by Gary North
If you have not signed up with YouTube, it's time.
I'll wait. . . .
Still hesitating? Still not quite ready to believe me and invest 60 seconds on my recommendation? Let me tell you why you should do this.
First, you have a story to tell. YouTube can help you tell it.
Second, there are people — if only family members — who would like to hear your story. If you can provide photos, they would like to see your story. YouTube makes this possible. You can limit access to family members.
Third, you may have a message to get out. YouTube makes this possible.
Fourth, you ought to have a will. (A lot of people don't.) But to pass along money without passing along vision is a mistake. How about a video that presents your vision?
Fifth, you may have old family movies or videos that you would like to share with family members. A DVD will let you do this inexpensively, but highlights ought to be on YouTube.
Sixth, you may know how to do something that ought to be viewed to be learned rapidly. YouTube lets you share this. You can include contact information.
Seventh, you can use low-cost videos to help sell just about anything. All you need is a YouTube video and a short link from www.snipurl.com.
Eighth, you belong to organizations that want to promote events. YouTube can help.
Ninth, you belong to organizations that want to tell their story to outsiders. Tell it on YouTube.
Tenth, you belong to organizations that may want to tell more of their story to members. YouTube lets you limit access.
WAYS TO TELL YOUR STORY
Buy a cheap tripod. Sit in front of the tripod-mounted camera. (More on this later.) I presume that you have an outline in your head or posted in large letters to the side of the camcorder or above it.
Turn on the camcorder, sit in front of it, and say whatever you have to say.
You can edit the video with any Mac computer. Windows XP has a free video-editing program. You can download it here.
Then post your video.
If it's under 10 minutes, you don't need to do anything special. Just follow the easy instructions when you log in.
You must sign up in order to log in. One more time.
What if you have photos or other images? How can you get them onto your video?
One way is with a video screen capture program. This will let you record anything that is on your computer's screen. You can narrate what the person is seeing by using your lapel mic.
Then all you need is a scanner to digitize whatever you want to put on your screen. A scanner costs maybe $70. I use a Visioneer 7300. (Note: copyright law protects images in books, magazines, etc.)
Maybe you have a pile of family photos. Digitize them. Then use CamStudio to narrate the story that lies behind each photo.
I recommend doing photos in a series that in some way lend themselves to telling a story. A vacation record is a good example. This way, you keep your video under 10 minutes.
You can do a how-to video this way. You don't need to have everything on-screen moving. You can use the cursor to highlight something stationary as you narrate. By reducing movement, you reduce the size of the file. YouTube's limit is 100 megabytes, compressed.
YouTube automatically compresses your video. You don't have to do this.
You can shoot a how-to session while narrating it. Or you can shoot it and then edit in your narration later. This way, you can read a script.
The YouTube files are long. Use a free on-line file-shortening program to make the files manageable. I recommend snipurl.com. This allows you to name a file. You don't just get a few numbers. Here is an example. I shortened a YouTube link to a video of Bill Myers' dirt-cheap room-corner studio. You will be amazed at what he can do with practically nothing. I had my option of naming the file. Either link works.
Once you have a short file name, you can use it in the following media:
- business card
- yellow pages ad
- classified ad
- autoresponder report
- sales letter
I cannot imagine selling a home without using YouTube to take a prospective buyer through the entire house. Narrate it. Tell some of the great times you had. Make it personal. Then create a written flyer that you stick outside your home in a plastic box or tube. The shortened link to your YouTube video is featured in the flyer.
This way, you pre-sell the person who calls your realtor for a tour.
Alternatively: run a classified ad in the local paper or on Craigslist.com (free). Provide a website or blogsite (free) address. There, the person can click through to take your video tour.
You can use a home video camcorder. You can rent one if you don't own one.
You can buy a near-professional camcorder for $600. You don't need this for YouTube. YouTube's resolution is minimal.
You do need this feature: a plug-in socket for an external lapel microphone. You need this for decent sound. A $25 lapel (lavalier) mic from Radio Shack is all you really need.
Since it costs nothing to register with YouTube, why not do this? It will help motivate you to follow through on your first video project.
March 7, 2007
Copyright © 2007 LewRockwell.com