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Spotlight on… Film Technology

Spotlight on… Film Technology

The 2018 awards season is well underway. Commentators are announcing their last-minute predictions ahead of today’s Oscar nominations and #TimesUp is making this one of the most memorable and poignant seasons of all time. It’s no surprise that the media has a sharper focus on the film industry than ever before.

The filmmaking business has undergone some real change in the past couple of years, and technology has been monumental in driving progress and empowering independent filmmakers and content creators. But which Film Technology companies should we be keeping an eye on in the next year?

The edit: Frame.io

Frame.io is the tool that helps creatives keep the creative process moving. Editing content is often slowed down drastically by file transfer and lengthy review processes. Frame.io replaces Dropbox, for file sharing, Vimeo for video review, and email for feedback. Integrated with all of filmmakers’ favourite tools including Premiere Pro, After Effects, Final Cut, Slack, and Vimeo, this is a collaboration platform with some serious streamlining powers.

The training: Masterclass

Masterclass has firmly made its mark on the online learning space in the last year with its all-access pass to online classes taught by some of the biggest names in the creative industries. With screenwriting programmes from Aaron Sorkin, film scoring lessons from Hans Zimmer, directing classes from Ron Howard, and writing masterclasses from Shonda Rhimes, the platform offers unparalleled access to flexible learning course from world-class industry professionals.

The grade: DaVinci Resolve

A favourite of editors and colourists around the globe, the latest iteration of DaVinci Resolve is an industry leading set of tools for editing, colour correction and professional audio post production. The software – which is completely free – was originally designed for the industry’s elite colourists, but is now available to all. With Resolve 14, creatives can switch between editing, colour correcting and audio mastering almost seamlessly, making it one of the easiest tools to use.

The soundtrack: Filmstro

Finding or scoring music for pre-shot footage can be an incredibly frustrating process for creatives, but new platforms such as Filmstro aim to make this time-consuming process far easier. Filmstro is a music library for content creators and filmmakers that sits behind ‘intuitive software’ and allows them to create musical scores to accompany their footage. Now integrated with both Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, the platform uses a roster of talented composers from across the globe to allow users to control the momentum, depth and power of their music.

The gadget: DJI Osmo

DJI have been leading the way when it comes to drones in recent years, but one of their newest tools is a game-changer for creatives looking to create professional looking video on the go. The newest version of the Osmo Mobile is a compact handheld gimbal for smartphones. With a lightweight design, cinematic movement, and active tracking, this is the perfect tool for professionals on the move.

The subscription: Flix Premiere

The appetite for independent films is growing year on year, and Flix Premiere is looking to feed this growing demand for originally storytelling with its video-on-demand platform. With new, exclusive, releases each week, it’s an online cinema that helps overlooked independent films find their audiences. The platform offers exclusive access to curated theatrical releases, and award winning independent productions making it perfect for movie goers tired of studio blockbusters.

How to grow instagram for your start-up

 

Frequently termed ‘The King of Social’, Instagram started as a simple picture sharing app, used mainly between close friends and some carefully-selected family, to display the ‘best’ snapshots of your life. It was a refreshing alternative to the swathes of imagery that confronted you on Facebook, each one only slightly different to the last. It’s single-picture format enforced a kind of self-control not seen elsewhere. Of course, this wouldn’t last forever. Years later we have video, galleries and stories, and Instagram has expanded far beyond your own social circle. It has, however, kept its highly-polished aesthetic and fetish for ‘authenticity’.

Photo by @argonautphoto (Aaron Huey). Spider Rock, Canyon de Chelly, #NavajoNation. Headed to #BearsEarsNationalMonument in Utah on assignment for the magazine. More photos from the region here and at @argonautphoto all this week!

A post shared by National Geographic (@natgeo) on

Now the app is one of the biggest Social Media sites in the world, with over 700 million users, 400 million of which are active daily! It’s impressive to say the least and the potential audience reach on this platform is ever growing. It took only four months to gain the last 100 million followers, whereas the previous took six months.

