Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Keywest Video: Our Year in Review

2013 Through the Eyes of  the Keywest Video Team

January: At the start of 2013 Keywest kicked off the new year with the launch of a fresh design to our website. Although tweaks and adjustments have been made all throughout 2013, it was in this first month when the new style of the website took form and went live. We think it’s important to continually optimize our website and make sure we are always looking for ways to improve the site for ourselves, and of course our clients.

keywest video February: It was in February when we produced a video for one of Keywest’s friends Renaldo Gairy, highlighting his personal training company Way2Fit. Renaldo is a well known body builder, and uses his personal expertise in order to help others reach their physical goals. The final product was not only an excellent depiction of Renaldo’s personal training abilities and fitness knowledge, but also an indication of his personality and success rate with his clients.

March: We acquired a new Producer/Project Manager. Her name is Shivani if you don’t already know her, and she is wonderful. Shivani is talented in many ways, and has improved various aspects of Keywest’s business. From her exceptional organizational and management skills, to her flare for web design, and very handy technical knowledge, Shivani is a valuable asset to the team and we are all thrilled to have her.

keywest video
April: We continued to develop our relationship with NABS (The National Advertising Benevolent Society), which is a great organization that supports those in the marketing and communications industry who are facing a difficult time, due to illness, injury, unemployment or the like. NABS is a non-profit which approached Keywest several years ago, and since then we have donated multiple live action and animation videos in order to help spread the message about their cause. In April we created this testimonial video for them.

May: We utilized a remote controlled helicopter for the first time on one of our clients shoots where they wanted to get aerial footage of their building in downtown Toronto. We had been wanting to use a drone for some time, knowing its capacity for cost effective aerial shots, and the results were everything we ourselves and the client expected, and more! We continue to recommend this route to our clients who are interested in getting a different point of view that is sure to impress audiences and create a truly professional corporate video.

keywest video June: We are proud to say that Huawei Canada has chosen Keywest Video to produce several of their video projects over the past year and a half. In June of this year we were very happy to once again be working with the Huawei team, this time on the production of a promotional video commemorating the company’s fifth year on Canadian soil, which was to be shown at their event commemorating the occasion. Returning clients show us that our commitment to customer service and the quality of our productions is really paying off.

July: We added another amazing team member to our roster of talent. Hiram is a 2D and 3D motion graphics animator. He loves what he does & we love him for that. Hiram has increased the quality of animation work that Keywest produces, and is always ready with fresh and interesting new ideas to aid our clients’ videos. Hiram has been working on a number of different projects over the past few months and looks forward to what lays ahead in 2014.

keywest videoAugust: This was the month when Keywest completed several promotional videos for Century 21 Aberwin Realty. They wanted to showcase their agents, and emphasize that their team was “smarter, bolder, faster” then the rest. The Keywest team was delighted to work on the project, as the real estate market is one that we have wanted to tap into for some time. Since this project, we have produced videos for a Remax brokerage, and have had several meetings with other agents and brokerages across the GTA and beyond.

September: In September we produced our first weekly video blog. Since then we have been creating video blogs on a wide array of topics, and plan on continuing this throughout 2014. We have found video blogs a great way to reach out to those with similar interests who want to learn a bit more about the corporate video production industry, are interested in getting a video for their own company, or simply find the content interesting. We are happy to share our knowledge at Keywest, and we hope that these video blogs have been a useful asset for our viewers.

keywest videoOctober: Although weekly video blogs were something that we just started producing the previous month, holiday videos were a Keywest Video classic. In previous years though, December was the month where we really ramped up our game and created a cute/silly video to share with our clients, vendors and friends. But due to our recent commitment to make videos for our own use on a regular basis, we had decided that each and every holiday should have its own special Keywest holiday video. This gem was the result.

November: November started out like any other month, but half way through it seemed as though every client we were speaking with wanted to film on the last week of the month. We ended up having two shoots booked almost every day on that last week of November. There was a lot of extra planning and organization involved to ensure that everything went smoothly and without a hitch. In the end no equipment was lost, all of the footage looked great, and our clients were truly satisfied that we were able to work around their schedules. We proved a lot to ourselves this month.

keywest videoDecember: This was a busy month for us. There were quite a few shoots, lots of editing, both live action and animation, and of course the holiday’s create a busy atmosphere with holiday parties and endless amounts of fruit cake. But in between it all we managed to produce another holiday video, to add a little extra cheer to the month. While many in our office groaned about the prospect of lip synching, doing the can-can and blowing fake snow into the camera, I think it was all worth it. If you haven’t already seen it please take a look!

