Whats the Real Product of Your Videos?
This week I wanted to move away a little from the usual kind of post that I do on the Friday Roundup.
In many ways I see the Friday post as a way that I can filter through the myriad of articles and videos posted online each week in the general area of video production.
When you lump the entire subject together and on top of that add the fact that there are many levels of operation within that subject it is easy to get the sense that there is too much information.
I actually think that the problem of the internet is not that what you want to know is not there.
The problem is that everything you want to know is there but unfortunately it is buried in a sea of other information you don’t really need.
I see my job as going through that stream of information and cherry picking the stuff that I think would be relevant or helpful to the average person interested in making video.
I don’t include pro stuff unless I think there is a lesson to be learned, in fact there is a lot of stuff I don’t include so as to cut it all down to easily digestible bite sized chunks.
So how is this week different?
Well I am glad you asked!
One of my regular sources of information is from a YouTube Channel called the Basic Film Maker.
His channel is one that I would strongly suggest you subscribe to if you interested in making videos.
Some of his videos are perhaps a little technical or advanced for the average person just trying to make home videos but there are many lessons that introduce solid fundamentals that apply to all.
In particular his video on greenscreen is easily the most comprehensive I have come across.
This week he posted a video not so much about any particular technique or method for any part of video making but more directed at the “What are you doing?” subject.
In the video he goes into great detail in an entirely acceptable way about asking yourself the question as to what you actual product is when you are making a video.
What I found most interesting is that the asking of the question, “What is your product?” is one that I have to ask as a company consultant on a regular basis and it is one that very few people can actually answer.
When we use the word “product” we are trained to go directly to the definition that means a thing that is produced for sale.
We rarely think of a product as a thing that we produce ourselves in our lives yet it is something we are all engaged in.
I can go into just about any company with a view to providing them advice on how to do better and ask the management, “What is the product of this company.”
Just about all of them will immediately provide me with a well defined and precise description of their product.
If I go to the Acme Screw Company they will say their product is well made screws right of the bat!
I can then go through the entire executive strata, all levels of management, down on to the shop floor and out to the loading dock asking every individual the question, “What is your product?” and they will gleefully reply, “Well made screws!”
However when I point out to them I didn’t ask for the company product, I asked for THEIR product… the fun begins!
At that point the confused looks, the shoe shuffling and the mumbling sets in.
Because no-one seems to ever know that they individually have a product to achieve and how the achievement of that product contributes to the overall product of Well Made Screws.
The same goes for just about every activity we undertake in life.
There has to be a product we are aiming for otherwise we never know when we have achieved it, we never know if it is of value, if it needs correction if anyone else is interested in it or if they find it to be of value.
Even though the average person reading anything on this site could be classified as an amateur it does not mean you are exempt from this point.
The production of a product of any value will result in the person receiving some kind of exchange in return.
Even if it is only in the form of praise from your audience, a sense of achievement or pride in your work, you will not get that unless you have defined what your product is when you are setting out to make any level of video.
If you look at the majority of home movies or amatuer video projects there will nearly always be a sort of intangible “thing” playing on your mind.
That “thing is the fact that the maker of the video had no plan, no final result or product in mind and just meandered through the process until an arbitrary stop point was reached.
That lack of direction or result or whatever is that “thing.”
YouTube Channel and FaceBook Page Tips
One of the main selling points of both FaceBook and YouTube is that they are essentially social sites.
That their whole reason for existing is to further social interaction through their services.
They use that point to make themselves appear attractive to users who want to extend their reach to a wider and wider audience.
Behind that marketing guff is the truth of the situation which is that they are places to gather and audience that can be advertised to without that audience really noticing too much that they are being targeted.
Now given that they are both free services this is not too much of a downside for the average person.
What it does mean is that both services need to present an appearance of being social but to somehow strangle that social aspect to the point that advertising becomes an attractive alternative to trying to garner attention by yourself.
How do they do it?
Well if you have ever “Liked” or Followed” a page on FaceBook then the assumption would be that you want to be notified when that page updates… right?
FaceBook intentionally only serve update notices to about 16% of the people that asked to be updated.
This leaves the page owner in the position of either taking it on the chin or paying for a post “boost” which will assure 100% of the followers of a page get notified… but ONLY for that post!
Same goes for YouTube.
