Content in the Cloud: Video Production’s Collaborative Future

Unless you’ve been spending all of your time on a deserted island, you’re probably aware of the meteoric rise in online video as a marketing tool over the last several years. YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, and Instagram are some of the fastest growing platforms online, and 72% of B2C marketers utilize online video in their strategies. One of the driving forces behind video’s popularity to both consumers and marketers is the technology that has made it so accessible to the masses. Organizations and individuals can produce high-quality video quickly and at much lower cost than they could just a few years ago. And now, thanks to the cloud, video production will continue to become more accessible and more efficient.

Video’s “Cloudy” Future

The cloud has taken over the way we work. More and more software is based in the cloud. Services like Google Drive, Box, and Dropbox have made it possible to work and collaborate remotely. We can access our work from anytime, from any place.

But cloud video tools have been slow to come to market for video content creators. The size of the files that video creators work with, as well as the required security measures, make it difficult to work with video in the cloud. But we are seeing tides begin to shift. There is a market for cloud video services, and a few organizations are beginning to sit up and take notice. These companies are attempting to make storage available (and cheap) for video content creators, and provide them with cloud-based systems in which to manage video files for easy collaboration.

At the recent IBC trade show in Amsterdam, cloud video was on full display. The companies working with the cloud hope to unlock new opportunities for video production studios. In the future, teams won’t need to all be shipped off and locked into a single location. Studios will be able to conduct remote work with far greater efficiency. And these start-ups are directly taking on Adobe Creative Cloud. With Adobe, users have to pay perpetual license fees, but these alternative cloud services allow users to turn their subscriptions on and off as-needed, offering budget-friendly alternatives that will be attractive to small studios, agencies, and freelancers.

One of the biggest goals for cloud video is to allow content creators to be able to edit video as its being shot (similarly to the way we can edit text in the cloud as soon as we create it). While we still have a long way to go to make this possible, in 2013 Verizon and JVC put their cloud video capabilities on display at the National Association of Broadcasters convention. They did it through utilizing a high-speed cell modem connected to an HD video camera. Their application is being marketed as a solution for news media, but the possibilities for all video content creators are endless.

What’s Available Now?

Though we have a long way to go before cloud video technology is something content creators can lean on for 100% of production, there are some cloud-based options available in the marketplace.

Cloud video services that are currently available to users:

  • Hosting – Users can store videos in one location to be accessed by multiple users simultaneously, like on YouTube. Hosting is not the same thing as cloud video storage, however. YouTube alters your videos to suit its player, often at the expense of video quality. You should always store and archive your videos in Dropbox or Google Drive.
  • Editing – Cloud video editing options are still limited in terms of functionality, and aren’t always practical for professional content creators. It’s important to understand your needs before choosing a cloud-based editing option. For example WeVideo allows both quick edits and timeline edits. The quick edits give the software the control, while timeline edits are user controlled. But their upload capabilities are limited to 500 MB, and many editing features (opacity, for example) are not available. Ubuntu is working on free software called Novacut that can be used by both professionals and hobbyists that will allow for real-time collaboration across platforms, but it has yet to be released.
  • Post Production – Cloud-based post production can change the video content landscape forever. Even the smallest agencies and studios will be able to collaborate globally. The cloud video post-production space is not currently full of contenders. Aframe is one option that provides high-quality post production work, though it does not provide 100% cloud-based collaboration. Users comment through a dashboard rather than directly editing the content in the cloud. However, it does work with most all editing software which makes up for some of its own editing limitations.
  • Social Video – Social video it typically aimed at consumers rather than brands, but as we know, many brands are tearing it up with social video. These platforms allow for quick-and-dirty editing for their short form videos with platforms like Vine, Viddy, Socialcam, and Vyclone.
  • Transcoding – You can’t just pop and video up online and assume it will play on all devices and operating systems. You must be sure that the code is converted for all of these platforms. Hosting sites like YouTube will do the work for you, but if you’re doing your own hosting and distribution, you’ll have to do the legwork yourself. Cloud video transcoding services like, Zencoder, and Amazon Web Services’ new Elastic Transcoder are some options. It’s important to note that cloud-based transcoding services are not perfect. They have limited capabilities and some are still in beta phases. So always use caution.

Cloud Video: A World of Limitless Possibilities

Cloud video applications are still very new and in many cases, very theoretical. But we are moving in the right direction. Video shot from anywhere in the globe can be edited and uploaded to a brand’s website within a matter of hours. As technology continues to improve, it’s likely that the only limitations for cloud-based video will be a marketer’s bandwidth and creativity.

Where do you think cloud video is headed in the future? What features would you like to see? Let us know in the comments.

Viewer Behavior: Does Device Determine How Users Consume YouTube Content?

We all know that mobile devices have changed the way we consume content online.  With over half the US population owning smartphones, and almost as many using tablets, mobile is rapidly overtaking laptops and desktops. The team at Pixability, an online data and tech company, was interested in seeing how this trend affects YouTube viewer behavior, and put together some interesting numbers.

