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Howard Jackson
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Video Production in Merseyside - A Case Study - Len Rainford - The Franchise Specialist

Today I am talking about a video production in Merseyside for The Franchise Specialist case study featuring Len Rainford - The Franchise Specialist. <cite class="_Rm"></cite>

I met Len 2 - 3 years ago, probably via St.Helens Chamber and I have bumped into him on a regular basis at the Chamber and other networking opportunities since then. A little while before Christmas Len posted a blog/ Linked In piece featuring case studies of clients he has worked/ is working with. It was really interesting but I could not help thinking that the case studies would have been even better in video format. So I dropped him a quick email saying that and he replied with a “your ears must have been burning” email because he was thinking about getting in touch with me about some video content for his updated website.

So we talked (I was out with the dog at the time so the conversation had a few Com ‘ere Alfie’s and a bit of squelching mud background noise). We then met up at St.Helens Chamber and agreed a way forward based on Len finding one of his clients who was prepared to speak on camera about the experience of working with him. Len also said he would find a venue too.

Before we got on site Len had done some work on content taking account of advice I had given him and of course I was happy to make other suggestions before we got to a final brief.

Filming took place in February at the Poco Coffee shop in Earlstown. We had a nice olde worlde backdrop of a Spanish street and Len’s client was Richard Sutton, Managing Director of Poco Coffee Ltd. He did a great job - relaxed, confident and very positive about Len’s contribution to his plans to franchise his business - video testimonials must be one of the most effective forms of promotional video. Len also rose to the challenge.

The outcome was the production of a suite of 7 promotional videos - the main one featured above probably being destined for the home page on Len’s website and the other six being shorter versions for use at different locations on the website and in social media.

To contact Len Rainford go to

Interested in something similar to Video Production in Merseyside for The Franchise Specialist ?

Contact Howard Jackson

07795 252797

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All you ever wanted to know about photography

I have spent the last 40 years in a relationship with cameras of various kinds - initially a Zenith E, followed by chunky Prakticas, then up market to the Olympus OM1, OM2 and eventually to the Lumix GH3 and no doubt I will move on from there at some point. Throughout those four decades I have enjoyed the work of other photographers on an ad hoc basis but I have never really familiarised myself with their work until recently. Things changed when we got a new telly just before Christmas, 2016 - a smart TV which means that you can watch You Tube straight from your sofa. Then by chance I stumbled upon Ted Forbes and his Art of Photography channel.

Art of Photography offers dozens if not hundreds of videos around 20 minutes long in which Ted introduces the work of famous photographers - some more well known such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Annie Leibovitz and others who are less famous - Harold Feinstein, Robert Frank, Richard Avedon, Eugene Smith.

The format of the films is pretty consistent with an intro., a look at the photographs, a chat about the life of the photographer and some context - how do they fit into the world of photography, what was his/ her contribution.

And once you see the work of other photographers it helps to give some context to your own work. So now when I look at my own pictures I see little influences from lots of photographers.

If you are interested in photography do yourself a favour - check out Ted Forbes, Art of Photography

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Don't show related videos on You Tube

I know what you’re thinking......... either the video guy has re-written German-born physicist Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity or he’s made a typo. I know it should be E=MC² but Grade 8 in Physics O Level in 1971 means that I can’t go big on explanation of what it actually means. Grade 8, by the way is nearly as bad as it used to get. I reserved the Grade 9 for Chemistry.......
Anyway the reality is I just used a really cheap attention grabbing technique and if you are reading this - maybe it worked.
But forget the E=MC² stuff and let’s look at the other equation - well it includes an = sign. The Maths is a bit rusty too so not sure if that constitutes an equation.
?rel=0” is not like a fundamental law of Physics but it is quite important in presentation when it comes to promotional video. When you upload a film to You Tube you can then embed it on your website and it all works really well. But there can be a problem when your film finishes because all of a sudden you may get a screen offering maybe a dozen other films for your viewers to watch. If you already have a load of videos in your channel, some of the films offered could be yours - not too much of a problem. But others could be totally random, inappropriate or worse still they might belong to your competitors.
There is an easy solution and that is where ?rel=0” comes into play.
To pick up the embedding code from You Tube, scroll down below the film and go to Share, then Embed.
The default setting is currently not to show related videos so if you go for that option and pick up the code you should be OK. That has not always been the case. So it is worth checking. Before you pick up the code, just click “Show More” below the embedding code and make sure that Show Related Videos is not ticked. Then you can add the code to your web page.
If you already have a film on your website and find that related videos do come up when it ends, you can replace the old code with the new one. The only problem with this is that it is possible for things to get messed up e.g. how big the video shows on your site.
To avoid that, use the existing code but add ?rel=0” as follows.........
<iframe width="1280" height="720" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Every You Tube video has its own 11 number/ letter identification code after embed/  -in this case YXOjEFAGfvA
Just add ?rel=0” straight after that - SORTED!

