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Examples of really good use of video on business websites?

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Mike Smith
Examples of really good use of video on business websites?
on Apr 18, 2009 at 1:11:34 pm

Anyone have any such examples (of really good use of video on business websites) ? On non-media-production sites, that is.

Many business sites as of today seem not to use video, or to have simply added a "standard" corporate video without really re-purposing it, or to have a talking head delivering content that could just as easily or more flexibly be in html. Sometimes it is in html, next to the video.

So, any favourite examples of good use ..?


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Todd Terry
Re: Examples of really good use of video on business websites?
on Apr 18, 2009 at 2:18:44 pm

Well, I can't say it's my favorite (and I hate to tout one of my own videos with the way the question was pharased)....

But last year we produced a corporate web video where there client let us concept a litte bit more than the usual CEO talking head. The client was the Avocent corporation, and they primarily make things like KVM switches and other computer products like that. One of their small divisions though makes these HD video distribution systems and asked us to create a marketing video for it...

You can see it here, in the biggest upper left box...

http://www.connectivity.avocent.com/tv/

It is not super polished as it was created quickly on a very shoestring budget, but I liked the fact that they let us try to craft a little story about their product, rather than just some dry list of features and specs.

I was also pretty pleased with the casting. They wanted the video's open and close to have the feel of the "I'm a Mac" commercials, and the actor we cast could easily be Justin Long's brother. And he's not even a "real" actor and had never done anything like this before... he's just a guy my business partner knew from his church and was only the fourth person to audition. But he's one of those guys who is just very naturally comfortable and smooth and likeable on camera.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Dan Asselin
Re: Examples of really good use of video on business websites?
on Apr 19, 2009 at 3:02:04 am

That is an excellent piece Todd. I have put it in the favorites of my laptop in case a customers asks the same question. Thanks for sharing.



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Jeffrey Gould
Re: Examples of really good use of video on business websites?
on Apr 20, 2009 at 1:14:06 am

Todd, I thought it was done very well, I like the camera work and cuts from wide, medium to close up. Couple of questions, how did you mic him since I didn't see a lav and the white background, was that green screen or was he really on a white background...if so, how did you get it so white? Also, the conference room towards the end, the lighting was so soft, was that by design or was that the natural lighting in the room? Thanks for sharing.

Jeffrey S. Gould
Action Media Productions


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Chris Blair
Re: Examples of really good use of video on business websites?
on Apr 20, 2009 at 1:35:16 am

One of the best uses of video I've seen on the web is Cinevate. They make the 35mm Depth of Field convertors for consumer, prosumer and small professional camcorders.

http://www.cinevate.com/website/index.php

They have a video on the index page that's very well done and is very persuasive...and if you go to their "video university" page there are about 20 videos that explain every facet of their products.

http://www.cinevate.com/website/index.php/cinevatevideouniversity/

Most are very well done, and some are just the founder of the company talking on cam, but are equally effective because he's very natural and believable.

I was recently researching these products and while most people would rate their product as probably the 2nd or 3rd best option among the major players, if this was the only website I had visited and didn't do a lot more research, I'd have been convinced their product was the best one for the job.

In my opinion it's a very effective use of video on the web. Another good one is Benelli, the gun manufacturer. They have a ton of videos on their website. We do the compression for the ad agency that designs and administers their website. There must be over 60 videos on their site and many are extremely well done. Benelli produces their own videos too...which is amazing considering the quality and creativity of some of them.

http://www.benelliusa.com

http://www.benelliusa.com/videos/index.php


Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Examples of really good use of video on business websites?
on Apr 20, 2009 at 3:16:14 am

Hi Jeffrey...

Thanks for the nice words...

[Jeffrey Gould] "how did you mic him since I didn't see a lav"

I almost never use lavs, they just sound so sterile to me so I almost always use boom mics to get a more open sound. That was all miked with a Sennheiser MKH-416. It is one of my favorite-sounding mics, very warm and natural. A couple of the exterior lines were looped to combat an uncontrollably-noisy location.

