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Old 05-30-03, 08:39 AM   #1
Dan Tastik
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Post Is anyone using CD rom promo?

SO the little tiny CD rom business cards were touched on in an earlier post and no one really said yay or nay. Is anyone currently using CD Rom promo? More importantly did anyone make it themselves? And finally, and perhaps most importantly, can anyone give me some tips/comments/ideas on the process of doing so.

At the moment I'm working in HTML, building it in the fashion of a website but using the no download factor to up the quality of everything.

yeah.
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Old 05-30-03, 09:17 AM   #2
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Hey Dan,

Buy or Steal a copy of Director. Though... DIY DVD is the next big thing... you can put it together in much the same way you build a cd rom, but the quality... OH THE QUALITY!!!!!

Not that I've even begun to get into DVDs...

I don't have too many problems with my mini CDs.

Ciao from Koln...
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Old 05-30-03, 09:23 AM   #3
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Yes, Ive been using CDROM promo, with checkered success(no offense to anyone). About 50% of the recipients report a problem, either their computer is not fast/powerful enough, or they dont understand the media platforms(dont know how to download the quicktime media platform) etc.
Ive had my fill of #%"# ups, so Im switching back to bulky, stoopid, expensive-to-mail VHS tapes. Thats my .02
Dont matter how small/convenient/promising/cheap CDROM promo is if you cant control ALL the variables neccessary for its incorporation into an effective promo kit. Too many variables remain in the hands of the client, who's techno savvy/computer setup are completely unknown quantities.
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Old 05-30-03, 11:07 AM   #4
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Jonny:

What sort of file formats are you using? I gather that your videos are in QuickTime - requiring the user to have QuickTime installed. Are you using HTML and having the user view it with their browser or do you have a standalone executable that runs the presentation? What throughput were you expecting with your videos?

I'm working on a promo CD for another performer right now and am MOST interested in hearing any war stories about compatibility issues and performance expectations.

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Old 05-30-03, 11:58 AM   #5
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Folks, the future (present) of promo delivery is the Web. I have Quicktime and Windows Media versions of my video on my site and in the past 12 months, I haven't had anyone tell me they had trouble viewing either one.

Also, in the past 12 months I've only mailed out ONE (1) VHS video to one guy who wanted to do a presentation to his boss and they didn't have a large web-connected monitor set up in the conference room, so he needed a VHS to play in the VCR. My postage bills have been chopped down to about 20% of what they used to be. (I also email contracts, invoices, confirmations, photos, and PDFs of other promo.)

Personally, I feel CD-ROM promo would have been great in 1998, before everyone had broadband connections. Nowadays, the people I want to hire me (colleges, corporations, festivals) have fast connections and seem to be savvy enough to download a web video. They also appreciate the immediate nature of viewing the video NOW, instead of waiting for the mail.

But then again, that's only my opinion...

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Old 05-30-03, 11:39 PM   #6
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Kim - Will do. Enjoy Koln. See you Septemberish?

Johnny - I think you hit the nail in a nutshell or something with the variables thing. But surely this is the only problem. If you can code around browser compatability/plugins/mac or PC/Moniter Resolution/(am i forgetting something? Someone remind me if i have) all the while actually offering a product that you had time to perfect while spending all your time staring at a screen then it would be all good right? Right?

Steven - Was not talking to me.

Jim - Possibly. Obviously it works for you. But when no one knows who the hell you are (my wonderful situation, my beautiful life) i prefer the idea of sending something physical rather than a URL. It just feels a bit spammy. I'm not porn. Honest! please click here. Please! I'm not like every other internet scam! ...i'm like every other street show scam... sigh...
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Old 05-31-03, 12:29 AM   #7
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Gosh Dan, I did not mean to make you feel left out...

Dan,

Are you preparing different versions of the html for different platforms? What sort of CODEC/file format are you using for video that you think is ubiquitous and cross platform? The real question here is to deliver video without requiring the user to have to install a CODEC or viewer. I'd appreciate any tech tips. (I've got my own that I would be happy to share with whomever is interested.)

