TNT9: Get Started Making Online Videos

Jonathan Boyd, Online Media Manager, Admissions, North Park University

The audio for this podcast can be downloaded at

[Intro Music]

Announcer: You’re listening to one in a series of podcasts from the 2009 HighEdWeb Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

John Boyd: Well, I am John Boyd. You can find me there on Facebook or Twitter, if you're interested. And this session, as you saw the title, is "Get Started Making Online Videos". I want to share with you some of my assumptions about where we're at.

Oh, I should also say this presentation is online. At the end you'll get the URL, so you don't necessarily need to write down stuff that's already written down here. And in case you're wondering what it is, it's It's a pretty cool tool that I'm using for the first time. We'll see how distracting it is for us both.

But we're not going to talk about whether video is important. I'm assuming you're here because you think it already is and that actually you're looking for kind of a boost-up over the next couple of hurdles that you might have.

We're not going to be talking about how to use the camera and, you know, you plug it into your computer and stuff like that. I'm assuming that you've used that but probably aren't some kind of video professional or have used it very extensively.

And I'm also assuming that it might be you yourself who actually would be involved in making videos, either for your institution or, frankly, this is one of these sessions I think that works for you just to come for your personal life, for making vacation videos and stuff like that. So most of the time I'll be talking about you.

But I imagine that some of the stuff we'll be covering might be the sort of thing that if you are going to work with a team or kind of delegate some of this, hopefully you'll be able to pass along some of this stuff to an intern or student worker or something like that who might be getting started with you.

I should also say, please feel free to ask questions any time, get my attention. I wear a bowtie but I'm not that formal.

What we're doing here really is Show and Tell. I have real mixed feelings about presenting this kind of topic because it really needs a workshop to make videos so that you could be doing it. We could be sitting, and I'd rather it was a lot more show and a lot less tell, but in 45 minutes we're going to be doing a little bit more of the talking.

And, mostly, there is a little bit of Show and Tell, though, because I do--I'm going to show you an example of a video I made literally Friday, a one-minute video for North Park University, and then walk through 10 ingredients that you're going to need, I think, in making this kind of video. I did not try it for there to be 10. I literally wrote them and then counted them up and there turned out to be 10, so it's really not just a round number. Sometimes it just happens that way.

The other reason I say Show and Tell is that that's the whole point of video, too. Video gives you an opportunity to show people what you're talking about. And that's what your mission is if you're going to make this kind of videos. You've got to show people what you're talking about. And that's what I think what we're talking about as value here, too.

So without further ado I'm going to show you this little video. I do not show you this because it's such a great example, but just because seeing an example is useful, and in fact, it's got some weakness and we can talk about some of those too as we go. It's just a minute long, so enjoy.

[Video music]

Video: On Saturday, October 3rd, at the North Park Homecoming Block Party, you'll have a very special opportunity.

Turn in any item of college apparel--a t-shirt, sweatshirt, hat, boxers, you name it--from another university, and we'll give you a brand new North Park t-shirt. The clothing you turn in will be donated to the Friday Night Homeless Ministries and Cornerstone Community Outreach, and you will be outfitted as a Viking should.

Bring your apparel to the Homecoming Block Party on Saturday, between 10:30 and 1:30 and upgrade yourself to a brand new North Park t-shirt. Now, doesn't that feel better?


John Boyd: All right. Thank you. Now, as I say, we may come back and I'll reference that as we go, but that literally got made in four hours on Friday. We had this last-minute idea to give away these t-shirts, and it's--

[Video Music]

Video: On Saturday, October 3rd, at the North Park Homecoming--

John Boyd: Oh, I've got to get used to what's Prezi's going to do. Hopefully that won't keep playing.

So, anyway, you can keep that in mind.

Now I want to talk you through kind of the lifecycle of a video and, again, try to give you not just the standard terms like pre-production but what I think are 10 things that you're going to need.

After hearing Jerry's spool yesterday, I changed the terms to ingredients. They're not commandments or requirements. They're ingredients for your cooking on video.

The pre-production stage is really about preparing all the pieces you're going to need. And you might think obviously of preparing things like a script, getting your talent, location, wardrobe, lighting, sound, but don't forget you also need a purpose. You need to figure out kind of what your personality is going to be, have calls to action and follow up to that. Those are things that all happen here in the pre-production stage.

