Just because!

DCM hopes its £200 million investment in technology will revolutionise cinema advertising. David Benady reports.

Brands need persuading that, in a world of pro­liferating, mostly hand-held screens, the oldest and biggest of them all is still a powerful platform for their ads.

Cinema offers advertisers the benefits of a wrap-around, immersive experience, but some still see it as an expensive and clunky, slow-build medium, best left to high-end brands that can spend heavily on top-drawer creative.

Digital Cinema Media, the sales house that handles 80 per cent of the medium’s UK advertising, has attempted to drag it into the modern age, spending £200 million on the introduction of digital technology across its estate. This has been a long time coming.

Last week, DCM staged its first-ever “upfronts” event, inviting agencies and brands to Bafta in London’s Piccadilly to review the opportunities offered by the new technology and to showcase upcoming movie releases for 2014.

The approach is more commonly associated with TV and is a purposeful repositioning, according to Simon Rees, the chief executive of DCM, who says that the digital revolution has transformed cinema advertising. Production costs and lead times have been slashed, and it now possible to book ads, which once required at least a month to turn around, in less than a week. Brands can also more accurately target audiences according to demographics and specific locations, it is claimed.

 So, for instance, retailers with outlets near a cinema can now run ads targeting key audiences, encouraging them to visit their stores after the film. “Cinema is the most dynamic way to express content, though the advertising has been formulaic and static over the past 50 years. But digital has changed that,” Rees says. “This allows advertisers to engage in cinema in a modern way, which is as flexible as any other medium.”

Carat’s head of cinema, Dilshan Swaris, claims some brands worry their ads might not hold up on the big screen, particularly when compared with the spectacular visuals provided by many films. He believes it is up to creatives to ensure their ads are up to scratch and to leverage drops in production costs. Equally, it is up to DCM to do more to prove that the high cost of reaching cinema audiences, which are ageing in profile, is worth it in the first place.


Dec 10
Cinema makes a play for brands after digital reboot

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned a beer ad for the Coalition of UK Brewers after finding it broke the rules by implying alcohol made people popular and was important for social success.

The Youth Alcohol Advertising Council complained that the ad – created by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R and given the green light by Clearcast before it aired – implied that alcohol made people popular or confident, was a key component of social success, could overcome problems and changed people’s mood or behaviour.

http://www.brandrepublic.com/news/1223719/let-beer-ad-banned-breaking-alcohol-rules/     Follow the link to see the ad…what’s your view on the matter? 

Dec 9
'Let There Be Beer' ad banned for breaking alcohol rules

Sex sells – but only to men, not women, according to a study from The Carlson School which advises marketers targeting women to only to use sexual imagery in the context of a relationship in their ads. 

The study by marketing professors Darren W. Dahl, Jaideep Sengupta and Kathleen D. Vohs consisted of four experiments examining the differences between men and women’s attitudes towards the gratuitous use of sex in advertising.

They showed participants four different wristwatch ads, some with sexual imagery, some set at a mountain range. Some ads priced the watch at $10 (£6.12) and others $1,250 (£764.43).

Women who saw the ad combining the $10 watch and sexual imagery reported anger, disgust and upset on seeing the spot but their reactions were less severe on seeing the expensive item. Men’s reactions did not change regardless of the price.

The negative reactions from women in the study when exposed to sexual ads could explain why ads containing sexual imagery for relatively cheap products – such as Richmond Ham – racked up more complaints than a spot like Keira Knightley’s Chanel ad.

The experiments found women’s spontaneous dislike of sexual ads softened when the ad could be interpreted in terms of commitment-related resources being offered by men to women, while men’s positive attitudes towards sexual ads were “relatively unaffected” by the inclusion of relationship commitment cues.

In order to appeal to women marketers using sexual images in their ads should, therefore, display sex in the broader context of a committed relationship, rather than promoting recreational sex, according to the authors of the study. They linked the findings back to the sexual economics psychological theory, which infers men see sex as an end in itself, while women link sex to a relationship commitment.

