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video Archives - The X Gene

a yellow cartoon duck with smiling eyes and a chubby demeanour

Why We Do Drafts

By | Education | No Comments

When we quote a job, we’ll say how many drafts are included. That’ll usually be drafts of a script, and drafts of an edit. Sometimes, it seems people aren’t quite sure of why we do that, or what constitutes a draft. Here’s why and what!

When we’re making something, it’s a mix of our vision and the client’s vision. Those visions will never immediately 100% align. It’s impossible for two people to think exactly the same way. If I say, “Think of a duck,” you and I are picturing two different ducks. Maybe mine’s black, and yours is green and tan. Maybe yours is a pond duck, and mine is Daffy. Making a collaborative or responsive creative piece is about understanding each other as much as possible – and understanding comes from communicating. Drafts are the things that let us communicate. They give us something central and real to discuss.
Image: a wooden mallard decoy duck to demonstrate how varied our ideas of ducks and drafts can be
In our official terms (read them here), a draft is defined as, “any video file, document, or sound file submitted to a client, on which notes can be given back to The X Gene. The final draft is either that draft which requires no further changes/notes, as stated by the client, or the maximum number of drafts as stated in the quote/by these terms – whichever comes first.

Here’s an honest truth: the first draft of anything is shit. Well, maybe not shit, because The X Gene is great at scoping what someone wants before we begin – but certainly not what the client exactly pictured. That’s good! It’s never going to be! The first draft is the starting point. We present that first draft and give the client a formatted Google Sheet, and ask them to go over it second by second, and tell us what to change. Be as specific as possible! The more changes, the better!

From that, we reshape the video or script, refining it with our own knowledge of copywriting or editing as we go, and then draft 2 is a big improvement. So many times, a client will exclaim, “Oh that’s much better!” When done properly, draft 3 is usually just a polish – a couple of timing changes, or a few word swaps, say.

Where it goes wrong is when clients don’t take the time to really look over the drafts we send them. If we get only two or three notes on draft 1 – sometimes none! – we get nervous, because in all likelihood, those changes will trickle through after draft 3, when suddenly the client has looked closer and noticed, and then we have to charge extra.

Back to our terms, “all jobs requiring editing or standalone motion graphics/animation include two rounds of revisions, which is three drafts, in the quoted price, unless stated otherwise. Any changes outside of these three drafts will be quoted and, if approved, charged accordingly.” It feels lame to say it, but in drafting, haste makes waste. A video is probably a pretty expensive line item, so we try and encourage our clients to take some time, sit down with a coffee or thickshake, and dedicate an hour or so going through the first and second drafts with a fine toothed comb, jotting down the timecode and exactly what should be changed. Then, wait until the end of the day, look back over those notes and confirm they’re what’s needed.

Maybe there’s a hesitation to tell us what to do? One of our favourite clients gave copious, detailed notes with exactly what she wanted as a result, and at first apologised. We rejoiced! Those notes told us exactly what to do, and so we knew that when we were finished, we’d done exactly what was right. The only time that goes awry is when a client changes their mind and reverts back. Flip flopping is a nightmare. So don’t be afraid to know what you want – and be specific about it – but take the time to ensure that you and your stakeholders are all agreeing that your duck is the same as our duck.

Feature for blog with stats on what counts as a video view

What Counts As A Video View? You’d Be Surprised!

By | Research, Technology, Video | No Comments

Just because someone sees your video, doesn’t mean it’ll count as a view! Turns out there are varying definitions of what counts as a ‘view’ on video content.

Depending on the website that’s hosting your video, TubeMogul informs us that a half view, and autoplay or a refresh can an affect on whether your view count goes up or stays as it is. Below is the table of results from TubeMogul’s research, updated in 2010 and found here via Creative Commons license. One/session is one count per session (monitored via the viewer’s IP address), > 1/2 view means the viewer got through more than half the video. Note that autoplays aren’t always counted, which is important if you want that intro video on your homepage to gather a nice collection of views. You’ll have to weigh up the importance of people seeing your video vs raising the view count.

