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Simple tips to produce online video. Part 1

Online video is gaining more attention, engagement and it’s becoming a strong way of communication for several companies.
It’s important to acknowledge that the Internet and television deliver two completely different video experiences (so far). Here’s a interesting quote from David Rich, VP of Marketing at

Television is “lean back” where people engage with the content in front of them when they want to. The Internet is “lean forward,” where people are actively controlling their experience.”

I’d like to share with you four core steps to deliver online video, in plain English:

  1. Planning
  2. Filming
  3. Editing
  4. Distributing

I’ll do this in two posts, so stand by for the next one!!

Planning / Strategy

First: If you don’t have a You Tube account yet, open one. Even if you decide to work with other video platforms as the primary, You Tube is the second search spot in the world after Google. Your video will get a lot more traffic and exposure there than any other platform/s.

In order to maximise your time and the effectiveness, you should think about integrating your online video strategy into your other channels, so take the time to think about your existing marketing campaign and see where online video could fit to blend successfully.
Also, according to the importance of the video, think if this is only something that you’ll have in your blog and your video platforms (You Tube, Vimeo, Viddler, etc) or maybe something that has to appear in any of your website pages too.
When brainstorming about the content for the video, place your audience first: what do you think is going to be relevant to them? (more than to you).
Always plan for short videos. Depending on the subject, you could have longer ones, but to give you an idea: an average should be two minutes maybe three. The shorter and sweeter, the better 🙂 If the video will be an interview, think about the place where you are going, maybe bring a tripod with you. If you’ll be in front of the camera, think about what you will say in a short and clear way.

Bottom line: You plan to create something engaging, relevant and authentic. This doesn’t happen overnight! Be patient. The more videos you do the better they’ll look and the faster you’ll produce them 🙂


I promised “plain English” so won’t bore you with cameras’ brands and models. You can start by using your photo digital camera on “video mode”, select the highest quality and ensure that is decent. Otherwise, you can get a Flip HD camera, like the one I have. It’s very affordable and provides great quality.
More likely, a lot of your videos will be shot indoors so do some testing with your camera or camcorder to ensure that quality is still good. If you want to learn more about more sophisticated equipment and how to make a better choice, you can start with “CNet’s video camera buying guide“.
I would strongly recommend that you buy a tripod (from €20). Not only will you make sure that the camera does not move but also, (using the camera timer) you can film yourself without help!

Background: this is crucial. Ensure that the background is engaging and/or includes branding. Avoid shooting straight at a window because the brightness will kill the video (backlighting). Also, if you’re next to a window, half of your face will look OK and the other half will be dark, so watch out!
If you are outdoors, make sure that the background is also engaging, related to the content or maybe show activity behind! Pick your best option according to the subject.
Be also aware of the background noise if you are using the camera’s built-in microphone. If you shoot in a room full of people chatting, this will impact seriously the sound of the person you are recording.

The 5-10 rule.
Always let your camera record fro 5-10 seconds before you start and end action. Do the following:
Frame the shot
Set the camera recording and count to 10
Start the action (ask the first question etc)
Finnish the action and count to 10
Stop the camera recording

NOTE: Always let your camera record 5 extra seconds before you start and after you finish to ensure that you’ll never cut off the start or the end of your video. Do the following:

  1. Frame the shot
  2. Set the camera recording and count to 5
  3. Start the action
  4. Finish the action and count to 5
  5. Stop recording

Finally, make sure you don’t zoom in or out while shooting. You would instantly make the video look less professional.

Have a look at “The five deadly sins of amateur video” from

[youtube width=”560″ height=”340″][/youtube]

Part 2 is coming up soon guys so stand by!

Did you like the post? don’t be shy, make a comment below and share it!



Fred is Creative Director at Channelship, a strategic web and social media agency. He is responsible for leading web projects and conducting social media training and strategy for companies. He works directly with key accounts, particularly in creative and strategic capabilities. Fred is also a Co-Founder here at

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  • Anonymous

    Good advice Fred.
    This is something I have been putting off for about 2 years.
    I will be off out this weekend to buy a tripod.

  • Thanks Paul!

  • Hi Fred. Some good tips here – looking forward to the rest. Integration of video is something that we are still trying to figure out – probably in the context as an alternative to the “written” blog. Thanks for sharing

  • Anonymous


    Your first post is probably one of the clearest explanations of how to do video well! Even though a lot of us know that video is popular, it can be intimidating to know where to begin. Thank you for the simple guide forward.

  • DiviCommsTrust

    Hi Fred,

    Very helpful…in plain English. Looking forward to the next one..

  • Hey thanks!