So here's Ingredient Number 1, and in my experience, this is the most important. "Have somebody to brainstorm with." Making movies is a creative endeavor, and unless you're the hugest genius in the world, you need somebody to feed you a fresh idea when you're dry. You need somebody to tell you when one of your ideas is stupid. You need somebody to bounce things around with when brainstorming. I just think it's totally invaluable.

The kind of questions, you're going to do it in a couple of different scales. You might really sit down with a totally blank white board and say, "What kind of video should we make?" and have it really wide open, a big, open question like that. But then even once you start to think about a particular project you're working on, it's really great to not shortchange the brainstorming step, to let yourself really ask questions, "How can we make this idea visual?"

If you don't get a good answer to that question, you might as well not do the rest of the whole project. So make sure you got a whole visual idea for what you're going to--where you're going to go, how you're going to communicate.

So, the t-shirt is an example. You could say, "Hey, bring in a t-shirt and we'll give you a new one!" Well, why we don't show somebody getting a new t-shirt and actually taking it off and putting it on? That's the kind of thing I'm talking about.

Other questions like how can we make this clearer, where are the jokes hiding that we might be able to bring out a little bit, all these kinds of things are good in brainstorming. I'm not going to talk too much about brainstorming because that's a whole science in its own right.

The only thing I'll say about brainstorming is, find people to brainstorm regardless of their title. Not everybody right around you in the org chart is equally gifted in terms of making videos and thinking about videos, and not everybody in your organization with what sounds like the right title is necessarily going to be a good brainstorming partner.

To be perfectly honest, my favorite brainstorming partner is my wife and my daughters who help me think about ideas, and I'm always amazed what kind of great ideas... Even though they don't work in Higher Ed, even though they're not videographers, they're smart about this kind of thing and they've got loose connections, I think, because their head isn't in the game. Don't tell them I said they have loose connections. And they can be really effective.

So, think about that. You could also--if you have a group of student workers or student volunteers or even alumni volunteers that you get to actually be friends with and get to know a little bit, they can be useful for brainstorming, too. OK?

Ingredient Number 2 is "Train your eye by watching movies and listening to directors' commentaries." You cannot play jazz without listening to great jazz players. You cannot write poetry without reading good poetry. And you can't make without watching movies. You'd probably know this.

But in particular, I recommend watching movies twice. Almost all DVDs come with some kind of commentary, extra feature stuff, even Seinfeld reruns on DVD. And if you listen to every movie you get from Netflix twice and keep a place in your brain for learning from the directors' commentaries, you can probably start expensing on your expense report, those Netflix subscriptions, because you really can learn a lot. Little things.

In fact, I want to show you a clip to make this a little bit real. This is a very short clip from Terminator 2. And you'll find--you'll see what I mean.

[Clip music]

John Boyd: OK. That could hardly be shorter, but it illustrates the kind of thing I'm talking about. You might be inspired by that little clip in any of the following dimensions: casting--

[Clip music]

John Boyd: --great casting, fabulous wardrobe, lighting, soundtrack and composition. I think these are--if you've got a little place in your brain where you're noticing cool shots like this, file them away.

Now, unless you're--I'm sure you can't think about Arnold Schwarzenegger for casting in your videos, unless you're in the Cal University system. Probably not even then.

Even the wardrobe, lighting and soundtrack are better done than we can afford. You can't usually afford real rock 'n roll, tracks like that. But if you file away somewhere how great a shot is when you put the camera right down that boot level and then pan up, how dramatic that is, that is something that does not cost any money. You can hold your camera down there, too. And you just get a totally different effect than if Arnold just walks out of the bar and the camera's at idle all along. So notice that kind of thing. Yeah?

OK. Sold to the woman in the back!


John Boyd: OK. Hopefully that won't start playing again. These are the things that I talked about already, sorry.

OK. Ingredient Number 3. "Draft a screenplay you can actually use." This is going to go very widely according to your own personal style and the requirements of the project.

Some of you will benefit from laying it all out and dotting the I's and crossing the T's and being a little OCD about it. Some of you will want to draw sketches of key shots and that's called a storyboard. I'm not actually going to get into that too much here.

