Audio Dysfunction: Keywest Vlog

Do you or someone you know suffer from audio dysfunction?

With all the aspects that go into producing a great looking corporate video, its easy to overlook all the potential problems associated with audio production. No matter how much time and effort goes into creating a beautiful looking image, poor sound quality can permanently damage a videos presentation.

Audio

For out video blog this week, we thought we’d highlight some of the many pitfalls associated with audio production in a humorous way.

Its possible that the widespread access to HD video cameras as made some individuals complacent when it comes to the audio quality of their productions. In some cases such as daily vloggers on YouTube for example, it may be less relevant, but when you are representing your business, that extra attention to detail can really leave a lasting impression. Check out this article about the importance of getting good audio on Soundworks.com

Its true that you can always re-record a new voice track and dub it over the original damaged audio, but the reality is that it rarely looks perfect, and it can be cost prohibitive. Check out this article about ADR (Automatic Dialogue Replacement) on Videomaker.com.

Having professionals record high quality audio on the day of a video production can save you endless headaches and money. You will see a lot more production value for your investment if its used initually to produce a quality video, as opposed to afterward to patch preventable damage. Next time you need to produce a corporate video, call Keywest Video and have your audio recorded right the first time.

If you or someone you know is suffering the effects of poor audio production, support groups can be found on many online forums such as Inditalk.com.

 

 

 

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Heineken Social Experiment

Heineken’s latest advertising campaign involves an interesting social experiment that uses a payphone and comedian Fred Armisen as a form of interactive marketing.

#Heineken, the famous Dutch brewery, joined forces with Saturday Night Live’s Fred Armisen to create a #SocialExperiment that challenges people to interrupt their daily routines. Part of the brand’s global “Cities of the World” campaign, this interesting social experiment, appropriately titled “Routine Interruptions”, yielded some entertaining results. Take a look below!

Renowned comedian Fred Armisen anonymously calls a New York City public pay phone in hopes that an innocent citizen walking by will pick it up. He keeps his identity shielded, while asking people to “come across the street.” If the person answering the phone agrees to do what Fred says they get to experience a once in a lifetime night on stage with Fred. Those who were brave enough to answer the call and walk into the unknown were rewarded with a unique experience.

Those who obliged and accepted a stranger’s invitation to “come across the street” — and only a handful of people did out of thousands that passed by the phone, according to Heineken — were invited on stage with Mr. Armisen at the Comedy Cellar comedy club on MacDougal Street.

Ad Age states:

As part of the campaign, Heineken will encourage people to enter their phone numbers at RoutineInterruptions.com. The brand promises to call “thousands” of entrants, asking people to partake in an unknown activity. The events are described as “cultural activities that inspire them to try something new.” Examples of rewards could include a private concert in a living room.

The beer giant’s aim is to use these unique social experiments to pull the constantly busy and the on-the-go city dwellers out of their demanding daily routines. Social experiments such as these generate a great deal of conversation and are an excellent #InteractiveMarketing tool.

Heineken Social Experiment - Would you answer the call?

Heineken Social Experiment – Would you answer the call?

Would you have answered the #RingingPayphone? If yes, would you have gone across the street?

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Ice Bucket Challenge

Have you heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge? The Ice Bucket Challenge is the latest phenomenon that’s spreading ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or “Lou Gehrig’s disease”) Awareness.

Ice Bucket Challenge

The Ice Bucket Challenge began as a competitive pursuit among professional golfers to draw awareness to ALS. Now the phenomenon has swept North American social media and is translating into millions of dollars in new donations to battle the disease.

The ALS Association said it has received $15.6 million in donations since July 29, an eight-fold spike over the $1.8 million donated during the same period last year. The association said this summer’s donations have come from existing donors as well as more than 300,000 new donors.

How does it work? Participants videotape themselves dumping a bucket of ice water over their heads, post the video online and challenge three others to do the same within 24 hours, or they are encouraged to make a $100 US donation to ALS.

How did it all start?

Chris Kennedy, a golfer in Sarasota, Fla., was nominated by a friend to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge, which at the time, had nothing to do with ALS. The campaign was not tied to any specific charity, and participants would select a charity of their choice for donations. Kennedy’s friend had selected a charity that benefits a young child with cancer in the area. Kennedy, passing the challenge along, then selected ALS because a relative is suffering from the disease. Kennedy nominated his wife’s cousin Jeanette Senerchia, whose husband Anthony is the one suffering from ALS. Kennedy posted this video on July 15—what appears to be the first instance in which the Ice Bucket Challenge and ALS were linked.

