From the Grave…

by Jeff Walker   How do you publish a book 100 years after your death, and have it become an instant bestseller? Mark Twain just did that. Yesterday when I purchased his just-released autobiography, it was ranked #4 on the Amazon bestseller list… which is completely amazing. After all, Mark Twain died 100 years ago… in 1910. And all this without an “Amazon book launch”… without an appearance on Oprah… without a book tour… how do you do that? Well first off, Mark Twain was an enormously popular and influential writer in the 18th and 19th centuries. His novel “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is clearly one of the seminal works of American literature. Second, Twain left explicit instructions to NOT publish his work until 100 years after his death. And even with a 100 year delay, the interest in Mark Twain and his work was enough to turn the book into an immediate best seller. There is so much here that is just so rich… what would Twain have thought of me buying the book from my home via Amazon? Or the fact that I had to decide if I wanted to buy the physical book or the Kindle edition? (I’m sure he would have been fascinated by all of it since he was keenly interested in new technology, especially new technology in the publishing industry.) But the thing that kept running through my mind as I ordered the book was “the long view”… in an age where everyone is a publisher the minute they sign up for Facebook or Twitter… where people blog about what they had for...

ROI of Social Media [Videos]

I originally posted these videos to my personal blog when they were first released in 2011.   Q: What is the ROI (return on investment) of Social Media?   A: Your business will still exist in 5 years!   (which, at the time, meant 2016)   Can any company approach marketing today without using Social Media?   Actually, many companies today ONLY use social media.   Watch these videos…and comment below to share what you are doing to promote yourself online:...

Stop, Don’t Shoot!! Until…

QUESTION Regarding how to script, what you have to say? Is there a method that the professionals use? -Richard When you say “scripting”, it can mean a bunch of different things, depending on the type video. If you are just doing what’s called a “talking head” — you, on camera, like a news anchor at a desk — a typical Vlog (video blog) — then you just need a narrative script. If you are producing a video with graphics, supporting video images (called “broll”), titles, voice-over, music, etc., then of course the scripting process is more complex. In this case, the basic script format is two columns, one for video and one for audio. But, let’s stick with basics for now, as you are just getting started, and talk about scripting a Vlog (video blog)….. In this case, the format of the script is not complex at all, and will basically be just what you want to say and how you want to say it. OK, duh! But if you think that is so simple, then you must also think that copywriting for your squeeze page and sales emails is simple too. NOT!! We all know those things are not so simple, but are a skilled combination of art and science. The beauty of producing Vlogs is that it can be done more informally, with flaws you would not want in written copy, and so it’s often much faster to produce a Vlog than a text blog. As well, delivery and tone of voice, face and body language, and many other factors make video a superior communication platform. The...

User Groups Will Save Your Tush

Question   Hey Chaim, I am on a Widows 8 system. I have a JVC HD SD Memory Camera and when i transfer the video it goes into iTunes. From iTunes I try to edit the m4v file with windows video maker. But windows video maker can’t recognize the file. How do I solve this issue. Thanks Brad. My quick answer is: Get a Mac! OK, so maybe I’m not the “Video Production Oracle” that I like to consider myself, but I think that’s a darn good answer anyway! Seriously though, what you are asking is a very specific technical question about what seems to be glitch with a specific combination of hardware and software, and this is when all video pros turn to internet user groups. (As an Avid non-linear editor, we tap into a 20-year experience base of hundreds of thousands of Avid editors right from our desktop whenever we get stumped with one of these tech anomalies that just suck.) So, have you tried tapping into the community of “Windows 8 OS, Windows Movie Video Maker, JVC HD Memory Card Camera” users by either Googling the keywords of your problem, or finding related user groups and doing a keyword search inside them? If not, then this is your best shot. If so, but you’ve found no relief, keep trying. And if all else fails, go back and take my original advice at the top of this post. You’ll be glad you did! Happy hunting! Oh, and for those of you unfamiliar with the lovely Yiddish word “Tush” (or “Tuccas”), I’m not referring to the ZZ Top...

Finding Stock Music & Images for Use In Your Videos

When creating videos, you may wish to include some music, photos, and/or video images without having to create them yourself. If so, you’ve probably been searching the web for them, and wondering how legal it is to use the works of others in your production.   Google and other search engines have added filters (Search Tools -> Usage Right) that will only allow you to see photos that expressly allow reuse in commercial or non-commercial settings.  (More on that below when I discuss “Creative Commons”.)   Unfortunately, this will filter out like 99.9% of the photos Google indexes; not so much because their owners would have an issue with you using their image, but because they did not go out of their way to tag their photo with that permission.   Officially, you are supposed to have some level of permission for any image you use. When it comes to blogging, that rule is mostly ignored, and could arguably fall under the “Fair Use”/Educational copyright laws. BUT…that doesn’t mean you are legally covered. If you are using the images commercially, then you would be in violation. And if your blog starts getting popular, then you could find yourself with a cease-and-desist letter, or a law suit. (Please note, I am not an expert in these matters, and am only sharing my limited knowledge and opinion. Please consult with a professional on this subject to make sure you are in compliance.)   So, where does that leave you in trying to find a great image, video, and/or music to complement your work?   First of all, don’t confuse “royalty free” with...

Hey Chaim, How Should I Make My Videos?

OK, very naturally, as many of you have almost no knowledge about producing a video, I am getting very generic questions all the way from “what camera should I buy” to “how do I upload content”. That is very cool, but… Ever heard of NAB? It’s the yearly National Assoc. of Broadcasters Convention held in Vegas every April. (www.nabshow.com) For people in the TV and videobusiness, it’s like visiting Disneyland, especially if you are going with a sizable immediate purchasing budget. I mean, talk about a toystore.   It is literally so big, close to 1 million square feet of exhibit space,  I don’t think it is possible to even visit every booth if you walked it morning to night for the 4 days of the expo. More than 100k people attend, 25% are international visitors, and $50 billion of revenue is generated to exhibitors as a direct result of the show. Why do I mention this? To make the point that the video/audio/multimedia production business is so vast, with so many products, that it’s impossible for any one person to know every piece of equipment, how it works, how it compares with its competition, how to troubleshoot it, and on and on. Yes, impossible even for me, your trusty video expert. So, while I will not shirk away from making suggestions about specific hardware, software, and procedures, I will be more focused on helping you to learn the basics of production….the principles that stay as technologies come and go. That said, if you are already attempting to produce video, and have specific (not general) questions to ask, then...