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What is the Best Length for Your Marketing Video?

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retail video best length

What’s the Best Length for a Web & Social Media Marketing Video?

“How long should my marketing video be?”

Clients ask this a lot.  Some think their marketing video needs to be in the “ten to fifteen” minute range.  Others say five minutes.  A few think less than sixty seconds.  Typically, companies that are just getting into making marketing videos tend to think too long.  But what is the answer?

Less is more?

A good, general rule to follow is “the shorter the video, the better.” The quicker you can get to the core message of your video, the easier it is for your audience to digest and understand. For example: two minutes is a great place to start.  But before we enter that two minute dictate into our rulebook, there are variables, rules and types of marketing videos that bring exception to the two minute drill.

Types of Marketing Videos

The first decision that must be made is what kind of marketing video is needed. Are we talking commercial spots that could play just as easily on television as the web?  Or a longer video meant to be viral that gets people excited about your retail product or service?  Let’s discuss the different types of web and social media marketing videos.

  1. The Commercial

This is a straight up, made-for-tv broadcast spot.  The timing on these is very regimented, down to the 30th of a second.  The most common is 30 seconds.  Occasionally you’ll see 60 second commercials, and  it’s not unheard of to have shorter spots at 15 or even 10 second spots.  What some marketing executives decide to do is simply take that expensive broadcast commercial and release it on the web.  This is a solid move because it is simply  taking a paid ad and using it for organic reach.

In this example, our retail client has gotten two million views of their commercial organically by placing the ad online.  Not all companies rely on organic advertising, either.  One question to ask here is “If it is a broadcast commercial, should it only be used for broadcast?”  Some businesses are utilizing these spots for digital paid ads as well.

  1. The Long Form

In this instance, long means “a longer form of the broadcast commercial.”  It’s where you take a 30 second broadcast spot and make it longer,  like a minute,  or even a minute and a half.  Remember, outside of broadcast, there are not strict rules that a video needs to be exactly a certain length.  As an example of both the broadcast version (link above) and the “long form” version, here’s what we did for a retail client of ours recently.

  1. The Viral Marketing Video

how long should marketing video be?

This video is usually one of three genres– Humorous, Emotional, or Sensational.  The goal of the viral marketing video is to get viewers to spread it for you, organically.  Some people will try and “pay” for viral– but to truly get it out there in significant numbers, the content has got to be strong enough for someone watching and to think “I’ve got to share this.”  The length of these videos can vary, but to have any chance of viral success, they must maintain the viewer’s attention throughout the entirety.  A key principle for a viral marketing video is: The more entertaining the video, the longer it can be.   So for these, 90 seconds to four minutes is usually where these marketing videos fall.

  1. The Educational Video

Warning, this is a trap!  Sure, your title says Director of Marketing so you’re thinking “We don’t do any educational videos.”  But when you try to “educate” your potential customers, then the video is an educational video.  Consider any ad that explains how a product works. Essentially, these ads are teaching potential consumers in an entertaining way.

And by the way, if you don’t make it entertaining, you’d better make it extremely short.  The same rule applies here– the more entertaining, the longer you can make it.  Poo-Pouri has mastered the “educational” marketing video.

One way businesses try to make an educational video entertainment is to make it an “Explainer Video.”  This is where your content is animated (usually 2D) and combines simple illustrations with text, graphics, and a voice over.  Often people use the “white board” effect of a hand drawing the text and graphics.

Desktop or Mobile?

Is your audience watching your videos on desktop computers or on mobile devices?  Before you get on the smartphone video bandwagon, keep in mind that in a 2017 study, 86% of business related videos are still watched on desktops.  However, Cisco estimates that 75% of the mobile data in 2020 will be video.

That same study reveals that the majority of business videos are under two minutes.

The Two Minute Warning

Why two minutes?  Well, there has been a lot of writing talking about the increasingly shorter attention span of our markets today.  If you’re still reading this blog, pat yourself on the back for a great attention span! In today’s world, phones beep every few minutes with a new message, or a Facebook notification, or a phone call, or a squirrel runs past your window.  After two minutes, it’s hard to keep  most audiences engaged. .  Two minutes is ideal for  YouTube-type videos.  When you start posting to social media, one minute is max for Facebook and even shorter for Instagram and Twitter.

