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YouTube

Last week’s Tipsheet focused on the top eight factors in creating a great video.  This week’s Tipsheet takes it home, with practical advice gleaned from hosting 180 hours of Professionally Speaking TV, being interviewed hundreds of times in media, and filming 100s of short promo videos for clients.  I only wish I knew then what I know now!

9) Make-up:  High definition video shows every pore on your face and every hair on your head, so heavy TV make-up is no longer advisable.  Instead, aim to have a natural look: imagine someone is standing immediately in front of your face, having a conversation with you.  Men:  if you feel uncomfortable wearing make-up, then do just two things: make sure that you are freshly shaved prior to the video, perhaps even shaving a second time if you are taping in the afternoon or evening.  And lightly apply some skin-colored powder to your forehead (and your “extended” forehead) to reduce the shine/reflection from the lighting.

10) AudioAn important maxim in today’s YouTube-video-consuming world:  people are just fine with so-so video, but are NOT fine with less-than-perfect audio.  The sound must be pristine.  This means high quality lapel (“lavaliere”) mics, and a sound check to set levels appropriately.  Hint:  stay away from hand-held mics. While the sound quality with handhelds is actually better, when the person holding the mic turns their head, or they change the distance from the mic to their mouth, the audio level will also vary, sometimes quite dramatically.

11) Cameras:  Always use high-definition video cameras, and always use tripods.  Beyond this though, how many cameras should you use?  One camera to capture the entire set?  Two cameras, one filming close-up, the other from a wider angle?  Three cameras, one on the host, one on the guest, and a third capturing the entire set?  If you watch any drama show on TV, note that they switch camera angles every 5-10 seconds: more cameras give the video momentum and improve engagement.  But more cameras also sharply increase editing time/costs.

12) Editing:  Beyond removing bloopers and splicing camera angles, there are two other important editing tasks: adding intro/outro segments to the video, and adding lower thirds (eg text overlays).  Doing these additional tasks adds polish and professionalism.

13) Posting:  You may have always posted your video on YouTube, Blip, or one of the many other video sharing sites. And you still should do this to widen your video’s distribution.  But recognize that the video landscape has changed dramatically over the last few years, and you should NOT embed these YouTube videos into your website.   Here’s why:  YouTube (and others) now embed pre-roll advertisements that play before your video does.  And when the video has finished, they stream “related” videos that may be from your competitors… or a detractor.  So in addition to hosting your videos on YouTube so that they can be found there, also, host them on a private cloud (Amazon, for example) that you pay for and control, and embed the videos from there.

14) Promotion: Build it and they will come is not a promotion strategy, and neither is prayer.  Developing a plan for how people will find the video is just as important as the video production itself.  The promotion strategy should include online (eg Robust Video metadata, Pay-per-click ads, Social shares, etc), as well as offline.

15) Evaluation:  Review the video’s analytics (from within YouTube and also Google analytics.) Determining the success (or not) of the video is the only way to learn and improve for next time.

This week’s action plan:  If you’ve experimented with video, now is the time to up your game.  And if you haven’t, now is the time to start.  This week, choose the factor that will make the biggest difference for you, and then add making a better video to your to-do list.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com
:  Professional credentials site
www.108ideaspace
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

 

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When it comes to video, it is better to be late to the game, than be an earlier adopter.  The reason why? We are no longer in the age of expensive experimentation: you can learn from the experience of others – and their mistakes.

Here are 15 factors that can improve both the production and the effectiveness of any videos that you produce:

1) Goal:  The reason why a particular video is needed must be defined at the outset:  if the video is successful, then what will it cause the viewer to do?  Ego should have nothing to do with why you want to produce a video.

2) Repurposing As you plan the video, where and how else can it be used?  For example, can the video be sliced into shorter segments?  Can it be aggregated with other segments, and re-released as something completely new?  Can the audio be stripped, and then uploaded as a podcast?  Thinking strategically about  repurposing will impact every aspect of the video, from storyboarding to production.

3) Storyboarding:  What scenes will there be in the video?  Storyboarding can be high-level blocking of locations, or lower level visuals to help with scripting and camera angles.

4) Scripting:  The value of scripting is simple: it allows thinking to be done before the camera even starts rolling.  For interview-format videos, the script might just be well-thought-through questions.  For promo and demo videos, every word should be scripted, and tested.  (Hard to believe, but even Reality TV has some amount of scripting.)

5) SetThe set shares equal visual attention with the people being taped, so consider carefully the message that you would like your surroundings to convey.  A Green Screen is an inexpensive way to customize the set to anything, but unless done perfectly, it can look contrived.

6) Rehearsal:  While not strictly required, it can make a huge difference to the end-product.  On one level, the rehearsal may be mechanical only, to ensure that lighting, audio, and all of the equipment is functioning.  At another level, it may mean reading the script out loud, to improve fluency with the words, fine-tune emotional delivery.  Rehearsal will also reduce the number of takes.

7) Lighting:  The lighting directly impacts the viewer’s emotional response to the video’s message – and to you.  Generally speaking, the more “natural” the lighting, the more believable the video will be.  Some technical suggestions:

  • Avoid direct sunlight: it is very bright, and the sun will move during a shoot.
  • Use two soft lights in the front, set at different angles.  This will reduce shadows.
  • Use a third light behind, both to reduce shadows and to add depth to the video.

8) Teleprompter:  These are now available relatively inexpensively, and can help you remember longer scripts.  A cheap alternative is to print out key phrases  in large type, and then tape them to the camera.  Whether you use a teleprompter or not, avoid breaking eye contact with the viewer (eg the camera).

This week’s action plan: What would it take to make your next live presentation more successful?  Not surprisingly, each of these items are equally important when you are live – not just on tape.   (Stay tuned:  next week’s Tipsheet covers the remaining seven factors to create great videos.)

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com
:  Professional credentials site
www.108ideaspace
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

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