Category Archives: Mobile

NAB 2017: Mobile Video & Second Screening

We have returned from Las Vegas with heads swimming with new information and experiences! Our topics of mobile video advertising and streaming were not covered as explicitly as we had hoped for, but “second screening” was a big success for us. We learned extremely engaging information from one session in particular, and you can hear Zildjian talk about this in the our video below.

Mobile VideoThe session was titled “2nd Screening as the Key to Effective TV Experience Enhancement & Audience Engagement.” Topics discussed included: how to use second screens effectively, how to enhance customer value, and how to generate overall involvement with the media.

Another session, “The Mobile App-Driven Video Revolution is Here,” addressed a wide variety of topics from AR (augmented reality) and its future with television, to the distribution issue that consumers will face trying to get the content they want. Olivia discusses the most important takeaways from this session in our video:


Overall at NAB, our production team learned a great deal about what the future of TV will look like, both through the use of apps and second screens. It is not enough to just have those components available; they have to be engaging for the audience to truly be effective. Only time will tell if these trends change our TV reality.

-Zildjian Bartels, Piper Davis, Olivia Guns & Madison Steffen

NAB 2017- Virtual Reality is Sick!* (*Caution, may cause nausea)

We’re back from Las Vegas, and we are telling the whole world about what happened there, or at least our handful of internet followers! We went to the 2017 National Association of Broadcasters Show to explore existing and future Virtual Reality technologies and uses. The NAB Show gave us an extensive look at solutions industry professionals are implementing in order to push VR technologies into the media market and into our society.

Virtual Reality

We previously mentioned concerns with nausea, and we immediately discussed these issues with Edwin Rogers, owner of VR Video. Rogers, featured in our video below, said that the industry is combating some of these issues with body stabilization and other production techniques.

The newest rage in VR is 4K resolution. 4K creates beautifully immersive footage, but also requires massive files. As we know, this presents various issues for those with slow bandwidth and little storage. Currently there isn’t much of a solution for these massive files, just a suggestion to “throw money at bandwidth” via Google. The point is, we are somewhat ahead of ourselves, and the industry needs to catch up on viable options for file sharing.

Our final area of investigation involved our curiosity about consumer adoption. Sure, VR is a great tool for filmmakers and entertainers, but how can it be integrated into society? Augmented reality provides a look at existing environments that are able to be altered in order to create plans, such as realtors providing frames for future construction, or the plans of a building for a firefighter entering a dangerous area never explored previously. The point is, virtual reality is here and bigger than ever, and you might find yourself using this technology in your own field regardless of your affiliation to video production.

Here is the short video we created about our VR Adventure!

You can also check out a more personal documentation of our journey, thanks to our team member Josh Berendes, through his Daily Doc’s featured on his YouTube! (Like and subscribe, which we have to say for the sake of shutting up Josh.)

The benefits of traveling to Las Vegas as students were staggering. To be able to witness the media industry from production to distribution, including cinematography, directing, engineering, etc. gave us a one-of-a-kind opportunity to really decide what we want to pursue in this industry. It isn’t often that a university program is able to fund students to attend this sort of event. We are truly thankful to UNI Digital Media Leadership for the opportunity. It was a once in a lifetime experience!

– Josh Berendes, Marielle Gaiser, Tom Randolph & Kyle Stoutenberg

NAB Pre-Report: The Future of Virtual Reality

As virtual reality becomes more accessible to consumers we are beginning to see the true potential of this new method of media consumption. From short films to video games, Virtual Reality is the next step in media technology. However, many people have also raised questions and concerns in regards to the distribution of the content being produced. Some of the major problems with the distribution of VR content include: bandwidth needed for VR content and the transcoding of said content. At the 2017 NAB Show we plan to discover what these problems are and what some companies are doing to combat these issues.

Virtual RealityNot only does virtual reality provide impressive 360 visuals, but it also provides new environments for storytelling. We are interested on how these industry professionals plan on using these new territories. With the freedom of completely new realities, stories will begin to incorporate new elements into pre-existing mediums that we haven’t been able to capture before.

Currently smartphones dominate the VR industry, however, due to thermal issues on some headsets, most overheat after about half an hour. For widespread consumer use, these headsets need to be optimized for frequent and maintained use.

Virtual RealityNew technology often fascinates people who are inclined to pay attention to the ever-changing industry, but what about the general public? Sure there are Google cardboard headsets, but are people going to accept this new media as a popular attraction? We are heading to NAB with the intentions of securing a more substantial answer about where this media can take us in the future.

