So you want to shoot some video?

May 3, 2012

So you want to shoot some video? No problem.

I have a degree in Television producing, so surely we can figure something out. I know a friend whose parents still smother him with gifts (instead of love) and he just got a new Canon 5D – he probably knows how to use it by now too. While everyone else was studying Economics, another friend and I spent our senior high-school years ‘learning’ Film & TV. He used to have a pirated copy of Final Cut on his laptop, so he can probably edit some stuff to look real sexy.

Yeh, we can make you a video alright. Maybe it’ll even go viral – why not? As for remuneration, just buy us a case of beer and we’ll call it even. Easy.

…if only.

The art of film is exactly that – an art. Professionals exist for a reason, and have spent years refining their skills in one of the many particular and often excruciatingly specific roles that exist in the industry. You’ll find a guy on set whose only role is to change the focus of the camera during a shot (Focus Puller). Why? Because he is damn good at it.

As Razorfish moves further into the realm of creating great video content for its clients, we must accept that we aren’t traditionally the experts in this area. Luckily, the guys at Thinkbone are.

To set the scene (so to speak) this week Thinkbone’s crew turned our lobby into a live set in order to teach us a thing or two about production, budgets, and the different outcomes you can expect. They were to film the same scene (Pulp Fiction’s famous “$5 Milkshake”) three times – each with a different budget, and thus final product.  For the purpose of the exercise, let’s assume each budget is for 60 seconds of final video.

  • Low budget: For this we are looking at a stripped back pre-production (logistics, scripts, basically all the organizing), three days of post, a bare minimum crew (Producer/Director, Production Manager, Production Assistant, D.O.P), catering and a basic camera and tripod set-up. Oh, and your mate/Mum/cousin acting. Approximate total: $20,700.

For that you can expect to produce something resembling the quality of video below:

  • Medium budget: In addition to the above, we’d be looking to add an Art Department, props, wardrobe, casting, semi-professional Actors, make up, location costs, and a beefed up camera kit. Approximate total: $ 65,200.

And for the extra money and effort you’ll be looking at something of this quality (ignoring travel costs):

  • High budget: Let’s add more crew, professional actors, expert lighting, more location costs, more catering, and amongst other things, a better camera, a dolly (the thing on the train tracks), and a dolly operator. Approximate total: $97,000.

Now we are looking at some high-end video production capable of matching, or even improving on the original scene. This isn’t to say you need to spend big for every bit of video you create. Each grade of production serves a purpose, so it depends on the individual project and the objectives as to how much you should be budgeting.

Here is the final take of the day (sound is from the camera mic, so apologies). Thankfully, Thinkbone opted to waive the $97,000 – thanks guys. That case of Superdry should arrive any day now.

Dean

@deanvowles


Learning the Lingo

February 15, 2012

Let’s face it: Advertisers love using lingo. And if that lingo happens to come in the form of an acronym – or is it an initialism? – then you’re really onto a winner. Now I’d like to think my degree taught me some useful things, however nothing prepared me for the assault of foreign letter combinations I was to be exposed to in my first week at Amnesia. CPA, SEO, SEM, CPM, CTR, UV, CR, CS – the list goes on. Most of these now sit within my brains glossary, defined and understood, but I know there will be many more additions in the coming months.

In fact a page on Pinterest circulated the office this week revealing rhyming pop-culture slang for agency jargon. Ronan Keating = Meeting; Dick Van Dyke = Cost Per Like; Kobe Bryant = Client etc. Way to throw me a curve ball guys! (See it here).

It’s exciting working in an industry that is developing at such a rate that it (seemingly) can invent its own language. But there is more to learn beyond the lingo.

I am of course a member of Gen Y, the generation of digital consumption and creation. We live, breathe, connect and even date (amongst other things) online, most of us without even realizing. Despite this, a majority of people I know stick to the safety net of their preferred social media – Facebook, with the odd dabble into YouTube. In time this will no doubt change, partly out of necessity, partly due to the younger generation kicking their ass at (digital) life.

