December 10, 2009
I can’t think of one single thing that has become more prevalent in internet marketing than the use of video and audio as a tool to increase conversions and stick rate.
What is “Flair”? Simply put… it’s that added touch of professionalism to your media that separates your websites and products apart from the amateurish competition.
We’ve learned that you don’t need to have a “Guru” budget to achieve professional media flair. As a matter of fact, it’s typically the simple things that most people miss which have a devastating effect in the quality of video and audio production.
We are going to sum it up with a walk through of the resources that you can use to make your flair come together. I’ve seen so many people in forums and blogs make excuses about the poor quality of their recordings. Some of them are justified but ALL of them are easily solvable with some effort and creativity. Do any of these apply to you?
- “I don’t have a Mac so all my videos suck”
- “I don’t own any fancy video production or capturing software”
- “I can’t sound good cause my computer microphone is crap!”
- “Good camera’s are just way too expensive”
- “The “Guru’s” have recording studios and I don’t”
- “I have a terrible accent so people don’t understand me.”
- “I have a face for radio so my videos look terrible!” <– LOL (My favorite)
Generally speaking, these 7 excuses appeared to recur in one form or another throughout the forums and blogs I researched so, I’m going to address them for you with the solution and tools that I personally use to overcome these challenges.
1- First things first – it’s no secret that I’m in fact a “Mac man” (like they say… once you go Mac you don’t ever go back) HOWEVER, the notion that one can’t create amazing looking videos on a Windows based PC or laptop is just not true. As a matter of fact, Vista and Win7 both come with “Windows Movie Maker” built in. WMM, is a very simple to use software and you may not even know that you already have it on your computer! WMM allows you to create a movie file out of assorted clips, images and text that you can easily edit together in the time-line. It even enables you to add music and audio narration to your video. You can work on your file, add/delete segments, insert transitions and images etc. Once your happy with the production you can render and export the project as a movie file and upload it to your website for people to see.
The Mac alternative for WMM would be I-Movie, and yes it does have a few extra bells and whistles on it than WMM. For example, it has a pretty exhaustive library of audio clips, music and sound effects. It also has a few extra layering and text overlay features. For the most part, it works the same… you import your video clips,images, crop, clip, copy, paste and stream together your production until your heart’s content. Then export it on a website. I-Movie even has a feature that lets you publish directly to YouTube. Now that’s cool!
2- As far as needing additional software, well depending on what you are trying to do you may need several applications to arrive at your final masterpiece. Most of what you will need is readily available online for free (or practically free.) For example, did you know that Tech-smith has a product called “Jing” that enables you to create 5 minute screen capture recordings for free? Jing is a pretty cool alternative to the elaborate “Camtasia Studio Suite” and Jing allows you to save the screen capture to your desk top which you can then import into WMM or I-Movie for further editing and splicing. An open source alternative is Camstudio.org and you can download it free at Camstudio.org
Additionally, you’ll find that a Google search for the term “Free Video Editing Software” will turn up thousands upon thousands of results for you to try. Most of these will offer 30 day trials of their software so you can check it out before you actually buy the product. You’ll also find some “open source” video editors out there that will put a watermark advertisement on your final production. This may take away from the overall video quality so I would advise you to stay away from those.
3- Audio quality is very important whether it’s narration of a video or a straight up MP3 that you are delivering. Computer microphones typically leave a lot to be desired on playback because they are inherently over-sensitive. I would advise you to invest in a lavaliere microphone for the audio portion of your recording. Lavaliere mics are specifically designed for live narration applications and will cancel out most unwanted noise. You don’t particularly need an expensive wireless lavy… you can get a wired, battery powered lavaliere on eBay for as low as twenty bucks and the sound quality will be better than a computer mic by leaps and bounds. Regardless of the mic you choose, always remember to keep it in a fixed location during recording so that it doesn’t pick up motion noises that take away from your production quality. Also, if you are unhappy with the sound, you may consider importing your recorded audio into Audacity (another free program that you can download) and use the Equalization features to tweak the sound quality and edit out unwanted noises.
4- It’s no secret that a professional camera can be expensive, and the lower priced ones will typically call on you to compromise one thing or another in your production quality. If you’re really trying to get that “Pro Flair” I would advise against built in computer cameras and webcams. You’re better off going with a USB Flip by Mino or a Vado by Creative. These are very fairly priced on Amazon and Ebay as you can get one for under a hundred bucks. Unfortunately, the compromise is that they have no mic input for your lavaliere so you will have to be very conscious of ambient environment noises. Regardless of which camera you use, always – ALWAYS remember to put the camera on a tripod.
The next step up from a USB camera would be a digital camcorder WITH a microphone input. These tend to cost a bit more money but the overall production quality of the video AND audio is well worth it in my opinion. Whether it’s a small desktop tripod or a full stand this is a VERY important part of the video quality.
5- You don’t need a studio to produce a quality video or audio recording and that’s a fact. It all comes down to planning and preparation. Being mindful of lighting and using multiple house lamps to cancel out shadows will help dramatically. Also using household items like throw rugs, comforters and cushions as sound dampeners will remove unwanted reverb from your audio. Ultimately, practice preparation, research, creativity and your calculated effort will make up for the lack of a “pro” studio environment.
6- Ok, now lets address the whole accent thing. This is a tough one so I won’t beat around the bush about it and I’m just going to come at it head on for you. The general rule in all types of sales and marketing presentations is to “Appeal To The Masses”. In order to accomplish that, you will want to sound as clear and comprehensible for your viewers as you possibly can. If you feel that your accent is precluding you from making sales then I would have you consider these options. First, you can try outsourcing the narration to a professional by using pre-recorded clips from VoxFlair.com or ordering a custom audio. Another option would be to use sub-captions in your video or text slides. This way the viewer can follow along by reading what you are saying.
7- So you have a face for radio! Ok, if for any reason you’d prefer not to be on camera yourself the quick and easy alternative would be to create a powerpoint presentation or slideshow and just narrate it. Many marketers do this and they add a photograph of themselves to the slideshow so that the viewer can at least see a picture of who they are listening to. You can also outsource this “on screen” work to a trained actor/actress through various live presenter services that you can find through a Google query.
In conclusion I’ll stress the importance of planning and preparing before recording a video or audio project. Put it ALL down on paper first, not just the script… but rather the entire process. You may consider drawing out a flow chart or process map for yourself first. This will keep you focused and give rise to potential challenges on paper first.
Omar Martin is an internet marketing and sales expert. Omar & his partner J.I. Starr help internet marketers succeed online by adding multi-media to their websites. You can get 22 FREE audio flairs by going to http://www.voxflair.com