YouTube & SEO

Posted in B) TUTORIALS, F) Resources with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2014 by Video Whisperer

How to Make a Search Engine Happy

The true story of how one of my videos changed everything.

 

Warning: This video is 35 minutes long.  That said, if you are a video producer or business owner with a website, you’ll find the information here informative and useful. And you’ll probably find stuff you never even heard about.

It’s free to watch. There will be no, “but wait, there’s more”, or any other of the usual clues that you’re being lead down a garden path to buy something.

You can google anything I’ve said here (like “Google has been ignoring meta tag key words for years”) or any of the statistics and trends.

This is the story of how one video dramatically increased my Google profile, subscribers to my blog, YouTube channel and Facebook page in the space of one year. And how all that resulted in a dramatic increase in business video commissions on my regular business website.

I didn’t set out to do this deliberately.  Actually it was all sort of a fluke.

But since it did happen, I went back to evaluate the component parts of this success and I’m sharing it with you here.

Nothing mysterious. No assistance from Adwords, or any of the dozens of schemes out there that promise you the moon with their exclusive software.

In fact all I did was please the search engines. And the search engines were pleased because they saw that those searching for the topic of my video were pleased. And the more people that were pleased, the happier the search engines got.

How the search engines achieved this happiness in the midst of the dull drudgery of their daily, often thankless, often disparaged work, is the subject of this talk–which could have been alternatively titled, “How to Make a Search Engine Happy”.

For those businessmen and women who are going to ask, “But how is this going to help me sell widgets?”, the section after the video answers that question and covers a few points not covered in the video. But it won’t make sense if you haven’t seen the video first.

 

“So how is this going to help me sell my widgets?”

Fair question.

The Sony video talked about above made it’s way quickly to the top in a very competitive market. That is, there are a lot of sites that review photographic, video, computer equipment and so forth. And generally speaking, it’s a pretty gung-ho and internet switched-on market that they are reaching.

I’ve done many videos for large industrial companies, also in a niche market. They are hoping to close multi-million pound contracts with their products or services.

So who looks at their videos?

Two kinds of people do: 1) Businessmen looking for that specific product or service, and 2) the competition.

In either case, these are not likely going to be the type of people who “share”, “like”, “comment”, etc.  They might share it via email to a colleague or boss, but that’s about it in terms of engagement.

Then how does engagement apply here?

Creating a viral video is one way and many multi-national well-known corporations can actually create a viral video with confidence. Old Spice, BMW, Volkswagen, Volvo, Redbull and many others have done this. But these cost a fortune. A group of some very clever people come up with some very clever ideas and no expense is spared on pulling off each unique concept.

If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that kind of approach and budget is out of the question.

So what counts?

The Audience Retention Analytic

There are more metrics at play then mentioned in the video, but one of the more important ones is called “Audience Retention”. You can actually go into the backend of your video on your YouTube analytics page and see exactly minute by minute what percentage of people watched the video. In other words, it starts off at 100%. Maybe 20 seconds in it drops to 60%. You can see the percentages for every minute of the video and the overall average.

It might be disappointing to see that some people don’t watch the whole video.

For example, in that Sony video, the audience retention was 30% for the whole 14 minute video. That means, as of now, about 10,000 people watched the entire video–and that’s pretty good considering its length. Interestingly, the graph pretty much drops to the 30% mark in the first minute or two and then stays consistent right to the end. That’s very unusual. But it does tell me the audience I was actually looking for locked onto it and found it interesting and informative enough to watch all the way through.

There can be a number of reasons people don’t watch it all the way through. The primary one is it wasn’t what they were looking for. They realised early on it wasn’t relevant.  Or perhaps they realised this was about a BMW and they were looking for a Aston Marton.  And finally, here’s the real killer. If it’s a bad video (low quality production, hard to hear, amateur-looking, etc.) most people will turn it off right there–unless they perceive the content to be extremely relevant and important in which case they will grab a scotch, squint up their eyes and persevere the torture of watching the video. But that would be a rare exception.