 

Social Media Explained

For those working outside the world of digital media, stuck in an online social safety zone, I refer you to the picture above. Social media explained through America’s greatest pastry legacy: the donut. Fitting, considering the amount of candy and cake I consumed in my first week at Amnesia.

For now you will have to excuse me though. I have a lot more Charles Durning to do outside of this Snoop Dogg if I ever want to be a Darryl Hanner…if you know what I mean.

Dean
@deanvowles


Little Fish, Big Pond

February 13, 2012

“I wish I could’ve done that when I started”

That is the standard response from most in the office who hear about my graduate program. Nine months of experience rotating through all of Amnesia’s departments, from Account Management to Creative, Strategy to Emerging Technology, and even a short stint with Finance (my apologies to the finance department in advance). Nine months of new and different. Nine months of digital, Amnesia style.

Of course it is an enviable program, and I intend to make the most of it. And whilst it may be all about learning the digital ropes, in a lot of ways it is a chance to show nine months worth of proof – proof that this little fish can swim.

So who am I? I am Dean, a new fish in the pond that is Amnesia Razorfish.
Seinfeld makes me laugh. I conduct limb transplants on gummy bears. I think great food is, well, great. A world map has pride of place on my wall. And I always “find the fun” in any situation.

I am a lover of media, both online and offline. My professional background lies within children’s television at Network Ten, where I worked as a Production Coordinator and freelance Scriptwriter, creating ‘riveting’ work such as this.

For me, it’s time for change and adaptation – from sleepy Brisbane to bustling Sydney, offline to online. I’ll be documenting my time at Amnesia Razorfish with a no holds barred look at agency and digital life. I have a lot to learn and you can read all about it here, or follow me on twitter.

Dean
@deanvowles


The real Mad Men Christmas party: pretty dull actually

December 21, 2010

Droga 5’s recent full page ad in The Australian confirmed what we all already knew. Despite telling everyone who’ll listen that ‘the old agency model is broken’, most people in advertising still prefer the idea of a Sterling Cooper-style long lunch to a four-hour workshop on cross-media integration.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Except that according to the BBC’s Adam Curtis, the reality of sixties adland was actually a bit less glamorous than Don Draper and co would lead us to believe.

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Spot the difference

On his blog ‘The Medium and The Message’, Adam’s posted a fascinating, if slightly dreary, documentary about the 1969 Christmas party of London ad agency Davidson Pearce Berry and Tuck.

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26 year old Media Director Allan Rich is pure gold – he puts an upper limit of ten minutes on festive socialising and shuns alcohol for a cheeky glass of bitter lemon.

Check out the video footage here.

@bdecastella


User-generated electioneering

April 8, 2010

Every election these days is called ‘the internet election’, and not surprisingly since each election brings new innovations in social media. Howard Dean did really well out of e-campaigning in 2004, although he was probably less enthusiastic about it once ‘the scream’ appeared all over YouTube. MyBarackObama.com was a cracking success, expanding into a SMS programs, 2,000 YouTube flicks, 3 million online donors, 5 million ‘friends’ across Facebook and other social sites. In Australia, Labor claims a lot of its success is due to marshalling support through digital, and the Coalition admits they didn’t make the best use of it, falling before the bold and youthful Kevin07 brand.

There’s one month of furious electioneering to go in the UK before folks head to the polls, and we’ll see how the parties make best use of digital and social in particular in these next few weeks. Already, my Facebook news feed has changed. Status updates allow everyone you know to see your opinions, comment, and get notifications of others’ comments.  It wasn’t that long ago that these were about X Factor, but political conversations are taking their place – people are linking to opinion pieces on the economy and social policies, and the same political discourse is all over twitter too.