III. Summary of Findings

Site Full View >1/2 View Refresh Embedded Embedded Autoplay 
blip.tv one/sess. one/sess. no count one/sess. one/sess.
Dailymotion count count count count count
Metacafe count count no count count count
MySpace count count count count count
Viddler count count count count count
Vimeo one/sess. one/sess. no count count count
Yahoo! Video count count count count count
YouTube count count count count no count

By David Burch, Director of Communications – Link to Report

Feature for blog about how much web video costs

How Much Does A Web Video Cost?

By | Marketing, Video | No Comments


Lots of people are curious about the price of video. It’s dependent on what you’re after, but here’s a handy guide to get you started.

The average web video is 1 to 3 minutes long. There’s juicy research from video hosting platforms that says a viewer will drop off at about 90 seconds in, so get your key messages in early.

Most of our clients use a web video to introduce a brand, service or product. They’ll deploy those videos on their site and throughout their social media network.

A commercial might be expensive, but web video is the entry point for small business. The Interactive Advertising Bureau releases reports about the digital space, and they say the stickiest sites are always those with video. That means people not only stay on the site longer, but are more likely to come back.

A ‘web video’ is a very broad category. They’re very different from video to video. To find out what’s right for someone, we start with a simple chat. We ask questions to know the brand, then understand the message. Finally, we go back and brainstorm three or four fun ideas, with budgets attached. Those concepts might be live action or animation.

Once confirmed, we take care of pre-production (concepts, scripts, storyboards, shotlists, schedules), production (cameras, lighting, cast, crew and locations) and post-production (editing, motion graphics, effects, colour grading, exporting, sound). Once it’s done, we help implement and deploy the video. This means we might work with a client’s web developer, or create different versions for different uses like online, trade shows or DVD.

The question on everybody’s lips: how much does it cost. You’re looking at $3,000 to $8,000 depending on how fancy you want to get. AU$5,000 is the average.

Honestly, the business that can afford The X Gene’s work in this area is a medium businesses with 10+ employees or an operating budget that can justify a more sophisticated marketing approach. We find that’s professional firms like financial managers, insurance brokers, and the technology sector. Animated videos tend to be the realm of government, not-for-profit and education institutions, often with dry or complex messages that need to be made more visually interesting.

So that’s a quick overview of web video. Wanna make one? It’s the next step in being rad.

A golden Mercedes Benz

Why Go Pro Video: The Reason it Costs What it Costs

By | Marketing, Technology, Video | No Comments

Here’s the thing about video – anyone can do it…but only professionals can do it well.

I’d be a moron to dismiss or ignore that as digital swept through and technology got cheaper, making videos became more accessible. A smart phone today will shoot some pretty nice footage (I like how the iPhones oversaturate). This all means businesses promoting themselves can have the same sort of fun with video that we have every day.

My job as a producer at a Melbourne video agency is to make content that promotes businesses, not-for-profits, individuals – anyone with a message. The challenge is finding a place for ourselves now that anyone can afford the basic tech.

Some companies have decided to go for bulk. Buy or build a studio (because that’s something harder to get) and pump out a huge volume of video content at a cut-throat rate. It works for these companies, but they’ll freely admit they are missing one thing: quality.

The X Gene has gone a different route. We’ve moved away from cheap. We come in when our client wants a premium product. A potentially lucrative contract with a big international firm? A line of clientele that take part in the finer things in life? A large audience, a large investment, high stakes? These are the types of things a little clip in a poorly green screened studio won’t help.

If you want big returns, you need high quality. That’s The X Gene. High-end cameras, complex lighting and audio setups, multiple edit suites and specialised post-production software – yes, we have all of that, but we also have something far superior: the years of experience and proven talent to utilise all this creatively. We create the best videos we can, and then push ourselves to do better.

