A new type of video content creation.
This post is about a brand new digital technology for video called Popcorn. It’s one of a number of technology led efforts to broaden what video is capable of, and in a world where soon 90% of data on the internet will be video, that’s good news for marketers, but first a little context.
My career and IQ, my digital agency started out in the video business. Over the years I’ve seen big changes as we moved from film to HD video, and from expensive post-production to a million dollar edit bay on a laptop. But despite these changes the basics of video creation haven’t changed that much. It’s still a linear experience made out of the combination of visuals and sound. It still a demanding art that takes quality writing, acting, lighting, sound design, animation, and post production, to say nothing of great ideas, to make quality videos.
Now, with the Content Age in full swing and a general mad scramble for video content creation, companies are finding that while they might be able to produce a talking head video of the chairman or an interview with a customer, it still takes experts to make the quality of video that captures the imagination or moves us emotionally. Today companies can go out and spend a couple of thousand dollars on a camera that would’ve cost a fortune a few years ago, they can buy microphones, lights and editing software and be fully equipped for chump change. But in the end it’s still the experience and expertise of the people using the equipment that’s the difference between wonderful and OMG.
Recently we created a new edition of video e-magazine for a client. This time they decided to make the videos themselves. The result was predictably amateur and bland, but considerably less expensive. I suspect this move to in-house production will be a bit of a trend as companies put their toe into the content creation waters. But I also think it’s only a temporary development because, we are all, as video consumers, well versed in what good looks like, and as such I do not expect most brands to be satisfied with their in-house output for long.
Many forces are driving this demand for video, not the least of which is that it’s become incredibly easy and cheap to put high quality video in digital channels. So much so that video has replaced many of the interactive experiences we used to make. This is good and bad. The bad, at least for brands, is that we have moved away from interactive experiences which required the participation of the viewer. Instead of two way experiences we’ve gone back to a one way traditional video experience. Until now……
With the introduction of a new technologies like Popcorn that may have changed. Popcorn is open source technology that allows us to put links, images and even dynamic content into a video stream. That can be as simple as a link to where to buy that sweater you’re looking at, or a photo and email address for an insurance agent in your area. Popcorn essentially turns videos into mini-websites so that when your video travels around the web from person to person and site to site, it has the same capabilities you could have on your home page. The possibilities are as many and varied as the technology is flexible. It can adopt the dynamics of “choose-your-own-adventure” and allow brands to follow viewer preferences and interests, or it can enable the functionality of shopper video without the big platform cost. On first blush it looks like Popcorn is moving video into the digital age with functionality capabilities that could reshape what we think of as video. It’s early days for Popcorn, but it appears we’ve been given a new paint box for video and I can’t wait to see what’s possible.