[Jeffrey Gould] "the white background, was that green screen"

I'm not a fan of greenscreening unless I just have to, so that was a practical white limbo set on our stage. Lit with lots of soft light. A 1200w HMI shooting into a 4x4 high central bounce card was the key light, a few Kinos filled in and added a little modeling to the talent, and used a ring light around the lens for a little bit of punch to his face. It still wasn't as perfectly white as we would have liked so we had to garbage matte out one or two areas that needed it and rotoscoped out some of the shadows around his feet.

[Jeffrey Gould] "was that the natural lighting in the room?"

None of the locations had enough good available light so there was a fair bit of lighting in each scene... even the one exterior (the gas station) had a couple of HMIs in it (a 1200w and a 575w) because it was a really dull gray day. In the conference room, the key on the talent was a 1K tungsten in a medium-sized Chimera, one 300w fresnel Pepper for a back/hair light, a couple of 650w in high white umbrellas to give the room some general ambience, and a couple of little 100w Pepper fresnels were used here and there to break things up.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Jeffrey Gould
Re: Examples of really good use of video on business websites?
on Apr 20, 2009 at 1:34:53 pm

You're a good guy for sharing that info...thank you. HMI is something I never worked with, but at times it's essential. My Sennheiser ME-66 always sounded tinny to me and the slightest bit of movement from the "boom guy" made the audio unusable...so I stayed away unless absolutely necessary. I'm guess I need a better boompole and mic holder. I once had a brutal time with a white background, had to use mattes and roto as you did...which is why I read in article that you're better off using greenscreen and just insert a white background, maybe it was Digital Juice Training videos.

I really like the way your lighting was so subtle...do you find that clients are patient with the lighting setup? I find that some clients don't' appreciate how important and how tedious it is to obtain good lighting...I like using gels as well, especially in a medical or tech environment. Thanks again.

Jeffrey S. Gould
Action Media Productions


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Todd Terry
Re: Examples of really good use of video on business websites?
on Apr 20, 2009 at 4:43:49 pm

[Jeffrey Gould] "You're a good guy for sharing that info"

Hey, that's what the COW is for...

[Jeffrey Gould] "HMI is something I never worked with, but at times it's essential."

I used to try to stay away from HMIs, but these days I find myself doing more and more HMI lighting. I just really like the look, and for interiors it's nice to not be fighting with windows all the time. And for exteriors I like being able to give a little punch or a back or side light that would be difficult to just do reflectively. We don't have a huge HMI arsenal because they are so darn expensive... we have a 1200w, a 575w, and a little 150w. The 1200w is the only "store bought" one, I built the other two. The little 150w I built out of a cheap PAR can (added a socket, reflector, and fresnel lens) and it uses a growlight ballast. I built that one because we wanted something very lightweight that could easily hang on a grip arm on a C-stand for a hairlight. I built the 575w out of a 1K tungsten Colortran fresnel that I picked up for a song on eBay... it's a really nice head, focuses well, 7" lens... I almost hated to canabalize it to make the HMI. The ballast parts (the ballast and ignitor) had to be ordered from some place in Germany and then built into a ballast box with big heat sinks, etc. It works well, although I wish it were smaller and lighter... if I had $6K to throw around I'd replace it with an 800 Joker-Bug.

[Jeffrey Gould] "My Sennheiser ME-66 always sounded tinny to me and the slightest bit of movement from the "boom guy" made the audio unusable"

The 66 is ok, but not great. I would ditch it for a 416 if you can. It has been one of the best tools we have ever bought. Since I started using it I can't even remember the last time we used a hardwired lav or a radio mic, it just really performs great and sounds so warm and open, not cold and sterile like an on-talent mic. Pricewise I'd say it's in the mid-range for a pro mic... I believe they are about in the $1K range these days. Not chump change, but not a $5000 mic either. One thing of note, though, the 416 does require 48v phantom power, so you'd need to use it with a camera that outputs phantom (or have some other kind of phantom power source). When we shoot 35mm film we use it with an audio deck that outputs phantom.

[Jeffrey Gould] "I read in article that you're better off using greenscreen and just insert a white background"

That's probably good advice, but I just hate greenscreening so much that I stay away from it whenever I can so we did that scene practical. We've got all the same keying tools as everyone else in here, but I've just never been happy with the keys that I've been able to pull (even with a perfectly lit screen). I keep thinking we should add Ultimatte to the mix here someday, but haven't yet.

