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Update: There’s Still Quite The Buzz About Drones

It was a little over a year ago that I wrote a post entitled, What’s All The Buzz About Drone Videos?  In this post, I took a closer look at what drones really are (and aren’t), how they are being used and what benefit they might have to your business.  A large reason for me writing the post was that drones were a hot topic at the time in the video production world and I was getting asked several questions about my viewpoint on drones.  Fast forward to over one year later and drones are still a very hot topic.

A lot of the discussion around drones still stems from the whole “newness” factor.  As I mentioned in my previous post, a flying helicopter with a camera isn’t really new, but an unmanned flying helicopter with a remote control is a different ballgame.  Business and the general public have misconceptions about what a drone actually is and, often times, only hear the “bad” things.  That being said, there have been some important updates since my last article that I want to share.

FAA Confirms Drones Must Be Registered

The FAA confirmed during a recent press conference current drone owners – and not just new purchases – will have to be registered.  Officials hope to have the rules in place by Christmas, when as many as 700,000 drones are expected to be sold.

Currently, only commercial drone users are required to register with the FAA. Other drone users are required to fly devices below 400 feet and obtain FAA permission before operating within five miles of an airport. Operators are also supposed to avoid passenger planes.

The FAA will establish a committee of government and industry officials, as well as drone users, to work out the details of the registration system. It’s unclear if all drones will have to be registered, though the AP reports that toy and other small devices will likely be exempt.

Nobody knows exactly how many of the robotic aircraft are already flying around, but most estimates top 1 million.  This means plenty of people will need to get familiar with these new regulations.  As with many things drone related, when it comes to laws there is a lot of gray area.  This means it’s likely there will be reports of mishaps with unregistered drones showing up in the news.

Drones & Safety

The crazy thing about drones in the news is that the discussion rarely is about video.  With the exception of this drone fireworks video below that now has over 12 million views, the #1 reason drones make headlines is regarding safety.  While it’s completely understandable because there have been some safety issues, it’s a shame because these devices can capture some magnificent HD quality video.

As a marketing professional and owner of a company that provides HD video production services, my hope is that the conversation surrounding drones will make a shift toward one with positive sentiment.  I’d like to see the necessary laws get put in place and misunderstandings be resolved so we can all focus on using these devices in the way in which they were intended – to capture high quality video from a unique perspective.

What’s Next with Drones?

As with all new technology, it takes time for people to understand it.  The same is true with drones.  Once the dust settles on the law updates and adoption of these devices continues to accelerate, business usage will grow.  This is what is exciting about using drones to shoot video, take photos, etc.  The sky is the limit (literally) to what can be done using drones in industries such as real estate, agriculture, sports, etc.

Want to talk more about using drones for video production?  Here’s my card so you can get in touch!

 

5 Key Factors That Make or Break Your Video Production

 

1. Audio
This list is not any particular order, however, I feel like audio does need to be at the top for a reason.    A video with bad audio is unbearable.  That’s really the bottom line.  I don’t care if you are using an iPhone to shoot video or hiring a video production company like Focal Point, great audio MUST be a top priority.  There’s nothing that will make someone abandon watching a video faster than poor audio.  Do whatever you need to do to get this right.  The investment is worth it and anyone with a video production background will tell you the same.

2. Lighting
Every type of video production will involve some sort of lighting.  You can make a video without sound, without camera movements, but you can’t make one without light.  This means getting the lighting right is critical.  When it comes to products, correct lighting techniques are extremely important to capture the features.  When it comes to shapes and textures, proper lighting can be used to create just the right mood for the video production.  Knowing how to correctly light a scene takes practice and certain skill set.  If not done properly, bad lighting can mean more time in the video editing room and more cost to the client.

3. Storytelling
In order for your video marketing efforts to be effective, a story must be told.  Instead of thinking about how the “sell” is going to happen, start with a plan for the story that needs to be told.  Often times, the most memorable video marketing pieces barely mention or show the product.  Certainly if you want your video to be one people will share, the story must be compelling and well thought out.  Outline the story first and if you get that right, the rest will fall into place naturally.

