After 30 years of roaming the country, reporting Scotland for a wide range of programmes on radio and television, David Calder is moving into a new sphere - online training.

A director of the online video production company, BITWeb.tv, he's been asked to advise firms on how best to use video as a marketing tool. So he's created a course that covers everything from the kit you might need to the content of the videos, from creating a digital marketing strategy to optimising and promoting the videos you make.

Working with his wife, Penny Haywood Calder of PHPR, he will also be producing a series of webinars on Public Relations as well. And to complete a trio of services, he'll be developing a series of media and communication skills courses as well.

A new direction

Posted by on 17 April 2014

When we set up BITWeb.tv six years ago, it was with the aim of making video for business – that’s what the initials stand for ‘Business Internet Television’.

BITWeb LogoHowever, the recession meant that a lot of companies simply withdrew from a lot of the activity they’d done before. The purse strings were really tightly drawn. The didn’t want to know about video marketing or anything that would cost them extra. They stuck with what they knew.

Today, there are signs that things might just be improving in the economy. We’ve seen employment and real incomes rising. We’ve seen construction work get under way again. And we’ve seen a plethora of new starts – many encouraged by the universities.

That doesn’t mean that businesses are queueing up to get videos made – but they are starting to show an interest. They’re looking for impartial help and advice about what they need to do. The questions are quite straightforward.

  • Can I use my SmartPhone to make video clips? Yes, but get a tripod and clamp to make it stable.
  • Can I use a webcam? Only if you use external light to stop the screen making you look like a ghost!
  • Do I need an external microphone? Always!
  • Should I DIY or buy in the services of a production company? It’s all a question of ‘horses for courses’.

To answer these questions in more detail, we’ve started an online course using webinars. The first free session aimed specifically at accountants (‘Video for Accountants’) has just been held. The next starts on the 1st of May with a paid-for six-part course starting a week later.

It’s all very exciting. Please spread the word.

The new Digital Station for Edinburgh?

Posted by on 17 August 2012

The race is on to run the first of the new local television stations in cities around the UK. Edinburgh and Glasgow are among them. In what amounts to the biggest shake-up of British television since the advent of satellite TV, the government’s aim is to change the broadcast landscape with much greater emphasis on local service.

The Caledonian Mercury is part of one of those bids. We have joined “Made in Edinburgh” as a media partner and will produce regular current affairs programmes for the channel should it be successful. Under the working title of “Called to Account”, the plan is to host a series of debates in which local politicians and officials are put on the spot.

On a personal note, I have been appointed as station manager for the new service. This will present a series of challenges, not least how to engage with the local community in an effective way. Lord Reith’s maxim for the BBC – “inform, educate, entertain” – applies as much to a local service as it does to a national one.

“Made in Edinburgh” is part of a larger organisation, Made TV Ltd, which is bidding for a total of 11 local television licences across the country. The company’s business model is based on one that ran successfully in the Irish Republic until the economic crisis caused advertising there to collapse.

It is chaired by former Sky Entertainment and TopUp TV founder, Ian West, and has been working on its plans for three years. The company believes there is a huge gap in the market for truly local TV – not regional. “We are massive supporters of local television,” says chief executive Jamie Conway, “and really think this will be a revolution in viewing at a local level.”

Our plan, as submitted to Ofcom, is to launch a raft of new programmes dedicated to Edinburgh, concentrating on the city itself. We have formed partnerships with local organisations including Radio Forth One, the Filmhouse, Fluid Eye Productions, PHPR, the Traverse Theatre and Jewel and Esk College.

The last of these will be significant, especially after the three Edinburgh colleges merge in October. Not only does it give us access to some of the best studio facilities outside of the mainstream broadcasters, it also means that we can give media students real-life experience of what working in a broadcast environment really means.

But it won’t mean relying on student internships – that will only be a small part of our relationship. We will be employing journalists, producers, sales staff and technicians. But we will also work with the colleges, helping with their teaching programmes and providing air time for students to showcase their material.