With virtual reality making waves and stealing the show at the NAB show last year, we look forward to seeing where VR finds itself in the Industry moving forward as the tools needed become more accessible to consumers and content creators alike. With glaring issues such as vertigo and nausea plaguing much of the early releases of VR now being addressed and ensuring far more practical usage, the content coming from the session planned at the 2017 NAB show hold much more potential for the future of VR.

Though virtual reality has much at stake with their progress we will be seeing at the 2017 NAB show this year, there lies much potential for augmented reality to have a chance to make waves as one of the most interesting pieces of emerging technology at the show this year in much of the same way VR did last year.

On last week’s episode of No Film School’s podcast, they announced a secret project that VR specialist 360 Designs has been working on; a 6k livestreaming VR drone. Sounds crazy right? That’s because it is. This drone is able to be operated by a single person and has the ability to send wireless signals over five miles. This is something we are excited to witness as it paves another milestone in video production!

Josh Berendes, Marielle Gonzalez-Gaiser, Tom Randolph & Kyle Stoutenberg

Is GoPro Dead?

When you think of GoPro advertisements, the first thing that might pop into your mind is an ad with footage of someone on a vacation or hiking in the mountains, right? What you may not know is that GoPro didn’t make these advertisements themselves. What’s unique about GoPro is that they use their consumer’s videos for their campaigns. The question is, does user generated content effectively advertise the product and make it successful?

GoProWhen purchasing something relatively expensive we are going to want to see reviews on the product. With GoPro, you can see the quality of the camera based on the videos created with them. People may assume that since GoPro advertises with user-generated content that the videos will be low quality and shaky, but this isn’t the case. Knowing that GoPro uses user-generated content makes their advertisements seem more genuine. Consumers are able to create high quality videos and are even advertising the product themselves by sharing it online. In fact, the company more than doubled their income by saving money with user generated content. Instead of spending advertising money on video equipment, a director, and a cast they have one person do take their product, create content, and share it online.

GoProThen the company thought, since consumers are basically advertising for us, why not reward them for their work? So, they introduced GoPro Awards. Every week they would pick photographs from three different categories and the winners would receive $500.They also gave awards for video content in two different categories: $1,000 for unedited footage and $5,000 for edited footage. They created these categories so that amateurs would have a chance at winning money too. The winners of these awards have a chance at making even more money. If GoPro liked their content a lot and wanted to license it to ad agencies, the creator would receive some of that licensing money.

However, in November 2016, it was released that GoPro’s income dropped by 330% compared to the year before. They lost $84 million in three months and their stock dropped 15%. This, obviously, made a lot of their investors angry. Their CEO, Nick Woodman says the reason behind this wasn’t because they weren’t effectively advertising the product, it was because they were behind in production and couldn’t make enough GoPros to meet the demands of the consumers. See link below for more details.

After their large drop in income, GoPro created their first ever scripted TV ad. The purpose of this ad was to show people that with a GoPro you can be more “in the moment” on your adventures. We can all find ourselves hidden behind our phones while on vacations or hanging out with friends, and GoPro can help you to capture what is going on while enjoying it at the same time. But, it’s interesting that they tried to tell people to stop taking videos while taking a video. If the demand really was still high, why would they need to create this new scripted ad? See below for the ad.

I believe that user generated content effectively advertised this product at first. It was cool and exciting so see what you could all do yourself, but this soon wore off. I think that the main reason there was a downfall in 2016 was because there are many different products out there now that are cheaper and do the same thing. It seems that almost everyone has some kind of camera nowadays, so the novelty of a GoPro has worn off. Do you think that GoPro will be seeing any more success in their future, or has their time passed?

Zildjian Bartels

Pokémon Go: Convinced to Catch ém All?

Pokémon GO was released in July of 2016, on various dates; depending on what country you lived in.  Pokémon GO is a free to play, augmented reality game for both iOS and Android phones.  It has in-app purchases, but these are not required to play the game. Pokémon GO has been downloaded over 500 million times worldwide.  But what made this game so successful?

PokemonThe game is a product of Nintendo and Niantic Inc., a software company based out of California.  Niantic was most commonly known, before Pokémon GO, for “Ingress”,  another mobile game where you travelled in the real world to achieve goals in the game.

Before diving into the marketing aspects for Pokémon GO, there is one more thing to be mentioned. Back in 2014 on April Fools Day, Nintendo teamed up with Google and had a one day prank called the “Pokémon Challenge”.  People could go on Google Maps with their computers or use the app while travelling and catch Pokémon.  This was very well received and is considered the inspiration for Pokémon GO.  I think this was also indirect marketing for their current game, a “if you like this, you’re going to like this” tactic.

