Digital Video Experts is an Australian video production company. Founder Richard Farr talks about competing with larger agencies and why collaborating on videos with Hightail ticks all his boxes.
We produce videos for corporate clients
Digital Video Experts is a team of four people based in Sydney, Australia. We have created educational and training videos for colleges, marketing and promotional material for hospitality companies and we’ve just branched out into doing aerial videos using drones. For one of our biggest clients – the Supreme Court of New South Wales – we record court cases and events like the swearing-in of judges. We’ve also developed a teleprompter brand for iPads called Prompt-it Teleprompters, which we’re selling around the world. That side of the business is doing very well and we’ve just incorporated in the US.
In 2004, I saw that web and video were merging
I grew up in Switzerland and was working in the hospitality industry when I got the opportunity to work in Australia. I didn’t think twice about it. After four years, I fell into web development and became the producer for a small company in Sydney. Around 2004, I recognized that video would be increasingly important to the web so I started filming using a handheld camera. That’s how the business got started and it’s grown ever since. We recently purchased a warehouse and converted it into a studio, which is now one of the largest in Sydney.
The first thing we ask clients is: “Do you need a video?”
We always want to be clear about the problem they’re trying to fix and whether video is the right solution. So many people come to us wanting a video but without any real idea about what they’ll do with it. That’s why we like to be involved from the pre-production stage so we can figure out what they need, who they’re targeting and how we’re going to get the message in front of this audience. One client recently told us that we’re more of a creative agency than a video production company.
Sharp commercial produced by Digital Video Experts
I’m old school…I like face-to-face meetings
I always insist on meeting clients in person as much as possible. It’s nice to have that human touch, especially with new clients. This surprises some people who are used to doing everything over email, but I find it’s the best way of developing relationships. So when I use digital tools, I still like them to have that personal touch.
I want to discuss visuals, not time codes
Our process was to use Hightail to send the video to our client who would then download it, watch it and send back an email of comments using the video’s time codes as references. We’d get the email and go back through each reference to figure out what they mean and hopefully make the right changes. I had looked at options for video commenting but they were too expensive and didn’t include file sharing. So when Hightail came out with Spaces, we were very excited. It ticked all our boxes.
Our clients love Spaces
We first used Spaces on a large production for a big packaging company. Every time we added a new version, we’d get lots of very specific comments in the Space. The video uses animation to explain technical data about the product and our client could highlight where something needed amending. It’s very useful to know exactly what they’re talking about. Just on one cut, Spaces saved us an hour. Think about that over the number of productions we’ll use it for and we’ll be saving hundreds of hours. It also saves our clients’ time, which is really important to me.
We do all our animation in-house
Good animation takes a long time and it’s very fiddly so it’s important to be clear about what you’re creating. One of the ways we work is that we print out a still from the video and draw the animation over it to show what we imagine it will look like. We can now scan the printout and upload it as a PDF to Spaces to share with the client so they can make comments. We’re also starting to use Spaces more for internal conversations about videos and it’s especially useful if one of us is not in the office.
Versions is probably the most powerful tool in Spaces
I’ve never seen a versioning system like the one in Spaces. When you upload a new version, it’s always clear so everyone is working on the latest file. But you can still go back and see everything from the previous version. That’s extraordinary. I often find that our clients have lots of projects on the go at once so can forget details about video. It’s great to be able to easily show them that they have already approved something or requested a change.
We have to be clever about the way we do productions
When going up against bigger agencies and production firms, we need to be able to compete by offering better value. We believe our smaller team can achieve the same goals as a larger corporate agency would at a much higher price. We just have to be smarter and help our clients develop more content to feed the hungry beast of the internet without spending big. Utilizing technology like Hightail can help us work more effectively and save time for both our clients and us.