The biggest trap thatMarketing teams fall into is trying to communicate a comprehensive message.  A marketing video is not the best tool for expositing the complete details about your retail products.  Think about those ads for car dealerships that spend the last few seconds reading the mandatory fine print at lightning speed. If you have the choice, save that for the printed brochure.  Video is the tool for piquing  the target audience’s interest and drawing them in.

retail video sfilms 2You put a piece of bait the size of a bowling ball on a hook and you’re likely to not catch that rainbow trout.  Just that little, colorful, creative fly is all you need. And now I’m hungry.

The Growth of the Marketing Video Strategy

Are retailers really using video to its fullest extent?  eMarketing is estimating that digital video ads will see double digit growth each year through 2020.  This is easily the biggest growth sector for advertising for the next few years and a strong opportunity for any marketer

So when you are creating your marketing video for the retail industry, think in terms of enticing your customer– drawing them in.  Video is a strong tool when used in this manner.   Just keep it entertaining if possible and as short as necessary to do the job.

 

Using Hedge for File Management

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Hedge Software for File Management

file management hedgeHedge is a great tool for video production file management.  The biggest advantage is that the file transfer from your card to the harddrive is faster through Hedge versus file manager.  Because Hedge bypasses the bus on your computer.  It also is able to verify the transfer, whereas File Manager doesn’t do that.

This short blog is to show you how to use the software.  For learning about file management, visit our other instructionals:

Step 1

To begin, open Hedge.  You will have the Connected Discs window, which shows you which hard drives you have connected.  Make sure your primary and secondary harddrives are connected and show up in the center.  Then connect the card you want to transfer.  It will show up in this window as well.

Step 2

file managementWhen the card shows up, drag it over to the left, the Sources column.  Then drag your primary harddrive over to the right, the Destinations column.  Drag the secondary drive over to destinations as well.

Hover the mouse over the primary harddrive in Destinations—you will see a green eject arrow but also, when you hover, you will see a grey down arrow above and to the right of the drive icon.  Click that grey down arrow and Destination Folder and then Browse.  You can navigate to your project folder, camera subfolder, and name the camera and card number.  Then repeat the same procedure for the secondary drive.  Note that when you change the destination, the drives switch on the right column.  Make sure you get both drives pointing to the right folder. 

One nice time-saving feature Hedge offers is the ability to create file paths on the second drive. After you point to the destination on the primary drive, when you select the secondary drive, you can do the most recent folder and Hedge will ask you if you want to create the path.  Click yes and you don’t have to create folders in Finder or File Manager.

Also, it’s important to name the folder exactly the same on both drives.  If you want to do this in Finder before copying over, that’s fine—just navigate to the correct folder through the grey down arrow.

Step 3

Once folder destinations have been done, click “Start Transfers.”  Your camera card will be copied over.  The next dialogue window will ask you if you want the incrementer to be adjusted.  If this is the first card, have it start back at 001, then the next time, just let it increment.  When Hedge finishes the transfer, it will say completed.  If there were any problems, Hedge will inform you.  Also, a text file is generated at your destination.  You can check it over to see if there are any discrepancies.  You’re ready to eject the card and start in on the next card.

The key to File Management is creating a system and following it.  Trouble happens when you take shortcuts or don’t follow the system.  It gets repetitive– don’t fall into the trap of complacency.  Lost footage is a killer for the production.

File Management for Production Companies

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On Set File Management

Production Companies Problems

One of the biggest “gotchas” that production companies can encounter is lost or corrupted footage.  It sounds simple: “Copy camera cards over to hard drive.”  But it’s the most critical job on the set.  You mess this up, and you can lose that great performance, that wonderful camera work, those awesome sets.  So to avoid this pitfall, let’s look at the tools you need.

