The Art of the Business

A blog dedicated to artists who are serious about their business.

How to share your TV footage with the world March 15, 2010

Filed under: Arts Marketing,Marketing with YouTube — Rebecca Coleman @ 12:07 am
Tags: ,

Quite often in my work, I get my clients on TV. We have a local cable channel here in Vancouver, Shaw, that has three separate shows, and I often get my clients on those. They’re great, because they reach a wide audience, and repeat heavily. But if you have the right equipment and programs, you can upload that TV footage (that features YOU!) to the web, and share it via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and your blog, extending its reach beyond geographical constraints.

Today, I’m using Biz Books as an example. During Oscar madness a couple of weeks ago, Biz got on TV twice. Here are the steps I used to get their video from TV to YouTube.

1. You need to have a DVD-recorder and recordable DVDs. I got mine refurbished for around $40, so you don’t have to spend a bundle on this. Record the TV show as you normally would. You can, if you’re not going to be home, set the timer, etc, but the closer you are able to start recording to when the story comes on, the easier your job will be.

2. Convert the DVD-file to a file that you can edit on your computer. I use Handbrake. Free, available for Mac, Windows, and even Linux.

  1. Insert the DVD into your drive, and boot up Handbrake. Your computer will likely default to the DVD player when you insert the DVD, so escape that.
  2. In Handbrake, click on “Source.”
  3. This next bit is always a bit of a guessing game, because you’ll be presented with a bunch of file names that mean absolutely nothing. It’s a safe bet to always pick the biggest file, chances are, that’s going to be what you’re looking for. Select it and click “open.”
  4. After it loads that up, you can choose the chapter you wish to convert–again, it’s a bit of guess work, but you can go by the amount of time you were recording for as a guideline.
  5. Because I’m on a Mac, I select the “Apple/universal” preset, and ask it to save the file as an M4V. This means I’ll be able to edit it in IMovie. If you are on a PC, you may need to play around with different formats, although AVI should work for Windows Movie Maker.
  6. Hit the “Start” button. This is going to take some time, depending on how long your video was.

3. After Handbrake is done converting, you now need to edit it to get rid of any footage that took place before or after your clip. I use IMovie for this. I will also usually add a title at the end that states the name of the program and the original air date. Save your project, and then export it. I like to use Quicktime.

4. Upload your movie to your YouTube channel.

5. Share the video on your blog, website, Facebook, Email, Twitter.

And here is the final result:

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The Tricky World of Permissions February 5, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, my sweetie, who is a singer/songwriter, got invited with another singer/songwriter friend to perform at an open-mic night. The host was a restaurant. The business-savvy owner wanted to video tape them and put the footage on YouTube.

My sweetie had some pretty big concerns about this: first of all, as with many open-mic sessions, the songs he performed were works-in-progress, so the quality of the songs might not have been at a polished, professional level. Secondly, because they were works-in-progress, they hadn’t been copyrighted in any way, and he was concerned about someone else taking his tunes off of YouTube without permission.

Now, I’m the biggest advocate of using social media to promote your art career. In fact, these days, it’s difficult to get noticed by the big guys unless you already have a built-in fan base of adoring fans. Witness Justin Bieber. Justin is a teenager from Stratford who wanted to be a musician. So, he started his own YouTube channel, and built a fan base. It was only after that, that he got a record deal.

There’s no doubt about it–social media is powerful. So powerful, that you need to be careful with it, sometimes. If my sweetie’s songs had been out on YouTube in their currently unfinished form, it may not have shown his work in the best light. Or worse, someone else could have co-opted his work.

I recently had a conversation with a professor of theatre at a BC University. He was directing a play last year, and the play called for partial nudity. Unsure what to do, he took the question to the students, and the response was, “are you going to confiscate everyone’s phones at the door?” A well-timed photo taken surreptitiously on a phone’s camera cause real damage to that actor if it got out on Facebook.

So here’s a couple of things to bear in mind when you are using other people’s art in social media:

  • Ask permission first–“Is it okay if I use your photo/song/video on my blog post?”
  • Give credit where credit is due: whenever I use photos of a play, I always credit the photographer, even if they were paid for the job.
  • Vet the post past the person before you hit publish: send the person whose work you are using a copy of the blog post before you publish it, to make sure they are okay with what you’ve written.

The bottom line is this: think the golden rule. Wouldn’t you rather be asked if you were okay with someone sharing your stuff before they do?

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Video Ideas to Promote your Business October 28, 2009

Earlier this year, I wrote a post on how to use moving pictures to promote your show.