“Made in Edinburgh” will be as much about opportunities for local businesses as it is about creating local content. “Relying on national advertising misses the point,” according to Conway. “Local TV needs to be for local content and local advertisers. Big brands can already afford to advertise on TV. Let’s give small businesses the chance to communicate with their community.”

He is also keen to stress that “this is not another ITV. All of our stations will be locally run with local news editors and producers and local editorial control. We will produce distinctive bespoke programmes in every city every day, but because our channels are structurally linked, we can share resources, which enable commercial viability.”

And that is vital. At the end of the day, no matter who wins this contract, local television must make financial sense. Made TV has a deliverable business model which the founders believe will stand the test of time. The company is well funded, having already secured £15 million from investors.

A little frustratingly, local television in Scotland will be available on Freeview Channel 45, whereas viewers south of the border will receive it on Channel 8 – which is currently reserved for BBC Alba here. However, that simply means that we have another challenge to face, a publicity challenge and we have partners on board who can help with that.

Edinburgh has long been neglected by not having proper local coverage, and we are looking forward to creating content by the people of Edinburgh for the people of Edinburgh. We will provide news, sport, current affairs, cultural and entertainment programmes that go to the heart of this great city. This is the capital of Scotland – let’s be proud of it.

Other bidders for the Edinburgh and Glasgow franchises include STV (under the ETV and GTV banners), the Edinburgh News Network and Metro8 (Edinburgh and Glasgow) and Glasgow TV. The successful bids are likely to be announced by the middle of September.

The Famous Grouse and the Biggest Bottle of Whisky

Posted by on 17 August 2012

We’ve been working with The Famous Grouse for several years now; so when they said they planned to go for the World record for the largest bottle of whisky ever, it just had to be filmed. The trouble is that nowhere in the UK has the facilities to make a glass bottle of that size any more. In fact, the only firm that can is Bomma in the Czech Republic. Sadly, we didn’t get to film there — a local crew did that; but the final shots were taken in Scotland and the whole piece edited here. The event took place on the “birthday” of The Famous Grouse — Sunday the 12th of August 2012 — at The Famous Grouse Experience just outside Crieff in Perthshire and a representative of Guinness World Records was on hand to confirm that the old record (held by Jack Daniels in the USA) hadn’t just been broken — but smashed! 228 litres is a LOT of whisky.

What is a viral video

Posted by on 13 June 2012

You can never tell what will become a “viral video”. The people commissioning and making the video certainly can’t make that decision. It’s entirely up to the viewers when they share what they like. At BITWeb.tv we can advise on what might give you a head start…but then it’s up to the audience.

Scottish Technology Showcase

Posted by on 13 June 2012

I wasn’t expecting to meet quite as many people that I already knew at the Scottish Technology Showcase in Glasgow. But it felt as though everyone I had ever interviewed for a business or technology feature had decided to visit the event this year. The press officer from Scottish Enterprise, Ruth Andrew, was very helpful and I managed to get a raft of interviews lined up quickly and easily.

I was really impressed with my first view of “Beamshare“, a new, secure video-sharing program from an Aberdeen-based company called OneCodec. At the moment, it’s mainly being used to share personal movies — but the company’s convinced that it will have attractive business applications as well. They’ve asked me to try it out as a beta tester so I’ll write about it once I’ve used it for a while.

It was pretty well attended and we made a video feature for the Caledonian Mercury. Here’s what is on the site:

Scotland has a reputation for its technology—the country has a long tradition of innovation. The evidence for the continuation of that was evident at the Scottish Technology Showcase. Over 1500 delegates were at the event, now in its fourth year, to meet over a hundred exhibitors, take part in matchmaking sessions and hear talks from leading figures in the sector. Some firms chose to launch new products or service at the show in Glasgow’s SECC. Supported by Scottish Enterprise, the event is designed to help Scottish firms forge new links and build new business for the future. And as the Caledonian Mercury’s been hearing, there are clear signs that Scottish firms are continuing to invest in innovation despite the tough economic conditions.

