Sorry about the occasional Cockney language. Let us know if you need a translation! The third paragraph might get tricky.
As an East London boy, Video Artisan’s founder Kevin Cook knows the area well. From our video studios in leafy Loughton we’re only a stones throw from anywhere in London and Home Counties. With London Underground Central Line stations nearby – and the M25 two shakes away – we’ve got the UK covered. Furthermore, London and Stansted Airports are both about 30-minutes drive from our studios.
Our studios are ground floor – so no Apples! There’s a few good Germans nearby when you need a break for a Pigs. We’re very laid back so no need to wear a Fiddle. But were not telling you a Porky when we say that “video production” is our thing. This isn’t just in our Loaf. Take a Butchers at our Showreel and see what we do, and who we do it for.
So – if you’re ready to get your business on the Custard, now’s the time to contact Video Artisan. Cast your Minces below for details on how to find us.
East London Directions
Call 020 3602 3356 to book an appointment at our studios. You can download our location map here. Alternatively ping Kevin Cook for further advice on our various video production and conversions services. firstname.lastname@example.org
And, relax! Having just got to the end of a very busy run I’ve finally had time to put together a short video production services showreel – and to write another blog! To be honest, I even surprised myself with the range of video production works we’ve completed in recent years.
It is very rare that we get two jobs exactly the same – so when a client says, “Could you show me something similar you’ve done to what we are looking for?”, it can be quite a challenge to demonstrate this in a video production services showreel. However, we feel that it is much more important to be able to demonstrate that we understand what our clients are trying to achieve – and to be able to offer creative solutions that enable us to exceed their expectations.
Video Artisan – a ‘can-do’ company
So far we’ve never had to say no when a client has asked, “Can you do XYZ?”. Apart from our own in-house resources and expertise we have an extensive range of industry contacts and specialists who we can call upon to deliver any video-related product or service for our clients. This also means we can cope with multiple assignments at the same time – yet still manage the process and output to ensure every client receives the level of service they’ve come to expect from Video Artisan. No project is too big – and nothing is considered too small.
We’re about to head into another busy spell – with the production of training films for a major US-based manufacturer starting in a couple of weeks. Filming will be carried out in Essex for this, but we’ll also be heading overseas shortly after for assignments in Canada, France and Italy. I’ll keep you posted on these.
How to feature on our next Video Production Services Showreel
I hope you enjoy our video production services showreel. If you are looking for a different kind of video production service that’s not featured – please ask as we’d love to be able to add it to our next video production services showreel.
For more information on our corporate video services click here – or call us on +44 (0)20 3602 3356.
Video to MP4 is on the up! Just a few years ago we were almost exclusively converting VHS, VHS-C, 8mm and DV tapes to DVD. That’s still a significant part of what we do, and DVDs are going to be with us for many years to come, but our customers are starting to appreciate the convenience and benefits of having their videotape collection converted to MP4 files and supplied on USB stick.
So what is driving the change of video to MP4?
Our Video to MP4 conversion has many benefits over and above conversion to DVD. Without getting too geeky, MP4 (which is a digital video file format) has the potential of displaying much higher resolution images. However, this aspect is really only important if you have high definition videotapes that need converting. As with most things in life, you get out what you put in – so your never going to get high definition video from a VHS tape original. Sorry, but that’s a fact.
Where MP4 is extremely clever is that it compresses video more intelligently than the compression format used on a standard DVD (which, for the geeks among you, is MPEG2). Without any appreciable loss of quality you’ll only get around 2-hrs of standard definition video on a single-sided DVD (which has around 4.7GB of storage capacity). In MP4 format you can compress the video much more efficiently enabling you to get many more minutes into less storage space at a similar quality.
However, as clever as this all sounds the main benefits which our clients really like about our video to MP4 conversion service are:
1 – Easy to view
Most modern TV’s have the ability to playback MP4 files directly from a USB stick. Yes it’s true.. look on the back of your TV set and you’ll see a socket/s which you’ve probably not used before. Pop the USB stick in and select it from the source on your remote and, hey presto, the MP4 video files will play back just the same as they would if played from a DVD. MP4 files will also play back on BluRay players, mobile phones, tablets, media servers and more! Go on, dare you! See if you’ve got a USB socket on your TV set.
