Friday, April 13, 2018

Will Deepfakes Lead to a Video Forensics Boom?

Deepfakes are still a relatively new phenomenon, having first appeared in December 2017. Thus far their range of illicit use stretches from harmless mischief (putting Nick Cage's face in every movie ever made) to potential harassment (overlaying the faces of celebrities into porn videos).

deepfake fake celebrity pornography
At present, a deepfake can still be easily spotted by the untrained eye. The effect is impressive, but there are still obvious artifacts and inconsistencies in most of these videos that make it clear they have been doctored.


That won't always be the case, however. The point at which anyone with a computer can make a very convincing fake video featuring any public figure may only be months away. Imagine the ramifications of a perfectly-faked video in which a CEO announces a revolutionary new product that sends the stock market into a frenzy, or a leader of a nation announcing they have launched missiles at another country.

Deepfakes could potentially be very bad for society, but very good for entrepreneurs working in the field of video verification.

Video As Evidence


In a court setting, video evidence has already long been inadmissible without corroborating evidence and a clear chain of custody. Deepfakes are very unlikely to survive the rigorous examination that takes place during a court case even if the technology is perfected.

There are areas of concern in which scrutiny will be much less rigorous, however. Posting videos directly to social media or a website and getting the public riled up about them seems to be where the greatest potential for damage is, given the current "fake news" climate.

Security camera footage is also another major point of concern. This type of footage is often already of low quality, lacking detail or shot in poor lighting conditions. While it may not be admissible in court, a faked video could find its way to local media and get a manhunt for an innocent person underway.



So what are some potential solutions? 

Trusted Time-stamping Services


Though they are not universally applicable as a solution, trusted third-party timestamp services may well see a huge uptick in business due to deepfakes.

These services cannot protect against the fabrication of an entirely new video, but they can protect against altered versions of videos being put forward as authentic (for example, a hacker gaining illicit access to a server to alter an existing video). The completed authentic video generates a "hash", or data signature, that is entirely unique. If it is altered in any way, the hash will change. The hash is then periodically sent to the trusted third-party service to verify it has not been altered. The third-party service adds a timestamp to the hash, verifying that it has not been altered since their last check of it.

This can also be done in an entirely automated and decentralized way through the use of blockchain technology. Of course, this method relies entirely on the integrity and ongoing security of the particular blockchain being used.

Public-Private Key Schemes


The creation of a harmful deepfake will often require the shooting of entirely new base footage over which to superimpose someone else's face. This could be nipped in the bud by widespread adoption of private-public key schemes in recording devices.

As the camera films, it would generate a timestamped watermark or signature that is applied to every individual frame using its private key. The private key could then later be matched to the camera manufacturer's public key in each frame to verify the video has not been doctored.

There are obvious weaknesses to this scheme, not the least of which being the large amount of existing recording devices that don't employ such a system. It could be used effectively in certain situations, however. For example, social media platforms could maintain a policy of not allowing videos that contain content that could be harmful if they do not have key verification in place.

New Video File Formats


A truly revolutionary step would be the creation of an entirely secure read-only video format used as the "gold standard" for any video of a sensitive nature.

As with the key systems, this would primarily be a security measure at the point of upload; platforms could reject videos containing sensitive content (like the declaration of a political leader) if it is not in the secure read-only format.

Just Scratching the Tip


These are very basic ideas that you may see entrepreneurs expand on in the near future. The responsibility for detecting deepfakes is going to fall heavily on the outlets that publish the video, such as social media platforms and journalists, in particular. They'll need to ensure they are effectively screening video for telltale signs of adulteration before publishing it, another avenue for entrepreneurial software developers to explore.


  • What are your thoughts on deepfakes? 
  • Is this the first you are hearing of this sort of high-tech faceswap? 
  • Will a new niche of video forensics emerge in the next several as a result?