But here’s the good news.  It isn’t the number of VIEWS that the search engines consider important any more. (they used to, but like in Blackhat SEO, people found ways to “game the system” and inflate their view counts.) Instead what the search engines consider important is the audience retention analytic. And that tells them what percentage of people found the content relevant.

So, if you think about it, your competition is in the same boat in trying to sell their widgets. Their market is not the type of market that is going to do anything more than watch the video to see if it suits their company, their needs, etc. in order to put forward a purchase order or arrange further meetings to obtain the service or product.

So if you both have videos on your respective widgets, who has the advantage?  The advantage goes to the company whose video (or other web page content) appears to be most relevant to the search and that is determined by how long people watch the video or otherwise engage on your site. If, in the case of video, it sees the percentage is 5% or lower (bad video), that’s struck off the list by the search engine. Bad or amateur video not only doesn’t pay, it’s destructive because it gives a poor impression of your company no matter how good your products and services really are.

Occasionally I used to check the views of my clients videos on their sites (not my Youtube channel where they are tagged and titled for my purposes more than theirs). One client had over 6000 views of three different videos featuring multi-million pound industrial installations in the first year of their upload, and one of the three videos at the time had been uploaded only a few months earlier. I’m not able to look further into their analytics for audience retention, etc., but that was an impressive view count for that particular product. Even a small percentage of those 6000 views leading to further contact would have meant a LOT of money for that business.

So the moral is, in terms of video, do everything I said above anyway. And make sure it’s a good, professional video that’s pure relevant content for what it is you’re trying to sell.  And that is what will rank you higher than the competition.

It still stands true that video is the best engagement object out there.

Used correctly, the return on investment will make it one of the most cost effective advertising methods you have ever employed.

 

 

How to Remove Western Digital Smartware

Posted in B) TUTORIALS, D) Reviews, E) FCPX with tags , , , , , , on February 27, 2014 by Video Whisperer

I can see from the multitude of forum queries across the internet that Western Digital’s “Smartware” is not a popular feature.

And removing it is just about impossible. Even if you format (erase) your entire drive. We’ve all tried it, haven’t we?

Then when Mavericks came out for Mac, there was a little problem:  Some people were experiencing an entire loss of their drive contents.

Western Digital promised a fix.

Fortunately I didn’t seem to be having the problem.

Until one day weeks after the problem was first announced I went into my time machine and NOTHING WAS THERE.  Totally blank. Zero. Nada.

Luckily all my video was backed up on other drives and all I lost was a back up of my computer applications, documents, downloads, photos, music and so forth.

A few days later Western Digital came out with the fix.

Well, it didn’t work for me. And after a few more hours added on top of the dozen or so previous hours searching the internet for solutions on this I very nearly gave up.

But I’m a clever guy.

I figured out a work-around that works every time. Well, I only tried it once, but I’m pretty sure it’s fail safe.

I was going to do a nice little intro on camera, but I ran out of play time, so what the heck–let’s cut to the chase!

Sony HXR NX30 Production Report

Posted in A) Sony HXR NX30, B) TUTORIALS, D) Reviews with tags , , , , , , on February 24, 2014 by Video Whisperer

I’ve now used the NX30 in several productions including music and corporate.

Last week I completed an 8 minute fund-raising video in Los Angeles which I thought would be a good video to elaborate on the NX30s capabilities in “run and gun” production.

Rather than go into the subject of what I mean by “run and gun” at any great length here, I’ve decided to take that up separately in a later blog. But to be clear, it’s in this type of shooting that the camera shines. It’s a rather competent “wing man”.

This production “The Locke High School Project” was definitely run and gun. Despite requests for various things to be lined up in advance of my arrival, very little was planned. Some things that were planned were faulty in terms of permissions, and some things planned simply fell through. It was up to me to pull it all together in a relatively short period of time to accomplish the objective of a video capable of appealing to a particular prospective donor of parting with $2,550,000.