That was 10 months ago, and things are changing at a rapid pace. It is estimated that YouTube attracts one billion (billion!!) views per day. Their traffic is somewhere in range of 10 billion per month.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth a billion.

I recently had a special occasion to go to, and thought I’d try a makeup technique called “the smoky eye.” I know nothing about the smoky eye, but a brief Google search lead me to several videos that showed me how to do it. I can pretty much guarantee you that anything you are interested in, or would like to learn how to do has had a YouTube video made of it.

We love video–it’s engaging, and, honestly, it doesn’t take as much work to watch something as it does to read. Plus, the medium is arguably more powerful than the written word. With the huge popularity of smart phones like the Blackberry and the Iphone, its easy to access without even a computer. I download Sesame Street podcasts onto my IPod to keep him happy during long car rides. Finally, I think its popular because it has given us the power back. Anyone with a cell phone camera and an internet connection can shoot a video and get it up on the web, where millions of potential viewers are just waiting to make it “go viral.” Who can forget Susan Boyle?

Here are some ideas to harness this powerful medium and put it to work for you and your business.

Slide Shows: You don’t even need to have a video camera to do these kinds of videos. You need photos, a voice-over or music, and a video-editing program. Drag-and-drop your photos onto your video editing program, and arrange them in the order you like. Make sure each photo is viewed for at least 4 seconds, and if you want, add transitions between, and titles with explanations. Put a rocking soundtrack beneath it all, and use that as your video. Click here to see an example of this.  You could use this technique similarly, to create a how-to video with screenshots and a voice-over.

Interviews: Simon Ogden has perfected this medium with his Video Listings service. The reason why this kind of interview is so successful is because it is simple, and people are speaking from their passion. Simon simply interviews key players and asks them one simple question: “why should people come see your play?” He gives them about a minute to answer, and, in editing, adds all the contact info at the end. You can see Simon’s VanStage listings here. I have recently been playing with this format, doing a slightly longer version. You can see those videos here. You can also record Skype video conversations if you are doing a long-distance interview, and upload that.

Behind-the-scenes videos: People are fascinated about what is going on behind the scenes. What happens backstage? How did you achieve that special effect in your film? What was it like in the studio the day you recorded that song/painted that painting, sculpted that piece? Have someone film “the making of” any given piece of art, and offer that as added value. The last two Great Big Sea albums have come with two discs: the CD with the songs, and “making of” DVD with interviews with the cast and live performance footage. They also have lots of this kind of video on their website.

How-to videos: If you are a master bohdran-player, painter in a specific technique, or you make the world’s best Veal Scallopini (hey, cooking is an art!), then you could create a video that shows other people how to do it. Better  yet, if you have  a product you are trying to sell, create a video that shows people how to use it, and maybe even show them some unconventional ways of doing so. When my son was a baby, I was an avid user of The Baby Trekker, a baby carrier. It came with an instruction manual, but it was complicated. A video like this one would have helped me out a lot.

Reviews: Do people like your work? What do they have to say about it? Film people (ask for their permission, first!!) as they are coming out of your show/concert/exhibition/film, and ask them how they liked it, and what they liked about it. Edit several of these clips together, and upload them.

Performance footage: While performance footage may be the trickiest of all video to get right, it certainly can be powerful. Remember “Video Killed the Radio Star”? Well, they may have been on to something. MTV and MuchMusic are huge. The bulk of those videos, however, are shot in very controlled studio environments. Live footage is much trickier–and I find that it often doesn’t translate well onto film.

Video Blog: Like a written blog, but done by speaking directly to camera (this is super easy to do if you have a webcam). Your topic can be on anything! Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wine Library TV is the finest example of this I can think of.

Commercial: If you are selling a product or service, you can create a commercial for it. I think the most successful commercials are those that have a sense of humour. Some of the commercials that get the most hits on YouTube are ones that are cheesy, have low production value, and are purposely over the top. I’m not certain that this is the best way to sell your business, but it appears to be successful.

Final tip:
The most important thing about using video to promote your business is to make sure that if people find and watch your video, they are able to find you. Have, at the very least,  your website’s URL at the end of every single video you create. As a marketing tool, it could go viral, but still be useless, unless people have a way of connecting to you.

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FLIP-ing out: Sharing October 26, 2009

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve written a series of posts on how to use the Flip Video Camera. You don’t really need a Flip–any video camera that allows you to dump your files onto your computer so you can edit them will do fine. I just like the Flip for its convenience and affordability.

Now we come to what is arguably the most important part: sharing your videos.

You can have video that would make Speilberg jealous, but if he has no way to view it, what’s the point?

When it comes to sharing your video on the internet, you have three main options: YouTube, Blip.TV and Vimeo.