Happy New Year from everyone here at Keywest Video!

Keywest Video: Our Year in Review

Monday, December 30, 2013

Online Video Trends: Expectations for 2014

 Popular Online Video Trends in 2014

Over the past year Keywest Video has written numerous blog posts, and created video blogs on the subject of online video trends and their impoonline video trends rtance, and of course produced many online videos for our clients. As countless marketing, technology, and video professionals have noted, “online video is considered to be the fastest growing consumer service offering” (ihub Media). This is a fact that many individuals have been aware of for quite some time, but in 2014 will be undeniable. Online video is something that is not only here to stay, but rapidly growing and expanding to include new elements, including new styles, technology and social components.


With the closing of 2013 fast approaching we thought it would be nice to look at how online video is shaping up in the coming year ahead, and expand on what we see as some of the important changes in this market.

Micro Videos

With the introduction of Vine’s 6 second video model, and Instagram’s recent video player addition, short video clips that can be quickly filmed, shared, and devoured are on the rise. Companies are even getting in on the action finding innovative ways to push their brand through these social video platforms. Methods such as ‘how to’ videos, product features, behind the scenes access, and user generated contests, have been featured, as an article on TechVibes points out.


Slow motion has been utilized for years in Hollywood actions movies. But now with the addition of a slow-mo feature on the newest iphone, we should be seeing a lot more use of this style in the coming year. Slow motion can be a great feature that adds an interesting element to video, whether it be a shot of a car crashing into a tree, to a beautiful bird flying through the air, the impact it creates is substantial and can be used for a variety of purposes.

Aerial footage

Aerial footage adds a whole other element to a video. It not only creates an air of professionalism, but it provides a viewpoint which we don’t often see in our everyday life. Big budget productions have for years been afforded the privilege to get these wonderful angles, and only in the past few years has it become more accessible. Remote controlled helicopters are allowing smaller productions from corporate to indie films, to be able to get aerial footage in a cost effective manner.

4K video

As with the slow-mo on iphones, and miniature drones, 4k video technology is something that is being put in the hands of casual film makers all around the world. With the introduction of 4K being able to be shot on GoPro’s, this superior quality and video resolution will be something that we will see more of in the coming year.

Mobile Video

Reel SEO states that, “between 2012 and 2013, the average time spent watching videos on smartphones doubled, and on tablets it tripled”. While some of us have been watching videos on our phones for years, in other areas, including older demographics and less tech-heavy parts of the world, smartphones are still being integrated. Therefore it is a growing market which is only going to become more important and integral to an overall branding strategy in 2014.

Interactive video

Interactivity within video is something that has been slowly gaining in popularity over the past decade. In Keywest’s blog Interactive Video: Corporate Video Rebirth we discussed how interactivity has been utilized in broadcast television, such as American Idol getting the audience to phone in and vote, to today YouTube users can embed links directly in their video content. There are so many more possibilities that have yet to be explored, such as more social elements: “like buttons which will allow viewers to pick the content they want” (ihub Media). Targeted content is what every marketer strives for, so being able to allow audiences more autonomy is a key aspect in the future of online video.

There are many other trends out there, but these are a few that we think will be important in the coming year. And while some trends are just that, trends, which will eventually fade away or at least be utilized less often, others are only in the beginning stages and have the potential to become a standard, and be integral for online video in 2014 and beyond.

Online Video Trends: Expectations for 2014

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Xmas Jammies: Some Holiday Cheer

At Keywest On Christmas Eve: In My Xmas Jammies

xmas jammiesBecause some of us are at the office on Christmas Eve I thought I would share a little fun to brighten up your day! If you haven’t already seen the adorable video Christmas card that went viral this year, check it out below.

This family sure knows how to grab attention; catchy song, adorable kids, some funny commentary on the family’s year, and of course a set of ridiculous matching xmas jammies.

In just over a week this video has garnered 12.6 million views on YouTube!

What do you guys think of this new video Christmas card tradition?

Xmas Jammies: Some Holiday Cheer

Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy Holidays from Keywest Video!

Happy Holidays from Keywest Video!

Keywest Video wants to wish you happy holidays and a joyous festive season!

We look forward to working with you in the new year :)

Happy Holidays from Keywest Video!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Post-Production Services at Keywest

Post-production services are essential to every video as this is the stage where your video finally comes together.

