Friday, October 25, 2013


Ever finish shooting video, convinced you recorded great footage only to later discover that your whites weren't crispy clean? Your colors weren't vibrant and healthy? That the whole look of your video looked, well, wrong?
It's likely your videos are suffering from bad white balance -- the video equivalent of throwing a bright red sock in with a load of white linen. In this article, we'll explore how your video can go awry because of improper white balance, and you'll learn how to use your camcorder's white balance function to keep your whites white and your hues healthy.

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Video Bleach 
It may come as a surprise to you that there's really no such thing as white light. What you perceive as white is simply light of all different colors that's blended together in roughly equal proportions. Stir together paints of all colors and you get a dark mess; mix light of all colors and you get white.
What happens when there's a predominance of one color over the others--say green or yellow or blue? Your eyes automatically adjust to see it as white light, in spite of the fact that it has a slight color cast to it.
Every source of white light emits a different mix of colors. Normal household (tungsten) bulbs are strongest in red, while mid-day sunlight tends to be bluer. Quartz lamps are nearly as ruddy as tungsten bulbs, while fluorescent lamps tend to cast greens.
The now-immortalized physicist Lord Kelvin (who was known as William Thomson before he was given a title) devised a way to quantify this difference in color. He theorized (and later proved) that a "black body" of metal would emit different colors of light as it was heated up to higher and higher temperatures. The object would start glowing a dull red, then turn yellow, then a yellow-green and so on. Eventually it would pass blue and violet in the color spectrum as it moved toward true white-hot.
Lord Kelvin measured these temperatures and attached actual numbers to the colors, establishing a color-measurement scale that still bears his name--degrees Kelvin. Light sources with higher color temperatures put off a more bluish light, while sources with lower color temperatures are more reddish. Those ruddy tungsten bulbs, for example, burn at around 2800 degrees Kelvin, while quartz bulbs usually measure near 3200 degrees Kelvin. Sunlight can climb well up the scale, exceeding 10,000 degrees Kelvin on a clear summer day. (See Figure 1 for a graphic representation of the Kelvin color scale.)
Fluorescent lamps defy the Kelvin scale because they actually emit a strange mix of colors with certain hues lacking. Most fluorescents have a strong spike of color in the green range of the spectrum, giving them, you guessed it, a greenish cast.
Balanced Whites 
You've probably never noticed these different colors of white light because your brain quickly compensates for the color shift. Left to its own devices, the camcorder would dutifully record the different colors of "white" light. The result would be video that had a definite color tint to it, as if it had been shot through a piece of lightly colored glass. So to avoid this, manufacturers equip camcorders with something called a white balance circuit -- an electronic color equalizer that isn't nearly as foolproof as the one between your ears.
Inside the camcorder, electronic components divide the light spectrum into three parts--either red, green and blue or cyan, yellow and magenta (see "The Eye of the Camcorder: Understanding the CCD" in the October 1998 issue of Videomaker for more information on this). By varying the relative strength of these signals, the camcorder can make subtle or dramatic shifts in the color. It can compensate for white light that leans toward the red side, light that leans toward the blue side or anything in between.
It turns out that making the corrections for not-so-white light is easy--figuring out exactly what those corrections should be is the tricky part. This is the area where white balance schemes differ, and it's also where they succeed or fail.
The simplest scheme, at least where operator input is concerned, is continuous automatic. Continuous auto looks at the light coming through the lens and tries to guess what sort of light is hitting the subject. As a rule, the auto setting does a remarkably good job of delivering accurate color. It can be fooled, however, by large areas of solid color, multiple light sources of different types and other devious lighting situations. When you can see colors shifting on the screen as you play back your tape, you know your auto white balance circuit was struggling.
A better way for your camcorder to sense the color of white light is to not do it at all. This is how preset white balance works. Before you start recording, you simply tell your camcorder what kind of light illuminates your subject--tungsten bulbs, daylight, fluorescent--and it does the work. If you're shooting outdoors, you set your camcorder's white balance to the sunlight or outdoor setting. Back in your living room, you select the indoor or tungsten preset. The camcorder has a stock correction it applies for each of the most common light sources, usually resulting in spot-on colors.
Even better is white balance hold, also called manual white balance. With this white balance scheme, you fill your camcorder's viewfinder with a white object bathed in the same light as your subject. You press the appropriate button (which depends on your camcorder) and the camcorder begins analyzing the light coming into the lens. If the light is reddish, for example, the camcorder will reduce the red signal until it achieves an equal color balance. The whole process takes just a few seconds and it delivers the most accurate color of any of the white balance methods.
Why is this method the best? Because it accounts for the specific lighting conditions you're shooting in (something a preset doesn't do), and it can't be fooled the way a continuous auto setting can be. A preset, for example, won't know that your tungsten bulb light source is even ruddier than usual because you turned it down slightly with a dimmer. Nor will it know that your subject is sitting in a mix of tungsten light and daylight from an outside window (which have dramatically different color temperatures).
Colorful Fun 
Sometimes, having your white balance set incorrectly can make for a desirable effect. The result is video with a definite color cast, which may enhance the mood you're after. Shoot indoors with an outdoor preset, for example, and your video will take on a warm, yellow/red tint. Shoot outdoors with an indoor preset, and you'll get a cold, bluish look to your video. Couple this look with too small an iris setting (to underexpose the video), and you can make the video you shot during the day look much like nighttime footage.
A manual white balance circuit gives you even more creative options. Set your white balance on a colored object, and your video will pick up the opposite tint. Set your white balance on a light blue piece of paper, for example, and the camcorder will make the video you shoot with that setting more red to compensate. Note that manual white balance settings will only swing the color so far and will fail to lock in if you set your white balance on a very saturated object.
In most shooting situations, though, you want your camcorder's white balance system to record the most accurate color possible. Which is after all, what it is designed to do.

