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How Snapchat Built a Business By Confusing Olds
"Snapchat, which was most recently valued at $16 billion, doesn’t look or feel like any normal form of communication. Open the app, and you’re confronted by a full-screen viewfinder that looks a lot like your phone’s regular camera app. Mysterious abstract icons hover in corners. Swiping right reveals your messages. This is where committed users send hundreds of selfies a day to their friends, annotating them with emojis or doodles, or applying one of Snapchat’s constantly changing collection of rainbow-vomit-type filters.

Swiping left gets you to the meat of the app: stories. These are short video clips that run in a series and disappear within 24 hours. You, your friends, and people you follow, like DJ Khaled, can post. The upper half of the screen is devoted to variations on stories: the day’s Snapchat-produced Live Stories, as well as Snapchat Discover. There are 20 Snapchat Discover channels, each produced by established media brands such as People, CNN, ESPN, and the Wall Street Journal, as well as up-and-comers such as Vice, BuzzFeed, and Refinery29. Coles’s Cosmo channel is on Discover, as is Sweet, a publication run by the magazine’s parent company, Hearst.

Discover partners generally post 10 or more videos a day on its channels. App users can tap a channel icon to start watching the stream, and tap again to skip to the next clip. Or, if they’re intrigued by a clip, they can swipe up to watch a longer version or read an article. No matter how they tap or swipe, users stay in the app. Links to the Web aren’t allowed. Publishers love not having to compete with a steady stream of links from other publishers, as on Facebook or Twitter, and advertisers love that users actually seem to watch the ads. Since last year, Snapchat has broadened its advertiser base by introducing less-expensive products. Today, buying time on Discover costs $20 per thousand views—more than twice what an ad goes for on Facebook and Instagram. The proceeds are split between Snapchat and its media partners.

The number of Discover slots is limited—right now it’s just the 20 that fit on one Snapchat screen—and competition among media brands is fierce. In July, Snapchat dropped Yahoo! even though Spiegel had personally recruited Katie Couric, Yahoo’s lead news anchor. BuzzFeed got that slot. Snapchat declines to explain why it bounced Yahoo, but traffic to the channel was reportedly poor. Shortly after replacing Yahoo on Discover, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti disclosed that 21 percent of his company’s overall audience came from Snapchat, a share exceeded only by Facebook and BuzzFeed’s own website and apps.

For less-established companies, getting a Discover slot can be transformative. “That was a dramatic moment in the life of our company,” says Steven Kydd, a co-founder of Tastemade, a four-year-old media startup focused on food and travel videos. Since joining Discover in August, Tastemade has added 20 employees, raised an extra $40 million in venture capital, and reoriented itself around Snapchat. Tastemade started out producing videos primarily for YouTube, then expanded to Facebook, Instagram, and Apple TV. To be eligible for Snapchat’s Discover feature, not only did Tastemade have to produce even more videos, it also needed them to work on a smartphone screen, which is more complicated than it sounds. “This,” Kydd says, pointing at a TV mounted vertically on the wall in Tastemade’s studio in Los Angeles, “is how millennials view content.”

The company built a set, specifically designed for vertical videos, that’s roughly 15 percent skinnier than a standard set and has cameras turned on their sides. Tastemade still has to fill up the other platforms, so it shoots the rest of its videos horizontally on high-resolution cameras, while keeping the action in the middle third of the screen so the footage can also run on Snapchat. TV monitors in the studio are marked with black tape that shows the Snapchat version’s frame. Afterward, segments are edited into multiple cuts: vertical for Snapchat, square for Instagram and Facebook, horizontal for YouTube and Apple TV. “Everything in the industry is designed around landscape video, so to do portrait you kind of have to hack the process,” says Jay Holzer, Tastemade’s head of production."