File Management Tools

First of all you need a computer and hard drives.  Preferably two (or more).  Industry best practice is to take the camera card, copy it over to two different hard drives.  And make sure you copy to each hard drive from the card—don’t copy to a hard drive, eject the card, and copy from the first hard drive over to your back up hard drive.  If you have anything corrupt, you just copied that over.  Always copy from the camera card to your primary hard drive and your backup hard drive.

Software and Apps to Use

production companies on set file managementNow when you copy, you can use Finder (if you’re using Mac OS) or windows file manager and just copy the contents of the card over to the hard drive.  But how do you know there was nothing corrupted in the transfer?  There are several apps that will copy for you, and run verifications (check sums) to make sure every single 1 and 0 was copied over.  We use Hedge for the Mac—it allows you to copy straight through from card to hard drives, which speeds the transfer up a bit, instead of going through your computer bus.

Have a system.  Use one color box or colored tape for cards that need to be transferred, and another for cards ready to go back to the camera team (they’ve been verified).

In addition to the physical system, make sure you have a good file management system on the computer.  A master folder should be created for the Production.

Smaller Shoots

On smaller shoots, it might be that you have other jobs on the set—make sure you don’t get confused on file management.  For our video on the small video crew file management system, click here.  What good is it to help craft a well shot scene, only to mess up the transfer and that scene get deleted?  I’d say your file management duties are more important than any other job you might have on the set.  If you mess up, everyone’s work was practice for the re-shoot.  Yes it’s pressure—that’s why you have to have a system and follow it religiously.

One last word—I used the term File Management instead of DIT.  A true DIT also does first pass coloring and is responsible for the image being created on the set.  In corporate video, it’s mainly just managing the data from the cameras.  Remember—keep it straight!

Best Strategy for Making a Viral Video

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shooting run and gun video for viral videoViral Video– We all watched Charlie bite his finger.  We’ve seen cute cats and dogs and squirrels doing cute things.  We’ve watched, laughed and cried at what we’re seeing on the internet through youtube, vimeo and facebook.  But what is the key to making a hit viral video?  How can you make a video that will go viral?  What we’ll talk about here is the viral video for corporate marketing– not just the everyday guy that wants his fifteen minutes.

Viral Video Defined

First off, let’s define what a viral video is.  To be “viral,” a video must be passed around.  Someone sees the video and then posts it on their page, or tweets it to their followers.  And the numbers must be high.  YouTube monetization doesn’t really make a difference until you’ve got over 25,000 followers or a million views on a video.  So let’s use those as a benchmark.  Also, a viral video is usually between 15 seconds to three minutes.  Occasionally they’ll go longer, but rarely over five minutes.

Many clients come desiring to make a viral video, but the other common characteristic is that viral videos tend to not have heavy branding or a hard sell to them.  Of course their are exceptions, like when a brand is making fun of themselves (see Dollar Shave Club or PooPouri).  But for the most part, the best viral videos for corporate marketing are soft sales.  (Check out Beware the Doghouse, you’d don’t realize it’s JC Penney’s until the end.)

Types of Viral Videos

The strongest viral videos use one of three genres for success.  Comedic, Emotional, or Sensational.

  • Comedic – These are not mildly funny– these are split-your-side-laughing funny.  These are so humorous, that the viewer watches and thinks “I’ve GOT to show my friends this one.”  But the humorous approach is tricky.  Different cultures around the world find certain things funny that another culture finds offensive.  So you can knock out some hits or views if going this direction.  But these also tend to do the best.
  • Emotional – This is the heart-warming story of someone who overcame a huge obstacle.  You actually shed a tear when watching this one.  Often, it is not used for corporate viral videos, but when it is, it can be incredible.  Check out the Pantene “commercial” in which they used the emotional approach.  Or any of the America’s Got Talent pieces where the deaf/handicapped/small child does something amazing.
  • Sensational – This is the video that you just drop your jaw in amazement.  Someone does something absolutely incredible and you can’t turn away.  Also check out the America’s Got Talent where it’s amazing but not done by a deaf/handicapped/small child act.  This genre has the problem of going to far.  What it takes to amaze people today, is not what it took thirty years ago.  And this can easily lead to crossing some lines.  Think “Hunger Games.”

