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Old March 8th, 2017, 01:44 AM   #1
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DVDs or not for distribution

I've been reading some of the material in the Wedding sector, where I looked for some inspiration, thinking that area of the video business was probably the closest to mine - but I failed a bit.

We make a nice income from specialist audio products - CDs and downloads of specially recorded mainly piano music that gets used by dancers doing UK national dance exams. Not the kind of thing you would listen to for pleasure, but used in dance studios when a real pianist is not available or possible.

They follow the exam specifications for content, but some of the content is quite difficult to get the dancers to understand. Even worse, many of the dance teachers struggle too, depending if their background is ballet or streetdance having to teach lower level ballet.

Our best selling CD deals with the section where they have to identify certain styles by the music and be able to clap a rhythm and talk about beats. It gets even more tricky when they have to be able to identify a habanera from a tango, or a Landler, from a Waltz. So the idea came up for a visual training tool - you'd see the pianist, see the 1,2,3,1,2,3 etc etc and perhaps somebody clapping the rhythm so people could match what they hear to what they see. Sounds dull and probably is, but it's a very difficult subject.

Dance schools (certainly in the UK) fall into two types. The traditional schools run by a very strict and loud headmistress type who probably shouts a lot and has her hair in a bun, versus the more modern schools where it's more fun, less strict, and sadly less good.

DVDs are new fangled but understandable (as are CDs) to the traditional schools, while the others, and pretty well all dancers under 20 have iPods, iPad, laptops and earphones, and most of these consider DVD dead.

Add in downloads, which we notice are creeping up in quantity all the time, and we really haven't a clue what to do. A quick survey shows that some of the older schools are still using cassettes not CDs and have VHS, not DVD. The majority have DVDs at home but NOT in the dance studios. Few have computers in the dance studios yet all the dancers want downloads or USB delivery.

Our feelings are that we need to offer all three, but this will be expensive as we're not talking about huge quantities.

Question
USB delivery - for those that are doing it in any product area. IS business going up, and the second question is about DVD delivery - is that showing signs of really slowing down.

Despite running Adobe CC, I still have CS6 so Encore was our usual DVD tool, but if it's slowing down very quickly, I don't want to waste time and money (printing really) on a medium that really is dead. The Wedding area gave me the impression it really was dead - but I see other people outside that area still doing well with DVD.

DVD, USB and download will be quite complicated to manage for us, with low but steady volumes.

Our workflow will be very different if we select USB and downloads as the primary medium instead of DVD. The menu structure works well to get people to the right part of the video - ideal when people need to carry on in a sequence. "Habenera4" and clicking on it isn't that friendly compared with the DVD menu, where it could be a map of the world they click on, or a costume style maybe? Hence why we'd prefer DVD - but only if we're going to get maybe 5 years of steady sales from it.
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Old March 8th, 2017, 03:16 AM   #2
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Re: DVDs or not for distribution

Hi Paul, you have my sympathy as I have to make similar choices with the school productions that we film.

The big problem seems to be that popular viewing methods seem to be developing faster than the delivery methods, certainly for the small production companies. There is just nothing to replace DVD in a cost effective way. There is also a definite divide in the uk market between the older and younger generations, with the older ones being comfortable and familiar with DVDs and the younger ones usually not even having a DVD player, preferring streaming for their viewing.

With weddings in the UK, I have found that most of our clients want USB for their own viewing but still want DVD copies for older members of the family. I don't find that a problem with weddings as my USB and DVD workflow is pretty quick. I also don't find that the lack of menus on a USB is of no real interest to the couples, as I split into several files which run sequentially on most modern TVs. I can see though that in your case for dances, that clients would like to be able to jump to a specific point. Without menus, the best way would probably be seperate files for each piece, which if numbered consecutively would still play in order, but by including a title label after the number, they would also be able to search by name. There could be one advantage in seperate files, where, when using generic techniques for various schools, you could supply them with just the files they are interested in.

Streaming and downloading is another area that at the moment is incomprehensible to some people and normal for others, but the difficulty seems to be maintaining control over sales and copying once set up.