But what I’ve found most interesting is how user-generated content has already made a big splash. Following the launch of (Conservative leader) David Cameron’s much mocked airbrushed billboard campaign, Tory-bashers are giving those ads an amusing PhotoShop once-over at mydavidcameron.com.

davidcameron1

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Labour had an official crowd-sourcing poster competition won by a 24 year old’s entry depicting ‘Nice Dave’ sitting on a 1983 Audi Quattro (below), recalling a character from recent BBC drama Ashes to Ashes in which a police officer inexplicably wakes up in 1981.

davequattro1

The ad was launched last Saturday by Labour’s agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, but immediately repurposed by Euro RSCG (the Tories’ ad agency) to great effect (more on this here).

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Clearly crowd-sourcing hasn’t paid off in this example (more of an own goal really), but I’m looking forward to more UGC in the coming weeks.


Adobe Labs teases us with amazing content-aware fill feature that we can’t have yet.

March 25, 2010

Now the Photoshoppers among us are all very familiar with the Clone tool. Need to remove stuff from an image? Clone tool’s got your back.

Imagine if it was a little smarter. Imagine it knew how to get rid of things you just pointed out it it.

Adobe Labs teases us with this video demonstration of how we might tidy our images… in the FUTURE.

Hat tip to @VinnyCaravella and @dannyodwyer


Official promotions roll out across FourSquare

February 23, 2010

As I am sure anyone with an iPhone is currently aware, the latest darling of the social app scene is a little location based game called FourSquare. FourSquare allows a user to “check in” to locations and through doing so you can become the ‘Mayor’ (most frequent check-in’s in a designated period) and earn ‘badges’ for completing certain combination of check-in’s.

There has been a lot of conversation around the potential use of FourSquare by local businesses but until today the only Sydney based use I had seen was a cafe that gave a free coffee to the “Mayor.” However earlier this morning I was visiting Sydney creative agency Lowe Sydney and when I went to check in I was presented with an interesting little tab in the top right corner (fig. 1)

Step 1
Fig. 1

When you select this tab you are then taken to a promotion screen for a local business (in this instance the Baroque Bistro Patisserie) and you are presented with the opportunity to earn a gift if you check in 3 times. (Fig. 2)

Step 2
Fig. 2

This is a brilliant use of location based data to target users and bring a point of difference to a business. While FourSquare doesn’t have a large enough user base to work as a reach medium, it is perfect for small businesses working to increase their repeat business. Were I in area and assuming that Baroque do reasonable food and drinks this incentive offer could very well be the differentiator in where I go to get my morning coffee, after all if their coffee is just as good as the next place why wouldn’t I go there and get a free French Macaron.

From a glance it appears that the process of implementing one of these specials is a reasonably straight forward matter of filling out an online form.

The one feature I would really love to see added to the promotion page would be a ‘tell your friends’ feature, so that even if you’re not checking in there, you could push a ‘shout’ to your friends via FourSquare/Twitter/Facebook and share the promotion with others who might find it interesting.

I personally will be paying very close attention to see what kind of traction this gains with Australian businesses.

@JoelyRighteous


Refreshingly Fun: What we’ve been doing with Pepsi

January 8, 2010

You’ve probably seen the billboards and bus ads by now, but in case you weren’t aware, we recently launched the digital side of Pepsi’s new Hit Refresh campaign. MTV are pushing it on television, we’re running it here on the ‘net.

It’s pretty cool, a mash-up of Pepsi re-inventing their image and placing a huge focus on digital marketing the combination of which turned into a Twitter based scavenger hunt, with the prizes coming in the form of cold hard cash. Well, not cash so much as 101 slick little EFTPOS cards loaded up with $250 each.

A brief run down: the refreshment company activation team (known as Pepsi Refreshers) make their way out into the world, choose an obscure location in a well populated Australian city, and then start tweeting out clues about where they are from the Pepsi Australia Twitter page. We’ve rigged it so that game playing, money lusting, Pepsi fans can also catch these updates on the Facebook Page, or at the Hit Refresh site, in order to more effectively race each other to the prize.

