Web Video Secrets Podcast - WebVideoUniversity.com
Summary: Professional tips, tricks and techniques for creating killer web videos. Our lessons are ideal for both beginning and experienced Internet marketers.
JiveSystems has been around since 2008...but they've recently re-built their system from the ground up and turned it into a Swiss army knife of sorts for web video. With their system, you can send video emails to 1 person or thousands, upload an unlimited number of videos and embed them on your site (professional video hosting, i.e. opposite of YouTube), get email notifications when specific people watch your videos, get very useful video heatmap analytics and more. I won't reiterate everything I demonstrate in the video above...it has all the full details...but I will hit on the high and low points here: HIGH: They will host an unlimited number of videos - no monthly restrictions like other paid hosting services. HIGH: One-click video email. Just fill in some fields, click a button and you can send video emails to thousands of people. HIGH: Their system auto-detects the viewers device and bandwidth and delivers the highest-quality video that viewer can watch. LOW: Their system uses "iframe embed code". That means for SEO purposes, the videos you embed will be invisible to Google. I talk about this more and tell you how to fix "iframe embed code" problems in my Video SEO Made Easy course. LOW: It is not a free service. But a professional video hosting suite and real human support shouldn't be free. So if you're a hardcore YouTube user, it might not be for you. You can get full details and pricing here (not an affiliate link): jivesystems.com
A few weeks ago Canon released a different kind of video camera. It kind of looks like a smartphone. It kind of shoots footage like a GoPro Hero. And it's kind of hard to describe with words, which I why I did a video review of it. The camera is called the Canon Vixia Mini and it currently retails for about $300 USD. Spec-wise, it's a touch-screen camera (articulating screen) with a fixed lens (no zooming) that shoots full HD video at 30 or24p in the MP4 format. At the highest quality setting, it records video at 24mbps (Blu-Ray quality). It can shoot video in full auto mode or there is limited manual control in Program mode. It records to microSD cards and has a built in microphone (sorry, no external microphone jack). So with all the techno-garbage out of the way, is it actually any good? Well, here's my short list of pros and cons: PROS Surprisingly good in low light, dead-simple to use, makes the process of shooting videos very fast, ultra-wide angle (fish-eye) lens, no need for a tripod CONS No external mic jack, picture can be fuzzy in some situations, battery life isn't the greatest In a nutshell, I'm kind of on the fence with the video quality it produces. With some shots it's great, with others not so much. But what do you expect from a $300 camera? What I do absolutely love is the speed at which you can shoot video with this camera. Just sit it on something and press a button...that's about all there is to it. Easy peasy. Of course the big question might be "why should I use this instead of my smartphone?". And that's a valid question. For me, the answers would be "it shoots better quality video", "it has an articulating screen" and "it has it's own built-in tripod" of sorts. Or to put it another way, it's faster and easier to shoot video (and then get it off the camera too) with the Vixia Mini than it is with a smartphone. But for you the answer might be different. The Canon Vixia Mini is definitely a niche camera. I don't think it's going to be for everyone. And for the money, you might get better bang for your buck elsewhere. Then again, it sure is a lot of fun to use...and so fast to work with. Here's a link to Canon's web site with all the tech details. And by the way, the video above was shot in full auto mode...the camera did everything and I did nothing.
There are plenty of USB condenser microphones on the market. And all of them are good. Very good. In fact, you really can't go wrong with any of them. But there is a new player on the block called the Blue Nessie that is turning heads. Why? Well, for several reasons. First, it's the world's only adaptive USB microphone. That means the microphone actually takes the sound it's capturing and processes it to make it sound as good as it can. Usually you need to do this after you've made a recording...using special, additional software . But with the Blue Nessie you can skip all of that. Again, it automatically cleans up, enhances and makes the audio sound great for you. And everything else is built into the Blue Nessie too. Like the stand. And the shock mount. And the pop filter. And...well, you get the idea. It's kind of the ultimate, portable, pick-it-up-and-go USB mic. But how good does it sound? And should you even consider getting one? You can find those answers and more in my video review above. Resources: Blue Nessie (direct link to Blue's web site...not some sneaky affiliate link)
Earlier this week I was introduced to one of the most unique video lights I've ever seen. It's small. It's portable. It puts off plenty of light. And for most people, it could be the only light they'll ever need. What is it? It's called the Multimedia Pro from Genius Ingenius (click here for their web site). My full video review is above, but here's a quick rundown of the pros and cons: PROS: Simple, portable, bright light, easy to use CONS: Light cannot be placed above camera (which is preferable with video lighting), LED lights tend to have color balance issues And finally...thanks to my friend Will Franco at JiveSystems.com for pointing out the Multimedia Pro for me.