So, what makes it such a great platform? It’s seen as considerably cooler than Facebook, more interesting than Twitter, and more useful than Snapchat. Instagram has become incredibly sophisticated in storytelling, and doing so in an artistic manner. The ability to fluently and diversely communicate a brand or individual’s story has become indispensable. Authenticity is key to modern marketing, and Instagram is the platform that allows this ‘intimate’ insight into a brand. And what better brand to apply it to than a Start Up? A company that is rooted in individuality, ingenuity and passion. One that is already trying to tell its own story, and express its personality, unlike many conglomerates that churn out an all-encompassing ‘brand’ worldwide.

Engage your audience

So, we know Instagram has the audience and the tools to effectively tell your story, but what techniques can you employ to make Instagram work for you? As a Start Up, it’s important not only to put out great content, but to actively engage with your following, and users who you feel would be interested in your brand. This engagement, or ‘community managing’, is what will help you grow your channel, awareness, and ultimately your brand. It may seem like a lot of work, but just taking the time to reply to comments and reach out to users and brands can make all the difference.

Hashtag it

Building this community can be done several ways, but the most immediate is through hashtags. By putting up to 30 relevant hashtags underneath your post you can make yourself visible to the potentially millions of daily users who are engaging with account and brands like yours. Engaging with other users in these hashtags is the next step to generating conversation; and this is worth remembering. Social Media is not a one-way street, you need ask questions, respond authentically, get people interested and keep them talking with you and about you.

If you are local business, such as a restaurant, boutique or event, then you can utilise these hashtags to target a specific audience. Likewise, you may also use geo-tagging to involve the local community in a location-targeted campaign. These techniques allow you to build a community both offline and online.

Collaborate and listen

Many brands have taken to cross-posting and collaborations to bolster their online presence. This is a mutually beneficial process that sees both brands raise awareness, and is particularly applicable in a Start Up environment, where both have a chance to establish themselves in an industry. It’s not just other brands that you might consider this tactic with; featuring your customers is an increasingly valuable tool in promoting your brands merit. Not only will this provide potential customers with authentic, positive feedback for your brand, but it also rewards fans for being fans. In doing this, you encourage them to continue to share their interactions with your brand on Social Media. It’s a win win, they get to interact with the brands they love in an authentic way, and you get exposure and great content for your own channels. Just make sure you always credit them!

 

For me?! @chapabouttown is ready to chow down on some Turkey and Duck Dinner! 🍗 #FuelledByCanagan

A post shared by Canagan (@canaganpetfood) on

Do what works for you

There’s a plethora of techniques to employ on this ever-expanding channel. To do it perfectly, you would be using a variation of careful curated daily posts and stories to provide the most artistic storytelling experience you can. You could run competitions, and cross-post and promote other brands. You could shout about your brand down every relevant avenue, and target it perfectly with paid posts and influencer marketing. This is a lot to take on, especially as a Start Up. It can seem overwhelming, but it is also wholly unnecessary to try to do all of them at once, and to sustain them. Our advice would be to cherry pick what works for your brand, and remember that creativity and authenticity are at the heart of successful Social Media marketing.

Get Creative

If you want to champion your brand on Instagram effectively, the main thing to consider in this whirlwind of possibilities, is creativity. Instagram is a platform that welcomes creativity more than any other. This is the point of difference needed to stop users endlessly scrolling through their feeds and focus on your post. This is the first point of engagement with a consumer, and one of the hardest things to engineer. You want to disrupt and simultaneously engage; having a creative edge here is key.

‪How to grow an avocado tree:‬ ‪1. Find an avocado stone‬ ‪2. Wash it‬ ‪3. Add some cocktail sticks‬ ‪4. Half submerge it in water‬ ‪5. Wait‬

A post shared by innocent (@innocent) on

Of course, this is perhaps easier said than done. But with a proper strategy, and some practise, you should quickly find yourself building your brands presence and identity online. Building and maintaining this presence is of huge value to brands and businesses, after all 32% of all internet users are on Instagram. That’s a big slice of the pie to be missing out on!