At Keywest, we offer a variety of post-production services, from live action to motion graphics and animation, to help bring your video to life.

Post-Production Services - Edit Suite Post-Production Services – Edit Suite

Live Action

Live action editing is one of the most common post-production services performed here at Keywest. In this case, the editor will sift through the captured footage and re-assemble the clips to tell a story. This can sometimes be quite a challenge in the event that there is a great deal of footage and a rather limiting time constraint. Once the footage has been cut together, the final video comes together by adding elements such as voice overs, music, titles, colour-correction, audio cleaning, etc. Our talented editors here at Keywest can transform your raw footage into a captivating story. They will listen to your needs and convey your message in the most creative way possible.

Motion Graphics & Animation

If you’re looking to explain an interesting/abstract concept or include elements that live action can’t exactly replicate, post-production services such as motion graphics and animation are excellent tools to get your company/brand noticed. Our talented motion graphics artists here at Keywest can guarantee you an exciting and innovative animation for your next production! Corporate animation is a great way to explain your product or brand easily and in a short time frame. Our motion graphics artists will listen to your vision and collaborate with you to create the most unique and captivating animation for your company.

When it comes to post-production services, we understand that this stage can be particularly overwhelming and technical. In order to remedy this, we make sure that our clients are able to see the final product come together and provide editors with their input. Our online file sharing website helps avoid lengthy approval processes. Once we have cut together something for you to look at, we send you a link to your video, and you simply click, watch, send to others for comments or approval, and then send us your feedback. We then continue this process until you are fully satisfied with the finished product.

Want to know more about post-production services? Take a look at the evolution of post-production.

Post-Production Services at Keywest

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

YouTube Optimization: Top 7 Techniques

7 Simple Ways to Optimize & Increase Your Businesses YouTube Presence  

YouTube optimization

With YouTube being the second largest search engine after Google, it is no wonder why a company’s YouTube channel is an integral part of their overall marketing strategy. As with anything online, the clutter and chaos can be overwhelming, so here are some tips and techniques on how to break through the crowd and get your channel noticed.

1.       Customize Your Channel

Ensure that the branding of your channel is done in a fashion where visitors will be certain whose channel they are viewing. It should be cohesive with your other branding strategies, not only in the look and feel, but throughout the content as well, be it the video itself, the video’s description, or even your comments on others videos. As every point of contact with your audience is another opportunity to convert them into customers.

2.       Engage with your audience

While some may think of YouTube as a place where businesses can simply upload and distribute their content, it is so much more than that. YouTube, just like other popular social platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, is also a place where you can actively engage with your audience. Through the comments section, your playlists, channel subscriptions and ‘favorited’ videos, you will be able to tell the story of who you are as a company, and in return understand who your customers, or potential customers are as well.

3.       Provide awesome video content

On the WebSEO Analytics Blog, Tina outlines her top 10 tips for optimizing YouTube videos. In there, her number one tip is to create original and interesting videos. Along with numerous other lists I checked out, content was always a priority. As it doesn’t matter how many tricks and techniques you can employ, if the content is not engaging there is no reason to attract people to it. You want each video you post to be a positive representation of your company and help your company’s overall marketing goals.

In order to do this your video content needs to be engaging for your audience. At Keywest we suggest that videos going on YouTube or other social media avenues are short and sweet. Another priority is trying to create content that your customers can’t find elsewhere. Whether it is a great tutorial on how to use your product, secrets of behind the scenes at your organization, or simply funny stories from your staff. Think out of the box, and whenever possible think big!

4.       Don’t forget a call to action

Once you have created your preliminary content there are several ways to optimize your video to further encourage viewer engagement. One of those techniques is provided right within YouTube and is called annotations. Annotations are a free and easy way to share additional resources and add an element of interactivity into your video. Annotations allow you to simply embed a link within your video which will then bring viewers to your website, a fundraising campaign, your YouTube channel or other videos you have posted. This is an excellent tool, as if you already have someone’s attention, you might as well steer them towards other content of yours that they may be interested in.

There are other avenues which will provide similar results. Creating a call to action or next steps can be done right within the video as well. In many of Keywest Video’s video blogs we incorporate a call to action within the video content itself, by getting the host to say things such as ‘tell us your thoughts in the comments section’, or ‘email us at info@keywestvideo.com for more information’. This way, the call to action cannot be ignored as it is just as much part of the video as the rest of the content.

