If you’re a regular reader, you know I’ve been harping on online video for quite some time now. Well, I’ve actually done more than just talk about it, I’ve taken the plunge off the high dive and worked very hard to create video content over the past month or so.
I’m here to tell you one thing. If you’re going to do video production, you gotta get the lighting right.
Case in point, here are two examples of videos of me talking on a white lit backdrop. The first is me using lights from Home Depot setup in my small little office. The second is a professional shoot for an entrepreneurial event I’m speaking at in May.
Jim’s Home Depot Lighting Setup
(The green border on the sides showed up because my white backdrop wasn’t big enough)
Professional Video Shoot Lighting Setup
Much nicer, eh? Video owned and shot by New Image Media, Inc.
Why Didn’t Your Home Depot Video Lighting Experiment Work?
It did, and it didn’t. As you can see from the two video samples above, one is much, much nicer than the other.
Online Video Lighting Problem #1
As you can see in all the videos that I shot, the first problem is that there is a green border appearing on the sides. That is because I first tried to shoot video on a green screen (so I could put scenes behind me), but I couldn’t get the lighting right, it’s very tricky. So I brought in a white backdrop instead, except, my home video camera picked up video outside of the white backdrop, even though the view finder only showed white.
Lessons learned: Never trust the view finder, and make sure you have tons of background space to work with.
Online Video Lighting Problem #2
The lights I bought from Home Depot were 300 watt Halogen work lights. I bought three lights for a total of $48.00 or so. I positioned one light on the floor shining on the wall behind me. The second light was on a stand to the side of me, but turned to the wall to reflect light onto me (you do this so it won’t make a shadow). The third light was in front of me, and I ended up bouncing that light off the ceiling back down onto me.
The arrows point where the light is pointing to. The front light is pointing to the ceiling.
Lessons learned: Cheap work lights are extremely hot, so be prepared to sweat when filming. Also, don’t think you’re going to set this up quickly, take your time and get it right.
Online Video Lighting Problem #3
It may look bright enough on camera before it goes into your computer, but it’s not. I used a piece of software called Sony Vegas Movie Studio + DVD 7 Platinum Edition (my amazon affiliate link) to import and edit my videos. After I imported my video in, it became very dark, nothing like how it looked on the camera. I had to apply a “levels” filter onto each video where I adjusted the contrast and the gamma to make the background drop out completely, and to ensure I didn’t look like I had a major sun tan. It was difficult to find the right settings.
Lessons learned: Cheap software like I used can get you by, but won’t really cut it. You’ll have to play with the settings and filters to achieve the effects you want.
Summary: Can You Shoot Videos Yourself Successfully?
Sure, but it’s not going to be easy, especially with non-professional equipment. However, I think that in time, and in practice of getting the lighting right, you can produce good quality video that is acceptable (and frankly much nicer) than yourself sitting behind a webcam at your computer.
Stay tuned to this blog as I’ll update my progress and findings about lighting videos over time.
If you’re new to the “making money online” business in general, you’ll soon find out that there are two types of Internet marketers. And those are…
Type A Internet Marketer:
The type that will find a way to make personal profit at all costs just to make money regardless of the technique and approach.
Type B Internet Marketer:
The type that do it the harder way, because they care about the industry, and instead focus on real content and businesses that provide value.
What you’ll also find then is there are two types of followers/readers to those types of marketers.
Type A Follower/Reader:
The type that want to get rich quick by following the quick hitters. “Awesome advice d00d!”
Type B Follower/Reader:
The type that look down on the quick hitters because they don’t approve of their tactics.
One thing is very true in all of this.
The Type A’s are spending most of their time fishing on a boat counting their money while the Type B’s are working away, slowly building their online marketing empires.
Sounds like an easy choice right? Who doesn’t want to get rich quick? Type A is the way to go?
Here’s the point. Have you asked yourself who you want to be yet? Are you in the Internet marketing business to simply make money at all costs? Or are you willing to do the work to build content that provides real value?
Perhaps it’s time to start thinking about those questions.
What if you have a blog, and a website? I know, it sounds so archaic, believe me, I know. But even blogging geeks like me still sometimes have “non-blog” pages as part of their blogs, or, have pages that were created years and years ago before the blog ate the main part of the site.
The problem with those old pages is that they aren’t interactive without comments, right? It’s foolish to not attempt to keep the conversation alive, even on old non-blog content. How can we solve this issue?
One solution would be to convert your old static html pages over to blog entries and back date them. That’s a lot of work. Or, instead, you can find an easier way to bring the comments to your static html.
Check out an amazingly simple, yet very powerful script I found last fall called Js-Kit.com.
JS-Kit.com allows you to add dynamic functionality to your own site.
It doesn’t get much simpler than that does it?
Want to see it action? I made up a sample static html page that has a YouTube video on it. Then I inserted the simple line of code below the video, saved the page, and wella!, instant comments.
Try it for yourself, visit this page and leave a comment. If you use your real email address, it even sends you updated when anyone else comments.
Techcrunch has an archived write up if you want to read more.
Got 10 bucks, an hour of time and a creative idea? Because that’s all it really takes to get all the media publicity and exposure you or your business could ask for, all for almost free.
Don’t believe it? I can prove it. This is a story about how I did it, why I did it and the results I got from it. You can do it too. What, you don’t like free publicity for little work? I know you do, read on.
I live in Cleveland, Ohio, and I’m a die-hard Cleveland Browns football fan. If you don’t follow football, the team has not been good for close to 10 years with losing season after losing season… the fans stay true, yet at the same time, they get very disgruntled come the end of the season. The Browns had one final home game left in December 2006, on Christmas eve, a horrible day to leave your family to go watch a losing football team in the snow and cold.
This is key in your strategy to get publicity and attention. You have to focus on what is a “story” to a news person. You have to have the awareness to understand how a news person or show producer thinks. They’re thinking, “What stories are available that are topical and timely and most importantly, interesting?”
Those are the stories they want to cover. So your opportunity is to create a story. You need to figure out an angle about something that gives that reporter a story, and then present it to them in a manner which makes it attractive. It’s not that hard, read on.
What I Did To Exploit That Opportunity
So I asked myself, “what does a reporter want right now?” The Browns are always a huge story here in Cleveland, so I decided that I’d concentrate on them and their final game in 6-days. All I needed was an angle.
The idea came quickly. I’d call for a boycott of the Browns game on Christmas eve. But wait, that’s not good enough. That’s been done before, and a reporter isn’t going to bite on a story that simple unless there’s a hook, or a unique angle to it.
Aha! I thought of a unique, cheap and effective angle. Something that could be done in an afternoon or less.
Here’s Exactly What I Did
2. I built a one-page website on the domain and wrote a few paragraphs about how I was calling for a protest of the game on Christmas eve.
3. I recorded a short, unedited, simple computer webcam video at my computer in one take where I wore my Browns jersey and called for the boycott. Here’s the video.
4. I uploaded the video to Google and YouTube (free) and added the video to show on my webpage.
5. I looked up all the local television news stations in town and found their contact emails for stories, and sent off a simple email with a short summary of what I did and a link to my page to view the video.
That’s It. It Took Me About An Hour And A Half Total
I sent the emails off at about 3:30 on a Tuesday afternoon, and I went back to my regular working day. At 6pm I got in the car to drive home, and at home I was chatting with my wife and playing with my kids when the phone rings, my wife picks up, she looks confused.
She says, “Scott from Channel 3 news is calling and wants to talk to you about some fan protest story?” I hadn’t even told my wife what I did yet, hence the confusion in her eyes.
The reporter asked to come to my house to film a story about me and my website and idea. I said “when”, and he said, “now”. So less than an hour later, and less than 4-hours after I sent the email, I had a television news crew and reporter in my kitchen filming me for a story. That story then ran that very same night, about 4 hours later, on the 11 o’clock newscast.
You can view the actual story here on the Channel 3 website in video form.
Why did I do this? To see if I could. Could this be done by anyone? Yes. What did I get out of it? Well, I get to tell you about it here, and I get to prove a point that it’s not that hard to do.
Don’t let your highly paid public relations firm tell you this kind of stuff isn’t possible. The media is begging for you to feed them stories that are interesting and unique and frankly, helps them not have to work so hard. I’m not saying that the media is lazy, not at all. What I’m saying is that the easier and more interesting you make it for them, the more likely it is that your story will be picked up.
Anyone can do this, the key is concentrating on what the media wants and giving it to them. What I do/did is use online media tools and marketing techniques to create unique angles to get attention.
Sales Pitch Alert!!!! – Jim Kukral is currently providing similar type consulting services to customers who are looking for more publicity, sales or leads, or who simply need to find new ways to be successful online. Find out how Jim can help your business.
Recently I launched a little thing called Kukral’s Top Bananas. Anyone can buy the top banana spot for $10.00, and upload a graphic and get a link.
I can hear you now saying, “Jim, are you nuts? What is this top banana stuff?”. Look, it’s all about having some fun and testing new ideas and finding new and creative ways to monetize blogs and get publicity and all that cool stuff.
But mostly, it’s just about having some fun. If it was about money, I’d charge way more than $10 measly bucks to become the Kukral top banana of the moment.
Our first top banana is listed below, or can be seen here. Thanks for participating.
Small Business Ideas Forum – Small business people come to share their knowledge, find help and encourage one another. A friendly place to discuss small business marketing, finance, employees, books, taxes, tech, you name it.
Do you concentrate on “fun”? Have a look at ZEfrank’s home page. See all the fun? He built his brand on it, in fact, his very first step to stardom was a fun little thing that showed him dancing like a moron.
People love fun. That’s one of the primary reasons people come to the Internet.
When was the last time you thought about doing something fun? Maybe it’s time?
Have you experimented with fun? Go ahead, share some examples of what you might have done here in the comments. I’d love to hear about it.
As Sam points out, “traditional walls between media, content and creation are crumbling all around us”. Yep, and this is further, real, proof of that.
No one would mistake the Ask a Jew guy for Lonelygirl15, but these days YouTube contributor Shmuel Tennenhaus is feeling like a hot commodity.
Mr. Tennenhaus, an aspiring comedy writer who gained a modest following on YouTube for his droll question-and-answer clips and other spots featuring his grandmother â€œBubby,â€ is being wooed by the siteâ€™s competitors, including Metacafe, ManiaTV and others, with promises of guaranteed exposure, a share of advertising money, or both.
â€œItâ€™s all very odd,â€ said Mr. Tennenhaus, speaking from Hallandale, Fla. His YouTube channel, Oneparkave, has logged roughly 32,000 visits and a few hundred subscribers since last fall. â€œMy parents say Iâ€™m special, but I canâ€™t imagine Iâ€™m the only guy theyâ€™re contacting.â€
It’s not odd to me Shmuly. From the time we added you to our blogging list at ReveNews last year, I always knew you “had it”. The question is now, how far can you “take it”?
We have one problem. We can’t find a box.
We’re looking for a box about the size of dishwasher. So I went to Sears and asked for a box, but they said they immediately cut the boxes down, so no luck, and I’m not buying a dishwasher just to get the box. Then I went to the UPS store, and they don’t have a box that big. So I started driving behind strip malls on my way home from work looking for boxes.
Any ideas on where to look for a box of that size?
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