Browsing Category

Inspiration

Handmade Craft Videos, Inspiration, Manufacturing, trakax for Business

Design, Tradition & Patriotism: Embrace A Video Theme.

October 14, 2014
Short Videos for Craft Businesses

With small business videos becoming extremely popular, companies that may not have been traditionally at the forefront of marketing creativity are now embracing this new strategy. In this post, I have selected three videos from within the manufacturing industry that I believe touch on some key factors that companies can use. These factors, however, are applicable to all companies no matter what industry you are in. If you are selling products to buying customers, think about what is working well for your business. Have you got loyal customers? Why not try and get some customer testimonials? If your company has been around for a long time, how about featuring some of your long serving staff or highlight some company traditions? If your products are handcrafted or manufactured in your home company, focus in on that patriotic spirit and promote your unique handmade goods.

These are just some simple ideas that can help you pinpoint the type of video you can create for your own company. The companies below have taken on some of these ideas and have identified and highlighted their own business values and beliefs. Plus the videos are really engaging and beautifully produced.

Kindred – Custom Snowboard (Design Focused)

If you are designing and building custom handmade products, the time and effort invested in the manufacturing process can be painstaking. Not only that, the expertise and skill it takes to combine all these elements together can be immense. One company who has really captured this experience in a video is Kindred. Kindred creates custom and limited series snowboards. In this video, we see the entire creation process from start to finish.

The video length is longer then what would be generally recommended for a business video, however with such an extensive design and so many hand-crafted elements, the video really captures the essence of the whole creation process.

With various shot types from close-up, medium and long-range and constant changing of angles, the video keeps the viewer engaged and enthralled. As there is no voice-over, it was really up to the director to capture all the necessary footage. It is critical for a shoot like this to have a storyboard and overall plan, so you can keep track of all the shots to be taken. The soundtrack also works really well and the folk-style country song adds to flow and harmony to the overall video.

Rada Manufacturing (Patriotic Values)

RADACutlery have really focused in on their core value proposition. They quickly let you know they are an American company that produces 100% American Made products.

I think it would be fair to say you would be hard pushed to find a more patriotic video than this. But hey, why not be proud of where you are from and that you manufacture your own products in your own country.

An aspect of the video I like is that they constantly reaffirm their values and goals with key statements on images throughout the video. By interviewing and focusing on the staff, one gets the feeling of a family orientated workplace and allows the viewer to connect with the company. With regards to the video production, the director and editor have stuck to some simple rules that anyone can follow (even novice filmmakers). Some of these basic rules include the “rule of thirds”, simple “J and L cuts” and having lots of b-roll footage (fill shots). Finally, always remember to include a call-to-action either at the start and end of the video so potential customers know how to find your products or contact you.

Smith & Rodgers (Continuing Tradition)

Smith & Rodgers, from Glasgow, have been around since 1877 and are obviously doing something right having been around for so long. When I watched this video for the first time, there was something I really liked about it but could not put my finger on. Perhaps it seems like an obscure business, maybe it’s the footage of the old vintage equipment or that there is no soundtrack, only the sound of the machines working. Yet, the video is strangely captivating.

I believe this video is proof that any type of small business, in any industry, can create a polished (excuse the pun), engaging video.

I think the element they have really nailed in this video is the script. It is short and concise but gets across all the important relative points. We quickly learn that they manufacture 60% of their own products, have a trade counter open to the public, offer a shade matching service which gives them a competitive advantage over their rivals, as well as offering french polishing courses to the general public. Having a clearly defined script and storyboard, you will be putting the correct building blocks in place for a successful business video.

To learn more about creating and producing business and marketing videos, please visit our Video School.

If you enjoyed this article, you can post it directly to twitter. Simply click “Tweet” to send.

Why not try out trakAxPC today. It can be used for all your video editing needs. Take advantage of our special price – buy trakAxPC today.

Hair & Beauty, Handmade Craft Videos, Inspiration, trakax for Business

Celebrate A Work Or Product Anniversary With A Short Video.

September 19, 2014
trakaxbusiness- videos for small business

Sometimes coming up with new ideas for an online video can be difficult. One can always create a business overview video, a video on the products and services you provide or depending on the type of industry, for example restaurants, you can create quick videos on a new menu or new dishes. However, finding inspiration for other types of videos can be challenging. However, one video you can create every year which I believe can be successful is a work or product anniversary video.

Work Anniversary – BirchBox 3 Year Anniversary

I saw this work anniversary video recently for BirchBox and thought it was great. BirchBox delivers high-end beauty, grooming, and lifestyle samples once a month, customized just for you.

What I like about this video:

Real Customers, Real Testimonials – one way of really building trust and loyalty for your product is showcasing real customers using and commenting on your products and services. If people are loving what you’re doing, why not get their testimonials, create a video and let those people who may be sitting on fence see how great your product is and hopefully they will soon become customers too.

A Simple Thank You – No company can survive without their customers and clients, so it is always nice to let them know their appreciated. For a subscription based service like BirchBox, letting their customer see that their continued support is acknowledged and to see their own videos used in a BirchBox marketing video will certainly add to the feel good factor and continued loyalty.

Video Design- The video is really well edited and put together and is very achievable for anyone with a tight budget. The video uses nice colourful backgrounds and a simple text font, as well as straight cut transitions between each clip. The areas were they highlight the communication on social media sites can be captured using affordable screen recording software such as SnagIt or Camtasia. You can also download customer’s videos from YouTube using a simple web downloader application that can be easily found through a Google search (NB. always remember to ask the owner for permission to use the video in any potential marketing activity). It is also a good way of opening up the social communication channels with your customers.

