3 – 5 min max!!

Tube Mogul Research

Tube Mogul Research

These days I do my fair share of videography / multimedia / photo film or whatever you want to call it. Probably more than the average photographer and I love all the creative options it offers in being able to tell a story .

That being said, if you do start to get into this type of work you will probably run into lots more paperwork, budgets, scripts, 20 page proposals and complicated production schedules than your average photography job. Another thing I also find, is that most of my clients think they get more value for their money if they have a longer film. i.e. 10 min or 30 min.

The problem with that idea is that most of my clients don’t show their video in a movie theater or on TV, it is shown via the web with all the distractions of email, Twitter and Facebook to steal their audience away from their video. Clients love the web because it is an extremely cost effective way to publish their video to the public and it has added benefits that TV can never have like viral dissemination to help spread their message to more people than they could reach by themselves.

Most clients think that everyone will of course want to watch their video because they are amazing and if they don’t, it’s because you didn’t do a good job.

Well …… sort of.

Most of us that are hired for this type of work know how to make something that isn’t total crap, which is why they hired us to start. Where you failed in doing your job was not in the content that you created but that you didn’t convince the client to change the length of the video to something more watchable online. So as you can see this is pretty dam important. If you don’t convince your client to change their epic film ideas to something more realistic and effective they might think you did a crap job even though you didn’t.

So how do you convince your client to change their 15 min epic corporate video to a 3-5 min video?

  1. Ask them when they last watched a video in full online? What kind of video was it? How long was it? If it was a corporate film or NGO film that is more than 5 min put it on in the office and wait to see how long it takes for someone to start talking. Most of the time I find people start talking in 2-3 min. AMAZING!! You prove your point right there.
  2. Next show them some independent marketing research to back up your professional opinion. This helps out a lot with skeptical clients.

Ok the first part is easy and may be enough to convince your client, but sometimes …. I know wait for it…. Clients are difficult. Shocker I know!!!

So now armed with some independent marketing research on online video length you can change their mind and earn some professional respect to boot. But wait! Where is this marketing research your telling me about??? Well it is below so stay with me.

Back in old 2008 a great photography professor at the University of San Francisco, Ken Kobre, found some companies that published their research about the length of time people will watch online videos. Now you won’t find this awesome research on his new site but thank god he didn’t delete his old blog and you can still see his informative blog post here: http://kobrechannel.blogspot.com/2009/01/whats-perfect-online-video-length.html

Now I wouldn’t tell a client that “Ken Kobre says this and that,” even though he is my hero for publishing this great post. I would point them or give them a link to Tube Mogul. Tube Mogul is the company that did the research and they would be the authority http://www.tubemogul.com/research/report/18

I also like the other research that Kobre found from another source but strangely enough their website doesn’t work anymore.

Finally, I have found some other peoples thoughts about this topic that is more current than 2008. Here are the quotes:

Jeff MisentiVP of Fox News Digital – “the drop-off (watching vid online) after 90 sec is pretty severe.”

Joel Schwartzberg, – A director at PBS digital – “[he] cites attention span of 3 minutes for video.”

Anyways, I hope this helps you out on your next web video project. If you have any comments, strategies or other research you use to convince your clients to change the length of their video, please share them below in the comments.




60D $1099 of Video Goodness

Canon PR photo

Canon PR photo

Canon just released a new DSLR that shoots HD video for $1099. The one thing that I love about this camera is the fact that it has a  LCD screen can be moved in to a number of different places making it so much easier to shoot video. I think this is a great idea from canon.

The video quality is pretty similar to the 7D or 550D. You can see that here from the video examples from Canon.

Canon video examples

I would love to get my hands on one of these to see how it performs. I think it could be a great second camera / backup body to have. I bet it could be really great to have that LCD screen for steadicam work. I wonder if they will do this for Canon 5D Mark III everyone has been rumoring about.

