With the weather brighter this week, we have been busy working on all sorts of videos for clients. Yesterday we were working for CSR Hebel on client testimonials. We were all the way out in Kellyville, filming Ichijo, a Japanese owned home design company. The company is focused on delivering slick, state of the art designed homes that are energy efficient. Hebel is helping them to achieve a 7star rating on their homes for efficiency. Tough to beat that. We love products that are helping us become that little bit greener.

Matt filming Hebel

BBC Qantas Results Story

Yesterday Matt was again working with Phil Mercer, BBC’s Australian Correspondent. They were reporting on Qantas’ results. You can find the story here:
You may need to cut and paste the link into your browser.

The most important video you will ever see

I would love to be able to produce the most important video you will ever see and am still in search of that content… but so far this takes the cake by miles…

I like WonderingMind42 and subscribe to him on YouTube. Today he posted a corker. My sons and I love, Love, LOVE maths. We calculate everything, but this video has over 4 million views. It’s an old fella lecturing on maths in Boulder Colorado. What on earth could possibly be so compelling, but then you also have to see that its not just one video… there are 8 that follow on. I won’t spoil it for you. You’ll just have to watch to see what’s so darn amazing about what he (Prof. Albert Bartlett) has to say. I concur with WonderingMind42 that “This needs to be required listening for every person on the planet. Nothing else will matter if we don’t understand this.”

The presenter is Albert Bartlett, a retired Physics prof. at U of Colorado-Boulder and the presentation is titled “Arithmetic, Population, and Energy”. WorkingMind42 says that he introduces it to his students as “The most boring video you’ll ever see, and the most important.” But then again, after viewing it most of his students have said that if you followed along with what Bartlett is saying, it’s quite easy to pay attention, because the content is so darn compelling.

I’m doing my part, but if you also forward this to everyone you know, we might actually stand a chance in staving off disaster in the global finance system, peak oil, climate change, and every other resource issue you can think of. Without a widespread understanding of what Bartlett’s talking about, I think we won’t be able to dodge ANY of those issues. BE ABSOLUTELY SURE you catch the parts about “the bacteria in the bottle” (in Part 3) and the list comparing things that add to the problem and things that address the problem. If we don’t choose from that right-hand column, nature will choose for us. I agree with WonderingMind42 that I would rather we be the ones making the choice.

Women in Banking & Finance Disruptive Technologies

Yesterday I was working with Women In Banking & Finance (WIBF) on the Media relations for their lunch series and yesterday’s was on Disruptive Technologies and sponsored by Thomson Reuters. It was a solid turn out both with the press and attendees. You might have seen one of the stories, by the AFR wrote about the event featuring on one of the panelists, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin from CBA: Kelly was joined by Daniel Petre – former CEO of Microsoft, Michael Weeding – Digital Director with AMP and the discussion was moderated by Jenny Wilson from Deloitte.

There were a few takeaways, but the most interesting for me is personal cloud and the issues that surround it. As consumers, we can take charge of the amount of information we allow a website/company to take from us and personal cloud is the way to do it. It will empower everyone that little bit more for their personal information. The downside is that there are no ways for the web to suggest any relevant offers or websites based on our preferences and that, of course, limits some offers and sites in which we might have genuine interest. There again it comes down to personal preferences.

Communities are Important

When we first started at Harbord Public School, I was a more than a little concerned at the size of the school. With over 1100 students and 10 kindergarden classes, it is one of the largest primary schools in NSW. We can see why. As large as the school is, it has a reputation for having very small community mentality and as far as parents and students are concerned, we are all one family. As soon as someone is hospitalised or hurt when the recovery will be months and could impact the family, the other parents and students (and not just those from shared classrooms) step in and find a way to help.

Our Music Director’s daughter, Tiffany Williams, has just turned 15 on 28 June. A few weeks before her birthday, she was diagnosed with a serious brain condition, chiari 1 malformation, which is a displacement of the brain. In her case, her brain was slipping down her skull and onto her spinal column. The solution was major, life threatening surgery and months of recovery. With three other siblings (and the oldest with autism) and a husband who is partially paralysed from a stroke he suffered a couple of years ago, Debbie has a lot on her plate.

Right away an email was sent and the responses started coming. You have to understand our Music Director, Debbie English. She just gives and gives to our children. She has tutored students whose families couldn’t afford it for free and given those children a whole new outlook for their future – not to mention a new passion. We have five bands and Mrs English doesn’t miss a performance, a practice and certainly not a concert.

So our band committee set up a charity, called Band Together for Tiffany and parents started donating. Bec Williams and our band committee also started up a meal chart, where families have a roster to cook for the family. The family says it has never eaten so well. Then the children, who adore Debbie, started to talk about what they could do. At the top of the list was busking – seeing as they were musicians, and so the band committee began planning a concert where each band could play two songs (otherwise it would go all night) and the concert was planned for Sunday, 20 July (yesterday at Harbord Public School Hall).

But back to the concert… What a turnout. It was difficult to find a park, much less a seat. There was a silent auction, a raffle, a cake stall, a burger and steak sandwich stall, and a crepe stall. The concert started with the junior band, then the intermediate band, the senior band, the concert band, then the jazz band and ended finally with our teacher’s band, the Chalkers, who played on and on until people were finally ready to go home well after 6.

