THE BITESITE BLOG

Video File Sizes (In Donuts)

film video production

So this week we did something a little different for our weekly video.

As a marker who has somehow found himself become a filmmaker, there was a lot of things that I didn’t know about video when I started picking up the camera. One of those things was just how big video sizes could get. And not only that, but just how varied they could be based on the format you shoot in.

So, we thought it’d be cool to test out how big 10 seconds of video shot on our Black Magic camera could be in a few different resolutions and formats - and we decided to show that more visually through the use of some delicious donuts from Maverick’s Donuts, located here in Ottawa.

For our experiment, we dealt with two resolutions - HD (1080p) and 4K.

HD Proxy
First up was HD Proxy, which we found was around 50mb, or in the case of today’s exercise, half a donut.

HD BMRAW Constant Quality Q0
Next we tested a higher quality HD format, which jumped up to 180mb for 10 seconds of footage.

4K Proxy
4K Proxy was approximately 200mb, making this low-end 4K format a bigger file size than our high-quality HD footage.

4K BMRAW Constant Quality
Here’s where we really started to stack the donuts on the plate. This high quality 4K format saw the file size hit around 770mb.

So there you have it, checking out a range of video sizes in the most delicious of ways.

Jmcclane
Jason Connell
Filmmaker, BiteSite

Software Demo Videos - How-To Tips!

video production corporate video

Demo videos are a great way to showcase what a particular software application can do. After all, that's exactly what they're meant for! There are some important tips to pay attention to when creating these types of videos, and we'll be outlining them below. First off, how can these videos be useful? Software demo videos can be used to attract potential clients, update paying customers on the latest additions to your software app, or even take the place of live webinars in order to educate people on what your app offers. While there are a variety of ways you can showcase your software in the video format, this post is specifically looking at the screencast video, where the majority of the content is comprised of screencast recordings.

One advantage of screencast videos is that they are logistically simple to produce and with minimal effort involved. Rather than having to shoot video content with a camera or create all the graphics from scratch in a motion graphics explainer style video, you are simply recording your computer screen. The only other recording aspect involves recording audio, but even that is not completely necessary; on-screen text can take the place of a voice-over audio recording if desired. Generally though, recording audio is much easier to execute than recording video. Additionally, a great option for audio is to hire a professional voice actor to take care of it for you. As for everything else involved in producing screencast demo videos, you'll still need to put in the time to edit everything together.

Before diving in, I'll note that this post is not an in depth "how-to" on creating your own screencast demo video. Rather, we will be looking at a few important tips to get you started on the right path. Let's begin!

Writing the Script

Writing a script is a key part of the process in producing a screencast demo video (or any video for that matter). To some, writing the script may not seem necessary at first. You may feel that you know your software completely, and have a clear idea of what you want to showcase in the video. This may be true, but going through the script writing process forces you to really consider what you want to include in the video and how you want everything to flow together.

In the cases where you're including a voice-over (recommended), a script becomes that much more effective. When you write out word-for-word what the voice-over is going to say, your video comes across much more professional and clear for the viewer. Rather than having a conversational tone, with filler words and the risk of going off-tangent from time to time, the script will have the voice-over actor (whoever that may be) speaking in the most helpful and concise way for the viewer. Additionally, delivering the voice-over based on a script is always a big help in keeping the length of the video to a minimum.

Recording Audio

As mentioned above, you can hire out a professional voice-over actor to record the script for you. The reason you would do this is simply to get a professional sounding video as opposed to a 'semi-professional' sounding video. Voice-over actors will send you a quality recording that would be fit for radio or television. We recently made a post here on a voice-over service that we use, so definitely check that out if you're looking to have this done. It may also be the case that you simply don't have the necessary equipment and know-how to produce your own audio recording that meets your expectations. In that case as well, having someone else get the job done for you can of course be very handy.

If you are looking to record audio yourself, besides considering all the basics of recording good audio (using a quality microphone, recorder, recording location, and voice actor), one thing that may slip your mind is to consider potential revisions in the audio recording. While a script greatly reduces the likelihood that you'll want to change the wording in the script/voice-over, there is always the possibility that you'll want to re-record part of the voice-over, perhaps a week after the original recording for example. In these cases, it's very helpful to have access to the same recording equipment, and more importantly, the same recording location. Audio recordings are greatly affected by the locations in which they're recorded due to echo and acoustics. If you re-record a part of your video in a different location, and splice in the new recording to your video edit, the change in audio characteristics will stand out like a sore thumb. So, just make sure that you either record the original audio in a scenario that can be easily reproduced (eg. inside a very small room), or that you can still get access to that same room in the future.

