Wow I've been busy! (Update)

This is my first new post in ages because I've been so busy over the summer!  Let me update you:

I've produced a series of videos for Manchester Metropolitan University Employability Service with some of my students as work experience (for them not me).  Here's one of the videos about networking:


I've finished editing a series of videos for Autus Website Design.  Here's a documentary I shot about getting a huge Air Conditioning Instillation onto a Central London Hotel in one day:




I spent a week at the European Juggling Convention in Germany producing Juggling Live, a live stream of loads of the shows and atmosphere from the Olympic Park in Munich.  Every day I'm posting a new act or show on the Juggling Live blog and have about 25 Episodes planned for the rest of September and into October.  Here's a great 8 min comedy act which was my favourite short comedy routine at the whole festival:


I've had a family holiday in Wales.

This weekend I am going to be producing the REPLAY Online Juggling Convention.  I'll be streaming all the taped footage from the EJC on so everyone who missed shows at the festival or who missed them at home can view them again.  There will be a chatroom, photo sharing, games, fun stuff and interviews running along side the video stream.  Come join us or watch the video stream here:

Streaming live video by Ustream


This week we have also been doing everything possible to find our poor lost/dead cat Brooklyn which we have not seen since getting back from Wales.  If you see a lost black cat in Whalley Range, let me know. :(

Normal blogging service to resume next week!



Mid Month Meanderings - December 2009

This is a quick post which wraps up a few loose ends by looking at my world in four ways; backwards, forwards, sideways and through my random specs

Looking Back... my ongoing project for 2009, An Experimental Film A Week For A Year. I'm going to do a full round up of the project after Christmas but for now I just have to mention one thing about the iPhone Holographic Display video: PEOPLE ARE STILL FALLING FOR IT!  I got an email last night:

Hi Nathan, Sweet info! I am interested in where I get or how to install the app and use it. The hologram app that is. I am buying my son an TOUCH for christmas and I would like to be able to watch movies and view video as you have shown on your video. Everyone shows you how, yet never expalin how to do it, what is needed to download etc... You seam to be very eduacated on this matter. Any help would be great.

Looking Sideways...

... at my last blog post and video.  You may recall I said that if you are filming you should never be without a Joby Gorillapod .  I now have two!  An Original for my Sanyo HD1010 and the Joby Gorillapod SLR Zoom which is larger and strong enough to hold my Sony HDR-V1 with ease.  To test out the Original I fixed it to a kids roundabout which vibrated massively due to wrecked bearings. The Gorillapod held the camera in place even though Seren was being shaken to bits.  See the shaken baby footage cute shaking baby here:

Looking Forward...

... to the New Year and the Royal Television Society Awards especially. Why?  Mainly because Lift, my hitch hiking documentary, has been selected as one of the three films to represent the North West in the Royal Television Societies Student Awards ceremony to be held at the Cornerhouse on 12th January.  If Lift "wins" there I'll be of to London for the finals in May.

Update: I've just found out that Lift has been selected for the Glasgow Shorts Film Festival and will be show on 21st February at the Centre for Contemporary Arts.  More details when I get them.

Through Random Specs...

... let's take a look at some phrases people have googled during the past month and ended up on my website:

training videos for curriculum vitaes
seren productions
'new headteacher at failsworth'
carrying case for tailors
burnley brow community school logo
handy camara shooting sexy videos
nativity play film tailor
mary poppins almost perfect in every way

Catch you all later...

Viral Video for SMEs

One of my non-business, non-artistic family videos reached a significant milestone this weekend.  Seren's Birth Video has now been seen over 100,000 times on You-tube alone.  (Warning: Graphic Childbirth Scenes! Not Safe For Work!)  See it here.  After the initial spike it is now viewed about a thousand times a week, varying slightly depending if it has been featured in a blog post or on a child birth forum.

Although 100,000 views isn't enough to consider it a real viral video, it got me thinking about how viral videos can help small businesses grow...

Image: Kentbye CC2What is a Viral Video?