DOF "Depth of Field" Shots

“depth of field” is the portion of an image that is in sharp focus. To illustrate: in landscape photography, generally you’re working to achieve a very large depth of field. You want EVERYTHING in the scene to be in sharp focus. With portraits, photographers are often shooting for (lame pun intended) a more shallow depth of field, focusing in on their subjects and working towards fall off or blur in the background. Why do you think this is the case? Clearly to draw focus to the story being told. Well what if you want to tell a different story OR what if you want to tell the same story in a different way? Today let’s talk about depth of field and some ways you can use foreground in a different way to draw a different kind of attention to the story you’re trying to tell. Here are 3 ways to create “story telling images” using foreground to achieve creative depth of field.

1. Framing with foreground:

I wanted to find the most straight forward illustration I could to get the point across clearly. This shot (left) is from a recent senior portrait session. I wanted to draw attention to the senior, particularly I wanted him to seem strong and capable: READY to take on the world.
The frame of the foliage around him draws attention right to him… it focuses the story of the image. I recognize that foreground used in this way can also be distracting, this image is borderline distracting, I recognize that. You need to be aware of that and be sure to make foreground work for you, not against you.
How to get a shot like this: well I was shooting with a 50mm lens. I got right up close to the foliage that separated Melvin and I. First I tried with auto focus, but because of my proximity to the leaves, I had to switch over and focus manually.

foreground-depth of field.jpg

2. Don’t be afraid to throw your subject out of focus:

When you’re doing portraiture, you’re generally trying to establish some kind of mood through imagery: happy, solemn, lovesick, sexy. . . Generally the mood is created through posing etc. For the next shots I let the foreground tell a few different kinds of love stories for me.
Back in March, I was shooting on Balboa Island in California. We were out on this dock shooting the typical, fun, happy, “we can’t wait to get married” stuff and I was getting bored. I had them take their shoes off and put their feet in the water. Better, but still pretty typical. So I waded out into the water, hitched my skirt up around my waist, nearly dropped my camera into the ocean, and created these. First I focused on the couple and threw the water out of focus. It’s a nice shot. It looks like they’re sitting on the dock watching the sun set. Nice. Then I focused on the water throwing my subject out of focus. A little sexier huh? Like, we’re sneaking up on some steamy make-out sesh. . . ha ha! But really, both images are good, while neither image is going up for any awards any time soon, they’re both good images. The second just speaks to you a little differently, tells their sexy love story a little more clearly.
Here’s another image where I decided NOT to focus on my subject, again to tell his story better. Back to Melvin’s senior session. Here he is walking into his future. I wanted to show where he was going, but also to illustrate that he’s on his way there because of where he’s been. . . I think this image is a powerful one that illustrates hope for the future and grounding in the past.
Don’t be afraid to throw your subject out of focus!

3. Same shot+different focus=different story:

This next series is a favorite of mine. Essentially the same shot, but different focus makes it tell a different tale. Both images were taken within seconds of each other. But they each tell a different person’s love story. First, the love of a father for his daughter and the second the love of a little girl for her daddy. Framed side by side. . . ahh. I get all warm and cozy just thinking about it.
Get out and your DOF shooting talents---Dance Media Aurora Newmarket

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Choose great portrait photography locations. Put your subject at ease, capture their personality, and guarantee stunning photos.