5.       Make sure to cross-promote

Maybe you can write a blog post about a recent video you posted on YouTube. Or you can link to your other social media channels at the end of your YouTube video. There are many ways to integrate your company’s various marketing outlets within one another, so ensure that this is done. It will not only help promote your various content, but it will ensure that your brand is being consistent throughout their different promotional avenues.

Another important avenue, cited by the Search Engine Journal, is by embedding your YouTube videos on your website. Depending on content and relevancy, posting videos on your website can be a great asset for your company, and aid in a variety of ways from simply explaining your product or service, providing an overview of your company or employees, or highlighting event coverage. In return, this will be a great way to gain more views on your videos, which will in turn aid your YouTube profile. So it’s a win-win!

6.       Be SEO Friendly

When uploading your content to YouTube always ensure that you are taking the few extra steps in order to optimize your content for search engines such as Google. Ways to do this include; writing a title that utilizes relevant keywords related to your business, providing a clear and detailed description of the video, including keyword rich tags, making sure the appropriate category is selected, and adding closed captions for the hearing impaired. All of these techniques are beneficial as they make the video more searchable and therefore easier for your audience to discover. Brian Honigman writing for KISSmetrics, clearly lays out why these SEO techniques, or rather the technical term MetaData, are so important. He also provides some in-depth analysis of well-known companies’ channels and their hits and misses in this department.

 7.       Invest in your content

YouTube is a great place for cost-effective promotion, as getting an account set-up and your content online is virtually free, minus your time and investment in the video. However, there are ways to guide those who may be interested in your content directly to it, and that is through paid video advertisements. There are numerous categories you can select from in order to target your key market. Including things as specific as age, race, gender, economic status, and as useful as online habits and likes and dislikes. If you are wondering about how useful online video advertising is, check out Keywest’s recent video blog which discusses some important statistics about the growing marketplace.

As you can see from this list, there are a variety of reasons why YouTube optimization is important,  and now your are equip with some techniques to ensure that you are maximizing its true potential. If you follow these simple steps you are sure to make progress in getting your brand out there, and encourage your audience to engage further with your company. Check out Keywest’s YouTube channel and let us know what you think.

YouTube Optimization: Top 7 Techniques

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Corporate Video Production: The Stages

Corporate video production is a specialized profession, and here at Keywest, it is our only focus.

We know that you need the control, expertise, and knowledge to create and promote outstanding videos; that is why we strive to solve your biggest challenges with amazing video. There are four main stages associated with corporate video production: pre-production, production, post-production, and deliveries.

Stage 1: Pre-production

Firstly, when embarking on a corporate video production, you need to figure out what exactly it is that you need. It’s critical to assess your needs, plan a timeline, identify your audience, and define the scope of your project. Once your needs have been determined, it is time to embark on the creative process. This is the part where concepts are refined and the entire production is planned – everything from location consultations to casting talent and script writing/editing takes place during this stage of your corporate video production. Keywest’s experienced producers can assist with brainstorming ideas and methods that will make your video stand out against its competitors.

Stage 1: Pre-Production Stage 1: Pre-Production

Before going ahead with your corporate video production, it is crucial to understand how video can help your business. Keywest will work together with you and your team to assess the purpose, target, and effect of your video. By refining all of these details in the pre-production stage, we are able to guarantee a focused finished product that not only exceeds your expectations, but also saves you money.

When it comes to corporate video production, it is crucial to ensure that your video is informative, but also entertaining and captivating to your audience. Many viewers associate terms such as “dull” and “boring: with corporate video production, but it’s important that your project is unique and interesting to the viewer. Luckily, Keywest has a roster of creative professionals who understand the corporate video format. If your annual video needs something more, or if you just need to capture your audience’s attention, let us present an idea that just might transform the way you think about corporate video.

Stage 2: Production

Now that all the planning has taken place, it’s time to get this show on the road. The production stage is all about performance and this is where all of your ideas come to life. During the production stage, it is important to be extremely prepared, well informed, and equipped for shooting. At Keywest, it is our job to make sure that everything runs smoothly, especially during this stage as any mishaps could end up costing unnecessary time and money.

Stage 2: Production Stage 2: Production

It is important to be alert during the production stage, as there is a great deal at stake during this phase of corporate video production. Locations have been confirmed, talent has been prepped, and the crew is booked. Since there are so many people involved in a single production, it is important that all of the groundwork was laid during the pre-production stages so as to ensure the project goes off without a hitch.  It is important to have a knowledgeable producer on hand as they are the ones you will need to go to in the event of any unforeseen issues. Keywest’s organized and dedicated producers will ensure that the production stage is executed properly and according to schedule.