Most memorable tweets, posts, shares, pins, tumbles of 2013

As the year brings to a close, the digital team reflect on the most memorable tweets, posts, shares, pins, and tumbles of 2013. Here are some of our favourites;

Firstly, there was the Ad That Stole The Superbowl…


When the power went out at the Superdome whilst the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens battled for the right to lift the Lombardi Trophy. Oreo, as one of the Superbowl Advertisers, were listening to the twitter chatter and seized the opportunity with a spur of the moment tweet. The tweet went viral… retweeted 10,000 times in one hour, helping them to gain nearly 8,000 followers. The reaction from the audience has left us wondering whether the tweet had an even greater pay off than Oreo’s actual Super Bowl ad, which cost $3.8 million to create and marked the launch of their Cookie vs. Crème campaign.

2013 Best social media London Fashion Week

Courtesy of flickr.com/photos/suarts/

Then at this years AW 13 London Fashion Week Topshop partnered with Google, to launch the first interactive live streamed fashion show. A customised YouTube feed allowed live-streaming of content from the red carpet and behind the scenes. Google Hang Outs allowed people to speak directly with the design team at Topshop HQ. Their “Be the Buyer App” enabled users to get tips from buyers on how to put catwalk looks together. HD micro-cameras, worn by the likes of Cara Delevigne, allowed viewers a never seen before models eye of the catwalk.  Changing the way designers think about catwalk shows forever.

Manchester United finally joined Twitter, one of the last global sporting brands to do so.


Having amassed 40 million Facebook fans, the penny finally dropped for United that they should be on Twitter. The departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, a manager not fond of social media, to say the least, opened the door for United to join the social network.

Finally, Marks & Spencer’s launched their ‘Believe in Magic and Sparkle’ Campaign. The Christmas campaign took a fantasy theme, with elements of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and Aladdin all incorporated within it. Hot celebs Rosie Huntington-Whitely, David Gandy and Helena Bonham-Carter all featured in the magical ad making it very easy viewing but the star of the show for us was the white westy dog that has now become a Facebook star, along with a whole load of other westies and cute pups.
Soon after the ad launched, M&S melted the heart of their 1 million+ fans by releasing their ‘Top Dog’ competition where they ask fans to send in pictures of their cute doggies. They then choose from a thousand of ‘pawsome’ entries and celebrate the ‘best in show’ in a Facebook album. A great example of a successful photo sharing campaign that has helped raise brand awareness.

Let us know what campaigns you enjoyed this year, and here’s to an innovative 2014.

How to Create a Viral Tweet

Last Tuesday, Warren Gatland announced his 37 squad that will be touring Australia, England Captain Chris Robshaw and kicking legend Jonny Wilkinson were left out. There was much contention surrounding Wilkinson’s non-inclusion due to the 24 points he kicked against Saracens the weekend prior. Virgin Holidays were listening to the twitter chatter and seized the opportunity with a spur of the moment tweet.

The tweet did not go viral; they did not gain a significant number of new followers and their Instagram following was not propelled to new found heights. This we thought created the perfect opportunity to discuss how to create a viral tweet. Everyone wants more Facebook traffic, more YouTube views, more YouTube subscribers, more Twitter and Pinterest followers and more social influence.  Why, because if you can get something to go viral on the web, you can get a lot of exposure in a small amount of time.

Here are 4 ways to increase the probability your tweet will receive ReTweets:

A CALL TO ACTION
Every tweet should be done for a specific reason and should include a call to action. Every time you tweet, you want followers to ReTweet – every time your content is ReTweeted it expands to another network of Twitter users.

TIMING
You need to experiment to see when you get the best responses from your followers. When you get a ReTweet track it in a spreadsheet and note the day, time and content of the tweet.

LINKS
As a general rule tweets with links have a higher ReTweet rate, researcher suggest 70% of tweets that include links get ReTweeted.

ADD VALUE TO YOUR COMMUNITY
The more you give, the more you receive.  Tweet useful content such as ‘How to’ information, breaking news, technology warnings and competitions and/or discounts.

This was just a few suggestions, we would love to hear what works for you.

