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Storytelling video series was a Flip and a long walk

26 Nov

We dipped into the Grand Canyon at the North Rim and about 27 miles and four days later emerged on the South Rim with some great web content. Lorrie (MrElshMedia) and I were armed with a 14.4 ounce Flip Mino HD and an 8 ounce Sony Cyber-shot (8.1 mega pixel). We nursed the two hour charge of the 8GB Flip for four days, conserving video shots to hold a reserve for the South Rim exit.

We ended up using Cyber-shot video (using all of the 512MB memory stick) near the top of the South Rim to finish with 2:00 of Flip video.

A portion of the content strategy was to answer questions for other backpackers that we had when preparing for the trip. What I found online was randomly ordered video and text content about the Grand Canyon experience. Most of this content was poorly indentified, lacked place names, dates and proper tagging. What we thought would be helpful was showing what spots like Plateau Point looked like, where this place was in relation to other map points, and adding National Park Service, lodging, dining and shuttle info.

All MrElshMedia storytelling video was edited in Sony Vegas Pro 10. MPEG-2 HD files were uploaded to YouTube.

Find all five stories in the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim series here:

Lorrie and I have also shared these ideas and results on the MrElshMedia Facebook fan page, MrElshMedia website and MrElshMedia Twitter channel.


Content rehearsal for baseball recruiting video

13 Jul

Hey, second baseman. We’d like to create more engaging content for web video, and that involves telling a story. Your story needs to be clear and concise, and have a distinct beginning, middle, and end.

To make this distinct from 99 percent of other recruiting videos, we will omit the clichés. When athletes are interviewed they tend to move quickly to the end of a question set with pat, recycled responses. In crafting this piece of video, we have the advantage of preparing the response so that it is more thoughtful.

We’re looking for you to describe a single at-bat in detail. The best at-bat would be a success (base hit) with a multiple pitch count. What we are trying to show is a well-thought-out path and process that is combined with your athletic ability. A coach or recruiter viewing this will note:

  • Attention to detail
  • Following and processing coaching
  • Situational flexibility
  • Athletic ability

Begin thinking about the at-bat as you would be describing it to another ball player or friend. You’re speaking to a peer, perhaps someone who will be facing this same pitcher and situation. You’re excited at what you learned and the result and want to share detail with the other ball player so that he can hit off this pitcher.

Examples of possible responses:

  • “We faced this pitcher before earlier in the season. He’s got a great fastball and a decent curve.”
  • “Coach told us to build pitch count and let him miss with breaking pitches and wait for inside fastball.”
  • “In this situation, I had a runner on first base so I was thinking about this . . . “
  • “The third base coach was reminding me of this . . . “
  • “Behind in the pitch count with a runner on, I was reminded of this coaching . . . protect plate/make contact, etc. “
  • “You’ll see on this pitch I check my swing (I saw what I thought was a breaking ball and backed off . . . .”

The key is conveying a sense of mastery, joy and intelligence during such a brief, simple act as swatting a baseball.

So think though a favorite moment and rehearse it with a friend or your family so that when we shoot video, you won’t have to be loaded up with a lot of questions and cliches.

You want to convey honesty and intelligence and passion for your craft.

This will make you unique from most other recruiting videos.

Let me know if you have any questions or ideas.

Making the long tail of video more searchable

14 Jan

Good volume of video content helps, but not if people can’t access the video content.

Charles Tillinghast, President and Publisher of, talks about the use of metadata to help people find the long tail in news video instead of just the top 100 views.

Automatic transcription of the voice track of video has proven to be a big value by making video more searchable.

Raw video: Making something out of nothing

7 Jan

What would possess men to leave a nice warm poker game and venture out into the elements? This softball rivalry began over a poker game in 1937 in Elyria, Ohio and has spanned three generations to settle a dispute. The wisdom of settling the matter in January instead of waiting until June is debated each year during post-game festivities at the United Polish Club in Elyria.

Is this raw HD video visually worthy? Lorrie Cesarz decided to frame it with context and tell a story.

We struggled with two failed uploads to the MrElshMedia YouTube channel before noticing that the M2TS file format was for Blu-ray video. The HD video ended up in a MPEG-2 container and all was well.

Seussical webmercial: Horton gets a head start

19 Aug

MrElshMedia’s webmercial for Sylvania (Ohio) Northview High School theatre program was edited in Sony Vegas. Add narration combined with our Audio-Technica AT2020 cardioid condenser microphone and Sony ACID Pro 4.0 and Horton, the Elephant and his mates use social media for a running start toward the upcoming production.

Seussical, The Musical, is coming to Sylvania  this November 6, 7, and 8. The Northview Theatre production is an amalgamation of many of Seuss’s most famous books. Northview put on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in 2008. For 2009 ticket information – or Northview Theatre’s Facebook page.

Video beast: Feeding the appetite for raw media

6 Aug
Edit yourself for the Rice Chex or just eat the entire thing.

Edit yourself for the Rice Chex or just eat the entire thing.

As news (paper and TV) producers debate the turn-around time on stories and best options for short-term multimedia, consider long and raw multimedia.

Are time-consuming Flash interactives and heavily-edited videos the best option for news multimedia?

Social media platforms and news sites provide a starting point and a foundation for growing an idea. The news story that produced a fountain of water cooler talk invisibly connected to the original source now breeds links and comment fields online than extend its publication date. But does the time invested in that news video produce the feedback depth that publishers crave?

Raw video as placeholder

Videographer Adam Westbrook commenting on short-term multimedia options mused about the “appetite for raw multimedia” including “unedited footage of press conferences, speeches, original documents and photographs.”

For stressed news staffs fighting the clock, raw video is the placeholder and advance to the edited news story.

Does anyone actually do this, right now? Delivering facts as images with no explanation or commentary is No Comment TV, an excellent a la carte selection of raw news views to supplement any news diet.

Palin and Obama hubbubs

The next step for journalists (look forward to the windy discussions on the Poynter Institute website) is to secure credibility with unedited content that accompanies a crafted news story. Sarah Palin and Barack Obama video hubbubs sparked by out­-of-context issues and apparent misquoting can be assuaged with two pieces of video content – edited and unedited, side-by-side. News sites will deal with bandwidth issues, or kick the can to the video platform king, YouTube.

Who has time to wade through unedited content? Scan readers won’t. They’ll let a few in the long tail burden themselves with the bigger picture by providing analysis, creating timelines and mashing the raw video content. But the complete picture would be available.

Project Runway: JetBlue’s social media eyes in the sky

26 Jul

Place your product or service in front of as many eyeballs as possible, for the least amount of money? You could ‘celeb-up’ in traditional Hollywood fashion. Or you could go to where those eyeballs actually exist with social media.

JetBlue promoted its new route to LAX (via NewYork’s JFK and Boston’s Logan) by filling one of its aircraft with popular video bloggers.

JetBlue stuffed its BetaBlue plane (equipped with wireless internet access), with popular Howcast videographers and YouTube celebrities like Justine Ezarik, Kevin Nalts, Meghan Asha, and Delphine Dijon.

The bloggers all received a free cross-country flight and were simply asked to provide a friendly, transparent (disclosing the relationship) shout-out to JetBlue in whatever content they produced from the flight. The company planned to combine the quick and nimble word-of-mouth social media campaign with outdoor, radio and print campaigns.

Can you think of any other examples of airlines going viral in video?