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Step 3 (pt. 8): Creating Your Products: Video

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Avish: Next up on the list of types of products we can make is video products. And Fred, when should a person use video to make a product?

Fred: Well, the choice of what to use is always dependent on what makes the most sense for the person who will end up using it. So, if we have or select video as our medium, then it means that video must be the best thing, if we’re doing it right, to properly illustrate whatever we’re doing.

So, if for example, and I grew up hoping to play golf for a living, if for example we were trying to illustrate a golf swing, it would be very difficult to do using audio or even a book or a magazine. Sometimes the magazines try and do it with multiple pictures, but it’s really not nearly as effective as using a video. For example, if you were also talking about how to prepare foods and you were talking about whisking eggs or something like that, you’d also probably want to use video because it makes the most sense.

So when you decide to use video, it’s not because somebody put a video camera in your hand and said, oh, you’re making products, you should use video, it should be because yes, you have that tool around, but that tool makes the most sense. So it’s the old traditional, you know, if it requires a screw driver, you use a screw driver and not a hammer or a wrench. So use the tool that makes the most sense.

Avish: So then what are your thoughts on like talking head video, where someone is just talking into the camera for an hour or two?

Fred: Well, it depends on what the use of it is. Say for example we’re talking about a website in which you’re using a website in which you’re using a talking head to get people to opt-in to a list. The determination of whether or not you’re using the right tool is based on the results that you get. So, if in using a talking head video we end up getting much higher response rates to our opt-in suggestions, then that’s the right tool. But if we use video just for the sake of using video, that makes no sense.

But in general, while talking head videos—and the one that always comes to mind for me is, there was a person whose video I saw many, many years ago, who was in the business of organization. She was obviously told that she needed to have a video. So rather than taking a video camera out to her, or my garage, more aptly, if she would have taken a video camera out to my garage and shown the before pictures and then done some coaching with me and then shown the after pictures, that would have made sense. But instead, what she did was, she looked in—there was a two-camera shoot—she looked in to the first camera and talked for awhile and then every three or four minutes she would obviously get a signal to look at the other camera, which she did, and then they would go to the other camera. That made no sense because the topic that she was discussing and the medium that she chose to use, didn’t really go together correctly. Does that make sense?

Avish: Yeah, absolutely. So let’s say you’ve decided then that video is the right medium for your product. Let’s talk now then about how you put it together and what are some of the tools you would need.

Fred: Okay.

Avish: So let’s start with the camera and there’s obviously very different levels of camera you can go with, right?

Fred: There are. There are some really very inexpensive, sort of Flip video type cameras are now, I think Flip is out of business, so it’s the Kodak ZI8 that people use a lot. You can go with an inexpensive camera. In fact, just like on a Mac computer, you actually have a built in camera that can do video capturing and again, if you’re first starting out, I would not encourage you to go out and spend a lot of money on a camera. So, you may want to just capture images using your built-in video camera or a webcam that you get if you’re a PC person, but again, I don’t know anything about that world.

But if you use your built in camera on your Mac say for example, you can get a decent image. It’s not really high quality, but it’s going to be decent. So you can either go with an inexpensive camera, now again, a Flip video, which again, they don’t exist, so the Kodak, you can get something for about, you know, anywhere between 180 and 200 dollars, somewhere like that. That quality of video is okay.

But if you can afford it to move up to about to the 350-400 dollar level, I suggest that people get a Canon Vixia. Now again, that particular camera, the reason why I like it, it records in high definition, but it’s relatively inexpensive, and it also has removable media. So we can record directly on to what are called SD cards and we can then pull them out and insert them into our Macintosh or other devices to download the images. But again, so you’ve got, you can go really low end, you can go medium, and then of course you can go high end as well.

Avish: Okay. So the Canon Vixia is the sort of high end.

Fred: Well actually Canon Vixia I would consider medium end, because that’s a 400 hundred dollar camera. Now you can if you want spend literally thousands of dollars or at least a thousand dollars on a very high end camera that’s high definition, has removable media and has fancy lenses to go with it. But if we are doing, and using these cameras for the purpose of creating information products, most of which are basically how-to stuff, we’re not trying to create, you know, the equivalent of a feature film here.

We’re trying to just communicate how to do something. So in most cases, creating and having a camera that has God knows how many functions that you’ll never even use, is complete overkill. Because usually what you’re paying for, the thing that you’re paying for that makes sense when you spend more money, is a lens. However, in most cases, not only do you get the lens, but you get all kinds of additional settings and all kinds of things which to us, as information marketers, is complete overkill.

Avish: Okay, someone starting out then, you recommend the Flip, maybe the Canon Vixia if it’s somebody that’s going to do a lot of video.

Fred: Yeah, and again, you only want to go to the high end video cameras in the event that you’re doing something that absolutely requires that. I’m just trying to make it so that anybody who’s listening to this program doesn’t go out and spend their life savings on the camera because I’d rather see you make money before you spend it.

Avish: Okay, and nowadays is there any reason that anybody should get a camera that reports to tape or you like just using or suggest just going straight with the SD cards?