2 – Easy to copy
Whilst it’s easy for us geeky people to copy DVDs, not every customer wants to download ripping programs from dubious sources and fill up their computers with rarely used programs. Just pop the USB stick in your computer and it will appear like any other drive. Drag and drop the MP4 files on to your hard drive and it’s all backed up safely.
3 – Easy to share
Not only can you easily make additional copies on USB sticks (or we can do it for you), but you can also upload your MP4 files to the likes of YouTube and share them with the rest of the world (or at least family and friends). Simply open a YouTube account and start uploading! If you don’t want to share them with any Tom, Dick or Harry use YouTube’s privacy settings to restrict viewing to the audience you want.
4 – Easy to edit
MP4 files are also a doddle to edit. Most computers come with basic video editing software – and for those that don’t there are some neat and very cost effective programs that will allow you to chop out the bad bits, add titles, music and effects that will make your home movies much more enjoyable. Full resolution files can also be supplied (call 020 3602 3356 for details).
5 – Easy to store
Finally, USB sticks take up much less space in our ever-more cluttered lives. They’re certainly much more compact than the videotapes we’ve converted for you.
Costs of converting video to MP4
What our clients like most about our video to MP4 service is that it costs about the same as converting to DVD. For details on our pricing structure please visit our website section here – www.video-artisan.com/video-to-dvd/
For many years now businesses and public sector organisations have understood the value of profiling their employees on their website. Giving customers the opportunity of “Meeting the team” has long been recognised as both a valuable marketing asset and a means of attracting new employees of the right calibre. In the main, these pen pictures have been just that – a brief written outline of the person, often written by someone else within the company, and sometimes accompanied by a photo. This is all well and good but these are not exactly engaging pieces of website content. This is why more and more organisations are turning to Employee Video Profiles – and for many good reasons.
Who benefits from Employee Video Profiles?
Employee Video Profiles deliver so much more than text versions – benefiting the organisation, their clients and their employees – both present and potential. They are relatively easy and cost effective pieces of video to create – albeit daunting and alien to those appearing on screen. However, the rewards for all those concerns far outweigh any challenges they present. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of Employee Video Profiles to each stakeholder, starting with the most important group – the Website Visitors.
Website visitors are far more receptive to messages and information shared through video these days rather than having to read through reams of text-heavy web pages. It would be easy to say that website visitors have become lazy, but the truth is that there’s so much content online these days that everyone is looking for the quickest and easiest way to gather information and form an opinion – and nothing comes close to video in achieving this.
The target audience for Employee Video Profiles is going to be wide and varied. There will be those who are simply trying to find the right person to speak to within the organisation – be they customers, suppliers, investors or those looking for employment. Whilst all website sections offer relevant information to various visitor types, a section marked up as “Meet the team” or “Our people” has relevance to everyone visiting the site. Even though we often transact in a faceless world these days, people do still buy from people – so any chance a visitor has of making a personal connection with those within the organisation is often grasped at. No matter what their enquiry is about, having a named person – with a real face and personality – makes the process that much easier.
The flip side of this is one of the benefits to the organisation. Employee Video Profiles should help them ease navigation for website visitors so they get to the right person first time and thereby reduce the strain on other resources in the business in dealing with misguided enquiries. Employee Video Profiles, if planned and executed correctly, should also give the organisation an opportunity to promote their business or objectives and company ethos through their employees. Bright, happy and welcoming employees will give the impression of a bright and welcoming organisation. In other words, nice people to do business with – nice people to work for – nice people to know!
For the employees themselves, gaining experience in front of camera is increasingly important and valuable. Whilst this might come easy to some people, if you’re working with an experienced video production company on your Employee Video Profiles this should also come with a certain level of media training. You should be given guidance on scripting, body language, backdrop design and performance. This training will not only help junior members of staff, but should also be valuable to everyone up to director level in helping them with their on-screen performance.
And of course, let’s not forget those who are looking for employment. Their objective is to assess whether your business or organisation is one that they should be working for. Nothing can compete with hearing from other happy, contented and personable people who already work for you. Well produced and delivered Employee Video Profiles are as good as personal recommendations from someone you know and are far more likely to appeal to precisely the type of person you are trying to attract to your organisation.