The ad could, for example, position the product itself as a signal of commitment – such as a romantic gift from a man to a women (although there was no improvement in attitude if the gift was offered by a woman to a man) - or show the idea of intimacy or a relationship prior to any sexual image being shown.

Men’s attitudes towards explicit depictions of sex in advertising will not improve by associating the sexual image in the ad with a relationship commitment, however. Indeed, men in the experiment reacted negatively to sexually explicit ads that reminded them they may at times need to spend money in pursuit of sex.

Dec 6
Sex sells – but only to men, study finds

A good online user experience is effective when it is part of a connected and consistently good customer experience across the board, and only then will it help to create the success demonstrated by online retailers such as Made.com and ASOS.

Alice Forward, user experience director at digital agency AnalogFolk London highlights the key principles of creating such an online experience with the following 5 points:

1 - Make sure the experience meets users’ online expectations

When I made my purchase on Fab.com I assumed delivery would be quick, because that is what, as a prolific online shopper, I am used to. Creating an online retail experience that fails to deliver against user expectations particularly around delivery and payment options will ultimately lead to them leaving your site and going elsewhere.

2 - Use the online experience to clearly set expectations

Online shoppers are task-focused. They will pay close attention to the information you provide on your site and this creates an ideal opportunity to send really targeted messages. Use this to set clear expectations about your offering and your customer experience. Don’t hide key information – even if it is something you’d rather not draw too much attention to, this just leads to frustration and lost repeat visits.

3 - Make sure the experience across channels is connected

There is nothing more frustrating than making an online purchase and subsequently being informed two days later that the purchased item is not available because the online stock information is not in sync with real world stock. It is becoming increasingly important to have consistent experiences across channels and unless you can enable this you need to consider how to best manage the situation, perhaps by using clear communications within your online experience. Don’t just cross your fingers and hope for the best.

4 - Use online to keep communication channels open and responsive

Use your digital experience to keep your customers regularly informed of what is happening offline. My experience of Fab might have resulted in a different outcome if there had been clear communication along the extended delivery time.  Don’t assume your customers have read the small print or remember their purchase details and don’t be afraid to give them regular updates on what is happening with their order.

5 - Don’t over-promise online and under-deliver offline or vice versa

Having a great experience with a brand online and a terrible experience with the same brand offline can be more detrimental then a consistently average experience, and ultimately lead to lost customers. Don’t make a promise for “Smiles Guaranteed” online if your overall customer experience can’t deliver it.

Dec 5
Five actions online brands can take to avoid offline disappointment

What’s you view on Mark Ritson’s (PPA Columnist) three biggest themes of the year? The following are the three which have drawn the most comments and been heavily shared throughout the last 12 months.image

1.) Traditional media still matters so don’t lose your heads over digital

TV, if the reports are to be believed, is on its last legs as a marketing medium. Google chief executive Eric Schmidt brazenly claimed that YouTube had taken over traditional TV viewing. Although his comments made for great headlines, it just wasn’t true.

Traditional TV remains the dominant activity for most viewers and, according to PwC, it will continue to dwarf online TV ad revenues to the tune of £50bn versus less than £4bn as far off as 2017.

2.) Don’t be afraid to kill the weak (brands)

Tesco’s former CEO Terry Leahy is unashamedly proud of the supermarket’s dominating force on high streets, pointing out that its success is a triumph of capitalism, or, as he put it: “You don’t want a society that prevents the [brand] that’s good at getting more customers and doing well.”

Capitalism rests on simple, predatory logic – weak brands must die and strong brands must kill them. Only then will the consumer be served and the market improve or, to use Leahy’s term, progress.