And then there’s the occasional video that hits two or more of the above genres.  The number one viral video?  I’m sure you’ve seen it.  Gangnam Style.  It’s so weird (sensational) and funny.

The Most Important Factor in a Viral Video

The most important element for a successful viral video? Content.  Doesn’t matter the production value (as opposed to the normal corporate video).  Or the acting.  The direction.  Content is king.  It all comes down to the idea.  So spend your time here– come up with a concept that is so strong, people cannot ignore it.  Then go about producing the viral video.

The Industrial Video Shoot- Have the Right Tools

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The Industrial Video shoot comes with it’s own unique challenges.  And by industrial, I’m referring to a corporate video that is manufacturing/construction based.  As with any job, having the right tools can make the job significantly easier while increasing quality.  Try painting the outside of your house with a tiny brush.  Or no brush at all.  But have the right brush– or step up to a sprayer or power roller, and the job is completely faster and with better quality.  Tools are everything.

Industrial Video Tools

The tool box for the industrial video begins with the camera.  Most video professionals will use the camera and the tripod, and use it for most of their shooting.  It’s like the screwdriver.  Whether the job calls for big screws, or little screws, they might try to make the single screwdriver work for everything.  Even turning around to hammer with the handle or pry when necessary.  But a quality company will have more tools in the box.

  • Micro Cameras – GoPros and sport cameras bring new capabilities to an industrial video.  Cameras can be placed in previously unheard location.  New and different footage can bring the wow factor to the industrial video.
  • Time-lapse – Industrial videos usually are recording the manufacturing or construction process.  It can take a long time.  The timelapse videos are perfect for showing the process from start to finish or a significant portion of the job.
  • Sliders, Jibs and Gimbals – Camera movement brings an extra dimension to video footage.  And dynamic video impacts the audience more effectively.  The key to camera movement is foreground.  Make sure to shoot with something in the foreground when shooting with motion.
  • Drone – With technological advancements come new and better tools.  The drone has been the single most impactful video tool since the steadicam.  Now, anyone can bring that aerial shot that used to be reserved for big budget helicopter shots.  The drone also gives you the ability to capture footage from that sweet spot– zero to a hundred feet up.  Helicopters are used for shots 1,000 feet and above.

Safety in the Industrial Video

corporate industrial videoWhen you look for a video production in the construction zone, it’s critical for the production people to be properly safety trained.  Everyone will need to know the safety procedures for the worksite and have proper personal protective equipment– hardhats, reflective vests, steel toed shoes, eyes and ear protection when necessary.

An industrial video can be a powerful way for a company to demonstrate it’s manufacturing capabilities.  Make sure your video company has all the right tools.

Video Production – What are Apple Boxes?

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Video Production Apple Boxes

For you new to video production, or maybe you’re a corporate client on the set of a video being produced for you, you might hear the Cinematographer or someone else call for a “half apple.”  Well, he’s not asking for a previously bitten into piece of fruit.  Apple Boxes have been around in the movie and film business for almost a hundred years.  The history is a bit cloudy, but it’s reasonable to assume that early film crews saw a box sitting there and put it to good use.  And maybe it had some apples in it.  Or just looked like an apple box.  Either way, the term was adopted and stuck.

Where Do You Find the Apple Boxes?

Apple boxes are usually part of the grip equipment.  They are used for just about anything on the set.  A box to stand on.  To make an actor taller.  Prop a tripod leg up.  Raise a set piece.  The uses are endless through the decades.

“Full Apple, please.  And Make it Texas.”

The apple boxes come in very distinct sizes– Full, half, quarter and pancake.  The sizes are pretty much standard through the industry.  A production company on the west coast’s full apple will be the same size as the east coast studio’s full apple.  And how an Apple Box is placed is standard nomenclature as well.  Set it tall and it’s New York.  Lay it flat for California.  On it’s side for Texas (or Chicago).  Because whatever term you use, the grip will know what you’re asking for and how you want it.  For more info, check out wikipedia.

