A story with layers: My Great Passion

Meet my friend Ron Gattis. I am not sure where Ron is now, but I know one thing…he is passionate. His passion is infectious, so much I decided to follow him for three months to tell the real story of Ron Gattis. There is a story within this story…one of passion, heart-ache, and hope. This one has many layers connected, one with a single red-string…he wants to sing again on the “Big Stage.”

These are the stories I want to tell, to find, and bring to audiences. Imagine finding stories like this within organizations, ones with layers, ones with something that provide a connection with so many audiences. Thanks Ron for sharing your passion. This story was produced in 2005.

Building Communities Around Media | Stories of Connectivity

Telling stories has to have a purpose…there is a reason why you want to tell that story! You want to reach an audience, you want someone to listen to your story. We have been telling stories as long as we can remember. Whether it is around the kitchen table, in the car, wherever there is someone to listen.
We need a medium to deliver the story; whether it is our voice, the written word, or some piece of technology. These stories are told to create a group of listeners, ones who are attracted to these stories, and sometimes in a way so that they can repeat them. Whether it is the printing press, a website, video, pen & paper, radio,  or even the cave walls…technology takes these stories and creates a community around the distribution method.
From one perspective, communities are built around people and relationships. The communities grow as the relationships grow, and as more and more people cross paths, the level of connectivity increases. But for those people to connect, there must be a “red string” that connects these relationships, so a piece of communication that connects is the common place. That common place, that “red string” are stories. The stories are the ties that bind communities.
Think about LinkedIn, which has the different degrees of connectivity between relationships. But how is that relationship formed? What story was told to connect those people together, or that layer of connectivity, that “red string” that ties those people together? The lines that connect the dots represent that story of connectivity.
Those who have larger layers of connectivity have the ability to use some distribution method (voice, technology, etc.) as a shared place to continually transmit those stories.
So this brings me to the thesis of this discussion, stories of purpose that have found the right method to deliver and so create the connectivity in the communities in which we exist. So how are we really telling our stories, how are we really relaying our passion? Are we sharing to a mass audience or a small group of people?
Think for a second…remember when you are trying to remember a conversation you had or how you arrived at a particular thought. You start back-tracking though the stories you heard, the stories that were told. You identify the conversations you had…those conversations take place between people. Can you remember the stories that have had the greatest impacts on the people you told? Think…what story have you told that created a reaction then was repeated to another?
We want to know how stories are reaching people right now. We want to measure it through tracking mechanisms, whether it be Google Analytics, Neilsen Meters, number of magazines sold, or even the number of people that sign up to hear us speak. Is it tracking the connectivity via technology? What it’s really tracking is the effectiveness of the story. We all want our story to be told, we want someone to repeat that story in its complete authenticity. We want to connect with those who identify with our stories. Are we more focused on the reach or the story itself?
Technology is a commodity, the distribution point is a commodity, but the story has an equitable value beyond the value associated. There is value in the means to reach the audience, but the true value lies in the heart of the story. The stories are those that connect us to others, not the technology, not other people, but the “red string” of connectivity that lies inside our stories.

Telling stories has to have a purpose…there is a reason why you want to tell that story! You want to reach an audience, you want someone to listen to your story. We have been telling stories as long as we can remember. Whether it is around the kitchen table, in the car, wherever there is someone to listen.

We need a medium to deliver the story; whether it is our voice, the written word, or some piece of technology. These stories are told to create a group of listeners, ones who are attracted to these stories, and sometimes in a way so that they can repeat them. Whether it is the printing press, a website, video, pen & paper, radio,  or even the cave walls…technology takes these stories and creates a community around the distribution method.

From one perspective, communities are built around people and relationships. The communities grow as the relationships grow, and as more and more people cross paths, the level of connectivity increases. But for those people to connect, there must be a “red string” that connects these relationships, so a piece of communication that connects is the common place. That common place, that “red string” are stories. The stories are the ties that bind communities.

Think about LinkedIn, which has the different degrees of connectivity between relationships. But how is that relationship formed? What story was told to connect those people together, or that layer of connectivity, that “red string” that ties those people together? The lines that connect the dots represent that story of connectivity.

Those who have larger layers of connectivity have the ability to use some distribution method (voice, technology, etc.) as a shared place to continually transmit those stories.

