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Thoughts on Online Video Measurement

February 6, 2010

This week, TubeMogul released a research report which provides insights into how effective pre-roll advertising is.The key finding was that on average, 15.89% of viewers abandon a video during a pre-roll ad. One of their key takeaways is that the measurement of what constitutes a view is important as brands may be paying for views (on a CPM basis), where a viewer didn’t actually watch the full ad.

While CPM is a common metric used for billing agency fees, performance measurement of an online video should not be compared the same way as other media. Reach and frequency are common metrics for TV, for example, but their purpose is to drive awareness. Online video, on the other hand, has a broader ability to target different areas of the marketing funnel.

As you measure ROI around an online video campaign, that measurement process needs to be aligned with the strategy and objective of the campaign. For example, was the purpose of the video to drive awareness and brand equity? Does the video have a call-to-action to drive to another website? Are there other assets and links on a microsite that measures performance or engagement levels? Did the video lead to a sales conversion? What’s the pre and post brand equity of a brand after viewing the video and becoming engaged with a branded entertainment series? Does intent to purchase change? Are people sharing the video, and becoming net promoters of the brand or the web series?

One of the struggles around online video (and many other media) is around the right way to measure ROI. The best way to tackle this is to understand the 1) objectives of an online video campaign, 2) identifying and setting goals around the right (and relevant) key performance indicators (e.g., impressions, click-through, survey response, etc.), and the costs associated with developing the content and distributing it.

The Temp Life!

November 16, 2009

Today, The Temp Life season 4 begins! Read about the launch on tubefilter. This was a fun project that Jato and I worked on a month or so ago, and Wilson and his team/firm is doing a great job promoting it. Looking forward to the reaction.

Editing Tip – Darkening QuickTime Exports

November 7, 2009

So we’re wrapping up editing on The Temp Life this weekend and I’m in the midst of adjusting brightness levels for the exported files. One thing that Final Cut editors may notice is when you export out into a Quick Time file*,  everything brightens up a few levels.

Quick tip on how to adjust for this:

1) Drop your final sequence in a nested sequence

2) Pull in any random clip that has no filters currently being applied into your timeline

3) Apply effects/video filters/image control –> brightness and contrast

4) Go into the random clip filters tab and darken the brightness levels by  -10 (you will want to test to figure out what the right number is)

5) Copy the clip and then click/highlight your nested sequence. Go to edit/past attributes and select filter. Your entire final sequence will go darker (uncomfortably so)

6) Export out your final sequence to QT and compare versus the FCP version. It should look similar.

*The export that I’m doing is mp4 with H.264 compression. Your QT exports may look different than mine so you may need to play around to figure out what, if any, adjustments need to be made in brightness. Of course, you can use the basic concept above to apply any sort of filters across your full sequences.

The Temp Life Shoot

October 26, 2009

So here’s a recap of the three day shoot (10/16-10/18) for The Temp Life. For more behind the scenes footage, check out the Temp Life’s Facebook fan page.

As a quick background, this project came about after I met creator Wilson Cleveland at a Tilzy (now Tubefilter East?) event several months ago. We later had drinks and discussed our different projects (a potential Hayley Season 2, his Temp Life series, etc.) and eventually, he asked whether our Tailslating Team would be interested in helping with his upcoming Temp Life season (which is one of the first, if not the first, sponsored web show. Spherion is the proud sponsor).

The Temp Life series already has 17 episodes distributed over the last 3 years, and we were brought in to help “reboot” the franchise (i.e., up production value). For those who follow the show, this 3-episode arc will take Nick “Trouble” Chiapetta into situations he’s never faced before (and the hilarity ensues!).

The shoot was a lot of fun and Wilson did a great job recruiting other talented folks (Yuri Baranovsky wrote the script, Thom Woodley, Chris Murray, and our very own Rachel Risen made guest appearances). I don’t usually shoot things I don’t write, but I actually enjoyed it. I look forward to seeing how it fares once it hits the web in November.

Day 1 – Friday

We kicked the shoot off at Rattle N Hum bar on 33rd street with a scene between Mark and Laura, whose characters are celebrating the new “situation” of Wilson’s character Nick. Crew arrived around 7AM and we got setup knowing we had to get out of there in a couple of hours. Nothing beats hitting a bar first thing in the morning (might have been easier if I had just stayed out all night)…

I love how bar scenes look. No white walls, lots of color. Rich. We generally stuck with the script but we did incorporate a visual joke near the end that’s going to add a little bit more to the scene. We ended up shooting ’til a little over 11AM, which was longer than we had scheduled, but the bar owner was really cool and let us film as long as we needed.


After the bar shoot, we cleaned up and headed to the Empire State building, where CJP Digital is located (CJP is the agency for Spherion). We took the freight elevator up and dropped off our equipment and grabbed lunch in KTown. We reconvened around 430 and shot out a pretty fun scene in the conference room. We got a late start so we ended up shooting pretty late (10ish). But hey, first day is practice, right?

