creating video

Social Capital Conference: lessons learned

This past weekend was a pretty busy one around here. On Friday and Saturday, people from all over gathered for Social Capital Conference, an incredible social media learn-a-thon. For those lucky enough to attend, you probably left with your head spinning, trying to process all the valuable information that was imparted over the two days of workshops, conferences and round-tables. For those of you who couldn’t make it, here are a few takeaways that pretty much sum up the weekend:

Video Rocks

Admittedly, video scares the crap out of most people. At Social Capital Conference, Anthony Wong taught us that not only is video easy to do, it’s also fun and really, really effective at getting your point across. Not only can you can shoot, edit and publish video all from your iPhone or iPad but there are apps out there that take the guess work out of creating fun, effective messages that everyone will love.

Lara took the iPhone video workshop - here’s the video she created entirely on her iPhone during the workshop.

There’s No Such Thing As An Overnight Success

Many start to use social media because they think it’s free and easy and you can get 10,000 in a week. In her amazing and inspiring Keynote address, Gini Dietrich shared the ups and downs of how to use content and interaction to build a community and that nothing really comes easy (although it can be pretty fun along the way).

Don’t Forget The Secret Sauce

Remember when you were 5 and getting a sticker for good work was the bomb? People haven’t changed. They still like to be acknowledged and made to feel special. By responding, engaging, interacting, rewarding and basically stroking people’s ego’s you will keep your audience coming back again and again.

Be Human

The message of the weekend was definitely to Be Human. People are online to feel like they are a part of something. Call it engagement, call it interaction but basically, the way to grow your audience is to be yourself.  When you talk to people online, use their names, respond to comments and reply to questions. By using all the common sense, offline business world strategies in your online world, you will, with time and effort, grow your online community and create something that you can be proud of.

Now go forth and be social and hope to see you at Social Capital 2014!  If you were there, share your best takeaway in the comments!

Guest post: How to do more video without shooting any - Part 2

We’re thrilled to have Lara from Do More Video back this week with Part 2 of her guest post series How To Do More Video Without Shooting Any Video: 

The goal of our 3 part series is to help you get your creative on and make more video by removing the technical barriers of shooting and editing.

In Part 1, we looked at how you can use online animators to create simple and engaging videos to explain your business proposition or to break down difficult concepts for your audiences. Today we introduce another one of our favorite tools: Animoto.

What is it?

In a nutshell, Animoto will create a professional looking video just from your photos. You supply the pictures and Animoto will supply the rest. It’s an easy to follow process which you are walked through step by step:

Step 1: Choose a video style (supplied by Animoto)

Step 2; Choose your music (upload your own or choose from Animoto’s library)

Step 3: Upload your pictures

Step 4: Add text

Step 5: Push the Produce Video button and let Animoto do all the editing for you. You can go back and revise any step you want at anytime. Animoto is a web based tool so you can use it from anywhere you have internet access. It also has a very good iPhone App that enables you to make and post your videos on the go.

When Should I use it?

Animoto is a great video tool to:

  • capture events;
  • show off products from real estate to bake goods;
  • provide virtual tours of museums, resorts, and other attractions; and
  • to showcase your portfolio of photos, paintings, sculptures, or collectibles.

These are just a few ideas. I am sure once you start playing with Animoto you will come up with many more uses. To show you a quick example of what I’ve been talking about so far, I went to the Canadian Museum of Nature the other week to visit the dinosaurs. I put this short video together using Animoto and pictures from my iPhone to highlight My Night At The Museum:

If you are thinking about using Animoto for business, check out their blog post “The :30 Spot - Small Businesses” which provides an easy 7 step process for creating an intro video for your business.

Things to know

Cost: You can play with Animoto for free to make non-commercial low res videos up to 30 seconds in length. If you want to make videos to promote your business, then you will need to get a Pro account which is US$39/month or US$249 for the year. With the Pro account you get:

  • a licence for commercial use (this does not include selling your videos to others);
  • more style and music options;
  • high definition videos;
  • feature-length videos;
  • no Animoto branding in the video; and
  • the ability to add a clickable call to action button at the end of each video.

In my opinion, the Pro account subscription fee easily pays for itself when you compare it to the cost of hiring someone to do just one video. Also, if you only need one or two videos, you can probably just get a monthly membership, make your videos, download them, and then cancel your membership. Just make sure Animoto’s terms of service will let you do this before you try it. Benefits for Not-For-Profits: Great news for not-for-profits and humanitarian causes. Animoto may support you with a FREE Pro Account.You can apply for a free account here: A couple of years ago, I worked on an NGO environmental campaign. We wanted to share the campaign online and show off the energy of our events from across the province. We took photos from all of the events, the volunteers mixed their own song, and we assembled it all using Animoto to tell the story. It will not write your story for you: As I mentioned in Part 1, these tools help remove the technical barriers of making video so you can focus on the creative. Use that extra time to think about:

  • the message you want to convey;
  • how can your message be put into a story;
  • what video style best matches the emotion of your story
  • how can the order of your photos best support your story; and
  • what music helps you best convey your story and create the desired mood.