People who subscribe to a channel or user one would assume are stating their preference to be notified when that person posts something new… right?
There is a way around the system so check the video below for the details.
An Example of Knowing Where You are Going (before you go!)
Over on the Wistia blog this week they have posted an article outlining the steps they took in order to execute a particular video shoot and ultimate production.
I would normally have posted a link to it anyway because it goes into excellent detail on the entire process from deciding what to do, how to do it and ultimately, getting it done.
It’s kind of interesting that they came up with it at this moment in time because it happens to fall into line with the main rant I have this week on the subject of knowing what your product is.
If you take a look at the article and the videos they have embedded on the post you can see how relatively seamlessly their project comes together.
And that only happens because from the very outset they had decided exactly what is was that they were going to produce.
Its the old adage that before you start you need to know where you are going to finish.
This may seem to be something that only really applies to video being produced at a pro or at least semi-pro level but nothing could be further from the truth.
It doesn’t matter what you are trying to shoot or what you are trying to edit, unless you have at least some idea of where this is all going and what the final product should be that lack of direction will shine through on the video and you audience will feel it.
How To Get Viewers to Watch MORE of Your Videos
If you are trying to do anything on YouTube with your videos then you are probably aware of the fact that getting your videos viewed beyond your immediate circle of family and friends is no easy task these days!
The sheer volume of video on the site means that YouTube have to work out a system whereby they can try to filter out the irrelevant and at the same time promote the relevant so as to keep the user engaged and spending more time on the site itself.
All of that adds up to advertising revenue and that’s the name of the game.
On this site there is a section called Getting Your Videos Online and there you can learn the basics of what you need to have in order to at least get yourself into the game on YouTube.
The things I cover there are the things that you can control, steps you can use to maximise your chances of being noticed and promoted by the internal algorithms of YouTube that decide what a user sees and what they don’t.
Of course these days that’s not the whole story.
The YouTube algorithm looks at a number of other factors in determining how important or relevant your video or video channel is to a certain subject and in many cases there is not a lot you can do to control those factors, you are quite literally at their mercy.
In light of that it is important to make sure that if there is any aspect of your videos and how they are uploaded and optimized that you CAN control, you really need to do it.
Crazy as it seems one of those factors is the number of “views” you get and the overall behaviour of people looking at your videos or channel.
The more views you get, the more views you get!
Check out the video below for tips on steps you can take to extend the number of videos that a person watches when they are on your channel or on one of your videos.
Lenses, Lenses, Lenses
With all the talk recently about the use of DSLR and now, MILCs (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras) for shooting great quality footage the question of lenses keep coming up.
Go to the lens shop or site and there seem to be many, many lenses that you are supposed to have for many reasons!
Apparently you are also expected (for many other reasons) to fork out a very big wad of cash for those totally necessary lenses!
Well perhaps not.
Check out the article below for a side by side comparison of some really expensive lenses and some very not so expensive ones.
Free Stock Footage
One of the easiest (laziest?) ways to totally avoid having to go out and shoot B-roll footage is to use stock footage.
Using stock footage can really take a simple project to the next level and make you video look like a million dollars on a five dollar budget… OK maybe that’s exaggerating.
Anyway, the problem with stock footage is that it is either really, really expensive or it is free but the quality leaves a lot to be desired.
Fear not dear reader for here is a free site with 4K footage you can use!
OK so I always have a little laugh at any article that uses the “kill,” “killer” or “dead” device in the headline to make it seem compelling.
You know like, “Camcorders are Dead” or the “Death of the DSLR” type of thing.
Anyway the fact is that over the past few years mirrorless cameras having been making huge inroads into the video recording market from both a technological point of view and a market share point of view.
This originally was kicked of by Panasonic and Sony with the introduction of MILC’s.
Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras or MILCs were first touted themselves as DSLR killers but the early versions were anything but that!
Yes they were pretty good video cameras but they really had nothing to seriously challenge the existing king of the heap Canon.
These days it is a much different story and many of the current breed of MILCs are quite viable alternatives to the DSLRs on the market.
They offer smaller bodies, less weight and traditional problems like lack of storage space and poor battery life have been all but eliminated.
So of you are in the market for a new camera for video check out a MILC!
Can’t tell you how careful I have had to be typing out the term MILC here… one letter wrong and we are not safe for work anymore!