Susan: Dave Kaminski is a professional videographer and the founder of Web Video University (http://webvideouniversity.com/), which helps business owners and professionals develop the skills they need to tell their stories using video.
It’s a great resource and so is Dave. We were members for years and found lots of great information in there to help us in our technical development both for ourselves and for our clients.
Video has become one of the most effective marketing tools there is and with the frequency you will need to be producing video content, hiring a full crew won’t always be in the cards.
We love Dave’s program because he breaks things down to be easily understandable and there’s in a bind when you need him. He joins me today to talk about the importance of audio, a look at some of the tools in his toolbox, some upcoming offerings in his classes and a few things you need to know about video marketing right now and in the future. Dave, thanks so much for joining me today.
Dave: Thank you for having me, Susan.
Susan: So, tell me, how important do you think video is in the marketing mix today?
Dave: I think it’s an absolute today. It’s something that you must use. It’s not optional anymore, and that’s because video just gives you so many advantages in terms of credibility, in terms of being able to demonstrate your product, in terms of having people pass your information around. There’s so many things you can do with video that I think every business needs to be using it.
Susan: You’re a very good storyteller. You have a great origin story, among other things. Before I ask you that, maybe you could just tell people how you got into what you do.
Dave: Yeah, I was actually, I had always done photography, and actually back in the day, it was film, because video wasn’t around, and then it became video. I had a video and photography background, but I was actually a direct response copywriter. For some of my clients, I started doing video for them, and they were actually physically mailing their sales letters, and they decided, not to date myself, but this was back when we were doing VHS tapes, and they decided they wanted to include some VHS tapes with their mailing.
So I started doing videos for them, because I had a little bit of a background, and I was doing that, and then finally the technology on the Web caught up where we could actually do video online, and that’s when I made the decision, “Okay, do I want to continue making videos for other people, or do I want to go ahead and teach people what I know and what I’ve been doing?” That’s ultimately what I decided to do. I started to switch over and teach everyone the stuff that I actually do, and that’s how I became known on the Internet, so to speak, when it comes to video.
Susan: And your business has really grown, hasn’t it?
Dave: Yeah, when it started out, I mean, I launched my website, webvideouniversity.com, in 2007 or 2008, and then no one knew me. I didn’t have any people I could reach out to who would instantly do a promotion for me to get my name out there. I basically stated from scratch, and I was fortunate enough that it caught on really quick.
Susan: So, in all the teaching that you do, you must have a great, broad kind of perspective on video. What are some of the biggest mistakes that people are making in their videos today, and their video marketing?
Dave: Yeah, I guess I would call those my pet peeves. One of them is going to be the use of green screen, and that’s kind of the TV weather guy, where you can change the background behind you. Unless you have a really good reason for doing it, and most times there isn’t a really good reason, I don’t recommend it, because a lot of times it’s like you’re appearing to be something that you’re not. Maybe you’re trying to act like you’re in a big office, or something like that, and that doesn’t work on the Web. People want genuine. They want real. They want to connect with the real person.
So, when people use green screen, that’s one of my pet peeves. Another pet peeve is when people go overboard trying to use fancy, splashy graphics and animations, and again, trying to make themselves look like something someone might see on TV, and that’s not necessarily what people want to see on the Web. Again, they want to see genuine and real, so given those two examples, you’re much better off just doing a video of yourself actually sitting at your desk or sitting at your kitchen table, so people can see that you’re genuine and you’re real.
So, I guess it’s trying to appear to be something that you’re not. That’s my biggest pet peeve.
Susan: I would absolutely agree, and I actually think it’s one of the reasons that television news is declining, too, because there’s is this formality, and when you see anchors speaking and when you see reporters speaking, it feels so contrived.
I mean, I say that lovingly, because I work with so many reporters, and there are some that are trying to break through and have much more authentic personalities online and through their social media profiles, but the whole set up of news is itself a bit contrived and one of the reasons people gravitate to the web is that authenticity and that direct communication. So when people take the actual plus of what you’re doing out of the question and try and be something that people are gravitating away from, I just scratch my head.