Soundtrack – I believe one of the most important aspects of any video is the soundtrack selection and in this video they really nailed it. It’s upbeat, has the right tempo and has the feel good factor. It can be tough finding the right soundtrack but I have included a list which contains tons of great sites which may help when selecting your next track – 34 Websites to Download Royalty Free and Creative Commons Music for Free

 

Product Anniversary – Wolverine 1000 Mile Centennial Edition Boot

In this video, we see Wolverine celebrating the 100th anniversary of their Original 1000 Mile Boot with a special Centennial Edition. I love original handcrafted products and especially love these types of videos that demonstrate the expertise and skills of the craftspeople involved.

What i Like about this video:

Quality Product – If you have had a product that has been on the market for a century, well, it must be one hell of a good product. However, it doesn’t really matter how long your product has been around, most customers or potential clients will have no idea how the product is actually made, the time and effort involved in creating it or the skill and expertise of the craftspeople. This is a why a great promotional video like this one really demonstrates all the processes involved and highlights the overall quality of the product.

Storyboard- This may seem slightly obvious but the story of the video is about a pair of boots being created from start to finish. However, before you start any recording, it is important to write down or storyboard all the steps, elements and shots required to create the video. When you watch the video you will notice there are lots of different camera angles and shots which keep the viewer interested. Having a comprehensive list or storyboard of the all the scenes and different shots and camera angles required will keep you on track and focused on the job at hand.

Staff recognition – It is also great for the viewer and customers to see the real hardworking people who put in the time and effort creating the product. I’m sure as well the staff appreciate the company placing them in the video and allowing them the opportunity to showcase their skills

Soundtrack- Finally, like the previous video, they have again really nailed the audio track. The American style folk track works perfectly with the product which is handcrafted in the US. It’s important to note that if you do use a free song from a website like, for example, the Free Music Archive, be sure to give the appropriate credit to the artist. Every Creative Commons license requires giving appropriate credit. It’s important to understand this, and to also know what this phrase “appropriate credit” means. Usually, this simply means writing the following in the credits of your video and/or in the description field on a file sharing site like YouTube:

Music “Song Title” by Artist Name
Available on the Free Music Archive freemusicarchive.org/
Under CC BY license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

To learn more about using the Creative Commons licenses, click Here

To learn more about creating and producing business and marketing videos, please visit our Video School.

To learn more about more trakAxPC and to view in-depth video tutorials, please visit out Help Centre.

Why not try out trakAxPC today. It can be used for all your video editing needs. Take advantage of our special price – buy trakAxPC today.

Inspiration, trakax for Business

Informal Videos aren’t Unprofessional – Just More Fun!

July 30, 2014
Informal Business Videos

Over the last few weeks, we have been having a huge amount of internal discussions on what are the actual barriers that prevent people from creating videos – is it the technology? Is editing too complicated? Is it lack of content? I don’t know if we have entirely resolved this argument, but from my experience, the really difficult aspect of creating a video, whether it is for your business or just for pleasure, is actually just getting started speaking to a camera. You can be able to discuss your business passionately until the cows come home, but put a camera in front of you and suddenly you become stiff, serious and begin tripping over your words. It happens to almost everyone. So to combat this, here are some great examples of how to use an informal style that will help you overcome your nerves, get you started and realise that making a video doesn’t have to be a big production.

1. Don’t be afraid to be Yourself

One key takeaway should be that informal videos aren’t unprofessional, they are simply more relaxed. In the example below, Masaki & Yukimi Momose discuss their range of MOMO salad dressings and show the processes behind making them. Firstly, this is a really professional video – it was made by the FoodCurated website and is full of lovely shots and really tight editing. However, Masaki and Yukimi are entirely themselves for the entire video – laughing, smiling and making jokes.

It is such a compelling video, not only because they seem like such a lovely couple, but their passion for fresh, high quality ingredients is very evident. They are completely relaxed while discussing it, although there is an obvious nervous energy. There can be a tendency to be overly earnest and serious when explaining your business, but if you can relax and simply talk about it as you would when not in front of the camera, the results can be amazing.

So the key points

don’t be afraid to laugh or smile. Use outtakes where you’ve made mistakes. It can be really helpful to have another person in the video that you’re talking to and make the situation more natural.

2. Keep it Simple and Make Videos Often.

Buffer – the kings of company transparency – create videos called “Founder’s Chat Friday”. These are very simple videos recorded in their offices (the fact that they have bunkbeds in the background is obviously cool). The set up is extremely simple and they are using lavelier mics, which can be picked up very cheaply from Amazon. Joel and Leo discuss a particular aspect of their business in these short videos with the aim of helping other start-ups learn from their experience of what has worked for them. These videos remind me a little of podcasts in the fact that you can simply listen to them while you do other tasks. You can see the two guys are very relaxed and just speaking about their processes in a conversational way. They build trust with the Buffer brand by showing the founders, their passion for their project and their mission of complete transparency.

Key Points

simple videos can work. Pick a topic and start a conversation with your users on what works for you / your tips etc. The setting can be very simple (but use a mic!).

3. Don’t Get Overwhelmed by the Process.

I think one of the main issues that prevents people from making a video is the feeling of being overwhelmed – how are we going to show everything we do, how are we going to plan this video, how many shots do we need?

Below is an example of a quick product tour from Kate Spade New York – the SVP of Design shows a new clutch bag that they’ve released. Now before you think – ok Kate Spade, Queen of Understated Style has oodles of money to spend on videos – actually the company has really focused on creating tons of simple videos showing new products quickly and in manner that could be very easily replicated. I think any small boutique or shop could use this format to highlight new offerings. The video is 1.20 long and is a very straightforward demo of one bag given in a very conversational way. Again, the more of these type of videos you make, they better you’ll get at them. I think this type of video could easily be recorded in your actual shop when things are quiet – just make sure the lighting is acceptable, have your camera or phone mounted on a tripod and use a mic when possible.

Key Points

make short videos that focus on a single product or offering. This way you won’t get overwhelmed by the process.

