Video Content Tips

Aug 20th

I love writing, especially when compared to speaking. If I make a spelling error or need to pause and think...no problem, but with video I notice my awkward pauses and voice inflections and cringe, and then I worry about sounding like the Fox weatherman with coprolalia

I recently came across Chris Martenson's Crash Course and appreciated the clarity of the message and presentation, which got me to thinking I should try to get better with video stuff.

I saw Brian Clark mention Web Video University. Andy Jenkins is quite good with video stuff too. Have you done much audio and video recording? What are some of your favorite tips, and what courses/books/products/etc. would you recommend?

Published: August 20, 2008

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Comments

MarinaMartin
August 20, 2008 - 12:10pm

Record yourself. A lot. You don't have to show anyone else, but if you want to work on your voice, getting comfortable being on camera will help.

Also, quality equipment makes a difference. Flips are cool, but they just can't produce the kind of video that even a low-end DV cam with an external mic could.

If you're looking for real-world experience, here's an idea: I work with Elastic Lab, which hires beginning filmmakers to film b-roll and basic interviews (raw footage only) that we then edit into television commercials and Internet video segments. In addition to being paid to learn, we've got a core group of experienced filmmakers/editors who provide ongoing feedback so you can gain the skills you need to move up to our more advanced projects. (You just need to have a real video camera - no Flips or cell phones.) Anyone who's interested in learning more can signup at http://www.elasticlab.com, and we'll invite you to a project right away.

August 20, 2008 - 1:40pm

I came across Lon Naylor when I was trying to fix a bug in one of my videos. His video guides look pretty good.

http://www.screencastprofits.com/members/index.php

If nothing else they are usually entertaining!

August 20, 2008 - 3:27pm

I learned a ton from digitaljuice.com, go watch all their videos in their DJTV section and you will get up to speed fast.

My site www.solardave.com uses some of the techniques I learned there.

August 20, 2008 - 5:30pm

I think that with video, you will never get as much detail accross as you would with writing. Not only can you reread what you write, so can the people you're writing to. In video, it's more about getting attention, getting some keypoints across. Keep it exciting, even if it means leaving out some stuff that is great when written, but may bore some people when sitting thru it. Many people read parts of an article, then come back for more. When you watch a video, you have to sit thru it even when your attention span is low right now, so I personally would use a video more or less as an introduction to something you have written up for those who want to learn more.

August 20, 2008 - 7:07pm

People in the show biz don't just show up on the screen and start acting do they? They plan, and if possible rehearse.

So, I write down what I am planning to say in bullet points (not necessarily down to the last word) has helped. It prevented me from going.. "Uh. Uh.." and frantically hitting the F..something button to pause (thereby accidentally cancel/stop) the recording.

I found that I must plan not just the words but what I am going to do on the video.

Otherwise just record the video first - make the demonstration, the screen annotations and then add the audio by recording yourself on Audacity. Takes longer but good when you are developing a video product.

August 20, 2008 - 8:40pm

Do you find it hard to merge up the audio stream and video?

August 21, 2008 - 10:43pm

Actually I didnt try to get you to edit it, but cool that you did :-)

EDIT: I replied in the wrong spot, sorry!

August 20, 2008 - 9:55pm

As someone who's done a lot of speaking on video, simply doing more of it is the best practice. Not for actual projects, because you want that stuff to be your best stuff.

Do a lot of practice ones, and actually over enunciate a bit. It will sound like your really going overboard in your own ear, but when you hear it back, it won't sound nearly as over the top.

Also, listening to some speakers you really like, and mirroring how they talk, when they pause, their inflection, etc. You're not trying to do an impression of them of course, but your taking the best of their style and incorporating it into your own.

It's helped with the videos we create quite a bit (PalaestraTraining.com) and hopefully we will (all) continue to get better with more and more practice.

August 20, 2008 - 10:14pm

Thanks for the tips Christopher...to some degree that is what I did with writing. Outside of Chris Martenson's Crash Course I have yet to find the person who I would be comfortable emulating...and I need to get better at clicking the mouse through slides without getting weirded out with what I am saying at the same time. I should read a book on powerpoint...I was told Presentation Zen was good stuff.

August 21, 2008 - 12:39am

LMAO. That video in your post made me die laughing. Hilarious! It made me spit coffee all over my keyboard... Thanks Aaron. :-)

I always sound pissed in videos or audio presentations even though I'm not at all. Definitely have to write shorthand notes before doing a video though.

