About Gil Shefler
Gil Shefler is a Strategic Partners Manager & XR Advocate at Kaltura, an online video platform. After a decade of working as a journalist, Gil completed his Master’s at Columbia University and pivoted into tech.
At Kaltura, he helped found its thriving marketplace practice, an ecosystem of integrations with over 200 partners. Gil is passionate about XR (extended reality), and has assisted in its adoption at universities and corporations.
“Cinéma vérité is one of the biggest trends in video creation across enterprises.”
– Gil Shefler, Strategic Partners Manager & XR Advocate at Kaltura
Socialive: What is a key takeaway you learned from brands producing video content in 2020?
Gil Shefler: In terms of producing video, I have the perfect example. I found myself stranded in my kids room today as the house cleaners work on the rest of the house. This realism cinéma vérité that has been imposed on us is one of the biggest trends we’re seeing in video creation across enterprises.
Before the pandemic, you’d have big crews from enterprises make a video. You’d have a makeup artist ready to come in and apply makeup on the CEO, heavy editing, and filters. It’d come out like the Matrix.
Nowadays, there’s no time for any of that. There’s no resources. People need to create video, and they do it from their kitchens with kids screaming in the background. I actually kind of like it to an extent. It’s real, authentic, humanizing, and democratizing. You’re stripping storytelling to its bare bones.
SL: What do you consider the top video trend businesses should know about in 2021?
GS: It’s all about live video. Whether it’s one-to-one or one-to-many, there is no other way to communicate other than over video messaging. Internalizing live video on a one-to-one or corporate level is key. It’s the year that Zoom became a verb, the way Google did before.
SL: What do you consider the top challenge for businesses looking to produce video content in 2021?
GS: I hate to say it, but we probably won’t quickly bounce back to the way things were a year ago. Infection rates are sky high. Even in the best scenarios when you roll out the vaccines, we’re still going to be dealing with this until the summer and trends will change.
So, if you’re a company it’s important to look at how your company has been using video, how you’ve messaged through video, and continue to hone in on that.
SL: Given your specialty in XR, how will businesses and enterprises leverage augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and virtual reality (VR) in 2021?
GS: This one is funny. It’s like one step forward, two steps back.
On one hand, the technology and the hardware has continued to improve. You have the Oculus Quest 2. It’s faster, cheaper, better, and lighter. There’s been five times the number of backlogs when people ordered it. The gaming community, who has also been stuck at home with nothing to do, has embraced and adopted it. Then, you have better smartphones coming out like the Apple iPhone 12, which has a LiDAR detector which means the spatial computing is much, much sharper. Hardware is better, but here’s the ‘but.’
First of all, headsets are out of the question. I can’t give the headset to other people because of COVID-19. So, if a company is looking to buy headsets and share them around, that’s out of the question.
In terms of attention spans and resources, it’s been suppressed in many ways. XR has really taken two steps back and one step forward in terms of the mainstream community. The tech is there, and you have this niche community that has adopted this technology. So, for those two reasons it will come back. For now, it’s laying low until COVID-19 goes away.
SL: How will video impact B2B purchase decisions in 2021?
GS: The hesitation is gone. In the beginning of 2020, folks didn’t know what to do and were confused. Should I buy or not? I think in 2021 everyone understands the importance of video communications. The sales cycles are shortened and video budgets will increase. People are on board and will be using video more.
SL: How will C-level executives leverage video in 2021?
GS: I say this all the time, but you have got to lead by example. If there was any apprehension about video before on the company or personal level, it should be dispelled. I think C-levels should be using video as much as possible.
One little anecdote: I was streaming the movie “Back to the Future” and there is a point where Marty McFly goes back to 1955 and tells “Doc” Brown that he is from the future. “Doc” Brown asks Marty who the President is, and Marty replies saying it’s Ronald Reagan. The joke there is that “Doc” Brown is familiar with Ronald Reagan as a second grade actor. Then “Doc” Brown responds and says well, I’m sure he’s President because in the future everything will have to look good on TV. This was a joke written in 1985 and is still funny.
The point here is that nowadays you don’t need to look good on TV. You don’t need the Hollywood hair. You can sound and look the way you are and be fine on video. So, it’s important to tell stories over video the way you would in real life.
SL: What advice do you have for B2B marketers who want to generate leads and drive sales through video?
GS: Well first of all, you can use Kaltura’s pitch — a video email to generate leads with. That’s my natural answer. But yeah, there are many video email solutions to generate leads.
This isn’t surprising, but I am a huge advocate of using 3D objects. Imagine if you work at a company that creates a tangible product like a dishwasher or shirt and you’re looking to sell, show, and pitch it. Apply the 3D object in a flat space (like a laptop desk or handheld phone) on top of or on the side of the video.
Create that immersion and interactivity. Think of new solutions. Get out of the square place where sometimes people are. There are so many ways to generate video that is compelling. Get people to break up this screen we are looking at, even if it’s a 3D objective you can move around, look at it from different angles, or zoom in. That’s something “Doc” Brown from “Back to the Future” would be really amazed to see if he came back from 1955.
SL: Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
GS: I love the combination of Socialive and Kaltura together. It’s excellent. I remember the difficulties of putting together TV-quality live feeds, and this blew my mind.
Taking that ability to splice and cut between shots with overlays and graphics in Socialive, and pushing it through the Kaltura vehicle is the substitute of what used to be the antennas back in linear TV. Combining these two platforms is powerful, and I’m thankful for the partnership.