How do you feel about the #IceBucketChallenge? Have you participated? Do you know anyone who has? Take a look at these celebrity ice bucket challenges :)

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Kickstarter Do’s & Don’ts

We’ve had the pleasure to work on a Kickstarter campaign in recent months, and wanted to share the top Do’s and Don’ts we have discovered for creating an attention grabbing video

kickstarterKickstarter is an awesome way to make a great idea come to fruition. There have been numerous products which have gone from small start up companies to having millions of dollars in backing money donated from individuals across the globe. However, Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler reported that 56 percent of the site’s projects fail to meet their funding goals. Why is this we wondered?

When taking on the challenge of producing a Kickstarter video for one of our amazing clients, we looked into what others had to say about what to do, and what to avoid when putting together a great Kickstarter video, and overall campaign.

DO:

Have Confidence

In an article on fastcolabs.com Jennifer Elias quotes a source which emphasizes the need to be confident about what you are saying in your video. Even the minute wording differences can have an impact on how viewers perceive you and your product.

“Mitra says confidence is key. Researchers found that even the slightest hint of desperation is backer repellent. Don’t use these three words: “even a dollar.” Researchers found that phrases “even a dollar short” and “even a dollar can” resulted in a failed project. They team said it reads as “groveling” for money, which is a big turnoff.”

Look Professional

Todd Anderson on 99U.com explains why a professional looking video is so important for your Kickstarter campaign.

“If you look at the videos that do well on Kickstarter, almost all are professional, or near-professional, quality. This is no time to give a speech to your webcam. Designer Frank Chimero, stresses the importance creating a “stand-alone” video, that’s fun to watch outside of its connection to the project. Whatever your approach, don’t overlook the importance of showing yourself as someone others can relate to and support.”

Keep it Personal

The whole point of Kickstarter is individuals deciding to invest in a person. Not a flashy brand, or a world renowned company. Just you, and your great idea. So give them what they want. Be genuine, be personable, and show them the face behind the genius that is the next big product to hit shelves. Kickstarter itself lets us know on their blog,

“And don’t be afraid to put your face in front of the camera and let people see who they’re giving money to. We’ve watched thousands of these things, and you’d be surprised what a difference this makes.”

DON’T

Forget About the Basics

You don’t want to spend all your time creating a fancy looking video and forget that you need to tell your viewers about what really matters. The video should be a way to highlight and showcase you and your product, not just your production skills or budget. On Kickstarters own blog they too reinforce this point by listing off the basic things you can’t forget to mention in your video:


No matter how bare-bones or creative you want to get, don’t forget to:

  • Introduce yourself
  • Tell your story
  • Ask for people’s support and explain why you need it
  • Tell people what they’ll get for their money (i.e., your rewards)
  • Say thank you!

Good luck! And don’t forget to contact Keywest Video if you are interested in learning how we can help bring your Kickstarter video to the next level.

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Shark Week: A Lost Opportunity

Its that time of year again, we’re in the midst of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week and content wise, little has changed.

shark week

Photo taken at Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto

Once again Shark Week is dominated by fictional documentaries about mythical shark monsters that “may or may not exist.” It seems that the popularity of low budget horror films like “Sharknado 2” and “Ghost Shark” have created a fan base that simply isn’t satisfied by tried and true educational documentaries.

One big problem is that Shark Week has been around since 1988, most large shark species have been documented in contemporary wildlife films with breathtaking cinematography. Not content to air old material, its understandable that Shark Week producers have opted to create more structured “fictional” content.

Notable research scientists have voiced concerns that Shark Week producers tricked them into participating in “mocumentaties”. Shark Week film crews pretended to document shark research projects, then incorporated that interview footage into the likes of Shark Week offerings such as “Voodoo Shark” and “Monster Hammerhead”.

Discovery channel has a thin argument that some of these specials are true documentaries, since the subject is outlandish fisherman’s tales as opposed to known animal species. However, when you actually sit down and watch one of these pieces, it doesn’t take long for that premise to feel like a stretch.

The most unfortunate thing about the Shark Week lineup is that there really is a wealth of true documentary subject matter begging to be explored. Unfortunately it relates more to environmental & man-made factors that threaten nearly every single shark species, currently pushing them to the brink of extinction. As such, there would only be minimal use of embellished shark attack reenactments, and there in lies the problem.

Check out the program listings for Shark Week 2014, the titles say it all.

United States Viewers (or Canadians who claim to live there) can let Discovery Channel know what they think about Shark Week through this survey.

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Claymation in 2014?

Reviving the art of claymation in advertising and corporate video production.

There’s no denying that computer #animation (2D & 3D) has become an essential component in film & #VideoProduction. Here at Keywest video its something that we deal with daily. Whether its creating an interesting way for a logo to appear, or designing an animated sequence to convey a particular aspect of a #business. Claymation came up recently as a possible format for a project currently in pre-production here at Keywest, we wanted to explore the possibility with an animation test.

Claymation

 

Check out this timeline of notable advances in the art of animation from the UCLA website.

