tv and video have changed almost beyond recognition in the last ten years.
Traditional TVs and broadcasters are becoming less and less relevant for video marketers. We’ve gone from DVD players, USB drives, and cathode ray screens to Netflix, tablets, smartphones and video- equipped drones. Mobile devices are by far the preferred method for consuming video content and Reuters predicts that by next year, 70% of all mobile traffic will be video traffic.
What’s driving all this innovation? Where are we heading? And what’s happening in Hawke’s Bay?
I thought I would ask Indelible to explain it all to me. They have been Hawke’s Bay’s go-to guys for high-end video production since the company began in 2009.
Cameraman Dan Browne and director Mark Radley met while subcontracting on the same job and thought “Why don’t we join forces and form a video production company?” And Indelible was born.
Despite sharing a love of their craft, they are very different characters. Mark came to Hawke’s Bay from the UK ten years ago, after cutting his teeth directing television commercials for big brands like Hyundai, Gillette, and Barclays Bank. Dan is a lot younger than Mark, and is happier to be the face of Indelible. Anyone who has seen his Beyoncé Christmas video knows that he enjoys being in front of the camera.
At the time of Indelible’s inception, the idea of a specialist video production company in Hawke’s Bay seemed far- fetched. Video production agencies are usually based in the main centres, and no one thought that a smaller region like Hawke’s Bay would be able sustain an agency like Indelible.
But Dan and Mark were certain there was potential here in the Bay. They could see that video was becoming more and more accepted as a way for organisations to market themselves, and were confident that the business community had enough need to make it viable. Mark says, “There are so many great companies here and
they lend themselves to video. Think about all the wineries and exporters, for example”. And Hawke’s Bay has obvious geographical advantages. “We hardly ever lose a day’s filming to bad weather here.”
Technology has evolved extremely rapidly in the video industry, both in terms of the way we consume content, and the way in which it is created and distributed. It seems incredible to think that, when Indelible started in 2009, YouTube was not really being used for commercial video. And when they created a video for a client, it was burnt onto a DVD or loaded on a USB stick.
Most of what they produce now are short promotional films for companies and organisations. Generally the length of video hosted on a website is 90 seconds. This seems to be the industry standard, but the length varies dramatically for each audience and the platform on which it is published. The most important determinant is the attention span of the viewer. Videos hosted on YouTube can be as long as four minutes, whereas on social networks like Facebook, they are seldom longer than 15 seconds.
The rise of the smartphone and highspeed Internet has made video absolutely crucial for marketing, but the focus is shifting away from the old-fashioned broadcast TV style of advertisement to a more nuanced style based on storytelling designed to be distributed online, via platforms like YouTube. Mark and Dan call this type of distribution “over-the-top” and are convinced it will become the dominant format for video content, as viewing patterns change from scheduled “appointment-style” broadcast (think of the 6pm news) and viewers choose to watch content at a time of their choosing.
A project they are working on at the moment is to produce concept over-the- top videos, and post them on video sites and social media to attract the attention of their ideal clients. This appears to be working, securing them a deal with a government ministry.
I ask the guys about drones. A drone with a camera attached must be pretty exciting for a video company. Imagine all the cool stuff you could film with a drone! But for Mark and Dan, drones are old hat. Everyone has them now. You can buy a GoPro drone for only $1,200. In fact, drones can be a bit of a pain. There are huge areas where you’re simply not allowed to fly any more, and it can be a bureaucratic nightmare to get permission to overfly these areas.
For these reasons Indelible outsource their drone work to Tim Whittaker, a local pilot who has CAA drone certification, which means he can gain access to restricted areas much more easily and quickly. Only a handful of operators in New Zealand have CAA certification, so working with Tim gives Indelible a huge advantage.
The technology that gets these guys excited is the emergence of 360° video, immersive content, and the film geek’s nirvana, full virtual reality (VR). To show me what’s possible, Dan insists I try on a Samsung Gear VR headset. I am suddenly transported from a Napier office to a giant cave. I’m on a rollercoaster and it is slowly clanking its way uphill. “You might want to sit down when you’re doing that,” Mark warns. The feeling of immersion is overwhelming. Then the rollercoaster heads downhill and everything starts to speed up. It gets faster and faster and I start to feel nervous. I yank the headset off when the rollercoaster goes over a cliff!
But these are not just toys. Indelible have recently invested in a 360° video camera and are already making extensive use of it. A recent shoot for Gemco included a 360° immersive tour of Napier’s MTG building.
Technology is a huge part of what Indelible does, but first and foremost, they are storytellers. The company now has seven employees and Mark’s ultimate goal for Indelible is to produce its own internal content rather than content commissioned by clients. And Dan wants to create amazing micro-documentaries and shows like Broadchurch and Luther: “beautiful, emotive videos”.
With the success they have had so far and the obvious talent on show, it seems like they might have a decent chance of succeeding.
Matt Miller co-owns web company Mogul Limited, based in Havelock North, but serving clients around the world, including BayBuzz. His beat for BayBuzz is online trends and best practice