Archive for October, 2011

Online Video: New Opportunities Flourish Amid Some Drawbacks

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Online Video provides a world of opportunity for expanding the use of video for both personal and professional reasons.

Online video makes it practical for any individual or business to essentially create their own TV channel with personalized programing of their choice. Not only is the technology easy to master and highly accessible, but equipment costs to enter can be as low as 50 bucks for a webcam. Compare that with the multi-millions once required for a start-up TV channel and it’s easy to see why online video is so wildly popular.

Overall, these new opportunities are overwhelmingly positive. What’s not to like about inexpensive, easy ways to reach the world with your video message? What’s not to like about a local dentist being able to triple his business with a few strategically produced and placed online videos?

Well, some in the professional video production world have some real legitimate complaints. I’ve heard the bitching and moaning. I’ve seen tons of resistance and even downright hostility to online video from those in the professional ranks.

Chief among the drawbacks is money. Since anybody can create online videos cheaply, who wants to pay the video professional what they are worth? What client in their right mind would pay $10,000 for a 5-minute video if they don’t have to? What video professional with years of experience and a $50,000 camera wants to work for peanuts? None that I know of.

So they grumble and cling to the notion that the $10,000 fee is still worth it to any savvy client because 90% of YouTube videos suck so bad any legitimate business would be ashamed to run them; so selling your services as a highly paid professional is not anymore of an issue than it was before web video and flip cams became so popular.

Granted, lots of YouTube videos do suck, but that does not make the entire statement true. In fact, IMHO, clinging to the desire to produce videos using the exact same procedures and pricing schedules you’ve always used is simply burying your head in the sand. Times are a-changing. Online video is indeed a new animal for the video professional, providing both headaches and opportunity.


If you’re pursuing clients who want online video, I promise that few, if any, are going to be willing to pay the same fees associated with offline video production. Some professionals I know simply won’t take online video clients for this reason. However, I’ve found ways to make it all work so I’ll share them with you now.

I often recommend to clients that they purchase webcams, then I teach them how to use it making simple talking head videos. This has created a whole new “product line” if you will for me: Teaching clients to master the scriptwriting and on-camera process associated with simple talking head videos. I came to the realization that on a practical level, this is what helps them the most and helping clients is ALWAYS the key to a successful service business.

I’ve also branched out into helping clients establish a good video presence online. I not only help them make the video, but I post them online using strategic methods for search engine optimization and customer acquisition. Videos help bring in traffic, search engines love video which makes them relatively easy to rank. In the same way that a TV spot run during the local news can bring in business, videos with good keywords attached get found in search results so bring customers in that way.


Create videos that highlight the people running the business, that’s what customers care about. They want to know and trust the people they do business with, so create simple videos that fills the need. Highlighting the wonderful equipment owned by the business is never as effective as highlighting the trustworthy and personal nature of the owners and staff. Whenever I work with a local client these days, I sell them on a package of 4-5 videos that all serve different purposes.

Do personality profiles of the owner and staff. List some credentials, but mostly, show them being friendly and helpful. Do a video history of the business, show how the owner is involved in the community like where his kids go to school or church. Do another video that directs people how to get there, show the exterior and neighboring areas. In short, create a package of videos that cover all aspects that a potential customer would be interested in.


No doubt about it, the single biggest difference I’ve discovered in creating videos for online compared to offline clients lies in the amount of time I spend creating the video. To keep the costs down, you have to learn to crank it out. I’m lucky in that respect as I have a TV news background. We always had to crank ’em out. I still shoot news style. I milk everything for all its worth. I use lots of royalty free video I purchase cheaply online. I use lots of quick-to-create graphics. I never in a million years thought would I ever use as many graphics as I do now but it keeps the costs down and no one has yet to complain.

In summary, I truly believe online video brought about a paradigm shift in video production whether the die-hard pros amongst us like it or not. I know many who don’t, that’s for sure. I hear them make fun of the poor quality found so often on YouTube. But speaking as a person who has fully embraced online video, quality online video is still fun and challenging to shoot. I am still able to make as much profit as I did back in the days when video production was still exclusive to the pro ranks. I just had to change the way I did things. It’s not about the biggest and best camera. It’s not about bragging rights to the shot with such exquisite lighting that it took 3 hours to set up. It’s about creating videos that serve a purpose. Which really, was supposed to be what is was about all along.

Final Cut Pro Level 2 – Nov 1

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Are you looking for one-of-a-kind video production? This course focuses on advanced skills in editing and special effects techniques such as creating dynamic motion, custom filters and transitions, and compiling nested sequences using multiple layers of video. You learn how to set up, light and shoot video using green and blue screen backgrounds, as well as how to colour-correct video, manage media files and integrate your Final Cut Pro project with other applications such as Photoshop and Soundtrack Pro. Whether for broadcast, DVD or the Web, take your video production to the next level.

Note: HD demo footage is provided, but we encourage you to bring your own.
5 Tues, Nov 1-29, 6:30-9:30 at UBC Robson Square. $530
To register:

Making Your Own Website… Or Not

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

If you are looking to get a new website, this video is for you. I interviewed a web designer about how to make your own website or questions to ask a pro when hiring one.

A few questions you should ask yourself about your website:

  • Are you able to update your site yourself
  • Do you have control of your entire site, including domain name and web hosting?
  • Do you have great content?

If you like the video, I have a detailed post about what was in it, plus I have some links to the resources discussed in the video. You can check it out here

If you think the video could be helpful to someone you know, please do share my website with them. Thanks!


Oh yeah, this video shows the danger in doing the lighting, audio, filming, and question asking yourself 🙂 I was filming in the evening and the lighting conditions were changing fast. So, my glance back to the monitor every five minutes wasn’t often enough and the white balance and exposure went out of wack fast. I was able to do a bit of de-saturation and colour correction to make it look more uniform, but not my best piece of filming work.

Hiring a Photographer – Things You Should Do

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

I filmed an interview with a pro photographer about what to look for when hiring a pro photographer. His advice would very much apply to videographers as well.