Recording Screencasts

Recording a screencast is perhaps the most straightforward of the activities mentioned thus far. For recording screencasts, we'll touch on a couple things. First, how do you get the job done? While there are services that are made specifically to help record screencasts, we've gotten by quite well by using the built-in functionality that the Quicktime video player offers. If you have Quicktime, feel free to use it. Just select the screen recording from the dropdown menu, select whether or not you want a full screen recording or just part of your screen, and voila... you're off to the races!

Secondly, you'll want to record screencasts in such a way that they work well in the video edit. The tip here is to take your time. You don't want to be whipping the cursor around your screen, not leaving time to have things looking and sounding as you want in the edit. The voice-over recording will largely determine the pacing of the video; you will be editing the screencast recordings to match the voice-over recording, not vice-versa. So if you don't pause on a particular part of your screencast recording for long enough for the voice-over to speak to it, you'll cause unnecessary editing in order to remedy all those timing issues (attempting to add time back in, rather than the simpler option of cutting out excess content).

Besides that, timing need not be a big consideration. You might imagine that you need to record the screencast to perfectly match the voice-over. This is not the case as you can simply make cuts in the edit to proceed quicker through the screencast than the speed at which you recorded.

Editing

Once you've recorded the screencasts and voice-over audio, everything is ready to be put together in the editing timeline. The tip here is to supplement that main content with other things in order to keep the video both organized and engaging. You can use title cards throughout the video to keep viewers aware of the main points being made (similar to the video attached to this blog post). Your software application will have multiple capabilities, and having the repetitive nature of both the screencast, audio, and title cards stating what those capabilities are will help to cement in the viewer's mind the main points that were made in the video.

You can also consider adding simple motion graphics, or even static graphics to the screencast video. Depending on what you want to communicate in a given video, a graphic will sometimes be more effective in showcasing what you're offering. The screencasts act as the tangible evidence of your product's quality, and any additional graphics can help to give context or additional information. Some examples of these graphics might be the different payment tiers that your service is available under, or perhaps help to portray the problem that your software solves before actually jumping into the software solution itself.

Demos Are For Everyone!

That covers some important tips to consider as you go to create your very own software demo video. These videos are great in that almost everyone has the capability to create them. The more time and money you invest into each production will play a part in its outcome, but at the very least, they're for anyone who wants to have a demo video of their software application. These tips can also play a big part in having your video sound and look professional. When you compare a scripted screencast video with a webinar style live-recorded screencast that is instantly uploaded to YouTube after recording, the difference is night and day. Happy recording!

Timclark
Tim Clark
Filmmaker, BiteSite

Why we didn't post this week...

video production business marketing

It had to happen...check out the video above.

Caseyli
Casey Li
CEO & Founder, BiteSite

Why we use Storyboards

video production corporate video marketing

As BiteSite gets more and more into scripted works, we're starting to realize the huge benefit of using a very powerful yet simple tool: Storyboards. Storyboards are a great way to answer a lot of questions and in this article we're going to explore why and how we use them.

Why bother doing storyboards?

The biggest reason we use storyboards is it gives us a preview of what the final video will look like and let us know if our vision will actually work. When you write a script and have a vague idea of what your visuals are going to look like, it's not enough to dictate what shots you're going to use and if they'll work together in the final edit.

Storyboards to the rescue!

Storyboards are a cheap way early in the production to figure out exactly what it is you're going to shoot. When you're on set, busy with squeezing in 30 or 40 shots in a 10 hour day, it can be hard to keep track of the bigger vision. By doing storyboards, you're guaranteeing that up front, your vision is going to work. Once you get to the set, things get very expensive and if you're not sure your vision is going to work, things could get very difficult.

When you do your storyboards and base your shots on your storyboards - you can concentrate on getting great shots and not whether or not things are going to flow together.

How do we use storyboards?

It's a pretty simple process that we employ at BiteSite.

  1. Everything starts with the script and a visual ideas. The script will give us a vague idea of what we'll be seeing on screen.
  2. Then using the script, we'll draw storyboards using either simple pencil and paper, or apps like Paper for iPad.
  3. After the storyboards are done, we'll sometimes edit them together in Final Cut Pro and put music to it to see how everything fits together.
  4. If all goes well, we'll base our shot list directly on the shots we see in the storyboard edit.

You don't have to be a professional storyboard artist to see how things are going to work. Just some simple drawings to guide you.

Outcome?

Our latest project with App8 showed that we stuck very close to the storyboards and we were very happy with the results.