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My recommendations for the first 20 videos on a website for a company of Solicitors

A couple of weeks ago I gave a presentation to Wigan Borough Business Club on using video in social media. At the start of the presentation I did a quick hands up to see how many of the 20 or so companies and charities in the room already had one or more videos on their websites. The reason I asked is that in my own assessment the video marketing revolution, promised for so long, has actually not happened yet. This view was supported in a recent podcast I listened to from a well established promotional video producer in the USA. The guy said he had expected it to happen in 2014, 2015 and 2016 - it didn’t, but he is still full of anticipation for 2017.

Anyway back to Wigan and that quick show of hands - only two businesses in the room had a video on their website - one of them was mine and I produce promotional videos so no surprise there. The other was Leviosa Ltd., run by Keith Irwen. He offers CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software and support and I made his videos.

So video revolution? Not yet, at least not in smaller businesses in Wigan and I suspect that applies all over the country.

The same podcast was very positive about the potential of video in internet marketing and forecast that when the revolution does happen switched-on organisations will have perhaps 20 videos scattered all over their websites - not just one on the home page. That sounds a lot and it sounds expensive but the workload and the cost do not need to be prohibitive as DIY video is now an option - more of that in a later blog.

So 20 videos for your Solicitor/ Legal business - what would you include and where would you put them? Here are my recommendations........

3 video testimonials (at least 3) on your Video Testimonials page from people who reflect the range of services you offer and the gender, age and ethnicity of your existing and target audience. If you can’t afford anything else - do these.

1 general introductory video about the company - location, size, history, specialist areas - this one goes on your home page - it doesn’t need to be anything fancy - someone talking in a warm, welcoming, down to earth, hands-on way - so no stuffed shirts here please.

7 short introductory videos featuring each of the specialist areas referred to in your general intro. video. Depending on the structure of your website these might be on the specific pages that relate to each specialist area.

5 mini bio-style films featuring key people in the organisation - same approach - warm, welcoming, down to earth - so no stuffed shirts here either please.

1 video on the relationships that the company develops with its clients and showing that it understands that those clients often use solicitors at difficult times in their lives - another one for the home page?

1 or more videos about social responsibility - what is the company doing for the town where it is located. Partners working with charities, pro bono work and the benefits that local involvement and engagement bring to both the company and individual members of staff.

3 videos on personal successes and achievements of partners and staff - weddings, babies, qualifications - anything that creates an impression of humanity - people buy from people! - if you have a Blog page or a Good News page - they would be great places to start. If you don’t - think about adding them?

1 warm, welcoming call to action video on your Contact page - give us a ring, send us an email, call in and see us ..........

Oops - that adds up to 22 videos so maybe you can cull a couple, but not the Video Testimonials.

Vive la revolution!

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New products don’t just invent themselves - or maybe they do

Family photograph albums on video

I enjoyed reading a biography of Steve Jobs over the holidays (a great man and he did great things but I don’t think he would have been top of my list for a Wednesday night pint at the Turk’s Head in St.Helens - and vice versa, no doubt). In amongst the personal stuff there was a lot of coverage of how he worked. A lot of the time he did not actually invent things. Some of his big successes were based on taking something that was already there and tweaking it - ever heard of the mouse? Whatever happened to that?

Hot on the heels of finishing my sister’s life story video which was a 2015 Christmas present, delivered just eleven months late, last November I then had to start thinking about her present for 2016. I didn’t invent what I came up with but like Mr. Jobs I did take something that was already there and make it a whole lot better. Judith’s Christmas present for 2016 was a family photograph album in the form of a video slideshow.

After our mother died nearly twenty years ago we split the house up and Judith took most of the family photographs for safekeeping until we had time to share them. Some of them were good quality, professionally shot photographs and the others were a mixed bag - crumpled, out of focus, very grainy but all we had. It is hard to comprehend that access to cameras was very limited up until the sixties and even after that. We were lucky because a family friend was a keen amateur photographer.

So I set about copying over 200 images that spanned the period from c. 1900 to 1989 or in people terms from when my Nanna was about 10 up to my mam and dad’s Ruby Wedding Celebration in 1989. Then I cropped them all so they were in 6 x 4 format so I could get sets printed at Costco (4p per print). So full sets for just over £8 each. The 6 x 4 format was also going to work for the slideshow.

From there I needed text to describe and explain the photographs and make them more accessible. Some of the photographs had details written on the back like “Keswick - Whit Sunday, 1948” which is great but when you think about it, not much good when the photograph is stuck in an album. You can’t see it.

It was all very time consuming and I needed to double check some of the details with my sister. But eventually it all came together - a great family record and a brilliant and totally unique Christmas.

And linking back to the intro. and Steve Jobs..........

Well here is a product I can now offer - it is brilliant but of course I could not claim to have invented the family album. Nor could I claim to be the first person to put a family album into a video format. But it all works very nicely.

Click here to watch the slideshow.

Interested? Ring 07795 252797 on your iPhone - did I mention that Mr. Jobs was involved in that one too? - other smartphones are available.
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