I recently sent around a YouTube video I had created about one of my journalism heroes, Reggie Stuart, corporate recruiter for McClatchy. You can see the piece and video about Stuart at this link - or just watch the video below.
Bill Mitchell, editor of Poynter Online, had a suggestion:
It's the kind of basic skill more and more in our audience(s) are looking for, and I think it would have equal relevance to editors (charged with getting people to do this kind of work) and to reporters (who need to learn the hands-on)...
I have learned to obey Bill's gentle suggestions, so here goes.
What might look like a complicated product is relatively straightforward, once you know the steps. That piece was executed using a combination of tools and free software that are easily available. Newsrooms around the country use these or proprietary versions of them.
THE VIDEO PART -- SHOOTING IT: The first task is collecting the video. The usual way is to use a video camera, then plug it into a computer for editing. Instead, I used my Apple MacBook ($1,299 for the black version, $1,099 for white), which comes with a built-in camera and microphone. I set it up in front of Stuart as he spoke, adjusting for the right height. A more sophisticated setup would have included a separate mic, but I just used the built-in version.
THE VIDEO PART -- EDITING IT: The free iMovie HD program that comes with the MacBook allows you to capture the video and then edit it with minimal training. I basically spliced a couple of separate bites together, and using the transition and titling tools, was able to make the short video.
THE YOUTUBE PART: Sure, YouTube has millions of viewers, but all those viewers need content to, well, view. So the service makes it really easy to upload videos. Once you have your content ready, putting it up is similar to attaching a file within e-mail. Following the instructions here, I gave it a title, a description, tags and a category and then was able to upload the video. Depending on the time of day, there's a delay of 10-30 minutes before the video shows up online. But once it's up, you can e-mail the link to your friends or even embed it onto another site or blog, as we have done here for this WebTip. (Every YouTube video has a section where the embed code is available for you to take and put elsewhere).
This ability to embed the video on other sites is a key reason for the success of certain online videos. Embedding means more sites will be willing to post the video, because it allows visitors to see the video without leaving the site they are on. And since it's still played off YouTube's servers, there are no bandwidth costs for individual sites.
ALTERNATIVES: You can use a video camera or a cheap webcam (many are less than $30) to shoot the video and free software such as Microsoft Moviemaker (free on Windows XP) or the new-ish online video editing site, Jumpcut.com to do simple editing.
- YouTube Video Toolbox - tips on making and uploading video (you can also upload directly from your cellphone)
- OJR tips on online video
- My WNBC segment on video-sharing sites beyong YouTube
[This is, of course, just a start. Share your ideas - see YOUR TURN section below.]
Ellyn Angelotti, Poynter.org's Interactvity Editor, points out some useful suggestions that have been recenly made on the Online News e-mail discussion lists that she hosts. (You can see all the lists and sign up here.)
- Robin Miller, Editor-in-chief of Open Source Technology Group, made the observation that there are now more than 150 ad-supported video-hosting services.
- Clyde Bentley, associate professor of journalism at the University of Missouri, mentioned the system used there that is very much like YouTube, but is a closed system.
- Kevin Anderson, editor, who blogs for Guardian Unlimited, shared that Motionbox allows users to upload and tag video clips as well as make simple edits through the service provided by the site.
- Brightcove is an option I know of that many organizations have looked into as an alternative to YouTube.
Here's some more info about Brightcove:
Launch a Channel: http://corp.brightcove.com/content_owners/
Brightcove Support & Tutorials: http://studio.brightcove.com/
Brightcove Blog: http://blog.brightcove.com/
YOUR TURN: Share your tips for newcomers to online video creation by posting in the comments section or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
See details of SAJA Convention & Job Fair in NYC, July 12-15, 2007