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Including Video on Your Website

Nov 9, 2009 12:00 PM, By Don Kreski

A high-end web designer shares his thoughts on where the Web is going.

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A well-written script and a good actor can help communicate what your business does quickly and in a visual manner.

A well-written script and a good actor can help communicate what your business does quickly and in a visual manner.

Flash for rich media

If you look at the Falkor site carefully, you'll notice several types of media in use. There is a great deal of text, any number of photos and diagrams, and a fairly traditional menu system. The site is not 100 percent video for a number of reasons. One was budget. Another was to meet the needs of various potential clients, some who prefer to get their information from video and others from text. An important consideration was to serve the needs of the search engines. You have to include text and HTML-compatible coding to be indexed by a search engine.

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In creating the video segments for the site, Ricke hired a producer who shot the actor against a large greenscreen. "That allowed us to drop out the background and put all of the video on one layer," he says. The backgrounds and the panels with menu options are on additional layers. "I showed this site to another producer I know, and he just didn't understand what we were up to. 'Why do you need to do this in Flash, rather than doing all the effects in a video editor?'

"The point of it is that we can change the Flash layers at will or even change them dynamically, depending on the path the viewer is taking through the website. I had another client we did a video for who said, about a year later, 'I wish we could change the background on that segment.' Well we could. It's Flash. What do you want to change it to?"

Of course, most video-based websites are not built with this level of care, nor are most online videos. "Every company has a core website that should be really well-done," Ricke says. "But you need to get your message out in a lot of different ways, and some of them can be a little rough around the edges."

Video can help you tell your story at every level, but you do need to realize that a multimedia website or promotion is definitely more expensive than a static one.

How expensive? Years ago the rule of thumb for high-end industrial video production (not broadcast) was $10,000 per minute, and that included planning, scriptwriting, talent, shooting, and postproduction. Today, we're probably talking roughly $4,000 per minute or $16,000 for a 3- or 4-minute production. If you're able to find a young or hungry videographer, you can do better. Ricke is putting together a package that includes writing, acting, studio greenscreen production, and editing for about $3,500 per minute. I've started offering productions showing AV integration work for lower prices through my company, Kreski Marketing Consultants, as well.

Whatever the production type or the budget, Ricke argues for planning and scriptwriting as the key to success, and I agree. "I'm a big fan of movies," he says, "and I always watch the behind-the-scenes stuff on any DVD. I watched Pixar's Up recently and was intrigued to hear the director say that they spent five years making that movie, with three and a half spent just on the story. I don't know how many people realize how much goes into what to say and how to say it."

Don Kreski is the president of Kreski Marketing Consultants, offering marketing services to the AV industry. You can reach him at

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