Flickr adds Downloadable Video Sharing

It’s not often that there’s a new feature worth talking about at Flickr. And it seems to have been so long that Flickr’s marketing team dropping it into a particularly bare email, giving it just two lines.

Flickr Photostream

But it’s actually quite interesting. Flickr has now made it possible to allow you to share videos in the same way as you can allow people to download your photos. You set your defaults and can tweak them for individual items.

It’s useful in two ways. Firstly it’s a way to allow videos to be used, modified and uploaded by others under a Creative Commons License, which is a great way to allow others to build on your work. And it also allows friends and family to potentially download and save videos which are important to them – meaning that your backup archive doesn’t just have to be on your own computer.

The first way is the most interesting though – obviously Youtube, Facebook and the likes of Instagram and Twitter are either the giants in online video or trying to get there. But although they all have ways to embed video and therefore display the original upload information and advertising, they don’t have any ways to allow people to share and download videos.

That relies on filesharing services like Dropbox, Hightail etc.

But that then relies on a personal relationship with the sender. I need to know the videos exist and be given the link to their location to be able to access them.

Flickr allowing video sharing changes that. It could really benefit a core group of video creators – although I wonder how many of them will actually be aware, given the lack of promotion about it. Strange considering how immensely important video is for big tech brands and publishers right now.

Creating and Sharing Videos Online – Quick Guide

The cost of creating videos has dropped dramatically in recent years, leading to an explosion in the footage being shot and uploaded across the web. From webcams and smartphones to RED cinematic cameras for motion pictures, the possibilities have never been more open. And the launch of Vine for videos via Twitter, and Instagram Video, means that short 6 or 15 second video clips have become viable tools for sharing ideas, content and marketing.

We’ve worked with talented video producers and helped with creating and sharing videos online for many years, and have achieved success with a number of brand channels. We also have plenty of experience in planning video production and distribution to get the most mileage from what can be expensive, and is often a time-consuming way to generate content.

 

Video Set for Episode 02 (Camera)

 

Creating great videos:

The most important aspects of great video content are simple to prioritise:

  1. Great content
  2. Production and Editing
  3. Marketing and Distribution

 

1. Great Video Content:

The definition of great video content is not an epic Hollywood script and production. Sometimes huge audiences are simply the result of being in the right place at the right time, but often it’s the result of creating content which is interesting, informative, entertaining, shocking or funny.

The key is to have your objective at the front of your mind. If you’re looking to sell a service or product, your aims and content will be different to someone launching themselves as the next great comedian on Youtube.

With each video, you should have a clear aim – is it primarily to build awareness, encourage people to click to visit your site, or help them to better understand and use your product?

The legendary Charlie Bit My Finger grew into a business after becoming immensely popular, simply by being entertaining.

Keep the viewer in mind at all times. Unless there’s a dramatic reason, you want them to see and understand the reason for watching your videos as quickly as possible – if you need to include company branding etc, there are better ways to do it than a huge introduction clip, which is a slight fail for the famous ‘Will It Blend’ series – but the hook is enough in this case to suffer through it:

Do your research – check out what is popular and successful for your immediate competitors. How would you improve upon what already exists and offer something better?

Enthusiasm is vital. Who hasn’t watched a screencast or software tutorial delivered with all the flair of a tax audit?

 

 

2. Production and Editing:

While you don’t need high production values to achieve success, they’ll definitely improve your odds. Beyond an adequate camera or webcam, the two biggest problems with most videos are lighting and audio.

Audio can often be solved by investing in equipment such as a decent cabled lapel mic or a Bluetooth remote version for presenters. Or a decent microphone for recording to your computer for screencasts, webinars and more.

Meanwhile lighting can be solved by thinking carefully about location, and potentially using some cost-effective solutions to add some illumination to the subject.

Consider this example, in which audio is a key part (note the microphone in shot), the lighting is serviceable, but by combining shots together it achieves a great result without adding anything unnecessary:

When it comes to editing software, the choices range from free open source programs to professional video editing suites. But it’s not what you use, it’s how you use it:

  • Brevity and clarity is key
  • Make sure intros or overlays are as short as possible, and consider using clear, readable text to convey information to shorten the length of videos.
  • Use overlays to also cover links for more information.
  • Film in sections for longer videos, which allows you more editing freedom, and to change location etc to keep an audience interested.
  • Hide cuts with transitions such as full screen graphics, jump cuts etc, but don’t overdo it.
  • Editing will always take much longer than you first imagine, so leave plenty of time in your schedule.
  • Try to pay attention to the techniques being used in your favourite and the most popular, videos.

