Live Streaming Video – Business Podcast – Web TV Consultant – Las Vegas, Nevada

[VIDEO] The Building of Our New Studio — Video #002


The latest video from our studio building project.

In today’s video, we learn how to set off a fire alarm without starting a fire and see first hand that I have lost all track of time.

[VIDEO] What’s PodWorx Building? #001

For some time now, I’ve been working on a concept for a new type of offering from PodWorx.  It’s an idea that I’m very excited about and one where the technology has caught up with the vision.  It’s never been attempted here in Las Vegas and based on the feedback I’ve received from a group of very smart folks who’ve been briefed (after signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement), there’s a lot to be excited about.

To create the environment necessary for this new concept, I have to expand beyond my existing work environment.  As a result, I have found myself in the land of commercial real estate.  After a relatively-short search, I was connected with a great guy/landlord and a great space from which to launch this project. 

After securing a small amount of funds from outside sources, on August 2nd, 2010, I accepted the keys to my first commercial property!  A wave of excitement, fear, anticipation and the unknown washed over me.  I’m not a Builder-Bob kind of guy, so I was nervous.  Luckily, I have two GREAT friends (Rip and Wade) who are helping me build what I believe will be one of the coolest video studios in town.   

The video above is the first of several I’ll be recording during the building process.  We’re still in stealth mode but I wanted to share the process as best I can. Ten days into the project, I’ve learned a lot, spend a great deal of time at Home Depot and Ahern Rental, and feel as if my credit card is beginning to melt.

Stay tuned. . .

Getting Your Podcast’s Sound to be ‘Loud and Clean’ (Stopping the Sonic Roller Coaster)

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Frank Eriksen, who produces the All Things Boulder podcast (which is a really cool show, by the way).  In the email, Frank asked me if I had any ideas why my podcasts sound “so much better sonically (louder/cleaner)” than his show.  I listened to a few of Frank’s episodes, and here’s what I found.

Although Frank is using an impressive list of equipment (Audio Technica 4033 mic, Grace Design mic pre-amp, Pro Tools, etc.), I did find what I think was the issue.  From my email to Frank:

The major problem I found is that you are not compressing/limiting your audio files.  If you were to open any of my audio files in a program like Audacity or Adobe Audition (or any other audio editing software), you’ll find that the amplitude of everything is exactly the same.  It’s set to -1.0db, which is just below distortion.

I provided Frank with a couple images–one that showed what his show looks like and one that shows what one of our Polycom on Demand episodes looks like.

Frank’s Show (as seen in Adobe Audition):

AudioLevelUneven

Polycom on Demand (as seen in Adobe Audition):

AudioLevelEven

See the difference?  It’s that roller coaster effect (LOUD. . .quiet. . .LOUD. . quiet. . .LOUD) that’s causing the problem.

Here’s the rest of my email to Frank:

I have a custom built Digital Audio Workstation I use for all my audio recordings (and audio feed to the Tricaster).  For the main outs of my recording software (Cakewalk’s Sonar. . .which is the same software I used to record all my music CDs), I use a VFT plugin that is a mastering limiter.  It adds gain when needed and at the same time limits the output to -1.0dB.   That way, all content (me, my co-host, phone-based guests, Skype-based guests, audio-clips, sound effects, bumpers, songs, etc.) all are played at the exact same level.  Also, because my voice is pretty deep/boomy as it is, I also add a 5.3dB gain of EQ at the higher end (1980Hz).   This is done within the DAW software as well.

If you’re wondering why your audio isn’t as rich/full as you’d like, take a look at your waveform. . .are you seeing a roller coaster?  If so, create an even better sounding file (and make it easier for your fans to comfortably listen as well) by applying some limiting/compression yourself!

(Thanks to Frank for allowing me to blog about this!)

Embedding a YouTube Video on Your Website with AutoPlay (Yes You Can, Perhaps You Shouldn’t)

Because of its watermarked logo, I’m not a huge fan of embedding YouTube videos on a website. However, from a social media perspective (including the fact that iPad/iPods can view the video), I understand why some folks (including our own Living in Las Vegas Podcast) do so.