According to their findings (which do not include methodology or sample size, so the reliability may be questionable), individuals are spending more time watching video on smartphones, tablets, streaming TV set boxes, and game consoles than on desktop computers. However, they report that the majority of YouTube views still come from desktop devices.

YouTube’s own statistics show that 40% of total watch time is coming from mobile devices, but when broken down by topic or geography, the number shifts, many times to above 50%.

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Nonprofit Video Marketing Case Study: The British Red Cross

Nonprofits often struggle when it comes to harnessing the power of video marketing. But recently, The British Red Cross launched a campaign targeted at teenagers. The purpose of their nonprofit video marketing campaign was to combat self-harm by British youth. When the Red Cross discovered that the number of British young people harming themselves had increased by 40% in ten years, they realized they had an epidemic on their hands. So they took their campaign to YouTube.

Their aim was to create a video resource that would teach teenagers life-saving skills and help them build the confidence to use those skills if necessary. They wanted to move Red-Cross first aid into the modern era. And it worked. The campaign won several awards, generated 7.5 million views and over 50,000 comments. 90% of individuals surveyed after watching the videos stated they felt more confident in their ability to help.

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YouTube TrueView Updates: What Video Marketers Need to Know

On April 15, Google will finally roll out updates to its YouTube TrueView video advertising platform.  After that date the “in-search” option will be eliminated, and advertisers will have two options to choose from: “in-stream” and “in-display.”

The updates will not affect current campaigns until May 15, but all new campaigns set to begin on or after April 15 will fall under the new platform. However, Google will allow users to manually update their settings if they wish to update in-process campaigns before May.

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Successful Viral Marketing: Are You Prepared For The Spotlight?

There are millions of pieces of content uploaded to the internet every single day. And there are millions of people hoping that those videos, blog posts, infographics, and articles go viral, generating instant buzz and overnight celebrity status. But only a few content creators are able to achieve a true viral campaign. Successful viral marketing can be a boon for brands, but only if your business is prepared to handle sudden spikes in traffic and a flood of telephone calls. You must plan in advance to be able to capitalize on a successful viral marketing campaign.

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Viral Video Case Study: Thanks, Dan! How One Video Turned Legal Advertising On Its Ear

Overview:  Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney Dan Muessig was looking for a creative and cost-effective way to attract new business.

Challenges: The legal marketplace is extremely competitive. Since the recession of 2008, demand for legal services has stagnated, as the supply of attorneys in the market continues to grow. Muessig is a relatively new attorney in Western Pennsylvania, and he knows that new clients are critical for ongoing success.  Because the space is so crowded, it can be a challenge for new and lesser-known attorneys to attract new business. Traditional forms of advertising can be cost-prohibitive, and Pay-Per-Click budgets have increased exponentially over the last several years, making it an even greater challenge for attorneys to cut through the noise.

Solution:  The production of Thanks Dan! A humorous, yet brutally honest commercial, intended for online distribution.

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Coming Soon To An Apple Device Near You: Full-Screen Video iAds

Apple is planning to join the auto-play bandwagon in 2014 with the release of video iAds.  According to a leak from within Apple, the tech giant will begin rolling out the full-screen ads to iPhone and iPad apps sometime this year.

Users currently have to click a static banner to play a brand’s video advertisement within an application. The new feature will automatically play the ads when users are in a transition.  They will not interrupt an action, but will play when a user clicks away from an article, or completes a level of a mobile game.  Apple fans may balk at this decision, but the move could be a boom for advertisers. And it is important to note that Apple is merely a facilitator in this action. It will be up to the individual app developer to decide whether or not to include auto-play video iAds.

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What The Lego Movie Understands About Content Marketing

It can be difficult to describe content marketing to those outside of the business. Content Marketing Institute, a leader in the industry describes it as:

“…a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Makes sense, but some people still have a hard time grasping it in action. Thanks to Lego, it’s become quite easy to describe content marketing. If you have children (or nieces and nephews or godchildren), and those children went to see The Lego Movie and then promptly demanded a new set of Legos… THAT is content marketing.  Some, like the marketers at Econsultancy, say The Lego Movie is content marketing at its finest.

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(Some of) The Biggest Viral Ads Of 2013

Now that we’re well into the first quarter of 2014, we can look back on the previous year and take stock of some of the best brand videos 2013 had to offer.  We laughed, we cried, we marveled at the lengths to which some brands were willing to go. These viral ads illustrate what it means to create quality content. Not just good commercials, but view-worthy content.

These viral ads are listed in descending order based on YouTube views. Some are older than others and that could skew the viewing data just a bit, but it’s a straightforward way of listing them. Some of these ads also ran as television commercials, while others were generated for online audiences only. But no matter where they originated, they gained a lot of traction on YouTube.

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Net Neutrality Overturned: How Will Online Video Be Affected?

In case you missed the panic and predictions of death and destruction – there was a landmark net neutrality decision handed down on January 14. The US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, sided with Verizon over the Federal Communications Commission when it comes to net neutrality. The court said that the FCC overstepped when it barred broadband Internet providers from slowing or blocking select web traffic.

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