That’s what you’re paying for when you get a video made with us. That’s why it costs more than the quick and dirty alternatives, or the overseas options from sites like freelancer.com. I’ve heard business owners in seminars talk about getting a video done overseas and not being happy with the result. They end up making three or four mediocre videos that probably cost them more than they budgeted for anyway. I’ve also been proud to see other owners and our clients show off a premium video and say it was a bit more expensive, but the results speak for themselves.

The old cliche is true; you get what you pay for. With all this talk in the news of Australia needing to accept it can’t compete on price when working against nations four to ten times cheaper, I hear a constant refrain, “IP and value added skills and expertise are the way forward.” That’s us. Quality in a service industry, making excellent content to make you cut through and stand out. That’s why you go pro video – to be better than your competitors. We strive to be better than our competitors, so who better to team up with to take over the world?

Effectiveness of video and ads online

Length, Placement & Rolling Over: How Do You Perfect A Video?

By | Advertising, Research, Video | No Comments

We know video is the best one of all the ones. Radio is audio. Design is static images. Copy is reading word. Video combines all of those, and moves! C’mon!

Still, proof is better than jabbering unfounded, so we’re gonna show you some examples not only of the effectiveness of video, but how to achieve the optimum effectiveness. (Hint: it’s half science, half art, just like The X Gene)

The Interactive Advertising Bureau is like our mothership. Their research council undertook a study to see just how long a video should be, and where the best place to pop it is. Here’s a quick overview, but click the link below to see the gritty details:

  • 15 seconds appears to be an optimal length for digital video creative in the pre-roll position. 5-second spots had trouble conveying a message; while 30-second spots risked turning off a viewer waiting to watch something else.
  • 30-second spots do well at conveying a complex or emotionally resonant message, but work best in user-initiated placements (where the user must take an action, like clicking on an ad or rolling over an in-text link, to begin playing the ad) where viewers display more patience for long messages.
  • Pre-roll, in-text, and in-banner video ad placements can all contribute to achieving the goals of a campaign; however, different placements may perform optimally with different creative lengths.

LINK: IAB Digital Video Ad Effectiveness Case Study

Equipment science and video on a table

Web Video Trends in 2013

By | Technology, Video | No Comments

We just sent this information to a client, but thought it was valuable enough to share with you. This is stuff we’re seeing more of, or just really excited about in 2013.

Responsive/Adaptive websites
Site design that adjusts itself based on the screen it’s being viewed on. We know a web agency that create tile based sites that slide around and reposition themselves on different screens and different orientations. Cool!

 

In-browser applications
The idea that content or programs run exclusively in a web browser, with little to no plug-ins. With HTML5, this seems to be more and more achievable.
Important for an audience that may only have a computer, a browser and the internet.

 

Interactive video
Video that doesn’t just play from start to end in a linear fashion once you click ‘play’, but instead can be clicked on, through and around to create branched, more inclusive, shorter interactions.
Exciting for us, because we can break people out of ‘sit and watch’ and get them to actually play around with the video. Think of choose your own adventure, online, as video.
Use video for magazines

Got A Brand, Magazine or Website? Produce TV!

By | Video | No Comments

After finishing up on 4WD Touring Australia, a 13-part half hour series airing on Aurora, Foxtel’s open channel, we want to make use of our fabulous production team to develop more series with you.

In particular, we’re after brand funded content. This can be media that has an existing advertiser base (magazines, websites, eBooks) or a product that ties in with something that people enjoy as part of their lifestyle.

For example, 4WD Touring Australia was first a magazine, but the owners turned it into a TV series that their existing advertisers took part in funding. The idea is to create a program people enjoy, while also giving them access to the elements of that lifestyle they’d be keen to buy or make use of anyway.

Our skill is in working with you to create a concept that incorporates your brand personality, and then planning, shooting, editing and generally executing the show. Aurora is the channel that airs the content around the nation, and they loved our work last time, keen to work with us again.

That’s as simple as we can put it, really! Please get in contact with us if you think you have an idea.

 

While we’re at it, here’s a great article about brand funded content from Mumbrella.