After 30 years of roaming the country, reporting Scotland for a wide range of radio and television programmes, David Calder has retired from day-to-day broadcasting.

However, he has not hung up his microphone. He has created a local podcast for Portobello - the Porty Podcast - and is working on another - Spirit of Scotland - about Whisky, Gin and Craft Beer!

He's also invested in new technology to help firms use video as a marketing tool. The technology means that clients can provide the stills or video and David turns it into professional content!

Working with his wife, Penny, he provides workshops on media and communication skills, face-to-face in small groups or in webinars.

Mobile Phone Frustration

Posted by on 30 March 2012

The time has come for me to upgrade my mobile phone. There are some seemingly interesting new handsets on the market. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus, for instance, or the Sony Xperia S. There will undoubtedly be some (possibly many) people for whom these products are perfect. But there are aspects about them which mean they’re not right for me — and probably a whole lot of other people who need to synchronise their contacts and diary with Outlook. These phones are not designed to do that — at least not easily.

The point is that both are true Google phones, using the latest Android operating systems. These have been designed in such a way that you HAVE to use Google Contacts, Google Calendar and other services in Google’s Cloud. But if you use MS Outlook 2010 on a PC using Windows 7 64bit, then it seems to be impossible to do so.

As far as Google Calendar is concerned, Google Sync doesn’t work; nor will the other applications which claim to be able to achieve this result. I did try to use a Nexus but had to send it back after less than a week as unfit for purpose.

The critical point came where I was trying to import my contacts. Some way through the process, the error message “unforunately contacts has stopped” appeared. The phone was displaying the contacts list at the time. The result was that I was no longer able even to make phone calls; the handset would not let me display the keyboard. The only way to recover this basic function was to reset the phone to its factory settings, losing all data in the process.

Having thought about the Xperia S, I decided to talk to Sony about it. The helpful adviser told me that there was no way of directly connecting the phone to Outlook on my PC which meant that, once again, I had to go through the Google Cloud. I decided not even to try.

I’ve seen been on a number of forums where similarly disgruntled people have expressed the same frustrations. Google, presumably in its efforts to diss Microsoft, now seems determined to alienate the vast number of people who depend on Outlook for their diary, contacts and even CRM. It’s not earning them any brownie points and losing sales of what would otherwise be highly desirable products.

Copyright and Music in Video

Posted by on 22 March 2012

I overheard a discussion today involving another video producer and a web designer (no names here). The designer was angry that a video on a client’s website (one made by the producer) had to be taken down in a hurry because of copyright issues. The problem had to do with the music the producer had used. It seemed that he’d used a track from the client’s own collection without proper attribution or payment to PRS for Music. The client was a company which was in the process of being sold and was going through due diligence. The producer’s excuse was that the client had insisted and he wouldn’t do that again!

The important lesson here is that video producers really need to understand copyright. They need to be able to say to a client “yes you can use that music but do you know how much extra it will cost?” The PRS for Music rate can be quite steep and they are very vociferous when it comes to protecting their members interests.

Whenever we have made videos for clients that need music, we make sure that we acquired the rights to Royalty Free Music. There are many organisations that provide this. Each track seems relatively expensive but, once paid for, you then have the right to use it as many times as you wish. One of the best we’ve found is SmartSound. The music only works when you’ve bought their proprietary software, SonicFire Pro 5, which becomes part of your editing package; but the range of music is extensive and they offer excellent deals which allow you to buy blocks of albums at a considerable discount. It may initially seem to be quite a costly exercise but it’s a whole lot cheaper and easier than having PRS for Music on your back for getting it wrong!

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Video Marketing for Castlefoot, our holiday let apartment in Edinburgh’s Old Town

Posted by on 19 March 2012

It’s been quite a hectic few months. At the end of October, we bought a flat in one of the oldest buildings in King’s Stables Road — it’s well over 200 years old and predates the Victorian buildings on either side. It’s a two-storey building with six apartments which we’ve decided to let out to holiday-makers, to visitors to Edinburgh’s large number of festivals and business people needing short-term accommodation.

The flat itself was reasonably-well appointed but looked tired. The main rooms just needed decoration but the bathroom needed to be replaced. We had thought that it would take a few weeks for all the work to be completed because that’s what the trades people told us. However, a mixture of flu affecting several of the workmen, along with delays to starting the work in the first place meant that we missed Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, one of the high-season points of the year. In fact, it has taken until the middle of March for everything to be finally finished, so it will be ready for the Science Festival.

We’ve chosen a specialist firm to handle the marketing and bookings. Dickins has an excellent reputation for managing large numbers of good quality properties around the City. They even managed to get a viewing from a potential client who’s needing accommodation during the International Festival while the work was still on-going. But we felt we needed to use out own expertise to get as many pointers to the site as possible. So Penny took and uploaded about a cardful of pictures, each one optimised.

I’ve also made two videos. The first looks around the interior of the apartment, which we’re calling “Castlefoot“.

The other shows the surrounding area, that part of Old Town Edinburgh from the Grassmarket to Castle Terrace. That’s where the weekly Farmers’ Market is held which could prove an attraction to visitors.

What I hadn’t expected was the number of views the first video got within the first 24 hours. It wasn’t viral or anything like that, but quite a surprisingly large number given that we had only just started promoting it.

Our next task is to find and buy another flat of similar quality and central location. Quite a challenge!

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