Fred: It’s a good question. Recording to tape, a lot of people who are video professionals tell me that recording on tape is something that is better because you can archive it, etc., etc. But again, for our purposes, that assumes that people are looking for, you know, to keep things for 25 years, etc., etc. In our cases as information marketers, this isn’t going to be the case. So I would recommend a camera that’s going to have removable media, that is high definition, that has a decent lens and costs under 500 dollars. After that, really, you’re just spending money to try and look fancy.

Avish: Okay. So you’ve got your, let’s see, you’ve got your camera now. Do you have any tips on how to shoot or what makes for a good video?

Fred: Well, I mean, yeah and that really could be an entire course in and of itself. So here’s what I would suggest people do. There’s a company called, that produces a magazine and they have an online piece called Video Maker. And Video Maker has got some great training videos on how to do video which are very good. And again, they’re for the guerilla film maker. Some of them are very inexpensive techniques, so I would encourage people to go there. Or just to You Tube and Google how to do good videos. Because it’s sort of outside the scope of this particular program to really get into all the nuances of video creation and video production techniques, if you will.

Avish: Okay, that makes sense. So what you’ve got your video shot, how do you edit that together and turn it into a product?

Fred: Well the next step you do, and again, keeping with my kind of Mac philosophy, what I do is a take the SD cards out of my machine, I import them on my Mac Book Pro, or any of the Macs now, they have an SD card slot, which allows you to put your SD card right into your computer. You then import them into IMovie. You make, and again, IMovie is something you can learn how to use fairly quickly. But again, keep it simple, not a whole lot of cuts and dissolves, just very, very basic stuff. Don’t do expanding, exploding globes and crap like that. But keep it simple and use your IMovie tools to do that. So once you’ve edited in IMovie then you can output and share it via, you can go to what’s called IDVD, which is another built in Mac product. That allows you to then share it on to a physical medium, like a DVD or to share it and to put it online and they give you various options in terms of how big a video you need. So if it’s strictly going to be on for online purposes you only might need the medium or the small size, but if you’re going to do something on to an actual physical DVD, you might need the higher settings. And again, these are all things that you can figure out once you get your Mac and they have online training and a lot of free support as well. And again, you can always go to to get more training on IMovie, Garage Band, on IDVD, on any of these programs that I recommend.

Avish: Okay, so then we get the technical training in lots of places, like you said, it’s beyond the scope, so one more question then about the video products. You mentioned that you can do DVD, online, what’s your kind of preferred way of packaging and delivering a video product?

Fred: Good question. Up until, you know a few months ago even, I was still sending out physical DVDs. I think that now we’ve gotten to the point, and again, I was talking about this years ago, and I mentioned the fact that once people’s connections— their internet connection speeds get high enough, it will make absolutely no sense to physically deliver DVDs. All we have to do is look at what’s happening with Netflix to realize that the delivery of movies is now very, very possible either streaming, or to allow people like ITunes does to download the videos and put them on to a device.

So I would recommend that everybody start to think in terms of—there are two options for people. So if we forgo doing any kind of physical delivery and we concentrate exclusively on doing digital delivery online, we now have and can present our users with two options. Either to click on a button and to have the video stream, which means they’re playing somewhere off of a server. And again, that’s going to cost you a little bit of money, but they play off of a server and people can watch them on their computer, or, that’s option one, option two is they click on another button and they can download them on to their computer and play them at any time at their leisure.

Now, for both of these I would highly recommend you use a source like AmazonS3. And Amazon S3, you know Amazon from the book business, Amazon S3 is basically, they have these big fat servers all over the place and they have lots of excess capacity and what they do is they then rent out that capacity to people like you and me to put our videos up there and allow people to either stream them or to download them.

So again, Amazon S3, again beyond the scope of this course, but people may want to look and go to Amazon and you’ll find out everything you need to know about how to upload a video to Amazon and have people be able to stream it. And also once you have it steaming, and again, this is the difference between Amazon S3 and You Tube, which is You Tube is open to the public, whereas Amazon S3 is private so you could actually put the videos up online on your website, protect those videos with a membership site platform of some sort, where you have sort of like a locked door to get to a given page on a site, and then charge people to get access. So you can still make money off of your videos, it’s just you either charge them for the download or charge them to be able to stream it, or if you choose to give it away for free, you can just put it up on You Tube.

Avish: Okay, now that’s, I realize it’s, I don’t want to get too technical here, but could you talk a little about what you just said about, and I think we’re going to talk about its own thing, just briefly about putting it behind a membership site?

Fred: Yeah, well the whole idea here is if you put a page up on your site and then put a video on that page, there are systems that will allow you to protect that page so people can’t willy-nilly get access to that page, click on that video and watch it or download it without having the key to get into that particular page. So membership site software allows you to take a given page and to put it behind what’s called a pay wall, which is they have to pay to get through the wall to get to the page that has the video. Again, we’re going to be talking more about this, I believe later, when we talk about membership sites, but the basic idea is that people, you can structure it so that people have to pay to get through your wall to get to see the video.

Avish: Sounds good.

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