YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine on the planet. 24 hours of video is uploaded there every minute. Americans alone are watching, on average, about 95 videos each per month. Not only that, but more and more companies are integrating video with their online presence. Just have a browse through the web sites of Fortune 500 companies, and see how many of them have video on their sites.
It comes down to this. If you want to make the most of your online presence in the coming year, then you’d better be thinking about how you’re going to use video.
But there’s a big problem. Of all the media creation strategies out there today, video is the one that holds the most people back. The thing is, most of the stuff that people believe about video isn’t true. So, let’s explore some common myths and misconceptions about online video, and some ways you can get started easily.
1) It’s too expensive. Hey, I’m a TV producer. You don’t have to tell me how expensive video production can be. Professional crews, thousands of dollars in equipment, days and hours spent on set, feeding and watering (TV people eat a lot!). It all adds up. The most common question I get from people is, “how much does it cost to make a video?”. That’s like asking me “How much does a car cost?”. It completely, 100% depends on what you want to do. The good news is, we aren’t all trying to make feature length documentaries and high budget commercials. Many of us are just trying to post our take on things. And that doesn’t have to cost much at all.
There is a time and a place to spend good money on a professional quality production. I’m in the business, and I’m not going to lie about that. However, these days, producing video does NOT have to cost you a fortune, depending on what you want to do. Lots and lots of people put decent video content online using nothing more than a $99 FlipCam and free editing software. I’m all for it. Come up with an idea, sit down, and just start recording.
I would, however, recommend getting a few pointers before you start. There are thousands of tutorials on basic video production online. Check out these pointers from my friend Jim – he’s a professional camera guy, and definitely knows what he’s talking about.
2) It takes too much time/it’s too technical. Nothing could be further from the truth. People think that video is some long, drawn out process of shooting and editing because they hear feature film directors talking about how it took them 3 years to make their last movie. Yes, in certain cases, it can take a long time to make a video. But your average web video? It will take longer for YouTube to process it than it takes you to record it, I guarantee.
Here’s what you need to get started – a web cam and microphone (most laptops and netbooks have those built in these days), an internet connection, and a YouTube account. Log in to YouTube. Click on “Upload”. Click “Record Video From Webcam”. Start talking. Stop recording when you’re done. Click OK.
You can publish a video in under 5 minutes, and you need only to know how to click a button in a web browser. How long did it take for you to publish your last blog post? How long did it take for you to set up your WordPress Blog? I rest my case.
So, no more complaining about video being too technical or time consuming, ok?
3) I can’t stand looking at/hearing myself on video. I have one thing to say about this. Get over yourself. I know, it sounds harsh, but you know what? I hate hearing and seeing myself on video too. I can’t stand the way my voice sounds and I say “um” too much (I’m working on that). I think I look chubby, and my hair is too poofy.
But, I do it anyway. Because I know that as much as I’m critical of how I look and sound, it’s not nearly as bad as I think it is. It’s a fact that the first few time you see and hear yourself on video you will cringe. You won’t want to look. You certainly won’t want to hit “Publish”. But do it anyway, because the more you see and hear yourself, the more used to it you’ll get. I promise. And, you’ll never get any better or any more comfortable with it if you don’t keep trying.
So stop worrying about how you look or sound. Just be yourself. When you’re looking into that camera, pretend you’re talking to just one other person. The more you practice, the more natural you’ll become. Video is how we’re going to see each other, and ourselves in the future. So get over yourself, and get used to it!
Make 2011 the year you decided to take on video. I promise, it’s not that painful. And you just might find a voice you didn’t even know you had!