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Video Industry

eLearning, Photography

Video Strategy

Marketing materials and DVD bonus material


Karl Taylor Photography

Karl Taylor educates using online video

Karl Taylor has been a professional photographer for over 15 years and has traveled the globe on assignments for some of the world's most successful companies. His company, Karl Taylor Photography, operates two websites, one targeted to UK customers and one targeted to customers in the US, that are dedicated to marketing their lines of high quality instructional DVDs.

The Photography DVDs are divided into two main categories 'Masterclass Series' and 'Pro-Series Masterclass'. The Pro-Series is aimed at professional photographers and high-end enthusiasts who already possess in-depth knowledge while the Masterclass series is more suitable for those starting out in photography right through to those at advanced level. Currently they offer a combination of about 35 different DVDs and online tutorials, covering a wide range of photographic topics.

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To support the marketing of these educational DVDs, the Karl Taylor website provides online video preview trailers of the DVD's content as well as "bonus" materials that are distributed online to those who purchase the DVDs.

In addition to the video DVDs, Karl Taylor also provides online training and education that consists of a mixture of PDFs and streaming h.264 video. These online videos are used to market the DVD series as well as to provide specific training and education. Recently, Karl Taylor has also launched an online training program that can be accessed by Apple apps so that his students can access the materials on their iPads and iPhones.

As they are marketing these instructional materials to a very intelligent and graphically discerning audience, the online quality and reliability of the web video experience is of the upmost importance.

They rely on vzaar to handle all the video delivery over the internet.

It's all about the look. No one will buy our DVDs if the preview video in the trailers is muddy or breaks up.

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Karl Taylor Karl Taylor Photography

The Karl Taylor Photography Training story starts in 2007. Karl had looked at the available training materials for professionals and was not impressed. Many were boring and not engaging. Instead of using the standard classroom approach, Karl decided he would use video to take his students out into the field and observe as he set up various shots. Instead of listening to a supposed expert drone on about how he was able to get some great shots in the past, Karl Taylor's videos document his thinking process step by step, watching as he establishes the composition, lighting and the various camera parameters and settings.

After two years extensive work researching, writing, shooting and editing several lines of slickly produced DVDs, Karl Taylor Photography launched its eCommerce website in October 2009.

They had researched various video hosting services and decided to launch with vzaar to handle their video hosting and streaming. They had confirmed that vzaar could handle their technical requirements and deliver their videos at the appropriate quality for their discerning audience. As a start up on a tight budget, they needed a hosting company that was affordable and able to meet their needs.

They offered the flexibility we required because as a start up, we were unsure of just how much bandwidth we would really need.

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Karl Taylor Karl Taylor Photography

However, within a year, Karl Taylor's bandwidth needs exploded - rapidly progressing up the tiers of bandwidth until today they are consuming vzaar's four terabyte a month package.

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In addition to being scalable, vzaar is able to provide the quality video experience Karl Taylor Photography relies on. The online videos, designed to market the various DVD collections, need to look good, sound good and had to be delivered without any online stuttering or interruptions. Their prime business is selling DVDs to a graphically aware audience who expect professionalism in the DVD and online training products as well as with the marketing materials.

At first, Karl Taylor Photography were using flash video for online delivery but over the last year, have been migrating to online video using the newer h.264 standard. Karl says he prefers to stream his videos using standard quality (640x360) at about 980 kilobytes per second. "We looked at what the BBC was using online - around 900 kbps, and figured that if it was good enough for them, it was good enough for us. In order to standardize our online delivery quality, we do our own compression and encoding before uploading it to vzaar video's servers."

...vzaar is very critical for our future growth.

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Karl Taylor Karl Taylor Photography

Karl continues, "The vzaar platform works well for us and for our customers. On the hosting side, the full featured management console is simple to use. The vzaar video statistics make it easy for us to track which videos are most popular, how much bandwidth we are using, which of our trailers work best in our various markets, when do they get watched, etc. Our customers appreciate the ease of use and reliability of the vzaar player - it enables them to easily play, pause, and rewind the online video. As our customers often stop and replay specific parts of the videos, that capability is very important to us."

According to Karl Taylor, "Online video and vzaar is very critical for our future growth. As we continue to produce more instructional DVDs and expand our online and app offerings, we trust that vzaar will grow along with us."