I have made many videos, but rarely do I put myself in the picture. There’s a reason for that.
Slide shows, product demos, screen shows etc are all used widely in sales videos and blog examples, where the focus is on the product or activity. It takes time to do properly, and it’s all about the content. Most of us are not movie stars and our fumblings on screen are not usually needed or valued by our visitors.
The above video took 47 seconds to record on my mobile phone and has so many things wrong with it it is shameful. But it is done and I can move on with the challenge. I will create another later to show you what I would be happy with, but that takes longer to create and edit.
So why make the video?
As stated in the Quick Start Challenge, the video is more to get us out of our comfort zones than anything else. Getting us to try something new and learn from the experience.
I know I learnt that I spent more time finding excuses to put off doing it than it took me to actually do. I also wish I had done it sooner, so that I could have spent more time on it.
But a video of ourselves also helps our visitors, and soon to be subscribers, start to build a trust relationship with us. We are who they see; it’s a bit like virtually shaking their hand.
There are some rules I like to follow when doing a video:
Be Presentable. You need to make the effort to be smart, natural and welcoming to your viewer. If you want to present yourself as a future internet millionaire then don’t dress like an unemployed gardener.
Location.Find a good place to present from that makes you feel comfortable. The webcam may be tied to your PC, but a small camera or phone could be used anywhere. How about taking a video outside, or inside the car? (that’s a favorite of Dean’s) Just as with being presentable, the area behind you or around you that shows in your video needs to be clean and tidy. Always think about what image you want to give out.
Lighting.Use good lighting as it really makes the difference between a dark almost sinister bedroom type webcam shot and a positive upbeat presentation. I am sure you have all seen the dark cringe-worthy videos that are only like that for the lack of some more light.
Scripting. Write out what you are going to say and either learn the lines or print it out an put it next to the camera. All the TV pros and WebCam marketers do this, and if you doubt it, just look at their eyes scanning the words as they speak to the screen. A teleprompter is probably overkill, but a sheet of paper with large print on it will save loads of retakes and keep you focused on the message you want to say.
If you are recording a long video then you need to follow the normal rules for giving a presentation so that you keep their attention to the end.
Your WebCam and Microphone. Obviously the better they are the better the video quality will be. Your webcam probably came with some recording software so that you can record your video for editing or uploading later. This is probably good enough to generate the initial video.
Video Camera. You may want to use a separate video camera, digital camera or mobile phone to record your video. The quality is likely to be higher than a regular webcam (although the difference is getting harder to spot these days) but you will have to transfer the video recording to your PC in order to upload or edit it. The process is the same for transferring photos so its not difficult.
Lightning. Think about investing in proper lighting if you are going to do videos on a regular basis, and get setup so that you have a place that is your recording area. If you don’t want specific video light systems (still cheap off eBay) then use some ‘white light’ bulbs in regular lamps to brighten out the scene.
Green Screen. This is a technique widely used in movies, where the entire background can be hidden and replaced by another image or video or just a white sheet. It can be really helpful to do if you don’t have much space or cannot really tidy up. You can get green screen kits off eBay for only a few $ and it opens up the door to a whole range of effects. You will have to use software to enhance and edit your video, but the results can be amazing.
Software. There is so much you could buy its unreal, but I only use two packages, one for editing the video, and one for creating animated banners, text and graphics for putting into the videos. Both are paid and cost about $100 each but they are worth it. It really isn’t required unless you want to take your videos to the next level.
Publishing Your Video
There are tools you can use to host the video on your own site, but most people use YouTube, and that has many benefits. YouTube is a video hosting platform (owned by Google) but it is also a video search and ranking engine. This means that you can rank your videos so that they appear in the top of YouTube searches in exactly the same way you can rank your blog using SEO tools. If your video point to your blog then it’s a double benefit in driving traffic to your site.
When you upload your video to YouTube there are a number of different options and text boxes you need to fill in in order for YouTube to correctly interpret and promote your website. You have probably seen them when you uploaded your video, but if not I have a short but details PDF document on what they mean and how you fill them in.
Once your video is uploaded to YouTube simply cut and paste the video url link code into your web post and hey presto – the video will now show on your blog. There are some settings that you need to choose to correctly size your video for your theme, as well as to how it displays at the end of playing. Do you really want to show lots of other peoples videos, and the chance of getting distracted, or just leave them seeing yours?
So, having got over that hurdle of procrastination, and then over the nerves, how was your first video? What tools did you use? What help did you feel you needed more of? Add a comment below and I will answer them all.