So this brings me to the thesis of this discussion, stories of purpose that have found the right method to deliver and so create the connectivity in the communities in which we exist. So how are we really telling our stories, how are we really relaying our passion? Are we sharing to a mass audience or a small group of people?

Think for a second…remember when you are trying to remember a conversation you had or how you arrived at a particular thought. You start back-tracking though the stories you heard, the stories that were told. You identify the conversations you had…those conversations take place between people. Can you remember the stories that have had the greatest impacts on the people you told? Think…what story have you told that created a reaction then was repeated to another?

We want to know how stories are reaching people right now. We want to measure it through tracking mechanisms, whether it be Google Analytics, Neilsen Meters, number of magazines sold, or even the number of people that sign up to hear us speak. Is it tracking the connectivity via technology? What it’s really tracking is the effectiveness of the story. We all want our story to be told, we want someone to repeat that story in its complete authenticity. We want to connect with those who identify with our stories. Are we more focused on the reach or the story itself?

Technology is a commodity, the distribution point is a commodity, but the story has an equitable value beyond the value associated. There is value in the means to reach the audience, but the true value lies in the heart of the story. The stories are those that connect us to others, not the technology, not other people, but the “red string” of connectivity that lies inside our stories.

The old days of storytelling…

Facebook is such a wonderful thing. It has allowed me to reconnect with old friends and colleagues. When I got up this morning, I did my usual by logging into both my personal & business email. I also check my Twitter and Facebook accounts. I am not sure if this gets you excited, but I love it when there is a little red pop-up in the lower right hand corner of the Facebook screen that lets you know there is an update; whether it might be someone has tagged you in a photo or even commented on a status. Today…I found this, a picture posted from 2000 in Phoenix at the Rocky Mountain Emmy Award Ceremony.

ASU-UA Team Shoot 2000 Emmy's

This is a picture of some of the team that worked together to produce a short documentary from the ASU/UA football rivalry game in 2000, where we had nine cameras all over the place capturing the day’s story. Not the action, but the story from the fans’ point of view. We wanted to tell the story…provide a slice of life…what the fan experienced during the last big game of the season. Nine of us all over, interviewing people from the top of the stands to the bars surrounding Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, AZ. We captured the essence of the day…then that night, we took all of that footage and edited it down to a three and half minute story to air on the Sunday Night Sports Show for KPHO-TV in Phoenix. What teamwork…what away to pull a group of people together with a common vision…to tell a story. Apparently, it must have been good enough to win us all an Emmy Award for Sport Reporting in 2000.

There is something about Facebook bringing communities back together…especially ones that have a common bond and now use a new tool to embrace connectedness. Who knows, we might get back together again, after all this time to tell another story…can’t wait to see where it will take us!

Video and Online Rich Media is GROWING FAST!

“Video is a rapidly growing space. I think this year will see hockey-stick growth in IPTV for several reasons. Broadband Internet and 3G mobile networks are expanding rapidly around the world, especially in emerging markets like China, India, Latin America, and the Middle East.
– Kalell Isaza Tuzman of Mashable.com (2/11/09)

“The Internet remains a place of continuing innovation, with users finding new ways to integrate online usage into their daily lives,” said Charles Buchwalter, SVP of research and analytics at Nielsen Online. “In recent years, the Internet has changed dramatically as people seek more personalized relationships online,” said Buchwalter. “In particular, time spent on social networks and video sites has increased astronomically.”
– Gavin O’Malley of MediaPost.com (4/24/09)

The number of U.S. consumers who frequent online video destinations has climbed 339% since 2003, while time spent on video sites has shot up almost 2,000% over the same period. In the last year alone, unique viewers of online video grew 10%, while the number of streams grew 41%, the streams per user grew 27%, and the total minutes engaged with online video grew 71%.
– Gavin O’Malley of MediaPost.com (4/24/09)

Average Online Video Viewer Watches 5 Hours A Month.
Notable findings about online video viewership from February 2009 include:

* 75.5% of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video
* The average online video viewer watched 312 minutes of video (more than 5 hours)
* 98.8 million viewers watched 5.3 billion videos on YouTube.com (53.8 videos per viewer)
* 41.2 million viewers watched 384 million videos on MySpace.com (8.5 videos per viewer)
* The duration of the average online video was 3.5 minutes.
– Jack Loechner of MediaPost.com (4/1/09)