A few weeks ago I reviewed a video camera (the outstanding Sony RX100) that did not have an external microphone jack. I said it was no big deal, you can just use your iPhone to record the audio. And many people wanted to know how that was possible. Actually there are multiple ways to do this, all with varying degrees of difficultly and expense. But for this video I decided to skip all of that stuff and just show you the fastest, simplest and most goof-proof way (which happens to be the exact method I use too). No hoops to jump through, no confusing techno-stuff. Here's how in just seconds you can record pro-quality audio on your iPhone...audio that you can instantly use for your videos. RESOURCES Rode SmartLav (it works on iPhone's and most Android phones). It's usually out of stock everywhere but THIS PLACE HAS IT IN STOCK LIST OF DEVICES THE RODE SMARTLAV IS COMPATIBLE WITH: Compatible with Apple's iPhone®, iPad® and iPod® Touch, in addition to a wide range of TRRS devices: HTC: Droid DNA, HTC One X+, One S, EVO 4G LTE, Desire SV, Desire C, one X, Butterfly, Desire X, Dream, Magic, Hero, Click, Bravo, Desire, Incredible, Legend, Buzz, Espresso, Liberty, Supersonic, Ace, Vision, Glacier, Gratia, Stallion, Mecha, Speedy, Vivo, Marvel, Saga, VivoW, Lexikon, Pyramid, Status, Icon, Shooter, Doubleshot, Rider, ShooterU, Holiday, Bliss, Kingdom, Ruby, Pico, Pyramid LE, Runnymede, Vigor, EndeavorU, Evita, Ville, Primo, Jewel, Valentewx, Golf, Fireball, Proto, DLXJ Samsung: Champ Neo DUOS, GALAXY Note II, GALAXY Music, GALAXY S Duos, GALAXY Ace Plus, GALAXY S III 4G, GALAXY Beam, GALAXY Pocket, Black White, Galaxy Mini 2, GALAXY S III, GALAXY Y Duos, GALAXY W, GALAXY S II 4G, OMNIA W, GALAXY Xcover, GALAXY Nexus, GALAXY S II, GALAXY Ace, GALAXY Gio, GALAXY Fit, GALAXY mini, Nexus S, GALAXY S, GALAXY 5, OMNIA 7, GALAXY 551, GALAXY 580, Wave 723 Motorola: DROID RAZR M, DROID RAZR HD, DROID RAZR MAXX HD, PHOTON Q 4G LTE, ATRIX HD, DROID RAZR MAXX, DROID RAZR, ELECTRIFY 2, DEFY XT, DROID 4, ATRIX 2, ADMIRAL, ELECTRIFY, PHOTON 4G, i867, TITANIUM, TRIUMPH, ATRIX 4G Google: NEXUS 4, NEXUS 7, NEXUS 10, NEXUS ONE, NEXUS S, GALAXY NEXUS LG: OPTIMUS L9, OPTIMUS G, OPTIMUS L7, OPTIMUS L5, OPTIMUS L3, OPTIMUS L2 Apple: iPhone 3G (all models), iPhone 3Gs (all models), iPhone 4 (all models), iPhone 4s (all models), iPhone 5 (all models). iPod touch 2nd Generation, iPod touch 3rd Generation, iPod touch 4th Generation, iPod touch 5th Generation
Last week Canon released what they are calling the world's smallest DSLR camera...the Canon Rebel SL1. And they weren't kidding, the Canon SL1 is very small and very, very light. But how does it do when it comes to video and still photos? In a word, outstanding. In many ways it stands toe to toe with it's bigger and far more expensive brothers. So the question is should you get the new Canon Rebel SL1? Well, if you already have a DSLR camera and you're happy with it, the answer is no...there's really no reason to invest in one. However, if you have an older DSLR that does not have auto-focus...and you'd really love to have auto-focus...the Canon Rebel SL1 will probably be the lowest priced and best performing DSLR you can find. But keep in mind that it runs between $700 to $800 USD and at that price point you have other attractive options as well...options that may offer you more bang for your buck. Most notable on these options are the cameras in the Sony NEX line and the fabulous point and shoot camera I reviewed last week, the Sony RX 100. To get all the the tech specs of the Canon Rebel SL1 straight from Canon's site, click here.
