I have a friend who creates really cutting edge videos for a number of blue chip clients. AR, VR, 360, 8k – you name it, he makes it. They are expensive and inevitably the client loves the final version. But getting there can be difficult. Last month, the simple act of sharing a rough cut version with one of his clients nearly had them both demented. Between firewalls, the size of the video file, the video format and a number of other factors it took him half a day to share the rough cut before it could be reviewed.
This is not uncommon. But for some reason, content creators and the brands they work for think that reviewing video needs to be hard work. There are so many formats now and so many ways to view video content that the reformatting and sharing can be a real challenge.
As brands, marketing organisations, agencies, advertisers, broadcasters and production companies produce more versions of their content for distribution on multiple platforms (TV, websites, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) the need to manage those video assets effectively has never been more acute.
1. Time is not free
Whether you are producing one video a month or one video per hour, the challenges of creating multiple formats, editing different lengths and versions, is the same for everyone. The pain happens when you don’t have access to the best tools to get the job done.
Some organisations opt for freeware. Sometimes they manage. Sometimes they don’t. But what is for certain is that if they are serious about video creation then they will eventually invest in a system that can help them get the best possible value out of their video assets.
The most common error we see with businesses that work with video is mistaking the cost of the amount of time and effort they lose managing their assets as being “free”. In the long run, calculating the value of scaling is crucial to understanding the value of video asset.
2. Free tools that pose as business tools
Value can be split into 2 buckets: First, let’s talk about value around the creative process where much time is lost using unsuitable consumer tools that have business bolt-ons.
We worked with one creative agency that was using 11 free platforms to manage their video. They seemed to have a different free tool for each client. None was particularly fit for purpose. At one point when we were in a meeting discussing the options, a client called in to complain about not being able see the video he had recently received by file transfer. Knowing the importance of the client and the project, the client director excused himself, left the meeting room, downloaded a copy of the video onto a memory stick, hopped on his bike and rode over to the client to personally deliver the video. Great service, but not a scalable business.
3. Future-Proof your video
Once you get beyond operations, the real test of value around video and video libraries is what we call future-proofing. Just a few years ago, Flash was ubiquitous on computers – now it’s barely supported. Technologies are changing fast. And as they do, you need to be able to store your original content (if you pay for a 4k video surely you should store a 4k video for future use!) and guarantee you can reformat it in the future.
Be it a piece of native content or a TV ad, brands and marketing departments need access to video assets at the touch of a button and they need to know that the original is stored along with any versioning that was done for the web and social platforms.
4. Workflow review
When evaluating video technology, you have to first breakdown your workflows to see what the tech is going to do for you. Don’t get dazzled by the bright lights of some of the products out there. Think of what it is you do and need to do – nothing more. If in doubt, open a new excel file and stare at it for a while – pretty boring looking, but it’s a workhorse and gets the job done.
For the most part, video and TV production processes are still quite traditional and that means there are a lot of ways that money can be saved.
• If your video platform allows you to store all your content in a private cloud with great search functionality and that stops you having to call your agency or post-house to find a video – then there is a value to that.
• If you can collaborate on your video with your clients without having to deliver it by bicycle – then there is a value to that.
• If you can sleep at night knowing that you have backups of all your production content and there is no way it can get lost – then there is value to that too.
5. Make money through increased volume
Production companies and publishers often complain about tighter margins and how much more difficult it is to make money. I don’t buy it. Margins have always been under threat – it’s the nature of business. What people forget is that to be competitive you need to be constantly innovating. And that means trying new things.
Set a goal: free up time to break down your workflows and see where time is being lost, where the real inefficiencies are. And then try to figure out how you can make more quality product. If you can create more volume with less effort chances are you should be able to increase your revenues and profits and create a more sustainable business in the process.
6. Brand value
Finally, being a leader can be hard, especially if the technology you are using is complicated and difficult to use. But if the technology you use truly adds value through its simplicity and ease of use then employees and clients imbue a real value in that leadership.
Creating brand value is a long term play. It comes from years of building trust in your brand and products. If you truly want to create value in the video products you create then make sure the technology you use can be white-labelled, and the technology you share with staff and clients is something that you can be proud of.
Philippe is the CEO of Overcast, a great digital video asset manager.