Online Video – it’s time not technology

For a course I’m co-tutoring soon on social media I decided to put together a short online video about online video as an example of an amateur online video.

With a video camera

In recent years the advent of broadband connection speeds being common place, the technology to make videos being affordable and the ability to host your videos for free via Youtube and other providers there can almost be no excuse to do online video.  Or is there!  Through the process of making the video, with no real filmmaking skill, I found that the  limiting factors that might be perceived were different from those that really did limit how good the video was.

Initially perceived limiting factors

  • Technology (camera + software)  Despite using a reasonably cheap and now very old camera, and software that was around ~£50 I had more technology that I could possible need, the software (Serif Movie Plus) had more functionality that I could possibly imagine needing, or understanding what it does.
  • Ability to use the technology – in reality it was easy to use and I didn’t have to look at a help file once
  • Hosting – but we know the likes of Youtube let us host for free, I’ve added this as it may be a general perception.

Limiting factors in reality

  • Time – it took a lot longer than I anticipated to write it, record it and edit it. The video is about 5 minutes but the whole thing took about 7 hours to do.
  • Onscreen panache – being good in front of the camera, there is a reason I work in IT rather than as a TV presenter – that said I think you can get away with less of it in online video, but if you have it I think it would help!
  • Film Knowledge – I have no film style training, so although I put ideas into the video these were really unverified guesses as to what would make good amateur online video.

The other lesson I found out when making this video is that you have to know when to stop – every time I watched it there was a bit that I thought could be improved, but every fix was an extra chunk of time, to record, transfer the video file, edit it into the movie and then re-export, the time was ten times the amount it would take to edit a blog post.

So – if you are thinking of dabling more with in house made online video, time is a major factor.  It might be worth considering an intern position to help you with it as an initial dabble!  I concluded that even a one shot video blog took some time to make once it had been uploaded to Youtube and watched to ensure it was ok.

Here is the main video I made.  I’ve added further down the page a video blog on making the video – a blog style video is faster to make as it’s more of a one take conversation, but first the initial video.

The considerations that I listed in the video for anyone thinking about making online video are below – these were quickly thought up and limited to 6 for each section

Content Considerations

  • Grab attention – tell people quickly why the video is important to them
  • Viral – if you can use content that makes the video go Viral even better – it will spread and more people will see it
  • Personal – try and give the video a personal touch
  • Appeal – Think of how you can use content in the video that will appeal to the key audience, like props and backgrounds
  • Short – keep the video short and concise
  • Engage – invite people to engage in the video – encourage comments or further action

Creation Considerations

  • Tripod – use a tripod for a steady shot
  • Location – if you can film it in a good location even better
  • Lighting – lighting is important – make it look bright if possible
  • Noise – watch out for background noise, even wind can be very distracting
  • External Microphone – you may get better sound
  • Enthusiast – try and find the enthusiast to help you edit it all together, the person who knows what they are doing.  You may already have a person like this in your organisation

Release Considerations

  • Youtube – put it on Youtube, it adds great discoverability for the content.  Youtube itself is a search engine that people use to find content.
  • Embed – Services like YouTube usually let you embed the content on your site so that it looks like part of your site
  • Tweet it – tweet a link to your new video, push it out onto the web
  • Complement – create videos that complement and are referenced in other print and web material
  • SEO – add a good keyword rich title description to the video page so that it will be picked up by search engines, they won’t know what the content of your video is
  • Social – be social on sites like YouTube – make friends and connections to share videos

There are of other considerations such as start of with a good bit of planning and scripting and allow time for this.  And I’m guessing you probably have many other ideas – particularly if you are skilled in film production!

So – next I decided to do a short video blog on the making of this video and what I’d do differently (I didn’t have a genuine reason to vblog, it was just an experiment to see the real time that it took), this video is just over a minute long, but to film, upload and embed here still took me around an hour  – I found an appropriate back track as well.  (Time was to set up, record, download, add logo, add splash screen, upload, embed, test)

There are of course other options  – having videos made professionally or getting your authors and customers to make them for you.  I mentioned in the last blog about Marillion crowd sourcing a video for their single, Random House have also done something similar for their books and scientific publishers are now using author video abstracts for research papers.  There are also websites that will sell you stock footage to include in your own made videos.  You’ve probably got lots of ideas yourself on the creation of online video – please do comment.

The movie software I used to make these videos was Movie Plus from Serif – http://www.serif.com/movieplus/ .  The camera was an old sony handycam (not an expensive one even in it’s day)

To read more about the band who I borrowed background music from visit http://www.myfriendirma.co.uk/Main.htm

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