No one can tell you what the best video camera is. It's too subjective. Ask 100 people and you'll probably get 100 different answers. However, I can tell you what my favorite video camera is. It fits in my pocket and is with me nearly all the time (and has the scratches and dings to prove it). I'll save you the suspense here. It's the Sony RX100. It's a little point and shoot pocket cam. It comes in at around $600 USD, so it's not necessarily cheap, but that is still fairly inexpensive in the video camera world. And I'm not the only one who loves it. The New York Times called it "the best pocket camera ever made". Engadget in their review raved "There aren't enough positive adjectives to sufficiently describe Sony's masterpiece, but take me on my word: it's absolutely fantastic". And Wired.com explains "It’s so small and so powerful, you won’t think twice about carrying it along, and you probably won’t ever be disappointed with the results". But enough. You get the point. Everyone loves this camera (including me). And you simply cannot go wrong with it. Period. Now a few things I didn't point out in the video. For video, the camera shoots in both AVCHD and MP4 mode. It also offers 60i and 60p recording (both in full HD, 1920X1080). But to get the absolute best quality, you need to shoot in the AVCHD mode at 60p. That will give you a bit rate of 28mbps (Blu-Ray quality). The video above was shot at these settings. And finally, I'm sure people will ask "hey, how does this camera compare to [insert whatever camera here]? Well here's what you need to know. If you're comparing it to a DSLR camera, don't. A DSLR camera cannot fit in your pocket. The Sony RX100 can. If you're comparing it to a traditional video camera, don't. Again, a traditional video camera cannot fit in your pocket. The Sony RX100 can. And if you're comparing the Sony RX100 to a smartphone, go ahead. But understand the RX100 will blow any smartphone out of the water. To get the full technical specs on the Sony RX100...straight from Sony...click here now.
This week Amazon shook up the web video world with the release of a new service called Amazon Elastic Transcoder. What does it do? It basically gives anyone a fast, easy and cheap way to make their videos playable on the web and mobile devices. While similar services from competitors have been available for years, Amazon Elastic Transcoder offers simplicity, pay-as-you-go-pricing and automatic integration into Amazon S3. So is Amazon Elastic Transcoder for you? Watch this short video for the answer...and to see it in action. Have questions about it? Just leave a comment below.