Many companies are looking in so many different arenas to invest their marketing, training, and operational dollars…especially when trying to reach so many different audiences. Groups I work with are obviously going to find ways to sell our services when it comes to delivering rich media online (whether public or private), but consider this statement:

The number of U.S. consumers who frequent online video destinations has climbed 339% since 2003, while time spent on video sites has shot up almost 2,000% over the same period. In the last year alone, unique viewers of online video grew 10%, while the number of streams grew 41%, the streams per user grew 27%, and the total minutes engaged with online video grew 71%.
– Gavin O’Malley of MediaPost.com (4/24/09)

WOW…that is all I have to say is WOW. Consumers of information are looking to rich media like video and the multitude of messages it provides when surfing, researching, goofing off…but bottomline, consumers are watching video.

So what does that mean for those trying to reach those audiences…video may be one of the solutions but not the complete package. It doesn’t mean that you should go out and overload your online properties with video, but identify your audiences and provide the rich media that makes sense.

“The Internet remains a place of continuing innovation, with users finding new ways to integrate online usage into their daily lives,” said Charles Buchwalter, SVP of research and analytics at Nielsen Online. “In recent years, the Internet has changed dramatically as people seek more personalized relationships online,” said Buchwalter. “In particular, time spent on social networks and video sites has increased astronomically.”
– Gavin O’Malley of MediaPost.com (4/24/09)

Video innovation is is going to contiually grow in ways beyond imagination, especially with the advent of Interactive Television and the convergence of mediums (broadband video and high definition television delivery). But other innovations is finding new ways to deliver this content to audiences. Social Media outlets are the new distribution point of information whether simple mundane thoughts or marketing campaigns. I am using Social Media properties in-coordination with web-based properties to deliver content in an expedient and efficient fashion.

Twitter is a distribution point as a workflow delivering targeted video messages to audiences that can work in coordination with email distribution and online properties. Imagine you are hosting an event and you want to send a personal video message as an invitation to a group of audiences. You know you have an email distribution list and this list can be tracked when the message is delivered. But what if this not the only audience you want to reach in a geographical area. What if you have built a following on Twitter with that was based on geography…now you have a targeted group of followers who might want to know about your event. And now with places like HootSuite.com (LOVE IT), you can track clicks that are direct links to your video message.

“There are 87% more online social media users now than in 2003, with 883% more time devoted to those sites. In the last year alone, time spent on social networking sites has surged 73%, while in February, social network usage exceeded Web-based e-mail usage for the first time. ”
– Gavin O’Malley of MediaPost.com (4/24/09)

Let’s look at some numbers from online video viewership from February 2009:
* 75.5% of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video
* The average online video viewer watched 312 minutes of video (more than 5 hours)
* The duration of the average online video was 3.5 minutes.
– Jack Loechner of MediaPost.com (4/1/09)

What does that tell you…well it tells me that companies that are utilizing targeted messaging using rich media have many audience(s) to reach…so you better do it in less than 3.5 minutes. What do I mean targeted video messaging….well, know your audience, know your purpose, and keep it simple and straight to the point.

Online video “users” are multi-taskers; they have email open, two or three windows open surfing the web, chatting (using some program like iChat, AIM, Jabber, etc.)…so your message better be targeted and capture the attention of the users. It is now beyond the hip concept of just shoot something and put it up because people will watch. YouTube has transformed that landscape like cable television has done to network television…provided a plethora video of people just putting some video out there just because they can. It is now about quality and targeted messaging…Efficient and Effective messages.

Bottomline…rich media (video) is a widely growing area for marketers and organizations to display thier message. But it is time to start thinking: What is your message? Who is your audience? How are you going to deliver your message? How are you going to track that messages’ effectiveness? Should it be professionally produced, Do you want it to be public or private? Who is going to help you with your message?

Final Cut or Avid Media Composer…which one will I choose???

I get the question all the time, what do you use to edit video for your projects. That is actually a good question, one that is constantly discussed in our office. The quick and dirty answer is we use Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer on a Mac OS platform. Both are considered industry standard Non-Linear Editors or NLE’s.