Mark and Laura were wrapped after Friday’s shoot (Mark would help out all weekend though), and it was a pleasure to work with them. Their characters are a great pair, and it’s interesting to see how different their characters’ situations are from earlier episodes.


Also, as directors coming into an already-established series, we didn’t do too much to change characters or acting styles (like how TV directors do). The series already has a built-in audience, so we kept tinkering to a minimum. Plus, the actors already know their characters and have a comic dynamic with each other, which is one of the advantages of coming into a series that’s already seasoned. That said, we definitely did some tweaking and made sure we had enough choices to play with in post.

Day 2 – Saturday

830 AM call time. We started off by shooting with a bunch of extras for a tracking-style shot. Shot looks good, and the place looks busy as Nick “Trouble” Chiapetta makes his entrance. Our extras were awesome. They were willing to stick around and double up for more scenes in the afternoon. They were very gracious with their time. It was actually kind of funny that when they weren’t in scenes, they were scattered across different CJP desks surfing the web. It actually looked like they worked there.

Anyway, after our extra scene, we shot a pretty hilarious scene with Chris Murray of Hedge Fund and Wilson. A lot of improvisation, which is great. The only tricky thing with all the improv is cutting it together in post and keeping continuity. Chris and Wilson did a great job working off of each other.


After this scene, we had a little mishap with a costume we had picked out for Rachel. The character Rachel plays is “quirky” but the costume she was wearing, well, made her look like a weirdo (and the skirt may have been too short).

Jato, Wilson, and I had a quick discussion and we ultimately agreed that the costume chosen was too “off brand” for the series (remember, this is sponsored, folks!). Anyway, no big deal. We went to Express during lunch and found a nice business pant suit for Rachel (yes, I returned it after the shoot. no, i don’t feel bad about it. yes, lots of shoots do this…).

After lunch, we filmed Wilson with Rachel. This was the longest scene of the shoot, because of the number of camera setups. We had to follow these two characters down a couple of hallways to a closet. Add up all the camera setups and you have a LONG sequence to put together. Jato did a great job directing this scene. I could sense actors were tired by the end, but we got it done around 730PM, short of a 12-hour day.


Day 3 – Sunday

We started around 830AM. It was going to be a shorter day than Saturday, and our biggest scene was first thing in the morning with Thom Woodley (the Burg, the All-For-Nots).

Yuri’s script was a great starting point, no doubt about it. But I’m sure he’ll agree that sometimes you’ve got to let actors improvise and come up with funny stuff on set. There was some of that “magic” happening during Chris’ scene, and I knew ahead of time that I wanted to have some fun with Thom’s character and how that would influence Wilson’s character Nick. This was the only scene that I knew I wanted to go in a more drastic direction. I had a baseline idea of how we could change the character coming into the scene. But really, that initial idea evolved dramatically as we all collectively started riffing and brainstorming on set. A lot of credit to Thom for being so creative and great at improv. He really took this character and starting running with it. He and Wilson played off each other wonderfully in this scene.

What’s really funny (ironic?) is that the dialogue itself didn’t change that much. But the CONTEXT of the whole scene was completely different, including the subtext behind the dialogue. Anyway, this was the most fun scene to shoot during the three days, and I really enjoyed the spontaneity of how the scene came together.


After Thom and Wilson’s scene, we did a couple of quick scenes with Wilson, including a scene that will be used for “minisodes” (where more guest web stars will make appearances). We were done with principal photography around 230 and then we shot some exterior B-Roll around Herald Square. Our Sunday was short, but the three consecutive early morning starts had started to drain me.


Overall, a fun, relatively stress-free shoot. I have to credit Wilson/Mark/CJP Digital for helping us with everything we needed ahead of time (locations, etc) and being so accommodating to the cast and crew. Also, kudos to Wilson as acting as a great Exec Producer and bringing together a lot of great people/actors onto the team (and hell, he’s actually a hilarious actor too).

We’re in post now and the plan is to kick this thing out by mid-November. Stay tune and join the Facebook page for more updates.


October 22, 2009

Hey, folks. Steve from the sci-fi webseries Zerks Log sent me an update on some of the things he’s doing and I thought I’d pass it along to you all. Check out his new site SciFinal.

Note from Steve:

We here at StoryForge are pleased to announce the launch of SciFinal: The last stop for independent sci-fi online.

SciFinal is a website / directory showcasing the best in sci-fi web series online. You can find it at

As web series producers ourselves (Zerks Log), we found that independent shows get lost online amidst all the talk about Star Trek, Star Wars, Terminator, and the like. Those shows and movies are great, but they make it harder for us independents to get noticed. Hopefully SciFinal will help fix that.

So what we want is for SciFinal to be a place hungry sci-fi viewers can go to find new shows. A hub for the best in episodic indy sci-fi—shows like After Judgment, The Cabonauts, or our own Zerks Log!

It’s easy (and free) for series creators to put up a show page. We’ll be adding additional features as we go—like an integrated blog feed and connections to the SciFi Collective. We’re open to feedback, so let us know your comments & thoughts.