I often get asked about microphones, specifically what's the best one to use. The problem with "best" is that it's always subjective. Plus, with microphones, people can get a bit crazy arguing technical stuff. So to make it simple I recorded a video using 3 different styles of microphones. Listen for yourself. Which one sounds the best to you? Equipment Used For This Video Canon XA10 Rode VideoMic Sennheiswer EW100
Animated images (animated GIF files) have been around since the dawn of the Internet. And they've been cheesy just as long. But then along came video and the ability to create animated images from video. Add in an extra helping of creativity and originality...and you've got some powerful images. Why is this important? Because these days web site visitors have ad blindness. They don't see most ads, period. However, an animated image (made from video) will most definitely catch their eye. Just ask the porn industry. They use animated images created from video with huge success (and click thru rates). And the great news is that now anyone...including you...can quickly and easily create animated images from videos. How? Through the web site CineGIF.com. In fact, they won't even charge you anything. I demonstrate exactly how to use CineGIF in the video above. And you can see examples of animated images created using CineGIF below:
If you want to sell your videos online there are multiple hoops to jump through...from merchant accounts, to video hosting, to securing your videos and more. But what if there was a way that anyone (even you) could start selling access to your videos in under 2 minutes? And what if you could do it by simply clicking a few buttons? Now you can with a service called Cleeng Play. I had originally reviewed Cleeng back in February of 2011 when they began offering a turn-key Wordpress plugin for selling access to your written articles (click here to see that review). But a few weeks ago Cleeng released Cleeng Play, which allows you instantly sell access to your videos. So how does it work...what's good about it...what's bad about it and how much does it cost? All of those answers and more are in the video above. And to see a live, working example of a Cleeng Play enabled video, click here.
Last week Wescott released a brand new style of light. It's very unique. It's very useful. And it's going to make life a lot easier for many photographers and videographers. It's called the Ice Light and it looks like a small, Star Wars light saber. Powered by a rechargeable lithium battery and daylight balanced LED bulbs, the Ice Light not only eliminates the hassle of dealing with traditional photo/video lights...but it also allows you to take light where you've probably never taken it before. On the technical side, the Ice Light is a little over 20 inches long and weighs a little over a pound. It contains two 1/4" 20 thread female mounts on each end so you can attach it to any light stand or tripod. It uses an LED light array with a frosted diffusion panel for nice soft, even light. Since the light is dimmable, how long the battery lasts depends on how bright you run the light. You'll get a little over 1 hour of use at full beam and a little over 2 hours at the lowest output. You're not limited to just the battery though. The Ice Light comes with an AC adapter and power cord, so you can plug it in and run it all day if you want to (adapters for 3 different countries are also included). And the Ice Light's battery will simultaneously charge while you use it (a very nice touch...that means you can run the battery dead and then plug it in and keep right on using it...while the battery charges up again). The Ice Light runs in the daylight color range but if you want to use a gel to change the light color, they make that easy too by providing plastic snaps designed to hold gels over the light. And it's this attention to detail that's refreshing about the Ice Light. With most lights, it seems they were designed by engineers who have never held a camera, photo or video. But the Ice Light was actually designed by world-class photographer Jerry Ghionis and it shows. It contains little details that can only come from someone who knows what it's like to work with photo and video lights in the real world. On the practical side, the Ice Light is great in many situations, but not all. To be clear, this is a light designed for portrait style photography and talking head style videos. The Ice Light doesn't offer much throw and must be pretty close to the subject to be useful. That's another way of saying don't expect the Ice Light...or several of them...to light a green screen or an entire room. They won't, they can't and they are not supposed to. They are designed for intimate lighting...not broad lighting. The one thing people will probably complain about most is the price. Westcott lists the Ice Light at a suggested retail price of $599 on their web site. Most resellers offer it for $499. And some are selling it for $449. Is that a bit salty? Yea, maybe a little. But you also have to remember that the Ice Light is the ultimate in portability and a huge time-saver. For example, the video above was shot in an empty circa-1900 warehouse. On the 5th floor. The last thing I would want to do is drag heavy, expensive, lights up 5 sets of unlit, 100+ year old stairs. There also wasn't any power on the floor, so I would have had to figure out how to get clean power to the lights. I had no such worries with the Ice Light (remember, the little guy runs on a rechargeable battery and weighs about a pound). In fact, I arrived, shot and left faster than it probably would have taken me to get even the first shot setup using traditional video lights. And keep in mind I was using the Ice Light for video. For photography, it has even more advantages. So are there any cons? Just one that I've found so far. I wish I had several Ice Lights instead of one. To go to Westcott's web site for the full details on the Ice Light, click here.
