AAR is working to incorporate more video into our communications with members. Are you doing the same with outreach to your clients?

Like most of the REALTORS® we support, AAR doesn’t have fancy video equipment or videographers on staff. Yet it is amazing what can be accomplished with some basic equipment and free online tools. Here’s how we put together our latest video (which, by the way, you should definitely check out).

  1. Script It. We developed a script but knew it was just a guideline. It’s better to improv a bit—or even a lot—rather than read on camera. Of course, it will surprise no one that AAR General Counsel Michelle Lind knows her stuff and needs little in the way of notes.
  2. Film It. We used our digital SLR still camera (a Canon EOS Rebel T1i) to shoot the video. The camera produces high quality video as long as you respect its limitations. First, once it’s focused, it’s focused. If Michelle were walking around in front of a group, we would have switched to our video camera. Second, unless we plug in a microphone, we need to shoot in a quiet spot. Her office was perfect. Third, we put the camera on a tripod. Shaky footage is nearly impossible to avoid when a person is holding the camera. Michelle did it in one take—naturally!
  3. Upload It. We uploaded the video to AAR’s YouTube channel. It turned out to be a little bit longer than we had intended, so under Privacy, we marked the video as unlisted at that point. (When a video is unlisted, only those with the direct link can see it.)
  4. Edit It. In an article on cloud computing in the June/July issue of the ARMLS e-zine Wave, I found a reference to the YouTube Editor. Though the editor launched in June 2010, this was the first I had heard of it. It couldn’t have been simpler to use. I read this YouTube help page and watched this video to get myself familiar with the product. Then I got to playing with it.

    I wanted to cut out about a minute. To do so, I dragged the video into the grey section at the bottom. I clicked the scissors icon, which shows up when you mouse over the video image, and edited out a bit at the start by dragging the vertical bar on the left a few ticks to the right. (The double arrows pointing in either direction at the top and bottom of the vertical bar are critical for editing in the tenths of seconds.)  Then I moved the bar on the right over to the appropriate spot. My first segment was ready!

    I dragged the same video into the grey section after the first and started to create the second segment. I did this a few more times until I had five segments of just the parts I wanted included in the final video. Then I fine-tuned things a bit using those top and bottom double arrows to stop and start at just the right spot and avoid over-obvious cuts. This takes time but is well worth it.

    Note: As I was using the native audio, I didn’t explore that part of the editor, but you can add a new audio track using this editor too.

    Voilà! I had a video. I gave the project a name (upper right) and hit Publish.

  5. Annotate It. There were a few text notes that I wanted to add to the video, so I went to the video’s page (still unlisted at this point). I clicked Edit Video Detail at the top and put in a title and description. Then I clicked Edit Annotations and put the notes in the relevant spots within the video. With a little bit of practice, this was a cinch.
  6. Launch It! After a quick once-over the final product, we were ready to make it public (Edit Video Details | Settings). We put it on the AAROnline.com homepage, shared it on our Facebook page and sent a link out via Twitter.

Are you wondering why I didn’t make a video of this process rather than write up an article? First, it was my first go, and I knew it would be too sloppy to share. Second, I personally like to have written notes on a process. Pausing and restarting a video in one tab as I do the steps in another tab doesn’t work as well for me. But then, I’m Gen X. Perhaps if I were Gen Y, I would be better at that? 🙂

While we’re talking YouTube, check out this article with some pretty clever YouTube URL tips from MakeUseOf, which our graphic designer J Thurston dug up. I have often wanted to share just part of a YouTube video, and this explains how to do it (among other things).

Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to tackle video. It’s not as hard as you think.