3 Ways to Make Your Videos Better (Without Breaking the Bank!)

You can make your videos better by playing around with hundreds of different things. You can work with different camera angles and change the sound settings in your camera, for example. That type of stuff doesn’t involve spending a dime. Which is awesome. But it hits a certain point where you can only do so much.  You honestly have to spend money if you want to get to that “next step.” And when you’re working with video, it can be extremely intimidating when prosumer cameras are selling for 5,000 dollars, lenses can be 12,000 bucks, etc. But today, let’s not worry about money. Because you can dramatically increase the quality of your production by investing in these 3 tools, which are all pretty cheap.

1. A Glidecam

When you’re trying to film handheld with a DSLR camera (or any camera for that matter) you know how shaky the footage can come out. So you’ve probably invested in a tripod, which is good for a lot of instances, but after all, you’re limited to pans and still shots. What happens when you need a quick moving shot that’s running alongside somebody? Or you need a shot that starts on the floor and goes up vertically? You used to have to invest in a dolly, slider, camera crane, etc. And all that good stuff would cost a ton of money. The Glidecam gives you the power to get all different types of shots in one system, and it can often be found for under 250 bucks.

Here’s what the GlideCam looks like in action:

2. Buy a Super 8 Camera

Super 8mm movie cameras were most popular in the 1960′s and 70′s. They were very basic. And they gave you an old, dusty looking picture with basic color. You can usually find a decent one on eBay for as low as $30. Then you just buy the film and get it transferred so you can work with it on your computer. That can get a little bit costly, so just make sure you’re only shooting Super 8 when you really want to use it in a video. And simply put, don’t overuse it. So you might be thinking…how on earth would that make my video better? When used correctly, these cameras bring about an incredible sense of nostalgia to any video. It’s really a feel that’s unmatched.

This video was filmed entirely on Super 8. And it only came out a few years ago.

Toro Y Moi “Still Sound” {Official Video} from Steve Daniels on Vimeo.

The video below is mostly filmed with modern day equipment, but is edited to look and feel similar to an 8mm camera. There are shots in there that could even be filmed with an 8mm camera.

BIGBEAR x 1000 from 1000 on Vimeo.

3. Get a Color Grading Application

Cameras are designed to give you a good image coming straight out of the camera. But if you want a great, unique, and interesting image that gives your video a mood, you need to change your camera settings for a flatter, duller image that’s easier to color grade it in post. Many people prefer to use the color grading tools right in their editing system, but others prefer to use an application like Magic Bullet or VSCO to make the process easier.

Here’s an example of the power of Magic Bullet:

ROME. from Jeremy Janin on Vimeo.

The problem? It’s $399. Which in the grand scheme of things isn’t terrible, but we’re trying not to break the bank here. Let me introduce VSCO for film. It goes for usually $100 or less.

VSCO:

Life in Ventura. VSCO Film 03 from 5 Mile Films on Vimeo.

What are your inexpensive tips and tricks for making your videos better?

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Starting your Social Media Strategy

ATTENTION READERS:

My name is Cassie Jaufmann, and I started working for Mountain Media as their new Social Media Specialist earlier this month. Although “specialist” is my professional title, I like to think of myself as a Social Media Queen. I am extremely energetic (and positive), and work hard to stay ahead of the latest news, trends, and techniques. My goal here at Mountain Media is to work with you on creating the best and most efficient Social Media Strategy geared towards your personal business goals.

With that being said according to Merriam-Webster, Social media is defined as:

I personally define social media as a giant pool of possibilities. There are so many different channels, ideas, and strategies swimming around it can be overwhelming. How do you know where to start? What exactly are you supposed to be doing?

Most people…jump right in. Have you caught yourself following this strategy?

1. Logon to Facebook
2. Start posting videos, quotes, articles, and pictures.
3. Wait for “likes” to start accumulating.
4. Logon to Twitter
5. Post the same random stuff that you posted on Facebook, but add #obnoxioushashtags because you think it’s a trend
6. Wait for “followers”

Are you picking up on what I’m throwing down? If not, please refer to this cartoon by Tom Fishburne for a clearer picture of what NOT to do with your Social Media Plan

Social Media can be great. It really allows you to reach a larger audience if you know how to utilize it correctly. Just simply “being” on Facebook doesn’t really do much for your business (other than give it an actual presence). Comparatively speaking, it would be similar to having your phone number and business name listed in the yellow pages.

Want to do more? Start by defining your goal. If you are drawing a blank–resort back to the old fashion way and ask yourself the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How questions to see if anything sparks inspiration.

Why do you want to be on Social Media? What kind of results are you trying to generate? How are you going to measure success? Where in the social media pool will you target your efforts? Who will be responsible for managing these efforts.

Information overload? I apologize. Start with the Why. And build from there.

Suggestions:
Maybe you are trying to build brand awareness and recognition of your product?
Perhaps you are an online business looking for lead generation and possible sales?

To each their own, it is safe to say every strategy is going to be different. Keep it simple and grow your strategy over time. Don’t rush it. Social media is evolving and there is no way you can tackle it all over night.

If you are interested in learning more about a Social Media, please feel free to connect with me professionally for more tips and tricks.