3.) Create an open innovation culture

A great example of this was Coke’s innovative  ‘Small World Machine’ strategy. Back in March, Coca-Cola installed hi-tech vending machines in a pair of shopping malls: one in New Delhi, India and the other in Lahore, Pakistan. These so-called Small World Machines linked strangers from the divided nations in the hope of promoting cultural understanding and connection via a Coke vending machine. It may sound twee and slightly idealistic but the video of the activity is that rarest of things, a genuinely moving marketing moment.

Follow the link to read the full article: 

Dec 4
Be a killer, a creator and think traditional

Social media analyst Starcount looks at the world’s most popular brands on social media in November.

Facebook has been crowned top social brand for November, adding almost 10m new fans on its own platform, and knocking last month’s leader National Geographic into second place.

The biggest entry in the top five comes from Playboy, which celebrated its 60th anniversary with a cover shoot featuring model Kate Moss. Walt Disney continued its strong performance by holding on to third place.

Dec 3
Top 10 social brands: Playboy’s Kate Moss cover proves a hit
Dec 3

Brands must be wary of sticking to standard TV ad formats as people tend to switch off from them, according to AOL’s Be.On planning director Mads Holmen.

Speaking at the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) video conference Holmen said people can easily recognise the “standard TV ad recipe”, with the result that they suffer from the same fate as online ads and “banner blindness”.

He agreed with fellow speaker Derek Scrobie, head of brand propositions at YouTube, who said brands must rid themselves of TV ad mentality when approaching their online video strategies.

“Brands need to hear that. It’s about authenticity and playing to the tune of the platform rather than against it, and being native so being and living within the environment,” he said.

Yet most brands have a way to go before they can boast a truly successful YouTube strategy, according to Holmen. He cited a Pixability study which monitored the top 100 Interbrand brands’ YouTube strategies.

More than half of them never achieved more than 10,000 views, and 0.6 per cent of them achieve over one million views, according to the study.

“That includes brands like Nike and Red Bull, I think the real number is actually a lot less than that – I think the average is actually 0.3 per cent on YouTube and that includes the likes of Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga,” he said.

Meanwhile he said there is a lot of confusion online still when it comes to measurement and what marks a successful campaign. He referenced a Kia TV ad, which was distributed online and received a decent amount of “social actions” on Twitter and Facebook, but was judged by TV-type criteria which put it at a disadvantage.

“This was a piece of creative that was meant more for programmatic buying than for being content but it is being measured on how many views it got as content. That’s an example of the confusion that we see online. People have set KPIs like views but they don’t really know what they mean,” he said. The biggest challenge for brands launching big video campaigns is ensuring all their internal teams are coordinating, according to Holmen.

"Most big brands have the whole tool box - they have social teams, PR and internal comms, but getting them to play together and in tune can be extremely difficult. The biggest challenge for big brands today is to orchestrate that process," he added.

AOL was the exclusive distribution partner for Volvo’s Jean Claude Van Damme ad campaign, which has since clocked up more than 50 million views on YouTube since it launched.

Dec 2
Standard TV ads are susceptible to same “banner blindness” as online ads, says AOL’s Be.On planning director
Dec 2

Brands “lack confidence” when it comes to embracing online video content creation and are therefore failing to grasp the creative potential of YouTube, according to the video platform’s head of brand propositions Derek Scrobie.

Speaking at the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) video conference in London Scrobie said brands must break free of the 30-second TV ad mindset when it comes to online video or risk mediocre results to their YouTube activity.

“It’s strange that brands lack confidence around content because in the last 10 years they have managed to excite us about products – like shampoo – that we really shouldn’t have been excited about. But they have been constrained by the existing formats,” he said alluding to the 30-second TV spot.

He called for brands to move away from the mentality of simply using online platforms like YouTube as a distribution vehicle for TV assets. “Brands tend to think ‘it looks like TV so let’s treat it like that’…

“Most brands just use YouTube to distribute their TV ads, that does create some value, but it doesn’t really maximise the creative canvas that is the platform,” he said.

