video Ads Dominate, 15-Sec Ads Completed Most Often at YuMe

Friday, September 28th, 2012
Pre-roll Video Ads Dominate, 15-Sec Ads Completed Most Often at YuMe

YuMe has put out their Q2 2012 Video Metrics report that shows a good deal of information about the video advertising that they served up for the quarter. They found that pre-rolls still dominated with massive percentages of all ads shown with other formats like YuMe Ads, Connected TV, mobile, and banner ads accounting for a small fraction overall. California, Texas and New York consumed the most of them and men are more tolerant of online video ads.

Methodology

As always, I like to show you how the numbers were gathered, so here is YuMe's own methodology write up:

YuMe serves in-stream video ads on the 2,000+ publisher sites who are members of its Connected Audience Network as well as publishers utilizing its video ad management system ACE for Publishers (AFP). YuMe statistics presented in this report are generated
from data recorded with every ad request and ad served across the YuMe network and
received by AFP. The statistics are solely representative of YuMe’s network and may not
be a reflection of the overall online video marketplace. Efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of data presented, but data is not guaranteed to be accurate.

And, again as always, they earn mad props from me for being upfront about the numbers gathering and the fact that it will really only be highly accurate for their network and not the overall industry. There's a lot of information in the report but I want to only look at some interesting bits that apply more broadly.

Pre-Roll Roll Over Other Formats

YuMe offers a good deal of ad formats, about 18 or so. All are very similar but offer differing variations and capabilities.

For the most part, pre-rolls have always been dominant, and in Q2 2012 they still were accounting for 76% of all ads. The interesting thing is that it's down 8% from the previous quarter. That eight percent went to YuMe Ads (YuMe’s Expanded View, InSynch Video Takeover, Lights Out, PowerRoll, PowerRoll Data Connect, SideKick, Overlay, Branded Player, Multiplay, Ad Selector, Ngage, or Custom Made), mobile (3% extra). There's 1% missing in the Q2 report, probably from rounding. Banner and connected TV percentages didn't change.

Completion Rates Show Longer Ads Tolerated More

Overall in the quarter, completion rate rose 1% across all pre-rolls to 69%. However, it begs to be broken down into various lengths and YuMe did just that showing that 30-second ads were most popular in the quarter with advertisers, but 15-second ads were completed the most. The biggest change in the quarter, was the increase in ads that were longer than 30 seconds showing that perhaps, with a shift toward more long-form online video viewing, there is room to show longer ads as well.

40% completion rates for ads longer than 30 seconds is pretty good actually. With their continued growth and the higher completion rate it looks like viewers are becoming more accustomed to longer ads online.

The Battle of the Sexes

It also seems to be that men have become far more tolerant of ads in general. Last quarter women topped men in terms of average completion rates while Q2 2012 showed that men gained 9% and topped women overall. Completion rates also seem to run along expected demographic (age) categories.

Largest Video Ad Markets in the U.S.

California clearly took the largest majority of all ads viewed and Texas and New York tied for second with 7.6% each. A lot of it seems to run along not only population lines but also among technological ones with more rural states having much lower percentages.

Rock on YuMe! Thanks for the snapshot of your online video ad network. For the full Q2 2012 Video Advertising Metrics Report. Remember, these numbers are for YuMe's network and might not extend to the full online video advertising marketplace, but they're an interesting snapshot.

Tags: completion rates, connected TV, formats, long-form, metrics, mobile, network, pre-roll, statistics, video ad, Video Advertising, Video Trends & Research, YuMe


Is Incentivization Key to the Future of Online Video Advertising? [Study]

Thursday, September 27th, 2012
Is Incentivization Key to the Future of Online Video Advertising? [Study]

Advertising is generally about getting the brand, product or company in front of consumers and trying to trigger something in them that causes them to interact, increase engagement, raise awareness or convert into a paying customer. But it's not always very successful which is why there is so much advertising everywhere you turn. Perhaps there's a better way to lodge your brand in the consumer mind, by offering them something in return.

The incentivizing, offering the consumer something in return for watching an advertisement, isn't all that new. It's been around for awhile now and has been a staple of revenue generation in mobile and casual games. There are a couple different platforms out there that allow you to do it as well including Tapjoy and Facebook credits.