Roger
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Old March 8th, 2017, 05:20 AM   #3
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Re: DVDs or not for distribution

My wife and I own a dance studio and this coming June will be our 5th recital. I haven't created VIDEO DVD's in the last 3 years, but instead created DATA DVD's with full HD video files. So I've still had the expense and time of ink and printing and applying labels as well as the cost of the discs and the jewel cases. I've also produced more 8Gb USB drives each year and hope for those to be the majority of what I sell this year.
We keep discussing raising the recital fee for every family by $10 and then everyone gets the download link from the cloud, but that won't happen this year. USB's could also be requested for a cost, but the hope is to create almost no media to hand out at some point in the future.
I divide every segment into a separate mp4 video file, from 00 Curtain Opening, to 45 Presentation of Flowers, contained in two folders for First and Second Half. So the files are in sequential order that matches the program numbering and the dance title is also in the filename.
I also save a separate editing file for each segment as I work along the 3-camera timeline, rendering each before proceding to the next. That makes it easier and safer to work across the multiple days it takes to edit, or to modify a single dance later if needed.

Last edited by Jay Massengill; March 8th, 2017 at 03:25 PM.
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Old March 8th, 2017, 05:40 AM   #4
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Re: DVDs or not for distribution

Hi Jay

I do my MP4 files the same way for both recitals and weddings but find that I need to add an extra zero as well to the front of the file name to stop Windows resorting them so mine (to be safe would be 001Recital1 etc etc ... USB's are still pricey even when they are on special but with a DVD at 30c + 25c for the case it's still only 55c (plus a tiny bit of ink) so it's cheaper than a $3 or $4 8gb USB drive and has more perceived value too!

What do they do if they want to watch the recital on TV ?? Older laptops don't have an HDMI out to plug into your TV input ?
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Old March 8th, 2017, 06:28 AM   #5
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Re: DVDs or not for distribution

I haven't had a problem with Windows renumbering the files. I just looked back at last year's and I have spaces in the file names. For example: 01 Oceans.mp4 or 04 Love and the Hunter.mp4 etc.
Perhaps that's making a difference? It's the way I've always done it.

I probably use more ink than most since it's a two-disc set due to the number of dances and the image quality I want. And our logo is rather ink-intensive and there's a small photo representation of the cover of the program on the label, as well as all the written information. Plus good quality labels and double the discs and cases.

Last year my 3x DVD duplicator gave out too, so it's also the time to duplicate and carefully apply the labels that I hope to avoid.

I'm very pleased with how the video files and especially the audio turns out (I spend a lot of hours before, during and in post on the audio), and everyone who sees them is always amazed, but there aren't as many sold (between 35 and 45 disc sets each year) as I would hope probably due to the cost.

However that also means that most of the buyers are tech savvy enough to make it work. It is clearly indicated to all buyers that the disc set is just the delivery system for the data files to be copied, backed up, transferred, uploaded or however else they want to use them.

So no one has complained or questioned after the fact that they couldn't view the files.
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Old March 8th, 2017, 07:34 AM   #6
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Re: DVDs or not for distribution

Thanks guys - didn't expect a response so soon!

The old/young split is a pain, isn't it. I understand the recital thing too. Most of our work is from live performance/theatres and we run quite a few dance shows from the production side, and oddly have a different firm come in for the video element, because dealing with parents is from experience - terrible news. Last year, they recorded and edited the dance show - 2 x 60 mins, and after delivering quite a few, they had an irate phone call because one child had a protection order and her image on the video was contempt of court - who had guaranteed the child anonymity. The parent with custody had put her in the competition and ignored the cameras and the forms and the posters. The video firm were asked to blob her out, and re-do the production run - and had real problems getting the dance school to pay for this.
P
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Old March 8th, 2017, 09:34 AM   #7
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Re: DVDs or not for distribution

Not really in these markets anymore, but I am curious that casual piracy hasn't come up in this thread as a problem with USB distribution. Any comments or concerns about that?