4. Be Spontaneous

Sometimes the best way to make a video is just to be spontaneous – make a video on a certain topic without a grand plan, spend a short time on it and if it works, cool and if it doesn’t – so what? It’s a good learning experience. The king of spontaneous (or seemingly spontaneous) video has to be Gary Vaynerchuk. As his brand is all about him, he makes these short videos on a very niche topic and gets them online with minimal editing. By sharing little nuggets of information (or even wisdom) you can interact with your audience in a really fresh way. For me anyway, listening to this 1.45 video is much more compelling than reading this in a blog. He simply made this video in his office – he doesn’t care about background noise or if the lighting is completely right – you can see and hear him clearly, which is enough in this case.

Key Points

short videos with little nuggets of information, work really well (especially on Social Media). Think about what issues your customers face and give short, sharp, concise and helpful tips. No major planning is required and very little editing.

5. Making Videos can be hard. But it’s worth it.

The video below from James Victore perhaps sums up this process better than I ever could. James Victore is a celebrated American art director, designer, and author. If you visit his site, you’ll recognise his style and work immediately – he has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and is represented in the permanent collections of the museums around the globe. He now very much focuses on teaching through his numerous lectures, workshops, and writings. His work is so cool, that I am not sure what type of person I expected him to be, but I did expect him to be slightly intimidating. However, he is perhaps one of the most generous and thoughtful teachers you could listen to. He runs a YouTube channel called “Burning Questions” where he addresses issues creatives face in their career, but the advice actually is applicable to everyone working.

James Victore - Burning Questions

The very honest video below is sums up that this process can be hard – but you’ve always got to keep putting yourself out there and “showing up”.

Key Points

- being honest nearly always works. People relate to authentic communication and it is refreshing to see your human side.

If your Small Business is interested in dipping their toes into the world of video, we’d love you to give trakax a go – all the products are available to try for free and if they have any questions at all, just to drop us a mail, we’re always here to help.

Artisan Videos, Inspiration, Restaurant Videos, trakax for Business

Simplicity at its Best- The Humble Bread and Butter

July 18, 2014
Perfect Short Small Business Videos

Never in my life have I wanted to eat a piece of bread smothered in delicious creamy butter as much I have after watching this video. Here we meet Dan Richer, Chef and Owner of Razza Pizza Artiginale. Dan seems like a really passionate guy and that comes across superbly in this excellent video. Dan does such a good job explaining the process and devotion that goes into creating this dish that I am almost convinced it is the best bread and butter in world without ever tasting it.

I have highlighted below some reasons why I like this video and why I believe it is a success.

Planning The Video

When viewing the video for the first time, I had the feeling I was almost watching three stories in one. It feels an informational video on the bread and butter creation process, as well as a promotional video for the Razza restaurant and a mini-doc following Dan’s journey on how it all came together. Nonetheless the story never gets confused. This is were the planning process has really been successful. The director obviously had a clear idea of how they wanted to present the video and how the story would flow.

Bread & Butter: Razza Pizza Artiginale

A great feature of the video is that there is no professional effects and transitions, just exceptional camera work and editing (see our tips & tricks section for some examples of camera and editing techniques). The reason the video is a success is because they have taken time to plan and storyboard the shoot. There must be at least 50 to 100 fill shots (B-Roll) with each one beautifully shot and adding to the narration. Except for one or two outside shots of the restaurant’s facade, all the footage is capture from within the restaurant. To create a 8 min video with only footage captured inside the restaurant and keep the viewer interested is no mean feat. The director is constantly changing camera angles and height so each new clip is different and interesting. This is why you must have a clear idea of what you want to shoot and how the clips and story will be combined in to a comprehensible video.

Story

“I aspire to be a sushi master of the bread & butter world.”

Although this video is slightly longer than what we usually recommend for a business video, sometimes a story needs to be told and time becomes irrelevant. If the content is interesting and compelling, the viewer will be brought along on the ride.

Bread & Butter: Razza Pizza Artiginale

The main focus of the video is about how Dan has created a specialty bread and homemade butter for his restaurant, however I think it is much more than this. At its heart is a story of a craftsman and his love for his chosen craft. The time he has taken to source locally produced milk, the way the butter is handmade and the organic wheat and rye that goes into making the bread are all testament to this. This story is also telling us that the chef, owner and restaurant values quality and substance over the ordinary and that the eating experience will be exceptional every time. It subconsciously asks us the question, if this is how he treats simple bread and butter, what are the other dishes on the menu going to be like?

Tone

For some people, a friendly relaxed tone may come naturally but this is not the case for everybody. Nonetheless, when placed in front of a camera lens, people can become uptight, stressed and lose focus. Dan seems pretty at ease in front of the camera and his relaxed manner and body language really puts the viewer at ease. He also has a pretty infectious laugh which further adds to the laid-back and happy-go-lucky nature of the video and leads one to believe the restaurant will have a similar vibe. Below is a simple rule that should work well for any video, and remember….SMILE! (you can never go wrong with a positive tone and body language):

“Be yourself and tell stories from your perspective. Tell stories from your employees’ points of view or from a third-person point of view. The important thing is to create a persona that enables your audience to become emotionally connected to…”

If any of the Small Business is interested in dipping their toes into the world of video, we’d love them to give trakax a go – all the products are available to try for free and if they have any questions at all, just to drop us a mail, we’re always here to help.

Crafts, Inspiration, Tips & Tricks, trakax for Business

Using Video to Promote a New Product Line – A near flawless example

May 28, 2014
Super Short Business Videos

Introducing a new product line is one of the most exciting times for any company. You’ve put lots of thought, energy and probably tears into getting this product ready and now it’s time to launch. We’re presuming video marketing will be part of your launch strategy (if not, read our blog post “10 Statistics that prove you should take Video Marketing seriously”), but maybe you need some inspiration on what form this video should take.