Canon PR Photo @ DPreview.com - Click for larger photo

Canon PR Photo @ DPreview.com - Click for larger photo

Canon PR Photo @ DPreview.com - Click for larger photo

Canon PR Photo @ DPreview.com - Click for larger photo

Canon PR Photo @ DPreview.com - Click for larger photo

Canon PR Photo @ DPreview.com - Click for larger photo

Here are the specs on the camera for all you junkies out there:

  • An 18MP sensor with 4 channel readout. Very similar to the sensor found in the T2i and EOS 7D, though the 7D has 8 channel readout to speed up operation.
  • Full HD video at the same selectable resolutions and frame rates as the Rebel T2i/7D. Manual exposure setting is possible.
  • There is a “wind” filter which can be used when recording audio along with video. The built-in mic is mono, but there is a jack for a stereo mic. There is no manual control over audio volume.
  • The AF system has the 9 points found in the Rebel T2i, but all are cross (dual axis) sensors as in the 50D. The 7D has a more advanced AF system with 19 cross type sensors.
  • 63 zone metering as in the Rebel T2i and 7D
  • The viewfinder has 96% coverage (the 7D is 100%).
  • The ISO range is 100-6400 plus “H” (12800), same as the T2i and 7D.
  • The EOS 60D now uses SD(HC) cards like the T2i. The 7D  uses CF cards.
  • Canon has abandoned the BP-511 battery of the 50D in favor of the LP-E6 which is used in the EOS 7D (and 5D MkII).
  • The maximum frame rate is 5.7 frames per second (fps), between the 3.7 fps of the T2i and the 8 fps of the 7D
  • The LCD has a 3:2 aspect ratio and Canon’s current (and excellent) anti reflection technology.
  • For the first time on any Canon DSLR, the EOS 60D has a tilt and swivel LCD. This doesn’t help much for conventional still photography, but it can be very useful in Live View mode and when shooting video.
  • The weathersealing is somewhere between that of the T2i and the EOS 7D. It’s not super weather sealed, and it’s not designed to be used in heavy rain, but it shouldn’t quit if it sees a little drizzle!
  • The shutter is good for 100,000 cycles. Max speed is 1/8000s and sync is 1/250s
  • There is an electronic level, but only for the horizontal axis. The 7D has both horizontal and vertical levels, the T2i has none.
  • There is a dedication position on the mode switch for video and a dedicated “start/stop” button. When not in video mode, the button starts and stops Live View.
  • The mode dial has a locking button in the center which must be pressed before rotating the dial to change modes. This makes it harder to nudge the dial and inadvertently change modes.  Hopefully Canon learned their lesson with the A2, which had a similar, but notoriously fragile, mode change locking button.
  • The on/off switch is now directly below the mode control dial (as in the EOS 7D)
  • The buffer should be good for about 58 JPEGs or 16 RAW images. Better then the T2i, not quite as good as the EOS 7D for JPEGs.
  • The 4 way controller used for menu selection, AF zone selection etc. is now incorporated inside the rear QCD on the EOS 60D.
  • $1099! HELLO HONEY!!!!

Here are some other people’s thoughts on the new camera.

PDN: http://www.pdngearguide.com/gearguide/content_display/reviews/e3i7666b0f985795021e1a4172694176374

DP Review: http://www.dpreview.com/news/1008/10082620canoneos60d.asp

OGV what??? Universal Platform Publishing for Video

Today people have soooooo many ways to see your multimedia/videos/photofilms.

It is truly great to be able to show our content to our clients and potential clients on so many platforms through the internet. Unfortunately, the average photographer or film maker is not web intelligent which is why so many of them have flash websites which are expensive but easy to use.

What is the problem with this? Well if you haven’t seen the trend, people have decided that mobile viewers like iPad, HTC and iPhones are another way they want to look a content. For example my website has more and more viewers that are using an iPad or iPhone. Last month for example I had 113 people look at my blog and website with an iPhone or iPad.

So why is flash bad? Well if you didn’t know this the iPad and iPhone can’t and will never will see flash and Android based phones do a very poor job at letting you use flash.

So it seems that when you embed your videos with the standard flash based embedding, clients that want to look at your work will be missing out.

Do not be glum my friends. Let there be joy in the world. Some smart people got together and have fixed the problem in HTML 5.

So how do you take advantage of this HTML 5 and be able to show your videos across every platform known to man? Well you have a couple of options.

#1) Use Vimeo Plus which is $60 a year. Sweet deal.

