Getting started with online video

Girl with camcorderIt seems that I’m not going to get very far in online business and internet marketing unless I learn how to use video effectively.

I do have some experience of making videos of narrated PowerPoint presentations, and for the Quick Start Challenge I had to make a video of me talking to the camera.

However, I’m learning that there is a lot more that can be done, and I’m starting to explore the various options.

Making videos available online

I recently obtained some excellent internet marketing training and case study videos from my mentor, Dean Holland.

I wanted to put these videos online so I could make them available for my blog visitors and email list subscribers to watch.

I was provided with links to the videos on YouTube, and the videos were also supplied to me as MP4 files. Having obtained these videos the next step was to find the best way to put them online, and there were more options available to me than I expected.

Using embedded YouTube videos

The easiest way to for me to use these videos would have been to embed the YouTube links in web pages and provide my visitors with the links. I decided not to do this because embedded YouTube videos always have the YouTube logo in the corner so people can click through to watch it on YouTube.

The reason this was a problem was because I wanted to make the videos available one at a time, and develop a conversation with my blog visitors and email list subscribers. I also wanted to allow viewers of the videos to find out more about a product they could use to implement this training and start making money online.

Using YouTube videos would mean people could go straight to YouTube and watch them all in one go, which would mean I couldn’t continue to interact with viewers, and they wouldn’t have an opportunity to obtain the further training product.

Although I intend to use YouTube for videos that I make myself, I wanted to have more control over these valuable training videos produced by Dean. This meant I would have to find a way to put the videos online myself.

Using Amazon S3

The first option I explored was using Amazon’s Simple Storage Service, better known as Amazon S3. This is a storage facility offered by Amazon that lets you make videos, documents and other files available on the web. There is a free option for this service, which is great. All you need to do is upload your files, link to the stored content and people can access it.

I was surprised to find out that you might need to take further steps to ensure these videos play correctly. Apparently some videos, like MP4s, that should work okay on the web might not be encoded properly and playback might be affected. Amazon S3 does not automatically encode videos, so you’ll need to be sure this is done prior to uploading.

One way to deal with this is to use a product called Handbrake. This is a free software product that you download to your computer, and it lets you prepare videos properly for web playback.

Using Handbrake is quick and easy, and after preparing the videos I uploaded them to my Amazon S3 account. Embedding the videos in WordPress pages is also very easy, although I was using OptimizePress for page creation, which made it even easier.

It was while I was reading about this video preparation on the OptimizePress website that I found about about Wistia.

Using Wistia

Wistia is designed to provide video hosting for business. This service is much more user-friendly than Amazon S3, and when you upload your videos they are automatically processed to ensure they’re encoded properly for web playback. Again, embedding the videos on your web pages is easy, and you can also track the performance of your videos by playback and engagement using your account dashboard.

Wistia offer a free package that allows you to upload 25 videos and have 200GB bandwidth each month. With the free package you get a small “Powered by Wistia” banner on your videos, but this is very small, only shows when the mouse pointer hovers over the video, and actually looks pretty good.

Wistia also provide excellent training videos, documents and community, and I found it a great experience. No surprise then that I have decided to go with Wistia for videos that I want to have more control over.

If you click this link and leave me your email address I’ll send you the videos so you can see how this turned out. It’s free and I hope you will find the training videos and case study useful.

Now that I know how to make videos available on the web I just need to produce some of my own that are worth watching!

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