But in terms of writing a basic screenplay, I do want to recommend--you can use anything, you can use Word or whatever else you write in, but I do want to recommend a fabulous piece of software. It's called Celtx, or I actually don't know how to pronounce it. But it's open-sourced, it's cross-platform, Windows, Mac, Linux. The URL's there. And it makes it really easy to write a structured screenplay like this.

I mentioned the t-shirt video got done in four hours. That is including the scripting. I sat down, I got into work, I found that we had found somebody who tracked down a Wheaton sweatshirt so I knew we could do this. I pounded out the script in Celtx in a few minutes and then it was useful. I could turn off my brain. I could stop thinking about the structure of the piece because it was all worked out. So I highly recommend that. But use Word or whatever else you want.

The thing you want a screenplay for is to clarify your thinking, clarify your answers about questions like these. If you end your pre-production's time and you don't have real clear thinking on these, it's going to be messy and you'll just waste a lot of time.

The reason I say what story we're telling is because film is narrative. It is linear. You don't loop back. It's not like hypertext. And so if you think in terms of stories and narratives, that's not just because narratives are hip these days in marketing, but it's because how film works.

Think about your desired outcomes or call to action. It's OK if the outcome is just to make people laugh, but you might want to have something like a link you want them to click on or a t-shirt deal you want them to participate in.

I think it's always important to ask yourself whom are we helping to keep that from being too self-centered. It's not just, "Oh, because my boss wants me to do this," but how this is actually going to make somebody's life better. That's probably a good question to ask in everything we do.

And then use--either screenplay really starts to help you dig in with "Who are we going to need on camera?" Let's make sure we have enough extras. Who's going to be talking? How much do we need to control that? Do we really want them to say this stuff verbatim or can we do some adlibbing? Again, the screenplay is going to force you to answer these questions.

Are there must-have images, actions, or words that you can't live without? So, yeah, we could have adlibs, but, boy, if we don't have the school slogan in there or if we forget to say the dates of the event, that would be a deal-breaker.

And then the screenplay, even though it's written and kind of in black and white, it's going to help you--or you should, it's not necessarily going to help you if you don't do this, but you can force yourself to write down how you're making those things as dynamic as possible. Again, like I said, think about a visual idea, and you can play around with ideas in a screenplay and pass it around and get some feedback on it even before you started shooting. 

And then, I always like to end this one, what does before--after you've crammed everything in you were trying to do and all your ideas, just stop and sit back and say, "Yeah, does this still work as a one kind of thing that we're saying? What's the one thing...?" Because usually on online videos, they're short enough. You've really got to say, "Trade in your t-shirt." That's the one thing we're saying. "Trade in your t-shirt."

And if you start to do too much more, like if we tried to just start talking about homecoming in general and, "Oh, and then you can wear it to the football game and to cheer for the Vikings and..." It helps you stay focused.

OK. Now we're into shooting. This is just where you start to actually gather photons into your camera and turn them into kilobytes. Or megabytes these days. Gigabytes. So here's Ingredient Number 4. "Shoot with good light."

The difference between bad lighting and good lighting is a matter of taste, but I guarantee you, all can know it, whether you got any training in lighting or not. Even a boring talking head can be nice to look at if it's well-lit.

You can do this artificially. I know people who spent--I haven't done this yet because I haven't gotten there, but eight-dollar kind of clamp lights from Home Depot that are cheap, and you don't have to spend a zillion on real film lights, but cart those around where you can actually set them up wherever you need.

But if you're either patient to wait for good natural light or you live in San Diego or something like that where it's always nice, natural light is really hard to beat, especially what's called the 'golden hour.' In fact, I want to show you, this is a still from another video. And it's OK to laugh. There's not much else that's nice about this still, but the lighting is fabulous, I think. This is in the soccer field literally across from my house. It's about 45 minutes before sunset.

And photographers and cinematographers talk about the golden hour. The hour after sunrise or before sunset, you get light in from an angle. It's got this great tone to it. And even just a shot where you're just talking into the camera can look pretty nicely with the good lighting.

