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The Timeless Art of Ethnography

October 13th, 2011 | Categories: Blog Tags:

Intern Isaac is all moved in at Stanford.  After a lengthy cross-country road trip, Isaac has settled in to his dorm, made friends, and acclimated to the college experience. He’s just finished his third week of classes, which he has found to be difficult, but ultimately enjoyable.

He shot us an email the other day about one of his classes in particular – it’s a humanities course that focuses on the journeys and ideologies of four ancient and classical historians and philosophers.  A major theme of the course is the ethnographic accounts of these historians.  The focus on these ethnographies caught his eye, as we at MVP also have experience in the ethnographic field.

Ethnography is the detailed research and study of a particular culture or group of people.  Isaac read Herodotus’ the Histories, which studies the interactions of the Ancient Greek and Persian empires, their geographical layouts, military conquests, and cultural interactions.  Herodotus describes their cultures and customs in great depth, true to the ethnographic style.

2500 years later, these same ethnographic accounts are still in use.  Here at MVP, we utilize ethnography to capture the behaviors, preferences, and buying habits of consumers.  We capture, on film, the behind-the-scences actions of consumers for large advertising firms like BBDO in New York. Working with anthropologists, we use this video to supply useful information to these advertising agencies.

The medium has changed, as video has fulfilled the demands of a faster moving world, but the overall essences of the art is still the same.  Centuries after Herodotus, the same ethnographic studies are in full gear at MVP.

Video, video everywhere…

September 8th, 2011 | Categories: Blog

At MVP, we have thousands of hours of recorded video.  Not surprisingly, the question of the best way of storing this copious amount of video often comes up.  It’s a tricky situation, one that can take a costly amount of hardware to store so much video if you don’t develop a smart process.  Even more pressing is the possibility of a drive or other device crashing, erasing all of the data inside of it.  This is why it is imperative to have a backup system, which stores everything a second time.  After doing our research, we considered the best plan for efficiently and effectively storing the media that makes our business what it is. Much of what we learned could be valuable to the average consumer as well. So, let’s start with the basics, by reviewing a brief history of the evolution of file storage. We won’t go all the way back, how about just far enough for our eighteen-year-old intern, Isaac, to remember.

Remember: 1000 bytes = 1 kilobyte. 1000 kilobytes = 1 megabyte. 1000 megabytes = 1 gigabyte. 1000 gigabytes = 1 terabyte

1. The Floppy Disc: 1.44 MB. They’re extinct. If you’ve even seen a floppy in the last 8 years, you’re probably doing something wrong.

2. Zip Disc:  100 MB. A step up, but no giant leap by any means.

3. CD: 700 MB. In no way extinct, but very quickly being replaced by MP3’s . The world is online.

4. DVD: 4.7 GB. We use DVD’s frequently for sharing video, primarily with clients. For storage, however, it is largely impractical.

5. Flash Drive: 128 GB. Varying sizes, but 128 GB is fairly large. Terrific way for transferring media, not stellar for storing it.

6. External Hard drive: 2TB . Ahh, the external HD.  Every computer has a hard drive inside of it for file storage. The external hard drive does exactly what it sounds like- it is another drive outside of the computer utilized for file storage. They come in varying sizes, but at MVP we primarily use 1 TB, 2 TB, and even 4 TB drives. To put the size of these drives in perspective, a 2 TB drive holds the equivalent of 1,422,222 floppy discs. By combining multiple drives, we have developed a system to edit, store, and backup the video very efficiently.

Our advice to consumers is to stay with this constantly changing evolution. We’re in the age of the terabyte, but fairly soon, we’ll undoubtedly be working with petabytes (1000 terabytes = 1 petabyte). If you’re a consumer, looking for easy file storage of documents, music, photos, and some video, our advice would be to purchase a 500 GB (half TB) external hard drive. They’re small, efficient, and can store a ton. Technology moves quickly, and is constantly becoming more efficient. Right now, however, a 500 GB drive puts you on pace with the technological evolution.

Governor Perry at D.C. Taylor Co.

August 17th, 2011 | Categories: Blog

Kirk filming Gov. Perry

Interview of Phil Suess, C.O.O. of D.C. Taylor Co.


Kirk and Craig wait for Gov. Perry to exit his campaign bus

Eric filming Gov. Perry touring the D.C. Taylor Co. building

On Location at DC Taylor for Governor Rick Perry

August 16th, 2011 | Categories: Blog

It’s election season! As straw polls are made, debates are contested, and candidates vying for votes in the first caucus state campaign across Iowa, MVP is on the front lines of the excitement. Today, MVP will be on location at D.C. Taylor Co. in Cedar Rapids.

