[53] How to Make Videos that Stand Out


Questions from our listeners:
Frank Fasano8:39 AM
Kelly, this is extremely timely.  I’m actually in the process of gearing up to launch video for two of my companies.  One lingering question I have is how much should I be investing into making our videos look professional?  We’re doing all the work in house and our budget for things like camera and audio equipment, as well as lighting and video editing is nothing tremendous.  I think the message of what we are conveying is the most important thing but I still want to have everything look professional enough that it represents our business properly.  To be honest, this has been the hurdle that has prevented me from pulling the trigger on video in the past.  What are your thoughts on this and what would you suggest as a starting point for smaller businesses that don’t have a huge video production budget but still want to look professional and appealing.

Video Tools & Materials
HD camcorder: Choose a major-brand camera that suits your price range and records to an SD card, flash drive, or internal hard drive. An external microphone jack will allow you to record better sound.

Mics – I prefer Yeti but that might not be good for videos where you are interviewing someone or need a more portable mic. In that case you will want to check out something like a Lavalier or a wireless bluetooth enabled mic.  if you are using a Yeti or a snowball style mic you may also want to get a Pop Filter. They are relatively inexpensive and help with sound quality.

Lighting –

Software –

  • Windows Live Movie Maker/ iMovie are free, basic movie editors that usually come pre-installed on your computer. This is enough to make basic edits and high quality videos (depending on your camera, of course).
  • Camtasia for Windows is great screen recording and medium-level video editing software for Windows & Mac ($99.00).  A great way to capture your onscreen activities, Keynote or PPT presentations in high-definition clarity.
  • For high-end video editing- Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro (Mac only).  The more you invest into your video editing, the higher the learning curve will be.  Always start with the free editors- they are easy to navigate and less-intimidating to use.
  • Screen Capture videos
  • PowerPoint Presentations
    • Camstudio
    • Brainshark
    • Record in PowerPoint or Keynote

Other ways to make your video shine:

  • Backdrops:
    • Seamless paper – consider doing a solid colored seamless paper in the color of your logo or brand.
    • Less clutter – clear the clutter behind you if you are doing a video in your office or a room. It is okay to have stuff in the background just not so much that it becomes a distraction.

You might want to skip all the DIY studio work and just buy a kit to save you time: This one comes with: A 10′x20′ green screen lit by three quad-light soft boxes makes for an excellent home studio for the video maker that loves chromakey technology. This studio allows you to capture video from head to toe, and lighting should be even all around your subject thanks to two side soft boxes and an overhead light. Each soft box is powered by four CFLs, giving a total of 2400 watts of lighting power to your production. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B005GLZU6M/lockergnome

Other options:
If you are really looking to do professional video but do not know how here are some ideas from inexpensive to more expensive:

  • Hire an intern
  • Hire a contractor
    • oDesk.com
    • Elance.com
    • fiverr.com
  • Work with a video production company

We are by no means experts in the technical side of video marketing however we would like to offer you some resources to learn more about how you can get started in video when you want to go beyond just the basics:

Lastly we wanted to share some videos and YouTube channels that we found to be very well done:
Will It Blend: http://www.youtube.com/Blendtec
Probably the best example of how you can use fun video concepts to sell products. Who does not want a blender that can blend EVERYTHING. Not only are these videos short and fun to watch but they also showcase the product very well and it’s key selling point (it can blend anything). They also do a good job at engaging the audience to suggest things to blend.

A Pep Talk from Kid President to You: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-gQLqv9f4o
This video is not only very well done production wise, the talent and the message are addicting and inspirational. But really what I want you to focus on is the call to action at the end. If you don’t want to watch the whole video (even though it is well worth it) skip ahead about 2 minutes and see how they do their subscription call to action.

iJustin’s YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/ijustine
Justine knows how to work the whole gambit of YouTube tools. She utilizes list very well to organize her videos. She also uses annotations, highlights, call outs and call to actions. You may or may not like her content but the woman has 1,366,164 subscribers so she is doing something right.

Sonia Travels YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/soniastravels
This woman knows how to brand. Yes she uses all the tools that YouTube offers just like iJustine but the take away with this channel is her branding. From the background to her videos they are all branded to her. LOVE THIS. I know I am inspired to go make my channel better.

And since I promised you I would share some of my (Kelly) videos from the early days here you go:

Thanks for following me on Twitter video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyBl_OXpIII
I created this short video to send to new followers on my twitter account. This video is ancient as I have not worked for this company in forever so don’t go trying to email me there. But looking back I think it was a great way to put a personal touch on thanking someone for a connection. Come to think of it I might just go create one for LinkedIn now!

Meet Michael Noble: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pgFx4OS9PM&feature=share&list=UUfqk63CbhCZy2c2bX4A7NPA
I created this video using Keynote then iMovie. Mostly it is a powerpoint put to music. I made this about 3 years ago for my cousin and if I had to do it over I would make it much shorter and use annotations in the video. This gives you an idea of where I started. The impact and story was still there and as an update Mike did get his transplant and is live and well today about to graduate college at CU.

Crab Rangoon Pizza: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51JmyjQld1M
I created this video as part of a cooking competition I was in. I recorded it on my HD flip cam and edited it with iMovie. My suggestion to you is if you want to do video but you need some practice go ahead and create a separate video channel that is more about you and having fun. That is why I did. This gave me the ability to create videos like these that was a great creative outlet as well as good practice in being in front of the camera and doing basic edits.

The Broker Restaurant: https://vimeo.com/14431487
I added this particular video to Vimeo. This is the very first video I created for my blog wine & dine a little over 2 years ago. The video is a profile on the broker restaurant in downtown Denver. I used a HD Flip but when I downloaded the video from the flip I mistakenly took it down to a large size rather than the original so I was unable to obtain the HD quality. I think it still turned out great though. What do you think? Not bad for a girl with no video editing experience! The takeaway here is I did a ton of video interviews like this with local restaurant owners, manager and chefs. They were all happy to do them all I had to do is ask. So if you have a business or person you want to highlight just ask. You will be surprised how much content you find for your video strategy!

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