Number 5. "Get good sound." It is not... Again, we're talking about online videos. It doesn't have to be perfect. You know, one of my assumptions is you're doing this maybe alone or with a couple other people, doing it on a cheap and... You know, real movie makers have fabulous sound setups and they do looping later and ADR and all this fancy stuff to actually redo the sound that was bad from when they actually shot the footage.

But there's a lot you can do if you're attentive. But it is--noise is your enemy and it really does show up, and until you start recording things and listening to the audio, you have no idea how noisy our environments are. Almost everywhere.

And it's so heartbreaking to have like a perfect location, find that place right in front of the noble hall with the columns, oh yeah, and then it's the busy street and the ambulances are going by right behind you and you have to wait every time. It can be really frustrating. So sometimes it's a trade-off, you know, not the best visual location for better sounds, but go with that, because the audio is almost as important as those beautiful locations visually. There's always an air-conditioner running or jets flying over or whatever else.

There are a couple of solutions to bad sound. Like I've been saying, avoid noisy locations. You can try to control them. You can ask, "Hey, can we turn off the air-conditioning unit right here in your office?" The chapel on our campus is gorgeous but the blowers on the air-conditioning are like jet engines, and so I'm always--whenever I want to shoot in there, I've asked them. I've not yet succeeded, but I've always want them to get those to shut them off.

Another one that actually, frankly, I don't have personal experience with, you can invest just a little bit of money in some good microphones. Lapel mikes. You get the mike right close to the person who's actually talking and you can control a lot of the background noise just because of the proximity of the person talking. It really helps a lot.

And then, when all else fails, you can just lose the audio from what you actually shot in your video and use voice-overs and fill it in with music. That's actually how the t-shirt one works. I knew we had so little time to shoot. I was not going to want to have to monkey around with waiting for ambulances to go by and jets and stuff like that. I thought, 'Let's just shoot.'

Also, I could be directing. I was verbally directing the students who were acting it out, and it didn't matter because I knew that I was going to--it was part of my plan to just cover it over with voice-over musical soundtrack and have that control later.

Number 6. "Shoot enough takes to be sure you've got what you need." I'm sure you've heard this true. The Photoshop session last hour was fabulous and we were talking about all the stuff you can do afterwards, but photographers also always say, "Oh, yeah, well I shot 20 frames or a hundred frames. The reason that's the gorgeous one is because that's the one that was best." And the principle is totally the same in video.

If you feel like the take wasn't quite right, if one of your actors flubbed a key line or even hesitated or if you want to try it a little different way, time to think that is right then, and just shoot it again when all your light's the same and you've got the people on there wearing the same shirt and all that stuff. Do it right then as much as you can.

In the old days, when they were really rolling celluloid film and they had to think about how much that costs per foot, but there's nothing cheaper than digital storage, so you might as well keep shooting. It takes time, but it saves a lot of time later.

Now, that can get a little awkward depending on the people you're working with. And this is one of the things personally--I'm sometimes a little shy saying, "OK, that really sucked. Can we do it again?" And you get--depending on who you're shooting with, if it's the university president, it's a little harder sometimes when there's a power dynamic there.

But this is another reason to be well-prepared, help your people that you're working with understand what you're doing. You break the ice a little bit. They can kind of get excited about the project. And then, being bossy, which is what directors have to be, is a little bit easier to do, and you can coach people.

But don't be afraid to coach people. We did three or four takes of the t-shirt exchange because the guys were not really comfortable hugging each other there at the end, and I just--eventually I had to show them the kind of "Oh, give me a big hug" kind of thing that I wanted them to do. And in the end, it was totally worth re-shooting. Because you should see the earlier takes. They were like, doing the lean-in hug and it was really lame.

Now, speaking of talent. This is something that I know people often ask about releases. I am not a lawyer. In fact, I should probably put that up in big letters. I am not a lawyer, but you should not neglect releases for non-employees. Anybody who is employed, you're going to have--you're going to be sort of covered under the work for higher principle.

So, in fact, the students in the t-shirt video are what we call 'student ambassadors'. They're kind of in the admissions team. So I didn't need to worry about releases for them because they were doing their job.

But if you're focusing in and really talking to somebody in particular, you will be happier if you just ease your mind by getting some kind of release on them. Now, again, as I said, I'm not a lawyer, but documentarians who I know, who deal with this all the time, I've asked, "What do you do? Do you have to carry around a stack of forms and get people to read all the legalese?" And actually they say, "No."