#2) Use free Vimeo (or YouTube) and embed multiple video inputs for every platform out there and host the HTML 5 compatible videos on your own server.

Wait what? Embed multiple video inputs? Sounds like a lot of work.

Well no.

There is a very simple way to do this and i’m going to show you step by step.

#1) First you should use Firefox and add the plug-in Firefogg. Firefogg will help you convert your movie into the HTML5 complaint .ogv video file which is needed to for Firefox viewers.

#2) You can read about all the settings for Firefogg here but most of the time using the Preset in Firefogg does the job well. Just make sure you choose the option that has “Theora(video) and Vorbis(audio)”. ( I just found out that Firfogg can also encode your videos in Google’s new format called WebM. Very nice!)

#3) Now you will get a .ogv file. keep it.

#4) Now download another free program called MPEG Streamclip. Open up this application and go to “Export MPEG-4”

#5) Convert your original video file into a mp4 using h.264 or x.264.

#6) Upload your 2 video files (.ogv and .mp4) via FTP to your server.  Make it easy for yourself and make a folder called “Video” where you will put all these files. Make sure you know the file path on your server (http://www.yoursite.com/Videos/Name_of_your_Video.mp4).

#7) Upload your .mp4 video to Vimeo or YouTube.

#8) Open your web-page (with your web editor) or wordpress (Post -> HTML) and paste the following code. Make sure you change the file names and locations and read the directions below.

<!-- first try HTML5 playback: if serving as XML, expand `controls` to `controls="controls"` and autoplay likewise       -->
<!-- warning: playback does not work on iPad/iPhone if you include the poster attribute! fix coming from Apple in OS4.0  -->

<video width="768" height="432" controls autobuffer>  <!-- You can make this any size as long as you encode in that size and it has the same aspect ratio as your original video -->
<source src="../Videos/YOUR_VIDEO_NAME.mp4"  type="video/mp4" />  <!-- change your video name and location -->
<source src="../Videos/YOUR_VIDEO_NAME.ogv"  type="video/ogg" />  <!-- change your video name and location -->

<!-- fallback to Flash: this is the embedding code that YouTube or Vimeo gives you -->
<object width="768" height="432"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=12816435&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1" /><embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=12816435&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="768" height="432"></embed></object>

This last bit of code is your embedding code that Vimeo or YouTube gives you. This is flash and it is needed for all those poor souls that are still using Internet Explorer or haven’t updated their browser.

Well there you go. Now everyone can watch your great video work on any platform whether it is a computer, iPhone, iPad or Droid. By using this way of publishing your videos on your website you are publishing it for the future and for those people who are still using old browsers.

Now this embedding code is not my creation entirely. I modified it to use embedding code for Vimeo and YouTube from  Kroc Camen.  Without his help I would be as lost as you. So if you want to know more about HTML 5 from a super genius web guy go check out his site here: http://camendesign.com/code/video_for_everybody.

Now after all my talk were is my example?? Well here you go sparky!! This is my published HTML 5 video example for you from a recent project I worked on. Go ahead and right click on the video. No adobe and no flash (unless your on Internet Explorer 😉 ). Ahhhhhh so nice!!!

Also, so you don’t freak out about the video interface for different browsers. Each browser has their own different video interface.




Google Chrome

Google Chrome

Google Chrome




Well you get the idea. The important thing is that your clients can now watch your work on any platform they want to. It is all about accessibility.

Happy publishing!!

Tired and orange – Hanoi flower market during Tet

While this is my 4th Tet in Hanoi, I still enjoy going out to the night flower market just before the New Year. It is usually full of life and action, but this year it had a very different feeling. It was very dark and dirty and the flower sellers all looked very tired. Some of them said that it was a bad year to sell flowers as Hanoi had a hot flash for about 2 weeks before Tet which made most of the flowers bloom prematurely. For a flower seller in Hanoi, this is very bad as their Hanoian customers want their flowers to open up on the first day of Tet as it is considered an omen of good luck for the year. I feel bad for all the flower sellers, when their fight is strong they can haggle you to death, they just didn’t have that spirit in them this year. I missed it.

Keep your chin up all you flower sellers out there, next year will be here before you know it and with a little good luck the weather will be on your side.