The marketing campaign for Pokémon GO was actually quite small.  You could almost be bold enough to say, “It sold itself”.  The campaign kicked off with a single 3-minute trailer in September of 2015 that was posted to the Pokémon YouTube Channel.  This went viral and currently has over 42 million views.  Nothing like this game had ever been done before and the hype led all the way up to its launch date.  Fans were disappointed in a few initial bugs, but Niantic quickly fixed them.

Amazingly enough, the companies Niantic and Nintendo did very little marketing for themselves.  Besides a few other small trailers, they didn’t do much else.  And they didn’t need to, with so many people talking about it on social media.  The real advertising for this game came from many other sources.

Pokémon GO has special areas called PokéStops where you can go to get useful items; these are usually real world landmarks, like a statue or a restaurant.  Pokémon in the game also spawn in specific areas that are always the same.  This is where other companies come in to use Pokémon GO as a way to advertise themselves.

PokemonMany restaurants and cafés use their location to entice “Pokémon Goers” to stop by for a drink or for a bite to eat.  This symbiotic relationship benefits both the establishment and the game itself.  The business gets more money in sales, sometimes with deals for “trainers”, and the game gets free advertisement and might even convince others who don’t play the game to give it a try.

Another way that Pokémon Go got its publicity is law enforcement and subway stations.  This is an indirect type of exposure that often warned trainers to “not catch while driving” or to “stay behind the yellow line”.  This is just more exposure for Nintendo and Niantic, whether the law enforcement and subway stations like it or not.

Most recently, Nintendo and Niantic have released a new video announcing the addition of Generation 2 Pokémon to Pokémon GO.  This is clearly a well-timed strategy on their part.  Everyone has been inside all winter, and now Generation 2 is released right on cue.  This is probably the smartest move of the whole campaign.

Overall, I would say that the marketing campaign was effective, even though what they did was very minimal.  When you slap a big name like Nintendo on anything, it will probably have success.  By releasing this on a platform that almost everyone has access to, and knowing that their target demographic would be young adults who grew up with Pokémon, I’d say that their campaign was “super effective”.  So what do you say?  Do you have it in you to catch ém all?

Mitch Diamond

Virtual Reality: The Distribution Dilemma

We’ve all heard it before, “content is king.” However, without an effective means of distribution, even the best content could fall short of its potential within its respective market. In this blog post, I will explore the current state of the virtual reality (VR) industry, the two main distribution problems it has, and one company that thinks it has a solution to these problems.

virtual realityThe Current State of the Virtual Reality Industry: If you have been on Facebook within the last year then you’ve probably noticed the recent trend in the amount of 360 degree videos distributed online. 360 video allows the viewer to choose their own journey, as these videos are created with smartphones in mind, allowing for the user to watch the video on a device they already own. Although 360 video is an early form of immersive video, a truly immersive experience will come with VR.

VR can be defined as an environment, either one that currently exists which is simulated or one that is created from scratch, that can be explored by a person with proper VR equipment. Some of the equipment needed can be as simple as a smartphone that is mounted in front of a person’s eyes via cardboard (Google Cardboard). However, in order to create a more immersive VR experience, the VR industry is making a push towards head mounted displays, or HMDs.

Some of the more popular HMDs created recently are the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive which both allow you to consume VR content with the intended effect of being extremely immersive. There is no doubt we have the technology, but much like the current situation of 4K television content, we are missing an effective and efficient distribution method to consume this VR content.

 The Distribution Problem: The problem with VR comes with its distribution and getting the content to work on all of the different VR platforms and devices. First, the bandwidth needed to consume VR content smoothly is fairly significant and creates problems for large files. Because of this large amount of bandwidth needed, VR content creators are forced to give up quality in order to make the files more manageable which results in heavy compression.

Another problem that emerges when trying to distribute VR content is transcoding and making the content viewable on many different VR devices. Before we had the two major smartphone operating systems (iOS and Android), we had a similar problem of guaranteeing applications to work on multiple devices (forcing developers to choose one platform over the other). Although these two problems are major obstacles for VR content creators, there are still companies looking to solve these issues. This is where Jaunt comes in.

virtual reality jauntThe Distribution Solution: Jaunt is a cinematic VR start up that gained major attention after Disney invested in them in September of 2015. Since then, many employees from Disney owned production company, Lucasfilm, have joined Jaunt’s team to expand their presence in the VR industry. Why does this matter? Jaunt is looking to solve the distribution problem the VR industry has by creating a way to consume VR content via their website and a mobile application full of curated content from many content creators in a way that is efficient in terms of bandwidth.

virtual reality contentJaunt’s website and mobile application not only provide a way for people to access high quality, cinematic VR content, but it also allows them to view the content on many different VR devices. Jaunt is able to transcode their VR content in order to guarantee that it will work on the majority of VR devices that consumers currently own.