"History suggests that cookie-based media, and Snapchat in general, may be a fad. In 2013, several viral video companies thrived, thanks to a knack for being able to rank highly in Facebook’s News Feed by using teasing headlines. For a time, it worked; Upworthy, for example, saw traffic hit nearly 90 million unique users. But Facebook changed its News Feed, consumers tired of the click bait, and traffic sank. “Facebook changed and we adapted,” says Upworthy co-CEO Peter Koechley.

Before he helped start Tastemade, Kydd was an executive vice president of Demand Media, which ran content farms, websites that cranked out posts by the thousands on a daily basis. Posts had little informational value—for instance, “How to Put on a Speedo” was a classic—but they generated huge traffic, and ad revenue, by exploiting a quirk in the way Google handled search queries. The company went public in 2011 and peaked at a valuation of roughly $2 billion—at the time, about 25 percent more than that of the New York Times. Then Google updated its algorithm, and Demand Media’s traffic collapsed. Today its market capitalization is roughly $100 million, and it has a new management team. Kydd notes that Tastemade has always focused on high-quality content.

In late February, Snapchat announced it would provide detailed demographic information about users through Nielsen’s digital ratings service, a welcome development for some advertisers wary of the hype. “Snapchat is awfully expensive, and there’s pretty much a lack of data and visibility,” says Thom Gruhler, a marketing vice president at Microsoft. Another complaint: Meetings with Snapchat executives are rare. “Whether it’s Imran [Khan, Snapchat’s chief strategy officer] or Evan, it’s like getting an audience with the pope,” says an executive at one of the largest ad agencies. With Facebook and Twitter, the big agencies get as many meetings as they want.

Snapchat declined to comment on this critique, but it has informed media buyers that it plans to improve ad targeting and measuring while promising a more hands-on approach. And in February it struck a deal to allow Viacom to sell ads on Snapchat’s behalf. “They’re in the midst of growing up,” says Carrie Seifer, president for digital at Starcom MediaVest Group.

For now, that’s been enough. Advertisers don’t have a lot of good options to reach under-30s. The audiences of CBS, NBC, and ABC are, on average, in their 50s. Cable networks such as CNN and Fox News have it worse, with median viewerships near or past Social Security age. MTV’s median viewers are in their early 20s, but ratings have dropped in recent years. Marketers are understandably anxious, and Spiegel and his deputies have capitalized on those anxieties brilliantly by charging hundreds of thousands of dollars when Snapchat introduces an ad product. OMD’s Winkler calls this a “shrewd strategy” that “instantly elevates the conversation—often to the CMO level,” which means that Snapchat ad buys are often subject to less budgetary scrutiny than normal. “Every CMO’s kid is using it,” says Starcom’s Seifer."
snapchat  2016  genertions  age  video  mobile  television  tv  tastemade  verticalvideo  portraitvideo 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Vertical video is becoming more popular, but there’s no consensus on the best way to make it » Nieman Journalism Lab
"Some outlets are turning their cameras sideways. Others are cropping horizontally shot video to fit a vertical screen."



"Hiking through the hills above Otta, Norway, a town of 1,700 about a four-hour drive north of Oslo, a team from the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK realized it would have to take a new approach to filming the vistas for the interactive documentary it was creating.

As part of a company-wide effort to improve mobile strategy, the documentary — which focused on how Otta was adapting to a refugee center that opened in a shuttered hotel — was filmed vertically, using a camera rotated 90 degrees to the side. Staffers built a special grip to hold the camera steadily sideways.

“When you go up to the Norwegian mountains, it’s really beautiful, and you’re used to seeing the landscape in horizontal mode,” NRK’s Kim Jansson, who led the project, told me.

“You need to adjust your way of thinking. ‘OK, we need to cut off the left and right sides, what can we do to make it work vertically?’ We used trees to make people see how tall things are: How big the mountains are, how tall the buildings are,” he said. “You can get a different perspective. You just have to change your mind a little bit to see the opportunities that you don’t have when you’re filming horizontally.”

As mobile consumption continues to grow, news outlets — especially those publishing on Snapchat Discover — are turning to vertical video, a format that was once widely derided, to optimize their content for viewing on phones.