One of the most common questions I receive is "how do I record the screen on my iPhone or iPad?". Unfortunately, at least with the current version of the iOS operating system, there is not an app that allows you to do this. However, there are still a few ways you can record all of the action on your iPhone or iPad screen. For example, you can jailbreak your device and install questionable software. You can point a video camera at your screen and press record. Or you can take a series of still images of your device screen and piece them together in video editing software. But the simplest and best way is to use AirPlay. AirPlay was introduced by Apple earlier this year...and it was intended to wirelessly stream your iPad or iPhone screen onto an HDTV screen via Apple TV. But then some smart people made software that allows you to stream to your computer screen too...where you can then record your computer screen...thus allowing you to record the screen on your iPhone or iPad. So the whole process goes like this: 1. Install software on your PC or Mac. 2. Make sure your PC/Mac is on the same wireless network as your iPhone or iPad. 3. Start AirPlay on your iPhone or iPad (Apple has instructions here in case the video above stumps you). 4. Record your computer screen using Camtasia, Screenflow, etc. The whole process takes less than 20 seconds and will give you real-time recordings of your iPhone or iPad screen. But there are two gotcha's: Gotcha #1 - You need to install special software on your PC or Mac. Your best choices are: AirServer - what I personally use and recommend Reflection - thanks to Gideon Shalwick for turning me on to this alternative, which some people might prefer Gotcha #2 - THE ABOVE SOFTWARE WILL ONLY WORK WITH THE IPAD 2, NEW IPAD OR IPHONE 4S (if you have the original iPad or an older iPhone, sorry, but this won't work for you). By the way, the screen recording portions of the video above were created using AirServer, Screenflow and the new Ipad. And the apps used in the video were Accuweather, Drawing Pad and Keynote (look for them in the app store if you're interested).
Most people shoot video all by themselves with no one to operate the camera. And many people use either their smartphone or a pocket camera for recording video. If that's you, now you can have a robot operate your camera for you. It's called the Swivl and here's how it works. You attach your smartphone or pocket camera to the base (which is the receiver). You attach the small transmitter to your shirt. You turn both of them on. Whenever you move left or right, the Swivl will pan the camera horizontally to follow you. And if you need the camera to pan up or down, simply press a button on the transmitter and the Swivl will pan vertically too. But it gets better. If you're using an iPhone, the Swivl comes with a free app (you download it from the app store). The Swivl receiver also includes a cable that plugs into the bottom of your iPhone. When both are used in combination, the Swivl transmitter becomes a Swiss Army tool of sorts. Not only does it track your movement and pan the camera horizontally or vertically, but it can be used to remotely start and stop recording. And the biggest surprise? It works as a wireless microphone too. That means you can get excellent audio recorded directly to your iPhone, even if you're standing 30 feet away. While also being able to remotely start and stop recording. While also having the camera automatically pan to follow your movements. Cool, huh? To see the Swivl in action, along with my full review, watch the video above. To learn more about the Swivl and order one for yourself, click here to visit the Swivl website.
So which Apple device shoots the best video? Well, best is a matter of opinion. But to help form that opinion, I shot some identical video using an iPhone4, iPhone4S, iPad2 and the new iPad. All of the clips were shot indoors using only the available lighting (on a sunny day, mid-afternoon). And all of the footage is untouched, straight off the devices. Technically, the iPhone4S and new iPad should be the runaway winners...they shoot 1080P video at 21mbps...while the iPhone4 and iPad2 only do 720p video at 11mbps. That means, technically, they shoot video at roughly twice the quality of their older counterparts. But if you look at the footage, that's not necessarily the case. While the the iPhone4S and new iPad do provide a sharper picture, they seem to struggle assigning the correct exposure. The older iPhone4 and iPad2 have the opposite problem. And none of the devices are completely accurate with color reproduction. But whatever device you think has the best looking footage, one thing is clear; iOS devices still can't match traditional video cameras when it comes to the quality of the footage they produce. And the final thing to keep in mind...this was just a simple test to see how the footage varies between devices in an extremely common shooting situation. Had I done even more shots under different conditions, the results may have varied even more.