This is excellent because the entire thing can essentially be run from a smartphone, an easy thing for a Pepsi Refresher to have on them at all times. Plus, the players themselves aren’t tied into any particular service in order to keep up with the clues. It’s infectious, interactive, and incredibly efficient – social media at its best, really.

Creative mastermind Toby Caves really took advantage of the fact that APIs and widgets basically rule the internet now, and the main campaign site grew into a deliciously crafted overview of everything that’s happened, and is happening in the competition at any given time.

The latest clues are fed in from the Twitter page, Facebook fans are prominently displayed, a schedule and Google powered map let people know which cities the Refreshers are going to pop up in next and the Winners Gallery shows off all those lucky sods with their fancy new free money cards. It’s all ruled over by an explanatory Flash header, and coated in a vibrant blue that only exists between shades of Pepsi and Twitter.

Speaking of those cards, we feel like they’re a bit of a win. Based on the global Refresh campaign posters and candy colour palette, they are a bit more recognisable and fun than straight up cash in your hand while still being just as usable.

Stamped with the new Pepsi globe logo, we’ve also slapped some helpful thematic suggestions for spending the well won dollars. Things like style, scene, and so on – after all, if you win a prize you shouldn’t be using it to pay your bills (unless you really need to, then it’s ok). As a general rule though, prizes are fun, should be used for fun, should be spent on your self, and we wanted to encourage that.

We wanted the prize cards to be like the campaign, simple, effective, fun and it feels like we nailed it.

No, it’s not modest or polite to rave on about oneself, but this is a pretty exciting project for us, and the response so far has been amazing, so we thought we’d throw out a few more details and see what you all think.

Check out the campaign, hit us up in the comments and let us know.


Pringles Gold Cyber Lion winner: "Can Hands"

June 30, 2009

Liking this odd take on a banner concept from Bridge Worldwide. Happy to see something like this win a big award.

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Check it out…

(Interesting to note you never actually click away from the banner!)


20 ads that are clever, creative and socially responsible

June 4, 2009

The crew at environmental Graffiti have gathers a bunch of ads that come from environmental groups and promote awareness and action for change.

underwater

banana

It’s awesome to see agencies embracing campaigns that have no other agenda than creating awareness and hoping to affect some social change and responsibility.

See the whole list at Environmental Graffiti


It’s True. Size Does Matter.

May 29, 2009

Well, at least when we’re talking about ad size.
Over the past months most of our entire industry have been playing around with ad sizes on homepages everywhere, from Yahoo to MSN and AOL.

This quick article on Compete.com gives us a little interesting insight into how users and prospective customers actually behave when presented with the same ad in different sizes.

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I wont give the big secret away, but you might be surprised at the outcomes of some of the tests that were done, I definitely was.

Check it out here (it’s a quick two minute read)


About Time: YouTube Setting Up to Try and Make Some Cash…

May 13, 2009

Hulu’s super fast rise to 2nd place in the online video market has forced the Google owned Youtube into coming up with actual strategies to make some money. Funny, I’d have thought it would be common sense that brought this on…

So, a few numbers:
100 Million – Estimated times Susan Boyle’s Britain’s Got Talent video has been watched.
0 – the amount of dollars made from those impressions.

I think those numbers are enough for now…

Google has stepped up actions to try and make some serious money from the worlds number one video site by ‘setting up partnerships with big media companies that would help it generate more advertising dollars from the millions of videos hosted on YouTube.’

Partnerships with Sony Pictures, CBS, Lions Gate and others are set to provide movie trailers, TV shows and music video content to the site in a bid to make it more attractive for advertisers. As it stands marketers are reluctant to advertise due to the unpredictable and often inappropriate content uploaded by Youtube’s users.

As it stands, ads only show up on between 3% – 9% of the sites’ videos. – eMarketer

To catch up with Hulu, Youtube’s gong to need to supply users with a lot of partner content that they’ll actually want to watch. Is this going to have the same repercussions for overseas users as it Hulu does? And if so, how do we get around this?
Surely Youtube’s customer base stretches far and above the USA, yet how to US only partnerships benefit this international userbase?

