Videos are an effective way to get a message across to our clients and yet they are still under used. With the explosion of web 2.0, videos can be supported by most sites and they can be hosted cheaply too. A vlog is short for videoblog. It is a blog which uses video as the primary content as technically it is linked to within a videoblog post. A vlog is accompanied by supporting text, image, and additional meta data to provide a context for the video. Vlog like Blogs are updated regularly, generally includes personal reflections, comments and often take advantage of RSS for syndication to other web sites and aggregator software (rss readers).
Why Use Videos?
If audio has more impact over text, visual takes it all. Visuals have a cutting edge as far as conversions are concerned. It leads to more personalization hence greater customer involvement.
Some examples of business videos are:
o Showing a demo of a product
o A presentation of services
o A CEO giving a speech
o An explanation of a procedure
o Showing different uses of a product
o Fun videos
o Create interaction
o peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and acquisition
Earlier videos were used sparingly because of bandwidth considerations and the increases of loading time. Moreover content was needed for optimization. However with the introduction of Video Sitemap Protocol optimization of videos has been made possible. Moreover now there are dedicated media servers to take care of vlogging and podcasting
o A Microphone compatible with your PC
o A Webcam that allows you to record video and save it on your computer hard drive.
o A camcorder
o Video editing software
How does it work?
1. Get a microphone: To record a video, you need to have a microphone that is compatible with your computer.
2. Get a webcam.: You need to get a webcam that allows you to record video and save it on your computer’s hard drive.
3. Take time to Prepare your vlog content: Take some time to think about what you’re going to say or do during your vlog.
4. Record your vlog: Turn on your microphone, start your webcam and begin recording. Save the file when you’re done.
5. Upload your vlog file to YouTube or Google Video:
6. Get the embedding code of your uploaded vlog file. Alternately if your server supports these type of media, upload it to your website.
7. Copy the embedding code: Once you upload your vlog file to YouTube or Google Video, copy the embedding code and keep it handy.
8. Create a new blog post: Give it a relevant title and add content to introduce your vlog.
9. Paste the embedding code for your vlog file into your new blog post. Using the embedding code you copied earlier for your uploaded vlog file, paste that information into the code of your new blog post.
10. Publish your new blog post. Select the publish button in your blogging application to send your new blog post with your vlog in it live online.
Deciding on a video host: Check the following
Check out the other videos on the site. Are they high quality and in good taste, or a little raunchy and inappropriate? Choose a site you feel comfortable about.
Check the File Size Limits: Web video hosting sites have varying limits in the size of the video files they allow you to upload. Generally you’ll have to compress your video before uploading so it meets the file size requirements of the video hosting site. If you have to compress it too much, your video may not look very good by the time it’s playing on the web.
Storage Space Offered: Is there a limit to how many videos you can upload to your account, or how much storage space you can use?
Uploading Formats: What video formats does the site accept? Most web video hosting sites accept multiple video formats, such as Quicktime, Windows Media, MPEG etc. You can even find sites that allow you to upload directly from your camcorder or cell phone. If this is important to you, make sure that the web video hosting service you choose to use offers these features.
Viewing Formats: What format do the videos on the site play in? Flash is the standard for most web video hosting sites, because it is installed on most computers and plays quickly and easily. However, some sites offer other video formats, in case you want to share your video on a site that doesn’t use Flash, such as iTunes.
Compression Quality: Web video hosting sites will recompress your video before publishing it. Some sites do this better than others.
Video Downloads: Because of copyright issues, many web video hosting sites do not allow users to download copies of the videos on the site. There are some sites though, such as Google Video, that allow users to save copies of videos to their desktop or portable video player.
Editing Capabilities: Many web video hosting sites now offer editing features. JumpCut offers extensive online nonlinear editing, and other sites give you the ability to remix your video or add titles, narration or photos.
Audience: Different sites have different audiences. If your video focuses on a niche topic, choose a web video hosting service that serves that niche, else YouTube.
Video Sharing: Most web video hosting services allow you to embed your videos in blogs, on personal web pages, and on sites such as Facebook and MySpace.
Video Player: Some sites will include advertisements next to the video player, or will place a watermark of their logo over part of your video. This may be fine, but it doesn’t look so professional if you’re sending the video to clients and it has a big “YouTube” logo on it.
o Decide on the purpose of your video. If it’s to attract traffic to your website, host is there. Else you can go in for third part hosting. like http://www.youtube.com.
o Use keyword rich title for your videos.
o Add a video sitemap on your website. Sign into Google webmasters to create a Video Sitemap
o Get your video transcribed. Either use an automatic transcriber or use an affordable cheap transcription service vendor.
o Keep your video duration around 5 minutes, not more for bandwidth considerations and to keep it effective.
o Add a call to action.
o Test your vlog after publishing to ensure it’s working smoothly.
o Some popular Download-First video formats are AVI, MPEG1, MPEG2, and MPEG4. Here are some popular Streaming Video formats: WMV (Windows Media Video), QT (QuickTime), and RealVideo (RM).
Video Editing Software
o iMovie: iMovie comes free with new Macs. iMovie offers many options for editing video and audio, and adding photos, music and narration to your movies.
o Movie Maker: Movie Maker is Window’s free video editing software, which comes installed on new PCs. Use the program to create and share high-quality
o Avid Free DV: Free DV is Avid’s free video editing software, and it works with both Macs and PCs. It’s a stripped down version of Avid’s professional software, and gives users limited video and audio editing capabilities.
o Jump Cut: An online entry, Jump Cut’s free video editing software allows you to cut video, and add audio, photos, effects and titles right on the web.
o Virtual Dub: Virtual Dub offers simple editing capabilities. You can’t get too creative with the software, but you can use it to make simple, clean edits in your video footage. Virtual Dub works with Windows only.
Places to Host Your Vlog
o Free Vlog
o Internet Archive
Some Video Sharing Sites
o YouTube: YouTube is the biggest and best known, and it offers many features if you want to share your video and get it seen by a large audience.
o Revver : Revver is a revenue sharing, as well as video sharing, web site. Ads embedded at the end of videos can earn producers real money.
o Google Video : Google purchased YouTube, but it still maintains its own video sharing and search tools.
o Blip.tv : Use Blip.tv to start your own online television program.
o Jump Cut : Yahoo!’s entry into the world of social video sharing, Jump Cut offers a sleek online video editing tool, as well as all the bells and whistles for uploading and sharing your videos.
o Yahoo! Video: Yahoo! Video has all the features available on other large video-sharing sites. It also gives you the ability to upload a transcript for your video, which makes it easier to find in web searches.
o My Space: If you have a My Space page, you have a forum for easily sharing your videos online.
o Video Egg: Upload your video, share it and, possibly, make money off of it.