Video producers are geeks. Since the birth of the medium enthusiasts and professionals have spat gear and tech related jargon at each other like robots. Put a group of producers in a room together and it’s only a matter of time before they geek out about the latest gear or software they’re using. Things haven’t changed. They’re actually getting more complex. Why? Two words: online video.
Traditional video producers are generally specialists at camera acquisition, lighting, audio, NLE editing, etc. In the “old days” (not even a decade ago) video pros would geek out about tape based-workflows and burning DVDs. Now they’re on to digital workflows and producing content for the web. Alas, a new video geek is born.
Ask your average video producer about what most of their content is being produced for and I’ll guarantee web video is more than 50% of their work. For me, it’s nearly 100%. Shifting from producing content for DVD or broadcast to web video has taken my level of geek straight to the stratosphere.
The dynamics of online video have shifted the needs of our clients. They want more than a DVD or Youtube video now. They wanna get that stunning new video on their website right away. They wanna be able to reach large audiences with a cool looking video player, and buttons over the video that link out to other web pages. They wanna measure the video’s ROI by tracking whose watching the video and how for how long. They wanna take advantage of all that web delivery has to offer. And they generally have no idea how to do it.
Who do they assume this expertise falls on? Naturally it falls on their video producer, often with some responsibility shared with a web developer. Inexperience on either end usually results in a bit of head scratching and a lot of experimenting. The problem is there is only a hand full of web developers out there that have worked with integrating video on their sites with quality. You get problems and questions like:
- The video is playing back slow and choppy.
- What video player do I use and where do I host the video for HQ playback?
- What format does the video come in? What’s best for the web?
If you don’t have answers or at least some idea of where to point them you will become obsolete and lose clients. On the other hand, if you familiarize yourself with online video integration you will have a far greater advantage over your competitors. You will create valuable relationships with clients that have tasted the success of online video and are hungry for more. You will become their guy.
I’ve become a geek of higher proportions than ever. Luckily the other half of our company is an experienced software/web developer who rubbed his nerdiness all over me. We spent countless hours and days experimenting with different codecs, compression settings, hosting and streaming options, video players, CNs, and worked closely with our clients to make sure they got everything they needed and more.
Sell your client on online video expertise and they will not have to shop other service providers. Here’s some quick advice on how to get started:
- Leverage the “cloud” – Handle scripting and collaboration over the web (hint: try Google Docsand Takeoff). It’s efficient and makes you look cool. The more you do over the web, the easier it will make your life and your client’s. They’ll respect you for it.
- Know the difference between effective video and crappy wannabe-viral video – Learn as much as you can about your client’s business. Study their website. Offer insight as to what messaging and lengths will work best for their needs (hint: try not to exceed 2 min)
- Become a video compression expert – This is important. Even if your video is a James Cameron extravaganza it won’t mean crap if it can’t be played back online smoothly and clearly. Know about h264, WebM, Flash, and HTML5. Know about compression for mobile devices. Know about it all! If you don’t you will be a dinosaur very soon.
Familiarize yourself with the online video industry – Know where the trends are and know what tools are out there for web integration. This is a BOOMING industry and there’s a bunch of great ones like Brightcove, Wistia, and Bits On the Run, to name a few. These companies make it easier for your clients to do cool stuff with their new content. The more knowledge you can gain and the easier you make it for a web developer, because you WILL work with one, the more trusted business you will get.
This is general advice of course. But it will serve you well if you haven’t thought about it yet. If you have any detailed questions feel free to contact me directly.
Geek out my video friends! GEEK OUT!