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How to Create a GREAT Video Program

Information Marketing

Every good information marketer knows that people like to learn differently. Some people really like to learn using video. All you have to do is look at the number of instructional videos out there. Also, consider how popular YouTube is. Although most of the content on YouTube isn’t instructional, it proves the popularity of video and how YOU as an information marketer need to use it.

Now the question is: How do you do it RIGHT?

First, let’s define the word RIGHT. For me, the word means that when people get your videos, they are able to DO what you CLAIM to be teaching them. The video actually shows/demonstrates what they need to do.

To start, you need to do an outline of what you’ll cover in your video. This outline is a little different than what we use for audio programs. You may want to make some illustrations for yourself if you need a particular shot or camera angle to illustrate something in your outline. This way, when you’re ready to shoot, you’ll save yourself a bunch of time.

Also, if you are illustrating a topic that is precise or intricate, you may need a script. This kind of material does not lend itself to “winging it.” Here’s a quick story to illustrate the point.

Many years ago, I went up to Vermont to film a video training program. A friend of mine had a studio up there and the cost of production was much cheaper than doing it in New York City. This included the cost to “ship” the actors up AND to put them up in a hotel for a couple of days.

When I got of the train in Vermont, I was met by the director. We were shooting the next day and he asked to see my script. My answer? “What script?” He gave me a little grin and said he’d see me in the morning.

Video producers charge by the hour or by the day. The reason I got a little grin was without a script our shoot ended up taking about twice as long. Not good. AND, much more expensive! My savings that I thought I would accrue by shooting the video in Vermont quickly vanished.

YOU need a script when you have actors and scenarios that are going to be included in your videos. Please don’t forget this story.

It’s now 20 years later. I do all of my own video production. Most people do. Some of them do a good job and others . . . NOT so good. This article will show you how to do it right if you’re doing it yourself.

The first thing you need to know and understand is what kind of video camera to get. The choices are MIND BOGGLING. There are a ton of different options. I won’t tell you which specific camera to get, but I will give you some guidelines.

First off, you don’t NEED high definition for doing HOW-TO videos. The cost of the cameras are such that it won’t kill you to buy one with that capability, but it isn’t mandatory. That being said, buy one that offers you the option. Just in CASE you want to use it now or in the future.

You can spend $5,000 or more on a camera.You don’t need to for videos like we are talking about here. That would be complete OVERKILL! I have a few Canon Video cameras. They all cost around $500-$600. They are small and lightweight and are MORE than enough for people in the information marketing field.

The one thing I DO recommend is that you get a camera that records on SD cards, not on tape. Recording onto memory cards is a lot cheaper and the chances of a memory card “screwing up” are a lot lower. Avoid TAPE BASED video cameras.

Also important is that you select a camera that has a mic input. Most inexpensive video cameras have BUILT IN mics. This will NOT work. Make sure that the camera that you get has this feature. When you check the specifications list, you’ll see it listed IF it has one.

Next on your list of things to purchase is the microphone that you’ll connect to the camera. You have two choices here. Wired or wireless. Wireless are your preferred option. More expensive? Yes. Easier to use? Absolutely. The only thing you’ll want to be aware of is that you may have problems with wireless mics in places where there are a lot of signals bouncing around. In the middle of New York City would be an example.

Wireless mics vary in price. Don’t get the cheap ones they sell at Radio Shack. They will not work for you. More on WHERE to buy all this gear later on.

I always like to have a wired microphone as a back up just in case. It may not look as good, but if your audio quality is lousy, your video will be unsellable. Please heed my advice and warning on this one.

If most of your videos will be shot indoors, you’ll need to get some lighting. Here you can save some money. Professional lighting for video shoots can cost a pretty penny. YOU can get close to the same look by using any kind of light bulb and putting them into some cheap metal “shells” that you can pick up at Home Depot or Lowe’s for about $5 a piece. Get a bunch of these and you’ll be on your way.

Good lighting and good audio are KEY to producing good video.

Your last step is to get a good tripod. I have spent a lot of money on LOUSY tripods. Bit the bullet and get a good one. This may cost you over $100. One of the tripods I own cost me close to $500. I originally bought this one when I had VERY heavy cameras. YOU do not need to spend that kind of money, but you do need a tripod with a “floating head.” Make sure that whichever one you buy has THAT feature.

Prices on tripods vary dramatically, but you generally won’t find a GOOD one for less than about $150. Pay it. It will last you a lifetime if you take care of it. It is well worth the investment.

Where do you buy all of this stuff so far? I would recommend my friends at B&H Photo. You can find them at B & H Photo. They happen to be half a block from where my apartment in New York. They are also THE place to buy audio and video equipment in the United States. I would not buy any of this kind of “gear” from anywhere else.

The last thing you’ll need is a system to EDIT your video once it’s shot. I’m a MAC guy. I have been for the last 25 years. Even if you’re a PC person, I still recommend that you get a MAC for the purpose of doing audio and video. It’s just easier. PLEASE take my advice. YES, even if you’re a die hard PC guy or gal.

Editing video on the MAC for basic HOW-TO videos can be done with iMovie. It’s a brain-dead simple program to use. When you buy a MAC new, they offer you a one-to-one membership for $100 for a year. This program allows you to take training every week on MAC specific programs. This will make it all worthwhile. Trust me on this one. Everyone who has taken my advice, now RAVES about the program.

There you have it. This isn’t the place for me to give you specific training on how to shoot video. I’d need a VIDEO to do that. Don’t worry, it’s coming. Keep an eye out on this blog for that training.

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5 Responses to “How to Create a GREAT Video Program”

  1. Hershel K. Waldner on August 25th, 2010 5:17 pm


    Thank you for your kind mention of B&H Photo. On behalf of all of us at B&H Photo, please accept our warm thanks and deep gratitude for your patronage. We look forward to earning your trust and continued business for many years to come. I invite you and your readers to check out our new informative and entertaining blog at

    Hershel K. Waldner
    Online Marketing Department
    B&H Photo-Video-Audio
    212-239-7500 ext. 2893

  2. Fred Gleeck on August 26th, 2010 3:34 pm

    Hershel, It’s my pleasure to mention B&H. I’ve been a fan and BIG TIME customer for many years. I only recommend B&H because they truly provide great product, great service and a great group of folks to help you make the RIGHT decisions when buying. I’m also impressed that you monitor blogs. Even more reason to patronize your company!

  3. Elizabeth Barhydtff on November 15th, 2010 5:37 am

    You have lots of good information.

    Looking for someone to help with the videos. Lots to share

  4. Fred Gleeck on November 16th, 2010 1:30 am

    Elizabeth, THANKS! I work a lot with video. Get in touch if you need help.

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