According to analyst Mary Meeker, users use vertically oriented devices nearly 30 percent of the time, up from just 5 percent in 2010. And more than 7 billion videos are viewed each day on Snapchat, which is specifically designed for vertical consumption.

But even as outlets ranging from National Geographic to Mashable and Vox create vertical videos, there’s no consensus on the best way to actually produce them. Some organizations, such as NRK, decided to rotate their cameras and film vertically, while others have decided to shoot the traditional horizontal way and then adapt the footage to fit a vertical screen."



"Mashable has decided its best bet is to just film horizontally. In its early days on Snapchat Discover, Mashable tried filming vertically by using a phone camera and by flipping a DSLR camera sideways. Later, it decided to shoot all its videos on a camera that’s oriented horizontally, said Mashable creative director Jeff Petriello.

“In terms of quality, and for the content to live on in as many forms as possible, shooting it on at least a 4K camera horizontal has proven to be the most efficient,” he said.

Petriello estimated that only a third of the vertical content Mashable creates actually requires a camera. The rest is created through animation and design using programs such as Adobe After Effects.

Vox also predominantly uses animations for its Snapchat Discover channel, and Yvonne Leow, Vox’s senior Snapchat editor, said there’s been “a bit of a learning curve” as Vox’s designers figured out the best ways to create graphics or other visualizations for a vertical screen.

When it does use live video on Snapchat Discover, Vox shoots horizontally. If Vox is shooting an in-studio interview, the videographer will frame the subject in the center of the frame so the video can be easily readjusted to a vertical orientation.

Vox also lays graphics over its interviews, and by using a center-focused shot, it’s able to adapt the graphics to the orientation of the final version.

The New York Times took this approach last year when it produced a video about the collaboration by Justin Bieber, Skrillex, and Diplo. It produced three different versions of the video — a 16:9 ratio for its own player and YouTube, 3:4 for tablets, and 9:16 for a vertical orientation on phones — and adjusted the graphics for each view.

Figuring out the best way to present vertical video on screens that aren’t phones can take a little ingenuity.

Mashable has published a handful of vertical videos outside of Snapchat Discover, and when they’re viewed on desktop, those videos are embedded in the left-hand column of a story.

For its interactive about the refugees, NRK, the Norwegian broadcaster, showed large quotes next to the vertical video when it was viewed on desktop.

But NRK estimated that 66 percent of viewers watched the videos on mobile, and the interactive was one of NRK’s most-consumed stories of 2015, even though it wasn’t published until the last week of December.

Jansson’s team is heading back into the field this month to begin its next vertical documentary. This time, they’ll try to add more motion into the video.

“There wasn’t a lot happening in the videos last time around,” he said. “We’re going to see if it’s possible to make that work a little bit better this time. But we’re going to do more or less the same thing. We’ve only done this once through, and we need more practice.”"
video  verticalvideo  portraitvideo  mobile  mobilefirst  2016  josephlichterman  snapchat  vox  mashable  nytimes  nationalgeographic  smartphones 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Horizon - Horizontal Video Photo Recorder with 2K Resolution, Slow Motion, Filters, Sharing, Tilt to Zoom on the App Store on iTunes
"Horizon lets you record horizontal videos and photos no matter how you hold your device. Hold it upright, sideways or even keep rotating it while capturing, your captured moment will always stay horizontal! You can add filters, shoot with the back or front camera and share your creations!

Ever felt you had to rotate your device while recording a video? Do you often end up with vertical videos or videos in wrong orientation? Enter Horizon!

Horizon works like magic! It auto-levels your photos and videos while recording, using your device’s gyroscope. The resulting orientation is corrected so that it always stays parallel to the ground.

With Horizon you can help bring an end to the Vertical Videos Syndrome. Yes, you can now record horizontal videos, while holding your device in portrait mode!"
ios  ios7  cameras  photography  applications  video  verticalvideo  portraitvideo 
august 2014 by robertogreco

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