4. Pacing
Video pacing and rhythm can have an incredible impact on the audience.  The pace of a video typically falls on the shoulders of the editor.  The same shots can come together a different way and give the video an entirely different feel.  Consider questions like – should the video production have a quick pace to evoke a sense of excitement and action?  Or does it make more sense for a more relaxed, slower piece with longer shots?  Answer these questions and make sure the video editor or video production company knows exactly the feel you’re looking for.

5. Shot Composition
Understanding the right type of shot for the right situation is a very important aspect of any video production.  Should a close up or medium shot be used?  How should the person or product be framed?  If you’ve spent any time around video, you might have heard of the rule of thirds.  This is a method for creating shots and one that takes times to understand and perfect.  Knowing all of the shots that must be captured and getting it all right the first time is huge.  No one likes to do a retake, especially the clients. 

When It All Comes Together

When everything comes together, the result is a very powerful video production that captures the audience, tells a story and compels some time of action.  Once piece that I am particular proud of that the Focal Point team produced is this video for Shiel Sexton telling the story of the construction process for the Palladium in Carmel, Indiana.  Now that we’ve covered the 5 key ingredients, notice the audio, lighting, storytelling, pacing and shot composition used to make things come together.  This is an absolutely beautiful building and I hope you’ll agree that we captured that beauty along with a compelling story in this video.

Palladium from Focal Point on Vimeo.

Contact Us for Video Production in Indianapolis

On of Focal Point’s core services is video production.  We’ve been able to work with some great clients in the Indianapolis area and beyond.  Take a look at some of our videos on Vimeo here to get a feel for the quality of work we’re able to achieve.  Let us know if we can help you plan and product your next video production by contacting us here. 

How to: Deliver the 1-2 Content Marketing Punch

My last 2 posts really got me thinking about the 2 different types of posts that should be a part of every content marketing plan.  I often think businesses publish these 2 types of posts naturally, but don’t take the time to think about the strategy behind it and set realistic expectations.  Let me explain how using these posts right way can be just the 1-2 content marketing punch you’re looking for…

The Easy to Follow Content Plan for New Bloggers post I published a couple of weeks ago, is one that will never “expire.”  It’s what many marketers like to call “evergreen” content.  While my post from last week about my 5 of My Favorite Super Bowl Ads is definitely a post with a shelf-life.  Both types of posts are equally important to any effective content marketing plan and it’s important to understand that ahead of time.  To explain, I will dive deeper into each type of content and offer up some tips for making it all come together.

What Is Evergreen Content?

Evergreen content has no expiration date.  It’s always relevant no matter the day, month or year.  For example, let’s say you are an auto mechanic.  As part of your content marketing plan, you’ve decided to create a series of how-to videos.  two of those videos happen to be: how to change a flat tire and how to jump start a car.  This content is evergreen content.  Fundamentally, these two things are never really going to change.  Furthermore, a potential customer could need help changing a tire or jump starting a car on any given day of the year.  The shelf-life of this helpful content is potentially forever.

What Is Shelf-Life Content?

Shelf-life content is seasonal/cyclical in nature and/or has an expiration date.  For example, let’s say that same auto mechanic also included in the content marketing plan a video covering winter driving tips and other about ways to keep your car cooler in the summer.  Both of these could be very useful posts, however, they both will also be very seasonal posts.  When it’s summer, odds are that winter driving tips videos isn’t going to get very many views.  But when winter rolls around, the summer video is going to be more popular.

Both Types of Content Are Equally Important

The question I get asked quite often when having this discussion is: which type of content should I invest my time and money in producing?  My answer is always both.  It doesn’t matter if we are talking about video content, email campaigns, or even infographics – in order to deliver the 1-2 content marketing knockout punch you need to have both.