We find ourselves looking for alternative ways to display information, this helps us present new options to clients, and it diversifies our collection of demo projects at the same time.

For our #vlog this week, we wanted to show you a “proof of concept” video that we made for a client. Essentially, the idea of “claymation” was raised as a possibility. Most people that have a background in video production have some idea of what’s involved in this type of animation, but we wanted to get our feet wet and show the client that we could do it. (without spending too much time producing the sample)

As you can see, the sample features 3 separate scenes with camera motion motivated by the “actions” of the clay figures. We must confess that the shoot itself lasted about 10 minutes, and it was collectively out first attempt at this type of animation. The results are sufficient to demonstrate that: with a little bit of planning and effort, some striking results could be produced. (Since this test had neither of those, and it’s not without it’s charm)

If you want to learn more about claymation, check out animateclay.com. It’s an online community dedicated to #Claymation, providing information on techniques and support for those new to the art. Claymation is really just one of the many forms of stop motion animation, a style that has a long history in film, first emerging in the late 1800s.

We are always interested in experimentation and providing new exiting options for our clients. What type of animation should we try next?

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Aerial Videography for your Corporate Video

Aerial videography is quickly becoming a more widespread technique used in many mainstream videos both in and out of the corporate video world.

Aerial videography and imagery has always been intriguing to the eye for as long as we’ve had access to cameras and tall buildings.

Aerial Videography for your Corporate Video

Aerial Videography for your Corporate Video

#AerialVideography has often been considered a bit of a luxury in the video world as it required #helicopter rentals, and expensive #stabilizers, and not to mention an extremely experienced (and sometimes fearless) videographer. These elements would end up putting quite a dent in the production #budget… all for what would be small fraction of beautiful footage within a much larger production. As a result, many smaller-budget projects would shy away from the use of #aerial #videography, thereby missing out on its aesthetic benefits and the immense #ProductionValue that it had to offer.

Nowadays, aerial videography is slowly becoming commonplace thanks to the affordable remote controlled helicopters and drones that are available to the everyday consumer. For example, #DJI has a Phantom #MultiRotor that’s perfect for the everyday consumer and is equipped to hold your #GoPro and capture amazing #AerialImagery without breaking the bank.

Aerial videography can be an excellent asset to your #CorporateVideoProduction since it can add a great deal of #ProductionValue to your video with just a few seconds of video. Aerial video allows you to capture imagery that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to access without the help of a helicopter (and of course a large budget). When it comes to corporate video, aerial footage can be useful for showcasing a company’s facilities, signage, locations, etc. In addition, it can also be a useful tool for adding a creative flair to otherwise stagnant, or “boring” shots. Most importantly, aerial footage can add an element of professionalism and uniqueness to your video.

Are you looking to spice up your #CorporateVideo? Perhaps showcase some #AerialFootage of your company’s signage or premises? Keywest recently acquired a DJI Phantom – contact us today!

…Of course, if you aren’t willing to spend some cash on a remote-controlled helicopter… you could always strap a GoPro to an eagle and see how that goes!

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DJI Phantom Field Test: Keywest Vlog

The DJI Phantom is an impressive little quad-copter, and the Key West team is excited to now have one in our possession!

dji phantomKey West Video recently acquired a new toy. Well, it’s a bit more complicated than child’s play. More expensive too. But well worth the cost. Our videographer Chris has a fun time taking our DJI #Phantom out to a nearby park just the other day, along with our #GoPro to test it out.

The #quadcopter can get quite high off the ground, thus allowing for some pretty impressive shots. The opportunities for more dynamic shots are definitely increased with this addition to our equipment roster. Along with our sliders and stedi-cams, the #DJI Phantom will aid in bringing our clients videos to a higher production value.

Whether it be for an establishing shot of our client’s location, to b-roll around their facility, or intricate walking shots, there are a variety of uses for this production tool. We already have a few ideas in mind, and are plotting out how we can integrate it into some of our upcoming shoots.

Check out the video below which showcases the DJI Phantom in action!

Here’s what others had to say about the DJI Phantom:

It’s so fun to fly! Seriously, it’s one of the coolest toys I’ve ever played with. Ever. Everybody who tried it came away grinning. Once it’s all set up, it’s really pretty easy to fly, as long as you don’t get carried away and go to fast/high. The GPS features are all fantastic and may be a literal life-saver. The Wi-Fi repeater is a really smart idea, and being able to adjust the camera with your phone is fantastic. The JPGs it takes are fine, but if you don’t mind tweaking your photos later, shooting in DNG is really nice. The POV stills embedded in this post were all shot in DNG and then tweaked in Adobe Lightroom.

