Al Falaschi has worked at Widen for eight years, wearing many different hats on the sales, marketing, and product development teams. You’ll always find him wearing a smile, sharing a joke, and feeling optimistic about the future.
He’s toured Japan with his band, Phat Phunktion, spent nine years working at a foreign language translation agency, and is an avid golfer. We talked with Al to find out how a diverse guy with such an eclectic background adds value to Widen’s DAM platform and marketing efforts, as the in-house video expert.
1. Tell me about your history/experience with video. What’s your involvement with video at Widen?
My experience with video stemmed from my experience with digital audio as a musician. I got into recording music in the late nineties, which was when desktop computers became fast enough to record and edit audio and video. Products entered the consumer market, which made it cost effective to do more things with video/audio and available to the average person.
The first audio software I used was Sonic Foundry Vegas, which was a powerful audio editor, but it also turned out to be a powerful video editor. So I backed into the video world because of audio.
My job at Widen is split between creating Widen’s videos, and thinking about the overall strategy of video in today’s marketing world. On the strategy side, I monitor the current state of the video industry, including innovative use cases, workflows, editing tools and distribution platforms. I’m passionate about learning and then reteaching best practices in how to incorporate popular video platforms like YouTube into an organizations video strategy, for example. On the creation side, I write scripts, shoot the video footage, edit and make sure we “eat our own dog food” by managing all the videos within our DAM system. We use video at Widen for marketing purposes, training our users, and customer service. I create the videos, and help think of new ways to use and repurpose them.
2. How is video connected to digital asset management? What is the relationship between the two?
I’m speaking on a panel at Streaming Media West 2014 about how to make the most of video in other marketing platforms. People want to know how to make video a first-class asset. The problem is, whenever there’s a need for video along the asset lifecycle, people tend to go right from creation phase to the distribution phase. They treat it as one video with one purpose, and one use. We get stuck in this cycle of two people knowing about a video – the one who created it and the one who received it, which is a missed opportunity.
The industry is starting to get better at recognizing that the manage phase allows video to be repurposed beyond that one thing is was created for. And that’s where a DAM system comes in. DAM helps that video to be more visible, more shareable, which increases its ROI. You want that because you spent, time and money to create that video, so you want to get as much use from it as you can. That’s what makes a video first-class – use over time.
I looked at the DAM analytics across all our customer data for the last three years. While the number of DAM sites has increased an average of 36% each year, the amount of video in Terabytes has nearly tripled in both the number of videos uploaded and downloaded. That tells me video popularity is growing in our customers’ media mix! Otherwise, everything would be increasing at the same rate.
3. What can a DAM solution do with video today vs. three years ago?
As a trend, DAM solutions are trying to bring in more features you typicaly see in online video platforms (like Brightcove, for example). I don’t think DAM solutions will ever compete directly with OVPs, but there are some standard OVP features that the majority of marketers would like to have in their DAM without having to purchase a full-blown OVP solution. So DAM is dabbling there, like with embeds and analytics.
4. There's been a huge proliferation of video because people can more easily produce videos themselves. What does this say about the consumer's preference for video quality: do they care more about production value or content?
Not to say that video production quality is not important, but the quality of the content contained within the video – the story, the emotional connection, the entertainment value or level of humor – will determine whether or not that video is good.
If something’s funny, it’s going to be funny whether it’s done with a five camera shoot and Martin Scorsese directing it, or an iPhone and it’s posted to YouTube. People have fine-tuned their crap detector, and now we’re at this ten year digital consumption point, where we’ve seen “cool things” be produced in low-quality and things with no content be produced high-quality, so production value doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore if you’ve got good content to share and show.
5. What are the most common things marketers and creatives ask you about the use of video in DAM?
Workflow and how to get their video assets in the DAM system, and what they can do with their assets in the system.
- What format should we use when we upload video?
- Should we put b-roll or final footage in the DAM system?
- Can the system transcode video?
- Can I preview and play videos in the system?
I’m involved in the more technical side of the conversation. Not so much about how end users would search for the video assets. Then I come back into the conversation on archiving and distribution.
- What’s the best way to embed this video?
- How should I share this video with a group of people that have different internet connections?
- Are different formats supported on different computers (MAC vs PC)?
6. What are some of the best things you see people doing with video today to further their marketing efforts?
I tend to like REAL footage, not worrying about production quality. I like videos where the quality of the content is featured. TED talks are a great example. There’s nothing special about the production value. It’s nice and it’s clear, but TED talks are 15 minutes long. You start watching and when you look up again it’s been 15 minutes. That’s how engaging they make the content.
You don’t get to speak at TED if you’re not an expert. Content is king, so you know that person is delivering quality content. My gut says those videos probably have some of the highest views out there. I like authenticity. Sharing the authentic goes a long way in marketing.
7. Where do you see video and DAM going in the future? Will there be more or less convergence and why?
I think the two will converge more. We’ll see more organizations taking general DAM trends across the enterprise as they begin to embrace video more in their marketing, and loosen the reigns on production quality. Instead of spending six digits on a two-minute video with an agency, we’re going to see more people on staff shooting guerilla-type video and editing and publishing themselves.
DAM will start giving enterprises more control with storage, usability, and pulling the plug on shelf life. And it will continue to adopt more of the more commonly used features from OVPs. So in addition to previews, conversions, and embed analytics, we may see online editing, joining two videos together, and things like that.
Contact us to learn more about how the Widen Media Collective can help make your video a first-class asset!