The Jun Group, who tracked a sample of 7.7 million user-initiated video ad views between May and August 2012, have found that opt-in video completion rates jump to 98% from 64% and engagement jumps 3.5% versus 1.2% over standard pre-roll. Granted, it's an extremely small subset of video ads and when you consider that something like 9.5 billion in-stream ads are seen a month, the margin of error is extremely low.

Basically, the Jun Group, who create and place opt-in video ads (meaning a grain of salt might be necessary here) are saying that the 15-second pre-roll is disruptive of the user experience and, "Increasingly, consumers resent it." I don't know about that statement, there's no actual proof to back that up per se. Granted, sticking a 15-second ad in front of a piece of content that's all of a minute long, isn't going to endear you to the viewers and is certainly going to increase the abandonment rate. However, when used properly and in moderation, I think it's a viable source of online video revenue and won't be so off putting as to negatively impact brand awareness or consumer attitude. Hulu seems to be doing well enough and that load up at least two 15-second pre-roll ads before showing content. Considering that the content is long-form, it's not all that unexpected. I definitely wouldn't be putting them in front of super-short-form, sub-three-minute video content though.

Now the Jun Group report does have some numbers that are hard to swallow, but like I said, they have a fairly vested interest, since they make and place these particular types of ads, so Caveat Lector.

The completion rate numbers are fairly high, 99% of 15-second opt-in ads are watched to completion. I almost have to say DUH! I mean, consumers in general are willing to watch 15-second pre-rolls just to get to the content they want to watch, offering them something in return should be a no-brainer in regards to completion rate rise. The same goes for 30 and 60-second ads.

However, the Jun Group went further and said that 90% of 90 second and 87% of 2 minute advertising opt-in videos are completed. Without knowing exactly what was promised the viewers of these videos, it's hard to gauge the actual meaning of those numbers. Would I watch a 2-minute advertisement to get a couple MP3s I want free? Probably. Would I do it to get some in-game currency for a casual game I play? Probably not. But that's not to say that those who are more invested in the game, wouldn't. I am but one man.

The Jun Group also reported that engagement for the opt-in video advertisements was higher than regular pre-roll ads. For all ad lengths it ranged between 2.8% to 4.5%. Pretty decent rates all things considered. Again though, we don't know what was offered to the viewers in order to get them to interact with the ads.

Now, the 4.5% was for ads that were in the 30-60 second range.

But those ads only accounted for 7% of all of the video views in their study. Only 15 second videos provided less at 6% of the total ad views. So how accurate are those numbers then? Plus, if the incentives weren't the same for all of the video advertisements, that is another variable that might skew the data, albeit unintentionally, of course.

Final Thoughts

So, is incentization of online video advertising the way of the future? It's hard to say based on this research. On the surface, the numbers look simply amazing, almost, too good to be true. So then, can they truly be true? It's hard to say. In my mind, there are too many other variables that don't seem to be accounted for. The numbers are presented in a vacuum without taking into account anything else that might have affected the outcome. There's no mention of where the ads were shown, what was offered for watching the ads, and how many times ads were seen by each person. On top of that, it's just 7.7 million ads over a four month period when, in that same time period, 38.5 billion or more in-stream ads were seen the majority of which weren't opt-in ads.

It almost seems like brands are getting so desperate to get their message across that they're willing to pay consumers to watch the ad. That's not exactly the case here, but it could be a slippery slope. If incentivization is indeed a major key to the future of online video advertising, are we then hurtling toward a day where all brands are paying consumers to view their ads?

Probably not, but we're also probably not on a road where opt-in, incentivized video ads will overtake standard video advertising anytime soon either.

You can check out the full study and report here.