One of the most important aspects of portrait photography is picking a suitable location. Your choice will drive all other decisions about the shoot, including what lighting and props to take, which clothes the subject should wear, and the most suitable poses to use.
Shooting in a studio with a plain background is a popular choice, but it can be expensive, and these types of shots have been done a million times. You can usually get much more interesting, engaging pictures by using your imagination and choosing a more unusual portrait location.

Choose a Meaningful Place

It's easy to choose a portrait location based on convenience. For example, if you live near a leafy park, it's tempting to use that as your default shooting location. But while this may look attractive, it's not always the best option.
Two musicians on the street
Remember that every subject is a unique individual, with their own personality. This is what makes them so interesting, and it's something you should try to capture in every portrait you take. Choosing a suitable location is an important part of this.
Take the time to get to know your subject. Find out about their hobbies and favourite places and incorporate them into your photography. If they're an avid horse rider, shoot them at their stables; if they love to surf, go to their local beach.
By using a location that means something to your subject, you'll get much more personal, meaningful photos. As an added bonus, they're likely to feel more relaxed, helping you capture more natural-looking shots.

Use Natural Lighting

Most professional portrait photographers swear by natural lighting, and some refuse to shoot in anything else. If possible, choose a brightly lit location which offers plenty of diffused, natural light.
Woman in field
When shooting outdoors it's important to avoid the direct midday sun as this produces very harsh shadows. Look for some light shade such as an overhanging tree or covered seating area, where the sunlight is softer and more flattering. Alternatively, shoot in the morning or early evening when the sun isn't as strong.
If you're shooting indoors, try to position your subject near a large window so that you can make the most of any available natural light. Depending on your budget and the equipment you have available you can compliment this with some artificial lighting if necessary.

Set Up Near Shelter

If you choose an outdoor portrait location, there's always a chance that the weather will spoil the party. Sometimes you'll just have to take a chance and hope it stays dry, but try to have a backup in case the weather turns bad.
Woman behind glass with rain running down it
Look for a location which has some sort of shelter nearby, such as a bridge, bandstand, or cafe. These can be life-savers during a quick shower, helping you keep yourself, your equipment, and your subject dry - particularly important if they're paying!
If the weather gets really bad you may even be able to move your whole photoshoot under cover. With open-sided shelter you can often recompose to keep a natural background behind your subject, and as long as the lighting is good enough nobody will ever tell you weren't fully outdoors.

Choose Somewhere Quiet

Crowded places, like cities or busy public parks, are among the worst locations for a portrait shoot. You'll be constantly waiting for people to move out of frame and dealing with questions from passers-by, plus your subject will probably feel very self-conscious and struggle to relax.
Man standing on a beach
Finding a quiet, secluded location is not as difficult as it might seem. If you must shoot in a city, get off the beaten track - by moving just a few hundred yards away you can usually find a spot where you and your subject can set up undisturbed.
Better still, avoid cities altogether and head for remote beaches, grassy fields, and woodland. These all provide great backdrops to a portrait photo, and are often completely deserted, giving you free-reign to move around and experiment with different poses and angles.

Don't Let the Location Distract

A suitable location is crucial in portrait photography, but always remember that it's not the main subject, so don't let it overpower your scene. From time to time during your shoot, check the photos you've taken - if your eye is drawn more to the scenery than the subject, you're putting too much emphasis on the wrong thing.
Girl photographed against blurred background
A simple and effective technique is to open your lens's aperture up nice and wide. This puts the background out of focus, preventing it from being too distracting, creating a sense of depth in the scene, and drawing the viewer's eye to the main subject.
Choosing an effective portrait location takes time and thought, but it's something that you should always aim to get right. By doing so you'll be able to tell a story with your pictures, and capture the essence of your subject's personality, resulting in much more engaging, personal photos.

