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Old April 18th, 2003, 12:34 PM   #1
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I've posted a 3.5 minute wmv intended to market to individuals in the Toronto, Canada area the idea of purchasing a Life Stories/Personal Biography product. This is my third crack at a sampler for the concept, now half the length of the last one and with more varied content. I'd appreciate any feedback on it in terms of the impression it makes, and on any other, preferably successful, efforts in this direction you're aware of. It's the first selection on my video page at

http://www.contentshop.tv/myvideo.htm

Thanks in advance to anyone willing to take the time.

David Hurdon
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Old April 18th, 2003, 01:01 PM   #2
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Looks great

I think folks appreciate things like this once they see it all layed out with narration and music. It looks like you are on your way to a successful service. Good luck.
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Old April 18th, 2003, 02:11 PM   #3
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I liked it. It hits the right buttons.

It's a good length and if you were going to add anything I might add a moment of sound of one of the people being profiled speaking.

How were you thinking of marketing the video to possible customers? Through the web?
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Old April 18th, 2003, 02:31 PM   #4
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Thank you James, and Kevin for taking a look. Yes, Kevin, I have a site streaming the video (www.legacymedia.ca), with a download pdf and a form requesting various types of feedback. The trick, of course, is to steer people in my trading area to the site. Some of the options I'm considering include donating a project to fund raising auctions, a word ad in the local over 50 magazine, mailers on miniCD-R to people id'd by friends as possible buyers, neighbourhood flyers, corporate retirement gifts and getting coverage on local "what's new"-type radio/tv spots, like Toronto's "Breakfast Television". I'm also considering membership in a group of personal historians whose web site is www.personalhistorians.org, if I recall correctly. If not I'll repost a correction.

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Old April 18th, 2003, 04:29 PM   #5
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Well, for the web crowd you're trying to bring in I'll make one suggestion then....

Make it more accessable to the masses.

A large percentage of people will see that "you can only access this with Internet Explorer" and if they are coming in through AOL or aren't a slave to microsoft (G) and use Netscape or any other browser they might not bother.

I'd suggest Quicktime and WMP.

When you are thinking about people coming into your site for this, think people who probably aren't running the latest version of browser or OS and probably aren't the most savvy of web-surfers. Keep it as simple and easy as possible.

You might want to consider checking into the prices on some 5 minute VHS tapes and run an ad in that over 50 magazine offering a free information package about it and include it in with the package with a nice brochure.

Donations (as long as you can get appropriate credit and 'how to contact' info for it) is good and offering it as something someone can give as a gift is a really good idea.

I like the idea about the historians--- that's good and these are people who get asked about stuff like this. If nothing else you can have it in your brochure and site and it looks good.
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Old April 18th, 2003, 05:20 PM   #6
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The whole process of ending up with a streaming file that works is child's play compared to effective communication. I don't say that the file is only IE accessible but apparently I do in your perception, and that's the reality. I have the link for Netscape and other screen size options because I could never get Netscape 4.7 to do anything but save my video files when it hit the asx files. And, the embedded player format, which I like for other reasons, doesn't allow for full screen or double size viewing. The second link does, as it just brings up the player. I personally gave up on Netscape months ago for a variety of reasons but have recently installed version 7 - and it behaves perfectly when it hits an asx, asks if I want to view or save. I'm weak at HTML as anyone not weak could tell from viewing the source, and to me setting up a working web site has far more pitfalls than burning a compatible DVD-R these days, but I'm still trying to put some of my time into improving those skills.

I agree that a Quick Time version is desireable - I love the format and always have - and I will do it. Disk space on my sites is of course restricted to what I'm prepared to pay every month and since they haven't been revenue producing I've managed that amount. But I do have room for a QT version without taking anything else down and I thank you for that suggestion. Too bad we haven't reached the point that MPEG-1 downloads are affordable for enthusiast types like myself. For broadband visitors the download time is acceptable, but the server space and bandwidth use is pricey without any revenue offset. That. like everything else, will change sooner than later. All I have to do to be sure of that is to look back two years to when I started this hobby.
Again, thanks Kevin.

David Hurdon
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Old April 18th, 2003, 06:03 PM   #7
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David, I haven't looked at your example yet but had a technical thought based on your mention of MPEG-1. Have you tried WMP9 encoding? I don't have any place to direct you for comparative information, but my understanding is that WMP9 encoding is very good, making high-quality streams with lower overhead a reality.

I wish I could remember the URL, but I recall visiting a site that had QT movies exclusively. As soon as WMP9 was released, that same site had both QT and WMP9.

