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Which do you think is cooler, more fun, and would generate a higher response/action rate?”
“I saw a cool launch at NASA the other day”
It’s really not a question.
Yet people are STILL afraid to include video in their day to day online lives! With all the tools at your disposal to do it, if you’re not including video on your blogs, websites, or even social media updates, you’re missing out, big time.
No, you don’t have to do it all the time – But yes, it’s important to do, and good video should be one of the cornerstones of your social media (and online as a whole) strategy.
DISCLOSURE: I’m an angel investor in one of the companies I mention below – Pixability. I believe very much in what they do (or I wouldn’t invest) so I recommend them wholeheartedly, not just because I have a financial stake in them. I have no financial interest in any of the other companies I mention here.
Video is surprisingly easy. It doesn’t take a crew or a team, can be uploaded and edited on the fly, and has the ability to turn your normal blog post or status update into something to which people want to link and share.
Go to Flip and get yourself a Flipcam. They’re cheap, easy, and they do the job intended. I won’t leave the house without my Flipcam. I probably have three or four of them, and they sit in various pockets. When I did my No Baggage Challenge to Tokyo in December 2010, that was my video device, and it worked flawlessly. You simply USB the content right to your desktop, where you can edit it, or uploaded it as is.
If you have some money to spend, you can get all fancy and buy a decent camcorder. Here’s a rule though – the less moving parts, the better. My “real” camcorder, as I call it, records directly onto a 32 gigabyte card, which fits directly into my laptop and allows me to upload right to iMovie.
Most important though, use what works for you. I know a ton of people who love shooting video on their Canon 5D Mark II. I have one, and I’ve never used it for video. I probably should, I just haven’t had a reason to yet. Use the tools that work for you.
Record whatever strikes your fancy. I carry a fully-charged flip with me for several reasons, the least being that I live in NYC, and you never know what’s gonna happen. You never know where the next explosion is going to come from, or the next piece of street theatre, or even the next subway rant. But the fact is, you can’t record it if you don’t have a video camera with you.
Insofar as what to record, that’s up to you. I personally love recording little notes for my blog when I’m on the subway, or in Central Park. I try to make sure there’s something interesting going on besides me – a nice view, or a fun background, or even fun people in the video with me. The goal is to find something that tells a story, as well as makes the viewer smile and want to pass the video on.
I’ve said it before: You can’t make anything viral. But you can focus on making something good. When you make something good, it’ll go viral by default.
Carry the camera, and just start shooting. You’ll be amazed what you find. And unlike the 80s, you don’t need video tape. There’s no cost to shooting as much as you want, it’s all digital. (Yes, children, we used to be limited by the number of rolls of film we could carry, and digital and still photos couldn’t be recorded on the same thing. Damn kids today.)
Let’s assume you’ve done the above, and you’re seeing a rise in viewership to your blog. You want to take video to the next level, but don’t have a video crew chained up in your basement. Consider outsourcing.
I mentioned that I invested in a company called Pixability. They have a brilliant idea: You shoot whatever you want – Your CEO, a product, you name it. Create it, then send the Flip to Pixability. They’ll clean it up, edit it, put some fun music, sound, graphics and captions on it, and send it right back to you – a professionally created video, advertisement, you name it, for a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay to do it all in-house. Easy and simple.
You can also try experimenting on your own – If you have the money, and more importantly, the time, go out and buy a copy of Avid – It’s pretty much the de-facto standard in video editing – But be warned – It’s a time suck to learn, and a massive processor-hog to implement.
LSIF: Stands for Light-source in front. ALWAYS have a light source in front. If not, you’re recording a shadow. Don’t do that.
Sound! Sound is important. Always test the first few seconds of any video you shoot (other than breaking news) to make sure the subject can be heard – No loud radiators or air conditioners in the back.
Don’t get jiggy with it. Invest a few bucks in a tripod from GorillaPod or the like. Nothing looks more unprofessional than having your audience puke because your CEO interview looks like the Blair Witch Project.
Lastly, have fun! Nothing shows fun better than a good video of people having fun! Show what you’re doing and shy you love it – People will love to watch, and pass it around from there!
Let me see what you got – Post a link to your best video below!