Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pinterest – it’s not just for individuals anymore

 Second Article in a Series

Pinterest is increasingly in the headlines, from the Huffington Post to The Chronicle of Philathropy.   In the recent 2012 Digital Marketer Report from Experian, Pinterest is cited as currently being the 3rd most popular Social Networking site.  Quickly, Pinterest is no longer just the realm of artists and odd-balls, many companies and organizations now have Pinterest boards.  There is even reliable speculation that the reason that Facebook bought Instagram is to directly compete with the increasingly omnipresent Pinterest.

You may ask, what does this have to do with me and my organization and our Social Media strategy? The answer to that is multi-dimensional:  you can run contests, increase your brand recognition, and even entice new audiences. And what about using Pinterest to communicate with your internal and external Social Media partners?  From large to small, from corporations to nonprofits, fairly soon not having a Pinterest presence will be like not having a Facebook presence.  Now, Pinterest is becoming the norm, and soon not pinning for your company will make you seem old-fashioned.

Here are examples of a few nonprofits, large and small, that have a Pinterest presence:

·         Heifer International -

·         Operation Smile-

·         Imagine a Way -

Not only do any number of nonprofits have Pinterest boards, but there is even a man named Noland Hoshino who has collected the boards of nonprofits on Pinterest and created one amalgam of all their boards:  Mr. Hoshino wrote in an article about Pinterest on, a website for discussing Social Media marketing for nonprofits, that “Pinterest can generate a lot of traffic to your website because pins link back to their original source. For example, if you pin an image of a product from your business’ website onto your Pinterest board and a person clicks on the image, they will be directed back to your website.

What we are seeing is a Pinterest revolution in the business world.  Organizations are learning to communicate with their existing audiences and build new audiences with pictures.  Some have just a few followers, some hundreds – but either way, they are tapping into a new Social Media audience. Pinterest is not even a broadcast outlet where you can just “sell your product” or “create a demand”, you can reveal your essence, your mission, even your core values, all via images.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Visual Language of Pinterest and the Three Things Game

I don't know about any of you, but since I was “invited” to join Pinterest, I have become obsessed with it. And it seems I am not alone.  Not only are most of my friends “pinning”, but according to the experts, so are more than 2 million people a day! So then we come to the question: “How can Pinterest  be used to anyone's advantage?”

When I was in college, my friends and I invented many games to keep us awake and distracted from our crazy art student hours.  But our favorite was Three Things.  It is a simple game that you can try yourself: all you do is next time you are at a grocery store, try to purchase the 3 most disparate items you can. For us, the winner was 2 knishes and a winter hat! Which still makes me laugh – and that was the point, to make each other laugh as hard as possible, extra points for liquids coming out of anyone's nose! So, you might ask, what does Three Things and nasal expulsions have to do with Pinterest? I will tell you – both are about creating a story by association. And that is why Pinterest can be any person or organizations best tool for anything from Marketing to talking to the dude across the hall.

The basic point here is visual literacy, meaning that, in general, people understand each other better when they see what the other person sees. And what better way to see what another person sees than pictures, literal, actual pictures. So whether you are trying to communicate with your Video Production Company, your Communications Director, or the guy in the next cubicle, if you compile a Pinterest Board of your creative influences, visual “thoughts”, or just stuff you like, you can be on the same page as another person/people. Then from those pictures, you can evolve a story – be it the story of your message, or the story of a particular idea you are trying to propagate.  And the culture of storytelling is a powerful tool for all of us to harness.

Three Things was funny and a shared experience not because of the three selected items, but because of the story they conveyed in relation to one another. The ideas communicated by the juxtaposition of three seemingly unrelated objects, the fact that all three had to be available at our local grocery store, and the absurdity of what each of us chose  for our three each time we played, was the story. And the story was unrelentingly comical no matter who or how often we played. So harness that idea of story, combine it with pictures, and let the creativity flow! I'll leave you with this story: a garden hose, a number 2 pencil, and a box of Ring Dings. 


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Seeking participants for an educational video on careers in technology

Hello Facebook Friends, LinkedIn Connections, Twitter Followers:

Primitive World Productions, a Philadelphia based video production company, is seeking participants for an educational video on careers in technology.  The video series will be distributed to colleges and high schools nationwide.  Participants should be employed in the Philadelphia region including NJ and DE, and have either an Associates Degree or Certificate.  Filming will take place at the participants place of employment. In addition to interviewing the main subject, we also seek to interview the participants supervisor or co-worker, and an individual in Human Resources.

We are looking for:

An individual working in Information Technology: 

  •     Information Technology Specialist
  •    Network System Administrator
  •    Computer Programmer
  •   Telecommunications Technician
  •   Database Administrator
A Science Technician working at:
  •   A Biotechnology or Pharmaceutical Company
  •   City Water Department or Independent Provider
  •   Chemical Company
  •   Government or independent Environmental Agency
We are looking to film in the next month. Please let us know of any suggestions or interest.  

