Video to Boost your Business

You know, ever since I started putting video newsletters together, I’ve had a lot of people contact me and ask, “How do you make those things?” So what I thought I’d do in this session is do exactly that. Put together a “How to Make a Video” video. And there’s an infinite number of ways that you can use this format to promote your business.

So what are you going to need to make your videos? Well, I kind of broke the list into two parts: the minimum requirements and what I actually recommend. As a minimum, you’re going to need a computer, a video camera, and Windows Movie Maker software.

The camera I use is a Panasonic GS 250. Now when I bought it, I think it was about $1000. They’ve come down to about $750, but you don’t need a camera that is that high end to shoot any of the videos that we’re talking about today.

You can go to Best Buy or Circuit City and find a whole list of mini-DV video cameras for around $250, and that’s the format that I recommend, the mini-DV. So any of those cameras work just fine to do any of the video that we’re talking about here.

OK, now that you have the video camera, go out and shoot from video of something—and it doesn’t matter what you shoot the video of, just shoot something so that you’re getting familiar with the camera and the techniques that I’m going to talk about in this newsletter.

Now I’ve purchased several video-editing packages, and I think Windows Movie Maker is actually better than some I’ve bought, and Windows Movie Maker is free. Now all of you have it – if you have Windows XP, it’s on your computer already if you don’t know it. Look under “Accessories” and you’ll see Windows Movie Maker.

So go ahead and open that software and import the video; the instructions are pretty straightforward—just import the video that you just shot. Now that you’ve got your video imported into the software, I can tell you the best way to learn how to use Windows Movie Maker is just start playing with it. You can import background music or audio; you can edit the clips. The easiest way is to just start playing with it and you’ll get the hang of it real quick.
When you finish editing the video to the point your happy with it, go ahead and save the file to your computer to a folder that you can find easily.
And you’re going to see a lot of different Save File options; just go ahead and pick one of the Windows Media files, either the low or high quality just for this example.

So take that file that you just created and put it inside of a folder on your Web site by whatever method you normally post stuff to your Web site – FTP or what have you – and then just create a link on your Web site that points to that file. When you do that, it’ll play the video in the familiar Windows Media Player format.

OK, now that’s the simple basics. But let’s take it a step further and I’ll show you what you can do to really enhance the video and the delivery of it.
So, let’s cover what I have on my recommended list, which is what I use to shoot the videos, to make the quality higher, and the Web delivery more efficient.

If you’re going to shoot any of your video indoors, you have to have lights. I’ve never found any way around that to get good quality. Smith Victor, I think, has some of the best value.

These are the lights I use; I use a Model 700 SG and the entire kit, two lights and umbrellas, I think was about $250, so it’s reasonably priced.
Here’s the set-up I have in my basement—I mean studio. It’s a pretty easy set-up. It’s two lights and the umbrellas, a simple table, and the camera on a tripod. Noticeably absent from this picture is a cameraman. I shoot all of this by myself without a second party helping me.

Now you definitely need lights if you’re going to do any indoor shooting. In fact, lights are probably more important than the camera when it comes to indoor video. But you can shoot outdoors if you don’t have any lights. And one other piece of equipment I want to point out is a lavaliere mic; it’s this little one that clips on to your collar. You don’t have to have that—you can use the mic off the video, but the quality’s usually a lot better and it’s only about $50 to invest in, so I’d go ahead and get one.

Whether you’re shooting the video indoors or outdoors, it doesn’t require hardly any set-up at all, and if you’re doing headshots like I’m doing today, you can probably get away with shooting them in your underwear.
What I’m going to show you now is a step-by-step method to improve the quality of the video and dramatically improve the delivery experience for your customer. The problem with the other format, the Windows Media format I showed you earlier, is on some of these larger video files, it takes way too long for the video to actually start. So the techniques I’m going to show you right here are exactly what I use.

So for this technique, it’s the same steps up to the point where you want to save your movie. Instead of saving it to Windows Media format, you save it to a raw video, the DV-AVI format, which is a setting choice in Windows Movie Maker.

Then you take Sorenson Squeeze, which I found is the best software out there to convert video into Flash.

In the top left hand corner there’s an “Import Video File”; go ahead and import the new DV-AVI raw format that you just saved into Sorenson Squeeze. OK, this may sound difficult, but trust me, it’s not—once you do it once or twice it’s a piece of cake.

In the Format Compression settings, there’s a “Flash Movie” and a “Flash Video”—the “Flash Video” is the red one. That’s the one you want.
Go ahead and select that and pick the “Medium” setting and apply it to your video file, then go ahead and squeeze it. The end result is going to be a Flash video (.flv) file. So you’re going to take that file and put it in a folder on your Web site, along with two other pieces of software that I’m going to give you a link to at the end of this newsletter that you can download. And don’t worry if you didn’t get all of these steps; I’m going to have a document on my Web site as well at that link that’ll show you step by step exactly how to do this.

So assuming you have a computer, you can get set up to do this for about $250 camera, because the Windows Movie Maker software is free, as I said before. If you go my recommended path, depending on the camera you buy, it’s going to be around $1000 to $1200.

So now that you know how to make these videos, how can you use it to enhance your business? Or how about a video press kit? Instead of those big, thick, paper printed press kits that everyone never reads anyway, what if you make an interesting and intriguing video press kit? You can see one for my company at this link right here.

Press kit

Or how about video newsletters like the ones I do? How about product demonstrations? How-to editorials? Maybe have corporate staff—your CEO and their direct staff introductions. That makes it a lot more personal about the company. Corporate training techniques.

Now here’s a great one – how about you make a video résumé for your dream job and send it to your potential employer. I guarantee that person will watch it and it will be something completely different than the pile of resumes he has sitting on his desk. Use your creativity – there’s a million ways you can use video to enhance your business.

And here’s the link:
that I put online.

Go ahead and download that and it shows you some of the steps and reinforces what this newsletter has already taught you.

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