Monday, July 3, 2017

5 Reasons Why Whiteboard Videos CRUSH Video Marketing

A whiteboard video is an informal and interesting way to explain concepts, procedures or systems. They consist of a narrator/illustrator drawing a visual explanation of a concept. This type of video is an ideal way to explain things to your audience. It is exactly the same as teachers explaining things to their students. 

Whiteboard videos also happen to be one of the most effective ways to market your business using video.

With whiteboard animations, you can draw or write things on your whiteboard, clean the whiteboard, and draw other things as you explain your points in your videos. This is also widely used as a video sales message, which has proven that it can convert potential clients better than the standard format of a regular sales page.

So, what's the secret?

What is it about them that makes whiteboard videos actually work? 

Below, let's look at 5 reasons why whiteboard videos work so well for video marketing:


1. Whiteboard Videos Tell Your Story Better


Rather than hiring an actor to tell the story about your business, a whiteboard video brings your audience into your story. You can tell your story from start to finish without boring your audience or losing them in the details. The animations that are used in this type of video are simple and engaging; they compel the viewers to continue watching the video through to the end.



2. Whiteboard Videos Keep Your Audience Glued to Your Video


Again, the main power of whiteboard videos lies in the fact that it engages viewers who want to see the animation come to life on the whiteboard. It keeps your audience glued to your video, and prevents them from leaving your video too early - "watch time" is also an important aspect of video SEO and getting your video ranked well in Google and YouTube. In order for you to successfully convert your audience into customers, you have to keep their attention span intact throughout the video. It is also important for you to limit the duration of your whiteboard video to no more than 5 minutes. Remember KISS: Keep it Short and Simple!


3. Whiteboard Videos Make Your Points Easier to Understand


A picture is worth 1,000 words! One of the biggest benefits of whiteboard videos is in the simple, visual explanation you can offer about a technical subject. While it is quite different from an “explainer video,” a whiteboard video can help you to visually deliver your information with a substantial impact. It has been proven that more technical information is retained when delivered visually. For this reason, alone, a whiteboard video is extremely beneficial to help your audience understand your brand and its messages.

4. Whiteboard Videos Are Entertaining and Interesting 


Retaining the interest of your audience throughout your video can help you to gain their trust after watching your video. Instead of making a video about yourself explaining your business for 30 minutes, it is better to make a 5-minute whiteboard video that can do a better job. It is more entertaining and interesting to watch, and you don’t need to put yourself in front of the camera, or hire an actor to get the job done.

5. Whiteboard Videos Give a Professional Image to Your Brand


Whiteboard videos can also help you to present a more professional image of your brand. A well-done series of whiteboard videos would be a powerful tool in the arsenal of any competitive organization or brand. In addition to your maintaining your audience's interest, you will likely be educating them about something through each video you produce. One of the quickest and easiest ways to build trust with an audience is to teach them something valuable. You will be viewed as a trusted source of information, thus enhancing the image of your brand.


As video marketing becomes more and more common, businesses and brands will need to continue to find a medium that truly sets them apart.  A series of well-planned whiteboard videos is just the tool to do so.

Need some help creating a whiteboard or animated explainer video? Freelancers are waiting to help YOU create the perfect whiteboard video to perfectly meet your needs and budget at VideoToOrder.com!


ABOUT L. SCOTT HARRELL


I am the founder of VideoToOrder.com, an online marketplace where buyers can find freelance video professionals who create, edit and market all types of video content for them.

I am also the Executive Editor of Video Entrepreneur Magazine, an online magazine for freelance video professionals who want to make money by making videos, editing, marketing and related business services.

My primary interest is meeting the burgeoning demand for video content; specifically, custom video content creation across a sweeping range of needs and budgets.

I can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and other social media networks.

Monday, June 19, 2017

5 Reasons Why Your Website Needs Video Content RIGHT NOW

Do you post or embed video content to your website regularly? Nowadays, for a website to succeed, it needs to provide various types of easily consumable content to an audience who demands content in a variety of formats. If you add a variety of content to your website - text, video, audio, visuals, etc., you will attract and engage a much broader spectrum of potential clients. Perhaps the most important type of content you can add right now is video. 