Temp Life

October 19, 2009

We just wrapped on a few episodes of The Temp Life this past weekend. I’m planning on providing a brief recap later on, but until then, check out some stills at the Temp Life facebook page.

For Hayley fans, here’s a picture of Rachel as a very different character than we’ve seen her play before.


WGA East Event

September 29, 2009


Hi, folks. Tailslating Productions has joined the Writer’s Guild!

For those in the NY area, I’ll be on a panel with other new media writers at the Paley Center tomorrow, September 30th.

From WGAe site:

“Many of these writers and creators will participate in “From Words to Code: Surviving as a Writer in the Digital World,” sponsored by the WGAE and The Paley Center for Media on September 30th. The writers will share the lessons learned from creating content for the Internet, examine business models for original online programming and effective distribution networks, and discuss how writers can communicate and make a living in the new media world.”

Hayley, Temp Life, and More

September 11, 2009

Wow. It’s been about 3 months since my last entry. Where the hell have I been? It wasn’t intentional, but I suppose I was taking the summer off…

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to give an update on The Hayley Project, when this article unexpectedly came out on Tubefilter last night. Since it’s already in “print”, I thought I’d confirm and talk about what’s next for the team at Tailslating.

We’re excited to work with CJP Digital to reboot Temp Life for Spherion, a leading staffing and recruiting firm. Temp Life is a webseries comedy that focuses on Commodity Staffing, a small temp agency, and the wacky and unglamorous jobs that it provides to its staff. We’re also working virtually with Yuri Baranovsky, who created and wrote Break A Leg. I met Yuri at the after-party at the Streamys (don’t I sound cool?), and he seems like a good guy. He also blogs and had some interesting (and controversial) things to say about the death of web series recently. At some point, I’ll probably react to this on this blog. Anyway, Yuri will be writing the new season for Temp Life, and Jato and I will be producing/directing the series. And yes, we plan on finding a spot for Rachel (Yuri, you’re writing her into the script, right?).

As for The Hayley Project…. it’s still in hiatus. I would have loved to announce that Season 2 was green lit, but we’re still working out the financing. And truthfully, there’ s been some loss of momentum over the months as the opportunity for web series financing and sponsorship has dwindled. I’m not saying that it won’t happen, but the likelihood of Season 2 being developed this year is getting small. That said, I remain hopeful that we’ll be able to put something together in the future.

A couple of other notes:

  • Another exciting development is that Tailslating Productions will become a WGA Signatory shortly. We’ve been in talks with a rep at the WGA and we just need to sign some papers (well, a lot of papers actually).
  • I’ll be a guest on the Streamys Showcase panel at the New York Television Festival on 9/23
  • I’ll also be on a new media panel at the Paley Center on 9/30 (this one sponsored by the WGA)

Finally, I wanted to give a quick plug for my friends who created Real Life With Married People (Destin, Celia, and Deanna Russo). Their first season just ended and it sounds like there’s a good chance they’ll re-up for a second one after Deanna is done shooting Gossip Girl. Looking forward to more episodes.

Hulu Hints at Pay Model

June 3, 2009

Hulu is in the news again. There’s an article on Daily Finance titled “Soon, you’ll have to pay for Hulu.” (sensational title, isn’t it?)

According to the article, Jonathan Miller, News Corp.’s newly-installed chief digital officer, said he envisions a future where at least some of the TV shows and movies on Hulu are available only to subscribers.

This makes complete sense to me and something that was foreshadowed with Hulu Desktop’s launch. Hulu needs to find a way to monetize content and offering a premium subscriber service is the best way to do this. Of course, most people don’t think about the business issues at hand. If you look at the comments under the Daily Finance article, you’ll see a lot of posts on how “stupid” studio execs are and how this would be a horrible move by Hulu (these people are probably the same group who joined in on the Clown Co. name calling pre-launch).

First off, nowhere did Miller say that ALL TV shows and movies on Hulu would cost money. He said some. Second (and this is important), he didn’t detail what the future state of Hulu’s inventory would look like, meaning the total inventory could be significantly greater than it is today.

What I think will happen is Hulu will keep a similar inventory of sample episodes and movies free to viewers just like it is today, and then upsell premium subscriber-based services for additional content (e.g., all past seasons of 24 in addition to the current season). The total inventory is going to go up significantly so that there is enough content to maintain a free base service as well as premium services. This should keep current viewers who aren’t willing to pay for content satisfied, while also capitalizing on the segment of people who are willing to pay for access to more content (and may be willing to replace their current cable subscription).

Makes perfect sense to me.

UPDATE: NewTeeVee is taking a poll on how much people are willing to pay. I’m sure that people are filling out the poll based on the current state of Hulu, which I am sure is going to change. So it’s not surprising that so far, the majority would not pay.

YouTube XL

June 2, 2009

Only a week or so after Hulu launched Hulu Desktop, YouTube just launched YouTube XL, a web-based TV style experience. Looks like the competition for moving into the living room is heating up.