YouTube: It really doesn’t get any bigger than YouTube. Every day, 150,000-200,000 videos are uploaded to YouTube. If you lived to be 100 and did nothing but watch YouTube 24 hours a day, you would still not be able to watch every single one.

Google owns YouTube, so if you already have a Gmail account, you can get a YouTube account within seconds. Choose your username carefully, as this becomes your YouTube channel. Mine is Once you have your account activated, go to the pull-down menu underneath your name in the upper right-hand corner, and click on “Account.” This will allow you to customize your page with colour choices, upload your photo and bio, etc.

youtube screenshot

Once you have your page customized to how you like it, you can begin to upload your videos. You simply click on the yellow “Upload” button in the upper right-hand corner. When you are uploading your video, be sure to give it a name, a description (including a URL), and keywords so that people can find it.

You can also subscribe to other’s YouTube channels, and “Favorite” videos that you enjoy.

Once your video is uploaded and processed, you’ll notice two URLs to the right of it. The upper one is the video’s distinct URL. Use this to link the video through Twitter, Faecbook, email, or any other place you can share links. The second URL is for embedding your video. You can use this primarily for your blog. You can embed the video right into a blog post or your website so that people don’t have to leave your site to watch it.

Be sure, once you have uploaded your video, to share it around by putting it on Facebook (either in your own profile, or on your business’ Fan page), Twittering it, and putting it on your blog. The more ways you have of putting it out there so others can see it and share it, the better.

Blip.TV: Blip.TV is purported to have 48,000 “show creators”, 2.4 million episodes and 22 million viewers. What makes it different from YouTube is that it focuses more on episodic shows. What that means, is, if you have an idea for a television show, you no longer have to go through the major networks. You can create your own, and upload it to Blip.TV, and probably find an audience.

One of Blip’s strongest selling points is that it franchises your video out to multiple streams: you upload it to Blip, for example, and they make it available on YouTube, ITunes, Yahoo Video, NBC, etc…

Vimeo: Vimeo is a Video-sharing community. Built by filmmakers, it is more like Facebook in terms of its values than the others. Again, you can upload your videos and share them, but you are really encouraged to become part of the community. They also have much stricter guidelines than many of the others, in terms of being respectful, and not using it for commercial purposes. If you have a video that is a blatant “buy this!!” kind of commercial, it won’t be welcome here, nor will anything that could be percieved as an attack, hatred, or racism.

A couple of others:

Yahoo Video: if you have a Yahoo ID, this works much the same as YouTube. It’s pretty new, Yahoo is just jumping on this bandwagon, so it won’t be as populated.

ITunes: As of last month, Apple has sold a whopping 220,000,000 IPods. All of those people are using ITunes in some capacity. In addition, the IPhone is wildly successful, and all of those people are also using ITunes. Getting your videos on ITunes could be a great way for people to find you. You need to have an account, and you need to convert your video to M4V in order to upload it. You can also try to monetize your video by charging for it, but if you are using it for a marketing tool, you might want to give it away for free.

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Using moving pictures to promote your show January 23, 2009

This week, I’ve been writing posts on the topic of visuals to accompany your publicity campaign. We talked about the two photo shoots you need for your show, the publicity shot, and the production photo.

Today, I want to talk about moving pictures. While it’s true that theatre does not translate well on video, many companies are taking advantage of new, and more accessible technology to help get the word out about their shows.

If you haven’t taken advantage of The Next Stage’s  video listing services yet, you should. It’s free, easy, and fast. He will meet with you, and then he shoots you, speaking directly to camera, about why the  audience should come see your show. Within the day, it’s up on The Next Stage Video Listings page, and available to you through YouTube. You can embed it to your Facebook event page. This kind of video works because people are very passionate about their shows, and your passion while speaking about it can be very contagious.

If you want to try to get your play featured on the evening news, you need b-roll. B-roll is, essentially, footage of your show that you supply to TV news stations, in hopes that they will do a story on it. Because the quality of your footage needs to be high, this is not something you can just do yourself, unless you are a professional cameraman or director. You need to hire a professional.

The key to B-roll is to keep it short–I recommend under 3 minutes. Chances are, if you are lucky enough to actually get your footage on the air, only about 10-30 seconds will air. You may want to supplement your footage with short interview segments by directors or stars.

Here are some examples of how you can use video to promote your show:

Bard on the Beach
Stuff 2 Do
The Ash Girl
(this is a show I worked on last year–we shot a couple of video trailers for it)
If you are doing a lot of videos online, you can set up your own ‘channel’. Check out this example from the National Arts Centre.

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