Capture and share. I like the sound of that better than Point and Shoot. You probably own a video camera in the form of a smartphone, an iPad, or one of a hundred video cameras that do, gasp, only video. This post is for the small business owner who has the creative tools, but wonders how to move that video from camera to the web.
First, why use video? Well, just about every marketing guru you know will tell you that you should be using YouTube or Vimeo or Viddler to share your story. Not to be snarky, but besides you and me, no one reads anymore. It is true, customers want to “view” your message especially if its fun and compelling, but also if its just plain good. The following seven tools can help you achieve that. Many of them have new iOS and Android tools for you to use on your smartphone, by the way.
iMovie comes built into the Mac OS world. If you own an Apple product, you know this. If you’re deciding on a new computer and want the most (arguably) user-friendly video creation tools, it is hard to argue with a passionate Mac user. I don’t have a Mac, but I can see the power on my iPad2. You can also upgrade to Final Cut Pro X for $300 if you need more professional tools.
Adobe Premiere Elements is one of the powerful tools by pro video and serious amateurs. There’s a learning curve on the full pro version, but that’s true for any video editing software. However, it is one of the first and best known video tools. You can get a 3o-day free trial (look for the “Try” link) or you can buy it at Costco in a light consumer-friendly version comes bundled as Adobe Premiere Elements 10 for $90. The full version of Premiere is more expensive, of course.
muvee RevealX is considered one of the easiest to learn platforms for new video editors and creators. They have a consumer version for $60 and a small business version for $500. The higher cost of the business version can be worth it if you want the different templates, styles, and music tracks built in. They offer trial versions of both. I was impressed to see that they created an Express version for $20 that lets you ultra-simple videos for YouTube and Facebook.
Camtasia might not count as a video editing tool, but I’ve used it that way and love it. It is better known as a screen capture program, but if you don’t feel the need to put your face on camera this tool is for you. You can record your screen and narrate what people are seeing. You could snap still pictures and then narrate a slide show. Loads of creative ways to use this wonderful tool by TechSmith for training and for marketing. Free trial or buy for $299 on PC or Mac.
Jing Project is TechSmith’s web-based video/screen capture tool. I list it separately because its useful and lighter. Plus, it is free. You can capture something on screen and share it instantly, with captions and more.
Studio HD, formerly known as Pinnacle 15, is a program I’ve reviewed here and its older sibling Avid Studio here. Years ago, I spent hours and hours using Pinnacle 6 or 7 analyzing wild dolphin video footage for a research project. The newest versions are just as powerful and let you do everything from take a video apart frame by frame (not recommended) or use their Smart Movie option that pulls it all together for you. Powerful and easy to use. Pricing starts at $60 for basic version.
Animoto is one of my favorite tools. It’s free for short videos (which you should be keeping your messages short). The Plus plan is $30/year and the Pro plan is only $249/year. You can upload still images or short clips and combine them with royalty-free music with this web-based service. You can even add captions and your website address as a caption or slide. Animoto then goes into a real-time jam session with your content and renders it back in a unique, hip, and powerful way. You have to see it to appreciate it — here is their sample gallery.
Video is a powerful way to market. It can also be an intimidating process. My hope is that these truly easy-to-use tools will help you get started today. Let me know what tools you’re using in the comments below.