Stage 3: Post-Production

The post-production stage is literally “where all the magic happens”. This is the stage where everything finally comes together. For live action corporate video production, the editor will sift through the captured footage to create the final video, adding elements such as voice overs, music, titles, colour-correction, audio cleaning, etc. In other cases, motion graphics artists or animators will create the final product during this stage, combining production and post-production, as there is no live action involved.

Stage 3: Post-Production Stage 3: Post-Production

It is during this post-production stage that Keywest’s clients are able to see the final product come together and provide the editors with their input. Our online file sharing

website helps avoid lengthy approval processes. Once we have cut together something for you to look at, we send you a link to your video, and you simply click, watch, send to others for comments or approval, and then send us your feedback. We then continue this process until you are fully satisfied with the finished product.

Stage 4: Deliveries

The final stage in your corporate video production journey is the delivery stage. Here at Keywest, we are able to accommodate various kinds of deliveries… and best of all, we even backup your entire project on our servers. Some popular formats include:

  • MP4

  • Blu-Ray

  • YouTube

  • Vimeo

  • Embedded Link

  • DVD

  • Quick Time

  • WMV

  • Flash Video

  • Mini-DV

  • Betacam

Stage 4: Deliveries Stage 4: Deliveries

As you can see, there’s more to corporate video production than what meets the eye. It is important to have a professionally produced video for your business, as its quality is a reflection of your company. Keywest is here to help and our professional producers will make your job easy.

Corporate Video Production: The Stages

Monday, December 16, 2013

Top 10 Q"s When Hiring a Production Company

Here are the Top 10 Q’s You Should Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Video Production Company

Once you are ready to embark on the creation of a corporate video for your company you need to ask yourself if you are prepared. The journey ahead is not always a short one, and you will be investing not only your time, but money and other resources on the endeavor as well. So you need to be informed, and ready to think about the serious questions that you need to ask yourself before you form a partnership with a video production company.


10) Are they a professional and reputable production company?

In today’s landscape it seems that everyone is a video content producer. And there are many production companies which students fresh out of college form, and do a great job creating innovative videos. But if there were ever something to go wrong, you want the assurance that a reputable, long standing production company can provide.

9) Do they have work samples to showcase?

Similarly, anyone off of the street can create a website and claim that they have been in business for thirty years. If you are able to take a look at some samples of the company’s work, then you can get a sense of their skill level, what types of videos they normally work on, and if you like their style.

8) Are they able to deliver a variety of styles and types of videos?

When looking at their samples, it is good to notice the range of productions they have worked on. Some companies specialize, such as in training videos, or commercials etc., and that is great if you are looking for that type of video. If you are looking for a video partner to produce a variety of videos, or help with some video concepts, then it is nice to work with a company which can provide you that range of services and styles.

7) Are they compatible with your company?

You want to ensure that the culture of both your company and the production company you are hiring fits. You are going to spend ample time corresponding with them through email, on the phone and probably in person as well. So you want to hire a team that you think meets your culture criteria and that would be pleasurable to deal with over the course of the project.

6) What other companies have they worked with?

A quick and easy way to analyze the status of any production company would be to check out who they have worked with in the past. If they have a variety of clients that they are proud to announce they have worked with, most likely the client was satisfied with the project and allowed for their name to be advertised. If there are some well known brands on the list then you know the company has been able to land big accounts in the past.

5) Do they provide good customer service?

Customer service is something that many people overlook when deciding on a production company. But everything from making sure someone is always available to answer the phone, to quick response times, and making sure all your needs are well taken care of without having to ask, are all things that lend themselves to the ease of the process, and will also be an indicator of how they handle other aspects of their business.

4) Do they care about your company?

You don’t want to work with a company that is just trying to get the job done as fast as possible. You want someone who is interested in what you do and wants to invest time in learning more. If they show up to the meeting with no idea of what your company does, or has not taken the time to come prepared with some ideas for your project, then they are not worth your time or money.

3) Do they provide good and creative ideas?

Sometimes you might know exactly what you want and have it already planned and mapped out in your mind. That is a producers dream and/or nightmare depending on how good the idea is. Whether you come prepared with a vision in mind or not, a good producer will always have feedback and often additional ideas or input that will help make the video better, the day run smoother, and the final product more effective.

2) Are they within your budget?