 

Image courtesy of Bro Jeffery Pioquinto SJ, flickr.com

The Future of Social Media in Sport

Last week, Saracens Rugby Club launched Wi-Fi throughout the entirety of Allianz Park. Reportedly the first sports club in Europe to attempt to encourage real-time user-generated content (UGC) that could add value to the match-day experience.

The clubs goal was to communicate that they now have a permanent home in London, whilst also creating a fan-based social media buzz around the game. Saracens promoted a selection of hashtags throughout the match-day programme, across their own social media channels (Twitter and Facebook) and featured them on 2 display screens.

They had recognised that one of the biggest requirements to improve the match day experience was information, such as; player statistics, team statistics, etc. To try and combat this, the live game commentary was fed through Twitter along with all major incidences and occasional sports stats. The real-time trial received tremendously positive feedback, the clubs twitter reach increased by 45%, in-game messaging increased by 20%, and picture-based content soared to a staggering 67%.

Times are changing. As sport becomes more tightly integrated with technologies more pressure is put on clubs to find more innovative ways to engage fans and enhance live sporting experiences. Edward Griffiths, CEO of Saracens commented on the new initiative, “not every rugby supporter will appreciate ‘second screen’ activity, but we are pushing the boundaries… and our fans are having fun.” For Saracens this is only the beginning, they will be further looking to drive additional revenue to the bars and restaurants through effective community management.

With the future of social media in sport in mind, here are 5 trends to watch out for:

BRAND MARKETING – Currently most clubs use social media for brand marketing, for example; tickets, merchandise and adverts. Similar to Saracens, most clubs will start focusing on the match-day experience – the statistics, the atmosphere, the music, the pre-match rituals, etc. Instead of telling the fans what they should aspire to want, marketers will start absorbing the emotions and stories fans experience throughout the game.

SOCIAL MEDIA HUBS – European clubs will start taking note of this brilliant invention on the other side of the pond. Social media hubs are allocated areas within the stadium on match-day where pre-selected fans (social media savvy and influential in the digital space) can take control of the clubs social media presence. Simple yet effective, as who knows what the fans want better than the fans themselves?

TWITTER PARTIES – American clubs recognise how powerful and influential their socially active fans can be and one way of rewarding them is a “Fan Night” in which fans are invited to go to the stadium to meet their fellow tweeters and put faces to twitter handles. An excellent way to bring clubs most influential tweeters, Instagrammers and followers closer.

FAN-BASED CONTENT – Some Clubs have already started to include fans in their official content but we predict this to rise. Whether it is getting a fan to write a match report that features in the programme or create a YouTube interview with a player. Fan-based content is a whole lot more engaging.

PINTEREST – Pinterest seems to have been neglected at current but it is an obvious tool for clubs to use to promote their online shops. But boards can also be used as a platform for fans to share their favourite moments, quotes, etc.

Here in the PHA Digital team, we are excited to see the evolution of Social Media in Sport and how effective UK Sports Clubs are at utilizing their own Social Media Marketing Strategies.

The Ad That Stole The Superbowl

After Super Sunday, a lot of what people are talking about is a tweet.

“How Oreo ‘Culture-Jacked’ the Super Bowl” – The Wall Street Journal

On Sunday the power went out at the Superdome whilst the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens battled for the right to lift the Lombardi Trophy. Oreo, as one of the Superbowl Advertisers, were listening to the twitter chatter and seized the opportunity with a spur of the moment tweet.

The tweet went viral… retweeted 10,000 times in one hour, helping them to gain nearly 8,000 followers. Their actual ad the ‘Whisper Fight‘ depicts a Cookie vs. Crème argument with two men in a library. Propelling their Instagram following to over 50,000 whilst clearly demonstrating the power of combining TV and social media marketing.

We believe the success of the tweet was due to the months prior where Oreo cultivated a following through tweeting and posting culturally relevant ads daily as well as the use of real-time advertising during the event. The reaction from the audience has left us wondering whether the tweet had an even greater pay off than Oreo’s actual Super Bowl ad, which cost $3.8 million to create, and marked the launch of their Cookie vs. Crème campaign.

We would love to hear your thoughts.