The commercial and industrial roofing company is hosting Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas, who only yesterday announced his candidacy in the 2012 presidential election. Perry will be delivering a speech to the employees and visitors of D.C. Taylor, and MVP will be filming every second of it.

The tight itinerary of campaigning politicians will provide an opportunity for MVP to utilize our versatility in the field. With limited time and high demand to post quickly, we will be taking still images of the event and posting them on location to allow advertising agency, Henry Russell Bruce, to upload images of the event to the Internet in real time. MVP will also be providing a quick turnaround in video production, by shooting in the morning, and having the footage edited and posted later that same day.

Today is guaranteed to be an interesting day with a first-hand glimpse into the early political events of the election. It will be busy and exciting, but that’s nothing new for MVP!

The Lens is Mightier than the Sword

August 10th, 2011 | Categories: Blog

Our intern, Isaac, signed up for his first college course yesterday. Or rather, he ranked his preferences from a long list of courses and crossed his fingers. One in particular caught his eye and we began discussing it in the studio. The course focused on the effect that social media has on human rights and the new found voice of those who could not previously be heard. We thought back to the events that took place in Egypt earlier this year. Through the workings of Facebook and Twitter, disgruntled citizens organized and sparked a revolution.

This was not the first time such a thing has happened. Over the past few years, people around the world are quickly learning to fight injustice with camera phones. Suddenly, people had the power in their pocket to capture acts of violence or injustice and share them with the world in a matter of seconds. All they had to do was pull out their cell phone, record a video, and upload it to YouTube or Facebook for the world to see. The general public became their own journalists, publishing events that would otherwise go unnoticed.

It happened in Iran in 2009 as protests sparked up during election season. In Japan after the tsunami, the first videos seen by the world were from people on the ground with camera phones, before journalists could get there. The conflict in Libya was no different, and even the current riots in London are most thoroughly documented by bystanders.

Whether it be an authoritative injustice, the aftermath of unforeseeable events, or any other circumstance that could quickly go unnoticed by the world’s quickly moving attention span, those who need to be heard are realizing that the lens is often mightier than the sword.

What Are The Chances of Going Viral?

July 21st, 2011 | Categories: Blog

“Charlie bit my finger.” “Friday.” “Numa Numa.” “David after Dentist.”  What do all of these random sentences have in common? They are the titles of videos that have gone viral on YouTube.

What’s viral video? HeadStandMedia.com explains that “Certain videos, most often comedic or astounding in nature simply go viral or spread like wild fire through many person to person channels that exist online.” (Remember Chris Crocker’s “Leave Britney Alone!” which gained 2 million views in just 24 hours?) Those person to person channels may be in the form of social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, or Digg, or through e-mail or instant messaging.

Viral videos have the power to impact our culture. And that is the reason why film companies are specializing in online video marketing. Even top brands have dreams of going viral. But are these dreams a probability, or a pipe-dream?

In a July 14 newsletter MediaPost Publications, Alison Provost wrote that the probability of an online video going viral is as certain as winning the lottery, or “capturing lightening in a bottle.”

“Only 1 in 500 of the online videos that brands produce gets more than 500,000 views,” Provost said. What exactly does that mean? Provost explains that it is like spending $250,000 to play a $10 million lottery, which she said is a common price companies pay to produce a viral video.

So, how can companies keep from spending beaucoup bucks on digital media that most people glaze over? Provost suggests spending less time on entertainment, and more time on information. In fact, she reports that 60% of online searches are for information. With free sites like Hulu.com, and Metacafe.com, it is easy to see how a free entertaining movie featuring a product may be funny, or even dazzlingly clever, but unless it’s the type of video that makes you think “I’m going to post this on my Facebook page” or link to Twitter, it most likely isn’t going viral.

Think about it. If you are searching on Google.com, or typing something into Yahoo Search, you’re most likely seeking information fast. While you might check out a funny video, most likely you’re going to click on that movie if it gives you information of some sort.

What are some things to remember when considering online video marketing?

1.) Going viral is like playing the lotto.

2.) People are looking for information in online search engines more than entertainment.

3.) Expand your search terms. Think beyond generic. Get more specific.

4.) Teach your brand. People are looking for information, so online searches are a perfect way to lead those information-seekers to your video!

5.) Have fun! Providing information doesn’t have to be boring. Maybe you’ll even go viral. Check out videos from T-Mobile‘s Online Advertising Campaign.

