Do-It-Yourself Photo Shoot Begins with Video

Have you wanted great action shots and took a ton of photos and still didn’t get exactly what you wanted? Try video instead, and set up a do-it-yourself photo shoot. With my iPhone and tripod, I was set. I looked at frames from the video and created high res photos. With frames, you can capture just the right move.

The first time I created the video, I opened the video in RealPlayer, and clicked Trim. I clicked on each frame using the right arrow key on my keyboard. When I saw something I liked, I held my mouse over the video, and clicked Save Picture. However, I didn’t like the quality of the pictures, so instead of saving the pictures in RealPlayer, I did regular screen captures. I inserted the pictures onto a PowerPoint slide, cropped them, and created high res output using ImageExport (I have a video series here with more information.

After I had all the pictures I wanted, I uploaded them to to snazzy up the photos and turn them into a video (I paid $6 to download that video as high res). Then I opened the MP4 video in Sony Vegas Studio 11 to trim off the Animoto logo at the end and add my Subscribe video at the end. After that, I rendered to the MP4, HD video format.

After I uploaded the video to YouTube, I created a spotlight annotation on the Subscribe button that links to my YouTube Subscribe page. This was fun!


Animoto Video: Record Your Memories and Produce Movies for Work or Play

This past Wednesday was Administrative Professionals Day, and I do hope you honored them. One of my clients, Global Evaluation & Applied Research Solutions, Inc., (, held their second annual Administrative Professionals Conference. Organizations that invested in their employees and sent them to this training included the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), MARTA, the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), and more.

I was the keynote speaker, and my speech was titled, “Spend Your Time Right and Your Dreams Will Come True.” I talked about my journey from my first job after college at IBM as a secretary and how my skills landed me a promotion to project manager, and also how I’m using those same skills to run my business. That afternoon, I demonstrated some of my favorite tips and tricks in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

My main advice for the day: turn off the TV and spend your time and your money feeding your brain. There is too much you need to learn to waste your time on some so-called Housewives of Atlanta.

What a great day we had! The following is a video I created that captures it.

A colleague, LaTonya Blount, used my Flip camcorder to record a one-hour video. I used Movavi Video Converter to convert the Flip’s MP4 to the Windows Media Video format (so I could import to Camtasia, which I used to edit the video). We’d taken some photos also, and I used Windows Live Photo Gallery to crop them. After all that, I pulled everything into the Plus version of Animoto and created this finished product (for video, Animoto’s limit is 10 seconds per clip, and that’s all you need).

Animoto adds all the animation. I purchased their Plus version so I could make something longer than what’s available with the free version, and I wanted to add videos. When I used the embed code from Animoto, their logo showed on the screen during playback (the logo comes with their embeddable flash player). I’d have to move up to the Pro version to create an unbranded video (and to get their coolest transitions), but that’s just not happening. They jump from free to $30/year to $249/year. I uploaded the video to YouTube so I could use their player instead. After that, I used to create the banner that’s on top of the video that reads, Hire This Woman! The music is my official theme song, Time Catchers, that my ex-husband, Larry, wrote for me.

Converting the video consumed the most time. I always start this process and keep working on something else. When I get my Kodak PlayTouch (zi10) camcorder, this will be a step I’ll be able to omit. I love the Movavi Video Converter because no matter the format, it keeps the quality.

Let me know what you think. Give Animoto a try, and use the free version to get a feel for how easy it is. And to create your YouTube channel the right way in the first place, or take the one you have to the next level, you’ll want my booklet, Create, Build, and Manage a YouTube Channel Made Easy. It’s available on my main Website with free shipping.



Three Resources for Creating Marketing Videos for Your Website

I made a business commitment to add more videos to my Websites and also to create more marketing videos this year. For non-marketing videos, I’ll use my Flip MinoHD camcorder (or the Webcam built into my laptop). I’ll use Camtasia to edit them, add music, slides, etc. For a slick marketing piece, I’ll need to get more creative (and spend some money). I’ve explored various options and thought you might find this helpful.

Update: Cisco has ended the Flip portable camcorder business. My next purchase will be the Kodak PlayTouch. It includes a mic jack so the sound will be so much better. (free version). Animoto automatically produces TV quality video pieces using your photos, video clips, and music. You submit everything online, click a view buttons, and taa daa!, you have your video. If you use their free version, your video will include their logo and URL. They also have a limited annual plan ($30/year) where you have to pay a small fee to add video within the finished product. The other annual license that’s $249.00 comes with unlimited, full-length videos with no branding.

Here is a sample video I created in minutes, just using photos (photos by Phil at All the animation was created on their end. I could have added video clips too. The music is my company’s official theme song. ($595.00). They’ll loan you a portable camcorder if you don’t have one. You’ll shoot your own video such as customer testimonials while they’re in the store, an employee interview, product demos, etc. Once you’re done, send the camera back in their pre-addressed envelope, and they’ll create your video with music, transitions, titles, your logo, etc.

Note: Their Website has a great article with tips for creating better videos. (free for first three months). Turnhere sends a video crew from your area to your business. A filmmaker will assemble the footage and add music, etc. You’ll be able to view the video online and make up to three edits. After approval, they’ll email you the code so you can post the video online. You can post the video online for free for three months. After that, you’ll have to pay a year’s subscription for $199.00 or you can buy the Web-quality video for $599.00. Visit Turnhere’s Website for more details.

If you’ve heard of or used something different, please leave a comment and let us know.


Update: What will you do with all the great videos you create? Why not showcase them on your own TV channel and at the same time boost your organic search engine rankings? I’ve published a new booklet titled, A Complete Guide: Create, Build, and Manage a YouTube Channel. It’s a 24-page, step-by-step guide that’s written with a logical workflow in mind. I’ll guide you through features I wish I’d known about in the beginning.

Already have a channel? How about taking it to another level? Click the YouTube logo above to visit my channel. I created the customized skin using PowerPoint. Here’s a video series I recorded that’ll teach you how to do that.

You can purchase the booklet on my Website and create a first-class YouTube channel. And also check out my booklet, Shameless Self-Promotion: DIY SEO for more help getting found online.