A viral video is a video that gains widespread popularity on the Internet by many people passing it on through email, instant messaging, blogs, facebook, twitter and other media sharing websites.  The video is transmitted in a similar way to a real virus, jumping from one person to another using pre-existing relationships.

What is a Viral Marketing Video?

The aim of a Viral Marketing video is to use the viral nature of the medium and use the viewer to pass a brand building video on, without you having to pay any distribution costs.  If the video is good enough the viewers become willing and knowing participants in this game, not minding that they are advertising for you for no monetary payment, as you have earned the favour by entertaining them for a minuet or two.

What are the Benefits of a Viral Marketing Video?

As a general rule, I would say a video needs to have over half a million views to be considered a really successful viral video, but anything over a couple of hundred thousand views will create a buzz around your brand and have a real impact on your business.  A Viral Marketing Video can help a small to medium sized business in at least four ways.  I'll explain using a couple of well known examples.

"Will It Blend?" from Blendtech.  1 min 37 sec.

1.  Increase Sales.

The "Will It Blend" series has been massively successful with over 80 million views, directly increasing sales.  Although you will most likely never get this many views and only a few percent of viewers will be potential customers, that still could be many thousands people who are looking for your product or service.

2.  Strengthen Brand Identity.

Blendtech and Tom Dickinson are now a nationally recognised brands in the USA, mainly through the "Will it Blend" series.  Customers and fans buy "Will it Blend" t-shirts as they want to associate themselves with the quirkyness and fun they see in the videos.  Other companies and organisations also want to assosiate with Dickinson and Blendtech and actually send their products to them to be blended.
When someone receives a video from someone they like, admire, trust or respect, part of the positive feeling that they have for that person is transferred onto your brand.  This is the same phenomenon that traditional marketing exploits by using celebrities to feature in adverts.

"Matress Dominoes World Record" from Bensons for Beds. 1 min 10 sec.

3.  Coverage in the Local and National Media.

If a video goes viral it is often picked up national media outlets which then increases the impact to brand awareness and sales.  The Bensons' World Record video was picked up by most national newspapers (e.g.Mail, Guardian, Express), Channel 4 News and received even more attention when Blue Peter did the same stunt a few months later. 
Even a mildly successful video will draw the attention of your our local or regional newspapers and radio stations who are always on the look out for the latest local hero or celebrity. 

4.  Increase Employee Moral.

Even if the Bensons Beds video had not gone viral and none of the previous three benefits came about, the moral boost for the staff alone would have made the exercise worth while.  "The staff got together to do something different, fun and slightly risky!"  Sounds familiar?  Just like a standard team building day trip out?  Though when you film a video together it builds your brand externally as well as internally.  If you needer a larger cast for your video, consider inviting your employees family and friends along to help out.  This will encourage a community feel during filming, which is good in it's self, but it should come across well in the video as well.
Having a successful Viral Video out on the web also makes your business a more desirable place to work and you will find recruiting better quality staff a bit easier.

In my next blog post I will talk about number of useful things to consider when planning your Viral Marketing Video.  Any questions to or comment using the comment form below.  Please subscribe to this blog using this feed.

Reminder:  My film "Lift" is being shown at the Exposures Film Festival this Wednesday 18th November at 4.30pm.  See here for more details.

Update and a late Film 10/52

Did I mention I was ill last week? In bed Monday and Tuesday but on Thursday I thought I was well enough to do some test filming. Well I wasn't because that evening I ended up fainting in the kitchen while cooking rice pudding for the kiddies. Fortunately as I fainted I fell onto Shona who was sitting behind me and she was able to lower me to the floor. When I came round I felt so shook up we called NHS Direct and a ambulance took me to A+E. 3 hours later when the doctor saw me I was feeling a bit better but so tired he just sent me home to sleep.

Apart from my illness I have also been putting a lot of time into the pre-production of my graduation film which I am shooting next week! I'm making an experimental documentary about hitch hiking so I will hopefully be on the road from Monday to Wednesday next week. If me and my cameraman get picked up that is, if not our plans may have to change. Anyway, if you see two guys with cameras and mics hitch hiking next week, please pick them up.