Tags: brand awareness, completion rates, Facebook, long-form, research, short-form, study, video ad, Video Advertising, Video Trends & Research, video views


YouTube’s September On the Rise Winner is Gone to the Snow Dogs, Here’s Why

Thursday, September 27th, 2012
YouTube’s September On the Rise Winner is Gone to the Snow Dogs, Here’s Why

Proving that YouTube isn't just ruled by cats exclusively, Gone to the Snow Dogs has won September's YouTube "On the Rise" contest.  A growing theme from this contest is that highly accessible channels, with creators who care a lot about their audiences, have been nominated time and again.  The nominees are always superb in answering comments in general, and drumming up goodwill where people are more likely to vote for them.  Let's take a look at the average video from Gone to the Snow Dogs and see what pushed them to the top this month.

Gone to the Snow Dogs: Sept. 'On the Rise' Featured Channel

Channel creator Jessica has three Siberian Huskies: Shiloh, Shelby, and Oakley.  The biggest hit of the channel came from being featured on Animal Planet as Shiloh and Shelby "sang a duet" and became a mini-YouTube sensation (with over 200,000 views) back in 2010:

Click here to watch this video.

There are a steady amount of videos with 10,000 views and more.  This video, in which she gives her Huskies a new pool, was one of them:

Click here to watch this video.

And Jessica wasn't above a "Somebody I Used to Know" Gotye parody, either, and called it "Some Owner I Used to Know."  It had over 14,000 views, and it goes to show that no matter what kind of channel you have, you can find a way to leverage something huge to give your videos a boost:

Click here to watch this video.

Speaking of which, Gone to the Snow Dogs even had a "S*** Siberian Husky Owners Say" video:

Click here to watch this video.

What comes through in these videos is a true love for the dogs, and that's where the fans of this channel have shown their appreciation.  You don't see Siberian Huskies every day, and these are on display regularly: Gone to the Snow Dogs has over 350 videos and they range from cute to informational: there are a number of videos where Jessica lays out all the details about the good, the bad, and the ugly about owning these dogs.  But honestly, don't you want one, no matter the cost?

Here is Jessica and her dogs shouting out her fans for the win:

Click here to watch this video.

Content certainly matters, and in this case it's easy: have some cute dogs and show how much you love them in a variety of situations.  But what clearly shows here is Jessica's love for the fans and eager to interact with them through comments and answering questions.  You can build a good audience that way.   And certainly Gone to the Snow Dogs has done that.

Tags: contest, YouTube, Youtube Marketing & YouTube SEO


How to Make Video Ad Campaigns Go Viral – A Behind the Scenes Look into the Viral Video Process [Case Study]

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
How to Make Video Ad Campaigns Go Viral – A Behind the Scenes Look into the Viral Video Process [Case Study]

A couple of months ago, ABC's "Nightline" did a piece on trying to get a video to go viral.  They hired ad agency and online viral video specialists Mekanism for the job: they would take reporter Dan Harris and a cat named George through a video shoot for the ASPCA.  Now, "Hovercat" is not a huge, huge, superhit (a little over a million views), but the process ends up being successful and the behind-the-scenes is something that is very well worth watching.  It gives you an idea that virality is more of a science than a circumstance.  It requires work outside of making the video and merely publishing it, and hoping people will see it.

The Process of Hovercat, ASPCA Viral Video as Seen on Nightline

First, let's take a look at the finished product:

Click here to watch this video.

And here's the behind-the-scenes:

Click here to watch this video.

Now, this is a good video but I have a feeling that there were numerous short deadlines that everyone was trying to meet, and perhaps this doesn't come out as polished as it could be.  But what's important here is how a video gets "picked up" and shared.

The first thing we see is Mekanism and Harris looking for the right kind of video.  They reject a couple of pretty good ideas before settling on the Hovercat concept.  Here's where I think perhaps a reporter who wants to be taken seriously actually prevents the better ideas from being done.  It's understandable.  If you're a brand or personality, you don't want to be associated with something that might harm your image.

What happens next is Mekanism creates a spreadsheet of a number of "influencers" that could propel a cat-related video to a great number of views.  They push it towards Veronica Belmont and I Can Has Cheezburger? and probably a great many other sites we don't see in the piece.  This is a technique that is covered exhaustively in the YouTube Creator Playbook and Advertiser Playbook.  You want to share the video with people who are most likely to post it on their sites.  If you have a prevalent theme, you want to find sites with similar tastes.

