What Do You Know About Online Video?

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I’ve been doing this live video thing for just about two years now. I wanted to talk about online video today in order to answer a few questions Steve Garfield had for me. He’s working on a new book, which should be a great read! When talking with me about the book, Steve says:

Most of the videoblogging books out there were written a few years ago, so I’m producing a book with real world examples that people can pick up and actually do things. Interviews with people like you will be both inspiring and practical.

Sounds good to me, so let’s get going on those answers!

  • You have a background in TV, hosting the TechTV show Call for Help. What did you learn from your TV experience that would help others produce video for the web? The keyword in that sentence is “produce”. That’s what most videos lack – production quality. I’ve evolved my production quality over time – I’m doing my best! My setup is now such that I feel it works very well. I’ve even worked with others as a consultant, who all now use this same setup.
  • You stream live using Ustream.tv and then post your videos on YouTube. The quality is very good. What computer, video and audio equipment do you use and why? It is true that I stream live to file via Ustream. I do this because it brings a different dimension to my videos. Instead of just being a talking head, I’d rather have the interaction of the community. I change hardware up frequently, in order to make things better.
  • What equipment would you suggest to someone getting started? People can get started using a laptop with an inbuilt webcam, right? Is that a good idea? Absolutely, they can start that way. Don’t spend any money if you don’t have to. That being said… if you want your videos to look professional, then spend money! It’s a matter of personal preference, and what your ultimate goals are when producing content.
  • Why are you using YouTube to host your videos? Is it because of the integration with Ustream.tv? Are there drawbacks to using YouTube? I use a variety of video hosting services, honestly. I don’t only rely on YouTube. That being said, YouTube has this vast audience worldwide. It’s pretty much the place where everyone goes to find videos. YouTube is actually the second largest search engine on the Internet. A person would be crazy not to put their videos on YouTube. The number of views that YouTube gives me is astronomical… around 80,000 views per day!
  • You just got over 1 million hits for your airplane safety video! How’d that happen? That was the first YouTube video I ever did. It was just me mocking the safety announcement on a flight. I couldn’t help it, it was hilarious at the time. I was making up hand gestures, and being silly. For some reason, people just love this video, and find it to be completely funny. When you put something on the web it doesn’t just fade away – it’s there forever!
  • Have you figured out the best method for producing web video? Recording a live stream without editing and posting directly to YouTube? Any secrets you can share on how to best do it? Everyone is going to have a different style. Me… I like doing things live, saving the file and converting it to a different format. I have to thank my assistant Kat for the help she gives on that end. She downloads and converts all my videos, gets them uploaded to the various sites, and writes up the show notes for my blog. There’s a lot involved, and I’m grateful for her help! That also shows you that producing content regularly is not always a walk in the park. If that’s all you’re doing, you can likely manage it yourself. But if you have your finger in many other pies as I do, you’ll need help. I choose to shoot live to file because I hate editing… it takes up too much time!
  • What makes a successful video? Success can be measured in many ways. For me, success comes from doing something that I myself am proud of. For others, it’s getting information from the video that they were hoping to attain, and learning something new from whatever it was I talked about. So success can be measured in view numbers, or one of many other ways.
  • What advice would you give to a business getting started in online video? Just do it. So many businesses and people get caught up in not doing things, or become afraid of bad comments/reviews. In fact, your video is not a sucess unless someone has been negative!
  • What is the secret to online video? Do something that is unique, and stands out. Not only yourself, but your set as well has to convey your message. Don’t try to be someone else. You have to own what you’re doing, and make it yours.
  • What other comments or advice do you have? One thing I will say is to develop a thick skin. There are idiots everywhere, and you’ll have to deal with them when your content is distributed. Keep doing your thing, and don’t let jerks bring you down or make you question yourself. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t take constructive criticism – you should! But take everything else and throw it out the window.

My target market are the people who don’t know me, as much as I love my audience. I have to do my best to get to the people who don’t yet know me. Pay attention to your community, and remember to go after the rest of the people to get them into your community!

Good luck with the book, Steve! I’m looking forward to reading it.

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