Distributing your Employee Video Profiles
Whilst the distribution platform of your Employee Video Profiles will primarily be your website, they also provide the opportunity to expand your social media content. Hosting your own YouTube channel is the obvious place to start. As part of the Google platform, YouTube content features highly on search returns and will augment your general Search Engine Optimisation efforts. But don’t stop there. Separately uploading your Employee Video Profiles to your company Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Vimeo accounts will also help the videos gain traction – as well as sharing them on Twitter and alike. You should also encourage participants to share their performances on their own social media accounts – again adding to the potential audience and helping to raise awareness of your brand and business.
The cost of producing Employee Video Profiles
As I mentioned towards the beginning of this article, Employee Video Profiles are relatively cheap and cost-effective to produce – if scripted and planned for properly. With the use of greenscreen backdrops, professional cameras, lighting and audio recording technology, these can easily be filmed at your premises with little interference to your operation. If the participants are well prepared and rehearsed, it could be possible to film more than ten profiles in a day with a single-man video crew. Post production should take a couple of days to make them perfect, giving you a unit cost of around £150 per employee at this volume level – and possibly less if you want to create more.
If you are thinking about producing Employee Video Profiles, please give us a call today 020 3602 3356.
Case Study – Video Artisan has recently produced six employee video profiles for Galliard Homes. Watch their profiles below…
This week we’ve launched the first of a series of video tutorials for AKM Music – the UK’s leading producer of royalty free music for use within video and multimedia productions. These short video tutorials give guidance to newbie video producers and videographers looking to make the most of AKM Music’s vast library of royalty free music (AKA copyright-free music). The aim is to release one of these video tutorials each month, covering the technical and creative aspects of auditioning, editing and mastering the music score for video productions.
The subject is very close to home for us being regular users of AKM Music’s excellent repertoire. We also regularly review new albums for them for this blog and other print publications, so I guess producing the video tutorials was a natural progression for us.
The benefits of video tutorials
Producing video tutorials benefits all the stakeholders. The consumer benefits because video is simply the best medium in which to absorb and understand the processes being explained. Printed instructions and websites are fine, but nothing comes close to watching someone demonstrate a process on screen. Viewers can pause and repeat video tutorials as many times as they like, leaving very little to misinterpretation. Video can also be delivered easily over the internet to any viewing device – be that mobile, tablet, PC or large screen displays – and downloaded locally for playback and reference at a later date.
The commissioning company can also benefit hugely from producing video tutorials. They help build customer loyalty by adding to the customer experience of buying their product or service. Apart from educating end users and customers, video tutorials also help those within an organisation understand the products better and, probably more importantly, the customers who are buying them.
But, above all, populating your website with relevant and valuable video tutorials will help with your search engine optimisation and engage your website visitors more effectively. The longer someone spends on your website the more likely they are to identify with your brand, trust your advice and buy from you. Video tutorials are also perfect material to share via your social media channels and, if your audience sees the value too, they’ll also happily share them with others with the same interests.
If you have a product or service that could benefit from having video tutorials produced about their construction, use or maintenance – please get in touch and we can talk you through the process, costs and then develop an implementation plan to help you start benefiting from them too. Call 020 3602 3356.
Note: Type in ‘copyright-free music’ into the search box at the head of this website to see a range of reviews we’ve published on AKM Music albums.
There’s probably a thousand reasons why you might want to create your own corporate video and, as a professional video production company, we could probably suggest a thousand reasons why you shouldn’t be doing this yourself. You’ve already come to the conclusion that you need (or want) a video to help achieve your goals. You’ll understand the power of video as a communication tool, and seen it’s meteoric rise as a means of generating website traffic, helping to build brand loyalty, delivering a corporate message and motivating an audience to act in a certain way.
Commissioning a video production has traditionally been seen as an expensive exercise and, right now, you’ll be thinking that it’s going to be cheaper and easier to do it yourself – and with all the right knowledge, kit and experience you could possibly be right. It’s the latter part of that last sentence which presents your greatest challenge. Creating a great video looks pretty easy but the reality is that you’re going to face a steep learning curve and need much more kit than you think if you want it to represent you and your business the right way.
That said you’ve probably heard all this before and are still determined to give it a go. One of the important things about the video production process is that it can be a whole lot of fun – and extremely rewarding when you create something that delivers the results you desire. So here’s some practical notes for those determined to go down this path which highlights the obstacles and challenges you will face.
