Product Creation on the Cheap–Part Two

Let’s get out there and create us some products. We have the ideas. We’re sure there’s a market. What we don’t have is a budget. So where do we start?

In the previous article I covered ebook and audio creation. In this article I’ll say something about video production.

Making video products seems to be all the rage. With many hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute, it seems to be the way to go for putting your message over to those who want to hear it. <rant start> In my personal opinion, I think it’s being over done, especially on sales pages where we’re expected to watch a 2 hour pitch for a $27 product. If you can’t tell me in 5 minutes then you’re hyping it up. <rant end>

There are many different types of video product, almost all of which you’ll have seen somewhere or another.

By far the easiest to produce is the PowerPoint slide show type. Rather than letting PowerPoint (or the free equivalents from Libre Office, Open Office, Kingston Office, etc.) control the flow, export each slide as a jpg image and join them together in video maker type program. Microsoft produces a free one for Windows called Windows Movie Maker and again, there are free equivalents for Linux and Mac. If the slides say everything you need then just put in some background music (make sure it’s royalty free or license agreed). Usually though you will need some voice over to explain a bit more depth. As for audio, make yourself up some guidance notes for reference and just speak freely. Just reading the slides is pointless and makes your video quite dull.

Related to the slideshow video is the screen capture video. Camtasia is the usual weapon of choice here but it costs big bucks. However, Cam Studio is free and does a great job. There are one or two other similar programs but these have limits on time or quality. Make sure you have as much set up beforehand as possible. If you’re doing web pages either have them  ready up as tabs or at least as shortcuts. Nothing shows more lack of preparation than someone saying “I’ll just cut the video here while this page loads” and then apologising for the missing 2 minutes of their life. The more professional you appear, the more you’ll be accepted as a professional marketer.

The next type of video is the talking head type using either a web cam whilst sat at your PC or laptop, using the camera built in to your mobile phone or tablet or a home video camera. The latter methods are best done using a tripod to hold the phone or camera steady. Incidentally, there are autocue type apps available for iPad and Android devices that allow you to put your notes in and have them scroll past at a controllable rate, which may be far more convenient than scrabbling for bits of paper. Whatever cue method you’re using, try to have it set up at eye height beside the camera lens so that it looks like you’re looking straight at the camera.

A popular type of video is one that probably requires external assistance. There are websites now that allow you to feed in a script and control some animations to speak it. I haven’t hunted any down yet, but a search on YouTube will show you what I mean. Some of them can be quite entertaining. Look up ‘Sounds Like A Pyramid Scheme’ to see what I mean. Related to this are the animated doodle type which can work very well. However, at this point we are walking into the ‘spending money’ territory. Something I’m trying to help you avoid.

The final type of video I’m going to mention today is the discussion type, where two or more people discuss a product or one is interviewing the other. You will certainly need a microphone or two as the camera would need to be further away to capture both people. You are definitely getting into professional territory here as you could always use multiple cameras and turn it all into a major production. It will look really great if you do it right, and you’re several steps up from the ‘recorded over Skype’ audio interview.

I can certainly recommend a site called Perfect Video Pro. It’s a WSO so it does cost money (I got in as a reviewer) but it’s been done by a professional director / producer and tells you all you need to know about making your own ‘real people’ videos.

So there you go. Plenty of ways to make products without spending a great deal of money. As always when you don’t spend money, you do put in more of your own time or you trade your time and pay someone else to do the tricky bits.

Once you have a raw product, it can always be restructured and reused. An ebook can be read out loud to become an audio. A video can be transcribed to an ebook, or the visual part stripped off to create an audio. An audio can be layered in with a slideshow to make a video. Although many people will try to teach you a preference, which end you start from and where you go with it is up to you.

Do you have any free tools worth a mention? Does the idea of product creation strike fear into you? Comment below and see where it takes us all. I read the comments and comment back where appropriate. All links are now ‘do-follow’, thanks to a new plugin I’ve just obtained so they’re even more value to you. Spammy links and comments though won’t make it through screening, so don’t bother trying! Join in. It’s all good fun.