Late last week I got an email from Fab.com introducing their new sofa range with a link to a video. Intrigued, I clicked for more. They’ve created 4 videos to promote their new furniture range and I think these videos come as close to perfection for a product launch that you can get. Below are two videos from the campaign:

Now if you’re a small business with a limited budget, you may be thinking “there’s no way I could recreate something of this standard”. Fair enough – these are professionally produced videos with multiple cameras, professional lighting and sound. However, there are a few key takeaways that will make any business video better.

1. The videos are super short

Both videos I have shown here are 32 seconds. It’s amazing how much detail and info they got into these videos without feeling rushed. You get a great feel from the designers without overloading on info. We have a great article on “What is the Optimal Length for a Business Video?” and research does show that for online promotional videos, your optimal length is somewhere between 30 seconds to a minute.

Interesting Camera Angles

By using interesting camera angles, Fab have made sofas look very interesting. By focusing on smaller details, they can convey the quality of the materials and the richness of the colours and textures.

Interesting Camera Angles

We can have a tendency to use a tripod at eye level, but think about getting low shots and showing your products from various angles to keep the visuals interesting. They have also used interesting camera angles when filming the designers speaking, which keeps the narrative interesting and somewhat unexpected.

Interesting Camera Angles

This Guide from Den Lennie is a great introduction to filming objects from various angles and helps to make inanimate objects more interesting – definitely worth a view.

Soundtrack

This soundtrack works well as you almost don’t notice it – you really have to concentrate to make it out, but it gives a good momentum to the videos while not taking away from the narrative in anyway. It ends on a lovely upbeat note and sets a good tone for the whole video without being overly generic.

Combination of Photos and Videos

Obviously you need your products to appeal to a large market and your main set up for your video may not be to the taste of all your visitors. Fab incorporated photos of various decors and styles which were probably taken form their catalogs and website. By adding a subtle pan and zoom, the photos are attractive and show the products in various situations to appeal to the broadest possible audience.

Hashtag

I don’t have any figures to back up the effectiveness of the hashtag used at the end of the video “#happymodern” but it is effective and memorable. From what I could see on Twitter, it has gotten good traction and seems a really interesting way for viewers to interact with Fab on social media.

If I had one negative about the launch campaign is that you could not share the videos directly from their website, which seems a pity as I would have shared them via twitter or Facebook.

Overall I think they have nailed most of the elements you would like to achieve with a launch video – the products look great, the videos are engaging and there has been user interaction via the use of the hashtag. All in all, they are great videos with some key features you can implement into your next video.

Inspiration, Tips & Tricks, trakax for Business

5 Practical Tips to Creating a Successful Kickstarter Campaign Video

May 8, 2014
Create a Kickstarter Video

If you’re thinking about launching a Kickstarter campaign, your video is going to be a vital component of the process – according to Kickstarter, projects with a video succeed at a much higher rate (50% vs. 30%), and they also raise more money. So it’s important. However, the likelihood is that you don’t have the budget to hire a professional to make you your killer video. The 5 tips below give you practical advice on how to go about making a video that will resonate with the Kickstarter audience.

1. Look at what works

Spend some time on Kickstarter looking at campaigns that reached or exceeded their funding requirements. You’ll start to notice some common themes quickly. The vast majority of the successful campaigns feature the founder or co-founders in the video. The founders come across as authentic, personable, passionate, and also grateful to their potential backers.

Though some of the videos may have professional touches that are outside your budget or know-how, you will pick up tips on how to best compose your video, what content is truly compelling, what camera shots look well and how the businesses are selling their ideas and vision. What tone of voice are they using? How did they demonstrate their ideas – screenshots, footage, photos etc.? Take notes and integrate these ideas into your plan.

2. Plan your video

There is some research to suggest that the best length for a Kickstarter (or any crowdfunding video) is 2.5 mins. This means you have to be disciplined to tell your story concisely. A basic plan for your video could be:

  • Introduce yourself and your product
  • What’s the problem you’re solving
  • How are you going to fulfil your vision
  • How you’ll spend the money
  • Thank your backers

Once you have decided the plan, start mapping out the story of the video and what shots you’ll need. Plan your script and time how long each segment will take. As you are going to be speaking directly to the camera, try and get someone else on board to help with your video, as it will feel more natural talking to someone real, and they can also help with the recording process.

An important aspect to consider before and during the filming is what the experts call “fill shots.” Fill shots are shots that can lead from one scene into another or can be faded in over a narration. We have found that you can never really have enough fill shots, as this is the footage that plays while your narration continues in the background. So this could be your product in action, you at work, users interacting with your product etc.

3. Invest in the Basics

You can make a great video on a tiny budget, but you will require some basic equipment. First invest in a tripod. Nothing screams amateur more than shaky footage. Luckily you can pick up tripods on Amazon and other retailers for less than $20. If possible, try and use a microphone. Sound recordings without a mic from regular camcorders/video phones probably won’t cut it, and muffled sound is a real turn off (see this great parody of Kickstarter videos from Vooza). Again, these can cost less than $15. If you are using your iPhone or other smartphone for the recording, you will need an adaptor to plug in an external mic (just Google this and you will see tons of options).

The real difference between a video that looks amateur and one that looks professional is the lighting. Don’t worry, you don’t have to invest in pro-standard lights, but do think about the lighting of each shot. If you are using natural light outdoors, be aware of the location of the sun (and clouds!). When recording indoors, try to use as many lamps, lights and other sources of light already available to you as you can — even consider bringing in some lamps from home if your video is looking quite dark. There are tons of tutorials on the basics of lighting, so take a few minutes to get some ideas on how you can improve your lighting without investing in more equipment.

4. Learn some simple techniques.

There are some basic techniques you can implement when making a video that will immeasurably improve the overall look of your video.