Often the most important deciding factor for some is budget. Although I believe it should be something to consider, it should not be the only reason for your choice. In order to get a successful and polished final product you will need to pay for quality work. On the same hand you don’t want to be ripped off, or paying for things that aren’t necessities. If the company can explain the price and reasoning for each item within their quote, then you can rest assured.

1) Can they deliver the quality of production that you are looking for?

As with any video the quality of the production will affect the way viewers see it. Everything from sound, to lighting, to framing, and the background can make a difference. An experienced, thoughtful and creative production company will be able to handle all of these elements and inform you well in advance what is needed in order to create a video with high production quality.

This list should give you a good starting point for thinking about what you should look for when researching a video production company. If you have any comments or things that you think should be on this list please let us know!

Top 10 Q"s When Hiring a Production Company

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Casting: Union versus Non-Union

How To: Casting For Your Next Video

Are you interested in getting a professional actor or actress to star in your corporate video? The advantage of utilizing a professional performer versus simply using a friend or member of your team, comes down to not only the quality of the work, but the ease in which it will take to get the desired performance.

Once you have decided to go with a professional actor the next step will be in figuring out if you should look for a union actor or non-union actor. A union actor is someone which has been vetted and specifically chosen to be part of an acting union such as ACTRA. A non-union actor is someone who is a performer and actively pursuing acting, but has not yet formally joined a union.

From our experience here at Keywest, both union and non-union actors have advantages, and have their place within the corporate video world. When a client comes to us to cast for their video, the questions we ask to decide which type of actor is best for them revolve around budget and content.

Union actors will most often always be more expensive. They have daily minimum rates based upon a certain number of hours, and then over-time pay begins. Whereas with non-union actors there is more leeway when it comes to negotiating rates based upon how many hours they will be needed, and depending on what they are doing within the video.

If the video only requires the hired actor to say a few lines, but most of their job will involve actions, or simple scenarios, then there is less of a need for a well trained union actor. If the content in the video requires the actor to display a keen sense of their emotional state, or if there is a lot of written content for them to perform, and you want an honest performance, there is a greater chance you will be able to find that talent through casting a union performer. Your production partner should also be able to help you decide on which is the better avenue for your needs.

When it comes to the casting, there are also multiple routes you can take. In certain scenarios, especially when there is a time crunch or a limited budget, you can get actors to send in self-tapes of themselves performing a past role. This will give you a sense of their abilities and if their look fits with your vision. But more often then not, a formal casting session is required in order to get a good sense of the actors range, and if they can manage the specific role. In a casting session the casting director will be able to ask each actor to perform a portion of the final script, and can ask them to re-do certain parts differently in order to gauge how well they take direction. Lastly, casting sessions are important because they don’t just show an actors ‘best performance’ like a self-tape would, but they display an honest rendition of the actors abilities.

One important thing to keep in mind when casting, is to ensure that the production company and/or casting director that you work with is well aware of, and understands your needs. If you yourself are unsure of exactly what you are looking for in the role, then you need to take some time to sit down with the producer or casting director to devise a character breakdown and ensure you have a clear vision of what you want and need for the video.

Lastly, and most importantly, when it comes to casting be careful that you don’t get held up on a certain vision of the character and not see through to the talent right in front of you. At times we have found that some people have a specific vision of what they want the character to look like, so instead of looking for a talented actor who can get a great performance across, they end up looking for an actor that best represents their vision visually. In the end, a talented and well-trained actor will always come across better, and get the video’s message across clearer, then just a pretty face.

At Keywest we cast regularly for our clients needs, ranging from dramatic training videos, to product and service videos, and everything in between. Keywest video’s preferred casting partner is Casting Central, located in the same building as Keywest’s offices. Casting Central’s facility boasts five casting studios equipped with multiple backdrops, including green screen, and video recording technology so all sessions can be recorded and sent to clients for review if they are not able to make the session.

If you are interested in getting a professional corporate video produced, contact Keywest Video today! info@keywestvideo.com 416-675-0751

Key West Video Inc. -- Casting: Union versus Non-Union

Casting: Union versus Non-Union

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

From VHS to MP4: A Timeline of Video Formats

Video formats have come an incredibly long way in the past few decades.

Technology is ever-advancing; it is constantly changing and being improved upon, a trait that directly impacts and affects the video industry, who in turn are continually having to vary the format of their videos in order to keep up to date with modern technology. The video formats that you have used in the past are greatly dependent upon how old you are. Let’s take a look at the various video formats in more detail:

1975, Betamax: Betamax is considered to have started the home video revolution. Created by Sony, the Betamax system allowed users to record television broadcasts and view movies at home, something that they were unable to do until this point. By the late 1980’s Betamax became obsolete, losing the video format war to its rival VHS.