The link to the Showcase Website was included as you’ll be able to see the list of exhibitors.

The Joys of Autocue

Posted by on 11 June 2012

When you ask someone to appear in front of a camera, especially if they’re to speak directly to the lens, then they’ll often shy away. People who haven’t appeared on TV are usually terrified by the idea of speaking to the camera. But it’s important to remember that they’re actually more afraid of the “idea” than the reality. However, there’s an easy way to help them overcome that fear. At BITWeb.tv, we offer business people the chance to use our teleprompter or autocue. It works in exactly the same way as the systems in TV studios, with the equipment attached in front of the lens and your words scrolling up the screen of a smart phone or tablet.

Video to support a charitable cause

Posted by on 8 June 2012

In 1603, an English courtier called Sir Robert Carey rode from London to Edinburgh in just three days to tell James VI of Scotland that Queen Elizabeth had died. Even in its day, it was quite a remarkable achievement. Now, a telecoms specialist from Innerleithan has set himself the challenge of matching that time, this time travelling from Edinburgh to London on a bike.

With the full support of his family and colleagues at Veecom Systems, Stuart Potter will set off from a business networking breakfast in Leith, heading first for Darlington and then Loughborough before aiming for a final networking group at Tower Bridge in London. He may be doing it for the challenge — but he’d also doing it to raise money for the mental health charity, MIND:

http://www.biggestjourney.com
http://www.justgiving.com/biggestjourney

Why companies need to use video

Posted by on 7 June 2012

Within the next 12 months, video will account for about 95% of all traffic on the Internet. Businesses that don’t use video to promote themselves will be left behind. But video marketing is a skill that has to be learned. Our aim at BITWeb.tv is to offer help and advice to firms that want to adopt it. We have years of broadcasting experience behind us so we know how to make you look and sound good on screen. For more, look at http://www.bitweb.tv

Cameras

Posted by on 4 April 2011

For the past three years, we’ve been using a delightful little camera, the Sony HVR A1E.

It’s a camera that’s light-weight, simple to use but which also produces excellent sound and vision — and remember, BOTH are important. But the camera’s developed a minor fault. It’s easily repaired but that made us wonder about at least having a back-up. A couple of alternatives have come into view. First, there’s the entry level Sony HXR-MC2000E. This is a much larger camera, one you can put on your shoulder in the way that news camera operators often do. At the same time it’s quite light but sturdy, making it a practical option.

The only problem with this is that it only has one microphone socket, a mini-jack at that. It comes with its own stereo mic but that doesn’t necessarily fulfil the requirements we need. One option is to add an adapter, something like the one below which bolts on underneath the camera and adds a couple of balanced XLR connections which are then fed into the mini-jack port.

Another interesting camera is the Sony NEX VG10E. The interesting thing about this camcorder is that is has interchangeable lenses. For some projects, that could be very useful indeed, especially as a second unit camera which concentrated only on the images. It has the same problem of having mini-jack connections for external microphones but there are two ports.

As you can tell, we’re Sony fans since that was the kind of equipment we were used to at the BBC and know their reliability. We’ll let you know the result.

The large number of video aggregation sites

Posted by on 1 October 2009

The problem with online video is that, although YouTube’s by far the market leader, there are lots of other video aggregation sites out there. There’s Metacafe, Yahoo video, Daily Motion, Vimeo and others – over 20 of them. The simplest way of getting your video out to as many as you want (and there are some, Stupid Videos for instance, you should probably avoid) is by using Tube Mogul. This allows you to upload once and deliver many times. It will even convert your video into the most appropriate format for each site. Not only that, it also provides the analytic tools to let the user see where and how often their videos are watched, track what’s working and measure the impact of marketing campaigns. The basic service is free but you get a lot more from by paying a relatively small fee. This includes how much of the video is actually watched. If you simply use YouTube, it tells you how many people have clicked on the individual feature but not for how long. Research suggests that many online viewers have a quite short attention span. Tube Mogul gives you that kind of detail.

Categories: online video |