Sunday, August 15, 2010

Three Ideas That Can Help Your Web Videos

These are not commandments or rules. More like if you do these things your video will be on the plus side of being watchable.

How Long Should Your Video Be?

I have seen nine minute videos that should have stopped at three minutes. There other other videos that I've watched three times in a row because they were so good, the length did not matter.

For talking head videos know what you want to say, the point you want your viewers to take away and perhaps a quick summary of the overall point you are trying to make.

Or Not.

Because for some talking head videos the person is engaging. I don't want to stop that kind of narrative flow. What I am saying is if you are not a naturally gifted speaker, which is 95% of us, lean toward the shorter video.
  • Three to five minutes ought to do it for most narrative videos.
  • Five to eight minutes if you are demonstrating or showing how to use a product or software.
  • More than that? Make another video.

Good Audio Matters - Really.

The built-in microphones on camcorders are acceptable but the cheaper models will pick up the mechanical sounds of the camcorders. If you can use an external microphone.

If that is not an option pick up an inexpensive USB digital recorder as a back up audio source and then replace the audio track.

Many digital recorders have audio in the .wav or .mp3 format so it shouldn't be a problem to flip the audio. Before purchasing a digital recorder check your video editing program to see if you can mute the original sound and have a second audio track for other audio.

If you are a semi-pro, musician or journalist you have to take a look at the Zoom Q3, excellent audio but standard definition video. I'm still on the look out for that perfect camcorder with excellent video and audio but until then do the best you can.

Ease Up on Special Effects

A good story or visuals don't need special effects to jazz it up. Cuts, fades and dissolves in moderation will do fine. Special effects do not make a bad video better.

Keep in mind the audience. Many of them will be viewing video on mobile devices. Some of your viewers are on 3G/4G phones and others on Wi-Fi mobile devices like the iPad/iPhone.

The bandwidth is choking as I type. Even us desk jockeys have problems with complex special effects. Moderation is good. You want viewers to want more from you, not less.

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