[Jeffrey Gould] "do you find that clients are patient with the lighting setup?"

Usually that's a non-issue because for some reason our clients rarely come on set. I'm not sure why, because if I were the client I'd definitely be there... but most of them just don't. I guess they have worked with us long enough that they know we'll get decent stuff, and the "glamor" of it has worn off. When they are there, they don't seem to mind. I'm definitely not the best DP by a long shot (there are plenty of other people on the COW that could light circles around me), but I will say that I'm really really fast, so that helps. I can generally light a scene and be ready to pull trigger within 15 minutes of landing on location unless it's a super complicated setup with lots of HMIs and butterflys, etc., so that helps. I could probably kick up the look a notch if I took an hour to light (which I'd like to be able to do), but our projects are typically quite low budget and time is money so I have to work fast.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Steve Wargo
Re: Examples of really good use of video on business websites?
on Apr 22, 2009 at 11:09:55 am

We use the 416 almost exclusively. When we can't, we have an assortment of wired and wireless with the Tram 50 my favorite in that area.

HMIs seem to give a more "lively" look. I used to lean toward warm lighting but we're getting better results with HMIs. They're a lot more money and harder to move around for a small crew. We bought all of them on e-bay.

We have a 16x16 white cyc corner and use chroma key curtains and floor cloth when green screen is necessary. We can sometimes ignore white spill and wrap but green must always be removed. And, I've found it easier to simply blow out the white with a luma key.

Todd - Nice job on everything. My only negative comment is that I thought his outer shirt was a bit messy looking. Maybe I'm just becoming a bit stiff. I know it matches the Apple spots, but...

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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Todd Terry
Re: Examples of really good use of video on business websites?
on Apr 22, 2009 at 1:04:57 pm

[Steve Wargo] "My only negative comment is that I thought his outer shirt was a bit messy looking."

I tend to agree, Steve. But we did several wardrobe tests and that's the "Ain't I a cool young dude?" look the client wanted (which surprised us, since they are a stuffy company, otherwise). In fact, we had to take his shirt off and wad it up a couple ot times to get the "uber casual" look they wanted.

[Steve Wargo] "Maybe I'm just becoming a bit stiff."

I thought you were a smokin' cool rockin' biker dude? Like me. (insert eyeroll here).


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Jeffrey Gould
Re: Examples of really good use of video on business websites?
on Apr 22, 2009 at 1:52:28 pm

Todd, thanks once again for the info. I need to look into HMI's, I remember you posting in the lighting forum when you were starting to consider them.

I will definitely purchase the 416 mic, as I don't really like the Lav look, I know it's acceptable...but for me, it takes away something.

I have a proposal out for a pilates video and they want a white background...I think it's cold looking, but it's what they want. I only have a 10ft white backdrop, not sure that will cut it. There was a great post on the lighting forum a few years back, but I can't seem to find it out.

I shoot mostly medical videos in their environments, so they are "always" on set and always trying to cram 30 shots into a day to keep costs down, so the lighting takes a hit sometimes. On the flip side, I've had clients comment on how much the lighting added to the video...blue and amber gels to give a tech feel or warm up white clinical walls...but it takes time. I had one client say to me "give me your CSI lighting".

To Ken Harper, I thought your PerkinElmer video was well done, what did you use to encode it? at 235kbs, I thought it looked excellent.

Jeffrey S. Gould
Action Media Productions


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Ken Harper
Re: Examples of really good use of video on business websites?
on Apr 22, 2009 at 2:08:21 pm

Jeff,
I delivered a QT PhotoJPEG 720x480. Their web guys then encoded it.
Ken

Ken Harper
Sr. Editor/Director of Technical Operations
Moving Pictures, Inc.


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Ken Harper
Re: Examples of really good use of video on business websites?
on Apr 22, 2009 at 1:23:15 pm

We just finished a series for PerkinElmer. Here is one.

http://las.perkinelmer.com/Catalog/CategoryPage.htm?CategoryID=Thermal+Anal...

Also, we did a series for the Epilepsy Foundation.
http://www.epilepsy.com/epilepsy_therapy_project


Ken Harper
Sr. Editor/Director of Technical Operations
Moving Pictures, Inc.


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