After the video gets to 300,000 views, there is concern.  Mekanism has hooked top influencers into posting the video, but they've peaked here, so what do they do?  They send it to media influencer sites, including Mashable, who picks it up, and suddenly, major newspapers are following suit.  The video takes off from there and jumps up to 500,000, ending up with 800,000 by the time the story aired.  Since then, it's gotten another 200,000 and it hit the million mark.  With all that coverage, including being featured on "Good Morning America," I have a feeling that a million is considered disappointing.

What is missing from this piece is the idea of why it doesn't take off in a particularly special way.  I think the forced nature of the content is why–this isn't a cat that really looks like it's hovering, and the cat isn't doing anything with his skill other than looking awkward.  If he used this skill to say, fly out of the house and save another cat out of a tree, or reach a particularly tasty treat on a high shelf, or anything other than, "Hey, it's fun to hover," I think this had the potential to do much more.  Like I mentioned before, it looks like a lot of things, like time and possibly money, conspired to limit the views on this one.

What's missing from all this is the idea of people sharing the video through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  And that might have been part of the problem: it wasn't.  It was getting views through referral sites but not very likely getting shared on a large scale. To have a cat video struggle to find an audience is curious.

I mean, look at this video of a cat singing the "Game of Thrones" opening theme:

Click here to watch this video.

I'm not sure how many media outlets have picked this video up, but in a little more than a month, this has 1.9 million views.  I'm pretty sure it wasn't given the massive amount of coverage that "Hovercat" got.  But in this video, we see the leveraging of a popular TV show and a hilarious, spot-on delivery of the opening theme with cat meows.  There's a lot of character in this that people are willing to share.

Views aren't everything but you can tell a lot by the amount of backing a video has and how many views in which it translates.  Hovercat had every advantage in the world and could only cash in a small amount relative to its coverage.

However you look at it, it's worth taking a look at the Hovercat story just to see how ad agencies like Mekanism try to get a video seen by a mass audience.

Tags: ABC, agencies, case study, influencers, video seeding, viral, viral video, Viral Video Marketing, ^Featured Insights


How to Shoot Video with a Pure White Screen Background [Reel Rebel #21]

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
How to Shoot Video with a Pure White Screen Background [Reel Rebel #21]

If you've been watching our weekly video tips series, you've probably noticed that we often choose to shoot against a solid white screen background.  Shooting against a solid black or white background is a popular choice for web videos as it helps create an intimate setting, removing visual distractions so that your viewers can focus their attention on the subject.  Additionally, you can use the negative space of the solid background to showcase graphics, text, or b-roll.

We've covered the basics of how to create an infinite white background and on this week's Reel Rebel, Stephen Schweickart dives in a bit deeper to provide some additional tips to follow to ensure a good looking video when shooting against a white screen background.

Click here to watch this video.

Tips for Shooting & Lighting White Screen Videos:

First, if you want a white background in your video you should shoot it on a white screen – not a green screen.  You can do this with greenscreen by chroma keying and then adding a white solid but you'll have a difficult time keying out all the green which will result in green spill on your talent.  It's far easier to start with a white background.

Use a set of lights that evenly illuminates the backdrop and then a separate set of lights to light your talent.  This will help to prevent shadows from showing up on your background from lighting your subject alone.  Using this method also allows you to modify the brightness you want on your talent without effecting the brightness of the white behind them.

The size of the white will determine how many lights you need to have to get the light even on the backdrop.  For a waist up shot you can get away with using 3-4 lights at the most.  One on either side, one above in the center and if necessary one underneath.

A couple other things will make shooting on a white backdrop easier.  First, the simplest way to check if the white is evenly lit is to close the iris on your camera all the way down to one stop before it's completely closed.  The white background should come across as a dark grey and you should be able to see the discrepancies of the grey where the lights are brighter than others.

If you are using a standard three-point lighting setup for your talent, be careful of the effect the back light is having on your talent.  On white it can sometimes put too sharp of an edge light on your talent making them appear to blend into your background as opposed to separating them from it.  Either use a less intense light or even try no light at all since the white backdrop may be reflecting just enough light to get the look you need.