Now what does that mean to the average customer, well it depends on your knowledge and experience. But from a final product standpoint, you will not see a difference in the final product. It is purely an individual editor’s preference. But this is how I try to help people understand…from my perspective.

I produce most web based video content using Final Cut Pro Studio. This is for many reasons, but mainly for workflow. I am extremely fluent with this software and their are many times that one person might be working on a project and a few months down the road, need to re-open the project for some reason. Another computer might need access to the project, so I can open from any of our Mac Computers.

Another reason for FInal Cut Pro Studio is that it integrates well with our web delivery workflow. It works in a Quicktime based file format; so when ever we encode (dump video into the software), Final Cut creates a native Quicktime that can viewed without the use of Final Cut software. That might be confusing to some…but makes life easy.

Final Cut Studio Pro is extremely intuitive so that a novice video editor can jump in and figure out how to use the software…especially if you have any video editing background.

Now…I am a trained/certified Avid Video Editor. I have been using Avid products since 1995 from the early days of the Avid NewsCutter Software. I started my career editing video using two video decks (essentially two Beta Decks side-by-side), editing from one tape to the next. This is considered editing in a Linear Method. Avid’s software (in my humble opinion) was design for those experienced editing using a Linear Method. I edit video using that mentality…and Avid Software fits me well.

Most experienced television video editors & producers have knowledge of Avid Software, so when I work with higher end production using workflow to deliver Standard Definition/High Definition content for television distribution…I use Avid Media Composer. It has all the 3D graphic editors and animation built into the system and works well with High Definition content. If I was to do the same with Final Cut Studio Pro, I would have to use After Effects and other 3rd Party Applications to execute what I can do in Avid Media Composer.

So, this discussion has some bottom-line thoughts.

1) Both Final Cut Studio Pro and Avid Media Composer software are professional grade video editing software.

2) It all depends of the Video Editing Professional and the project, this helps me decide which software I will use to best meet the demands of the workflow and final delivery of the project.

3) Both deliver a high quality final product, whether it is for the web, television, or other video delivery method.

4) I just like having gadgets….the more I have, the more fun it is for me to do our job!

Using Online Video To Promote Your Business

Ever thought about using online video to promote, raise awareness, or distribute a message that is important to a target audience? Well, the experts think you should embrace online video as a professional means to spread your targeted message to your targeted audience.

Video Sharing Market
The market is huge and continually growing. 14.3 billion videos were viewed online in December, 2008 and increased by 13% in February 2009.

“For both startups and Fortune 100 companies, getting on board with online and mobile video is increasingly key to attracting and engaging a fickle audience. The next generation of big-time consumers (those under 18) are already more likely to be watching video on a computer or mobile phone than they are on a traditional television set.”

“Deliver content consistently. There should be a predictable pattern to retain and grow your audience. Sign up for long-term deals, so your audience doesn’t find that you dropped their favorite video content from your site.”

“For both startups and Fortune 100 companies, getting on board with online and mobile video is increasingly key to attracting and engaging a fickle audience. The next generation of big-time consumers (those under 18) are already more likely to be watching video on a computer or mobile phone than they are on a traditional television set.”

Know, engage, and interact with your audience. Understanding exactly who you are targeting with your video content and what their needs are in terms of information or entertainment will help you make a compelling proposition to potential advertisers and ultimately sell ads, especially if you cover a niche topic.

Record year for video content consumption
“How could it not?! Video consumption continues to grow at an astonishing rate. As of October 2008, 13.5 billion videos were watched online. That is a 45% rise on the number watched in October 2007. The availability of super high speed broadband along with more HD video content will drive more people to consume more video online.”

Video monetization becomes reality
“Professionally-produced content, targeted to specific audiences, will see a burst of excitement as advertisers will see this as a safe bet to put their money on. In response to the influx of advertising dollars, video publishers will need scalable platforms with a wide range of performance metrics.”

“The good news is top notch content should eventually stand out from the marginal stuff. And the vast majority of Web content would probably fall into the marginal category, if that. So it’s important to put some extra time and effort into consistently creating good stuff — the kind of content that will turn heads, lead to conversations, and eventually build long lasting relationships. And that’s really not so bad after all, now that I think about it.”

Sources: Mashable.com, Clemson University’s Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurship, and Inc.com Technology