Some people will make their own apple boxes– construction is not that difficult.  Most apple boxes are made from plywood.  It’s important, especially on the full and half to have internal bracing, especially if they’re going to be used to stand on.

One Apple Box Set will consist of a Full, a Half, a Quarter and a Pancake.  But it’s extremely useful to have multiples of the same sizes.  Often, you might need to prop something up that requires multiple apple boxes and you’ll need several of the same size.  And it’s also important to note that a half apple is exactly half the height of a full.  Stacked on top of each other, two halfs do indeed make a full.

Most video production companies and film studios have stacks of apple boxes.  They’re sitting in the corner.  They are chipped and painted from years ago, showing years of use and abuse.  An Apple Box is rugged, sturdy and dependable.  It’s an excellent production tool.  So make sure you call for the right one.

Job Posting: After Effects Artist/Editor/Shooter

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After Effects Artist/Editor/Shooter

Serendipitous Films Inc, located on the east side of Fort Worth, is looking for an After Effects Artist who can also handle overflow editing and some shooting. While the position doesn’t necessarily require many years of experience, we are looking for someone who is “advanced” in After Effects. This will be a staff position at our Fort Worth offices.

The most important aspect is how well the applicant fits in with us—chemistry is everything here at SFilms. Secondly will be ability. Everything else follows those two things. So if you like to have fun and enjoy working extremely hard, this might be for you. Contact dan@s-films.com by sending resume but more importantly links to your reel. No phone calls please.

Responsibilities:

  • Create 2D animations, motion graphics, logos and other animation support for video projects. 3D not mandatory, but is helpful.
  • Handle overflow editing of projects in Adobe Premiere.
  • Shoot—be able to go out and shoot BRoll, client interviews, etc, as needed.

Requirements

  • Advanced skills in After Effects, Photoshop and other Adobe cloud platforms
  • Intermediate skills in Premiere
  • Takes initiative
  • Great interpersonal/social interaction
  • Works great under deadline pressures
  • Gets satisfaction by over delivering on production value

Serendipitous Films, based in the Dallas Fort Worth Texas area, primarily handles corporate videos, commercials, some TV and occasionally feature work.

shooting run and gun video

Levels of Corporate Video Production Companies in Dallas

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When looking for a company in Dallas to produce that corporate video, you will find several different levels of production companies. And the corporate video production we’re talking about here are marketing videos, training videos, internal communications, sales and product videos, and web videos.  This is for the Director of Sales and Marketing, the head of corporate communications, the public relations team, or the person in charge of corporate training.

We break down the levels into four sizes—the Big Dogs, the medium size, the small company and the one-man band. Let’s start at the bottom and work up. For some reason, the creative services industry can bring out some of the biggest egos in people. And this occurs throughout the following list. When you are looking for a great video production company in Dallas to work with, in addition to sampling their work, make sure you can enjoy working with the people. It’s one of the biggest comments we get from our clients.

The One Man (or Woman) Band

This “production company” is one person, maybe with an office or maybe not. The older, more experienced One Man Band can write, shoot and edit. And maybe he hires freelancers to assist. The younger One Man Band is typically a student or someone just out of school just trying to explore their craft.

This person will be the cheapest estimate out of the three for a corporate video. But they will usually be the lowest in quality as well. And because they’re alone, the project can take some time—especially the larger video projects. The adage “you get what you pay for” is especially true for this layer. But occasionally a corporate client will get lucky and find a gem.  This level is the biggest gamble and some might say the payoff for a win isn’t worth the risk in the corporate video industry.  Jobs and reputations are at stake within the halls of the company, and you don’t want to roll the dice, spending money for an ineffective video.

The Sweet Spot – The Small Companycorporate video production dallas

In corporate video production, the small company (2-4 employees) offers the most flexibility and value. This company is doing medium and sometimes large company production work, and usually hires a team of contractors they work with often to keep the quality high. Contractors are specialists and superb at what they do. Only hiring contractors for specific shoots rather than hiring full-time staff is a savings that is passed on to the client.

