In November 2013, Marcelino Raygoza combined his passions for traditional Mexican cooking and e-commerce and launched the Mexican Cooking Network. On the website, viewers can watch recipe videos and purchase the products that are featured. Marc's dynamic platform serves up supplementary text and links alongside the videos as they play.
The Mexican Cooking Network website is a shining example of thinking beyond the player. While we may have different overall goals for our web content, we should all be thinking about optimizing the relationship between our pages and our videos. We were also really interested to hear about Marc's DIY production process, and how quickly he learned to make his own videos.
Making Purchases Frame by Frame
As a software developer with extensive experience in e-commerce, Marc is always trying to find new, engaging ways to sell products online. "It's important to make the customer experience fun and entertaining," he explains.
While watching a cooking video, have you ever wondered where you can purchase the ingredients or cookware being used? On the Mexican Cooking Network website, purchase links and descriptions for these items appear in a panel beside the player in real time.
"From a consumer's point of view, the overall experience is both entertaining and educational. From an advertising point of view, the technology platform is interesting as it keeps the customer engaged without leaving the website to learn more about the products used in the videos," Marc says.
Creating a Video Experience
Marc's platform isn't just about selling products. It also enables him to present relevant information in a seamless, timely fashion. He explains, "This model is a really cool way to promote products and provide additional information without saturating the video with too much text." Once integrated, the pieces of the page are more effective both individually and collectively.
The truth is, you don't have to build a special platform to facilitate a healthy relationship between your web page and your videos. Before you begin shooting or scripting a video, ask yourself: where will it live? How will the video enhance the experience on your page? How will the page content supplement the content in your video? How will that page relate with the other pages on your site, and your overall marketing strategy?
A video isn't an isolated asset, and your page and your video will both benefit from thinking ahead!
Marc's DIY Living Room Studio
While Marc may be well-versed in engineering and e-commerce, the videos on the Mexican Cooking Network represent his first attempts at video production. After buying the domain name, he picked up a camera from Costco, created a makeshift studio in his living room, set up some lights based on a few Wistia Learning Center videos, and jumped right in! Take a look at his current setup:
Already, Marc has made great use of still shots, varied camera angles, overlaid text, and fun aprons, which all contribute to the playful appeal of his videos.
"We have a very sophisticated production process," Marc jokes. "For this video, my 9-year-old daughter followed a traditional Mexican popsicle recipe that we constantly use, and I recorded and edited the video."
"The lighting, the music, I go by my gut feeling, what I think looks good," Marc says. Before he pushes his videos live, he gathers feedback from friends and adjusts them accordingly. "I'm not set on any one way, and I'm always willing to try new things," he explains. "Because my background is in e-commerce, I learn something new during every shoot. This past weekend, I learned where the manual focus is. On the lens!"
Marc's current video toolkit includes:
- Camera: Canon 70D DSLR
- Software: Sony Vegas Movie Studio
- Lighting: "You may find this hard to believe, but I use almost all the equipment mentioned in your Down & Dirty Lighting Kit video."
Tracking Down Royalty-Free Tunes
As part of his production process, Marc seeks out royalty-free tracks from independent artists on YouTube and SoundCloud, using search terms like "Mexican hip hop instrumental" and "banda rap instrumental."
"I contact the artists to let them know that I will be using their music," he explains. "The artists are very supportive and excited about their songs being used in ways they didn't anticipate. It's been a really neat way to promote independent musicians."
Marc's video about horchata features music by Alexander Manzano:
Ask the Developer
We were curious about the development of Marc's interactive shopping technology, so we asked him how he built it.
"The shopping cart integration took a week or so to build using the Wistia Player API," he notes. "The original shopping cart was built based on the PopcornJS video API, but I migrated to Wistia to take advantage of the viewer metrics."
Marc is in the early stages of licensing his integrated platform to other online sellers and filing a provisional patent for the technology. "Our business plan is evolving more toward a global e-commerce model that uses local suppliers to fulfill orders," he explains.
To Tortillas and Beyond
Marc is excited to produce many more cooking videos, and he hopes to visit restaurant kitchens to document chefs at work in the future. He notes, "Today, people expect information much more quickly than ever before. We are going to create a 'next generation' cookbook, using video recipes."
I, for one, am inspired by Marc's focus on integration and interactivity. I'm excited to see what Wistia and other video advocates can learn about how our pages and videos can work together and how we can grow our video production skills over time. Let's face it, written content and video go together like avocado and lime; they're fine individually, but delicious when combined.
How do you plan ahead for where your videos will end up? Can you think of any other websites that integrate video and text in interesting ways?
All these guacamole photos? We took them after we tried out Marc's guacamole recipe for ourselves. Trust us, it was as tasty as it looks.