8 Ways to Shoot Video

Nothing brings out the camcorders or DSLR video shooters like the holidays, which is why this is the perfect time to admit an ugly truth: You suck at making home movies.P
No, really. I'm sure you're a nice person and all, but there's more to videography than just taking the camera out of the box and pressing Record.P
As with photography, good videography requires a bit of know-how. Luckily, I know how, so here's my list of ways you can improve your home movies. You won't come out Soderbergh on the other side, nor even Singer, but your Uncle-Henry-dropped-the-turkey-on-Aunt-Edna's-head submission to America's Funniest Home Videos will look a lot better.P
A good fisherman knows what's in his tackle box, and a good videographer knows his camera. The moment Junior takes his first steps or a spaceship lands in the backyard, you should be able to adjust the shutter speed, turn off the autofocus, or do whatever else is necessary to capture the best images. In other words, learn your camcorder inside and out. Read the manual—twice. Know how to access the menus, which menus contain which settings, and so on. Keep a crib sheet handy if necessary (laminate a 3x5 card, hole-punch it, and attach it to the neck strap). A little bit of study and preparation can go a long way toward helping you shoot better video. Now, onto the advice you might actually follow.P
2. Be preparedP
Anytime you go somewhere with your camcorder or dslr, here's what you should be packing:P
  • At least one spare battery, fully charged.P
  • At least two more blank tapes than you think you'll need.P
  • A lens-cleaning cloth. No matter how careful you are, the lens is going to get smudged. There's no post-production software filter in the world that can correct for that.P
  • A tripod. Throw it in the trunk, even if you don't think you'll need it.P
  • The battery charger/power supply.P
  • An extension cord for the power supply, which you'll invariably need.P
  • Duct tape, for taping down the extension cord so people don't trip over it.P
  • Lighting gear, lens filters, microphones, and any other accessories you own. You bought them for a reason, right? Bring 'em!P

3. Use a tripod
It's a lot harder than it looks to pull off that cool shaky-camera look. Most home video just ends up looking shaky, which is absolutely no fun to watch. By mounting your camcorder on a $20 tripod, you'll get rock-steady footage. At the same time, you'll free yourself to perform pans and zooms, or even to get in front of the lens. If you're planning to rely on your camera's digital image-stabilization feature, don't. All that does is lower the video resolution by cropping to the center of the frame. Optical image stabilization is better, but it still can't beat a tripod.P
No tripod? Lean against a wall. That'll help keep the shakiness to a minimum. No wall? Put your butt on the ground, bend your knees, and prop your elbows on them. Presto: instant tripod.P
4. Raise the lightsP
To paraphrase the old real estate maxim, good videography is all about lighting, lighting, lighting. Most of the camcorders I've reviewed over the years do a really crummy job under poor lighting, producing grainy, washed-out video that can't be improved in post-production. (Hey, there's only so much your video-editing software can do.) The easiest way to overcome lighting issues is to shoot outdoors, where even a cloudy day produces enough ambient light to keep your video crisp and colorful. If it's sunny, try to shoot in the morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky. When it's directly overhead, it casts unflattering shadows on subjects' faces.P
When shooting outdoors isn't an option, bring as much light into the room as you can. Turn on lamps and open blinds to let outside light in. If your camcorder has a built-in light, use it. At the very least, it will help bring out faces in close-up shots. A shoe-mounted external light can be helpful as well. Many camcorders allow you to adjust aperture, white balance, shutter speed, and other light-oriented settings, but these will get you only so far unless it's a really high-end model. My advice for when the lights are low is to disable the autofocus, otherwise you risk getting that annoying pulsing effect from the lens trying to lock onto a subject.P
5. Ace the audioP
If lighting is the most important element in quality video, audio runs a close second. Unfortunately, this is one area where it can be difficult to achieve professional results. The microphones built into most camcorders are fairly basic, recording audio from any direction. If you're trying to film someone talking near a busy street, the traffic may drown out the person's voice. Your best bet is to get your subject(s) as close to the microphone as possible (without sabotaging the shot, of course).P
Ideally, your camcorder should have a jack for plugging in an external microphone. There are many varieties to choose from, including: shotgun mikes for capturing audio directly in front of the lens; lavaliere (a.k.a. tie-clip) mikes for sit-down interviews and stand-up reporting; and pzm-type mikes, which are omni-directional and therefore suitable for auditoriums, large conference rooms, and the like. Hopefully, any camcorder outfitted with a microphone jack will also have one for headphones, which is essential for monitoring audio levels as you record.P
6. Set up your shotsP
Smart photographers obey the "rule of thirds," and you should do the same. Imagine a tic-tac-toe board over your viewfinder. The lines intersect in four spots. Your goal should be to frame the action using one or more of those spots. Or, to put it another way, keep the birthday girl out of the center square.P
Of course, if you're feeling creative, you can always throw this rule out the window. But don't go overboard: Many amateurs fall in love with their camcorders' built-in special effects, then later regret filming an entire birthday party in "old movie" mode. Although these effects can be fun, use them sparingly—or not at all. Better you should start with pristine color video, then apply special effects using your editing software. Likewise, skip the camcorder's auto-fade features; your editing software will give you far greater control over transitions, and greater variety as well.P
7. No digital zoom!P

