Illustration of video content being created

Coming To A Device Near You Soon – Part 2

In my last blog, I talked about my experiences of attending online conferences recently instead of in person.  Since then I’ve again been at an online conference, Futurebook, but this time sitting on the other side of the fence as a presenter.  

Before I go into that, I became curious as to what the origins of online and virtual events are.  This year we’ve all just flicked a switch and adapted because of the Covid crisis, but when did online conferences first start?

I thought a quick internet search would help me find an immediate answer, but it seems that the origins of online and virtual conferences are a little hazy. Turning quickly to Wikipedia, the first-ever publicly described reference to a “virtual tradeshow”, was in a presentation to investors at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NYC in April 1993 by a company who are now Onstream Media. They had an HTML map to which they’d attached videos of exhibition stands and presentations which could be accessed online.  Thereafter there were further developments in the 90s but not a lot of information exists until the early 2000s.  Internet bandwidth had grown enough to support simultaneous video, voice and text in one call, and in terms of actual virtual conferences, after the economic crisis of the early 2000s, companies looking to tighten their belts, started attending virtually instead of in-person and the whole concept took off.  

At Futurebook last Thursday, I chaired a panel entitled How publishers have turned to video. I’m very grateful for the contribution made by my esteemed panel members, Paul Chen from Wiley, Sam Dumiak from Cambridge University Press, Matt Kibble from Bloomsbury Publishing and Justine Piekarowicz from Richmond ELT.  

We covered a wide range of subjects on how publishers are using video content, both licensed and commissioned, original footage and animation.  Each panel member brought a unique viewpoint to the conversation. 

Video Is Here To Stay

The main overall conclusion was that for the publishing sector, the amount of video in online products which a consumer in any publishing sector expects is rapidly increasing.  The publishing ‘niche’ is mirroring mainstream trends.

Therefore, those publishers who want success in the online world, are also rapidly increasing the amount of animated and live-action video content that makes up their digital portfolio of content.

How To Ensure Success?

By accepting that video plays a rapidly growing part in any publishing portfolio, then the necessary steps can be taken to put in place a strong strategy with short, medium, and long-term goals. All evidence suggests that video content is fast becoming a preferred medium for consent consumption for those under the age of 30. Recognise this, plan accordingly and thoroughly because in a truly multimedia world many others, who you would not see as traditional competitors, currently are.

How Are You Currently Budgeting?

Budgeting for video is different from that of print or other digital products. The amortisation of video as an asset is something new to which publishers need to adjust. Start with an understanding of the ROI and work backwards. Those publishers who are adjusting their business models accordingly are the ones who are capturing and captivating a new video-content orientated consumer. Plan your product investment for future success.

Developing A New Workflow

The workflow for producing video is vastly different to that of published content. Key changes will need to be incorporated, particularly around publishing programme timings, because short-form video, animated or live-action, takes a period to produce. Talk to and engage those with the knowledge that you need and incorporate the necessary changes to ensure future success.

Defining What Is Right For Your Audience Is King

Video-based social networks such as TikTok owe their continued success to low-production-value video shorts uploaded by users.  This shows that defining the right look and feel for your audience is king. Broadcast quality can define a brand, more social media-friendly formats can help build digital product audiences even with lower production values. It is key to define what is right for your brand and your digital product audience. In the overall process of building out your video portfolio, the idea of ‘quality’ should be separated from production standards. A current style of social media format may have a limited shelf-life so finding the “right quality” is what leads to engagement and impact. 

Creativity & Engagement & Fun!

Keeping a digital product fresh and new is a new challenge for the publishing sector and short-form video offers an opportunity to excite and engage your consumer, whomever that consumer is. So, use it as an opportunity to do just that. Video content allows boundaries to be pushed and can inject a big slice of fun. Whether it’s bringing children’s reference and drama content to life, injecting short informational films into an ELT or schools education programmes, explaining complex research papers in a quick two-minute overview, or helping someone cram for law, accountancy, finance or business exam, video is the perfect medium for captivating an audience.