Invest some time learning your camera settings like zoom and focus (simply put your camera model into YouTube and you’ll get lots of tutorials) and even learn some basic camera shots (here’s a great video on basic camera shots to get you started)

Another great tip is the rule of thirds: By using the rule of thirds, you will make the shot more interesting by placing your subject either in the first or last third of the screen (look at any good videos and you’ll see this technique used over and over again). Remember, this is just a rough grid, and you don’t have to be exact. Some camcorders and phones now allow you to bring up these guidelines automatically. Often beginners place themselves slap bang in the middle of the screen and either too close or too far away in the frame. By simply mapping out the grid in your mind and placing yourself in the right-hand or left-hand section of the grid, you are already on your way to making a better video.

Once you’ve recorded all your footage, it’s time to start editing. There are lots of interesting tools you can use. If you are using a Mac then iMovie would be perfect. If you’re on a PC then you can try a product like ours, trakaxPC (€35), which will allow you to create professional looking videos without blowing your budget.

Going through the footage requires patience, there may be just a few seconds from a long piece that you’d want, so set aside time to review the footage and really be able to look at it in detail. I find renaming the video clips can help to identify what footage to use and what can be discarded.

The soundtrack is one of the most important elements of video. Pick a track that sums up the vibe and style of your company. The best practice is to use a royalty-free track and there are tons of sites offering professional soundtracks at relatively low cost. I always pick the soundtrack first and then start creating the video – it sets the pace for the video and gives you the discipline to keep the video short.

When editing your video, you can try and implement techniques called J cuts and L cuts. Although you may not be aware of the technical terms, you see these transitions every day. For example, the video may begin with you introducing your brand and products. The screen will then cut to you working on a product while your voiceover continues to explain the process. This gives your video a flow, rather than abruptly cutting from one scene to the next.

Finally keep transitions and text simple – either a straight cut or a subtle fade is enough. When using text, keep it classic with a plain font in either white or black (Fontsquirrel.com has tons of very nice free fonts.)

4. Be Yourself

The amazing thing about Kickstarter is that almost every idea is driven by someone who is passionate about the project – it’s this passion that will see a good idea over the line, so the founders need to convey this to potential backers. Motion graphics often can’t create this relationship – actually seeing the real people behind the projects can. The campaigns that get funded, in the main, have videos that show that the founders really care about their project and this is the first step in creating a relationship with your user base. Your delivery should be simple, genuine and honest. Most importantly smile and have fun!

This article first appeared in WeWork Magazine.

Artisan Videos, Handmade Craft Videos, Inspiration, trakax for Business

Give, give again, and give some more! Using “How to” videos to build your audience.

April 28, 2014
How to Videos - Knitting

In March I got the chance to hear a talk by Gary Vaynerchuk at SXSW. His enthusiasm is infectious and we even ended up buying one of his books, “Jab Jab Jab Right Hook” (it’s a good marketing read with lots of real life examples). He has lots of interesting points to make in regards to online marketing, but one quote  that has stayed with me is “We should give, give again, and give some more before ever asking for anything from our community.”

Another interesting quote from Gary’s book is “Your story needs to move people’s spirits and build their goodwill, so that when you finally do ask them to buy from you, they feel like you’ve given them so much it would be almost rude to refuse.” 

I loved this idea, but it’s finding practical ways to implement these ideas that’s important. If you have a small business, how can you give interesting content to your users to “hook” them?

The “how to” video has been popular for a long time and it’s  a great way to connect with your audience, build traffic to your site and ultimately help drive sales. Once of the best examples I’ve seen lately is for a new site “Sheep & Stitch”. This is a knitting site, where owner Davina sells knitting patterns. On the site, Davina has put together a range of “Learn How to Knit” videos. Now I am sure there are quite a few of these type of videos on YouTube, but Sheep & Stitch has done a few things differently. Watch the video below for an example.

There are a few interesting takeaways from these videos:

1. They are super short.

The videos range from 1 minute to 3 minutes – you can watch the whole thing without getting distracted and consume a few videos in one sitting. Each video is limited to one topic -“How to Cast on” etc. so you aren’t overwhelmed with information.

2. Clean and Simple Look

"How to" Videos

From the typography used to the clean white background – the videos give a slick look to a craft that can sometimes seem to be fusty. You can give your videos a clean white background by creating your own lightbox – see instructions here.

If you don’t have many fonts on your PC, check out this really useful link – 10 standout free fonts for headlines and titles – not only are the fonts really nice, but the examples of their use, should give you some ideas on how to craft your titles.

3. Use of YouTube Annotations

YouTube Annotations

In YouTube you can link from your video to another video within YouTube or link to your Subscribe Button. Sheep & Stitch has done this very effectively in their videos.  Creating Annotations in YouTube is relatively simple and is done from the YouTube video manager – here are some instructions. What Sheep & Stitch have done at the end of their videos is to show the next video in the series (you can achieve this look in trakaxPC by using a Collage / Picture-in-Picture effect ) and then added another graphic asking you to Subscribe to their channel. These are simple additions to your video to keep your viewers engaged (actually something we need to add more often!).

In your business, think of areas where you feel your customer would benefit from some help and guidance – this initially can seem counter-intuitive if it is the service you are trying to sell. The important point about this type of marketing is to think of what would actually assist your customer, rather than what you are trying to sell. If you get it right and build trust with the user, the sales should flow organically from this.

If you created videos for your small businesses and would like to feature them on our site, please get in touch through the comments. Would really love to see them.

As always, I hope this short article will inspire you to start creating your own small business video and if you need video editing software, be sure to check out trakax.

Inspiration, Restaurant Videos, Small Retailers, trakax for Business

1 Minute Video to Promote a New Product or Service. The LovinDublin Example.

April 8, 2014
LovinDublin

Dublin (where we are based) is going through somewhat of a food revival and when I saw this video today, promoting a new Lunchbox service from LovinDublin, I felt I had to share it. It is one of the best examples I’ve seen lately on how a relatively simple and extremely short video can tell your potential customers more about your product and offering than you could possibly hope that they could absorb by reading your sales pitch.