The band members, who were all wearing school uniforms, had another thing in common yesterday; they all had something blue with them as they played; Blue is Tiffany’s favourite colour. There were blue ribbons in hair and hair colour, ribbons on the instruments, blue socks, blue arm bands, you name it – these kids were creative and very proud to be a part. Even some of Debbie’s alumni students came back to play in the various bands. They didn’t care which in band they sat. They just wanted to show their support.

Not one to miss a performance, Debbie turned up and was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support she and her family have had over the past couple of months. And the thing about family is you know there is a time when you give, but there is a time you have to receive and she understood that this was our time to give back to her. And though, she wasn’t looking for more money, she understood how important it is for us to be a part of her life and help her in a very difficult time. She let us get on with it. She is just that kind of beautiful and generous person.

There are other illnesses that we are working on at the school, nothing to the extent of Tiffany’s, thank God, but having been on the receiving line of their giving tree a few years ago, I can say that being a member of Harbord Public School’s family is awesome. The support is unwaivering and the community is just beautiful. We are thankful that we chose this very spot to raise our family and run our business. I’m glad our kids are learning these values. Nothing worse than someone moaning about what they don’t have or demanding more and more or not appreciating the things others can only dream about. And I love that they are naturally thinking about others rather than just themselves and what they can get out of things. It’s important and reminds me of life and what it was where I grew up. This is how the whole world should be.

Tiffany had her surgery on 30 June. She is doing well, but she will have a few months of rehabilitation before she is back to normal. She is just an amazing and gorgeous girl. If you would like to know more about Tiffany, there is an established a donation point for assistance at called Band Together For Tiffany. Also there is a Facebook page on if you are looking to find updates about our beautiful girl.

Solar Panel Installation Panel Video Tutorial

One of our newest clients, GSES, is planing to use video to help teach electricians how to install solar panels. They are clever to use this way because it means that their ‘students’ can view to the video as many times as they’d like. The electricians can also come back to the video later on if they have any questions. It will save everyone time in the long run. We are working on this video now and plan to finish it sometime next week.

Part of our video release result

We have been away on holiday to celebrate the end of school holidays and so I haven’t been on deck to update where our Video News Release was used. For those of you who were curious what happened with our VNR, our friends and clients at Manly Council have ordered a media search and so far we know that SBS did use the video press release. It is now also available online. Click on the following link (or cut and paste it into your browser if you have trouble with the link) if you would like to see the story:

We have hit our audience, so everyone is pleased with the result.

The Best Use of a Video News Release

Video News Releases (VNRs) are fairly common and if you have the resources, they can be effective, but there are times when they are invaluable if you want to raise your profile in electronic media. If you do decide to try a VNR, be sure to use a cameraman who shoots in the same format as the networks. Newsdesks only accept amateur footage when broadcast quality camerawork just isn’t available – for example in the case of a natural disaster or unexpected crash, accident or something else where TV crews just can’t be there in time to film the action.

To get actual air time, there are some key aspects to your announcement that must be adhered. Most importantly the project must be visual. Television is a ‘show me’ medium and if you have nothing to show, just a regular printed press release will suffice. Better to save a VNR for another time.

If you do have a visual project or announcement – something you are unveiling, this may be an ideal opportunity to use a VNR. Shots can be included from the start of the process and follow it all the way to completion. News desks appreciate these shots because they just do not have the time or resources to send crews at each of the key times in the course of the production.

School holidays present a real problem for news rooms and this is when you will find crews are short staffed and staff cameramen are just flat out with work. If there are more pressing stories, your announcement will be down the list for coverage. However, if you send a VNR, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised at the coverage you do receive.

The Weaving Bridges Project for the Guringai Festival is the perfect example of this. The project was sponsored by Manly Environment Centre, Manly Community Centre, Northern Beaches Aboriginal Community and Warringah Council and represented building bridges between indigenous and non-indigenous communities through weaving creations that would all be a part of a large scale art installation. The people who attended the weaving workshops were from all walks of life and the creations themselves were colourful and very different. The project embraced elements of both communities and the outcome was a real coming together of traditional weaving and western world weaving, including crocheting. Some of the projects included both. A welder/artist was appointed to take artwork that was inspired by aboriginal rock carvings and turn them into three 3D whale sculptures. Once the structures were completed, the creations were sewed onto them.

The entire process took over 2 months and the art installations are just out of this world. They have moved them today (4 July) to the Manly end of the beach and people are flocking to take photos of them and post the photos on their Facebook pages.

So by sending the video of the process and interviews of people along the way, this project actually has an excellent chance of receiving air time when it might have been missed on a normal, busy news day. We have actually been chased by SBS (NITV) and ABC24 for the footage. There is no doubt they both have a substantial amount of air time to fill and that combined with lack of crews due to school holidays, is in our favour. Their viewers could very well also see the whales

Deciding whether or not to do a VNR comes down to common sense. If you are filming the entirety of the project (as we have – we have been working on a documentary for the Councils), it makes sense to take the extra time and put together a VNR. It just means there is a real possibility for air time.