I am asked on many occasions, what is needed in order to produce videos. Questions range from what hardware is needed, what software is needed, and what is the cheapest, fastest way to do it. The one question that I don’t hear very often is “How do I do video SEO?” That question actually has a more consistent, concise (ok, not that concise) answer. More than likely the answer to the video SEO question is an easier one to find, so it is not frequently asked. Instead, people are always looking for the shortcut on the video production end.
I am not here to tell you what you should use or how you should do it. I have my ways of doing it and my process. However, that doesn’t mean that my way is the right way for you. Instead, I’m going to offer you some “considerations.” I’m going to give you some ideas of what you should think about before venturing into video marketing. This is basically what I cover in my video strategy coaching sessions, so you are getting it here, for free.
You have read a couple “video” terms, so far, in this article and let’s put them in context with how they relate to one another. First, you have the “video production.” That is the “getting the video done” part. There is also “video post-production” (which is something we do) where the video that is recorded is edited. Then, there is “video SEO” which is the process of optimizing the video (i.e. description and title) to perform well in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) and especially in Google and YouTube. The term “video marketing” could be defined in several different ways. It could be the overall process (including video production; video SEO). It could be the strategy portion and include “video pre-production” which is the planning and strategizing that occurs before the production (recording). We are using the term in this more generalized context. We are not discussing specific strategies related to video marketing, at least not in this article.
The Quality Question
This is a big one for us. In our company, we insist on quality. For the most part, 80-90% of the web video content out there does not focus on quality. Now, before you get mad at me and think I am accusing you of poor quality web videos, realize where I am coming from, and it should make more sense. Ok, maybe I am accusing you (and us!) of poor quality. But, that isn’t a bad thing. Let’s look at it in context.
First of all, my background is the education at what is now the Los Angeles Film School. I am a videographer and also a pro sound engineer. Yes, I produced some work for bands in Los Angeles before I decided to take the stage and marry a sound engineer. Now, I don’t do as much sound engineering because I don’t have to do it.
Back to the quality question and how this relates to you. Some of the best videos out there are the quick videos that are “filmed” on a smartphone. They capture the moment, and often times go viral. There is also some really high-quality web videos put out by popular brands, which also go viral.
Are you catching a glimpse of where I am going with this? First, are you a large brand? If so, you probably have the money to go for the high-quality web video and also have the money for the high-quality promotion of that high-quality video so that it is guaranteed to go viral.
Are you a little smaller company with a little tighter budget? Then, you can actually aim for that innovative capture on your smartphone and let the community do the work for you, in getting the web video to go viral. It is ok that your web video is not what would be considered the highest quality in sound engineering and videography.
If you are reading this, and you are ready to just go out there and do it with the smartphone, then you are all set. You know what software you need (the built-in camera app in your smartphone and youtube.com), and you have the hardware (smartphone). You have solved your quality question, and you are ready to implement you video strategy.
The video, above, gives a little cross-section of videos that are quality renditions that include decent videography and sound engineering techniques, but there are also quite a few that may lack the technical aspects. They are still very entertaining!
Some Fun Alternatives
There are some tools out there where you can create whiteboard videos, animations, and more (loosely still referenced as “video production”). If you are a little bit technically minded and are able to follow directions, you can use some of these tools yourself, without hiring a videographer. This is an answer to those people who want to know how to get it done and get it done fast, but do not want to use a smartphone. Remember, these tools are not necessarily “fast,” and they do require some skill, but it is within the realm of possibility.
- YouTube – You can do some basic editing right within the YouTube site, without additional hardware/software.
- Sparkol – Create whiteboard videos (also called explainer videos) online, with this tool. It takes a little while to get the hang of it but once you catch on, it gets easier.
- PowToon – Want animations? Check out this site. You can also create explainer videos on this site, too.
- Microsoft PowerPoint – did you know that you could create a PowerPoint presentation and export it as a video? It isn’t glamorous, but it is doable.
- Google Hangouts on Air – this is how we do it for HangoutQueen. You can even record yourself talking to a camera and if you have it hooked up to your YouTube, it only takes the time that it takes to do the hangout.
Don’t Forget the Basics
So, we have talked about quality (probably more than you would like to talk about it) and we have given you some ideas on how to put together other video media. There is one last consideration to cover. It is one that is often overlooked. That is the computer hardware, disk space, and recovery.
I actually do get quite a few people asking me what type of computer to use. Personally, I use an Apple Mac. I also use Final Cut Pro for my professional video productions. You can use a Windows computer, as well. The key is that the computer processing power matches what you are producing.
For example, if you are using your smartphone to capture video and upload it straight to youtube.com, then you don’t even need to worry about the computer processor speed because you are not using it. If you are doing what we do and creating high definition professional videos, then you need a powerful computer. We even used a quad server to process our videos, to really get the power that we needed.
This isn’t some ego trip. It is about the ability for the software to complete what you have asked it to do and to be able to do that in a timely fashion. Before we got the server, I had a high def video file that actually took 40 hours to render. The rendering process is that point where you have made all of the changes you need to make and the software pulls it all together for you and exports out the final version. Usually, that isn’t even the “final final.” There is still a compression point to get it ready for the web (small enough for the web), which takes more hours. Ok, all you smartphone users, aren’t you glad you are not doing the 40-hour render?
In addition to a powerful enough computer, you also want enough disk space to store these files. Do not depend on Youtube or Vimeo to store your videos. You want to have a copy on your hard drive, as well. Also, in some cases, if you are doing video post-production, you may want to keep a copy of the video project file (that is that file where you are snipping and adding music, etc.). That way, you can make changes and produce other versions of your video later (i.e. Instagram snippet videos). We recommend picking up some 5T drives at places like newegg.com and archiving your files.
The final piece of the basics is the backup process. You don’t want to forget this step. Many times people say, “Someday I will get around to that.” It isn’t until they have a crash and realize that ten years of work is gone that they realize they should have done it earlier. We use Apple Time Machine. You know those drives you picked up at NewEgg? Hook up one of them as your Time Machine backup drive. Apple makes it pretty easy to set and forget and that way you will have all of your files to show off to your grandkids.
There you have it, three basic considerations to include in preparing for your video marketing strategy. There are many more considerations, but this should get you going and last a little while… at least until tomorrow