They can estimate jobs on the lower side of the range while bringing top production value. But be careful, because many companies can be this size, quality can be all over the map. With a little research, this company can be the answer to top notch corporate videos. Make sure you look at their portfolio and, if possible, talk to some of their clients.

This size company is flexible– they have a small permanent team to keep consistency and dependability through the projects, and they can scale up quickly if needed.  Because of that, they can still estimate towards the lower side while delivering outstanding value.  Many corporations will go with this company, and stick with them if they deliver strongly on that first project.

The Medium Size Company

The production companies at this level usually have 5-10 employees. They can estimate low or high, depending on how busy they are, but typically will fall in the middle of the estimates as far as price. The overhead for a medium size company is greater and thus can reflect in the estimate. Therefore a client may find that they are paying for more that what directly contributes to what is seen on screen.

As far as quality, it can be hit or miss. Maybe they got to be medium sized because of one rain-maker client, but still lack many other skills and/or tools in their tool box to do more than what they specialize in. But maybe they’re really good and offer incredible value—high production quality at a decent price.

Usually there will be a strong creative type (probably running the company). An editor or two, maybe an animator. And a couple of shooters or production types, and a production or office manager to keep everything organized.

The Big Dogs—The Large Video Production Company

Dallas is a center for corporate and commercial video production. National commercial work ends up being a big ticket item. Large video companies, 15+ employees, will specialize in commercial production to help pay the large overhead they carry.corporate video shoot in studio

The Big Dog work will be first class (they can’t survive otherwise), but they will charge significantly more than all the others. And I do mean significantly. It’s possible that the One Man Band, the Small Company, and the Medium Company all come in fairly close with their estimates. The Big Dog’s price will often be a multiple of the others.

Larger corporations will pay this for several reasons—they feel more confident that the company will deliver a high quality corporate video (which makes them look good to their bosses), and the Big Dog can wine and dine them more, treating them a little more “Hollywood.” It’s the comfort level that the client ends up paying for.

Conclusion

Now there are exceptions up and down this list. You might find a small company that consistently delivers Big Dog quality (and maybe they even charge Big Dog prices). Or maybe a Big Dog will low ball an estimate for some reason. So it’s important that you do your research when picking a corporate video production company in Dallas. Comparing apples to apples is a difficult process in the video industry for the director of marketing, or the head of corporate training.

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. Where does SFilms fit in this chart? Call us and we’ll tell you. 😉

Drone UAV Preflight Checklist 3DR Solo

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3DR Solo Flight Checklists

What follows is our UAV checklist specifically for the 3DR Solo drone (or UAV).  We require all operators to follow the checklist to insure safe and proper operation of the aerial platform.

Before Leaving

  • Charge drone batteries
  • Charge controller
  • Charge ipad mini
  • Ensure GoPro Hero 4 has card

 

Arriving Exterior Location

PREFLIGHT

  • Visually inspect area of operation, noting poles, antennas and other physical hazards
  • Observe wind direction and approximate wind speeds
  • Place props on motors (make sure they are tight)
  • Put fully charged battery on drone
  • Remove Gimbal foam, protecting gimbal during shipping
  • Choose launch site—make sure it is a safe place for an emergency “return home” command
  • Place drone on launch site (must be away from metal and be level)
  • Power up drone
  • Discuss with Spotter the flight path and flight plan
  • Power up controller
  • Place ipad on hold and power up
  • Make sure ipad connects to Solo wifi and start app
  • If App requires orientation, then follow steps on the screen
  • For non-manual operation, make sure enough GPS satellites have locked with drone (on screen of controller)
  • Make sure Spotter is ready.
  • Clear the area around drone for take-off
  • Hold button for engine start

 

AFTER FLIGHT

  • Wait until props have completely stopped
  • Power off drone
  • Power off controller
  • Power off ipad
  • Place gimbal foam protector in place
  • Remove props and put in case
  • Place ipad mini into lid
  • Place controller into spot
  • Pull microSD card out of GoPro and download
  • Return card to GoPro
  • Charge drone batteries
  • Charge controller if needed
  • Charge ipad mini if needed

 

It’s important to leave the drone ready to go for the next operator.

corporate video dallas with DJI Osmo

DJI Osmo Review – Great for Corporate Video

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Handheld gimbals are not new anymore, and the release of the DJI Osmo moves the handheld gimbal into the next generation.  Ever since we grabbed our small phantom drone, turned it on, and held on to it, moving around the location to get that “steadicam” effect, it was clear a new market (or call it a new tool for the videographer) was opening up.