So if you find yourself working on a video production, take some time to layout your ideas using storyboards. It'll make the shoot go a lot smoother and you'll end up with a great video in the end.

Be sure to checkout out our video above to see a side by side comparison of the App8 Promo Video storyboards and the final video.

Caseyli
Casey Li
CEO & Founder, BiteSite

Adding Professional Voice-Over to your Corporate Videos

video production corporate video video marketing

When you're creating a corporate video or working with an external video production company, you'll have a lot of choice when it comes to format. You could go live-action, animated, unscripted, scripted and more. One thing you should consider, however, is using voice-over.

Voice-over is the process of recording spoken words separate from the video and the reason we're a big fan of using it at BiteSite is that it is a relatively low-cost, low-logistics way of getting professional, high-quality videos.

Let's explore this a bit deeper.

The benefits of using voice-over

The biggest benefit to using voice-over is that it is a low-risk way to get professional quality results. When you're recording video, there is a lot that can go wrong. The lighting might be off because the sun is in the wrong place. The weather might not corporate. Your on-screen subjects might not behave the way you want them too. The location might not be ideal. There is a lot to consider. However, one thing that has a lot less risk and that almost always go well is recording voice-over.

With the right talent, voice-over can be as easy as providing a script and some direction. With as little as that, you'll end up with something that rivals broadcast television commercials.

Not too mention, if voice-over and music is all that you envision in your final video, a lot of technical logistics are removed because you don't have to record any location audio.

So for these reasons, we're huge fans of this format.

Prepping for the voice-over

At BiteSite, there are a few steps we take to prepare a voice-over. The first is writing the script. We could write a whole article on this, but obviously you need to put together a script that contains the important messages you're trying to communicate.

Next, we time the script. Reading the script in your head or just picturing how long the script will be can be dangerous in that you might be way off in terms of how long you think it'll be. What's best is to grab a timer and actually read the script aloud in the tone of voice and speed you anticipate the final product to feature.

With those two things out of the way, the script is ready.

Book your talent

Although there are many sites out there that offer voice-over work, we've dealt with two: www.voxtalent.com and www.voicebunny.com. Most of our dealings have been with VoxTalent so for the rest of this article we will speak to that. However, VoiceBunny is still a good alternative to explore.

With VoxTalent, you should start by browsing their rates. For a typical corporate video, you're looking at spending between $250.00 and $400.00 CAD. Once you're familiar with the rates, you can then browse their actors and actresses. You'll have to option of dealing with actors/actresses who can attend a recording session in person, or have them record at home. Again because of the ease of logistics, we typically pick the latter.

You'll be able to listen to their demo reels and check their availability so you can get right person for the job.

After you're happy with a candidate, it's just a matter of filling out a form and dealing with the VoxTalent agents to book your talent.

Prepare Director's Notes

After your actor or actress is booked, you'll be sending a script but also director's notes if you choose to have them record the voice-over at home. Director's notes help your talent nail the tone and style you're going for and clarify any questions they may have.

You can download a director's notes template from our downloads page https://www.bitesite.ca/download.

Here is a brief breakdown of what we include:

Project - The name of the project.

Non-disclosure - Any non-disclosure notes if you are working on a project that has not yet been announced to the public.

Type - Whether it's animated or live-action.

Talent - Name of the actor or actress selected.

Ideal Length - The final length of the voice-over (e.g. 1:10, 1 minute and 10 seconds).

Narration Tone - Notes about the tone of the voice-over (e.g. 'Serious with authority, but calm')

References - Sections of the talent's demo, or YouTube videos that are similar to the tone you are going for.

Music Inspiration - Links to samples of music that might help convey the tone.

Pronunciation Notes - Pronunciation of words that are not obvious including company names, regional words.

Wrapping it all up

After you've booked your talent, and sent them the script and director's notes, you'll play the waiting game. VoxTalent has been very responsive and in some cases had a 24 hour turn-around. However, it does vary from case to case as the actors and actresses may be booked up.

When they are finished, they'll send you an audio file that you can easily throw into your timeline of your edit and then you're all done.

Consider using Voice-over on your next project

As mentioned, video production can have a lot go wrong and if things are not executed properly, you might lose out on some of that gloss or shine that other videos have. Voice-over is a low-risk way to ensure you're video will sound professional.

Every actor and actress that we've worked with to date has delivered incredible work that has taken our videos to the next level.

If you're producing a corporate video yourself or working with a video production company, you should highly consider incorporating professional voice-over into your video.

Caseyli
Casey Li
CEO & Founder, BiteSite