Dave: Right, exactly. You said it maybe better than I did.
Susan: No, I loved how you said it. So where do you think maybe video’s going, then? What are the emerging trends that we should all be aware of?
Dave: I’m seeing a lot of trends in terms of people, again, getting back to the point that you just made, people giving a real person take or review, so to speak, on things we come across every day, whether it be someone’s who’s, for example, doing a travel blog, where they’re actually visiting hotels or bed and breakfasts, and they’re giving a real person, honest review of, “Hey, this is what this place looks like. Here’s all the warts.”
So, that’s the soonest thing I have coming up, and further down the line, I’m going to be releasing some products that actually deal more with the mobile market, and things you can do with video, where most people are trying to create mobile applications, and they’re trying to get rich from it, it’s like, “Good luck with that.” It’s so competitive.
What I’m actually going to be doing is teaching you how you can use mobile apps and video, but instead of trying to get rich from that stuff, you’re actually using it to drive traffic to your traditional website, and it’s really, really effective. I’m still testing everything, but that’s going to be coming up probably this fall.
Susan: And other than your products, which I can vouch for, technically or camera-wise, is there anything you’d be recommending to people that they should really have in their toolbox.
Dave: Basically, everyone wants to know what equipment to use and all that good stuff. What people need to know is that these days, the quality of any camera is so good that you really don’t need to worry. When you start getting into cameras that cost several thousand dollars, quality-wise, the difference is not going to be that great against a more inexpensive camera.
What the more expensive stuff is going to give you is more for stuff in the broadcast world, you know, where lots of people are collaborating. So, personally, what I use, people always want to know what I use for a camera, I’ve actually switched over completely to DSLR cameras, and I use a Canon 6D. That is the main camera I use.
Nowadays, it’ll give me beautiful video and I love it, but it’s actually the best camera I’ve come across where what I see in the viewfinder, color-wise and brightness and contrast, actually matches what I get when I go to edit it on my computer. So, I absolutely love the camera, and that’s personally what I use. It’s kind of an expensive camera. If anyone wants to go the same route, I would recommend any of the cheaper Canon DSLR cameras. I believe they’re called the Rebels.
Dave: T3 and T5, excellent cameras. Or, if someone’s really, really into video and they like to do professional stuff, the Panasonic Lumix GH3, that camera, even though it looks like a DSLR camera, that’s actually built for video using a lot of Panasonic’s technology for professional video, and it’s an outstanding camera for video.
Susan: Those are great recommends. I actually have a Rebel, and I love it. It’s been really great to us, although I don’t shoot as much video on that. I actually have a Panasonic dedicated video camera. I haven’t upgraded, which I probably will.
But one of the things I’m still allegiant to is . . . because sound is so important, I really like one when you can have an external microphone.
Dave: Yeah, and that’s actually an excellent point that your brought up that I forgot to mention. When it comes to video and the Web, and this has been tested head-to-head, if you take a video that looks great but has bad sound, and you take the same version of that video, where it looks horrible but sounds great, people will watch the video that looks horrible, but sounds great longer.
In other words, the audio is very important, so whatever camera you get, you’re going to want that external microphone jack, so in other words, you don’t want to use a camera that has a built-in microphone, because it’s just going to sound bad.
So, an external microphone jack’s going to allow you to plug in a microphone, whether it be a shotgun microphone or a lav mic that attaches to your shirt, it’s going to give you a lot better sounding audio.
If your camera does not have one of those jacks, what you absolutely want to do is get a little digital voice recorder, and then use that to record your audio separately while you’re filming your video, and then when you go to edit it, you’re just going to join your video and the audio from your digital voice recorder together, and you’re going to get much better sounding audio.
Susan: That’s great. Advice, anything else you’d like to pass on?
Dave: No, unless you have any more questions.
Susan: I think that’s great. Dave Kaminski from webvideouniversity.com, thank you so much.
Dave: Thanks again, Susan.