Business videos are typically expensive and time consuming to produce. However for small businesses this just isn't the case. In this post I'll show you step-by-step how you can easily and quickly create videos with less than $200 that take only minutes to complete.
Listed below you'll find an equipment list for both Mac and PC, however the “how to” part of this post will show how to do it on a Mac.
Alrighty then let's dig in!
All The Equipment You Need
The equipment I'm about to list will help you create a few types of videos:
- Talking head videos (you talking into the camera)
- Online ads (think commercials)
If you aren't planning on doing interviews you'll need even fewer items. In this post we'll be looking specifically at creating interview videos, however the “editing” steps can apply to any video that you have.
Here's the equipment list for a Mac:
- Skype – free
- iSight – built in, so free!
- Skype Call Recorder – for recording Skype calls: $19.95
- ScreenFlow – for editing: $99
- YouTube Account – free
Total cost: $118.95
A quick note here – you could use iMovie on the Mac, however I've found the export options, ease of use, and support provided by the makers of ScreenFlow to be top-notch.
If you're on a PC it's going to be a bit more expensive:
- Skype – free
- Webcam – typically between $30-$50 on Amazon.com
- Pamela Call Recorder – for recording Skype calls: $25.91
- Camtasia – for editing: $299
- YouTube Account – free
Total cost: $374.91
Both ScreenFlow and Camtasia come with 30-day free trials so give your choice a trial run before making a final purchase.
Once you have your equipment it's time to record an interview. Let's see how to do that.
Recording Interviews With The Skype Call Recorder
When I was doing Life Of The Freelancer I recorded a few hundred videos. The settings I ultimately landed on for the Call Recorder plugin are:
The result is that you're recording the audio at the best quality possible and the video at fairly high quality. Also these settings allow you to create an HD video (1280×720) in ScreenFlow, and give you the largest view of you and the person you're interviewing.
Note: if you have a fast internet connection on both sides of the call as well as a fast computer you can crank the “video frame rate” setting up to “Maximum.”
With the call recorder set up recording the interview is pretty easy.
When you launch Skype you'll see the Call Recorder Box floating on your screen. Once a call is in progress you can click the middle button to begin recording.
Once the recording begins the “recording indicator” on the right side of the call recorder box will start blinking, and you'll see lights flashing on the input and output areas on the bottom half of the call recorder box.
Once you're finished recording it's time to edit.
Editing Your Interview Using ScreenFlow
I've used a number of movie editing applications including ScreenFlow, Camtasia, iMovie, and higher end stuff including Final Cut Pro. When it comes to creating these interview videos however ScreenFlow makes it super simple and the editing step takes literally a few minutes.
On my videos you'll see that I have what's called a “splash screen” at the beginning and end of the video. I use Adobe Photoshop to create those, however you can add text and other elements directly in ScreenFlow – no additional software or money required.
To edit your video in ScreenFlow do the following:
- Open ScreenFlow (sorry to insult your intelligence there but I had to add it as a step)
- Create a New Empty Document
- Add your media to the project: video, beginning and end graphics, music
- Resize the canvas area to 1280×720 – this is an HD size and works well with the recording settings above
- Align everything on the project timeline using drag-and-drop
- If you have beginning and end graphics add some transitions – I like fade ins and outs
- Adjust the brightness of the video
- Adjust the audio
And that's it! Once you have this system down it takes about 10 minutes or so to put together a video. If you're interested in seeing detailed instructions on editing with ScreenFlow check out their tutorial videos.
Get That Video On YouTube
Once your video is edited you need to get it in front of your community. YouTube is the place for online video, and no matter where in the world I am I can always get a YouTube video streamed to my computer. Other services don't work as well.
To get the video ready for export use the following settings:
The result of these settings is a .mov file that is ready for fast internet streaming and has high-quality audio. Once that's configured you click the export button and wait.
Depending on how long your video and how fast your computer is it can take between 20-50 minutes to render the video. As an example, on my Mac Book Pro a 15-minute video takes about 20 minutes to render.
Some tips on rendering:
- Turn off your screensaver. Screensavers use the processor on your computer and that's needed for rendering your video. Turn it off for the time being.
- If you're using a laptop I've noticed something odd with ScreenFlow – if I have an external USB drive plugged it it gets to the very end of the rending and causes an error. I wasted more than a few hours finding that out.
Once your video is rendered log in to your YouTube account and upload that puppy! Once YouTube has it you can embed it in a blog post, a page on your website, and share it on your social networks.
And That's All Folks
Creating videos for your business doesn't have to be expensive, time consuming, or rocket science. Using a few pieces of software and the power of a fantastic conversation you can provide a metric ton of value to your business' community.
Are You Creating Videos?
If you're creating videos for your business let us know in the comments. What software and equipment are you using? Any tips?