Add me to your circles on: Google+
Add me to your network on: LinkedIN

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4 Tips for Making Your Video Go Viral

Everyone wants to make a viral video. This is a fact. Just think about how great it would be — millions of views, some local/international fame, and people who want to meet you. And then when the video’s hype has died down, you get two choices. Either keep pumping out videos and hope you rise to stardom, or just kick back and let people remember your awesome achievement. Pretty good gig in my opinion — just one problem. There’s no exact way to make a viral video. If there was, everyone would be doing it. You could follow every single thing I’m about to tell you, and your video still might not go viral. But the truth is, viral videos often have a lot of things in common, and that’s what I’d like to share with you.

Length & Title Choice

Videos that go viral usually have very similar lengths and titles. The title has to be something that’s going to stick in a person’s head. This is pretty simple. If you have a hilarious video of your friend singing, you don’t want to name it “Funny Singing.” “How to Sing Like A Champ” would be a lot more memorable. And for the length, the shorter the better. Keeping your video under 2 minutes and 30 seconds is usually a good idea, although going a little bit over might not hurt. There are always exceptions to this rule, too. An exciting, shocking, micro-documentary could be 10 minutes long and go viral. But that’s more about content, which we’ll discuss next.

As a tip, try to get the audience intrigued in the first few seconds. With the help of apps like Vine nowadays, attention spans for video are getting shorter and shorter.

Emotional Connections

Simply put, people have to connect with the video content on an emotional level. Humor often works best, but you can also create a video that’s romantic, nostalgic, unbelievable, “so true”, etc. Or awkward, which is where I point out my favorite YouTube channel, LAHWF. Andrew Hales, the man behind the famous YouTube channel, got his start by creating a viral prank video that was painfully awkward and funny at the same time. And people could put themselves in his shoes. Here it is:

To this day, Andrew creates (mostly awkward) prank videos that connect with people. You often leave his videos with the “I could see that happening to myself” mentality. His newest viral video, however, hits people with a touch of happiness:

Celebrity Influence

Another way videos go viral is with the help of celebrities, or what I like to call “half-celebrities” (people that are famous in their own industry.) If you’re lucky enough to feature someone famous in your video, you’re increasing your viral chances ten-fold. But what I’m mostly talking about here is celebrity video sharing. If you can get people in power to share your video, you’re in luck. Pull some strings and talk to who you can. And share your video all over the place — which is what we’ll talk about last.

Promotion & Marketing

Once you thing you’ve got a great video, it’s time to promote and market it. Don’t be shy! You have to believe the material is truly fantastic. That’s how you’ll know you know it has a shot at going viral. Get the video posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ a few times. Don’t drop the video every hour, but spread it out casually. Talk to your friends and get them to post it too. Then use the power of online message boards. Post your video to large online communities. Definitely don’t forget Reddit, aka “the front page of the internet.” So many viral become viral because they’re posted there. Then, sit back and hope the video will snowball.

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How to Find the Right Guest Blogging Opportunities

For several months now, SEOs have debated the value of guest blogging. Has it lost its benefit? Or, is guest blogging still an effective SEO tactic?

As I have mentioned in several past posts, Google’s algorithm updates have cracked down on spammy backlinks and irrelevant content, shifting toward content marketing strategies. The key is finding the right guest blogging opportunity.

What is guest blogging?

Guest blogging is when someone posts an article to a blog that is not their own. The incentive for doing so is to build quality backlinks for their own websites. Guest blogging can help you gain the status of “expert” in a particular niche. It can also build your community and your customer base.

In order to be successful with guest blogging, you must be strategic about it. Take your time to carefully write a blog post that not only resonates with your target audience, but educates them as well. And your work doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve crafted a well thought-out post, you cannot just place it any where. You should place your post on a blog that resembles your values, beliefs and company.

Here are four steps to finding the right guest blog:

1. Set realistic goals

Being successful starts with setting realistic goals. What are you trying to achieve from guest blogging? What do you expect to gain from it? You are more likely to get where you want to go if you set a goal and commit yourself to it. It’s also important to measure your success. In terms of guest blogging, success can be measured by the number of connections made and leads generated.

2. Define your audience

In order to find the right guest blogging opportunities, you have to first identify your target audience. Research and find out as much as possible about the people you want to attract to your website through your guest blogging efforts. After you perform the research, you will want to create an audience profile. This is an in-depth description of who your average reader may be. It also includes demographic and psychographic information, such as age, gender, interests, values, lifestyle, and much more.

3. Find legitimate blogs

Now that you have figured out who you want to target, it’s important to seek out legitimate guest blogs. Reaching out to websites of similar interest is a great way to build a rapport with folks in the same niche. Also, find a blog that has strong credibility. Using tools like Open Site Explorer will allow you to check a blog’s domain authority and link profile. While it may be time-consuming and tedious to search for the right guest blog, it will be worth the hassle when you have real SEO results and more followers in the end.

4. Revel in the benefits

The biggest benefit associated with guest blogging is the ability to gain backlinks. These links will help your website move up in the search engines rankings. The second benefit of guest blogging is that it helps you build relationships with other bloggers. Such relationships will allow for future guest blogging opportunities. Another benefit is that guest blogging increases your exposure and helps build your brand. Lastly, when done correctly, guest blogging can be cheap promotion that generates a large portion of traffic flow to your website.

We would love to know about your guest blogging experiences!

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