August 21, 2008 - 2:47am

I think you HAVE TO have fun with it. If you don't, then people notice. You should never be hard on yourself, just play with the camera and understand that they are trying a lot harder to understand what you're trying to get across than you looking good :)

What I would like to see you do is something like an SEO Talk Show. I'm sure that would work really well!

August 21, 2008 - 8:21am

Aaron,

Merging audio and video was pretty easy. Camtasia Studio allows you to do that. You should be able to do this if you import the video as a new project and insert the audio file in the audio track (in the timeline below).

If you're still a member, I saw a video on this in the Teaching sells course.

August 21, 2008 - 5:22pm

Hi Aaron,

kind of off-topic, but people who curse involuntarily have a disorder called 'coprolalia', which is only a symptom of about 15% or so of people with tourette's syndrome. Tourette's syndrome is something different really (the person has to have multiple motor tics and at least one vocal tic by definition).

Everybody thinks that involuntarily cursing = tourette's, because that's how it has been portrayed in movies, etc., but it's really just a sort of rare symptome among people with tourette's.

However the cursing (coprolalia), it is the most 'remarkable' as in worth making a remark about, I guess.

Couldn't help but add this, because I got to know a few ppl with tourette's and it's kind of bad for them that (b/c of the movies) as soon as someone hears they have tourette's they think they're gonna start cursing like crazy..lol ;(

August 21, 2008 - 5:36pm

thanks for the heads up Patrick. I will edit the post.

August 21, 2008 - 5:24pm

Aaron,

Any idea how they get those videos where they can zoom in and out of the screen at will, and when they click there's a little red circle expanding outwards where the cursor should be?

Also, on the subject of videos, have you noticed how YouTube is a) not cutting edge b) being spammed to oblivion? A few days ago I looked for the Beijing opening ceremony - nowhere to be found, just a few photos and crap, and couldn't find it on any other outlets - presumably it's being kept back by the news networks. Today I looked for Usain Bolt videos (sprinter) - just a load of crap on YouTube, photos plus music, and some of them with ads for p**n sites and the like. Couldn't find videos of Bolt anywhere, obviously looking in the wrong place with the wrong key phrases, you'd have thought the news networks would love to draw visitors in.

Interestingly the crap and the spam videos had their ratings disabled - human review? But why weren't they removed to maintain the quality? And several times there were very angry comments from people who felt they'd been duped. In the end I left in disgust. YouTube's a social network type of site, and one day they're worth everything, and the next day nothing.

August 21, 2008 - 7:48pm

Richard, the zooming in and out and the circle around the mouse are both features in Camtasia.

August 21, 2008 - 9:53pm

Thanks! I didn't realise it was good old Camtasia

August 21, 2008 - 5:34pm

I think that is the leverage unique content providers have over Google...where there is demand for their content and Google does not offer a direct link to the desired content then Google ends up providing a bad service. Worse yet for Google, opportunists come in and pollute the hell out of everything in that stream of attention.

For the next olympic event I would not be surprised if one of the following happens

  • Google strikes up an official deal with the olympics including distribution inside the United States
  • Google works out a deal with the company that does get that parnership to quickly index the content and directly link searchers to it
August 21, 2008 - 7:44pm

I think if you want to make a polished screencast, it's better to record the audio before recording the video. The audio is a lot harder to get right, whilst the video for a screencast is really easy to chop about and cut/extend frames to make it fit any audio timing you want.

To do the audio well you can make a few recordings until you get it sounding good, or you can cut bits together from the various recordings easily enough in Camtasia. If you're really good at recording you can probably nail it first time, but editing is a saviour for the less-than-perfect performer.

Once you've got a good audio track, it's easy to click around a screen in time, and again, you can do it in chunks and edit it together if you need to.

However, all that said, all this chuffing about turns making a 10-minute video from being a 30 minute job into a much bigger task. It's probably a much better use of your time to stick with the quick and dirty approach: banging lots of them out in a single take until you feel more comfortable doing it.

For what its worth, I think your videos are great - it's all about the content for me, as I'm guessing it is for most. I'd much rather you spent your video time making more videos with great content than making less videos with better production quality.

August 21, 2008 - 8:01pm

Thanks for the feedback and suggestions bromley!