He urged brands to “go native” and become creators of content rather than just distributors of advertising, and work with popular, established YouTube talent.

“The reality is for everything brands and advertisers tend to do there is someone on YouTube doing it better,” he said.

Brands should collaborate more with YouTube stars who have already built up existing subscriber bases on the platform, rather than attempting to launch with zero views and build from there, according to Scrobie.

Yet to fully embrace the opportunities in the branded content space, brands must relinquish the need to be in control, and work openly and collaboratively with YouTube talent to ensure they don’t alienate the existing subscribers.

He cited Kellogg’s’ YouTube campaign for its Krave brand as a good example, where the brand worked with YouTube star JacksGap which had an existing 2.3 million-strong subscriber base.

“Kellogg’s let the creators express the Krave challenge in their own way, so it would accepted by their audience. Brands can get a leg up by going to already receptive, scaled audiences and take some of the guess work out of winning on YouTube,” he said.

Nov 29
Brands “lack confidence” in content creation and must drop TV ad mindset, says YouTube brand propositions chief
May 9


Apr 23

Alex Phillips - Always (by alexphillipsmusic)

Apr 21

VIDEO: Kine Hjeldnes - Father (Axel Kacoutié Remix) (by Axel Kacoutié)

Apr 15

My interpretation of https://soundcloud.com/kinehjeldnes song “Father”. Long overdue. Hope you like it!

Top Ten Digital Video Tips

by Derrick Story

Unless the guy next door happens to be Steven Soderbergh, you’ll probably have a hard time getting good advice about how to master your DV camcorder. Yes, you can pore over every dryly composed paragraph in your multilanguage owner’s manual, but chances are, all that will improve is your French.

To save you from this agonizing peril, as well as sparing those who patiently watch your videos, I’ve put together a collection of DV essentials in my new Digital Video Pocket Guide. It fits nicely in your camera bag, ready to assist you whenever you want to bone up on camcorder components or movie-making procedures, and best of all, its professional tips will instantly elevate your productions above those of your camcorder-toting peers.

Just in case your pocket guide hasn’t arrived yet from Amazon.com, I’ve assembled my top ten list of DV tips to keep you occupied until the UPS package arrives. Apply one or more of these tips to your movie making, and I guarantee you’ll be rewarded with terrific results.

So, lights, camera, and action!

Tip 1: Limit Your Light Sources

Your eyes and brain can quickly adapt to mixed lighting situations — such as tungsten, daylight, and fluorescent — but your camcorder has a much more difficult time. fluorescent lights often cause a greenish cast, while tungsten makes things orangish; even good ol’ daylight can color your scene blue if you’re in the shade or next to an open window.

How the heck do you deal with all of that?

The best solution is to try to limit your light sources, and then use your camcorder’swhite balance setting adjust for the dominate light source. So if you’re indoors with lots of light streaming in the windows and bright fluorescents overhead, then either turn off the fluorescents and balance for the daylight, or pull down the window shades and adjust for the overhead lighting.

Once you start thinking about mixed lighting sources, you can take steps to avoid those situations. When you can’t, try to limit the different types of illumination and adjust your white balance accordingly.

Digital Video Pocket Guide

Tip 2: Shade Your Lens

Nothing will deteriorate image quality faster than sunlight shining directly on to the front of your lens. To give you a comparable example, you know how it feels when you walk out of a darkened movie theater into direct sunlight? Everything looks sort of washed out and icky. That can happen to your camcorder too, if you don’t take steps to protect its “eyes.”

The best bet for preventing lens flare is a custom lens hood designed by your camera manufacturer. If your camcorder doesn’t accept a lens hood, then you can use your hand to block the harmful rays of the sun. But that can be awkward if you’re taping without a tripod.

Using a flare buster.
If your camcorder doesn’t accept a custom lens hood, consider using a flare buster, as displayed here mounted on an UltraPod. In use, the flexible arm attaches to your camcorder’s accessory shoe.