Let's discuss 5 reasons why your website needs video content today:


1. Video Content Provides More Interactive Information


Text-only content is boring, especially when the message includes numerous long paragraphs of information. Most people will not read your content if it does not capture their attention within the first few seconds. If you only post your content without properly breaking down the paragraphs, adding bullet points, using different font sizes, bucket brigades and inserting some pictures within your content, then you are sure to lose many visitors of your website.

Keep in mind that, unless it's an epic and highly shareable piece of content, text-based articles and blog posts should be written for both the human audience as well as for the search engines. You do that by settling on a longtail keyword (or key phrase) that's important to the audience of the blog and include it several times throughout the article in a way that sounds natural and not overused. (For example, this article is about "video content" or information that is presented through the use of video.)

Text-based content isn't going away and it remains vitally important, especially for SEO reasons, but there's a lot more to writing compelling articles for SEO. This is probably my favorite article on that subject: http://backlinko.com/seo-copywriting. I mentioned the term before, but the section in that article about "bucket brigades" and short, punchy content cannot be overstated. 

Video content is different. Video allows you to immediately captivate your audience and provide more interactive information that is easy to pay attention to, engage them through visual communication and move them through to your call to action.

Video content serves to refocus your website visitor's attention through impactful visual and auditory communication strategies. - L Scott Harrell

2. Video Content Gives More Power to Your Main Content


By embedding a video in the main content areas of your website or blog posts, you are able to add more emphasis through visual communication, which makes it a much more powerful message. The addition of a video can also help you to better explain the ideas found within your content. For example, if you are writing a tutorial about how to do exercises properly in order to lose weight, you can add a video or two of a person performing the specific exercises. This will ensure your audience understands exactly the message you intended. As you can see, using only text to write how-to tutorial might create some confusion with your audience, and video content can prevent such confusions from happening.


3. Video Content Helps with the SEO of Your Site


Before embedding video content into your website, it is better for you to first upload your video to YouTube or some other video platform of your choice (To use Facebook or YouTube is always a huge question.) It is much easier to embed your video directly from YouTube, and it will also help to save the website bandwidth that you have. By uploading that video as unique content on YouTube, it will have its own title and video description. The YouTube listing can help boost the rank of your website when you include your target keywords in your video title and description. Therefore, your video content will also help with the SEO of your website

4. Video Content Can Be Free and Easy to Add to Your Website


Chances are you have a smartphone capable of recording video within arm's reach right now. Pick it up, turn on the video function and hit record. After you end the recording, upload that video to your favorite video host and that's it. You've just created video content and didn't cost you a single extra dollar to do it. 

Of course, if you want to create compelling and engaging videos, then you'll have to go a few steps further. If you have a message or a point you want to make through your videos, then it's probably important to create short scripts to follow until you're comfortable being on camera and speaking "off the cuff". 

Audio is super important and you'll want to pay attention to your surroundings or backdrop, too.

Of course, if you're having a tough time creating videos on your own, you can hire freelance video production help and get the entire video created for you from script writing all the way through video uploading and promotion at VideoToOrder.com.

Embedding video content to your website does not require you to spend more money or invest in another costly marketing campaign. You can do it for free, and it is really simple to do if you have a WordPress or other CMS-based website (like Wix, Blogger, Weebly, etc). If you do not take the opportunity to strengthen your content by adding video content to your website, you are missing out on numerous opportunities and most likely leaving money on the table.

The bottom line for creating video content for most people is the fear of doing video poorly or not creating perfect videos. This limiting belief is KILLING would-be entrepreneurs and is probably the #1 factor why most small businesses are not adopting video marketing as quickly as they should be.

Seriously:

"The Perfect Video Does Not Exist. Get Over It and Get Sh*t Done!"

5. Video Content Modernizes Your Website


Adding video content to your website makes your website look modern and up-to-date. By today's standards, sites that only provide text content are considered old and out of date. Video content also allows you to freshen and improve your content and specific messages multiples times each day, which will help to attract more frequent and unique visits from your audience.