First of all, most people assume when the camera's pointing right in their face that they're being videoed and that that's going to be used for something, but if you... You could do it really simple. Right as you start shooting, say, "Do you understand that we're videoing on behalf of North Park University and we're going to use this on our website and in other places?" And then you get them saying, "Yes." Again, I'm not a lawyer, but it's hard to deny that you were hoodwinked then.

So I try to do that with any non-employee. I say, "Are you aware that we're videoing this for North Park? Do we have your permission to use your words and images?" Whatever, some kind of language like that. And, of course, people are always--they know why they're there, so it's non-controversial.

So, don't sue me later. But that's my... It's easy to forget about that stuff or be paralyzed like, "Oh, how am I going to sched everybody in the group shot to sign?" Group shots, you don't need to worry about.

Actually, one more thing I should recommend on that. The AP Style book has a section of legal stuff, and it's journalism-oriented so it's a little bit different, but I do recommend it. It has good info on when in a journalistic context you need to get a release from somebody who you're talking to on camera.

Audience 2: One question about...

John Boyd: Oh, yeah. Yeah, I'm going to get to that and not say too much about it, but, thanks for bringing that up. And ask your question again if I haven't covered it.

So, post-production. Yeah.

Wow. Then you know more about that than I do. Thank you for alerting me. I'm going to go put that up.

Audience 3: [Unintelligible 24:15]

John Boyd: Yeah. Lots of people do. So you might want to think about that if you don't, and then... There's a blanket, some kind of blanket--oh, yeah, and I should be repeating the questions, too. The question is that, often, many schools, when you first enroll, have some kind of blanket disclaimer. I realize my picture and video may be taken for promotional purposes. Something like that.

OK. Post-production is the weirdest word in the world's actually where the movie gets made.

Sometimes it sounds--because it's post-production, it sounds like it's after the real deal. But shooting is really a lot more analogous to the reading and research that you do while you're working on a paper. And then editing is like the writing that you do where it actually comes together. So, in fact, it's a really key point. And editing is just where you take all those pieces together that you've gathered--sound, video, stills, all those things--and put them together in order to make your movie.

This is where we totally would need a whole workshop. But I do have three or four things I want to tell you. One is, start out organized with your raw footage and stay that way. Again, everybody's style is going to be different, but there are applications called Digital Asset Management applications or DAM software. I know we swear to ourselves all the time, anyway, but this is one where it's actually the case.

I personally use Microsoft Expression Media, which used to be called iView Media, which is useful for stills and video. Aperture does some of this stuff. I know there are other competitors. Do whatever you want. If it's folders, you can do this right on your desktop. But don't think, "Oh, I'll always remember what image_007713 is." You're not going to remember that. And the fact--the more you can stay organized with the shots you want to keep, outtakes that you want to save for sometime when you do a gag reel, all that stuff, you'll be a lot happier if you stay organized while you're shooting shortly thereafter.

The next thing is about editing software. iMovie, which is free with Macs, is not to be underestimated. It's kind of stylish, in some circles they kind of look down on your nose, but the versions keep getting better and better and better and there is a lot that you can do with it and it is so easy to use while still being powerful. So, I'd put a big plug-in for that and for buying a Mac, if you need to do that to get iMovie. 

Microsoft Movie Maker, though, I know people love that, and then when you really need more power, Final Cut Pro, and then there's the Final Cut Express version, which is a little bit scaled-down. Those are significantly more expensive than free. So that kind of software--again, this needs a whole workshop to talk about those, but just wanted to get the names.

Yeah. I don't have personal experience with them, but Premiere, you're talking about Adobe Premiere, yeah, which is a similar--they do the similar kind of stuff. Yeah.

OK. One thing I want to say here in general about editing is, trust your instincts and sort of how the project is going. Yes, you have your screenplay, yes, you were all prepared, you had a really clear idea where it's going, but if that joke just is lame the third time you've heard it, you don't want to go with that. And in editing, you can do a lot to fix stuff that you're not comfortable with.

And if it's feeling too long, if it's feeling too short, you want to really tune into that sort of gut feeling you have while you're editing.