If you can, watch the video in Full HD in order to evaluate the performance of the NX30.

You can watch the video now if you’d like and then read the comments below, or visa versa (or watch it twice).

1) It starts off with a sunset beach scene. That wasn’t planned. That was an off-the-cuff solution to a celebrity endorser to introduce the video who wasn’t able to be scheduled due to other commitments.  I didn’t want to have Sidney (the client making the appeal) to be bragging about his own accomplishments in order to position himself in the beginning of the video, but when the celebrity fell through and time had run out on my stay, I told him to grab his french horn and race down to the beach with me for sunset as a back-up to the original plan.

We got there in the last minute, and, as you can image, with no time for dilly-dallying, I just parked him on the sand and told him to start playing while I shot the footage.

If you’ve read my earlier blogs or seen any of the videos, you’ll know that I’m not a tripod or camera support system fan. In the old days working with crews, I’d have an assistant who took care of all that stuff giving me the time to plan angles and so forth.  When you’re solo, and in a rush, there’s little time for all that. Plus it’s a pain in the backside to clean out all the sand off your equipment after a beach shoot.

That’s why I love the NX30. Those shots are all hand-held. Not a speck of sand on any of my equipment.  But more than that, I could just turn the camera on in full intelligent auto mode and start shooting. It locked focus on the face and set its own exposure and colour balance.  What you see there isn’t even altered in post.

2) The sit-down interview with Sidney was shot on a tripod (as were the later interview scenes) because even I’m not masochistic or stupid enough to hold the camera for a 30 minute interview.

But here again, look at the beautiful clarity of the image. No, it’s not that shallow depth-of-field DSLR look. But with nice lighting, composition and tonal separation, what difference does it make for the purpose?  That’s a serious question. If it was shallow depth of field would it make it any better in terms of communication value?

I like shallow depth of field too. But that immediately taxes your attention that much more in terms of setting and maintaining focus. In this type of shooting, I’d much rather have more of my attention available for other things and not worrying about focus. Once I start that camera rolling, I’m no longer looking at the camera or the monitor. I’m chatting with the person. Nice to know the camera isn’t going to let that face go out-of-focus if he happens to shift or move.

3)  Shooting in the school.

This video was almost a disaster. I knew it was vitally important to get permission to shoot and interview in the school which was on the list of things I required to have set up in advance of my arrival.  When we got to the school we luckily got the athletic director to take us around. Here again, the little NX30 did not get a lot of attention due to its size. Could have been a different story with a larger “professional-looking” camera.

So what I did was tag along during the tour and just kept the camera running constantly. I had a radio mic on the athletic director and wore headphones so I could hear what they were talking about, but my main objective was to grab as much footage as I could.

Later we did the sit-down interview after which we stole over to the music department for about 40 minutes and obtained what the footage there on a similar basis.

Our time was up and we had to leave even though I wanted more. Interviews with sports students for example. But when it came time to go back to the school for that with fingers crossed, we ran head-on into the full bureaucracy of requiring written permissions based on submitting script, list of shots, video distribution plans, etc.

And since the marketing arm of the school would not be keen to show what needs to be shown in a FUND-RAISING video for the school’s inadequacies, I knew that road was closed. And we were out of time anyway.

So how did the NX30 perform?  I had it in Active Mode, Full intelligent auto. None of those “steadicam shots” were processed in post. Even though one shoots that sort of shots in wide angle for obvious reasons, there’s still the chance that the camera will decide to focus on something stupid. But the NX30 was set to keep track of faces and I could see it boxing in the faces as I moved, so my confidence was high (and not let down) in terms of focus. Or exposure, for that matter.