-Brent Rose, Gizmodo

DJI’s Phantom quadcopters are the first I’ve flown that really open my eyes to the potential of RC and autonomous drones. It combines a mix of technologies–gyroscopes, GPS, Wi-Fi, smartphones–in just the right way to make it much more than the sum of its parts. The flying experience really feels magical; it’s something you may have to fly or see in person to appreciate. But I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it if you’re in the market for a prosumer RC quad.

-Norman Chan, Tested

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Ronin: Stabilizing Possibilities

The Ronin Stabilizing Rig: Stable enough to be jerked around under a helicopter, yet light enough to be carried in this handheld model.

the roninThe possibilities can take you sky high, and low to the ground, with this portable and lightweight stabilizing technology recently introduced by DJI Innovation. The company is known for their quadcopters, more specifically the phantom. With reasonable price tags and lots of room to play around, it is no wonder why the company has branched out into other lines of video production equipment, such as the Ronin.

The Ronin was introduced just a few months ago in mid 2014. It can support a range of cameras, from DSLRs to larger ones like the RED EPIC. Although there are numerous camera stabilizers on the market to choose from, the Ronin is unique due to its features which are not found on other like products in a similar price range. Starting out at $4,499, and quickly being sold at B&H for only $2,999, its definitely more affordable then the $15,000 MōVI.

DJI Innovation’s product manager Paul Pan claims you can be ready to shoot in just 5 minutes, due to the auto calibration capabilities of the Ronin. And their website boasts that the built-in ATS (Auto Tune Stability) technology intelligently tunes Ronin to your camera rig at the touch of a button.

In Ben Coxwell’s article highlighting the Ronin on gizmag.com, he expands on the speed and flexibility of the product by stating,

For situations where the main camera operator has their hands full, an included radio remote control unit allows a second operator to control the pan, tilt and roll of the camera, independent of the Ronin’s movement.

This remote controlled capability can prove to be a huge advantage, especially in tight quarters or times where the time frame is limited. Check out the video below to get a glimpse into just some of the spectacular visuals made possible by the Ronin.

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Quality Corporate Video

We hear the question “what makes a quality corporate video?” from our clients a lot. And the answer is not as complicated as one might think. Here are our top 3 answers to producing a quality corporate video.

Quality Corporate Video

In writing a post, or even discussing with a client, the myriad of things which make up a quality video production, there are three recurring themes I have noticed. When you find a video that you love, whether it be a #CorporateVideo, or even a #ViralVideo, #BrandVideo, #TrainingVideo or the like, the aspects of those videos that stand out always seem to fall into one of the categories below; it tells a story, it has high production value, and the viewer really buys into it.

Storytelling

Video simply, is a visual storytelling medium. Just like a well written novel or a moving piece of music, a quality corporate video tells you a story of who the company is at its core, how this product came to life, why this service is imperative for consumers, and so on. Instead of just thinking of your video as a way to get across what you want to say, think first about what your customers want to know, and start there. What is the most exciting aspect of your businesses? Find a way to incorporate that into the theme of your video, while also getting across the things you need to. Just remember that audiences don’t like being spoken to. They enjoy videos most when they are included in the thinking process, when they get something out of the video, and when they are entertained.

Production Value

This one is a little more obvious. Everyone wants their video to look nice. Creating a quality corporate video also entails knowing how to juggle budget with professionalism. Simple tools of the trade which may only cost a few hundred dollars of your production budget can go a long way in making your video seem a lot more expensive. If you see equipment such as #stedicams, #sliders, RC #helicopters, and a second camera listed on your quote, know that these can amp up the production value of your video immensely. For example, using two cameras for an interview set-up can allow for more interesting visuals when having the interview subject on screen, and can also provide more options to cut up and chop together different segments of the same interview.

Authenticity

One thing that always ruins a video is finding out that is was all bullshit. It’s like learning the Easter Bunny isn’t real (I hope I didn’t spoil that for anyone). Generating a sense of authenticity can be difficult when your main goal is to put on a good show. Yes, we still want you and your organization to look good, but no that does not mean that we need to hire actors with three inches of make-up on to achieve that goal. As much as possible I prefer using real employees for b-roll shots, and real employees to speak on the company’s behalf. Of course, ensuring that the person you are getting to represent your company is well spoken and knows what to say is a must, but with a little coaching and finding the right person that isn’t as hard as it sounds. And if an interview style isn’t the right way to go, there are plenty of other ways to tell your story without it. The point is to figure out who your company is and the best way to represent that, without trying to fool people into believing you’re something that you’re not. This is what will make a quality corporate video. Because 9 times out of 10 audiences will be able to see through the BS.

Here is an example of a video produced by HubSpot, found on Ramp “4 Examples of Corporate Video Done Right”, which I believe in various ways falls into the three categories described above, and is a quality corporate video. Take a look for yourself and let us know what you think. Does it tell you the story of who HubSpot is as a company? Does it have nice looking shots with high production value? Is it authentic?

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