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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:

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

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 @ - Click for larger photo

Canon PR Photo @ - Click for larger photo

Canon PR Photo @ - Click for larger photo

Canon PR Photo @ - Click for larger photo

Canon PR Photo @ - Click for larger photo

Canon PR Photo @ - 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.


DP Review:

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 (

#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=";;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1" /><embed src=";;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:

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.

Responsiblity and Guilt

What is a photographer’s responsibility to the subject after the photography has finished? This has been stewing in my mind for sometime. I’m quite lazy about writing in my blog but I hope that I can get some feed back from others about this. Here are my thoughts.

I have done only a handful of stories, in each story there is a bond of trust between me and the person I’m photographing. We see each other everyday. They let me into their lives to document and then to show to other people. That is a lot of trust to give to someone with a camera and you don’t know.

It must be difficult for the subjects of photo stories after the photographer has finished the work. I wonder if they feel used or if they feel they are not important to the photographer anymore?

I mean really think about it. You make a new friend who cares about you and is interested in your life. This friend, with a camera, comes with you everywhere. They ask questions about everything your doing and why. This must make the subject feel pretty special.

Then, BAM!!!, after 2 weeks, this person with a camera says goodbye and you see them if your lucky one time a year.

This must be difficult for the subject. I wonder how they justify the photographer leaving them in their mind?

I do try to go see the people that have allowed me into their lives. When I do, they always say I don’t visit enough. I usually smile guiltily and say that I have been busy working but I have not forgotten them.

I wonder what some of the big photographers like James Nachtwey or Stephanie Sinclair think of this? Do they feel the same or do they just keep on moving and don’t look back?

As my life as a documentary photographer continues there will be more stories with more people. Then, there will be more people to visit to make sure they know I think they are important and that I appreciate them letting me into their lives. At some point it will become impossible to visit everyone. I hope they will understand.

So, should I feel guilty or not if i can’t find time to go visit the subject of a past project?

I’m trying to rationalize it. No conclusions as of yet.

The Evolution Of Photography Is Here

I have been following the blog of Brent Foster for about a year now. He works similar to me, that being that he works in photography and film as well.

Lately, there has been a new breakthrough in DSLR technology. We can now do video with the same DSLR body and lenses we use for photography. For people like Brent and myself this is amazing!

Yesterday Canon announced that it will be updating it’s firmware for video on the 5D Mark II so that users can use manual control instead of the hindering automatic functions it now has. This new firmware will allow users to control the aperture, shutter speed and gain (ISO) and we hope that it offers 1080 24p as well.

This is a major breakthrough for people who are working in photography and film. I couldn’t be more excited to have these options available to me.

I have always been interested in multimedia photography ever since i was first introduced to in by my friend Justin in late 2006. I started reading blogs like Multimedia Shooter and studying classes from Mindy McAdams at the University of Florida.

For me, i think multimedia is not just the use of sound and photography. Sometimes i see people who add music to some images and they say they have made a multimedia.

I apologize to those people. I’m sure they worked very hard on what they did, but to me, it is not really giving justice to the tools available to them.

Multimedia is the use of photography, film and sound (interviews, ambient sound, music) so that they are all being harnessed to take advantage of the power each media form gives. This lets the viewer become closer to the story and understand more.

Photography Vs. Multimedia. One is not better than the other. They are just tools like in a construction workers tool belt. They each serves a different purpose.

We can now start see we have more demand from clients and newspapers to do video. There is new technology to do this from DSLR manufactures and we have this new way to present our stories and photography. So, my question to photographers is this:

Why are you waiting for?!

Other people are catching on and not just in the photojournalism area. You can see fashion photographers (Steven Klein, NYC & Esquire Magazine June Cover) starting to do both photography and film using The RED system and the 5D Mark II.

Almost every newspaper in America and Europe ask their photographers to do video as well as photography.

This is not a fad. This is the direction our industry is going. So come… on jump on…. it is only bumpy in the beginning.

Hoi An

My brother is visiting me. So my girlfriend and I thought it would be a good idea to go down to Hoi An for a couple of days to relax.
I grabbed my flash light and my camera bag to see if i can get an opportunity to try out a couple of ideas i have had for some photo. These photos are of some local girls ridding their bikes.

The other thing i really love about going to Hoi An is that the local food is so different than in Hanoi. Here is a photo of a man selling some of those lovely noodles in Hoi An.

The allies of Hoi An are small and provide the casual walker an easy idea of what life would have been like here in the early 1900′s. Every house you walk by you can see people through their old windows going about their daily routine.

The next day we had decided to go to an old ruin called My Son.

All in all it was a great little trip.