Here’s the video:

Now there are a few very interesting points to note – firstly the video comes in at 1:06 min. LovinDublin have done a remarkably good job at maintaining their discipline and just telling you the “need to know facts”, while still selling you on their concept.

Secondly, let’s look at the footage used in this video:

  1. Video of Niall Harribson explaining the concept. The video looks like it was filmed in a very nice, but still domestic kitchen setting. Very simple, but it works. Lighting is well done, but definitely achievable. J and L Cuts feature predominately in this video and you can learn more about this editing technique here.
  2. Food Shots. The “LovinBox” changes every week, so they simply filmed some healthy and appealing food being prepared for a Box. I counted around 12 clips used in this process. They weren’t tempted to show lots of different recipes for different boxes, so the filming could be achieved in one session.
  3. Screen Recordings – they recorded a few different shots of their website in action (something like Jing or Camtasia can be used for this)
  4. One Graphic of a Map
  5. Product Shots of the Boxes – these product photos may have been done by a professional, but you can achieve a similar look by creating your own light box. Colm here recently did a tutorial on creating a Lightbox (see it here) and it takes around 30 minutes to assemble.
  6. There is a nice animated graphic of their logo at the start of the video, but I think a simple JPEG of your logo would work just as well.

I know from speaking with lots of small businesses, making a video can appear intimidating, but when you actually break down the different elements of this video, you can see that making something as engaging and compelling as this, is achievable on a small budget and with limited expertise.

Finally, my number one tip – the founder Niall sells you on the product. Never be tempted to use actors or paid people in videos such as these – nobody can never be as passionate about your small business as you are.

The video obviously has worked its magic, as they had sold out of Lovin Boxes by the time I tried to sign up today.

As always, I hope this short article will inspire you to start creating your own small business video and if you need video editing software, be sure to check out trakax.

Inspiration, Restaurant Videos, trakax for Business

One Chicken, 5 videos – Using Online Video to promote any Restaurant.

January 24, 2014
chicken_1_jpeg

First things first, if you are in the restaurant business you should be thinking about creating media content for your website, blog and/or social media sites. This could be done through written posts or photos, but in the past year, Google search and social media sites have placed greater emphasis on high quality video content being produced and uploaded. If you have not started producing online videos for your site, now is the time to start.

In this post, I have highlighted how you can take one ingredient, a chicken, and make different types of videos around that one product. Using these videos as templates, you can start creating tons of interesting media content using different ingredients and highlight your restaurant’s signature dishes.

The simple Chicken Dish.

How many types of chicken dishes can you think of off the top of your head? There are simply too many to comprehend. Think of all of different global cuisines and cooking styles using chicken – Italian (pasta / pizza), French and English (coq au vin / roasts), Indian and Asian (curries / stir frys), American (BBQ / Fried), etc. The opportunities to highlight the chef’s skills and promote your restaurant at the same time are endless and this is only one ingredient. In this first example, Chef Mark Peel, in a simple interview style video, discusses the thought process and execution behind his crispy flattened chicken. This is a simple 48 second video, but with lovely bright shots of the dish and restaurant. You get a real feel for the place and certainly gives the impression of a light, airy, summery and most importantly, tasty place to eat.

The Signature Dish.

Sometimes you just have to forget about the diet, stop counting calories and indulge yourself. One video that emphasises this point is brought to us by Chef Moore of the ‘Commerce Restaurant’ in New York. Roast Chicken, lots of herb butter, foie gras and butter soaked crouton stuffing, truffle laden mash…wow, a match made in heaven (nearly had to wipe the drool off the keyboard). Again, this is an interview based video but the questions could be asked by any member of staff. Simply set up the camera and tripod and ask the questions that you believe a customer would want to know.

The Comfort Dish.

Have you ever woken up on Sunday morning, after one or two beverages the night before, and just have a craving for calorific comfort food? Definitely in my top 5 foods I crave when slightly hung-over is deep fried chicken. If you have a popular dish in your restaurant that you believe future customers like me may crave, why not highlight it in a video. ‘Plan Check Kitchen and Bar’ has done exactly that. They show how their deep fried chicken gets made, from the prepping stage all the way through to the delivery, while combining it with nice shots of the premises. This is cut with video of Chef Ernesto Uchimura giving us an overview of the whole process.

The Street Food Stall.

The Street food stall has certainly been more of an Asian and American experience up until recently. There seems to be a big movement popping up now in many of the major cities across Europe where fast, high quality street food vendors are producing top notch grub. However, like with street food stalls you may have limited resources, be it money, staff or time and creating a video just doesn’t seem appealing. Why not simply take some photos of cooking, selling and interacting with customers. You could then use an Android app like trakAx MovieExpress which allows you combine all your photos into a video slideshow. You can also add audio, text and record in a narration. One pop-up restaurant who has done something like this is ‘The Orange Buffalo’. Simple photos with a nice voiceover and bobs-your-uncle, you have a great video for Facebook, Twitter, website or Blog.

The Chicken Shop.

Chicken is pretty much popular everywhere. One thing I have noticed in Dublin lately is the growth in rotisserie Chicken restaurants. It has only really caught on here in the last few years but I remember living in Australia 10 years ago and chicken shops were everywhere, rotisserie and Portuguese being the most popular. Here’s a really nice video created for ‘The Chicken Shop’ based in London. This type of video can be used for any sort of restaurant, displaying nice clean shots of the food and kitchen, as well as showing the hustle and bustle of the main floor. It has a fast food vibe but with quality and taste being paramount. Next time I’m in London I’ll certainly be looking out for this place.