 

3. Digital Video Distribution:

Although Youtube is the most popular video channel on the web, there are several other locations which can also attract an audience. If you plan to cut and share content across these channels from the start, you can deliver far more mileage for your investment.

Video sharing sites:

  • Youtube
  • Dailymotion
  • Vimeo
  • Metacafe
  • Vine (6 second clips via Twitter)
  • Instragram Video (15 second clips)
  • Facebook

Uploading each individual to multiple locations can be time-consuming, but you can also utilise services such as OneLoad from TuebMogul, which lets you upload once and then automates delivery to multiple platforms.

For each site, ensure you have set up your channel with the correct avatar and profile images (We have a guide for social network images)

Think carefully about how you title your video. Ensure it is clear and contains the relevant keywords for search.

Optimise your description to build on the information in the video – include relevant links and supporting info which doesn’t need to clutter the video itself.

Add relevant keywords, including your brand name. By including your brand name as a keyword, it encourages video sites to include any other videos from your channel as related content.

Finally, make sure you’re sharing your own content across the various channels you have access to. Blog about it, and make sure you use it when it’s relevant to answer customer questions to lower your customer service time and costs, for example.

 

More video tips and advice to come:

As video has become an integral part of what we do for clients and our own sites, we’re planning a full series of more in-depth articles in the future, including more details guides to production, editing and more. To keep up with our content, feel free to follow us on your choice of social network or via RSS etc.

Judging new media by old media metrics

Apparently Youtube has announced it will renew around 40% of the original content channels it funded last year (paying channels up to $5 million). As reported by AllThingsD, the channels not receiving new funding won’t be kicked off Youtube – and why would they with infinite space, and the deal requiring them to pay back the investment via advertising revenue if it hasn’t already been recouped?

What sparked my interest was the comparison to traditional TV only picking up the hits at the end of a season, and the fact that the first two comments on the article both said the experiment was a ‘failure’ in traditional TV terms and because 60% won’t be continued.

I’d completely disagree, and it’s symptomatic of the ease with which we default to existing yardsticks.

 

The long tail strikes again:

Presumably Google has already made back the initial investment on the 40% for renewal, or is close.

For the remaining 60%, Google will make back it’s investment eventually – those channels will remain contributing in perpetuity until they break even.

Tail of a tail

And the creators that aren’t having renewed deals do have an incentive to keep going – the investment and news will have certainly allowed them to raise their profiles and traffic beyond what they previously had. It certainly should have done with millions of dollars being handed out. Once their investment is re-payed they get the benefits of their increased traffic and funding to go forwards with.

I’m not a Google fan boy by any stretch of the imagination, but having followed the online video industry closely for many years, things have changed with the lowering costs of bandwith and storage, and that means better opportunities for all involved to operate with a lower risk. The cost of a prime time TV network show would be far more than a Youtube channel, and if it failed, there’s no coming back – compared to any of the ‘failed’ channels which could still break out with their next video or series.

Quora with video – marketing dream and user nightmare?

The value of question and answer sites has long been shared by SEO specialists in terms of linkbuilding, and to some extent in social media for relevant traffic. But Quora may have just gone a step further in terms of allowing marketing material to be provided in answers.

The site is now embedding Youtube videos in answers, and converting any previous links to Youtube videos into the embedded version.

Quora includes video

Quora includes video

In some ways that’s a good thing, considering the value of relevant videos in answering the right questions. For instance, when the question relates to music, or sport. And being able to share a Youtube video explaining a technical point could be rather useful.

But at the same time, it also means an additional amount of content for Quora moderators to try and look after to keep the quality of their site up, and an additional way for anyone wanting to quickly push out a load of irrelevant spam videos to get some extra views. After all, the big reason why Google claims Youtube needs to post-moderate videos is that noone could ever manage to watch the huge amount of content being uploaded, and then decide what can and can’t be posted.

Now if enough spammers start flooding Quora with irrelevant videos, the much smaller start-up will have a similar problem.

It also means that you might struggle to load a page with 60+ embedded videos in it if you’re on a slow connection, but that’s probably something we’re just going to have to come to terms with as every site rushes to include video due to the huge rise in both video viewing and growth in video advertising…

Doctorow video on copyright and piracy – must watch

Nice video of Cory Doctorow posted by the Guardian, and popping up in my RSS feeds thanks to The Pirates Dilemma.