August 22, 2008 - 1:07am

'World is a stage' Shakespeare... I personally would not care how you are on your videos. In your field, the content precedes the shape in my opinion. In that sense, quality precedes quantity as well. In my opinion, either you are on video or radio, the best way to give good speech is to be yourself. That's what I learned from my experience in acting and talking about it in the past. You are good the way you are, any change will look artifical.

August 22, 2008 - 3:11am

Thanks for the feedback. That is how I approach public speaking such that I am not very nervous about it...maybe some of my flaws are ok with making video presentations too. :)

August 22, 2008 - 4:47am

Sure. Audience will be tolerant and will not care as I am as long as there is honesty in it. It seems like you created it so people are watching it. There is always room for improvement for everybody including using tone, gestures, humor...etc... those all would come with experience and self-criticism. I believe honest self-criticism would be the best approach.

August 22, 2008 - 5:59pm

Aaron,

I think your speaking style is just fine. Your videos are fine.

The main issue is quality of the screen capture. It would be nice to have the videos recorded in Hi Def format in Quicktime which will make it easier to see details.

August 22, 2008 - 11:49pm

Thanks for the feedback omercan and animegirl.

August 25, 2008 - 9:27am

Hi Aaron,

I agree with earlier post that recording audio seperately really works. I do it. I generally work from a script typed up in VERY LARGE FONT! I don't always stay exactly on script. That way it sounds fresh.

In fact one way that works for me is to record myself running the demo and then type up what I said. I then record the audio properly from the type up notes. That way what I write tends to be the way I speak - if that makes sense.

I record using audacity. If I make a mistake whilst recording my audio, I just keep going and resay the bit I got wrong. After I have said the entire piece I go back into Audacity and edit out the bad bits. Simple!

Once I have the recording as I want it, I then mark up on my typed script all the button clicks needed for moving the presentation along.

Then I record the video.

I use Camtasia and set it NOT record Audio whilst doing this part.

Then you can edit the two together very easily using Camtasia.

I also add pan & zoom when doing screen demos so that you can really get into the detail.

I hope that all helps.
Ta
Mike

August 25, 2008 - 9:57am

Thanks Mike!

August 25, 2008 - 7:02pm

Sorry I'm late on this one. As a video professional, I'd say everyone's remarks here were dead on. Don't spend too much time on the "look" of the videos, just concentrate on the content. There are a couple of other little things you can do to enhance their credibility:

- Add an animated opening/ending title w/ music sting you can drag and drop into the beginning and end of each video easily

- Possibly add (easily editable) section titles that look nice and sum up and/or reinforce information

- Possibly add background music (ambient-type stuff)

- Don't be afraid to show your face, go ahead and get on camera! Just use a tripod and KISS (keep it simple stupid)

- Possibly bring in a whiteboard. I really like seeing this on SEOmoz.com

I'm not interested in hearing a perfect script & performance, I just want the content! Video sounds much better when it is a loose, natural performance. That's why we hate doing teleprompter stuff.

By polishing up a couple of things that are just drag and drop into the final content, you will set yourself apart from the rest of people who are happy doing the most basic stuff possible. Shine every point of contact!

If you really want to do something nice to entice people to join the site, that's when you can record audio first, edit it, record video, and finally, edit the video in sync with the audio. Also, going for a professional voice over to intro the video adds a lot of credibility.

PS - Use Youtube no matter how many people complain about the quality. It's the the lowest common denominator compression-wise, so it will get the message out to the largest amount of people. Once you increase video quality, you decrease the amount of people that will watch due to bandwidth issues, hardware issues and a whole host of other stuff.

August 26, 2008 - 12:19am

Thanks for the great feedback Ricardor :)

October 12, 2008 - 6:22pm

I totally agree with bromley and a big shout out to our good friend Mike Seddon (mikesed) for the recommendation for http://screencastprofits.com

One of my biggest evangelist rants is that people don't take enough care in getting the audio portion of videos right. Studies have shown that 60% of the perceived quality of a video actually lies in the question of, "How good was the audio?"

I'm not talking about hi-fidelity vs. low but rather was it even acceptable to listen to!

To help folks out, I've created a 94 minute video tutorial and 42 page report called "Ace the Audio" that you can get for free at the link above.

Hope this helps and keep up the great work on this site!

Lon Naylor

October 12, 2008 - 7:49pm

I just have to say that I just came across this site and had to register! Still taking a look around but from what I can see there is a lot of great information here. Thank you for taking the time to provide such useful resources. I look forward to getting more acquainted with the site!!!!!
Great stuff

Warm Regards,
Sean

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