Calm after the storm

Vietnam Portait Photographer

Every year at the end of January or beginning of February, Vietnam is in a chaotic flurry of buying, preparing and tidying up in anticipation of Tet. I hate this time of year and so do most other Expats as the traffic and general feeling of the city is all too stressful.

Yes more than normal.

What I do like is the calm and tranquility that replaces the chaos that was just one week before. This is the first morning of Tet. If you are ever lucky enough to experience it, it would be to experience Hanoi, Vietnam in its true Zen like or Valium induced state. The streets are empty except for the odd straggler here and there. You can hear birds clearly while walking down some of the larger streets in the city like Dai Co Viet. People are in a joyous and festive mood and will let you take photos of them with no problem (big deal for me as the ratio of asking is usually 1/3). All in all, it is really amazing and a joy to experience.

Since most photographers love to take photos or get assignments of the leading up of Tet, I thought why not show the actual first day of Tet and how calm it is and what remained after the chaos has subsided. So I set out at 6 AM and anyone I saw on the street I took a portrait of them. Got to say after 3 hours there were not so many portraits as it was really that quiet.

My first intention was to do this purely with images, but as my time on the street progressed I wanted to capture the sounds I experienced in the hope of helping place you, the audience, next to me in my morning journey. Sorry the sound is not better all I had was my iPhone, but I think it can still put you in the setting

I hope everyone has a great new year. May the year of the dragon bring you luck.

 

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.