Here’s why: content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.  But it sure does help if you’re able to sprint every other mile.  Pretty crazy analogy, I know, but not taking into account the elite athletes who sprint the whole thing – could you imagine if the everyday runner was able to do that?  Well that’s what having both types of content is like.

You see, for a business it makes sense to consistently publish helpful, evergreen content week after week.  But where you might really see the big spikes in sales or traffic will be around the shelf-life content.  Maybe it’s a Valentine’s Day campaign with a huge sale that really drives revenue in the month of February.  Or maybe every year Christmas time is absolutely critical to the success of the business.  All year long you’ve built the relationships, established trust and educated your potential customers.  By the time these key dates on the calendar roll around, you’ve got a bigger email list, larger social media following the marathon becomes a sprint you can win by accelerating sales like never before.

Ready to Start Your Content Marketing Plan?  Get in touch with me today!

3 Quick Content Creation Tips

So now that you know the importance of the 1-2 content marketing punch, here are 4 quick tips that are sure to help with creating both evergreen and shelf-life content.

1. Change Your Environment

Whether it’s writing a blog post, planning a video production or brainstorming a social media marketing campaign – we all get into a rut sometimes.  I’ve found that more times than not, it’s just a matter of changing up your environment.  Get out of the office, go to a coffee shop, try working in the morning or later at night.  Whatever the normal routine is, breaking free from it is often just the change of pace you need.

 2. Have Monthly or Quarterly Themes

This can greatly help to simplify things.  By planning ahead about the type of content that will be created, it’s easy to determine which pieces should be evergreen and which should have a shelf-life.

3. Answer Questions

Open your email and look at the last 4-5 questions you answered from clients or prospects.  Is it possible to turn those questions and answers into blog posts, videos, etc.  Each one could probably be classified as evergreen or shelf-life content and can easily fit into your content marketing plan.   Need more questions to answer, check out Quora, Reddit, Inbound.org, etc.

SEO TIP:  over half of all search queries use 3 words or more.  This means people are searching for answers to questions.

Need Help with Your Content Marketing Plan?  Contact me to help develop a strategy that makes sense.   

* Muhammad Ali photo from Huffington Post

2 Key Things Starbucks Absolutely Nails In This Video Marketing Campaign

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy analyzing what the big brands are doing when it comes to marketing campaigns.  A recent online video marketing campaign that caught my attention for the Starbucks global branding campaign – Meet Me At Starbucks.  This is essentially a high quality, HD video production that was shot in 28 countries in a single day.  While it’s one continuous video that’s about 6 minutes in length, it’s broken down into several mini vignettes each telling it’s own story.  There are 2 important reminders in this video  First, take a look at this 1 min video recap (you can watch the full video here) before I share my thoughts…

1. It’s not about you, it’s about your customers.

“It’s never been just about the coffee.” This line really encapsulates the entire Meet Me At Starbucks online marketing strategy of putting the customer first.  One thing you will notice when watching the video is that while most of the scenes take place at a Starbucks, the product placement of Starbucks’ drinks is actually very subtle.  And while it’s very subtle at the same time it’s incredibly effective.

You see, this online video marketing campaign demonstrates to me that Starbucks “gets it.”  Sure, the coffee is good, but even more important is the customer experience.  For the most part, people don’t meet people at Starbucks to drink coffee.  People meet people at Starbucks to do business, share stories, and build relationships.  Drinking Starbucks coffee is just something that happens as a part of that experience, but it’s never been just about that.

By creating an extraordinary customer experience, Starbucks has been able to position itself in a way to where they don’t always have to “sell” their coffee.  The customers and their experiences have become a big part of the Starbucks brand.  So much so that this entire campaign focuses primarily on the customers, yet will likely still help them sell more coffee than if it were the other way around (focusing on the coffee).

2. No technology can ever replace face to face communication.

“Good things happen when we get together.”  This line really hits the nail on the head if you ask me.   I have been a marketer for a long time.  I have seen a lot of changes in technology over the years.  These changes include things that have made what I do easier and things that have, quite frankly, made things more difficult.  I must say, I couldn’t agree more with this particular statement used in the Starbucks video marketing campaign.