What Is Your Overall Strategy?

As we have seen with the effect of the pandemic this year that having a solid digital strategy for your systems infrastructure, content portfolio and content blend is key. Whilst we are facing challenging economic times, many in the publishing world are seeing the true size of the digital opportunity the power of carefully created and disseminated short-form video content. 

All last week, throughout the sessions at Futurebook, a lot of coverage was made of the explosion in importance of audio content and we are about to witness the same with video content too.

Image of two women holding up a sign saying We Hosted A Webinar - Belfast Design Week

We Hosted A Webinar: Makematic Behind-The-Scenes Episode 8

If you’re like me, a 20-something-year-old who is eager to learn and try new things but at the same time who is terrified to learn and try new things because it’s – well – new, then you’ve come to the right page.

Public speaking. Two words that for some people it’s a walk in the park, but for others who don’t have that much experience in (a.k.a me) it’s a -20C walk in the park with sleet, heavy rain and realising that your coat doesn’t have a hood. This year, I decided to take that walk into public speaking, albeit it was online and someone else was there to co-host with me. Besides that, the nerves were there, the pit in my stomach was present and I ran out of breath a lot.

This episode of the vlog explores the journey that Tasha (our Social Media Producer) and I went through when we hosted our first webinar for Belfast Design Week. It was a journey, to say the least. We prepared our content a week before, figured out what we were going to say the day before and mentally preparing ourselves for the pressure two weeks before. So in short, a lot of prepping happened.

To ensure that the webinar ran smoothly, I had to venture back into the office to get reliable WiFi. If you have the same internet provider as me, which fails on a daily basis and consequently makes me appear to freeze during Zoom calls with an unflattering expression, then you know what the frustration feels like. I won’t name names as to who this said internet provider is as A) I might get in trouble for legal reasons and B) because I don’t want anyone else to suffer the same internet fate as I do.

If you haven’t already watched the vlog, have a look at it below!

Fun fact about this vlog, we practised the webinar 7 times. Practised social distancing whilst doing the webinar. And learnt that public speaking (virtually) isn’t too bad at all. Though I can’t vouch for in-person public speaking, I think that’s a whole other level of panic.

Watch episode 8 here!

Shameless plug right here, but after you watch the vlog, watch our webinar too called “How To Design Your Instagram Feed To Educate Your Audience”. It’s now live on the Makematic VOD. It’s short and sweet, and you might learn something about how gen Z wants to use Instagram now. If you don’t fancy watching and prefer reading, I did write about the webinar in this condensed version. Just to warn you, this doesn’t have as much information as the webinar, so you might as well watch the webinar.

Belfast Design Week 2020: Educating Gen Z On Instagram

This year’s Belfast Design Week was a little different. Instead of coming together in person, it was all on Zoom. Zoom is fine, it’s just not the same as going to an in-person event, meeting new people and taking one too many free snacks.

Yesterday (04 Nov), we hosted a webinar entitled “How To Design Your Instagram Feed To Educate Your Audience” with a focus on how to gain the attention of Generation Z. For those who attended and to Belfast Design Week – thank you! For those who didn’t get a chance to hear what we had to say, we’ve put some key highlights about Post-Millennials (Gen Z) and how Instagram is changing as a platform in terms of how people are using it.

29.6% of Instagram’s users were in the 18-24 age group (Statista, 2020)

With the current social climate that happened this year and is continuously happening, Instagram is no longer an appropriate place to exist unfazed by current events, politics, cultural and social issues, and much more. 

Travel photos and group selfies have been replaced with protest photos and educational infographics.

With a quick search, you can find posts advocating for anything you can think about with thousand of engagements. Posting bite-sized squares of information in the form of a carousel which Instagram launched in 2017, has been used by activists, advocacy groups and well-meaned individuals as a way to educate and inform.

Consider it something like PowerPoint activism (Nguyen, 2020)

In a time of social unrest, these text-based slideshow graphics have found new resonance and an eager audience, like Gen Z, on the platform, which has been known for prioritizing still images over text.

