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Explainer Videos Explained

At Word Camp KC 2018 I attended a session by Shane Purnell on explainer videos. The name really says it all. Explainer videos can be used for training, marketing, or education. Sometimes they are animated. Sometimes they are just a recording of a computer screen. You can include narration or simply have text. A music bed sets the tone and provides interest. You don’t need to be an animation professional to create a quality product. There are many sites out there with templates that make the process fast and easy. I made the video above in about 15 minutes. I think with a little creativity we could use them to make some standout content for our social accounts. There is a downside. Since I used the free version the video includes a watermark. The plans are kind of expensive, the cheapest I found was $20/month and the price goes up quickly from there. I think we would be hard pressed to get value for that price. View all of Shane’s slides here and you can find lists of sites to…

KCDesignCore - a visual design community

Put the MOVES on Your Work – KC DesignCore recap

One of the disciplines I like most in design is animation. My first job out of college was at a TV station. I designed mostly static images for the newscast, but I had the opportunity to learn 2-D animation and I loved it! Since then, I’ve had a few projects where I’ve been able to make my designs move. I was re-inspired at the latest event I attended to play around with the animation tools I have access to. At KC DesignCore’s meetup last month, “Put the MOVES on your work”, Kyle Hamrick and Jim Hinds demonstrated how to use Adobe applications to create motion. Hamrick is a trainer for Adobe Premiere, After Effects and Photoshop. At the event, he showed some examples of motion graphics and walked through how to make them in After Effects (AE). AE is a robust application that can be used in conjunction with other Adobe apps such as Illustrator and Premiere. Although it can create 2D animation, it is most widely used for 3D animation and special effects. I bet you’ve seen it used…

Screenshot of video playing with Autoplay: On.

D.O.A. (Death of Autoplay)

You have read all these posts and now have a non-shaky video with crystal clear audio you are ready to post it online. I am sure all the readers of this blog are committed workers and would never try use office hours to do things like…fantasy football research for example. I always want to be honest with you readers, and since my bosses don’t read this blog, I will admit I check out what is going on in the world of fantasy football. Like I have told you video is crucial and fantasy football sites have noticed this as well. They have started embedding videos into their posts. As a consumer I love the videos, but as someone covertly searching for for fantasy football info I hate how they play automatically. Auto-play is the dilemma that brings us here today. Many many companies have their videos start playing as soon as the page loads. They figure the audience will be happy to not have to tax themselves with clicking play. They have complete disregard for those of us trying to…

Two photo examples of girl skipping rope. One photo is blurry, the other is not.

I’m a little unsteady: Eliminating shaky video

Movie aficionados will know that a secret Blair Witch sequel was unveiled at Comic-Con on July 25. Since this blog is nothing if not topical, the topic of shaky video seemed appropriate. For those unfamiliar with the 1999 cult-classic The Blair Witch Project, the movie is “found footage” from campers terrorized by some witch. I don’t know. To be honest, I have never seen it. But I have seen enough parodies and heard enough people talk about it to have a pretty good handle on things. The only thing you need to be concerned about is that most of the video is super shaky. Last month, I talked about how bad audio is the quickest way to ruin a video. Second on the list is having unsteady video. We all have been forced to sit through clips of soccer games filmed by parents who appear to be on the fifth espresso of the morning, or concert videos taken by people waving their hands around like they just do not care. Obviously, these videos are not to be confused with professional…

Image of digital sound waves.

Audio killed the video star

It would be reasonable to assume that the most important element in video production is visual. This is a mistake most video beginners make. We have all been forced to watch friends’ Insta videos or Snapchats  from concerts with completely over-modulated audio. For me, bad audio is neck and neck with shaky video as number one video killer. Part of the reason bad audio is so prevalent is that you don’t know it is happening while you are recording. The simplest way to fix this problem is wearing headphones. It is really easy in theory. However, smartphone recording does not allow for this, but I said in my first post your smartphone is plenty good enough. Unfortunately, this is one instance where you have to sacrifice some functionality for the price and convenience of smartphones. The following tips will help you get the best audio possible while recording on your smartphone. Use an external microphone – Your phone’s internal microphone works fine if only one sound can be detected. When was the last time you were in a setting with…

How to plan a video project: chalk illustration flow chart

The five W’s and H of video production

Anyone who has taken a journalism class is no doubt familiar with the five W’s. For those of you who chose to make money instead of pursuing journalism the five W’s are who, what, where, when, why and how. I am adapting this idea for storytelling to video production. This post is meant as a follow up to my first post on why you should get into video, so check that out before reading on. Who – Before doing anything figure out who your audience is. Your final product will be radically different if you are making something for colleagues or customers. For me, deciding on an audience is the single biggest determining factor for what you will create. What – This seems obvious, what is the content of your video going to be.  It absolutely is important to know what your content will look like. I mentioned storyboarding before. The planning will save you a lot of time. Draw out what each shot will look like. I won’t lie to you, this is going to seem very tedious. You…

Video is the single most important content strategy today. - Gary Vaynerchuck, best-selling author, entrepreneur, Internet personality

Rebuttals for the most common excuses for avoiding video

When I first found out that I would need to blog as a part of this position, I was nervous. I looked around at what other people were blogging about and I didn’t feel like I had anything to add to that conversation. That was until I went to the latest Social Media of Kansas City lunch. It was a presentation by Sarah Redohl from Little Big Video on how to make videos “like Google.” As my background is in video I was very excited to see this presentation. Many people come up with as many excuses as it takes to avoid jumping into video. This post will cover many of them, but it is important to remember that video has the highest conversion rate of any medium. After watching a video for a product, people are 144 percent more likely to add it to their cart and 85 percent more likely to buy it. Think about your own time online. Video has become expected. Not only that, but each app has its own standard for video length. I will…

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