The reason why I love this particular point is that I think as a society we hide behind technology too much.  It’s easier to send a text than to call.  It’s far easier to just FaceTime or Skype instead of driving or flying to meet in person.  Or at least we perceive it that way.  The list goes on and on.  Yet with all of the great advances in technology, most will admit there’s still something about meeting face to face that adds to the whole BLT factor (believability, likeability, trust).  Think about it…no matter how comfortable you become with technology, there are probably still a few things that you’d much rather do in person.  That’s because there’s just something about getting together that no technology can replace.

As good as Starbucks is with their online marketing strategy and social media marketing campaigns, they still understand that at the end of the day it’s about people coming together.  This is what made their business grow into what it is today and what will ultimately continue to drive their sales.  No technology will ever be able to change that.

 How Can You Apply This to Your Business?

Think about the customer experience you have created with your business/brand. It might have been awhile since you’ve taken the time to do something like this, but I assure you it will pay off.  Consider the whole process of doing business with your company/working with you.  Is it a smooth, enjoyable experience?  Is it something people are likely to tell others about?  If it isn’t, why not?

Going off the second point, I would just urge you to take the time to see your customers in person whenever possible.  I take great pride in the friendships and partnerships I’ve built over the years through networking.  I love meeting with my clients face-to-face and feel that’s truly when we do our best work.  As Starbucks reminds us, “great things happen when we get together.”

So, now I guess there’s only 1 thing left to do:  Let’s get together at Starbucks some time soon. 

Digital Cinema Quality, Affordable Rates for HD Video Production

Have you ever noticed how some HD video production looks a lot like film?  They’ve got a softness or smoothness to them, a different depth of field and well, they’ve just plain got a high-end look.

Digital Cinema is the buzz of this video industry these days.  It used to be that clients who wanted the best quality products would turn to film – which is both time-consuming and expensive to shoot, edit and produce.  But now, with digital cinema, you can get similar results for a fraction of the cost.

When it comes to video production, there are varying levels of quality – everything from home-grown look to high end and well produced – and now, there’s digital cinema.  Digital cinema refers to the use of digital technology to produce high-resolution, cinema quality motion images, but without the use of conventional film.

You may have heard of the HDSLR or the RED cameras – those are a few of the biggies in digital cinema, with marketing materials that include words like “revolutionary” and “game changing.”  It’s a whole different approach to video production – some even say it’s the true “high definition” where HDTV is the really “low definition.”

The biggest difference is the depth of field.  When shooting with digital cinema, cinematographers have a much greater control over the depth of field – producing images with soft backgrounds like what you’ll see in a movie theatre.  It’s all about the sensor.  35mm has a much larger sensor than a standard video camera, and digital cinema utilizes the same size sensor as 35mm film.

The work flow is different, too.  Video cameras allows us to zoom in and out, pan left to right and other things.  Digital cinema is different in that there’s no zoom. The camera is physically moved either by hand held or using a dolly, jib or steadi-cam to create this effect.  Dolly, Jib and Steadi-cam moves help create stylish, cinematic images and add an instant level of class to the production…giving the production that WOW factor.  Plus, the audio and video are recorded separately with most digital cinema style cameras.  Video is captured by the camera and audio is captured separately, then they’re synced up during the post production process.  This allows for better audio quality and more flexibility in capturing sound – for example, the camera can be 50 feet away from a subject and the audio technician is up close to the action to capture the best sound.  More flexibility makes for a better end result.

All in all, digital cinema provides clients with another option.  It’s not the answer for every scenario – every project and budget is different and many require different approaches.  Most quality production companies have a variety of camera packages to meet each client’s own need.  Digital cinema is the latest and greatest on the market and is becoming more widely used.  Hence, the buzz.

Transitions In UX Design

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