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’.
However, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Organisations have differing views on how they want to use their videos. Some want to host them on their own web sites and only to display them there. Others, those with smaller bandwidth on their servers, prefer say the production company to host the videos remotely, but still to give the impression that they’re still within their own domain. Yet others want to link a YouTube video to their own pages. There are reasons for all three approaches. Suppose for instance that you’re an organisation with a large membership that wants to offer videos as part of the membership package. In those circumstances, you’ll want to host the video on your own site, secure behind password protection. Legal, accountancy and other professional groups may fall within this category. By contrast, other organisations may want to limit the people who view the video to their own geographical area, a Chamber of Commerce for instance. They also tend to have limited resources and may prefer the production company to arrange the hosting. The largest group is made up of those who want to tell the world but also want to show what they’re doing on their own website. They upload to YouTube and the other aggregation services but then “share” the videos by embedding the link either on their own pages or through a whole raft of social media sites. The choice is yours.