But if you are planning to do this text-based slideshow graphics, make sure that it’s coming from a good place. This means that if you’re trying to educate your audience on a certain topic or matter, you need to make sure that you are practicing what you preach as Patel (2017) stated that “Gen Z is going to know very quickly whether they are a part of something special or are caught in a big-talk campaign”.

As social media users, it’s up to us to be more critical and intentional with our digital footprints. This is something Gen Z (individuals like myself) wants to use social media for. We want to be educated and learn more about what is happening in our society, as sometimes in schools we are not taught about certain things, therefore we take matters into our own hands.

Learn more about Post-Millenials and Civic Engagement here.

We had recorded the webinar so that everyone who did not attend is able to watch it – even folks who didn’t sign up. Look out for this next week!

Image of different forms of media that Makematic videos can be viewed on

New Educational Videos Released On The Makematic VOD

We’ve got some new educational videos that have been released on the Makematic VOD! 

The Basic Principles of Design course focuses on, unsurprisingly, the basics of design. You’ll understand and learn colour, contrast, proportion, balance and more – complete with punchy explainer videos, practitioner interviews and creative ideas for teachers.

Make Impactful Video for Social Media will help you learn and understand the tools you need to produce effective and engaging video content for social media using Adobe Premier Pro. 

17DaystoLearn series:  These are self-directed challenges that can at primary or secondary level. Students will learn about the SDGs and take on challenges to help further each of the goals.

The students at Kings Hospital School, located in Dublin, completed the #17DaystoLearn challenge as part of their “Get Up and Goals” project. Read here to find out how they approached this challenge and the impact it had on the students.

Skillsumo: we’ve got new professional development and future proof videos that will help students and educators navigate and prepare for the world of work.

Check out the new videos today!

Untold: Stories You Won’t Learn About In A Textbook

Untold is a free collection of short, compelling, history videos and animations designed to engage new audiences in a new conversation and

  • shine a light on the stories that don’t always make it into the classroom
  • and question what we think we know about those that do.

Watch the first two Untold episodes here

Female Icon surrounded by Technology Icons

Adobe Design Principles Launches

We are pleased to announce that Makematic and Adobe have once again partnered to create a new series of videos in relation to Design Principles.

The video series consists of 25 videos that will provide in-depth knowledge of fundamental design tools and strategies suitable for both students and educators. Industry experts are utilised within the series including:

  • Anita-Mai Goulding – Adobe XD Strategic Development, EMEA
  • Karishma Kusurka – Founder & Designer at Karishma’s World
  • Bob Price – Art & Animator Director
  • Stephen Shaw – Director at Big Motive
  • Tyrone Williams – Visual Artist

Brian Johnsrud, Education Curriculum Strategy Lead of Adobe stated that….

“We’re thrilled to partner with Makematic on this course. A key component to creativity and digital literacy is having a basic set of visual design principles in your back pocket: whether you’re creating a presentation slide, a handout, a flier, or an image for social media. Just as we learn the basics of spelling and grammar to be effective writers and written communicators, this course provides the basic “grammar” of visual communication for all students. And it’s short, fun, and engaging! And for teachers, there are great examples of how visual principles can be taught and incorporated into student work in the classroom.”

Brian Shaw, Senior Producer of Makematic said that….

Adobe Design Principles was a fantastic project to produce.  It’s an awesome introduction to the core design principles that any creative, in any industry, need to have an understanding of.  Bite-sized and beautifully crafted animated explainer videos, along with contributions from real-world creatives and their take on these crucial principles, complete this series nicely and comprehensively.  I always enjoy working with Adobe and I really hope the viewers enjoy this series as much as I did producing it.

You can access Adobe Design Principles:

  • Via Adobe’s Education Page on YouTube
  • Through the Makematic app, which is available to download from the App Store, Google Play, Fire Stick and Roku. You can also access our content anytime online through our website

Sign up to watch the videos for FREE right now.

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