Perhaps as important as keeping content "fresh," video can also dramatically increase the amount of time visitors stay on your website, this is called the "bounce rate." High bounce rates and low time on page is notoriously bad for positive search engine rankings.

In today's environment, video marketing is one of the best and most strategic methods of marketing your business. It has been proven that video messages help the audience more fully retain information and for much longer periods than a text-based message. Why not take advantage of a free and easy method of building your business?


ABOUT L. SCOTT HARRELL


I am the founder of VideoToOrder.com, an online marketplace where buyers can find freelance video professionals who create, edit and market all types of video content for them.

I am also the Executive Editor of Video Entrepreneur Magazine, an online magazine for freelance video professionals who want to make money by making videos, editing, marketing and related business services.

My primary interest is meeting the burgeoning demand for video content; specifically, custom video content creation across a sweeping range of needs and budgets.

I can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and other social media networks.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Somewhere between Elon Musk and Mark Cuban... Does It Really Matter?

I had a funny dream last night:

I was part of small group that was put together to add some ridiculously cool tech to an aging resort property as part of its rehabilitation. We were all sitting around a huge table and to the right of me was Elon Musk. He was animated, attentive and definitely garnered the attention of the group when he spoke.

In turn, each of us presented our ideas. For my part, I was going to add virtual reality, projection mapping, augmented reality and holograms to the guest experience. I was going to push the boundaries of interactive video, artificial intelligence and customer recognition to create individually tailored user experiences that blurred the lines of reality. (I really nailed all of the buzzwords.)

Apparently, I impressed Musk with my contribution; he heaped on compliments of how forward thinking and imaginative I was and invited me to lunch to talk some more.


I was AWESTRUCK.


At lunch he continued with the lavish praise and said that there could be a position for me with his company.

As we continued to eat lunch, I really hesitated to open up to him but had to get this off of my chest, even if I came across like a rock star's teenage groupie:

"I know you have zero tolerance for bullshit and small talk but I think our meeting is more than fortuitous." I explained that I really didn't read all that many books (to which he rolled his eyes and I agreed I needed to read more) but that I had just finished reading his biography. I was enamored with the forcefulness with which he chased his overarching dream of saving humanity.

"You will go down as one of the greatest and innovative American industrialists in history. None would compare - Carnegie, Hughes, Ford, Gates... Their accomplishments all pale in comparison!!!" I gushed, "Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity, Gigafactory, Hyperloop, etc. were all GENIUS ideas."

He looked at me at me quizzically, "You know I'm Mark Cuban, right?"

And then I recognized Cuban...

Bwahahahahaha!!!! I woke up at exactly that moment feeling a bit embarrassed and chuckled that I'd even feel that way in the first place.

VideoToOrder.com launches this week and I really did just finish reading "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future".

Clearly, my subconscious mind is just trying to take it all in.

ABOUT L. SCOTT HARRELL


I am the founder of VideoToOrder.com, an online marketplace where buyers can find freelance video professionals who create, edit and market all types of video content for them.

I am also the Executive Editor of Video Entrepreneur Magazine, an online magazine for freelance video professionals who want to make money by making videos, editing, marketing and related business services.

My primary interest is meeting the burgeoning demand for video content; specifically, custom video content creation across a sweeping range of needs and budgets.

I can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and other social media networks.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Use of Drones in Private Investigation, Security and Competitive Intelligence

There’s something appealing about being a private investigator. Maybe it’s because they’re so slick and suave in the movies, but we all wish at times that we could be as sharp and witty as the freelance detectives of the silver and small screens. If you have a drone, however, this is a dream that may be a reality sooner than you think.

More and more drone pilots are being called forth to work in the fields of intelligence and security. If you have a drone, you could be monetizing your skills in these fields of work – and here’s how.