Sony C5 Betamax Video Recorder Sony C5 Betamax Video Recorder

1976, VHS: VHS is an abbreviation for Video Home System. It was launched in 1976 after being created in Japan by the Victor Company. VHS is an analogue recording videotape cassette, encoded in FM on a magnetic tape. The magnetic oxide particles are rearranged to encode video and audio signals. VHS finally fizzled out in 2007/2008 after a steep decline in sales of both VHS players and individual videos.


1978, LaserDisc: The LaserDisc was created in North America by Phillips, MCA and Pioneer, which is where it was initially licensed and sold before being released globally. This was the first time optical discs had been used for storage, offering higher quality video and audio than VHS was able to provide and using NTSC/PAL encoding. Though these discs offered many benefits over VHS, they did not gain in popularity due in part to the high costs involved in purchasing the player and the discs, and also because they could playback but not record, and the discs were too large only holding approximately an hour of video content.

1980’s, Video8: Video8 was released as a new format to filming videos, with the audio being of a much higher quality due to Video8 device using audio frequency modulation to record the audio along the same path as the video. In the late 80’s, Video8 was developed into Hi8, which increased the recorded bandwidth of the signal improving the resolution to laserdisc quality. In 1999 Digital8 was introduced, and it is this that rivals MiniDV in our current video format market.

1996, DV Video: DV Video is the ideal format for anyone wanting to edit his or her videos. DV stands for Digital Video. It compresses within every frame rather than between consecutive frames allowing it be edited easier and it uses a Firewire (IEEE 1394) interface to allow the video to be transferred between camera, desktop, editing equipment etc. HD DV is now also available, as are MiniDV’s.

1997, DVD: Launched in 1997, the DVD was set to replace all earlier video formats, including the VHS and Betamax. Due to the advantages DVD had over previous video formats, it quickly became the leading format for the distribution of pre-recorded material, as well as being able to store computer information and data. One DVD can hold up to 4.7GB of data, i.e. 2-3 hours of standard video.

2001, MP4: MP4 (or MPEG-4) was released in 2001, offering a new level of flexibility for video formatting. MP4 format has been backed strongly by Apple, and it is the format used in QuickTime players. MP4 is applied in a number of other formats, for example, 3GP and 3G2 both use P4 as a video container.

2006, Blu-Ray: Blu-ray is an improvement over DVD’s, allowing much higher storage of up to 25GB for standard Blu-ray discs and up to 50GB for double layered Blu-ray discs, which is equivalent to approximately 4.5 of HD video or 20 hours of standard video. Blu-ray is supportive of 1080p resolution, which is considered to be the best high definition format, compressions MPEG-2, AVC MPEG-4, VC-1.

2006, HD DVD: HD DVD was launched at a similar time as Blu-ray, and competed with Blu-ray up until 2008, where it finally lost the battle after Toshiba announced it would stop manufacturing and developing HD DVD players.

About the author: Tom Black, Indie film producer and video marketing expert from Slinky Production in Birmingham, UK.

From VHS to MP4: A Timeline of Video Formats

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Event Video: Huawei 5-Year Anniversary

Case Study: Huawei: 5 Year Anniversary Video

The Challenge:

Keywest is proud to say that we have worked with Huawei Canada on several projects in the past. This time, Huawei Canada required an informative and engaging video to commemorate their 5-year anniversary and showcase at their event. They were looking to create a video that documented their journey within the past 5 years, as well as illustrate their success and progress within the Canadian market. The video was to be shown at their 5-year anniversary event to remind staff (and everyone else) just how far the company has come in such a short period of time… and to thank everyone for their patience and dedication during the transition.

The Solution:

The final product was not only engaging, but succinct and a reflection of Huawei Canada as a company. Keywest chose to juxtapose short interviews with staff alongside images from previous events, many of which were significant to Huawei Canada’s development. The staff interviews illustrated the company’s progression, as each interviewee had been present from the very beginning – when Huawei had made their transition to Canada back in 2008. The interviews showcase their dedicated staff, depict their incredible work ethic, and highlight the variety of skill sets that the employees possess. Interviewees are from various departments within the company, such as delivery and service, TAC support, billing/revenue, engineering, tax, operations, and finally the president. The interviews touch upon the future of Huawei, pivotal moments within the past five years, their approach to customer service, their views on teamwork, and their strategies for continuous improvement, etc. The final video provides the viewer with an informative look at Huawei Canada’s development from fruition to present day, celebrating their 5th year in Canada.