8. Shoot B-roll
POptical zoom, good. Digital zoom, bad. Very bad. Sorry if you were suckered into buying a particular camcorder because it touted some astronomical digital-zoom number (240X! 300X! 800X!), you should never use it—unless you like grainy, pixilated video. Digital zoom is actually a big fake: As you increase the zoom level, the camcorder crops further and further into the center of the image, enlarging that cropped portion so it fills the screen. As a result, your video looks, well, awful. Stick with your camcorder's optical zoom (usually you can turn off digital zoom from within the camera's menu system), which relies solely on the lens for magnification. If you need to get closer to your subject, follow the old photographer's maxim: zoom with your feet.P
B-roll is secondary footage that you splice into your primary video to flesh out the story. For instance, if you're filming a wedding, you might take shots of the church, the invitation, and the little bride and groom atop the cake. When the time comes to assemble your final movie, you can mix in this footage to add variety.P
Anything can be B-roll. During the warm-up before the soccer game, for instance, get some footage of just the kids' feet. Grab a close-up shot of the ball hitting the net. Get there early and record the empty field; then record from the same position during the game and you can do a neat fade-in. This is where planning comes into play: You should not only allow extra time to shoot B-roll, but also determine in advance what shots will make the best additions.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

7 Steps Beyond Youtube for your Business

With videos being one of the most potent firepower in the digital arsenal, marketers would be wise to put a robust strategy and execution plan behind them. The key is not to treat video as an end in itself; rather, it should be leveraged and positioned in the broader context of the digital strategy to deliver a significant return. No matter what industry you are in, an optimized video strategy can lend fuel to your online and offline marketing. Below are seven steps for building a solid video strategy and execution that can move the needle for your business.

1. Know What You Want to Achieve

Let your business objective guide your video strategy. A mistake some marketers make is to jump in and produce a me-too video before they even know what they want to accomplish with it. Videos that are used to drive awareness will demand a very different content and distribution strategy from those used to help customers choose the right product or learn how to get the most of the product.

Be focused as you set out your objectives, and realize that they don’t have to be lofty. The objective may simply be that you want to educate your prospects about a product that is perceived as complex and to whet their appetite for more information. IG Markets Ltd., for example, made avideo that introduces investors to a financial instrument known as “Contract for Difference (CFD).” In so doing, they distilled a complex product into terms that even novice investors can understand. At the end of the video, viewers are invited to launch a demo to start practicing how to trade CFDs.

Invest in the time to define your business objective, as it will come into play during every step of your video execution, from defining the video content to distribution to measuring their performance.

2. Know With Whom You’re Trying to Engage

Before you get the camera rolling, think about who your audience is and what their needs are. These folks are not a monolithic bunch: not only do they stand at different points along the customer journey; they often represent different personas, for which each may justify tailored content. The business objectives you have defined will help you segment your target audience. For instance, if your goal is to drive awareness, your addressable audience will be quite different and much larger than, say, folks already on your site who need a little nudging to drop a product into their carts.

One way to segment your audience is by their level of interest in the brand or product journey: 1) low – the “just browsing” crowd who are new to your brand or product category; 2) interested – they’re evaluating you; and 3) returning customers – already familiar with your brand and with some loyalty to it.

3. Create Relevant Conversations

Now that you have identified your objectives and know your video’s target audience, what do you want to say to them? Sound, movement, interaction. Video is one the most immersive forms of content, so take advantage of its full potential.

If we’re talking casual browsers, don’t come on too salesy. They’re still in the getting-to-know-you period so think of it as a first date. Make a good impression and tell them your brand story. Also, don’t just make it about your brand, provide them useful information to make them want to get to know you further. Find an emotional hook; humor can do wonders if it dovetails with your positioning. Whatever you do, give them a reason to engage more deeply with you. Skullcandy, which makes audio products, amplifies its edgy brand image by featuring young, up-and-coming models such as Kate Upton and Chanel Iman in a series of online galleries, complete with their personal playlists and videos and photos featuring them using (and loving) Skullcandy gear.