Natwest Social Media Crisis – The Importance of Immediacy in a Social Media Crisis

In the digital age we live in, when we are not happy with the service a company has provided us, more often than not we turn to Facebook and Twitter to seek immediate support.  But what happens when the right information isn’t readily available to us?

natwest-5 A new report from Birdsong:  Social Media Reconnaissance reveals a number of failings by Natwest in actively supporting its customers via Twitter during the IT collapse in late June.  Despite the surge in followers and influx of mentions of @natwest_help, extended branch hours and weekend openings, the bank’s Twitter account did not actively extend its social media presence or increase replies until very late on in the crisis, choosing a ‘business as usual approach’.

The new report from Bird Song: Social Media Reconnaissance showed numerous elements which shows that Natwest failed to increase its Twitter support to match the measures taken by branch staff and call centres.

As the problems unfolded, the followers of @Natwest_Help escalated at a rapid rate, growing by over 200% during the crisis, taking the bank from one of the least followed to one of the most followed UK bank accounts.  During this time the number of mention @natwest_help grew 8 times more than its original amount.

The report also reveals the slow reaction time from the bank.  Despite the influx in followers and mentions, the bank maintained standard tweeting hours of 9-5 at a time when branches were being opened later.  It took a week for the bank to start maintaining a later presence on Twitter, until 7p.m.

In addition to this, for the weekend that the bank opened, the Twitter account was left to broadcast automated messages, offering no active support, only a link to direct followers to online help.  The tweet alone generated 800 links (Bit.ly) of people seeking support.
natwest-crisis-email

This has also been the case for both Virgin Atlantic and British Airways in December 2010 and was the case for O2 last week.  Since the start of the national coverage disruption, the @O2 account has grown by 50%.

National crises such as the Natwest fiasco, demonstrate just how dependent we are on the web and computer networks, and the ability to adapt to the consequences of a major systems breakdown.  Therefore it is imperative that companies such as Natwest act immediately, enforcing a social media strategy that would see to support those who have been affected.  Putting social media on the back burner could have a detrimental effect on the reputation of the brand, resulting in a leap of unwanted negative comments, which ultimately could lead to customers taking their business elsewhere.

 

Cover image courtesy of lamoix, flickr.com

How O2 avoided an online PR crisis

Back in the day, life was that little bit simpler: You only had one phone number per friend to remember, there was never the threat of ugly pictures of yourself popping up on the Internet (you didn’t have the Internet!) and what’s more a customer complaint stayed between the company and the customer.

Then came along the digital revolution, and the rest is history. Now, if a customer needs to complain they have a choice of soapboxes to stand on. Customers are not only making the business aware of their issues but thanks to the multiple public platforms available to them, they are also broadcasting their complaint to other members of the public. It’s very interesting to see how a company chooses to respond to these very public complaints, in my opinion, it could be exactly what makes them or breaks them.

So, when O2 services went down last week it was only natural that O2 customers turned to Twitter to vent their frustration. O2’s response? They replied humorously:

How O2 avoided an online PR crisis

 

Now, this was either very clever of them or very stupid, and I suspect for the first hour everyone was holding their breath. But after responding to hundreds of angry tweets in this manner, others started noticing and joining in the fun.  However, there was still a tiny bit of resentment on the customers’ part

How O2 avoided an online PR crisis

The risk paid off, turning their company crisis into a great PR opportunity. The O2 Twitter account soon became a must watch online with the bitter anger the customers held a day before now turning into ‘love’:

How O2 avoided an online PR crisis

With followers even trying to help them trend for the right reasons, not the hostile signal failing ones:

How O2 avoided an online PR crisis

You might be wondering how on earth did this work in their favour? And here is my theory, the customers sending in angry messages were expecting to hear back the usual pitch about contacting customer services, which in most peoples experience doesn’t get you anywhere. When O2 replied with the random humorous (but argumentative) messages, it threw people off course; they didn’t know how to respond. We all know what it’s like when you are trying to be angry with someone but they keep making you laugh…you’re not angry for long, are you?

So, there you have it – how to dodge a potentially fatal company crisis with humour. Brilliant.