Key West Video Inc. -- Corporate Video Blog -- Huawei Canada Key West Video Inc. — Corporate Video Blog — Huawei Canada


Event Video: Huawei 5-Year Anniversary

Monday, December 9, 2013

SAMSARA: The Power of the Visual

Attention has been recently brought to the stunningly beautiful documentary entitled SAMSARA. Samsara actually means ‘continuous flow’ in Tibetan, and refers to the repeating cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. The film, which debuted in 2012, was shot on seventy-millimeter film, over a five year period, and in twenty-five different countries. It documents the beauty and horror in our world, and at times, the beauty within the horror.

Such is the case with the recent clip of the film which went viral online. The film has no narrator or commentary at all. The visual imagery is meant to speak for itself. In the six minute clip, which has been cited as ‘quite possibly the most eye opening six minutes ever on film’, we delve into the world of mass factory farming.

In those six minutes, we are shown scene after scene of monotonous, and often grotesque practices which are used in order to prepare meat for human consumption. The slow pan, and long shots tell viewers we aren’t allowed to look away. The film is not meant to quickly show us what is going on around the world, but to allow us to feel, if even for a short period of time, what being in that moment might actually be like.

The creators of SAMSARA, Baraka and Samsara, Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson, had this to say about the attention the clip has been getting:

“We are happy this clip has struck a chord with so many people, and we hope that the interest in this clip will lead viewers to see SAMSARA in its entirety. This clip represents only 6 minutes from a 102 minute long film, which was photographed in 25 countries and explores many other diverse aspects of the human experience. We would love for viewers to experience SAMSARA as a whole.”

Unfortunately, with a price tag of around $4 million, the film only grossed just over half of the filming budget. Hopefully though, with this renewed interest in the film, movie-goers and fans of the obscure will take the time to find it in theaters or legally download and watch this film.

One viewer on IMBD had this to say about the film,

“For the first 10 minutes I thought it was a mistake to buy the ticket. It was first time for me seeing a documentary without commentary. The images are so beautiful and interesting, but I expected that I would get bored in a few minutes. And in fact I did. But after a while, somehow I gradually got absorbed in the movie again. Watching gorgeous images lead me to a kind of meditation. And in the end I ended up impressed. Watching this you will experience something different from an ordinary documentary.”

So if you are looking for something different then what you normally would watch, and are interested in seeing how visual imagery can affect our emotions and consciousness, then take a look at this film.

Keywest Video - Corporate Video Blog - SAMSARA

SAMSARA: The Power of the Visual

Friday, December 6, 2013

Event/Highlight Video: artsScene

Case Study: artsScene Event/Highlight Video

The Challenge

Business for the Arts came to Keywest looking for a highlight video for their latest artsScene event. artsScene is a network of leading young business professionals who support the arts through volunteerism and patronage.

artsScene‘s mission is to:

  • Inspire interest in the arts.
    artsScene offers unique and meaningful encounters with the arts. Attend a different arts venue on a quarterly basis, from theatre and opera, to ballet and film, preceded by a “Behind the Scenes” encounter with the artists, directors and designers.

  • Deepen engagement in the arts.
    artsScene connects young business professionals to volunteer board and committee positions in the arts with BoardLink.

  • Unite & Strengthen the Next Generation of Business Leaders:
    Employee engagement and building of creative leadership skills is aimed to enhance performance, as well as mentor opportunities with senior business leaders who support the arts.

  • Recognize YP volunteers in the arts.
    artsScene celebrates young business professionals who demonstrate leadership as volunteers in the arts with the Arnold Edinborough Award.

The Solution

Keywest captured artsScene’s latest event at the trendy holt’s café. The final video includes dynamic shots of members mingling and brief snippets of speakers, thereby capturing the true atmosphere of the event. Keywest wanted to ensure that the artsScene event was enticing and interesting – by using candid footage of the actual artsScene members and their conversations, viewers are able to experience a small portion of the event for themselves. The final video depicts artsScene as a great resource for young business professionals. It is a useful and empowering tool for those wanting to support the arts.

Check out Business for the Arts.

Keywest Video - Corporate Video Blog - artsScene Keywest Video – Corporate Video Blog – artsScene


Event/Highlight Video: artsScene