Interview with Scott Rehling - Advantages of using Rich Media

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Scott Rehling in the Texas Longhorn locker room filming for Vmag

Today we are talking to one of our partners, Scott Rehling of Lava Studios.  MicroAssist and Lava Studios have worked together on many rich media projects.  Scott is also a frequent participant in MicroAssist's Lunch Programs.

MicroAssist: Scott, What does Lava Studios do?

Scott: Lava is a rich media content developer/production company.

MicroAssist: Can you define rich media from your perspective for us?

Scott: The way we define rich media is utilization of audio, video, flash, and  multimedia to create compelling, interactive content which is then distributed  via the web, broadcast television and digital media platforms such as DVD, or CD.

MicroAssist: What are the advantages of adding rich media to your message? 

Scott: Adding audio and visual content to your message tends to be more  compelling in the sense that it draws the user more into the message, gives you  the potential to add some interactivity, and is simply more interesting.  The  bottom line is that humans are visual and studies have shown that visual and  audio cues resonate more than just text based messages. All of this adds up to  better results (more leads, better adoption rates, higher rates of responses on  call to action, etc)

MicroAssist: I was reading that in face to face communication only 7% of the  message is the words used, 38% is tone of voice, and 55% is body language.  We're missing out a lot of opportunity to communicate in our e-learning if we  just rely on the written word. 

Scott: I completely agree!

MicroAssist: I know you have done some cool client projects where you have used  rich media to improve the message.  Can you talk about one of them?

Scott: Sure. I'll talk about a couple.  Whole Foods has been printing recipes on  their website and in printed materials for years. Lava studios is now creating a  weekly video blog program, called the Secret Ingredient, which is a cooking  demonstration show, which visually brings the recipe to life. 

MicroAssist: I've seen that.  I used it to make Chef Lambert's coffee roasted  brisket.   Perfect recipe for Super Bowl Sunday. 

Scott: Excellent!  I'm not surprised- the show is extremely popular!  Although  they don't have specfic scientific data to prove it, they believe that the show  is contributing greatly to awareness about the products featured in the shows  and subsequently, sales of those items in their stores.   Another good example  is the work that we're doing with Bulldog Solutions.  Bulldog is in the sales  lead generation business and they utilize webinars to generate leads.  Previously, they were just sending out emails to announce the events and to  recruit participants.

MicroAssist: And now?

Scott: They began working with Lava to produce video announcements of the events  and avatars which they place on their own and their clients websites, announcing  events.  With the rich media messages, they are seeing the number of  participants going up by double digit percentages.

MicroAssist: One of the concerns many of our e-learning clients have is about  thecomplexity of adding rich media.  How difficult is it to add video or audio  to a presentation?

Scott: It kind of depends on the production values you are trying to attain.

MicroAssist: Is there anyway to give ballpark estimates on cost for either audio  or video?  For E-learning it is frequently more about the message than about  high end production values

Scott: So, for example, simple audio podcasts are fairly easily produced and  distributed.  With an investment in a decent microphone and some basic audio  editing software, simple audio podcasts can be produced by anyone.  If you're  looking for slightly higher production values, with some professional editing,  music, etc. outsourcing to someone who specializes in that.

Scott: As far as video, unless you have someone in house who specializes in  production, it can be a difficult proposition to attempt to produce in house.  The good news about all of this is that with proper planning and execution,  content can be created relatively affordably in reference to the return that you  can gain.

MicroAssist: We have found that using a professional that specializes in  creating a powerful message does more than just improve production values.  Frequently they draw the best information out of Subject Matter Experts and  present it in a way that other people can learn from. 

Scott: To give you an idea, a typical weekly audio podcast (3-5 minutes in  length) can be as low as $300 per episode

MicroAssist: That is a lot more affordable than I would have thought.  A lot  of our clients are just too busy doing their own jobs to become an expert on  producing podcasts.

Scott: And a weekly videocast of similar length can be under $1000 per episode.  I would tell you that many of our clients tried to "do it themselves"  first unsuccessfully, and then came to us

MicroAssist: What other interesting stuff have you been doing?

Scott: Productized avatars, which add rich media and the ability to personalize  and localize a web presence.  

MicroAssist: That is really cool.  That would have great use in E-Learning. 

Scott: Absolutely.

Scott: Avatars can be used as virtual instructors. 

Scott,  Thank you for your time.  We'll see you at the next Lunch Program!