Just finished watching an interesting video entitled Video Case Studies – Top 10 Tips, which was produced by UK video producer Aspect Film and Video. You can watch it here, though you may need to sign in first. The top ten tips were (drumroll please):
1. Structure – have customer identify business challenge, then action you took, then beneficial results.
2. Make it tangible – make business result as tangible and specific as possible.
3. Preparing your clients – send them the questions, but tell them not to over prepare.
4. Length – target should be 3 minutes or less.
5. On the shoot – have someone there who understands the marketing message that you’re hoping to achieve and can prompt the client.
6. Get B-roll – shots of client working in their business.
7. Testimonials – while you’re shooting, ask the client to give a short testimonial statement that you can use elsewhere.
8. Keywords – ask client for a list of keywords that best sums up your business – sum up quickly to create a punchy ending.
9. Ask for feedback – ask client for ways that you could improve your product or service (obviously not for including in the case study video).
10. Web delivery – be careful and get the technical requirements right (recommends Flash).
The video contains lots of tips about how to elicit this information, and is well shot and edited, though a bit blurry in places as you can see below. Love the soft background in the shot, though I’m not sure I’d recommend a striped shirt for a streaming production. No obvious artifacts at the selected encoding parameters, so perhaps I’m just being catty.
Overall, If you’re about to produce a video case study, it’s well worth watching. Also well worth watching are some of the case studies that Aspect has produced. I especially liked this one.
Just for fun, I downloaded the video and analyzed it in MediaInfo and Inlet Semaphore.
MediaInfo revealed the following details.
Aspect produced the video at 500×280@25 fps, at a video data rate of 500 kbps. This translates to a Bits/(Pixel*Frame) value of .143, which is a bit high (I like to keep this around .1), but not terribly so, and at 500 kbps, it should stream smoothly to most viewers.
The video was produced in March, 2009, so the choice of the VP6 codec is reasonable, though I’m guessing that Aspect might switch over to H.264 soon.
The choice for audio was curious – Joint stereo at 48 kbps. I say curious because most audio was of the speaker shown wearing a mono lavaliere microphone in the video, so converting that to stereo is a waste. If I did produce in stereo MP3 format, I’d use at least 64 kbps to assure good quality, though audio quality was fine in the video.
I downloaded a couple of the case studies that Aspect showcases on their site, and they were encoded mono at 64 and 80 kbps. Mono makes more sense than stereo, though these data rates seem a bit high.
Inlet Semaphore revealed that Aspect produced with a key frame setting of 10 seconds, with key frames at scene changes enabled, which are exactly in line with my recommendations.
Overall, the biggest issue is the blurry video – maybe shoot an armpit to head, medium close-up rather than a waist up medium shot. Audio bandwidth is a nit, for the most part the encoding is well done.