To learn more about how to create and produce these types of videos, visit our “Video School” at trakAxBusiness.com. The website provides tutorials on everything from lighting, camera techniques, editing and production and much more.

Why not try out trakAxPC today. It can be used for all your video editing needs. Take advantage of our special price and – buy trakAxPC today.

Inspiration, Restaurant Videos, trakax for Business

Instagram Menu – An Idea for Restaurants

August 19, 2013
Instagram Menu

When I first saw this video, I thought “What a great idea on how to use Instagram”. It then suddenly dawned on me that not only was this restaurant using Instagram as a social media platform to share customer images of their food, but they also created an online video demonstrating how this idea works. The owners of the Comodo Restaurant are actually using multiple social media platforms and channels to help promote and market their restaurant.

As the tagline goes “People love to Instagram their food”, so the owners decided to use these photos to create a version of their menu on Instagram by simply adding a hashtag next to each of their courses. This way people could decide what to order by searching the hashtag of each course and seeing what other people posted about it. The video also demonstrates how easy it is to share this content online and almost acts like a video tutorial in itself.

With regards to actual editing of the video, they use simple quick cuts without any fades. They have also taken a lot of “Fill Shots” which can lead from one scene into another or can be faded in over a narration. In this video, they have recorded a lot of footage of customers taking photos, close-up of phones and images on the phones, etc. At 0.37 secs, you can see a large collection of images pop up on the screen, this effect can be achieved by using our picture-in-picture effect with trakAxPC.

Remember trakAxPC can be used for all your video editing needs. Take advantage of our special price – buy trakAxPC today..

Inspiration, Showcase, Tech / Mobile / software, trakax for Business, trakAx MovieExpress, trakax Video Case Study

A guide to our “trakax” Promotional Video.

August 7, 2013
movieexpress

Update: trakax is now available on the Play Store

We recently created a promotional video for our new video editing application for Android called “trakax” which is due out soon on the Google Play store. We had a very short period of time to produce this video, so planning the video shoot was the most important aspect to getting it right. Once we had an overall idea and plan of how we wanted to structure the shoot, everything else fell into place.

Some video projects may feel intimidating at first but once you sit down, brainstorm and discuss the project and how you want it to look and feel, then a lot of pressure can be taken off of your shoulders. As the saying goes “Proper planning and preparation prevents poor performance”. Also revisiting some of the helpful tips and techniques highlighted in the “Tips & Tricks” section came in very handy and helped reduce some of the editing time, as we knew what shots to take.

The concept of the video was to highlight how the app could be used to capture and share different scenarios and events in real life. With this mind, we narrowed it down to how Catriona (of the trakAx team) could use the app in her life. The key feature was highlighting how the app could be used to edit and create videos capturing true to life events in a family situation, a social environment and in the workplace.

While watching the video, you will see we used some of the rules and techniques mentioned on this site such as the “The Rule of Thirds” and “Lighting Basics“, as well as understanding nose room and Fill shots. Once you have a grasp of these basic techniques the video production and editing becomes a lot easier.

We believe a key part of any good video is the soundtrack, as it can control the tempo and mood of the entire video. Before you begin the video editing process, we would advise selecting your track beforehand as this way you can edit your video along with the soundtrack and get a good feeling of how it is working with the footage. Also you will be able to align any edits with the beat or tempo changes in the audio. We would also advise purchasing a royalty-free track for your video, so this way the video will not be removed from any video sharing sites due to copyright infringement.

Finally, with regards to the voice-over, we had a basic idea of the script so we knew what type of shots we wanted to take. We recorded the audio after the footage was captured but before it was edited. Once we began the editing process, we were able to edit and align the footage with the voice-over recordings. We simply used the free recording software Audacity to record in the voice-over and simply edited and aligned the audio with our video footage in trakAxPC.

You will be able to find trakax on the play store soon, so watch this space.

Inspiration, Tech / Mobile / software, trakax for Business

Using Video to promote a Mobile Application.

June 20, 2013
Mobile app

As we’re a software company making mobile apps, sometimes we have to create videos to highlight how our software works and in what situations it can be used. Often this leads to discussions on how is the best way to present your software so users and potential clients will understand the concept on why you developed the software and how it actually works. The two example videos I have added below demonstrate how you can create an excellent visual experience for the viewer, as well as highlighting the key features of your software.

The feature I like most about both these videos is the way you see exactly what the person/camera is seeing. This type of shot is called a “point on view” shot (POV). With this type of shot you almost feel like you are in the video itself and get a great insight into the how to navigate around the app and how it looks and feels. This type of shot is very achievable with any type of camera, for example, you could use a GoPro camera and simply attach to a head mount.

Another charactistic I like about the videos is the way they tell a story. They do not overpower the video with too many shots of the actually application in use, instead they focus on the key features so the viewer can quickly comprehend what they are seeing and how it works in real life situations.

So remember, next time you embark on a video project, have a look around vimeo and other video sharing sites for inspiration and take points on how the video is edited and the type of shots used in the production.

We have a new video creation application coming out shortly on Android called trakAx MovieExpress. To learn more about our exciting application, click HERE.

Inspiration, Small Retailers, trakax for Business

Kickstart your Business with video

March 15, 2013
minicblox 2

Online video is a great way to promote your products and services, but using video can also be a terrific way to kickstart the funding for your Business or small start-up. In recent years, Crowdfunding websites like Kicktarter, Fundit, IndieGoGo, etc. have become a vital resource for inventors and entrepreneurs to help find funding quickly, so they can grow and develop their product or idea and make it into a reality. Crowdfunding, at its simplest, is explaining and demonstrating your product or idea to a large group people. You then ask them to invest in your business (it can be as little as $1 to thousands), and in return you can provide them with your product (before it’s released to members of the public) or give them a share percentage of your business.