 

This must be… genius

If ever there was a brand which had mastered the art of utilising multiple digital platforms to market itself in the eyes of consumers, Heineken is that very brand.

First came ‘The Serenade’, Heineken’s app designed to provide us with a quirky platform to secure a date for Valentine’s Day, and then came an innovative Facebook campaign, which encouraged designers worldwide to create a limited edition bottle in celebration of Heineken’s 140th birthday. This is a brand which is forever on the hunt for new ways to market itself, to make a statement and ultimately to encourage consumer buy-in.

But Heineken goes beyond those channels used by even some of the world’s most savvy household names to create its own opportunities, tapping into the news agenda and latching onto major global events to reach wider audiences.

In previous years, during the Olympic Games, Heineken has made a name for itself by bringing its ‘This must be Holland’ concept to the relevant hosting regions, on a bigger and more creative scale each time.

This year is to be no different, as Heineken provides us with a virtual taste of just how London’s Alexandra Palace (Ally Pally to most of us) will be transformed into the iconic Holland Heineken House during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The brand has designed and released a virtual tour, which gives consumers a glimpse of how the ‘This must be Holland’ design concept will fuse classic Britain with the spirit of Holland. Beginning with a CGI of Alexandra Palace glowing in orange, with the Dutch flag flying over the Palm Court entrance, the virtual tour takes viewers inside the venue and into an arena, Olympic Club, athletics area and Great Hall, which then becomes the medal ceremony. This is set to be one unforgettable, suitably orange, venue!

Heineken’s global activation manager, Hans Erik Tuijt, believes this Holland Heineken House will be the most memorable house yet. Well, if the finished product is anywhere near as impressive as the virtual model, then we’d expect it to attract above and beyond the 100,000 visitors anticipated during the Games.

Here, consumers have been given an opportunity to engage with a campaign before it has been brought to life and, as a result, we are given more chance to share the content far and wide…..just as Heineken had intended us to.

See below to view the virtual tour of Holland Heineken House London 2012:

Kraft Macaroni’s brilliant ‘likeapella’

I can never help but smile and click ‘like’ whenever I come across a selfless campaign by a brand that shows them giving something back to their fan-base.

One campaign that I came across last week, which was no exception to this rule, was the recent Likapella video released by Kraft Macaroni, with the purpose of individually thanking 4,600 of their online fans.

In case you missed the story and have no idea who or what I am talking about, Kraft Dinner, known as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in America, are a popular and inexpensive convenience food, better known in the USA and Canada. At the end of April this year a post was sent out on the Kraft Facebook Page urging fans to ‘like’ the Facebook post, as they “never know what could happen”.

Two days later – low and behold – a video called Likeapella appeared on the Kraft Facebook wall showing Kraft reciprocating the ‘likes’ of the 4,600 fans that had responded to the post.

Within Likeapella, a barbershop quintet perform a song that individually thanks the 4,600 fans that responded to the original post, name-checking many mid-song and pointing to a scroll containing the remaining fan names.

A fantastic and very shareable piece of content that adds personality to the brand and drives fans to its social feeds as they lie in wait for the next stunt to go off – Note: Yes I am now a fan of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and yes, I would indeed very much like to have my name sung aloud by a chorus of men in yellow waistcoats and bowties.

You can view the video here:

A couple of other brands that have seen the benefit of thanking their online fan base would be Porsche and Heineken.

You might remember at the beginning of last year when Porsche celebrated reaching 1 million fans on their Facebook page by putting all 1 million fan names on a specially customised 911 GT3R Hybrid car, which now sits in the Porsche museum. However, did you know that when the car manufacturer reached the 2 million mark, they printed the names of all 2 million fans on a Cayman S? You can view the video here: https://2m.porsche.com/

Pretty impressive, right!

Heineken decided to take a different approach and instead thanked their fans with hugs:

It’s really refreshing to see big brands giving something back to their communities and making their fans feel included in their campaigns. Hopefully, this is something that we will see more of in the future, greater emphasis on engagement and building a loyal fan-base over obvious sale pitches that will result in an alienated community.

 

Cover image courtesy of: Mike Mozart, flickr.com