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Video Is the Perfect Marketing Tool – Inexpensive Too

I made the transition from Blackberry to iPhone and haven’t looked back. There is so much I’m doing better and faster with the phone (making phone calls too), but what I didn’t expect is that this gadget would put a recording studio in my pocket.  This iPhone with some simple application upgrades and some very inexpensive adapters gives you a lot of video and audio recording options that only a few years back would have cost thousands.

So now I have an easy to use and inexpensive way to record video for:

  • promoting my business,
  • training my team members,
  • documenting my processes or
  • whatever else in my business or life can benefit from video.

Those of you who have an interest it this, may also want to read my “A Poor Man’s Guide to Heavenly Podcasting.“   It includes a similar discussion on producing good audio.  Keep in mind that good video usually means good audio.  People will put up with less than optimal video quality, but poor audio immediately comes across as unprofessional.  Ask anyone really involved in video production.

So let’s talk mechanics:

  1. The iPhone 4S has two cameras, one facing you as you dial a call and one facing the other way.  You can use either one for  recording video.  My recommendation is to always film in LANDSCAPE holding the phone horizontally.  Since it is a phone, most people have the tendency to hold it up and down so the videos come out in PORTRAIT.  Mistake!!  That makes using the video later on TVs, websites and YouTube more difficult.  Stay in LANDSCAPE mode.
  2. iWebCamera is a very cool iPhone App available for $4.99 on the AppStore.  It converts your iPhone to a webcam.   Most application that makes use of the webcam on your laptop will see the iPhone as a second webcam.  The iPhone talks to your laptop using whatever WIFI network is available.  That means you have no leash attaching you to the laptop.  You can walk around the room untethered while you shoot your video.  This is good for recording right to your laptop removing the need to do a download later.
  3. Camtasia is the editing and recording tool I use.   The Mac version costs $99.  The Windows version runs $299.  My understanding is that the Windows version has more features.  I’ve only used the Mac version and it has been just fine for me.
  4. JW Player for WordPress Plugin I use for displaying videos on my site.  It gives you great control over the look and feel of the player while supporting just about any type of video you can think to use.

You can do your filming on your iPhone recording as you would normally do.  You then download the video from your camera to your laptop.  What I have also done is to film using the iPhone with iWebCamera running on the iPhone.  This connects it to the laptop as a webcam.  You can set the iPhone up on a tripod or just carry it around then turn on Camtasia.  When you hit the Camtasia record button, you are live.

Note:  If you search for “iphone tripod adapter” on Amazon.com, you’ll find a number of options for mounting your iPhone on a tripod.  Keep in mind that what you need is a phone holder that has tripod mounts so you can easily mount the phone like you do a camera. I got one that comes with the “Mini Adjustable Tripod + camera Holder for IPhone and other Cellphones” by iBox.  I wasn’t too thrilled with the mini tripod, but the camera holder is great.  The whole thing cost me $5.

Once recorded, you can use Camtasia to edit the video and make any adjustments you like.  A word of warning; editing is time consuming.  You are best off planning on a single take.  You want the least amount of editing possible unless you have the time and resources to dedicate to this.

The final step is to publish the video somewhere.   You can easily publish the video on YouTube.  It does a super job of compressing the video and making it available in a format that is compatible with any browser or device out there.

If you use the YouTube embed code you get off their site, you have the downside that people who see your video can click on your video and travel to YouTube.com.  There they can see other videos similar to the one you recorded.  Your viewers will likely have immediate access to the videos of your competitors trying to sell the same thing you are selling.

Storing your videos on Amazon S3 is one way to address this problem.  Amazon S3 is pretty much an Internet video file server.  I make use of its Cloudfront feature which enables you to handle as much traffic as you can toss at it.  Since you are storing your videos on your own server, there are no YouTube alternatives available for your site visitors.

To make use of Amazon S3 you will have to do your own video compression using a program like Handbrake to make the video download properly over the web.   This is similar to what YouTube does as it uploads your videos.  I’ll be publishing a Handbrake settings blog article soon explaining the right setting to use to get videos working right.

Making use of JW Player for displaying the video on your website not only makes posting videos on your site easy, but it also eliminates the YouTube “visitors going to my competitor’s video problem.”  JW Player’s WordPress plugin works very nicely and can enable you to format your videos nicely on any page layout you are using.

I’ll be posting some more explanations on topics related to this over the next several weeks.

Hope this helps!

 

 

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