One such company that used Kickstarter to help fund their project development was Cablox. Cablox is a cable organizer that sticks underneath your desk or behind your home entertainment center and keeps your cables tidy and organized. They are using Kickstarter to help manufacture their MiniCablox which is a smaller compact version. However, with Kickstarter and other sites you need to include a video to explain and demonstrate your product or idea. With this in mind, Soren Jensen from Cablox, turned to trakAxPC software to help create his super easy introduction video. You can see the video quickly helps to explain their product and its many uses. They were also able to add their company logo, as well as promote their brand. What’s even better, they raised the money to begin manufacturing their MiniCablox.

The video is embedded on the Kickstarter website, so head over to watch the video by clicking on the link below, (you could even sponsor them for a $1).

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/37801615/mini-cablox

Cakes & Sweets, Inspiration, Small Retailers, trakax for Business

A video to demonstrate your Tasty CupCake Treats

March 6, 2013
Meringue Pops

We recently received an excellent video from Darlene Abarquez, who created a video for her blog MakeFabulousCakes. In this video, she highlights how easy it is to make a super quick Valentine’s gift by creating gorgeous looking meringue pops. This type of video could be useful for any small food business who create similar products like cakes, cupcakes, sweets, etc. and quickly demonstrates to customers what exactly goes into the creation process. It is also the perfect way to build brand recognition and entice consumers to purchase some of your deliciously tasty treats.

Darlene also had some great comments about our trakAxPC software which she used to create the video. She says “I just bought this program and loving it! I have never edited a video in my life, tried the Windows Live Movie Maker that came with my PC and could not understand anything with it. Went online to find something and found TrakAx, tried making a video during the 15 days trial and this newbie had actually made a decent video! It was easy and the video tutorials really helped tons. It does all what I want to do for my video and so much more, I’m sure I’ve just scratched the surface here. Thank you so much!

Well, we’re obviously delighted Darlene is enjoying the software, so why not join her by making the those first steps in to the video editing and production process. The rewards will be worth it for your business and brand.

(Remember to change the Quality Setting on the YouTube video).

Farming & Agriculture, Inspiration, trakax for Business

How video can help promote your Farm and Produce.

February 3, 2013
Food and Agriculture

Agriculture and farming has been the lifeblood of communities for millennia. However, in the western world it has become increasingly difficult for small local farmers who produce a variety of goods to compete with the large conglomerates who supply the big multinational supermarket chains. With many countries, especially in the EU and America, also struggling with obesity issues, now is a great time for the small independent farmers to connect with their local communities.

Farmers may ask themselves “how can creating short online videos help my business?” Well, through videos and social media sharing sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc., farmers can now communicate directly with customers and begin to develop and build their own marketing brand. By visually demonstrating how they produce their crops and rear their animals, farmers can inspire, educate and build confidence with their customers who can connect with their food, see transparency in the production and promote a healthier lifestyle all at the same time.

Creating online videos does not have to be an expensive and time consuming process. Most of the videos displayed below are short and to the point. The key is not to be intimated by the prospect of video creation and just go out and grab the bull by the horns (if you know what I mean!).

1. Behind the scenes.

A great way to connect with the viewer and potential customers is to show them exactly what you do and the processes that go into making your product. I really liked watching this video as you get the feeling the Nolan Family really enjoy what they do. They take great pride in looking after their livestock and producing quality cheeses for their customers. One of the major camera techniques they use in this video is J and L cuts. It is used over and over again and really adds to the flow of the video. The videographer has also taken the time to capture a lot of “Fill Shots“. For example, there’s lots of footage from around the farm and shots taken within the house. Having plenty of fill shots will certainly help in the final editing process and can help fill gaps in the dialogue.

2. Highlight your challenges.

One of the biggest challenges fancy our society, as well as farmers, is the effect of CO2 emissions on our climate. Kyle Niedfeldt Zenz, a fourth generation farmer is manager at Old Oak Family Farm. She describes the diverse crops and animals raised on the farm and the challenges they face from climate change, including pests and disease. In this video, I really enjoy the use of photos and video being used side by side and the way the film moves between the two. They also planned each shot around the script and narration and works together in harmony. Through this video, potential clients can see the benefits of joining the CSA and how they help the local community as well as receiving quality produce throughout the year.

3. Educate members and prospects.

Video is a great way to communicate with members and customers and educate them on how you can help them. “Pie Ranch is an educational farm whose mission it is to inspire and connect people to know the source of their food, and to work together to bring greater health to the food system from seed to table.” Again, J and L cuts are used multiple times in this video. Also when there is an interviewee shown, the “rule of thirds” is being implemented. This gives depth to the shot and will make it more interesting than standing directly in front of the camera. At 7 mins in length, this may seem like a long video, but a docu-style video like this gives you some leeway on time and allows you to expand on the topics you wish to cover.

4. Give Tips and Tutorials.

If you are in the machinery business or sell agri-products to other farmers, creating useful tips and tutorial videos can be a great way to drive new business and promote your products. In this video, Steve Shirtliffe explains how a rotary hoe can effectively kill weeds when you can’t use herbicides or when herbicides don’t work. These types of videos are perfect for quick blog posts and demonstrating to clients how your product works and how they can be of benefit to them.

5. Working together.

In smaller communities, building support for local or family owned farms can be a tough prospect. However, if local farmers and their community come together and work in a setting like a Farmers Market, it can be a great way to build new relationships with customers and introduce your produce to them. One of the main features of this video that really stands out for me is the colour and vibrancy of the produce on show. The videographer has taken the time to make sure that the fruits and vegetables on show are the focal point of the video. There’s a simple narration running over the video as well as a soundtrack with a modern folk music vibe which really adds to the ambience of the video. We also see shots of some of the vendors and is a great way to promote the market to the community.

Why not try out trakAxPC today. It can be used for all your video editing needs. Take advantage of our special price. Buy trakAxPC today.