Your friends at MVP Video Production

The Super Powers of the QR Code

July 18th, 2011 | Categories: Blog

Is this you? You’re sifting through the mail and you notice a little square barcode on one particular flyer. You think you’ve heard something about this, so you discretely pull out your smart phone…and take a picture. Nothing happens. Nada. What’s the deal? Okay, maybe that wasn’t you–actually, it was our intern Serena not to long ago. 🙂

The 2-D barcodes, (aka QR codes or Quick Response codes), are popping up all around us, on the billboards we pass on our way to work (which surprisingly sounds as safe as texting while driving), on our coffee, or even in the signs at the grocery store.

QR codes give us a slight feeling of invincibility, like Superman. Instead of X-Ray vision, we can just hold up our phones to be taken beyond the 3-D world beyond the black-and-white world of the bar-code. People are finding creative uses for the QR code. In fact, in a recent article in the Toronto Star, one tatoo artist in Paris claims to be the first artist to have successfully tatood a QR code on a man’s chest.

For example, an article on July 14 from the New York Business Wire told how one music artist gave fans a free song by displaying a QR code during a show. QR codes are even popping up in the signs above produce in the grocery store. With one scan, you can be taken back to your food’s roots, and see the farm from which it came from before being shipped thousands of miles away.

According to an article in the tech news site mashable.com, 52% of people have seen a QR code, but only 28% have actually used a QR code scanner. Part of the reason is that it is still in the “early adopter” stage. Also, QR code readers are not included software on most smart-phones…yet. But, there is good news. There’s an app for that. (Also, if Google Inc. has plans to bring your credit card information to your phone, and possibly your rewards, and passports, too, it’s not far away).

What makes a QR code successful? Point of Sale News lists these tips in bold:

1. Business should teach the code (give directions) – This will help encourage customers to not be discouraged and to continue scanning the codes with their phones.

2. Ask “How does it benefit the customer” – Have you ever scanned a QR code and wondered what you were supposed to be searching for once you’ve arrived?

3. QR codes should be rewarding – in a word, have fun!

4. Follow up – continue linking. Give your customer another reason to pull out their smart-phone.

Even here at MVP Video Production, we have a QR code that links cell-phone users to our website. And in a few weeks we’ll be publishing another QR code  that will take you to a brand new exclusive site! So, pull out your smart phones.

For more history on the QR code, check out this link! http://mashable.com/2011/03/04/qr-codes-infographic/

So, now you know!

Your friends at MVP Video Production

Have you uploaded yet?

July 16th, 2011 | Categories: Blog

The other day, my friends and I realized we hadn’t gone to a video store and rented a movie in almost a year. It’s kind of a nostalgic idea actually, the days when your mom would take you to Blockbuster to rent something by Adam Sandler, or maybe Space Jam for the 500th time. Blockbuster just closed actually. It closed not long after Mr. Movies shut its doors.

We thought about the reasons why, and we realized it was a number of causes that culminate into the idea that the industry is changing.  Video consumers want video on demand. They want to watch it now, and they want it for cheap, (or for free). Take Redbox for example.  They drop off a Redbox machine at the local grocery store and soon its $1 DVD rentals muscle out the big names like Blockbuster.

Then there’s Netflix- who wants to drive to a movie store when they can be uniformly sent to your front door? But perhaps the greatest influence on this change in industry is something that Netflix quickly picked up on – the Internet. The Internet is the new home for all video, and quickly becoming the new home for feature length cinema. By providing an online database of shows, movies and specials to be watched at any time, who wants to pick up a movie from the front door when all you need is the remote and internet connection?

And then we venture into the free realm.  Hulu provides numerous shows to viewers online for zero cost.  YouTube houses millions of videos, uploaded by anyone and everyone, viewed by anyone and everyone, with no cost to anyone and everyone. So I guess what it really comes down to is this: if you have a video or a commercial that you want people to see, and it’s not online, it’s probably time to upload.

A few photo’s from our filming with Artist Laura Kelly

October 15th, 2010 | Categories: Blog

Here are a few of our photo’s from when Sharpie guru and artist Laura Kelly was in the studio to film some webisodes for Expressionery.com.  We produced four short “webisodes” for Laura Kelly and Expressionery.com that will be  hosted on Expressionery.com’s website.  The pictures show some of the fun we had that day in the studio.  To see more of the photo’s, check out our facebook page.

Pictures from a recent commercial shoot with HRB

September 30th, 2010 | Categories: Blog

Here’s some pictures to enjoy from our recent commercial shoot with our friends at HRB.  The commercial is for Muscatine Power and Water, and was filmed in Cedar Rapids, IA.  It was a perfect day to be outside as you can tell by the sunshine.  The talent all did a great job.  Enjoy the pics.

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