Several years ago, we here at SFilms in Dallas purchased a relatively cheap powered gimbal (sold by a US distributor, but clearly made in China).  It required a GoPro, but we used the device constantly in our corporate videos.  It was taken on road tours for a corporate retail client of ours, for internal communications, and we used it on construction sites and other places as well.  And it fell apart.  We had to take screws from one side, to fill in ones lost on the other.  But using the GoPro gave us some flexibility.

Now DJI, maker of the phantom line of drones, has taken the gimbal and camera used on their Inspire drone, and stuck it on a stick.  Although I’ve had a history of disappointment with DJI (five times, their drones have simply fallen from the sky), there’s no where for this handheld gimbal to fall.  So here’s my rundown:

Receiving the DJO OsmoDJI Osmo in packaging

First, I ordered it, and it came with a few senseless accessories.  A selfie stick?  You can’t use that with the gimbal.  A cool pouch… but the gimbal already comes with a form fitting “miniature guitar” case.  So the pouch was unnecessary.  What I quickly learned is that a battery or two would have been an ideal accessory.

After unboxing, I connected it up.  For someone new to DJI’s app, it will be fairly confusing at first.  But I’ve had some experience, so I was able to get it working quickly.  The construction of the gimbal is pretty solid and well made.  The holder for the iphone or whatever you want to use as a monitor is very well designed and thought out.  I use a lot of ipads and iphones etc and I drop them a bunch so I use hard core cases.  That makes it difficult to mount onto things, but this holder is flexible enough to hold the iphone with the Lifeproof case.

The First Gig– Corporate Video Event in Ballroom

 

Then came the first big gig to use it on.  Here’s where I learned a lot.  The gimbal’s battery is a pretty quick burn.  Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to charge, but I jumped online and ordered some backup batteriesDJI Osmo at a corporate video event.  I also ordered an ipod touch.  Using my phone works well, but I was in the middle of text conversations with clients on my phone and using it for the gimbal became problematic.  A cheap ipod will fix that.

The gig was a corporate event inside a ballroom.  I quickly changed settings via my iphone.  The image was slightly better than my GoPro Hero 4.  But, as expected, not as good as the Canon C100 Mark II we were using as well.  I experimented with the slow motion settings as well as the 2.7k and 4k resolutions.

Limitations

Although the Osmo is a great tool for BRoll, it does have some limitations– not great for a quick cold start.  Connecting the app can take crucial seconds when you rea

Osmo tilting

Image from the Osmo with the tilting going on making the image off level.

lly want to grab that handshake the CEO is giving the top sales writer.  You can just start shooting in the blind.  About one out of every five startups, my iphone does not recognize the Osmo’s wifi and I have to restart it.  And the camera lists to port.  I’m guessing this is because the iphone sits on the left side of the stick and so I think I start tilting left.  But reversing it sometimes doesn’t work.  So some of the footage is not level.  And double-clicking the trigger (which centers it) doesn’t have any effect on the level.

It was easy to get used to it because it operates similar to the cheap chinese one I’ve been using.  You rotate one way and the camera follows.  That’s how you drive it.  The thumb switch for manually moving the camera is not a great feature while shooting.  Factory setting is way to fast, so I slowed it down in the settings and use my wrist to turn the stick which will pan the camera smoother than the thumb switch.

Overall

In spite of the limitations, overall I really like it.  It will be a great tool in our arsenal for corporate video production here in Dallas.  If anyone has comments, I’d love to hear them.