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.
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.
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.
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.
In his book “Get Seen”, Steve Garfield makes the point that you don’t always need expensive kit to make video for YouTube. He’s used a wide range of cameras, including a “flip” camera and a Nokia N95 phone on various occasions.
I’ve been looking at upgrading my mobile for some time now. I’ve never been a fan of Apple products. For some reason, every time I’ve used them, it’s been a disaster. So I really didn’t want to move to an iPhone (despite what so many people tell me). I’m not that interested in all the apps. I want a phone that does the basics well and then does some other key functions superbly as well.
That’s how I’ve ended up with a Sony Ericsson Vivaz. It’s a smart phone. It synchs easily with Outlook. I have unlimited Internet access on the account (almost as fast as my land line!!). But what REALLY caught my attention was the camera. It’s 8Mp for a start and, with video, shoots in High Definition. The stills function also has a trick I haven’t seen often before — the ability to take panoramic shots. Just point the camera at the starting point and snap. Move around to the next point and the camera vibrates to tell you to stop — it then takes that frame automatically. Move on to a third image. It takes that and then stitches all three together.
I’m going to play with this new toy in the coming days and will show the results here or on YouTube.