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Old 06-01-03, 04:26 AM   #8
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Steven - Only reason i mentioned it was so that you wouldn't feel left out...

So my Nerds in the backroom assure me that the detection of aforementioned variables isn't that difficult and therefore it's simply a matter of having all the options available and the irrelevant ones hidden away from potential idiots.

Formatwise I'm thinking Quicktime for Mac users and .wmv for PC. DO macs come with Quicktime already installed? what about the browser plugins? I know v little about macs... Do they come standard with Netscape or IE?

REalises that hours of work just turned into hours and hours of work. Compensates by going back to sleep.
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Old 06-01-03, 06:29 AM   #9
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I always include the quicktime install .exe on the cd itself, as well as instructions on how to know if quicktime is installed, and how to install it if required.

I have like a splash page with a little animation or movie (in quicktime format) with a little blurb... " if you can see the animation, click here. If not, here's what you need to do"

I also include a README.txt file, with install instructions.

Another thing you can do (which someone pointed out to me recently) is take the movie clip alone (no interface) and burn it to cd as a Video CD. I THINK that will play on an computer, or DVD player, but don't quote me on that.

-Kim
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Old 06-03-03, 03:50 PM   #10
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We use a cd rom which uses HTML and autoruns to open Windows Explorer. We have a problem with Windos Media Player 9 so we are now working on that, but mostly it is much appreciated.

I'm currently working on a DVD which I am going to have pressed so I can sell it at gigs. I never thought writing a decent script would be such a problem.
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Old 11-24-03, 02:39 PM   #11
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Mmm, there are a lot of interesting questions here and no real answers.

I thought I'd re-open this thread as my own video has just been completed and I'm thinking about formats for delivery.

What success/failures have people experienced in the last few months?(since last we looked at this topic)

Currently I'm tihnking of what Kim mentioned, burning simple VCD so that it plays in any 'puter or DVD player (I know that it's still not going to be 100% but nowaday's VCD playback seems a pretty standard feature of players) so has anyone tried this? does anyone know how to do this?
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Old 11-24-03, 09:40 PM   #12
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I agree with Jim 100%. I have a stack of vhs tapes that just sit in my closet because I just refer people to my website. They don't have to wait for it to come in the mail and 99% of the time they go to the site while I'm on the phone with them.

however, if I was going to do a CD version of a press-kit, I would go with a DVD over CD-ROM because of all the platform problems I have seen in other people's promo.

just my opinion.


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Old 11-24-03, 11:45 PM   #13
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I've authored some promotional CD-ROMs for performers (and one photographer.) To my knowledge, we've had no platform issues because the disks were programmed to be delivered to both the Mac and PC platforms. (This means that the disks are formatted as a "hybrid" so that they are recognized by both operating systems as being in the platform's native format.) I used Macromedia's Director and Flash.

I've also authored DVD-ROMs for corporate videos using Finalcut and DVD-Pro.

Although the DVD format offers some nice benefits, I don't think that these advantages can be taken advantage of in terms of a promo disk.

The primary advantage of DVD is size. Certainly, 4+ GB is better than 650 MB, but in terms of a promo video, which is typically between three and five minutes, I don't think you need the extra space. Even if you added all the extra static media, like photos, flyers, tech sheets, etc., you could still easily fit it all on a CD-ROM.

The big strike against DVD is that there are two "accepted" formats, plus and minus. Some drives are one, some the other, and some newer models will handle both. But many players don't do well with the DVDs that are burned from a desktop. To really guarantee compatibility, you would have to have your disk replicated - a process that is likely to be beyond the scope of any of the P.Net readers since it involves contracting a company to produce a glass master and press the copies.

If you are producing lots of them, this is the way to go, but if you are talking less than 500 copies, burning them one at a time, or even having them duplicated, will probably suit your needs more closely. I don't know the figures exactly, but I am lead to believe that one in five disks that are burned as either a plus or a minus will not play correctly on the average DVD player, so the DVD compatibility becomes a real problem.

The cost of the blank disks is certainly an issue. DVD blanks are several dollars each, even when bought in bulk, whereas CDs go on sale regularly to the point of almost being free.