Tags: blue screen, chroma key, green screen, lighting, tips, Video Production Tips, Videos About Video


Translate Your Closed Captions into 300+ Languages with YouTube’s New Translation Tool

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
Translate Your Closed Captions into 300+ Languages with YouTube's New Translation Tool

If you make videos that are universal, that is, not confined to English-speaking countries, it will do your videos a world of good to be able to provide a number of languages so that almost anyone in the world can enjoy them.  We've covered in-depth how closed captions can help with YouTube SEO as they assist in telling the search engine what your video is about.  So you have two reasons to take advantage of a new caption translation tool that YouTube announced this week which can help you translate your captions into 300 languages via crowdsourcing and Google's translation toolkit.  You can now request to have your captions translated by someone, or you can translate it yourself.

The New YouTube Caption Translation Tool: How It Works

First, you'll need to actually make captions for your video.  YouTube allows you to upload a transcript, which it is then able to sync up correctly using a speech algorithm.  It can do this with English, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean.  And you'll want to do this for now, because when it automatically translates your actual spoken words into captions, it's hilariously awful (see here - Caption FAIL).

So here's where you can now get your captions translated, under the captions tab in your video manager, you have a link that says "Request translation."  Now you have two options: you can "create caption translation documents" or you can "invite and share with translators," which I'm assuming most people will do.  In the example provided, they are sharing with a translator:

What is also cool about this is that YouTube has embedded the video here so that you are provided context while the video is translated:

This new feature is pretty fantastic stuff, and another great way to build your audience if you're looking to expand outside the U.S., and a great tool for getting your video located in search.

Tags: algorithm, captions, closed captions, international, subtitles, Web Video Industry News, YouTube, Youtube Marketing & YouTube SEO, YouTube SEO


How To Add Quizzes and Polls to Your YouTube Videos, Make Money on Vimeo, and More… [Reel Web #58]

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
How To Add Quizzes and Polls to Your YouTube Videos, Make Money on Vimeo, and More… [Reel Web #58]

This week on the Reel Web we offer a tutorial on how to use YouTube's new beta labs feature that lets you poll your audience with interactive survey questions served via YouTube annotations.  We also discuss some online video news items from the past week including new monetization options on Vimeo, research regarding the impact of video advertising on TV ad dollars, why your subscribers numbers may be lower this week on YouTube and more.

Click here to watch this video.

YouTube's Questions Editor: Add Interactive Video Quizzes

Currently in beta testing, YouTube has a new feature that lets you add annotations that will poll your audience called the YouTube Questions Editor.  To try it out, simply enable it on your account here.  You will then see an option that when you edit your videos you can add an annotation to ask a question and poll your audience.  Keep in mind, this feature only works on platforms that support annotations and is not available on iPhones or other mobile devices.  When your audience is viewing your video from a desktop it will stop the video and they will see a question pop up with a couple different annotation options they can click on for their answer.  This enables you to then go back to the analytics for the video and review the what the viewers have selected. At this time there is no way to automatically display the results, however, since this is the beta version it will likely be a feature once it is released.

How to Create Annotations with Questions, Quizzes, Surveys & Polls:

Here is the step by step process to set up the polling annotation:

  1. Enable questions by agreeing to enter the beta program.
  2. Click on edit in your video manager.  In the upper corner of the tool bar click where it says 'Questions'.
  3. Enter your question.  Enter answer options for your audience to vote on.
  4. Enter the time you want your poll to show up in the video.  For example, if you want it to show up at the 15 second spot of the video you need to change the time code to read 15.0.
  5. Scroll to the bottom and click save changes.
  6. Click on annotations.  You will see that at the 15 second mark the annotation is displayed.  Now that you have that entered you have the option of change the length of the pause (the default length is 2 minutes).
  7. To add more questions repeat the process.

A couple of suggestions, first, it is probably a good idea to change the default pause time to about 15-20 seconds.  Secondly, you can change font size and color depending on your preference as well as rearrange the question on the screen to adjust the look and feel.  While you can slide it along the timeline we don't recommend that as the pieces don't work together well.  It's better to edit the annotation by returning to the question section and making any necessary changes.

To find the analytics for the poll question you need to go to the analytics for the specific video NOT your general analytics.  It will be found under annotation metrics.