The timing is particularly nice considering part of the video covers Hollywood and Youtube – and the latter has announced Creative Commons licences will now be part of the service when you upload or want to find content to mashup. It’s brilliant news, and the only question I have is why it took so long to happen?

I probably haven’t spent enough time educating enough of my clients about the benefits of utilising Creative Commons – a good reminder to start doing that right now.

From flash mobs to toast mobs?

It seems as if one of the industries creating more unusual advertising and marketing material has to be mobile handset makers.

e.g.

Which is linked to the new HTC Wildfire, as well as setting a new Guinness World Record for toast mosaics. The phone itself is HTC’s latest handset with the HTC Sense implementation of Android, a Friend Stream to check Facebook, Flickr and Twitter at the same time, and caller ID which includes the Facebook status of the caller and other details (Something increasingly useful). There’s more detail on the HTC Wildfire, here.

Why Twitter is right not to launch a video service

Reports by the Telegraph of an official Twitter video service have since been denied – and it’s definitely the right decision.

Video services have seen tremendous growth – but very few have made any money. Look at the example of Youtube, and the huge risks in terms of the costs of providing a video service, versus the potential ability to profit from it without a lot of hard work.

And how many video companies have either disappeared, or, in the most appropriate example, changed direction significantly – Seesmic was purely a video service before moving into the Twitter client arena.

And when Biz Stone replied to Mashable’s enquiries, it made it clear:

‘Haven’t read the piece but no video hosting. 140 characters of text including spaces. You know the drill!’

12Seconds iPhone App combines microblogging and messaging

Video microblogging 12seconds has released 12mail, to join the existing 12cast. Neither requires you to have an existing account, and whereas the earlier application would send videos to Twitter, the new app lets you send videos directly to your friends, which has far more potential for communication.

If you don’t have a 3GS you can send a picture and record an audio message on top of that – and either way, it will be direct messaged to all recipients on Twitter, or strangely posted to a user’s wall on Facebook.

The interesting thing is that I tipped the likes of Seesmic and 12Seconds as video microblogging which would grow hugely this year, but that hasn’t really happened. And the reason is I forgot to think about users more than technology – although there are some great people using video microblogging (for example @Documentally), most people are too self-conscious to be constantly updating to camera at the moment (Although the teen users of Ustream and Justin.tv etc might well disagree).

That’s why I love the fact this operates as more of a messaging service between people that know each other – the familiarity allows me to record a quick message when I don’t want to type or I want to share something visual, without worrying that the entire world will see my bad hair day.

Start the week with a great guide to multimedia journalism

There are increasing numbers of journalists and bloggers utilising every channel in multimedia to convey their stories and information, but whether you’re contemplating starting to embrace digital multimedia, or you’ve engaged in mixing text, audio, video etc for a while, you’re bound to pick up at least a couple of new tools and ideas from Mindy McAdam’s Reporters Guide to Multimedia Profiency.

It’s the single PDF compilation of her 15 excellent blog posts on the subject.

And worth reading if you’re publishing anything online, whether or not you’d define yourself as a journalist or editorial staff.

Former colleague (although we never met in person), Adam Westbrook has also been doing some brilliant guides to using multimedia and video.

And for interesting inspiration, I tend to look at Christian Payne, and spend some spare time trying to persuade friend and former colleague Angus Farquhar to spend more time doing crazy stuff and blogging about it.

PicPosterous – iPhone app for Posterous launches

image

Posterous straddles the bridge between microblogging and lifestreaming, and although founder Sachin Agarwal definitely prefers the latter description, I’m guessing it’s of interest to you – both as a place to post and aggregate content, but also as a method for sending content out to other sites, such as Twitter.

In any case, it’s first iPhone application is now available, and PicPosterous provides an alternative to emailing all your updates.

You can send content, particularly images and videos, before you’ve registered for an account, which will mean one is automatically created for you, and visual content can also be added to an album without starting a new post.

You can’t forward links or plain text to the site, which is potentially frustrating, and another niggle is that you don’t have any control over your autoposting settings via the app, besides turning them on or off.

But, as always with Posterous, the focus is on keeping things incredibly quick and simple, and then building on that, so I’m sure the feature list will improve fairly quickly over time.