This is the final in a 3 part series on ‘must-haves’ for your business.
Previously in this series, I mentioned that I don’t suggest any business be without
- an email service
- a payment processor and
- a media capture option. Let’s delve into #3, shall we?
3. Media Capture
Why do I feel a variety of media is important to business growth online?
Sooo many reasons, but just to highlight a few, I think you can never underestimate the ‘know, like & trust’ factor in business. There are so many reasons for prospects to DIStrust you these days…that the more you can do to build that trust, the better.
Ok – so to mechanics…I like EASY solutions with very little learning curves. I’m a simple girl with a busy life and I don’t want learning technology to be my full time job. So don’t expect rocket science here. I’m sure there are more bells and whistles and fancy solutions, but I like to stick to a budget and the basics.
So, whether we’re talking about audio or video, at the bare minimum you will need the ability to:
- record interviews, tutorials, rants or educational pieces
- host your recording online
- post the link (or a player) on your site, blog or in email
Just like anything technical, you can find services from the simple to the complex…but some other features I find helpful are:
- simple editing
- royalty free music for top & tail
- broadcast ability for live seminars
- built in players
==> Audacity by Soundforge: This free software is both Mac and PC compatible. I use this to record straight from my built in mic (or if I’m getting fancy, I use my Yeti, which was about $100 on Amazon. I can also import audio into this program from a conference call or live event I’ve recorded and edit out the bits I don’t like or are unclear. This can be a very effective editing tool, but I mainly use it to clean up the front and back and add music if I want to. I’ve found tutorials on YouTube for everything I’ve needed to learn about Audacity. It is a must-have as far as I’m concerned.
I know many Mac folks swear by GarageBand for the same purposes.
This is just for recording and editing. This will not host your recordings or store them.
==> Audio Acrobat: This subscription service is a web based program that will allow you to upload records (perhaps from Audacity) or to call into your designated ‘hotline’ and record directly from your phone. I have done this hundreds of times for interviews, personal product creation or other purposes when I’m traveling. I also used this more before I had a good mic built into my computer. This service will also store your recordings and host the players for you that you can send in email, post on blogs or put in your social media sharing.
However, this has a recurring fee monthly and if you have very busy watchers, listeners and sharers – you will rack up extra charges for bandwidth. I use this strictly for phone recording. I tend to use it really heavy for a month or two and then cancel until I need it again. However, if you don’t have many folks viewing your content, this may be the simplest and low tech solution for now!
There is no EDITING feature on this, so be prepared to publish ‘as is.’ *Trial Available*
** Audio Acrobat also has Video features available but I’ve not researched that or played with it, so I can’t testify to the usefulness **
==> Conference Call Lines: You can also use a variety of conference call lines for singular recording, interviews and teleclasses, but that really is a post all by itself, so I won’t try to cover those here. However, if you are familiar with Free Conference Call, Instant Teleseminar, Go Conference or any of those services, you can sometimes skip the above tools and use their built-in tools that you are already familiar with. I tend to come back to Audacity to edit what I do on the conference calls anyway 😉
I am SURE I’ve left some amazing tools out – but again, I’m just reviewing what I know and what I use – share in the comments section below what YOU have had great success with and can recommend.
==> Camera Suggestions: My friend, Perry Lawrence at AskMrVideo.com has always said ‘the best camera is the one you will use.’ So I adhere to that mantra! I love, love, love the FLIP camera and use mine endlessly ‘on location’ from amusement parks, live events, in the car, etc. It’s a push-button content generator and I love that there are no chords. I use the one that is powered by AA batteries so I don’t have to find a computer to charge it when I’m on the run. I realize, however, that this camera is not still being made, so I recommend a hand-held flip-style camera like the Sony Bloggie. Kodak Zi8 or similar.
You may be in love with the quality of video you get from your iPhone or iPad, great. Like I said, whatever works for you is best.
I also love the simplicity of using the web cam that is built into my monitor or laptop. I open up Quick Time and Create a New Video. Simple as that.
==> Editing Software: My first preference is NO EDITING. Yep, I’m that simple. I prefer to Shoot & Share! But if I need to put an intro or some graphics as a ‘call to action’ then there are a couple of options.
- Mac folks, seriously – iMovie is so simple once you go through a tutorial or two that it’s almost FUN to dress up your videos a bit. The templates, music, sound effects, transitions and tools that are built in are excellent!
- YouTube editing – I haven’t played with this much beyond annotations, but I know you can do some simple editing ONLINE in YouTube. This is, of course, free and won’t be as ‘fancy schmancy’ as an offline pro editing software – but hey – we’re all about SIMPLE!
- In Camera Software – one of the things I loved about the FLIP camera was the built in editing software. Super-easy and intuitive. Now that Flip isn’t being created anymore, I’m not sure the software is still being supported – but when you are buying your mobile camera, check to see if there is a camera-specific software included.
- Sony Vegas and others – I’ve invested in these (in the past) and gave up because of the complexity. I just didn’t have the time or energy to get complicated. I know editors that use these with great success and swear by them, but for the price and the hassle, I couldn’t be bothered.
What did I forget?
==> Storage Options: once you create your media, it has to ‘live’ somewhere in order to be accessible online. Again, with the ‘cloud’ and so many evolving technologies, I’m sure the geekarati will come out of the woodwork to let me know what I’ve missed, but I’m reviewing what I use and know 😉
- YouTube – this is STILL my favorite for video. It’s free. It’s searchable. It’s user-friendly. There are loads of tutorials and now that you can set videos to Public, Private & Unlisted…there really is no reason not to use it. I DO suggest you keep a backup of your videos on a harddrive or with Mozy or Carbonite, in case YouTube disappears (yeah, right) but this is a great solution for just about everyone. — and the price is right at FREE
- Adobe Acrobat – I mentioned that earlier – but I haven’t used it for video, so I can’t recommend it personally.
- AmazonS3 – I use S3 for my mass storage of pdfs, audio and video. It’s pennies on the dollar compared to many other bandwidth solutions and I feel pretty secure that Amazon isn’t going anywhere. However, it’s not the most intuitive thing to use, so I use a gateway front service called EZS3 to store all of my media. I LOVE that this service has a variety of player templates for audio and video and make my blog and webpages look professional just by dropping in a line of code. I have all of my media backed up here and couldn’t be happier. I’ve been using them over 4 years now and I have heavy media traffic, as you might imagine. (tutorials & support board are really helpful)
- Your own site storage. You could store your media there, but depending on your hosting, you could max out your bandwidth in a hurry and incur extra costs.
Those are a few I’ve used (still use) and have personal experience with.
I’d love to hear below what you use and love and what features I perhaps left out! I know we haven’t covered ‘calls & tele-events’ yet – we will. And I know I’m not the most tech-genius online…but really, that is my point. I use these tools to function and to be profitable. I’m not a specialist in them nor do I have to be to know how to leverage them for my benefit.
I hope this series has been helpful and I’d love to hear about more tools or ideas below!