Another solution is to use what is known as a flare buster, which is an adjustable lens shade attached to a flexible arm that’s mounted in your digicam’s accessory shoe. Not only will it help you reduce flare, it can be used to attach filters, reflectors, and hold small objects for close-up taping.

Tip 3: Battle Backlighting

One of the most common mistakes in amateur videomaking is capturing footage of a backlit subject. Often this happens while panning, when a brightly lit background enters the frame. Everything in the foreground suddenly turns dark as the camcorder’s metering system measures the bright sky or light streaming in through an open window.

There are three basic ways to combat backlighting:

Reflectors and video lights are helpful in backlit situations when you want to add light to the subject to help offset the strong background illumination.

Backlighting with subject underexposed.
Backlighting with subject properly exposed.
Watch out for backlighting! In the top figure, the camcorder set its exposure according to the light coming in the window, which underexposed the subject being interviewed. In the bottom figure, exposure was locked in on the background, but light was added to the underexposed subject to balance the overexposure.

If you don’t need to preserve the background information and only want your subject properly exposed, locate your camcorder’s exposure compensation control and set it to “+1” or “+1.5”. Another trick is to meter directly off of the subject then use exposure lock to preserve that setting, regardless of changes in background lighting.

Above all, learn how to identify backlit situations. Avoid them if you can, and if you can’t, use the solution that works best for the situation.

Tip 4: Black Your Tape

Timecode is the language of video. It’s the system your camera uses to assign a unique number to every frame you shoot, enabling you to accurately log your scenes and find them later without burning out your camcorder’s drive mechanism shuttling back and forth in search of that elusive magic moment. Clean timecode is also required by many video-editing applications for batch processing. Even if the application you’re using now doesn’t need clean code, as is the case with Apple’s iMovie, another (such as Adobe Premiere) might.

The best way to maintain timecode is to make sure you never start recording when your LCD monitor is displaying a blue screen (some camcorders show black instead). If you were to start taping with a blue screen, then your timecode would start from zero, even though you’re somewhere in the middle of the tape. That’s what we call “broken timecode.” What you want instead is continuous footage without any blue screen breaks. That way, a timecode number will be assigned to every frame.

Because unbroken timecode is of vital importance, sometimes pro videographers willblack the tape before they go out on location. They simply load a brand-new blank tape into the camcorder, put the lens cap on, mute the sound, press the record button, and let the tape roll for its duration. Now timecode has been established for every second on that cassette. No more blue screens! Then they simply rewind the tape, label it, and they’re ready for assignment. No matter what happens during the excitement of shooting, the timecode will remain unbroken.

Tip 5: Limit Your Dependency on the Built-in Mic

Whenever possible, use an external microphone, either wireless or with a cord, to capture the audio during taping. Resist the urge to go the easy route and use your onboard mic. Not only is it of less quality than a good external microphone, it will also pick up noise from the camcorder’s drive mechanism.

Using an external mic.
Yes, sometimes you have to use the built-in mic on your camcorder. But when you can, use an external wireless or handheld model such as the one shown here.

If a wireless or handheld mic is impractical for a given situation, put a microphone in the camera’s accessory shoe to record sound. Most camcorder manufacturers provide accessory mics for this purpose. The sound might not be as good as a lapel mic for an interview or an external mic on a boom for dialogue, but the audio will be superior to the sound recorded by the on-camera mic that is picking up the grind of the camcorder motors.

Tip 6: Use a Monopod

When you think about shooting video, most likely you’re thinking about recording motion — capturing someone or something moving. Of course! You’re not going to make a movie of a flower arrangement sitting in a vase. So, if recording motion is the essence of video, why do so many home movies make viewers queasy?

The problem is that many DV enthusiasts don’t understand how to “hold the shot.” In other words, it’s the subjects who are supposed to be moving, not the camera.