Getting the message right
Regardless of whether you go down the DIY route or commission a professional video production company to create your film, the one thing you have to do is know exactly what it is you want to say and how you want your audience to react. This is all about getting your message right. To do this successfully you’ll need to know your subject matter inside out, understand the needs and desire of your audience and have the mechanisms in place to allow them to do the thing you want them to do after watching your film. This could simply be buying your product from a website or retailer, registering to attend an event or understand how to use a product. The video might actually require your audience to do nothing other than to establish your product or brand as the market leader.
Once you know your message you’ll need to develop your script – never losing sight of what you are trying to motivate your audience to do. Do not waste a second on anything which deviates from this plan or is added purely to massage your own ego. You might well be the biggest widget maker in the world but unless you can get this information over in a way in which your audience can recognise this as a benefit to them then don’t waste their time with it. Never list features unless you can link them to benefits, and never knock your competitors.
Video cameras are everywhere these days – on phones, laptops, pads and all manner of devices. And the picture quality they can produce is increasingly impressive. Whilst there are some video production tasks these devices will be OK for, they are far from perfect and will limit what you’ll be able to create – and they will almost certainly fall very short on your expectations in recording sound.
The golden rule of good audio recording (which is equally as important as the pictures) is to get your microphone as close to the subject as possible. In-built microphones found on phones are simply not good enough to capture anything other than general ambient sound – and this is also true of purpose-built video cameras with internal mics. To get perfect audio you’ll also need to understand a little about microphone characteristics and their pick-up pattern – but the golden rule mentioned above is paramount which will often mean recording sound separately from the pictures or use a camera which can accept external audio connections so that you can place the mic close to the subject and yet still film from a distance. Ideally you’ll need a selection of microphone solutions and cables to connect them to the camera.
Keeping the camera steady is also extremely important unless you are trying to create a special effect or give the audience a voyeuristic point of view of a scene. You’ll therefore need a good tripod and a camera which can easily be mounted on it.
All video cameras these days are very light sensitive, even those found on mobile phones. However, good lighting is about controlling light and creating shadows to give your subject form and interest. Just slapping up a light and pointing it in the direction of your subject is rarely going to give you results that will be pleasing on the eye and look natural. The human eye is always attracted by the brightest part of a scene, so if there are other things in a scene which are brighter than your subject your viewers’ attention will be drawn to them. If you are filming people pay particular attention to their eyes as this is what your viewer will concentrate on – so adding light to give the eyes a sparkle will help keep the viewer’s attention on them.
Video editing software is included on almost every computer or laptop these days – and all of them are capable of doing the vast majority of editing that will be found in your average corporate video. Where they fall short is on the niceties and their ability to correct errors made at the filming stage. The only other challenge of using editing programs is their complexity and ease of use. Your first few attempts at using an editing program will be spent learning how to import your footage and carry out basic cutting of shots – so give yourself plenty of time to get the editing completed.
Other refinements of a more professional editing program will include the ability to add more polished titles and graphics – and also in the control of how the final film is output and distributed. A beefier computer will also help to speed up the editing process as video files are data hungry. Some computers might not be man-enough or up-to-date enough to do the job at all!
The true cost of video production
Assuming you are starting from scratch, a basic video production toolkit will set you back something in the order of £5,000. This would include a proper video camera with external audio connections and controls, a reasonable directional microphone with cables and headphones for monitoring, a video tripod (not a photographic tripod), a couple of lights, a basic computer with free editing software and a bag full of cables and batteries. Armed with this an experienced videographer will be able to turn out something which is watchable – and if you achieve this on your first attempt you’ll have done pretty well.
But with all the best kit in the world and the technical skills to go with it, without a clear idea of the aims and objectives, and a creative way to achieve them using video, the whole exercise is unlikely to give you the results you desire. Whilst a DIY approach might save pennies on paper, bringing in a professional video production company might actually give you a much greater return on your investment.
If you’re planning to start using video on a regular basis then the DIY route could be the best solution by building an in-house team or individuals to manage the video production process. These people will need to be trained and whilst there are various video production training resources available, another solution could be to engage an established video production company to help them produce the first one or two films and perhaps be retained to assist in the process should additional help be required.
Hopefully this has given you a better idea of the challenges facing you. If it’s not dampened your enthusiasm then we wish you every success and hope that you soon start to benefit from using video within your business. If it all seems too much, we’re only a phone call away (020 3602 3356).