And speaking of length, there was conventional wisdom that two minutes, maybe three for online video is the most. This is in a New York Times article actually about the whole question, and the thumbnail version is that two minutes is no longer a good rule of thumb. That it should vary on the nature of the project. I think that's probably kind of obvious once you think about it.

How long do you need? As long as you need for the project. If it's a good project, if you've got a good script, if you've got something worth saying, take however long it takes. You're not--it doesn't have to be two hours long just because it's a feature film because you're not making that kind of movie.

OK. Quickly, then, here are another--just a couple of set of items here to draw your attention to. Cut things together as quickly as your viewers can handle. That's a judgment call. But you like to keep things moving, generally speaking.

Transitions can be really useful, both in video and audio. Sometimes your audio between shots will really--you'll hear the kind of the boom as you go from outside to inside or wherever, just in the room tone in the background. So pay attention to how you might need to kind of fade out or fade in with audio as well as visually.

But please don't overdo things. We're sort of in the early era of movie-making, and if you remember the early desktop publishing era when everybody's like, "Oh, I can have 25 fonts!" and colors and rotate and all kinds of shadows and stuff like that, it's really easy to go too much and have--all of the sudden everything's got special effects and crazy zooming things in your video. So, staying a little understated is useful.

Don't also forget, during editing is when you add in titles. In other words, text that's overlaid over the image. And I don't... This is how I think of it. I use titles for some things that are especially important or especially unimportant. Things that either are being said in the video that you want to re-enforce visually, or things that you don't want to waste voice-over or an actor's time actually having to say, or things that are too complicated, put them up.

So in the t-shirt, am I going to waste somebody's time saying, "Oh, the disclaimer is it's only for the first 200." No, I just put that in the title in the bottom when we were talking about the trade-in, and I didn't really waste time in telling the story. And this is where captioning comes in. I say "consider here" because I think we're really beginning in the law is not necessary--as I understand it, it is not entirely clear about whether you have to caption everything that you do, but I think we can probably all guess that that's the direction it's heading.

And you might want to think about closed captioning everything for the hearing-impaired as you go, because you might have to do this later once things clear up.

Also, you can think, not in legal terms, but, is it the right thing to do? Would this help people connect who might not otherwise be able to enjoy or benefit from the videos that we're making? So it's an extra step. You can do that during editing.

You can also do that in--there are tools in YouTube, and I know there are other stand-alone software packages to add captioning later. For instance, on videos that maybe you have in the can and don't have queued up in your editing already, but your institution sort of has a default welcome from the president or something like that, you don't have to go back into your editing suite. You can add the caption later. Does that answer your question?

OK, 9. Again, this is probably obvious, and there are other sessions here on this and whole books to be written, but obviously you want to share your videos widely and watch how they do. Hooking up your videos to some kind of metric and some kind of return on investment takes a little creativity sometimes.

But if you've been knowing you were going to do this when you planned the project originally, when you were writing your screenplay, when you were thinking about how it was put together and where you were going to publish it, some of this stuff can be a lot easier, that's why it's useful to have a good plan.

Some of the obvious places to put this, YouTube is real common. You probably have to be there because the reach is so great. Vimeo is another video-sharing site that--the video quality is higher. It's kind of a more film-oriented community there. It's not nearly the breadth of reach of YouTube but you get kind of people who are really a little bit more interested in video there, at least at this point. So I wanted to mention that. They also have really great embedding tools so you can put those on your sites and have no branding, no frame. You get no YouTube watermark right on the video or anything like that.

TubeMogul is a service that I just want to mention. You can upload to them. It's free. You upload to them and then they push it out to... there's two dozen different video-sharing sites, and it can simplify instead of having to upload it repeatedly to all your different sites. That's something to consider if you really want to have things all over the place on Blip TV and etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. All over the place.

I know some people not only want to display the video but really serve their videos on their own servers. So talk to your IT people about that--obviously their bandwidth and storage considerations like that.

There are upsides. But remember we're talking about being able to watch how they do. Don't this do if you won't get good metrics about how many people are watching the video. It's one of the advantages of using the services. You get metrics for views and other social features and stuff like that.

Now you showed me 10 before and that's 10 again. Oh, I got it! OK! [Laughter] Awesome. I get you now. Right! Right.

