Video marketing tidbits for newbies

I’m a video marketing newbie.

Maybe you are, too.

For those of you who are just starting to think about using video in your book marketing efforts, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned about the PC-user hardware and software involved so that you don’t have to start from scratch. If you have no video experience, there’s a lot to learn. I hope this information here will be a useful starting point for novices — and I’m in that category, too.

Note, though, that while most of what I’ll share here can be used for the book videos known as book trailers, that’s not how I use it. Just so you know.

Video marketing hardware

For the video on my “About” page, I used an HD video camera, microphone, and tripod for the “shoot” in my, um, studio. Here’s the equipment I used along with a few tips and resources related to each.

Kodak Play Touch video camera: You want an HD video recorder/camera/camcorder or an HD digital camera that shoots in at least 1080p video. And, because audio is so important, you want one with a jack that accepts an external microphone. The Kodak Play Touch description on Amazon doesn’t state that it has an audio jack, but it does.

Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier Omnidirectional Condenser Microphone: You can use this microphone with your video camera or with the webcam on your computer, but test it first. It doesn’t work on my desktop computer, but it does with my laptop. I used this mike for both my About page video shot with my Kodak Play Touch  and my “How to e-mail a book press release” video shot with my laptop webcam.

Vanguard Alta+ 204AP 4-Section Aluminum Tripod: I originally bought this for my still camera but it’s perfect for my video camera, too. I used it to shoot the About video. I work alone, so I knew that making sure I was positioned properly in front of the camera would be a challenge. With the camera on this versatile and solid tripod, I could use my remote control to shoot still pictures of myself, then hop behind the camera to view it.

Kodak Pocket Video Digital Camera Remote Control: This handy and small remote control popped up as a recommended additional product on the Amazon site after I selected the camera and I’m glad it did! I’ve used it to take the still shots I use for positioning and to start and stop the camera as I’m recording myself. It has made the process sooo much easier.

Video marketing software

I wanted to use video screen capture software to show how I did something on my computer for “How to e-mail a book press release” so I spent a fair amount of time (OK . . . too much time . . .) exploring various options. I’ve heard from people who use and love Camtasia Studio, but it’s expensive for those on a DIY budget. A sister product, Snagit, is more affordable, and Jing is even better — it’s free (I used Jing to capture the image from my About video here in the upper right). But because I know just enough to be dangerous but not useful, I was concerned about whether the resulting video would be compatible with the Windows Live Movie Maker software I’d be using, so I went in search of a free WMM-compatible product instead (next . . .).

Microsoft Encoder Expression 4: This software is, overall, mostly way over my head, but I love its screen capture component. It took me a few minutes to find that function in the package after I downloaded the software, though. In case you have the same problem, type “Microsoft Expression Encoder Screen Capture” into your computer’s search box. It will show up under “Files.” I created a shortcut for it on my desktop so I wouldn’t have trouble finding it again. Get instructions on how to use it at the xIQ site.

Windows Live Movie Maker: This software came with my computer and is intuitive and easy to use. For “How to e-mail a book press release,” I used it to edit the webcam video (for me, editing means selecting the start and stop points on the video), then merge the webcam and screen capture videos into one file. I also used it to add the opening title and the credits at the end (the credits are my favorite part . . .).

Other helpful resources

Video Marketing for Dummies: I reviewed this book on this blog before I started my first video. I referred back to it during my “production process” when I had specific questions, and found the section on how to post a video on YouTube especially helpful.

Jalanda James: This videographer has a couple of helpful how-to videos on her site.

I hope some of you find some of this information helpful, especially if, like me, you’re just learning about how to create, use, and share videos effectively.

Do you have favorite video resources? Please share them here.


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Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her BuildBookBuzz.com site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested.

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2 Responses to Video marketing tidbits for newbies
  1. Madison Woods
    August 23, 2012 | 8:03 pm

    Sandra, thanks for this post. I’m in process of pulling together a presentation on how to use Duotrope for a regional writer’s league meeting in November. I’ll also need to use screen captures because the facility where I’ll present has no wifi and I can’t just get online with an overhead projector to demonstrate features.

    Why did you need a separate program for screen capture? Will WMM not import a .doc page into the sequence?

    I think I’ll be making a PowerPoint rather than a video though, so I might be able to just screen capture directly to a PP slide… not sure, I haven’t tried yet, but your post made me think of things I might ought to research before I get started!

  2. Sandra Beckwith
    August 23, 2012 | 8:07 pm

    Thanks, Madison. My screen capture isn’t static — it has movement. I move from window to window, demonstrating how to send a press release via e-mail as I actually do it. For static screen captures, meaning, just your computer screen, Jing works great.

    Good luck with your presentation! It sounds like PowerPoint will be your best option.

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