Short anecdote:  After we left the school for the second time without permission to shoot inside, I walked around outside to try to get a shot that showed a lot of students. Unfortunately the school was fenced like a prison. Nowhere in the entire circumference of the school was I able to see inside. Then, as I completed my walk around I noted an electric driveway gate opening. I stood ready, and as soon as the vehicle left and the gate started to close, I planted myself in the opening and grabbed a slow panning shot that showed a large group of students changing classes. I had one chance and only a few seconds. One shot.  And the NX30 backed me up by taking care of all the technical details.

3)  As I was leaving we got our hands on an old year book. I needed some historical shots. I used my Canon 600 to take stills of most of the shots I wanted out of the book (animating them in editing), but there are a couple of panning shots in there I did with the NX30 in Active Mode. That’s kind of difficult to do smoothly so close up, so in this case I further stabilised the shots in post to a very nice result.

AN IMPORTANT DISCOVERY ABOUT THE NX30

In some of my earlier corporate productions (and on this one too), I would come home to find to my horror that some of my interview shots were soft on focus. It was both unnerving and baffling.

Then it happened on this production on the interviews with both the original music teacher and the current one. As I watched these interviews I could see the camera slowly drifting from foreground to background over and over. I had NO IDEA what caused this and thought I might have a camera fault to be fixed.  (this is why the interview with the current music teacher starts with an unusually long amount of B roll before we actually see him talking. Likewise, near the end of the video the original music teacher is coming out of a dissolve which hides the moment when the shot is coming into focus and cuts to B roll just before it rolled out-of-focus)

The next day when I was setting up to do the interview with Sidney, I put the camera on the tripod and did what I usually do: shut off the stabilisation. As I did that I noticed something flash on the viewfinder screen. And a little notice came up that said something like “turn off intelligent auto”.  I looked closer and saw that what had flashed on the screen was the little intelligent auto icon turning off (greying out; going inactive).

Ah ha!  Intelligent auto only works in Active Mode! Makes sense too. That’s when you really need it.

So the lesson learned is: When shooting on a tripod with stabilisation turned off, you MUST set focus manually. You can either turn off auto-focus once it’s focused on the subject you want, or just turn it off and manually focus it on the subject.

Ok, that will be my last word on the NX30. Hope it helps any of you who are looking to buy a camera.

And thanks to the 50,000 of you who, at this writing, watched the 2 Part Sony HXR NX30 review making it the most watched and highly rated video review of the NX30 on the internet.

Yeah, I heard some of your complaints about it too and agree with you, so I’ll  incorporate those points next time.

(hey, what do you know–this is my 50th blog post!)

Best FCPX Tutorials | Izzy Video

Posted in B) TUTORIALS, E) FCPX, F) Resources with tags , , , , , on January 28, 2014 by Video Whisperer

For more than a year now I’ve been telling people on forums, etc. about izzy video.com.

When I first starting using FCPX it was obvious that it wasn’t just a “sit-down-and-figure-it-out” program. And I’m not very good at studying thick manuals.

But some people are and we count on them to put together tutorials that show us the fundamental basics in action.

There are many out there, as you all know.

I tried all the usual ones at the time and wasn’t very happy with any of them. Some were too long and drawn out, but most seemed to have an annoying aspect of the presenter trying to sell his own “brand”. By that I mean a bit too much time spend on being an interesting personality rather than just telling you what it is you want to know.

Then someone told me to check out izzy video.

I had a feeling that FCPX was simple and intuitive, but it was obvious that there were a few principles I’d have to grasp before I could run with it. My feeling was that this should be accomplishable in one day.

It was.

Izzy had quite a series of short tutorials on the basics of FCPX. More than a dozen I think. And they were free. But more importantly, he had me up and running and having fun in the very first day.

He didn’t pile it all on.

He took it step by step.

He wasn’t long and laborious. He was concise and to-the-point, easy to follow and listen to.

Then, for a ridiculously low fee, he had an “Advanced FCPX” course, also with tons of short videos, step by step.

