So Mari Smith, a leading video and social media personality, has declared 2013 “Year of the Video” and kicked it off with a free webinar last Thursday, January 24th.  I, of course, am down with that and planned to tune in!

…unfortunately that afternoon reared its ugly head with a janky web connection at a St. Louis Bread Co. (Panera for those of you non-OG…) and a task list longer than my Target receipts so I popped in for about 2o minutes while it was streaming, then zoned out in an epic novel I wrote to my boss with periodic clicking to see some of the asinine comments going on in the live chat…

That was last Thursday and now, hey! A week later I sort of have some time to poke back through the recorded video!

The panel consisted of MariDavid Gumpel, Emmy-award winning director and his wife, social media/marketing expert Catherine Hedden. They introduced themselves and each other and then got into some good stuff around the :15 mark.

For brevity’s sake I’m just going to discuss some equipment highlights that I though were particularly cool plus a few quotes because this thing was 1 hour and 18 minutes long! I really encourage you to find some time to watch it if you’re just getting started and let me know what you think. I know I have a really different perspective and I would like to know what you thought of it!

First, they discussed “filming on the go” and some SUPER cool iPhone 4/4s accessories that attach to your phone via Manfrotto Klyps which is a kit based around a special phone case with detachable clips. They have kits available that include tripods and even a little LED light set and I’m REALLY bummed out that they don’t seem to be available for iPhone 5, yet…aargh!

(Blogger’s note: want to see some other super rad iPhone photo & video gear? Check out!)

Oh, they also added their own little diffusion paper to their LED light. To diffuse and soften your light – because it does justice to your subjects by softening their weird skin blotches shaped like Texas and other creepiness – you can just use white tracing paper or tissue paper over your light source or even a sheet if it’s a window! Though for larger scale work this isn’t recommended because pro-level lights get so hot you wouldn’t believe it…OH THE BURNS we got in college messing with the barn doors on those stupid things…at this level you’d want to use diffusion or gels more like these.

Then they discussed some bigger, meatier pieces. Mmm meaty equipment. This could probably collapse my mind into the gutter real quick…

  Source: via Films About on Pinterest


For larger shooting situations I was excited to see they all use the Canon EOS Rebel T3i, the DSLR camera that I was planning on ordering! They mentioned that the size of a DSLR camera like this seemed to make people a lot more comfortable to be around than the older, bulkier style of professional cameras.

For larger lighting situations a simple paper lantern over a full spectrum daylight CFL bulb works great for diffusion!

Now…microphones! Or…A microphone, anyway…Which they didn’t even get to until the Q&A session, but they spotlighted their Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier Omnidirectional Condenser Microphone that they use with the Canon T3i but their Pinterest pin says you will need a special adapter to use this with a smartphone.

They then start getting into marketing and talking about the structure of web shows for folks who are wanting to start their own. They stress how you need to know what you’re wanting to do and why before you get started. Their recommendation for the first video you should be doing is with a how-to video. It offers a lot of value to a community and sets you up as the expert but you need to consider your business and the quality you need to produce to meet them.

Example: For my work with Young & Free St. Louis the whole point was “young person with a handicam”-style videos but if my employer, Vantage Credit Union, wanted to make videos establishing them as a trusted financial resource for our 26 year old + members, their approach would need to be a bit more polished.

Here are some notable quotes around this idea of video for business:

“You’ve gotta marry your blog or TV talk show!”

It’s a LOT of work to regularly produce great videos. Depending on what you are doing you may need to set aside several hours to days for recording even short videos. That’s not even including editing. The rule of thumb in video is the 20:1 ratio that says you need to shoot about about 20 minutes to get 1 good minute of footage. Can you or your company handle this ongoing responsibility?

“If you’re not producing great content and you’re not being consistent in getting this out, it’s going to be hard to get ROI.”

This is true, video is probably one of the most time-absorbing marketing initiatives. If you just think you “should” do it, it will be WAY more painful for you than just how feel you “should” tweet or have a FB page…

I also wanted to note that some of the commenters on this webinar were fairly rude. This webinar wasn’t moving fast enough, they wanted them to talk about something else, they spent time bashing the event or spamming out their own links and just whining about how this was going to help their marketing. I had an eye twitch after just watching these scroll for a few minutes, but this is the web. The wider your reach gets, the more you will tend to pick up the bad energies from people along with the good so don’t be surprised by this.

This comment was so asinine that I actually saved it as a quote:

“If you think this is great information, please don’t do your own video, hire a local professional. Would you hire an amatuer to do your plumbing?”

FALSE. Remember that video is a large undertaking and there is a LOT to learn though you definitely DON’T have to know it all up front in order to get started with something like web video. If you want to produce a TV commercial then yes, I would still recommend hiring a professional, but as someone who is trained in video I still learned a few things in this webinar or had principles revisited that I tend to neglect or had forgotten about. I encourage you to always keep your mind open and be a constant learner and re-learner as you get started with video and respect the knowledge being shared by others.

/end PSA, thank you for reading.

TERMS and PRINCIPLES (which I am working on compiling alphabetically in an ongoing “Terms” page – stay tuned!)

  • 20:1 ratio – You can roughly expect to shoot about 20 minutes of footage for 1 good minute of edited video. This doesn’t really apply to something like a webinar or a full event recording. Anything you’re trying to digest into a short time limit will often fit pretty closely to this rule, though.
  • 10 second rule – you only have about 10 seconds to capture a viewer’s attention so make those first few seconds really count!
  • B-roll – extra video clips spliced into the main storyline that accents what is going on and gives a video a more film-like feel. I shoot TONS of b-roll and often don’t have quite enough or the right shots. The BEST b-roll is shot after piecing together your main story and shooting additional footage that describes it. Is your subject talking about reading a book? Shoot them reading a book. Are they talking about doing cartwheels with penguins while wearing a diving suit? If you can shoot that, for the love of Santa, please do because I want to see it!!
  • Monopod – it’s like a tripod but instead of three (“tri”) legs, there’s just one which is great for hand-held shots. It’s amazing how much more stability this brings to your shooting.
  • Photo clips: large clamp-like clips that allow you to hang things like sheets to diffuse lights or attach heavier things to other things. It’s real technical. Sometimes just clothespins will do.
  • FPS – “Frames Per Second” or the number of individual frames (that used to be the separate blocks on film) move across the screen per second. 24fps is the traditional frame rate for TV and video, it translates well to the web. Makes everything look smoother and converts well to YouTube.
  • Diffusion – the process of softening up your light so it isn’t so harsh on your subject, casting shadows everywhere and exaggerating imperfections.

So what sort of tools are you using to learn? Do you watch webinars or read books or use tutorials or something? Let me know about it in a comment!

For those about to [REC.], we salute you!