The reason I have a question mark here about Facebook--you probably know you can upload video at Facebook. I think their metrics really stink. At most, you get views and, in fact, you don't--they don't even tell you how many views because I've viewed my videos and it only shows zero.

But it is a good place. Either YouTube, Vimeo, or other sharing sites, if you put a link to one of your videos on those other sites, Facebook is smart enough to show you a little thumbnail, expand the player. People can watch it right there in the context that they're familiar.

And also, we've found that people like to use Facebook as the place where they're going to like an item or comment on it, share it. So you can kind of do a hybrid. I'd rather serve and display the videos using YouTube and Vimeo's tools and tricks, and then use Facebook for a safe kind of familiar environment for people to watch it in.

Number 10. "Get ready to make the next one." All of this, one of the things to keep in mind, the first couple you'll make, you'll pour tons of time into, but you've got to get where this doesn't wipe you out every time, it doesn't take a whole week to make a two-minute video. So you'll get better at this stuff. And as much as you can, use some of these techniques to streamline your process and get better at making more of these.

Another thing that I'd mention at this point is, I highly recommend making some videos when the pressure is off, not when the president comes and says, "By tomorrow, we need a video up."

Shoot some of these on your own. Shoot your dog running around the neighborhood. Make a little video about the neighbor kid with the lemonade stand. You know, whatever. Do something when it can be just fun and you can goof around. You know, you spend a lot of midnight oil up if it's always pressure.

And the more you make, the more you can afford to have any one of them suck. If you make a bunch of these and keep kind of a steady flow, otherwise they'd become "Citizen Kane" and, oh, we're expecting one out in two weeks and it becomes a big production. But if you can keep the flow going, frankly, you can experiment a little bit more, have a little bit more fun, take some risks. Because, actually, that's a lot of times where you get something that really clicks.

Audience 6: How many years are you in this?

John Boyd: I am still new in my job and I'm getting geared up. The last time I did this on a regular cycle, I was doing it every other week. And in addition to a 60-hour week job. So it was hard. But it can be done. But the first two or three really were hard to get rolling. And that was all just kind of a one-man show.

Bonus observations here. Videos are not automatically good. And here's a link. Some of you may have seen this already. This is a Windows 7 launch party video. It is horrifyingly bad. Nothing wrong with the production values. But don't think that, 'Oh, we're making videos, so the kids are going to love us.' That is a myth.

Another nice thing. This is a link to a Seth Godin blog post, but using videos to make kind of internal sales when you've got--when you're having fights and it kind of becomes one opinion versus the other, this is a great little idea here about, well, go out on campus and ask students and film them. Cut a little video and then show that to the VP who doesn't believe that students don't know how to find whatever or didn't realize they had to pay a deposit or something else like that. So, think about it for multiple different kinds of audiences.

Here's some recommended reading. Fritz McDonald of Stamats had just recently had a two great, two-part--oh, there's two URLs here, "Making Movies" and "Making Movies II", and these are really useful follow-up reading. You'll actually see an old bunch of stuff that I've been saying in there. And some other stuff actually I disagree with, but they're still really useful reading.

And then if you want to read a book, John Sales is an independent filmmaker, a fabulous, really interesting filmmaker, and he wrote a book about making his own movie, "Matewan", which is historical film set during a cold strike in the '20s in West Virginia. And the book has the whole screenplay, so you can kind of see how a screenplay works, and then basically a kind of short book-length treatment of the whole process of making it. It's a really, really interesting read if you want to dig in a little bit more.

This presentation is up here at this address. And, again, there's my contact information. One caveat about the... As you've already seen, the video's a little weird in Prezi, and this is the first time I've done it, when you go to this URL, it'll load both videos and they'll both start playing at once. It's really annoying. I don't know if it's a bug or if I did something wrong, but be patient. Let them run through their short, and then once they're done, you can start the thing if you want to work through. But the presentation is already up online.

So I'd love to hear your questions and have any other conversation, I think, in the five minutes we've got left or so. Yeah.

Audience 7: What kind of camera do you use?

John Boyd: Oh, thank you. I should've said something about that. I have... There's a lot of different things you can use. I have made some of these videos with everything from an iPhone video camera to--the main one that I shoot with is a Canon Power Shot SX1. I've been shooting with an earlier model for years with my family, the S2. It records with stereo audio.