Thank you for your time.

Deborah Arnold Brown
Primitive World Productions
215.848.0594 (O)


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Video Uploading Simplified

Uploading video does not have to be a difficult task. In fact, most video sites like YouTube and Vimeo make it pretty simple. If your footage is in HD and only a few minutes long export an uncompressed Quicktime movie from your timeline and upload that to YouTube or Vimeo. If your video is longer or the file size too large, than export the footage using the H.264 codec and restrict the bits per second to get the file down to a more manageable size.

When we're dealing with DV footage that is 16x9 we use the following settings:
H.264 codec
854x480 pixels
Pixel Aspect Ratio: Square
Restrict Data Rate to 4000kbps or 4Mbps
Keep the current Frame Rate
Audio 44.1 kHz
AAC Stereo

That takes care of DV's pesky rectangular pixels.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Google leverages your social network

If you and your organization don't use social media because you don't want to invest them time, you might want to rethink that. Google is now combining search and social media into their results. Here's a short video from Google explaining this:

This means that not participating is going to become a problem if SEO is at all an issue for your organization. And I'm not sure if I know of any organization that is NOT worried about being relevant in search.

I have to congratulate Google on what is a major head slapping aha moment to me. A large part of the power of social media results from trusting one's network. If you can see search results that are from your trusted sources instead only returning from an algorithm, it is obvious this is going to have an impact on what people will click through from their searches.

Watson's appearance on Jeopardy! may not have proven the existence of artificial intelligence, but tying scientific search with human opinion is really at the heart of leveraging large networks and creating a form of artificial intelligence from wide network thinking. The word networking seems to be having its computer and human definitions folding together into a major force for how we as individuals will learn.

If you have an organization, product, mission, or almost anything that you want new people to learn about, it will now be near impossible to not participate in social media. Though this is where the listening to others and encouraging their participation becomes even more critical in the recipe.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Video producers should help clients, not shame them.

I'm Not Bruce: Clients don't understand Container Formats

Everyone seems pretty excited about this article, but maybe I'm missing something. I was hoping I would click over and have one of my most recurring questions from clients solved when I read this headline at studio daily:

The Best File Format Analogy Yet

I was a bit disappointed. Here was the crux of Bruce's biscuit:
.mov, .mkv, .avi and others are containers which mean they're like sandwiches, I tell clients. ... Not all sandwiches are good, and asking me for "a quicktime" or "an mov" or "an avi" is like asking me for "a sandwich on white bread". You've specified that you want a sandwich (video file), with white bread (container format) but you have yet to tell me what kind of sandwich you want (codec).
A decent start on the way to saying, "I need more information," and possibly an analogy one can follow. But the next paragraph doesn't cut it for kindness and client relations:
This seems to be the only way to get through to some clients. "You're ordering a sandwich with white bread but I don't know what kind of sandwich you want. PB&J? Mustard and Lettuce? Cheese and Anchovies?" "What do you recommend?" is usually their response. I dunno. What kind of sandwich does the thingy that you're going to play it on ask for? In the manual. Yes, that one, the one you didn't read.
The question of how to deliver files for a variety of uses isn't going to change anytime soon. And discussing a sandwich analogy might aid our clients in understanding that we need more information, but it's not going to explain what that information is. Personally, I love a good PB&J or Italian hoagie, and it really depends on my mood. But my edit team has developed a nice set of standard compression settings to output an interim QuickTime that we can deliver to YouTube, Vimeo, etc. Are we creating a different kind of deliverable? Well, we should know enough about what we're creating to ask the right questions. People at sandwich shops know what ingredients they can and can't offer, we should be similarly aware when helping our clients.

If you are a producer and are waiting to find out about delivery requirements until the end of the job, you are doing something very wrong. Don't you produce with final delivery in mind? Wouldn't you shoot more closeups for mobile delivery only vs. a big screen? Our clients are experts at their chosen profession, and it is our job to be the experts in ours. As a Director and Producer, I don't always have those exact tech answers but I have the people on my team who do.

Here's my favorite saying that I use with my clients when the format, codec, and streaming rate questions come up. "Let's have your geeks talk to my geeks." Our clients know they want good results, and when we work with them and not against them they trust us to ask the right questions and help direct them to answers they don't know.

And if you're someone's client and feel like you are being chastised for not knowing enough about video production and web delivery technical specifications, don't feel bad. They change so fast its exciting for professionals to keep up. I just hope you find a professional who helps you and not shames you. 


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Eco-Libris blog: WWF is presenting a new unprintable PDF format to save trees

Eco-Libris blog: WWF is presenting a new unprintable PDF format to save trees

A cool concept, but some items still need to be printed. As long as there's a choice.