Missing YouTube Subscribers?

You may have noticed that your subscriber numbers have gone down recently.  Last week YouTube announced they would be removing all closed YouTube accounts and therefor removing those accounts from the subscriber stats.  You are able to view how many of your subscribers had closed accounts by going to the subscriber account analytics in the back end of your YouTube channel.

Vimeo Enables Innovative Monetization Options

Last week Vimeo announced they would be adding a tip jar to videos showing on their site.  While watching a video you have the option of tipping the creator whatever amount you want for the content they created.  Whether this method is successful as a money producing method is yet to be determined, however the content on Vimeo is often more along the lines of short indie type films so viewers may be more apt to contribute to creator than they would on a platform such as YouTube.  They have also announced that there will soon be an option that requires your audience to pay to view the videos giving creators a simple way to sell their videos.

Is TV Losing Advertising Dollars?

There are new statistics out which are looking at what is happening with advertising dollars that were normally going into TV.  It covers whether advertisers are switching over to the web exclusively, how quickly that seems to growing and more.  At this time there seems to be enough room for both platforms to coexist.

The Ultimate Way to Brand and Promote Your Products

For video marketers out there, it appears that telling stories is the most effective way to brand and promote your products and services.  By attaching your brand or product to a story that people can relate to helps to engage your customers or audience and encourage greater brand loyalty.

QUESTION: How will you use YouTube's new Questions Editor?

Tags: annotations, survey, tips, tutorial, Videos About Video, Vimeo, YouTube, Youtube Marketing & YouTube SEO


Tips and Opportunities for B2B Marketers with YouTube: Insights from Cisco & ReelSEO

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
Tips and Opportunities for B2B Marketers with YouTube: Insights from Cisco & ReelSEO

Most of us who work in the digital space know that YouTube isn't just cat videos and horrible pop songs that make it big.  It's also a business tool, and there's nothing quite like video to show to a potential client what kind of work you do and what you represent.  B2B, or "business-to-business" video is a special class of video where you are trying to sell your services to another business, not to the everyday consumer.  These videos are just as important as selling your brand, and we recently talked about this at SES in San Francisco with Leslie Drate, Manager of Social Media at Cisco, and our own Mark Robertson, with the astounded and amazed Greg Jarboe asking the questions.  

Cisco: Opportunities for Video Throughout the B2B Sales Process

Here's Greg Jarboe talking to Leslie Drate about Cisco's B2B video strategy:

Click here to watch this video.

Drate says:

There are different kinds of videos, and depending on where your customer is in the sales process, you want to serve up a different kind of video.  So when you're building your video you really need to think about where am I going to place that video and where is my customer in the "customer journey" at that stage of the sales process?

For example, as a business you'll have a video that introduces viewers to their brand or service, a broad overview that makes the viewer aware of the business.  At some point, the customer/client decides they want to know more, so their path leads into solution overviews where there is more of a breakdown of the variety of services that the business can handle.  Then it goes to product overviews where there are specific products and what they do.  All of these stages of the consumer's "journey" needs a specific video.

Drate says Cisco makes over a thousand videos a year.  So they're definitely making their business known in all phases of the journey.

The B2B YouTube Marketing Opportunity & Tips

Here's Greg speaking to our own Mark Robertson:

Click here to watch this video.

Here's an interesting statistic thrown out there by our site's founder: 43% of IT professionals use YouTube specifically to search for technology products and information.

Also, since we're an SEO site, there are some great things that businesses can do to control how the watch page looks and how the related videos on that page can stay more on point.  Creating playlists, optimize tags so that the related videos stay more "you," and using annotations creatively in a way that keeps people clicking on your videos.

Mark also talks about whether or not to disable comments.  The idea is to interact with your customers and engage with them.  You miss out on a lot of discussion and being able to answer important questions by disabling comments.  You really should get the most out of your videos by being active in the video's life.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? What tips do you have for B2B Marketers looking to get into online video marketing? 

Tags: B2B, business video, Cisco, Greg Jarboe, SEO, tips, YouTube, Youtube Marketing & YouTube SEO, ^Featured Insights