Tips on Producing a “How To” Video

A few years ago, I decided to film a “How to Make a Soy Candle Video” entitled “The Art of Soy Container Candle Making.” It was a tremendous learning experience, especially for my first product to be sold over the Internet. Here are some valuable tips that I would love to share with you.

Research. In order to be clear about what you want to present in a “How To” video – check out the competition! See what others are doing. With the Internet, it’s so easy now. Search “YouTube” videos, Amazon, Google searches for videos, books and e-books. When you see what others are doing, then you’ll find your “niche” where you fit into the market. Remember, no one is going to be exactly like you!

Become a Guru in your field. If you’re making a video, then you’re putting yourself out there as a “guru”. Study, learn, and practice. The more you know, the more confident you become in presenting the material. Practice different methods and stretch your knowledge. Then, break the material down into segments that over-deliver. With lots of free videos out there, people expect more of a “how to” video that they have to pay for. Make it a priority to keep your customers happy with great content.

Style. Watch other “How To” shows on TV including cooking shows, craft shows, and other creative endeavors. A lot of these “style” shows have overhead cameras looking down on the set, or other angles and close-ups. Check and look for “style’ and search for things you like about others. Then, you can incorporate all of these techniques in your presentation with your personality. The more you understand the process – before you begin filming, the better.

Pre-Production. Have a vision and take action on your vision. The more work you do in preparing for the film production, the better. You’ll end up saving a lot of time, money and frustration. Write a script, edit the script, and practice the script. Write in “segments” – that way it won’t be overwhelming. Put yourself in the place of a student watching this. Think of what the audience will want to see. Even if you hire a videographer, make sure you have a clear vision that you can communicate to others. Remember – it’s your video!

Organization. Make lists of all supplies, equipment and tools. In making a “How To” video, you have to introduce all of your supplies and equipment. For each segment of your script, make a side list of everything you need. It’s so easy to get flustered when you’re filming, so organization is key.

Practice your presentation in front of a mirror. If you’re currently teaching, break the information down to a clear, concise presentation. Practice “speaking” clearly. Watch out for bad habits, such as playing with your hair or repeating the same phrases. Practice presenting the information looking directly into the camera as if you were talking to your best friend.

Set a Budget. Most people start with a budget as funds allow. To produce a great video, you need to budget what the project requires. As with any project, it’s very easy to go overboard. Put together a realistic budget that includes supplies, equipment, videographer (or equipment if you’re filming yourself), music, editing, reproduction, royalty-free photos or graphics, professional fees, etc. Make sure to include any marketing expenses such as press releases. Also, in setting the budget for expenses, set the budget for sales – and price your video competitively with others in your genre. Amazon is a great tool to search prices.

Copyright Laws. Since you are creating a commercial piece of work – you need to respect copyright laws as far as music, photos, or any other copyright material that you will be using in your video. Make sure that you have the proper authorization or use material where the copyrights have expired. Don’t second guess anything, because it will come back to haunt you. There are royalty-free music sites and public domain sites. If you’re inserting pictures – take your own HD pictures and use them. Register your DVD Online with the U.S. Copyright Office to protect your product at

Hiring a videographer/filming yourself You can have a professional quality video either by hiring a qualified videographer, or by filming yourself. Determine which method fits your budget, taste and style. Write down the Pros/Cons on filming a video yourself vs. hiring an experienced videographer. If you want your video to be of the highest quality, then you’re looking at filming in High Definition. If you currently have a high definition camera, then you’ll need to purchase or have access to top video editing software such as Final Cut Pro, etc. If you don’t have access to this equipment or skill to edit yourself, then get bids from videographers in your home town.

You can post an ad on Craig’s List to obtain bids in your area. Ask for experience with instructional videos and also ask for examples of their work. Most videographers photograph weddings or music videos. A “How To” video is more involved – especially in the editing process where you can have close-ups, and titles, or inserts of graphics or pictures.

Discuss fees, scheduling, editing, music, equipment, lights, sound, location and assistants. Find out what you are getting for your money, otherwise, there might be surprises. The more organized and prepared you are, the better you’ll be at giving direction over the project. Don’t make the mistake of relying on someone else’s vision or control. It’s great to find out what creative skills that they can add to enhance the quality of your video, but make sure it fits with your vision. You want to make sure the whole production process goes as smoothly as it possible can. Remember -you’re not only preparing everything and writing the script, etc, you’re also going to be on camera too. You want filming to be fun!

Hair/Makeup/Outfit Even though you may be filming over a period of months, you have to make it look like you’ve filmed it one day. Therefore, pick a hairstyle, jewelry, make-up and outfit, and stick with it during the whole filming process. If you change styles for each “segment”, then the video doesn’t look consistent, and the audience can get confused. You want a seamless flow to the video.

Show your “personality” on camera People want to learn from people they like and trust. Show off some of your unique traits on camera and get people to laugh, react, and get involved with what you’re doing. Smile a lot on camera and be enthusiastic. Think of not only teaching, informing, but entertaining the audience as well. Keep the energy upbeat at all times.

Bonus Materials: Yes, people do expect bonus materials. In Online marketing – there are always free e-books, digital products, and even in the real world – lots of free samples. What information can you give the audience that no one else has done, or done right? Think about some fun interviews, bloopers, extra segments, or even interview another “guru.” Find something really special to give your customers and they will be bragging about your product and helping to sell it for you!

