Making Videos for Fun and Profit

As I author this post, I’m at a Microsoft conference. Today’s focus is on the creation of video content to help promote your brand. As I have some experience with this from my Pluralsight videos, I had some suggestions as to technology.

The first tool I use is from TechSmith, it is Camtasia. It is designed to do screen recordings with narration. You can record your audio during your screen recording or add narration later, or a mix of both (should, for example, you mess up and need to fix an audio flub). It has “call outs”, i.e. ways to draw on the screen, transitions, text/titles, noise reduction, and more. It can also record from your webcam, but it’s more meant for putting your head in a small box in a corner of the screen.

I’ve used the free Audacity tool to do some audio touch ups on occasion.

I recently bought CyberLink’s PowerDirector, although to be honest I haven’t yet had time to work with it but look forward to doing so. I also recently found a free video editing suite called Davinci Resolve that looks very nice, but like PowerDirector I haven’t had time to look at it. But the price is right.

Of course if you want to go all out there’s Adobe Premier. It’s the video editor the pro’s use. I haven’t used it, but my daughter uses it to edit her YouTube videos (http://annakatmeow.com is where you can see examples of it in use, her Let’s Explore Nashville and DisneyLand/Vidcon blogs made good use of its benefits. ). FYI Adobe has a program for students where you can get the entire cloud suite, normally $49 a month for only $9 a month.

I also do some video work on my iOS devices. Mostly I record on my iPhone then transfer and edit video on my 12.9 inch iPad Pro.

For recording, I use FiLMiC Pro . It’s the most complete recorder I’ve found, with tons of options. It also has a remote app, so I can setup my phone on a tripod then use one of my iPads to see what the phone sees, start and stop the recordings, etc.

If you want a mid-ranged video recording option, try MoviePro . It has a lot more features than the built in Apple software, but isn’t quite as complex as FiLMiC Pro. It also has a remote app.

For editing, I use LumaFusion . A very full featured editor. Has titles, transitions, prebuilt lower thirds, audio editing, easy addition of sound tracks, and more. I’ve edited several videos with it, and like it a lot.

On the hardware side, I use a Rode Podcaster USB mic to do my video work. A bit pricy for the hobbyist, but since I do this for a living it was a good investment. I have it 7 years now and it still works great.

With my iOS devices I invested in the Rode smartLav+ . With it I can get some really good sound quality even in less than ideal conditions.

I also own a Nikon D7000 DSLR with Video capabilities, but as good as my iPhone 7 camera is now I don’t use it all that much except for when I want to take some really great photos too. I have a variety of lenses that will out perform the iPhone camera easily. It’s just big and bulky and I need a back pack to carry around all my accessories.

I have a small tripod for my phone, and a bigger one for holding my iPads. I also have a SanDisk USB key that can plug into both iOS devices as well as your computer’s standard USB port. Makes it very easy to transfer video files from one device to another.

The last thing I ordered was off Kickstarter, I saw the guy demonstrating it at VidCon and loved it. It’s a ten foot selfie stick. I know, you’re scratching your head and thinking I’ve gone nuts. Selfie stick? But the more I thought about it the more uses I kept coming up with for it.

This will be great for taking crowd shots at big events, such as Ignite and the PASS Summit. It comes with a tripod base, so you could use it to record a stand up hallway interview with someone, or put it on a table top. And that’s just for us geeks, I can also see it being useful for journalists, or real estate agents, letting them get unique shots.  Really fills a gap for when a drone would be useful but can’t be used due to being indoors or other regulations. It comes with both a phone mount as well as a GoPro mount, so I may wind up having to buy a GoPro.

Often video can be greatly enhanced through the use of soundtracks or special audio effects. A few sources I found for these include:

ZapSplat: Lots of sound effects and some music. https://www.zapsplat.com/

FreeSound: Mostly free, good but not easy to find things. https://freesound.org/

Epidemic Sound: Outstanding music, I mean really, really good. It does require a fee though, either 99 cents per minute if you only want one song, or $15 a month per youtube channel you want to use it in.  http://www.epidemicsound.com/

Finally, there is an excellent YouTube channel by Amy Schmittauer called Savvy Sexy Social. She provides excellent advice on vlogging, including content creation, technical aspects. and more. She’s also authored an outstanding book which I highly reccomend called Vlog Like a Boss: How to Kill It Online with Video Blogging.

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