So last week's film, "3, 4 and 5 Block Juggling" was the second in my Time Manipulation series for March. The juggled blocks are filmed at quarter speed then the footage is being "juggled" on screen at one eighth speed. I did put it up on vimeo and youtube last friday but have been so busy I've only just got round to posting it here. Bad Nathan.

Although it has it's good points, I think this is one of the weakest experimental films so far. The video in my head was a lot more interesting and compelling than the version which i was able to produce on my computer. Sometimes it is the other way around and an idea which I'm not so convinced about turns out to be very good. But that is why it is experimental i suppose: If all the experiments turned out exactly as I imagine them, then they are not experiments...

The Durham Juggling Convention 2008 DVD is now available!

DVD Trailer:

The DVD includes mad skills and people juggling in the main hall, the games, a sample of the workshops, the unicycle hall and more. It also includes a full hours worth of the show selected from all 11 acts plus some of the best (or worst) jokes from the compere.

So if you want to know what the convention was really like or want a reminder of the day to keep, this DVD is for you!

Free Download Option
The whole DVD is available for free as a download! Due to the size of the file (3.9 Gb), it is being released as an iso file via Bittorrent which you can then burn yourself. This is the torrent tracker file:

Postal Option
As the file is to large for dial up and some people may not be able to burn DVDs I am also offering a basic postal service. I will send a copy of the DVD anywhere in the world at cost price; £2.50 in the UK, £3 for Europe and £4 world wide. These prices reflect the cost of DVD, packaging and postal costs, etc.

[Edit:  Go to this page for more details.]


Durham Juggling Convention DVD is almost ready!

All the editing is done, the DVD has been built and it is almost ready for distribution!

Footage on this DVD includes mad skills and people juggling in main hall, the games, a sample of the workshops, the unicycle hall and more. It also includes a full hours worth of the show selected from all 11 acts plus some of the best (or worst) jokes from the compere.

So if you want to know what the convention was really like or want a reminder of the day to keep, this DVD is for you!

How do I get hold of my copy?
Just hang on a moment, this is only the trailer! The DVD will be available soon, either for free as a download or it can be posted out to you. Check back here soon for more details.

New Year, New Challenge: An Experimental Film a Week for a Year!

Feeling inspired by Paul Sewards "A Photo a Day for a Year" blog I have decided to do the same thing, but with films and not photos, and only one a week not every day. More similar than same then, but you get the idea. Basically I mean that by 2010 I'll have made at least 52 experimental films.

The Rules
Each film must be:
Made in one week (which means produced, shot, edited, everything).
Uploaded on Friday (or before) (or afterwards if I'm on holiday).
Between 30 seconds and 2 min in length.

By experimental I mean, something creative which involves an idea which develops as I work it through. If the finished film is exactly as I first imagined it, I've not experimented with it enough. For example, my Juggling Ball Tracking video was experimental, but this three ball juggling video is not.

So why am I setting my self such a challenge?
Well I find that I have a lot of good or interesting ideas for short experimental films but don't really have any reason to make a start. So with life and everything else getting in the way, I very rarely get around to producing them at all. I have at least five ideas for creative juggling videos which I will need volunteer performers to help out with. This challenge will hopefully provide me with the inspiration and focus to get off my backside and make them.

I also find that giving myself quite restrictive rules when making experimental films forces me to be more creative and to find novel solutions which are often more interesting than if I let myself make any type of tat. As the year progresses I may add additional rules for some months to see how they effect my work. I'll also be asking you (yes you, whoever you are, you there reading this blog) for guidelines and rules to push me in new directions.

And finally, making the videos as part of a ongoing blogable project will hopefully provide me with a group of people who can comment, advise, question and encourage my experimental film making skills.

I don't quite know where this challenge will get me by the end of the year, or even if I'll make it that far at all, but I know it will be good for me creatively and professionally and will improve my craft as an experimental film maker.

Any comments about this project are more than welcome. Encouraged and rewarded even! Hit the "add comment" below to get the conversation started!

So first film is due Jan 8th 2009!