This error is particularly common in “action” videography, where the cameraman is handholding the camcorder and trying to follow the play at an event such as a soccer game. Obviously you have to move the camera some, or you’ll never record any of the play on the field. But it’s how you move the camcorder that’s important.

Most professionals mount their camera on a tripod for this type of assignment. There is no better way to steady a camcorder than to secure it to a rock-solid tripod with a fluid head. But that probably won’t be practical for much of the shooting you do. In the real world, people are already schlepping way too much stuff, and a bulky tripod could be the straw that breaks daddy’s back.

The common sense answer is a simple, compact, and very effective accessory called amonopod. Essentially, it’s a one-legged tripod. Even though they are extremely compact and easy to transport, monopods are an excellent tool to help you properly hold your shots. Your footage will improve immediately.

And when you’re finished shooting, you have a stylish one-legged walking stick to accompany you as you stroll off into the sunset … instead of lugging a three-legged albatross over your shoulder.

Tip 7: Take Advantage of Low-cost Illumination

Powerful video lights on light stands are great for indoor training tapes when you’re close to an electrical outlet, but they’re not much good for interviews in the great outdoors. And those horrid little video lights are sometimes necessary in a pinch, but they can drain your battery faster than forgotten car headlights at winter twilight.

So when Mother Nature is kind enough to provide the juice, why not take advantage of her hospitality and use reflectors to illuminate your subject? You can purchase collapsiblelite discs at just about any camera store, and they can be handheld or mounted on a stand.

Lite disc not reflecting.
Lite disc reflecting.
Portable folding reflectors, often called lite discs, help you quickly redirect light both inside and out. In the top photo, the subject is displaying the lite disc, but no light is being redirected. In the bottom image, you can see a noticeable difference in the model’s clothing and skin tones, due to the reflected light.

If your movie project is already running way over budget, go to the office supply store instead and by a couple sheets of sturdy white cardboard or foam core. They don’t fold up nice and neat like the collapsible discs, but they reflect light just as well.

Tip 8: Soften Those Backgrounds by Fooling Your Camcorder

Have you ever wondered how to “soften” a busy background so it won’t distract viewers from your primary subject? In still photography, you simply switch to “aperture priority” mode and change the f-stop. The problem in videography is that you can’t mess with the corresponding shutter speed like you can when using a digital still camera.

So what’s the answer? Fool your camcorder into opening up its aperture (without messing with the shutter speed) by adding a neutral density filter. These filters are available in a range of densities, usually one to four f-stops. The darker the filter, the wider the aperture and the softer the background.

If you don’t want to trudge down to the local camera store to buy yet another accessory that I’ve said you just can’t live without, then a polarizing filter will work too. Polarizers usually have a density of two stops.

Tip 9: Get to Know Your Hardware Store

Pro-caliber lighting units, light stands, backdrop supports, and utility clamps can end up costing you more than your high-tech DV camcorder. Before you max out your credit card at the Video Boutique, catch a ride to your local hardware store and make friends with the customer service staff.

You can load up your cart with shop lights, PVC pipe, and wood clamps for about half the price of what they would cost you from a video specialist.

Tip 10: Go to the Movies and Watch Television

The cheapest pro filmmaking course you can take is to park yourself in front of the television and observe how the big guys shoot a scene. Once you start to analyze the work of others, you’ll see that good movie making is often quite fundamental — strong lighting, clear audio, and simple cuts between scenes.

Take notice of how long scenes last, where the camera (or cameras) are positioned, the types of transitions used (if any), and how the director has composed the shot. Have a pad and pen handy while you watch so you can make notes on how steal techniques from the best in the business.

Final Thoughts

Like so many things in life, the daunting task of recording a training video or capturing a birthday party becomes much easier once you know the secrets. There are still lots more tricks to learn, but these ten tips will put your videos on the road to success and you on the path to inspiring the envy of family, friends, and peers.

Apr 13
Top Ten Digital Video Tips