I have a lot of questions about this, and as we see, so do Google who’re doing anything they can to get out of their massive $471 Million deficit every year.

This handy Businessweek article (which prompted me to write) has some of the answers but also provokes a lot of other questions about the model which has yet to be tried and tested.

 

Read the full article

 

Discuss in the ocmments: Do you have any ideas about how Youtube might make some cash without alienating users?


The Beautiful Word: stunning Scrabble videos

May 12, 2009

Pretty amazing creative from Ogilvy & Mather, France, using animation from Wizz. Nice work and pretty eye opening when attached to, of all things… Scrabble.

Makes www.scrabble.com look pretty ordinary.

More videos and full credits here on Motionographer.


T-Mobile, The Beatles & 13,500 Unsuspecting Fans

May 4, 2009

In the latest in the great flashmobs being put together by T-Mobile, people were asked to show up to Trafalgar Square at 6pm on April 30th. Some were expecting dance lessons, but instead they got microphones before joining a massive sing-a-long to the Beatles’ “Hey Jude.” Pink makes a subtle appearance (a brand’s gotta get what it paid for, after all), but all in all it’s more feel-good than down-your-throat advertising. Love it.


The Best Job In The World: Queensland Tourism wises up to Social Media

January 13, 2009

green island queensland

How’s this sound to you: a six-month, $AUD150K contract to live on Hamilton Island and vlog your experience?

I know how it sounds to me: absolutely miserable. That’s because I don’t like beaches, sunshine, or scuba diving or, you know, paradise. Ask anyone here — I’m a generally miserable person.

All kidding aside, though, this is a really great campaign by Tourism Queensland. Pushed out through Twitter and a very pretty banner campaign, The Best Job In The World has already been picked up by mainstream media all over the world.The job requirements are pretty simple: as Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef, you get to experience all the GBR has to offer, collect the mail on occasion (via seaplane, of course) and report back to Australia and the world via blog and video.

At the site you can view the latest applicants for the job, get the low-down on the area if you’re unfamiliar and lose yourself in restless abandon whilst pondering exactly what the hell you’re still doing sitting in a cubicle…until you realise what you should be uploading your application for this position.

(For our overseas readers, it’s open to you guys, too — just need to meet the T&C listed on the website.)

Edited to add: my friends in NYC are having a ball with this on Tumblr. Let’s remind them that it’s 72 degrees and sunny here today.


The ultimate advertising fail – Panthers vs Raiders

December 4, 2008

This was sent to me on email this morning and I find it quite unbelievable. The image below captures one of the biggest Raiders celebration moments …

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Pity this was for a Panthers ad campaign. WTF? How is it possible this made it through the ad agency and through management at Panthers without getting picked up? Its just dumbfounding. Full article in the link below.

If you can think of any ad campaigns that top this on the fail scale, I’d love to hear them.

Panthers pinch Raiders celebration – NRL – Fox Sports


Trust Banners – Science based advertising

March 31, 2008

1.4.2008: We are delighted to announce the arrival of TrustBanners – a scientific breakthrough in advertising. The results come about from 18 months of research with Professor Olaf. Prilo an expert in the study of brain function.

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Below: The dots stimulate both left and right eye individually, stimulating the human mind to feel compelled to immediately consume or purchase the subject matter in the middle (eg: the apple shown). The animated version of the image below can be seen (here)

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The Amazing Facts from viewing a TrustBanner:
– 87.9% average increase of product desire in test subjects.
– 76.4% switched brands after seeing a single TrustBanner
– 63% purchased consumable products within 7 days.
– No Click / CTA required. Can be applied to any banner ad.

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WATCH THE VIDEO OF TEST SUBJECTS:

We look forward to hearing all you feedback and everyone enjoying TrustBanners in your favourite websites soon. 🙂