Monthly Archives: April 2015

Getting Started with Video

Last time, we talked about the prevalence of video in social media. In this blog, we want to give you some simple tips for getting started making your own social media videos.

Start With the Obvioussmartphone-camera-prevent-living-in-the-moment-8-13-2012

Obviously, your first and most basic need is a camera. You don’t need to break the bank with the most expensive camera on the market. Just keep in mind that cameras with more options will cost more. You can spend anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousands.

However, don’t forget you may already have an acceptable camera already – your smartphone! Anything from an iPhone 4 or later will work, as will almost any smartphone with a camera. Just look at what can be done with a smartphone and some great accessories!

The number of megapixels and the camera’s sensor determines picture quality. Generally speaking, more megapixels, the better the picture quality. Back in 1999, the average digital camera had less than 2 megapixels. Today, you can find cameras with 16 megapixels and more. However, the number of megapixels means nothing if the manufacturer has achieved it by cramming those 16 megapixels onto a small sensor.

Instead of going into a detailed technical discussion about pixels, you can easily determine if your smartphone camera is adequate by shooting a quick video with a couple of smartphone cameras you have available to you. Shoot the same scene and watch them back on a computer to see which looks best.

A smartphone is an easy way to get started; however, if you decide to get serious about videos, you will want to purchase a video camera.

Other Camera Options

For the budget-conscious, the GoPro is perhaps one of the most versatile cameras on the market. GoPro cameras starts at about $200. One drawback is you need to have plenty of light. Outside images will be great, but inside scenes will almost certainly require artificial lighting. Another drawback is you cannot connect a microphone to the camera.

Canon 5DAnother camera option is a “pro-sumer” camera. Most are HD capable. These also have zoom functionality – something you will not get with a smartphone or a GoPro camera. Prices start at around $150 and go to as high as a thousand dollars depending on the options.

If you are serious, about video, you should consider a DSLR camera. Most DSLR cameras are still-photography cameras that also shoot great HD video. There are two especially nice features about DSLR cameras. One is the ability to change lenses, which gives you more flexibility when shooting your video. The second is that the cameras have better sensors, which are helpful when shooting in low light situations.

DSLR cameras are a bit more complex to operate because of multiple settings, and they are a bit more expensive. You’ll find them priced starting around one thousand dollars and range up to three thousand dollars or more.

Steady As You GoGitzo-GT3530LSV-6x-Carbon-Fiber-Tripod-Legs

The next thing you will need is a tripod for your camera. A tripod is vital for a steady picture. No matter how steady you think you are, any scene from a hand-held camera for more than a few seconds is going to shake or move and cause the center of focus to move about on the screen. This is very annoying to watch and a major reason why many quit watching a video before its conclusion. Sure, some stabilization can be achieved in post production, but it’s not always a sure fix.

You can find all types of tripods for just about every camera on the market. From a smartphone to the most expensive DSLR cameras, there are several types of tripods available at a range of prices.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Finally, if you plan to record someone speaking while on camera, you must have a good microphone.   The built-in camera microphone does not work well for this. The built-in microphone will pick up every sound in the room. From the heating/cooling fan to someone walking in the room to sounds outside, a camera microphone picks up everything. Generally, these extraneous sounds are as loud as or louder than the person speaking on camera!

shotgun micIn these situations, you must use a good microphone that plugs directly into your camera. There are hand-held microphones and also lavaliere microphones that attach to clothing. With adaptors, most will fit a smartphone or a DSLR camera. Quality wired microphones can cost around $100 or less.

If you plan to have someone speaking in most every video, you may want to us a wireless microphone. You can find wireless microphones priced from a hundred dollars to a couple of hundred dollars, depending on the company.

Now you are ready to shoot video and get the most out of the picture and sound quality.

Video = Memorable Social Media

Everywhere you look today, video is popping up.

Consider this: Television is no longer the first, or even the primary, screen in our lives today. Surveys show that YouTube now reaches more 18-34 year-old US adults than any cable channel. However, it’s not just 18-34 year-olds that are watching videos on YouTube. Adults, parents and grandparents, are watching and posting their own YouTube videos.

Video is becoming so common, that nearly every publishing and social media platform now has, or is integrating, video capabilities.

Facebook Videofacebook-video

Even Facebook has embraced videos. Remember last summer’s ALS Ice Bucket challenge? For many people, it was the first time they uploaded a video to their Facebook account. Since July 2014, the ALS Association has received over $115 million in donations!

Even more remarkable, Facebook had a 50 percent increase in the use of video from just May to July of 2014. Facebook announced in September 2014 that it now delivers one billion video views per day! It is no wonder Facebook is introducing new video features to its site.

People Remember Videos

We are visually oriented; that is why we remember videos. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million words. Actually, 1.8 million words! According Brainshark, a communications training company, the information retained after watching a one-minute online video is equal to about 1.8 million written words!

Videos speak in a way words and static images cannot. If you haven’t already, you may soon find yourself using Google to find a video to answer a question. Admit it, watching someone demonstrate something is much more effective than reading about it.

As a content creator, you should be creating videos that are relevant and engaging for your audience. Don’t worry about trying to create the next viral video. If you create content that your audience just can’t help but share with others, the viral part will take care of itself.

Using-Video-Marketing-For-businessUsing Video for Your Business

So, how do you use video for your business? Show off your work! Before and after images, video progress of your work or a time-lapse for automotive repairs are perfect ways to show off your work. Adding a date stamp is a subtle way to reinforce how quickly you accomplish your great work.

There are other ways to use video besides highlighting your work. You can use video to show off your facilities and employees. Perhaps you have new equipment; show it off with a description of the customer benefits it offers. Highlight your employee of the month and their work. You might consider giving a mini-tour of your facilities. You might want to offer a special discount for customers who specifically mention the video when in your shop.

Another good use of video is customer testimonials. Ask if a customer is willing to talk on camera about your business. You can have them talk about your awesome customer service, or how quickly the work was performed and if they would recommend your shop to their friends.

Perhaps you have an awesome holiday light display. Show it off! If you sponsor a local sports team, show highlights from the latest game.

Spread the Videos Around

Do not just post your video on YouTube or Vimeo. Link to it in your blog posts and on your website. The great thing about posting a video on YouTube is you can link to it on your website and get twice as much exposure. Also, encourage those who find your videos to share with their friends and followers.

Your videos can lead potential customers to your website or blog, and your website or blog can direct current customers to your video channel.