I hope you had a chance to read my previous lesson on ‘How to Add Audio to Your Blog‘. The instructions I provided there will assist you as we take the next step – adding video to your blog. These two lessons are very important to your overall understanding of this ecourse, so pay close attention and I’ll try not to bore you to death with ‘techy terms’!!

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Adding audio to your blog is a great first step, but video adds another dimension, another element that can make your market really feel like they’re getting a true look at your business and getting to “know” you.

Before I tell you how you can easily add video to your blog, let’s talk about how video is made and what formats it comes in. As with audio, video needs to be saved in a specific format in order to be used online. Then, like audio, the video needs a program to create a ‘player’ so that the visitor can view it right from your own website or blog.

Let’s talk video file formats:

.WAV – This file format is commonly used on Windows.

.AVI – This is a format that many video cameras save your videos in.

.MOV – This is a format that plays on a program call Quicktime. It is typically a larger file.

Unlike audio, there are a number of acceptable video formats you can use across different software programs and sites. Don’t let this confuse you! Just be aware that you might see different file types, so you can match up the file with the software or program you want to use.

A good place to look for common video-file formats is YouTube, since it is a huge online repository for millions and millions of videos. Here is the link to what YouTube considers acceptable video formats: http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=55744

How to Record Video for Your Blog

How you record your video will depend on the kind of video you shoot. Let’s consider the options:

Video Camera – Most often you’ll use a video camera to record yourself or some other live action. There are many video cameras available on the market today. Most of the newest cameras will automatically record in a file format that is computer-friendly. If your camera is older, check the user manual to determine the file format. If it’s not compatible, then you may want to consider getting a newer model or you’ll need to deal with converting file formats (which can result in degraded video quality if you are not an expert). A great camera to buy for online video is the Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera (Black)High Definition Camcorders)
. It’s relatively cheap (less than $200), easy to use (one button to push for recording) and you can upload your videos straight to YouTube for viewing or for adding or to your own site.

Screencast Software – There are a number of programs on the Internet that will record your computer screen and your voice together, and turn them into a screencast video. The stand-out program is Camtasia. It is available for about $300. Camtasia lets you create videos, edit videos, combine media, add fancy transitions, add arrows and other call outs and so much more. It also lets you edit in-person video too. You can find it here: Camtasia Studio Version 7. If Camtasia is a little rich for your blood, try Jing; it offers much of the same basic functionality as Camtasia, but it’s free! www.jingproject.com.

How to Add Video to Your Blog

Like audio, video needs a software or a script to add a ‘player’ to your site. Here are some ways to add a player:

YouTube – One of the most common ways to get video online quickly and easily is via YouTube. While some people will object to using a third-party service, I personally see nothing wrong with using YouTube to put your professional videos right on your website. It actually does double-duty because you get exposure through a massive site AND you get a free web-player for you blog or website. Once you upload your video to YouTube, all you need to do is get the ’embed’ code and place it in the HTML section of your blog post.

Video Sites – YouTube is not the only free video hosting site out there. Check out Google Video, Vimeo, Viddler and a multitude of other sites. They’ll allow you to upload your video for on-site viewing or to embed within your own blog, much like YouTube.

Audio Acrobat – I’ve mentioned this program before with regard to audio, but the great news is that  it will also allow you to upload videos as well. Consider, however, that the quality with a webcam will always be lower than a high quality or HD video camera.

Here’s my rule for navigating the sometimes confusing and (yes) frustrating would of audio and video technology: Do what’s easiest.

Don’t do it one way because some ‘guru’ told you to. Figure out what’s going to be easiest for YOU and then just get doing it. You can always figure it out as you go and learn on the job. To me this is the difference between being book smart and having experience. You can read all you want but until you get out there and try it you’ll never learn what works for you.

My recommendation?

YouTube is super-easy and accessible, start there.

Again, you can do this! Get help if you need to. There are plenty of video experts available out there. If you do need help check out http://www.Shelancers.com for a freelancer who can guide you in the right direction.

See you tomorrow when we talk about how to capture attention using video demos.

Joanne