Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Part 2: Video Blogging 101

Second in line of my 3 part series on social media is a fool proof video blogging 101.

The great thing to start with is that most stuff I covered in the podcasting 101 still applies. So it would be a good idea to read that post first for basic rules on content.

What Odeo is for podcasting, Youtube is for video blogging. The advantage of using Youtube (or any other video platform for that matter) is that it's externally hosted, yet you can embed the video in your blog which makes it appear as if it actually is on your blog. Another advantage is that youtube offers channels which you can link to on your blog, you can create playlists to share etc. Have a look at my own youtube widget where I share films that young people I worked with made. Some of them are on my own youtube channel, some of them on my favourites list.

Search engines love videos. If you have a video on your blog, it'll get more readers. A video can also really promote something, including a cause, if on youtube. Then there's the viral thing. That means that people pass on video they like. It happens more than with any other media. The video blogging (just like the micro blogging market) is growing and there's no sign of an end to this growth.

So really, to be hip and happening in social media, and blogland, you should use video. And why not have a go at it, as a one off, and see if it works for you?

Here's the technical bit:
You need:
1. a camera. A webcam can do this job. The Mercedes Benz version is a Flip camera (for which Supermummy Mumpreneur currently has a competition running, but you can't win it because I want it). They will set you back £70-£150. But they are so cool. Foolproof to use, stylish and they produce high quality videos. Your camera should have an inbuilt microphone, so no need for anything else.

2. editing software. Windows Movie Maker is a likely software that you may already have on your computer and it's all you need. It's intuitive and easy to use. I use Adobe Premiere Elements which supports more formats and also is a bit more stable - that's because I do HD stuff from a camcorder. Windows Movie Maker is perfectly sufficient for video blogging needs.

3. watch your file format. Your editing software may create one file format and youtube will only accept other file formats. Check this out and if you need to convert, google for free downloadable software that does just this. Make sure to read user reviews before installation - you want something easy and virus free.

That's it, off you go.

Now you can look for content. Video blogging often uses simple formats. The blogger talking to the camera. The blogger interviewing someone. The blogger demonstrating something. It's not rocket science!

It's ok to have a rough edge. You're not looking for perfection, some pauses, ehm and ahs make for authenticity and are fine. You don't need a tripod but you can use one if you prefer. However, avoide swaying the camera constantly and too quickly. That'll make your viewer dizzy.

Try to have the light facing your object. That way everything is lit.

Always check recording before you call it a day.

As with podcasting: give a bit of context, who are you? where are you? what's that noise? Make it personal: what do you think, feel?

To edit your video files, you need to first import them to your computer. Create a folder for this to keep them in one place. Plug in the camera, import using Camera and Scanner Wizzard.
Next: Open Windows Movie Maker. Then select Import Video. Drag it into the bottom bar. Import as many individual file as you need to make up your full video. Then click "Show Timeline"

You can now edit individual files, edit how they come together, you can add music, titles, subtitles, transitions, and much more. After every change, replay to make sure you're happy with your edit.

When you're done, save movie (you may want to open the dialog for more choices and select Video for Broadband).

Now upload your video to youtube (using lots of tags so it's picked up in search engines) and get the embed code (usually beside the video when it's playing). Add the code to your blogpost, or as an element/widget to your side bar. That's it, all done. Stand in awe and admire.

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