On the money side, my hosting service is reasonably generous with disk space. If I use more, every additional megabyte costs $0.10/month, an affordable price. But bandwidth gets expensive much faster. My first 10GB is included in the base price, but the rate for another 10GB of transfer is $100! So I'm inclined to look for the best encoding and compression I can get.

I don't have video up yet, but when I do it will be WMP9, probably exclusively.
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Old April 18th, 2003, 06:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
I don't say that the file is only IE accessible but apparently I do in your perception
sorry, what I meant to say was that they would see the first part of that sentence and go away.... some people wouldn't / couldn't figure out the rest of it like I did.

Know what I mean?

The point was that if your audience is a certain demographic you should aim toward it.

Not saying that everyone over the age of 50 isn't savvy surfing the web but I mean that you should plan as if they weren't.

Years ago I worked on a project for a website where the target audience were people accessing the site from public and school libraries. We found out that most libraries rarely have the latest and greatest browser installed and usually didn't have the broadest assortment of plug-ins installed so we made the site as simple and basic so that even some browser like Netscape 3 could handle it.

Hope that made sense and was reasonably helpful.
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Old April 18th, 2003, 06:36 PM   #9
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Will, I downloaded the beta version of WME a few minutes after its release in September and have the general release today. I've used it and studied on it for a while now. The reason I don't use it routinely is that its merits only shine for folks with the WMP9 player installed. I'd love to use a multi-data rate stream in one file for all types of access (and did for a while) but unless you hit with the version 9 player you don't get the stream that makes sense for your connect speed. As the new version gets picked up I'll start offering it but like so much on the net, lower common denominators give you the widest audience, which is what Kevin is rightly suggesting in his replies.

David Hurdon
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Old April 18th, 2003, 06:53 PM   #10
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David,

Having to click the "Netscape" link threw me, too, since I'm using Internet Explorer...so I'm with Keith in that it's a bit confusing getting to the film itself. But once there I found it interesting to watch and a good idea.

The "kit" will go a long way to make this type of project seem doable from the perspective of family members who might be daunted by putting together something like this.

I agree that it would be nice to include some audio of one of the people being interviewed.

The only real criticism I can give would be the photos at the very beginning. They're very static compared to the photos in the rest of the film (using the "Ken Burns" effect). Since the first few seconds are crucial for grabbing and maintaining the viewer's attention, I'd put a bit of Ken Burn's action on those first few photos.

Overall...good job.
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Old April 19th, 2003, 12:28 PM   #11
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Thanks, John. I've added some motion to the opening images, added a clip with interview audio to the end of the piece, posted a Quick Time version too. The direct link is
www.legacymedia.ca, and both the Win/Mov versions are also available from my contentshop.tv site, where I believe you, James and Kevin first found the original file. Thanks to all of you for making a better piece.

David Hurdon
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Old April 19th, 2003, 02:56 PM   #12
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Oh, on the subject of short length VHS tape availability....

I have "a friend" who needed some short tapes so he sent away for anything and everything that offered a a promotional tape... including multiple requests to the disneyworld travel folks and assorted exercise machines and fancy high-tech beds.

Erased the tapes and pealed off their labels and replaced it with his and shabango(!) he was able to do his part for the environment and recycle those tapes rather then throw them out.

When you're a small business owner you gotta think of these things......
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Old April 19th, 2003, 03:43 PM   #13
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Know what you mean, Kevin. A good friend of mine is married to a tv producer - major ad clients - and he kept me in demo reels and the like for a while. When I'd cleaned him out I started buying 15 and 30 minute blanks from a local DV shop. In bulk they're probably twice the price of a blank CD-R but I can live with that. What I like about the miniCD-Rs is that they can be mailed in a standard letter envelope with a 48 cent (CDN) stamp, versus $2-5 bucks for a cassette. But, as you pointed out, the masses have VCRs and know how to play a tape. Less true of computer disks of any kind.

David Hurdon
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Old April 20th, 2003, 06:29 AM   #14
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David,

Nice job, one thing though. I would try to add a sample of the interviews you do. Other than that, it works for me.

I have been toying with the idea of offering video biographies in addition to my video production company. I am still in the process of working out the details.

Good luck
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Old April 20th, 2003, 06:42 AM   #15
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Thanks for taking a look, Dale. Regarding a sample of the interview, I do have 30 seconds of one at the end of the piece. I wondered when I did it whether viewers might shut off the player before realizing there was more. Is that what happened in your case, or did you perhaps view a version a day earlier - before I added this?

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