Online video has been around since the early days of the web, it just really, really sucked.
Low bandwidth, slow processors, and horrible video formats (think Real Player) all but made putting online video on your site a chore that most webmasters simply ignored. Even when you had a polished video, by the time the end user saw it--it was so blurry and choppy that it would turn more people off your product then on to it.
The Advent of Flash Video and MP4
About 2 years ago, Macromedia (now Adobe) started utilizing a new video format (mp4) with their popular flash player and created Flash Video. With an almost instantaneous start time, clear images, and crystal sound--they revolutionized online video and have made it a force to be reckoned with.
Video content sites such as YouTube, Google Video, Yahoo 360, and more are growing in popularity as well as CNN.com, Foxnews.com, etc for video clips ranging from news to music videos. And as an arts organization, you need to start taking advantage of this trend.
Why Use Online Video
There are few tools more persuasive then video, consumers want to see what they are buying, and as an arts group you can create virtual tours, trailers, previews, even interviews that patrons can watch before making a decision to buy a ticket.
Who says that only multi-million Hollywood blockbusters can create coming attractions? Why not design a trailer for The Tempest, or for Tosca and place it on your website for people to view to help increase awareness of the production.
You Don't Have to Pay for It
One of the greatest things about online video, as long as it lasts, is that you can actually host your video on Mytube, or Google Video, and then embed it within your website.
I used to host these videos on the site, but it cost me an extra $1000 a month in bandwidth, by moving the files over to Google and YouTube, not only do I save money--but I use their Flash servers free of charge.
Tips for Good Online Video
• Keep it short, anything over 4 to 5 minutes will not be watched all the way through.
• Anything that doesn't increase ticket sales is not worth doing.
• Make it easy to watch--put it in Flash format (99.8% of users will be able to view)
• Go professional--have good lighting, quick scenes, sharp transitions
• Pay attention to sound, use a good microphone
• Never hold a shot for more then 10 seconds, keep it moving
• Brand your video--place your website address and company name in the beginning and end.