Besides the watermark, one of the other complaints about embedding a YouTube video is that when grabbing the embed code from the YouTube site, you can’t have the video start automatically–when the visitor hits the page. Now, to be sure, there are arguments for and against doing so. To really understand the value of autoplaying a video, you should do some A/B testing to see which technique helps best improve the results of your call-to-action.

The good news is that you can autoplay a YouTube video. And it’s very easy to do. Simply add “autoplay=1” to the embed code.  That’s it!  Easy, peasy, 1-2-Threesy. 

That’s the good news.  The bad news, as is demonstrated by the embedded YouTube video below, is that I cannot set the volume programmatically.  For me, I consider this a show stopper.  There is something to be said for autostarting a video, with the sound off, to create curiosity.  But, if I’m blasting audio to a visitor who did not ask for it, that’s a problem. 

Besides autoplay, there are many other parameters available for embedding a YouTube video.  For a list of all the parameters, go here.


(Speaking about iPad/iPod video delivery, my next blog post will likely be about that very subject. Specifically, what to use to deliver website video to the iPxx family of products without having to use YouTube.)

Using Website Video to Demonstrate Authenticity (and Motivate Viewers)

I think it goes without saying that web-based video has really begun to take hold in the business world.  More and more often, as we land on a company’s home page, we’re greeted with a video.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that most of these videos come across to me as a little too commercial-ish.  The scripted delivery, or paid spokesperson, or deer-in-the-headlights/teleprompter-reading presentation found in most corporate videos destroy any opportunity to demonstrate authenticity.

I wanted to share the formula for, and an example of, the type of video I like to see today.  One that does away with the overly-produced videos I see and focuses on what’s important to the viewer.

You Bond With People on Their Problems, Not Your Solution

When we shoot a Web TV show, develop a podcast episode, or shoot one of our Vid·EEE·o’s (a new example of which is below) for a corporate customer, we take folks through a simple story-telling process:

  1. What is the problem facing our customers?
  2. What are they doing to solve it (that isn’t working)?
  3. What is the solution that fixes the problem?

The acronym is P.A.S. – Problem, Alternative solution, Solution.

1. Problem

By beginning our video (or podcast or Web TV episode) with the Problem, we bond with our audience.  We help them understand that we know what they’re going through.  By doing so, we establish our credibility not by claiming it (“we’re a world-class service provider of. . . .blah blah woof woof”) but by demonstrating it.

The video below is for UpMo, a career-management service in the Bay Area.  The video begins with a brief review of the problems facing those looking for a job.

Video Time: 00:00 – 00:15

2. Alternative Solution

After the problem is addressed, we speak about the Alternative Solution.  There are two goals in reviewing the Alternative Solutions with our viewer;

  1. Prove we are aware of the viewer’s efforts to solve the problem (which, in turn, shows that I recognize we have competition)
  2. Subtly poison that competition

Video Time: 00:16 – 00:37

3. The Solution

Once we’ve established our credibility by reviewing the problem(s) facing a client, along with the efforts they may have taken to solve it, I’ve painted a relatively bleak picture.  To relieve that tension, I normally begin the Solution segment of my story with this statement:

“This is a problem we solve.”

Once I’ve said that, I am free to detail (in the short time allotted), how it is we solve the problems they face.

Video Time: 00:38 – 01:33

One More Step: A Risk-Free Call to Action

Once I’ve stated my case, I want to take a moment and invite the viewer to accept my Call to Action.  (Not doing so is a mistake, I believe.)

Now, your call-to-action could be as innocuous as inviting somebody to visit a certain section of your website.  Ultimately, the reason you do a web-based video (or podcast or Web TV program) is to either make money or motivate people to take action on your behalf.  Now is the time to make that happen.

With this type of video, I’m a big fan of the risk-free Call to Action.  It may be a bit hard to motivate somebody to part with their money after a two-minute video but, if you did a good job, you should be able to motivate a number of viewers to do something that will ultimately benefit them risk-free.

Video Time: 01:34 – 01:48

That’s it, basically.  Although there is a bit more to it, this is pretty much the process I go through for every bit of audio/video content PodWorx produces.  It appears to be very simple (it is) but is incredibility effective in differentiating yourself from the competitive herd.

I hope you find this “tutorial” helpful.  If you have any questions or comments give me a shout or comment below.

Here’s the video:

 

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Live Streaming Video – Business Podcast – Web TV Consultant – Las Vegas, Nevada