We are not connected to Animoto: I know at times my post may sound like a paid advertisement for Animoto, but it’s not. I am just very keen on the product right now and love playing with it. That said, there are other great products out there to make slideshow type videos. So, if you have any other recommendations, we would love to hear about them. You can add video too!: I know, I know. I said this post would be about how to make video without having to shoot any. But, there may be some of you that already have video clips that you want to use. Well, Animoto will let you do just that. You can add video clips of up to 10 seconds in length. To show you what it can look like, I put together this mock business intro video.

(This video is only being used as an example for this blog post.)

Next week Part III

Check back next Tuesday for the final part of our series on how to Do More Video Without Shooting Any Video. We will show you a video strategy that you can implement quickly that will also provide you with excellent insight into your market and competition.  Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more tips and tricks on how to use online video for better results. - Lara

Guest post: How to do more video without shooting any - Part 1

We’re thrilled to have a 3 part guest series from Do More Video over the next three weeks highlighting ways you can create video without shooting video.  

By now you have no doubt heard about all the reasons why you should be using video to connect with your audience online: SEO, higher click rates, brand recognition, it’s easy to share and video sets you apart from the rest of the online crowd.

Technical barriers stop creative content

We’ve been told by many people that they really want to create more video content, but don’t do it because they lack the skills to shoot and edit video. So, how do you overcome this problem? How do you create more video without having to shoot or edit it? Well, that’s what this three part blog series will answer for you. We will look at some of the ways that businesses of all sizes and industries can get their message to their masses via video without shooting a single frame.

Remove the technical barriers: Online Animators

Today’s post is about online animators. One of the most popular being Xtranormal, whose tagline is “If you can type, you can make MOVIES!”. In a nutshell, Xtranormal takes care of the technical video stuff for you so that you can concentrate on the creative. You have no doubt seen these funny animated videos with the simple, quirky graphics and monotone voices. Some of my personal favorites were created for political commentary during Canada’s last Federal election, highlighted living in downtown vs. suburban Ottawa a.k.a. “Farrhaven”, and who can forget the crazy popular iPhone 4 vs. HTC Evo which to date has over 14 million views. Although not suitable for all viewers and especially NSFW (not safe for work), these videos were effective because they had a specific audience and a tight message that played within the platform limitations to make the subject funny and relevant. This same technology and theory can also be used to get your business attention online. Being big fans of superheroes at our company, we created a video using Xtranormal to explain how even superhero’s can benefit from doing more video:

Companies of all size have used Xtranormal to get attention. Geico Insurance created an entire series of videos using Xtranormal. Their overall campaign message is that making a video on Xtranormal is as easy as signing up for insurance with their company. Using this quirky platform gets the brand name in front of people who would otherwise not click on a video made by an insurance company. Is your business complicated? Xtranormal is a great tool to simplify complex topics for the masses. People innately want to learn, and cartoons lower the barrier to access difficult information. A great example: Quantitative Easing Explained by Omid Malekan, a US financial industry expert, has received over 5 million hits. Seeing the success of this video and an opportunity for the platform, The New York Times hired Malekan to create an animated cartoon series for its website last fall.

Creative time still required

While Xtranormal will save you the headache and time of having to learn how to shoot and edit your own video, it will still require you to take the time to create a relevant and engaging script. In addition, you will want to make some effort to choreograph your characters pacing, movements, and expressions to best support your script. Luckily, Xtranormal provides easy to use options to add pauses and to change your characters’ screen position and body and facial expressions. Although we highlight Xtranormal in this post, this is not the only online video animator available. Another one I’ve come across is GoAnimate. While I haven’t yet tried it out, it seems to work in a similar way and offers some colourful and dynamic image options. Have you used either of the tools above or perhaps another simple video animating platform to tell people about your business? We would love to hear your feedback and see what you have created. If you have any questions just leave us a comment below or drop us a line at info[at]domorevideo[dot]com.

Next week Part II

Check back next Tuesday when we will continue our series on how to Do More Video Without Shooting Any Video.  We will look at a great service that lets you easily create videos from your photos. A useful tool for to showcase events,  portfolios, and real estate.