The nice thing about the SX1, the new model that's out, is that it shoots in full HD. So you can really use it. But it's still kind of an advanced, kind of pro-sumer camera. And it takes great stills also. So I love being able to have one piece of equipment with me anywhere.

But I know people love the flip cams. There's a Kodak Z18 or something like that--I don't remember the--it's something like that, that's getting good reviews, that has an advantage--that it has an external mike jack in. And that could be a huge benefit. The Canon that I have doesn't have sound in, so I'm stuck with an on-board mic.

Audience 8: Have you tried another camera like the iPhone?

John Boyd: I haven't. The reviews that I've read were kind of doing head-to-heads with the Flip cam or with an iPhone, and they were saying, "This is great video for this tiny little thing," but you're not going to confuse it for a bigger camera.

Frankly, there's something to be said--I just have a brand new iPhone, and one of the things I'm loving is having the video camera with me all the time. There's something to be said for that, especially if you're getting into a cycle of shooting all the time. You see something on campus happening, you don't have to go run back into the building and get your camera and come and hope they're still juggling, but if they're juggling there right now, shoot them right there and get the shots. So there's really something to be said for something like a Nano that you already have--you would always have on you. Yeah.

Audience 9: [Unintelligible 41:46]

John Boyd: Yeah. 

Yeah. I think it totally depends on--it's a case-by-case thing. Usually it's way more immediate to have somebody on camera talking to you. This is actually the first one I've done with no natural sound in the audio. But you get... You know, there's a difference between talking to somebody face-to-face. That's what happens when you're using natural sound. And voice-overs, you get--see, it worked here, I think, because it was a little bit silent-film, kind of goofy feel to it, so it was right for the genre for the sort of comic effect, but... The short answer, in my opinion is, you get somebody talking right to you. You get--the meter goes way up on the effectiveness.

Audience 10: Can you talk a little bit about formats and size?

John Boyd: Right. Yeah. I think I'll refer you to... has a great--in their help section, has a great page with bit rates and compression rates, so I think I'll refer you there. It'll be easy to find it. It's, or something like that. But their navigation is pretty good. Because it's a technical subject and you get into it.

All the cameras that I mentioned will shoot at least in VGA resolution, which is 640x480, I think, and for online video that's more than adequate. The t-shirt one, you noticed, had a 16x9 ratio just because I was shooting in HD. And then it ends up looking a little more movie-ish that way. But when you're editing, you're going to compress it to all down anyway probably for the web. Yeah.

Audience 11: [Unintelligible 43:41]

John Boyd: Right.

Audience 11: [Unintelligible 43:50]

John Boyd: Yeah. Right. Yeah, that's a good word. And they'll vary from one to one and then sometimes when you have a paid account, you can have longer ones or--the YouTube EDU has a longer limit and stuff like that. There was another question?

Audience 12: How many projects have you done?

John Boyd: Oh, yeah. I'm still--like I said, I'm new in my job. I've only made two or three of them in the Higher Ed context. I worked for a non-profit before.

The ones we've done have been--I think the best answer to that, actually, is to go to YouTube EDU and look and you'll see. But we had a lot of fun making a congratulations video for high school grads who'd been admitted, but we were basically saying congratulations for finishing high school. So we had people from all over campus saying congratulations in different languages and holding up signs, doing kind of pomp and circumstance march in their bathrobes. I mean, we just had some fun doing that.

And then we did a sort of a super sped-up--called it "rocket cam"--tour through campus, kind of a gimmicky special effect that was kind of fun, and then this one. I'm just a couple of months in my job, so we're just getting going.

It actually didn't really work the way I was... I need to re-shoot it and use the segments. You know, I can salvage some stuff, but it's really hard to get motion that's steady enough that doesn't make you motion-sick when you speed it up enough to do it really fast. So we shot it and I edited it and we've used it internally, but I didn't actually publish it. So, mixed results.

But it's an example of what I'm talking about. I wasted half a day on that--who cares? It's not that big a deal. It was worth the experiment. If you shoot more of these when the pressure is off, then you can afford to play around.

I think we're probably out of time, right? Great. Thanks, everybody!