After looking at the problems with VR distribution and Jaunt’s attempt at addressing these issues, it is easy to see that we are still in the early stages of VR, but we’re not too far away from VR becoming a common way to consumer many types of media.

What do you think? Once VR content can be easily distributed and consumed, would you buy a HMD? Also, what are some of the other ways you can see VR technology being used in the future?

-Kyle Stoutenberg

NAB Show 2016 Recap

Ten students from the University of Northern Iowa had the opportunity to participate in the 3rd Annual Expedition to the NAB Show in Las Vegas this spring. They studied everything from post production editing and media distribution to the latest trends in virtual reality. Check out their videos on the UNI Digital Media Leadership YouTube channel and like our Facebook Page for more post-show updates!

NAB Show 2016 Overview

Here is an overview of the NAB Show 2016. This will give you look and the size and scope of the convention and a taste of the fun these students had.

 

Post Production Overview

Check out the latest in post production software and equipment. These students got a firsthand look at the latest products from companies like Black Magic, Adobe, and GoPro.

 

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality was a hot topic this year at the NAB Show. Media producers are experimenting with new ways of storytelling and incorporating VR into new media work flows.

Media Distribution

The world of media distribution is constantly changing and the sources of revenue for content has shifted a lot in the last few years. See how come companies are staying ahead of the curve.

 

Special thanks to the IBA for making this trip possible! We’re looking forward to next year’s trip and planning to bring you more great content straight from the NAB Show floor.

NAB Show 2016 UNI Digital Media Leadership

OUR WORLD INTO APPLE’S WORLD

Apple has had a big impact in our world throughout the years, along with Microsoft and other revolutionary companies all over the world. When Apple’s new software system came out on January 1984, it was named Mac OS. At that time Apple was not really famous and did not have a big influence.

Apple TechIn 2007, Apple introduced their new software iOS. It was a big competition with the other companies, especially for cellphone software. In June 2007, they released their iOS1.0 software for the new iPhone 3. At his keynote address Steve Jobs described the iPhone as three revolutionary products in one device that combines a widescreen iPod with touch controls, revolutionary mobile phone, and breakthrough internet communications device, that surpassed important brands like Motorola, Blackberry and Nokia.

Within a period of seven years, Apple has had around eighteen new releases of their iOS software for their computers, laptops, iPods, iPads and other products, especially their iPhones.

Their most resent software was released on September 9, 2015, called iOS9. This new software is more enhanced than any other iOS that has existed before. It has been designed to make consumers’ lives easier. An article titled, “10 Hidden iOS9 Features That Will Make Your iPhone Life Way Easier,” states, “In case you’ve been tucked away under a rock for the past month, iOS9 is one of the latest Apple rollouts reshaping the Smartphone and technology landscape, which have 3D touch, faster Wi-Fi capabilities.” Including many new features that can help consumers make their life easier.

However, the real question is what makes Apple get our world into their world? The answer is very simple. Apple is creating a world that will work all together and will call consumers’ attention even more than it has done before. “Apple is building a world in which you will interact with a computer every moment of your daily activities, like walking and sleeping.” Honan said, “Apple’s ambitions consists of making everything in your life work together.”

Through their software products like watches, iPads, TV, computers and more, consumers are able to keep track of many things. This includes their activities, communicating with others, using it for their jobs, having a virtual wallet, and being able to keep themselves entertained. Each year they work on creating new products that can improve the ones from the years before. It creates big competition for other companies, like Samsung, with their galaxy phone, tablets and watches, and they also gain more consumers than the years before.

For every new release, we as a consumers are open to do anything that is on our hands to get the newest innovations in Apple’s products. On 2010 only 5.6% of the US population owned an Apple Smartphone, but by 2014, this percentage increased 19.8%. This is only for their iPhones, so imagine what the difference will be if we count all their products, and include the countries around the world that use the products? This amount will be extremely higher than it was for 2014, especially with their new releases in 2015.

So, what would make consumers want to get Apple’s new releases? We know that they want to have the last updates, but they also want to have the best products in their hands. We live in a consuming world in which we are being introduced to new technologies every single moment. These new products and technologies have a higher demand, because of the cost and their features on their products. They have become tempting for the consumers and Apple has done a great job in getting us into their world.

What will Apple do next to submerge us entirely into their world?

Astrid Araya