For online distribution, Youtube doesn't have any chapter functions, but, other platforms do. I heard that Vimeo was working on chapter navigation, and of course they have their payment system up and running.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
...after delivering quite a few, they had an irate phone call because one child had a protection order and her image on the video was contempt of court - who had guaranteed the child anonymity. The parent with custody had put her in the competition and ignored the cameras and the forms and the posters. The video firm were asked to blob her out, and re-do the production run - and had real problems getting the dance school to pay for this.
P
Wow, that's challenging! In theory the dance school should have included releases as part of the class registration process. In practice that seems like quite a mess to clean up!
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Old March 8th, 2017, 04:30 PM   #8
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Re: DVDs or not for distribution

Hi Seth

Of course piracy comes to mind but the nature of the shoot also doesn't make stealing a copy a major problem as the content is very much a personal one. I could see a massive piracy demand if it was a huge sports game but I doubt whether parents collaborate so they can get a free copy of their daughter's dance recital. Sure some will do it but it seems an awful lot of trouble for a minimal gain. I know that Roger tends to charge a flat rate to schools which includes the shoot plus a fixed quantity of DVD's which is clever as he then doesn't have to rely on DVD sales to generate an income and piracy becomes the school's problem.

I must admit when my kids were at school I never had (or saw any evidence of) parents socialising in large groups.
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Old March 8th, 2017, 04:50 PM   #9
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Re: DVDs or not for distribution

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
For online distribution, Youtube doesn't have any chapter functions,!
YouTube has a Playlist, and in the Playlist, you can specify the order in which the Videos are played.
You can email someone a link to the Playlist, and they can select Play All, which will play the videos sequentially in the order you specify.
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Old March 8th, 2017, 04:53 PM   #10
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Re: DVDs or not for distribution

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
I must admit when my kids were at school I never had (or saw any evidence of) parents socialising in large groups.
Don't know how old you are, and I don't want to sound like a broken record...
But today, all the parents likely receive group emails from the Dance Studio, and thus have each other's email addresses. It would be trivial for one parent to email several parents they know: "Hey, I'm buying the Video, I will email you the link if you want"
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Old March 8th, 2017, 05:46 PM   #11
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Re: DVDs or not for distribution

Hi Vince

Firstly I'm a lot older than you I would say but the practice of bulk emailing parents is also a no-no .. I would be quite upset if every parent had access to my email and I'm sure that most parents would too. Organisations just wouldn't do that ... you can bulk email without disclosing email addresses and I doubt whether all parents are that sneaky (although some might be!) If you decide to become a thief you would find a way but on average I doubt whether all parents are that deceitful!!

I posted a thread in the Wedding Forum about "value for money" and moving to USB or online only also gives your product a lower perceived value. Admittedly it's a little more work BUT as a parent paying out hard earned money for a "link" is a lot less desirable than a physical product so supplying a couple of nice looking DVD's (even if you charge a bit more per sale) results in a happier client. Presentation is 90% of the sale and if you supply a link or tiny USB it has a lower perceived value than a physical item. The marketing guys know this and that's why your laundry detergent is sold in a bright attractive container (which costs more than the actual product) than in a clear plastic bag or tub/bottle.

We specialise in live broadcasting weddings and again that has just a link without any physical product so we have to make it more appealing with a fancy "event page" and supply DVD's after the event so the client still gets a physical product even if they don't actually use it!!
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Old March 14th, 2017, 11:27 AM   #12
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Re: DVDs or not for distribution

From a corporate meeting point of view it used to be quite common at some meetings to shoot the whole thing even if it was several days long. The organizer would sell the DVD sets I would make for them. What great work that is. But I did my last one on DVD 18 months ago.

Now that I have a multitude of digital options I offer these days (I would still do DVD too) selling your meetings content just does not happen as often anymore. It all depends on the type of meeting.

Even for big budget corporate meetings they rarely want all of the content recorded. They want special keynotes presentations and a highlight reel for Facebook or the company intranet site. Thank God for I-Mag.

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