Further along the journey are interested shoppers who are weighing your product features and benefits against your competitors’. Since this is a key decision point where shoppers are looking for validation, try to zero in on the things that resonate with them. Product reviews and user-generated testimonials can swing decisions. Online sports retailer Summit Sports produced more than 1,000 video reviews for its winter sports gear in just three days. Since these videos have relatively low production value, they appear scrappy yet authentic, which sits well with the indie-spirited ski and snowboard crowd.

For returning customers, go beyond up-sell and cross-sell, and use videos to create brand loyalty and affinity. Orion, for instance, makes sure its existing customers are getting the most out of the investments they’ve made in the company’s telescopes. From showing customers how to capture photographs with telescopes to sharing tips for viewing galaxies and nebulas, Orion has created an entirevideo series devoted to nurturing their customers’ affinity with their telescope.

Finally, any good video invites prospects to take the next step. For videos that seek to drive a specific action, embed an interactive call-to-action to make it seamless to go the next step.

4. Reach Your Viewers

Google generates a lot of traffic for online businesses. The first step to ensuring that people can find your videos is to maximize discoverability. At minimum, make sure video titles and descriptions contain keywords and submit the video sitemap to the top search engines.

For videos designed to generate publicity and awareness, give them the greatest visibility by planting them everywhere – your website, Facebook, Vimeo and YouTube. The latter is perhaps the most popular channel, with more than a billion unique visitors and high Google rankings making it likely that someone will stumble across your video if it is optimized. Third-party sites such as YouTube are great for videos that help you build awareness with audiences who don’t know about your brand.

Beyond YouTube: 7 Steps to Making Online Videos Deliver [Strategy]

In cases where video takes center stage for your brand’s content marketing and you have a growing compendium of targeted videos, consider creating a branded content network, which ideally would be supported by a video platform with customization and control features. Sony, for instance, posts videos on itstraining site for resellers. This is an instance in which having your own network can be helpful since you can maintain control over how the content is used and presented. In this latter case, the videos are for audiences already familiar with your brand and who are looking for a deeper level of content. They will watch videos longer than a couple minutes so long as it provides valuable information.

5. Go Mobile

Today’s consumer decision journey is being influenced by a growing and fragmented mix of digital touch points, and mobile is key among them. Adobe’s own research, the 2013 Adobe Mobile Consumer Survey, finds that after viewing a video, people are more likely to make a purchase.

This is hardly surprising as shoppers routinely use their mobile devices to look up product information in store aisles before making a purchase. Clearly, marketers have a real opportunity to expand their influence with consumers on the go, so make sure your videos are optimized for playback across a variety of mobile devices. I like how Biltmore, which operates the George Vanderbilt historic estate, makes the mansion and garden come alive in a video that is optimized for PCs or mobile devices.

Smart brands are also deploying QR codes in brick-and-mortar environments to launch videos that help consumers make decisions. Use cases for deploying QR codes that point to videos are endless, and not limited to retailers. For instance, participants at tradeshows would do well to put up large posters with QR codes that launch videos informing attendees why their booth is the one worth visiting.

6. Capture, Measure, and Analyze

Your fabulous video is out there for the world to see but you’re not done yet. Marketers today must embrace a rigorous, data-driven approach involving ongoing data collection, measurement, analysis and optimization. Responses to each video should be measured as part of a test-and-learn approach, with processes and tools in place to evaluate what resonates and what doesn’t.

The metrics you capture should be linked to your defined business objectives—i.e., key performance indicators (KPIs). If your objective is to increase conversion rate and video is part of your tactic to achieving this, then by looking at the data, you can see the impact of videos on this KPI. Note that conversion does not have to equate to making a sale – after viewing a video, conversion can be click-through to a product page or using a product configurator to customize a product.

7. Test, Target, and Optimize

As you analyze the data, you start to form some hypotheses about why some videos outperform others, or why you’re not getting the results you want. If the data shows that people are not clicking on “open an account” at the close of your video, you may want to consider enlarging the call-to-action button or changing the copy. But, you won’t know if your hypothesis is worth salt unless you start testing.

Insights culled from your tests and other analytics should drive business objectives and inform your video strategy and tactics, providing continuous optimization based on the repetitive cycle of collecting data, testing, learning and optimization.

The case for videos is clear: consumers love them and they drive conversion. Yet the complexity and costs for managing and publishing videos can be daunting. To maximize your ROI, make sure you have the right tools and platform for making video production and delivery scalable and cost effective. Identifying the right video management and publishing solution should be a key part of your video strategy; without it, you risk sub-optimal execution. When videos are a key part of a well-thought-out digital strategy, they can pay off in very big ways.