With all that I happily edited for more than a year.

Then came FCPX 10.1.

It took Izzy a couple of weeks, but as soon as he announced the new FCPX 10.1 basic tutorials (he’s still got the original ones on his site if you haven’t upgraded), I sat down and watched them all straight through.

Boy am I glad I did!

Because I didn’t just learn about the new cool stuff that I wanted to grasp correctly from the outset, I learned a TON of stuff I didn’t know that’s been there all along. Easy stuff.  Wonderful tools and short cuts. Great advice on work flows.

Hey, maybe everyone else already knew all this (but I doubt it).

FCPX had already doubled my speed and enjoyment of the FCPX editing process right from the start. But I’m sure some of you are familiar with the nagging feeling that you’re being a lunkhead about certain things, but just don’t know another way of doing it so you just carry on being a lunkhead. (I’m not the only one, am I?)

But now Izzy has just inadvertently helped me get some of the “lunks” out of my head.

www.izzyvideo.com

And, no, this is not an affiliate announcement. I get nothing from this except the satisfaction of helping people which is the purpose of this blog.

Sony NEX EA50, A Cameraman’s Review

Posted in D) Reviews, F) Resources on January 6, 2014 by Video Whisperer

Does size really matter?

or…

How Big is Your Sensor?

EA50 sensor

If you love that shallow depth of field look and are fighting with the limitations of DSLRs for video production work, then the Sony NEX EA50 video camera might be for you, ‘cuz guess what, you can put your prime lenses on it too.

The camera actually has many impressive features not covered in my review (such as being able to program focus shifts), but it is assumed that anyone researching this camera will also look over the promotional material available on the camera.

Instead this Sony NEX EA50 video review features about 5 minutes of footage from the camera under various conditions along with commentary from a cameraman’s point of view.

As usual, I forgot to mention a few things, but one thing I want to mention here is that if you’re seriously looking at this camera, be sure to watch this video in full HD so you can actually evaluate picture quality, noise level in low light situations, colour, sharpness, clarity, etc.

A few notes:

1. Sample footage includes exterior day (with and without sun), dusk, night, low light interiors, church interiors, interview sample.

2. All footage was shot at 50p.

3. Except for the first shot, all footage was hand-held and shot in Active Stabilization mode.

Health disclaimer:

I was sicker than a dog for the first part of the video (but I had to do it as the camera was being returned the next day).

This may have accounted for the fact that I forgot to dust off and polish up the camera before showing it off. Embarrassing.

I was only half as sick as a dog for the second part.

Sony NEX EA50 PDF Summary

Click here for a nice little PDF on the Sony Nex EA50 that gives a nice overview of its features.

Update 11/01/14: Please check out some of the excellent comments from EA50 owners below, including how exposure lock is accomplished.

And here’s a 1:47 promo video for the Video Whisperer shot on the Sony NEX EA50.

To be honest, I may have been faulty in setting the camera up for this (high gain?), but anyway, it’s just too cute not to share…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvsof_qpVUE

Related

Sony HXR NX-30 Review

Priceless

Posted in C) Corporate Videos, E) FCPX with tags , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2013 by Video Whisperer

Brainstorm: one split second

Write script: 15 minutes

Shoot video: 30 minutes of ghastliness, 20 minutes of hiccups, 15 minutes of giggles, 15 minutes of magic and two stars are born

Edit video: 6 hours

Result: Priceless

(edited on FCPX)

Sony HXR NX30 at work

Posted in A) Sony HXR NX30, B) TUTORIALS, E) FCPX, F) Resources with tags , , , , , , on December 13, 2013 by Video Whisperer

Nice little demo of the camera in a production situation.

First dramatic scene is hand-held, including running. No editing stabilization added.

Edited on FCPX.  Click here for the full review of the Sony HXR NX30

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kCP4-XBB7M

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 192 other followers

%d bloggers like this: