Graywolf teased us a bit in his video entry here, and below about a technique that can set your YouTube thumbnail image. Here’s his video.
So, does it work? I tested it out, after trying the math in my head. I’m probably wrong, but we’ll see.
It worked! See the black video overlay with the message?
This post from Crunchnotes, and the comments, are postulating that it is the center/middle of the video. That’s what I did above. However, YouTube says here that it’s not possible.
How do I change the default thumbnail for my video?
While we may add this feature in the future, there is currently no way to change the screen shot that we capture from your videos for thumbnails.
The other theory is that you can set something called a “poster frame” in your video editing tool. I did not try that, and a quick look around in my Sony Vegas DVD software package tutorial and I can’t find anything about how to do that.
20,000 points to anyone who can solve this mystery?
I started searching through Google Video and found plenty of gems by speakers such as Seth Godin, Joe Jaffe, Jackie Huba, and Robert Scoble. For the other 99.9% of you that have broadband (ie, real internet), enjoy. Do yourself a favor, take a few hours out of your day or weekend, and give these guys a chance to make you smarter.
In particular, I want you to spend the 48 minutes watching Seth Godin speak to Google. Great stuff.
Lesson learned today? There are gems to be found for free on the Internets.
Here’s another great one from Jackie Huba, about Creating Customer Evangelists.
Here are the first four items in the big brown box.
Item #4: $10,000 Web Traffic Package From Jon At Wickedfire Forums!
Item #3: $500 Podcast Design Consultation from David Lawrence
Item #2: $1000 Professional Logo Design Package
Item #1: Dell XPS Laptop Valued at $1700
So What Is The Big Brown Box?
The best way to know what the big brown box project is, is to read this page.
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)
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.
Last fall, I invited readers to submit posts they had written, and I chose several and rewrote the titles. Quite a few people seemed to get a lot out of that process, so rather than writing yet another article about headlines, I thought we should do it again.
Hereâ€™s how it works:
Simply drop the URL of the post or article you want considered in the comment section. I will pick several from the submissions, rewrite the headlines in an upcoming post, and provide explanations for the changes I make.
He’s up to 80 comments and requests for headline reviews so far.
So stop for a second and think. What can you offer to your readers that solves problems and helps them? Think about it, figure it out, then offer it up, and keep doing it.
That’s how you build an audience and a reputation for being an expert.
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.
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.
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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