Make a better video

Make a better videoThis weekend we shot a series of web videos to accompany the book, and it reinforced several important lessons:

  1. Keep your videos SHORT. One minute is great, two minutes is okay if it’s good. Longer than that? How do you plan to keep people watching? Right now I have nine tabs open in my web browser. I’ve heard of people who routinely have twenty open at once. So your video is competing against Facebook and email and CNN and Gawker and HuffPo. Not to mention everything else on youtube, iTunes, pandora, the TV in the room, and the phone. Nobody has time for your long video.
  2. Practice. Practicing or rehearsing not only helps your performance, it helps you refine the content. When you go over and over something, especially OUT LOUD, you start to see things that could be cut or changed. In fact, adapting any communication in a different medium is a great way to improve it. Writing a document? Try it as a speech. Doing a video? Put it into a bullet-point presentation. It’s a great way of looking at your communication from a new point of view.
  3. Do it right. Just as computers opened the way for legions of people who think they can do graphic design, smartphones and flipcams have turned everyone into a videographer. Sometimes you don’t need high-quality — immediacy is more important. But generally you want some minimal production standards. Bringing in a pro — or even a kid from a local film school if you can’t afford that — will give you the lighting and sound (which are critical) necessary to make your work not appear like a hostage video.
Your viewers will thank you. By actually, you know, viewing your video.