Private Investigation


It’s pretty obvious that drones aren’t exactly inconspicuous. They aren’t UFOs, but they are noticeable pieces of modern technology. Tail a person with a drone and they’ll pretty soon figure out they’re being followed in most cases – it can be hard to ignore a drone if it’s large enough and flying close.

Still, in 2015 BBC reported on a private detective that was using drones as tools during stakeouts. The tiny cameras that could be placed onto a small drone would be discreet enough to film the individuals he was gathering information on without being caught. Private detectives don’t automatically have experience flying a drone, however, which is why offering your own piloting services to one may also be wise.

Surveillance


Drones have the capability to fly long distances while simultaneously having a decent power system that allows them to fly for long periods of time. Equip a drone with a GoPro or similar device and you essentially have a mobile security camera.

More and more businesses and property owners are using drones for surveillance, and utilizing your own drone for this purpose can be an easy way to get a part time desk job. In fact, most freelancers in the field of competitive intelligence and security work make their living off of surveillance jobs. All you need is your drone, a camera and a computer (or other device) to watch the live feed from.

Reconnaissance


Let’s say you want to get some information about what your biggest rival is up to – what better way to get that data than to spy? Drones are being used for just that in the world of business; a world where getting the one-up on your competition can be the quickest and surest way to success.

If one business wants to know what another business is doing, an easy way to snoop is through drones used for competitive intelligence. Smaller mini drones can easily be sent into “enemy territory” to gather data, and you’ll be amazed at how many businesses will pay top dollar for this kind of sleuthing.

In the past, all of these drone jobs were taken up by helicopter pilots, advanced security systems and people willing to put in expansive man-hours to get crucial information. As it goes with most industries, drones are now making things a lot easier. As a drone owner, you have potential in this market. Tap into it by offering your security and snooping services to PIs and businesses. You’re sure to get a few bites.

ABOUT L. SCOTT HARRELL


I am the founder of VideoToOrder.com, an online marketplace where buyers can find freelance video professionals who create, edit and market all types of video content for them.

I am also the Executive Editor of Video Entrepreneur Magazine, an online magazine for freelance video professionals who want to make money by making videos, editing, marketing and related business services.

My primary interest is meeting the burgeoning demand for video content; specifically, custom video content creation across a sweeping range of needs and budgets.

I can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and other social media networks.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Scuba Diving with Spotted Eagle Rays in Cozumel Mexico

Despite the normal current present while scuba diving in Cozumel, I managed to get this beautiful group of spotted eagle rays on video... 


The water at Punta Sur was absolutely crystal clear that day with visibility in excess of 200 feet. 

Did you know that a group, or what we might usually think of as a "school", of any type of ray is called a "fever"? 

So a group of spotted eagle rays, manta rays, stingrays, devil rays or any other ray is a fever - though admittedly when I see them gliding this gracefully in formation, I like to thinking of them as a squadron.  

I do frequently get asked by people interested in scuba diving in Cozumel when the best time of year is to see spotted eagle rays. We usually see the most eagle rays in Cozumel between January and March. Of course, there are the few that arrive early or stay late and we do see them on occasion throughout the year.

The best location to find eagle rays in Cozumel is usually to the north, outside of the marine park, at a dive site we locally refer to as "Eagle Ray Alley" or at Punta Sur over the sandy bottom.

I've put together a more complete article with additional videos, facts and information about the spotted eagle ray season in Cozumel over on the ScubaLuis website. Having dove with over a dozen dive operations here in Cozumel, I've found ScubaLuis to be the very best scuba shop in Cozumel right now and am really happy to support his new and growing business. 

ABOUT L. SCOTT HARRELL


I am the founder of VideoToOrder.com, an online marketplace where buyers can find freelance video professionals who create, edit and market all types of video content for them.

I am also the Executive Editor of Video Entrepreneur Magazine, an online magazine for freelance video professionals who want to make money by making videos, editing, marketing and related business services.

My primary interest is meeting the burgeoning demand for video content; specifically, custom video content creation across a sweeping range of needs and budgets.

I can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and other social media networks.