Marketing – In making a “How to” video, you need to not only make a quality product, but have a marketing plan in mind in order to sell the DVD. Who is your ideal customer? Where you do think you’ll be selling the DVD: Online; craft shows; learning centers; website; retailers; Amazon? Think about what is going to differentiate you from the rest of the competition, and capitalize on that in the marketing. If you’re expecting to recover your costs and make a profit, have a marketing plan, and include it in the budget.

Reproduction – There are two ways you can go on reproduction: (1) Find a reproduction house in your town. Rates are very competitive and service is great. They will send you a template to design for your DVD cover insert, etc., but can specialize more in providing service. (2) Use Kunaki. They have a “publish-at-no-cost-to you-service. They will manufacture, fulfill your orders (via internet) and ship to your customers/retailers – and you only pay at the time of sale. They charge a very low manufacturing fee, which includes: manufacturing the DVD, case, disc, inserts, cover art, shrink-wrap, etc. You design and configure your product, and they’ll do the rest. They’ll even drop ship to Amazon. Since this is a digitalized low-cost service, there isn’t any personal service. So, decide which one is best for you.

A Full History Of The Internet Viral Video

The history of the viral video is a long and interesting one. Viral videos are clips that become quickly and extremely popular after being uploaded and shared via internet sites or email. Most people associate them with humor, although the videos can also be serious or educational in nature. The clips have been around basically since the beginning of the internet and can be made by either amateurs or professionals.

The idea behind these clips have been present since the dawn of society. It began with the spreading of news and information from person to person and advancements in technology have allowed for the data to be shared increasingly quicker, first with the telephone and now with text messaging and internet sites.

The phenomenon behind this powerful and timeless sharing of information is studied by sociologists and psychologists. The general idea is that beliefs, patterns of behaviors, and information are essentially units of a specific culture and can reproduce themselves in the minds of their hosts. Which means that they can influence the beliefs of others thus perpetuating them.

In the early nineties, viral videos were mostly shared between people using emails. One of the first of these to gain international attention was dubbed the “dancing baby” video, as it featured a small cartoon baby dancing in place, and spent a few months being showcased in everything from television shows to commercials. Other early examples included short films about Santa Claus and humorous clips consisting of poorly translated video games.

Today, thanks to the internet, these clips are able to get passed along and enjoyed dramatically faster. The exact reason that one video becomes more popular than another isn’t fully understood but the hook used to keep an audience interested is a major factor, as is the content itself of course.

These clips have had a number of profound and relevant impacts on society as well. One of the most important ways they can contribute to modern society is through their potential impact on education. For example, teachers in Texas launched a website that was intended to share training and educational videos with other elementary school teachers. The site, which debuted in 2007, now gets millions of hits each week.

The clips have also become very popular methods for small bands and musicians to share their work. In the past, a band would have had to do this the old fashioned way, which consisted of making copies of their songs and manually sending them off to record companies and agents in hopes of garnering interest. Once signed, their label would have to tirelessly promote the band’s CDs and music videos in order for them to be seen. Now, this process is a thing of the past and musicians can gain fans simply by making and sharing their videos online. If they are lucky, a musician’s clip may even go viral and provide him with even more recognition and popularity.

The items have had an increasingly persuasive effect in the political world as well. In 2008, a number of the presidential debates were broadcasted and uploaded exclusively to a popular video sharing site.

Analog Music – Players That Are Popular From Then Until Now

Music is widely known all over the world. For some, this is their form of positive reinforcement while others make this as their way of earning money. The good news is music has also been developing throughout the years. From the regular analog music, they now come in compressed forms like digital music.

If you’re not familiar with this music type, analog music is considered to be the old school type of music played on many different players. Unlike the regular music files that you know today, they would need players to actually play the whole music storage. These days, portable music players are now very popular and many people are planning to get them as investments for their own entertainment. If you’re not familiar with this music, you’re probably not familiar with the equipments used in playing this music.

Cassette players

One of the known storage for analog music is tape music. Even before the popularity of optical media has been brought about in the country and in the world, tapes dominated first the market. In fact, a lot of people are still keeping their own cassette players these days because of some past records that they still keep until these days. The good news is there are still some stores that are selling these items either for brand new or second hand to ensure they’ll enjoy these music whenever they want to.

Walkman players

Even before the smallest iPod Touch has been developed, these portable cassette players have been the way for people to enjoy their music wherever they want to. The main structure of this player is larger in order to fit a regular cassette tape. They are portable and run by batteries so people can enjoy music while traveling. This is the most popular way of enjoying music the portable way and people have enjoyed them a lot during these times.

VHS players

Although this is a player for video tapes in the past, they are also considered to play analog music in its own way. These video tapes also have this type of music as they record the video. So in a sense, the VHS player has been a known player for this music type as well. These players were very popular in the past even before the concept of VCDs and players have been known in the world of technology. Today, there are still many institutions that are using this type of player primarily since they have film archives their students will find useful. Typically, educational systems have this in order to help their students watch some of the classic films helpful for their study.

In conclusion, there are various analog music players in the past and are still used until today. These players will let you enjoy this music as they’re stored within certain media like cassette and VHS tapes. People who may have these records can still enjoy them as long as they find these players on different stores in the market either on second hand or brand new as combo equipment.