As previously stated earlier in this thread, you can create MPEG-2 files and burn them onto a CD-ROM so that they can be read by DVD players that support the VCD format (most these days do). You can also add a player that would allow the disk to be run on both Mac and PC desktop computers with some programming.

The trick to all this is to do it so that the user doesn't have to do anything other than place the disk into the drive (DVD player or computer) and watch.

If all this sounds complicated, it's because it is. On one hand, digital media publishing has been brought to the average consumer, but on the other hand, it still requires a good working knowledge of computer software development if you want your finished product to look and function in the expected way.

I would be happy to answer any technical question that folks have on the subject, and am available for hire to author promotional disks if you are interested. Talk to Michael Rosman - he just mailed out several hundred of his (my) disks for a P.Net reference.

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Old 11-25-03, 04:42 AM   #14
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The best deal I've found for DVD dup is 98 cents each USD after taxes for 1000 DVDs. This includes full color silkscreening on the back.

When I figure out what market I'm going for, I'll probably make 1000 with my promo vid up front, after that a menu for selecting from longer show videos, other promo reels and a how to juggle lesson. That way I can package it differently and send the same dvd to different agents as well as sell it after my shows as an instructional video.
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Old 11-25-03, 09:31 AM   #15
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Scot,

Care to share your source? A buck a piece sounds like a pretty good price, and as long as your target audience is DVD enabled, either with a stand-alone player or a DVD-ROM on the desktop, then that might be a good way to go. You will have to pay extra for packaging, but that is the case no matter what media you use.

Assuming your actual content is worthy, i.e. the video is good, spending a couple grand to author and publish a promo disk would definitely pay for itself after only a few gigs. Handing someone a professionally pressed DVD immediately puts you in a price bracket that easily justifies the investment. Even if they don't have a ready means of viewing it, the statement alone is worth allot.

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Old 11-25-03, 10:49 PM   #16
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I mailed out about 15 CDROM promo discs to hither and yon,
and about 2 of them worked out. The rest of the recipients could not watch the video, for reasons unknown to me. Stephen probably knows why.
Anyway, I tested mine on a mac and a PC, and it seemed OK, but in the end it wasnt.
So Im back to mailing VHS tapes.
my $0.02
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Old 11-26-03, 04:08 PM   #17
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I went to my local duplication shop yesterday and asked about VCD. They agreed that it should be playable on most (generally newer) model DVD players and PCs. They did say however that the quality loss is significant, now are they just trying to upsell me into getting it done on DVD or has anyone else got experience with this?
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Old 11-26-03, 05:14 PM   #18
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the VCDs that I've burned have been watchable, but definitely on the lower end of VHS quality. Of course, this all depends on quality of your original source video.
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Old 11-26-03, 09:33 PM   #19
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Happy Pig,

DVD or CD-ROM simply are the media where the digital bits are stored. The fidelity of the video is restricted by the difference in size rather than the media. A CD-ROM has only 650 MB, as opposed to a DVD supporting a couple + Gigs. A DVD player looks for MPEG-2 files in a predefined folder hierarchy. If the player supports VCD-ROMs, then it doesn't care about the disk, and it just reads the data and plays it. A VCD-ROM will get you only about five to ten minutes of video footage if compressed at a comparable rate to DVD. Of course, if you try to save as much footage on a VCD-ROM as you do on a DVD-ROM, there is going to be a very noticable degradation. But if all you want to do is send out a couple minutes of promo video, then a VCD-ROM should do the trick.

Johnny,

If you would like, you can send me a copy of your disk and I will look at it and help you figure out why it isn't working.

Personnally, I think that the only real reason to use a digital medium for promotional material is if you wish to include some sort of interactive element to it. If all you are doing is getting video footage to the end user, then VHS is a far more widely accepted format. But if you are adding interactivity through menus, animations, or games, digital can get you allot more.

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Old 11-26-03, 11:45 PM   #20
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Yeah, I should have mentioned that I was referring to VCDs I'd made of hour-long television programming that I'd downloaded from the internet.
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