  • Thanks a lot Elli. Even though online video is growing hugely, it’s still making its first steps. This means that anyone that starts thinking “video” from now, and also ads a nice slice of creativity will have much better chances of being remarkable… definitely different than the competition 🙂

  • Thanks a lot Barney. Yeah, I guess it’s all about getting “uncomfortable” for those that refuse to think about online video. Anyways, if we forget about video, in times like this, anyone not trying to get out of their conform zone will face deep difficulties.
    Online video is not rocket science. It’s about trying, and like anything in life, the more you do it the better you become at it 🙂

  • Nice one Fran. Point 2 is crucial. It’s hard but as “The four hour week” suggests, it would be healthy to check your inbox maybe at 11am and 4pm. This a great way of getting tempted to answer emails all day and spend too much time in your inbox instead of creating stuff

  • Scary stuff Frank! I think point 6 is a good one. Over & Back can become such a frustrating experience using e-mail. Speaking of which I need to check my mail, old habits die hard but well get there 🙂

  • Good tips. I currently have over 2,000 unread messages – I think it’s time for a cleanup and some folders to be set up :o)

  • Great suggestions Frank – there are a thousand more concerning Outlook, but you’ve highlighted some great tips.

    Timing is important also – It’s been found that we are at our most creative for the first 3 hours of the day, so unless it takes 2 hours to get to work, we all have between 1 and 2 hours of top creativity time.

    It’s important not to use it to check email and do all those routine jobs we tend to do when entering the office. We can use it more productively, so the time slots suggested for email are spot on!

  • I will be using the twice a day tip from now on. Checking email can become a compulsion and is a demotivator, especially if you don’t get the sort of emails you want!

  • ..very good advice! Thanks for the post.

    Email is certainly a challenge and burden! The buzz Google Wave initially created as a collaboration environment for email replacement seems to be going away. That vision was so on target, but the limitations gotta go away for it to used across platforms.

    In so many corporate circles, culturally email is almost expected to be read upon receipt, and taking the twice-a-day approach in such organizations can (and will) get one fired. Though for small business and freelancers it’s possible.

    We’d like to add that an extranet environment and project management platform such as Basecamp works very well –though it’s much costlier than free.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Fred. Good spot re: point 2 and “The Four Hour Work Week”. I picked up this habit from that excellent book, and it is something that I strive to do every day. You also make a great point about “creating stuff” – letting email rule the rhythm of the day, is never going to allow anything to be created.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Niall. Refusing to answer basic questions over email, has been one of the biggest contributors to my work email reducing in the last 18 months. It took some time for the message to get across, but it seems to be hitting home now. I still need to get the big stick out from time to time and give people a gentle reminder. One additional benefit is that we’ve created a nice community of about 300 people in our Social Network. This means that quite often a question will be answered by the time I get to it. This benefit really kicks in when I’m not available i.e on holidays, off sick, or in meetings/training.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the reply Michelle. One other tip that I didn’t include is that you should periodically purge/archive your Inbox on a regular basis e.g. monthly or quarterly. For example if there are emails in your inbox older than 6 months and you haven’t responded to them yet, are you really going to do it now, and is the person who sent it, really going to still expect a reply?

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Elaine. Yes it seems that using the morning time productively is key. It’s not surprising to hear lots of productive people saying that this is the time they get most done. I think it is key to do some pre-work before finishing up the previous day, so you can hit the ground running, first thing.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Derbhile. Glad to hear that you are going to change your behaviour with regard to email.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment. Good point about Google Wave – great idea, but unfortunately poor execution, to date.

    I would disagree about the expectation to read email upon receipt in large corporations. I have worked in a company with approx 100,000 people for 8 years, and I have yet to hear of anyone who has been fired for not reading their email upon receipt. If something was that urgent (i.e. had to be done right now) then I would question the wisdom of sending the request by email. Surely the phone or Instant Messenger would be more appropriate.

  • Vinnie

    Sorry Frank, but i can’t see the connection. Sorry.
    I work at a desk anyway. Email’s on-screen just the same as my work. How is email worse for me than the work i’m doing at the same desk?
    Was there a study linking ‘working at a desk’ to bad health? That’s what grabbed my attention. Email took over the article though.
    All the best,
    Keep breathing pal,

  • Anonymous

    Hi Vinnie, thanks for your comment,

    I agree with your observation that it makes no difference if it’s email or other work that you are doing at your desk. Sitting all day is not good for our health.

    The point of the article title, and the introduction, was to capture people’s attention. The rest of the article was about ways in which to spend less time on email. Maybe I’ll put together a follow-up article on how to spend less time at the desk.



  • Anonymous

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