Video Series [#1] - Introduction

Education & Training with Tech Training for You!

[originally posted 2/1/11 - updated edit of content 9/23/12]

If you are investigating how to expand your online presence in effective ways, then you should consider video. A recent ActiveRain video contest got a lot of people thinking about this medium and also diving in with their first attempts. Great! Now that you have done so, it probably opened up a whole new set of technical questions...
and you know those are the kinds of questions that brings you to Craig's Classroom! :)

You don't have to dive into video with a gigantic investment. Cameras are now reasonably priced. And what about software requirements? Although it is possible to upload directly from your camera to YouTube, you are going to have a lot more control and produce a better presentation if you spend even just a little time with video editing software. If you are on a Windows PC, a good place to start is Windows Movie Maker. (If you are on a Mac, take a look at iMovie.) Windows Movie Maker is a free app and gives you a good toolset to work from. Once you become a little more adept, you will recognize the limitations of this software and will want to make a small investment in a better video editing app. For under $50 you can have a very capable application. I use Sony Vegas Movie Studio for my video editing projects. It is a very capable editor but has a little steeper learning curve. In my online video class (see bottom of this post), we demonstrate in our training videos how to use all three apps Windows Movie Maker, Sony Vegas Movie Studio and iMovie for Mac.

Let's go over some of the basics that regardless of the software that you use, there are some basic concepts that you will need to think about that will enhance your video presentations.

Clips are the building blocks that you compose your video production from. You will upload your video clips from your video camera to your computer. Clips will often be edited to take out the parts that you don't want to use (can you say bloopers and outtakes?). Also video needs to be trimmed down quite a bit so your finished product does not go on and on and on. Attention span of your audience is not that long. You need to make your point and do it in an interesting way. Clips can also be composed from still photos that you have taken. You can very effectively add stills into your videos to create a more rounded presentation. I'll show you how to do this.

Animations are what put a little dynamic action into a still photo. For instance if you zoom in or pan over a period of a few seconds, you can make a still photo come to life in an interesting way.

Transitions are the "in-betweens" of moving from one clip to another. A straight cut is one way to do it when you have a next scene that is very much a continuation of the last. However, if the next scene is a total shift, it is usually good to transition to it with something as simple as a dissolve transition. This is over a very short span of time where one scene fades out while the next fades in. Transitions can also be what are called "wipes" where you actually see a line pass over the old scene as the new scene comes in. It can be horizontal or diagonal or even in various shapes (circles, squares, hearts, etc). Transitions can also have some animation effect such as a "page turn".

Once you get into editing your own videos, you'll be paying much more attention to the videos that you watch. Watch a documentary on TV for example and see how they handle transitions. Watch a movie, are they doing "hearts" or "page turns"? nope! Does that tell you something if the professionals do not use these types of effects?

You have control of your audio in your video production. Unless you have a lapel mic, you will want to consider doing a voice-over track in the post-production phase. The lack of quality of your audio is one quick way to turn off a person viewing your work. Your editing software will allow you to merge the audio track into your finished video. Also, you will be able to add a music track as that is one key way to add more interest into a video.

Video software will also let you add titles into your production. At the very start of your video you should introduce your topic with a short clip where your topic is shown as title text. You can use a simple light text on dark background (or dark on light) and you can also do some other variations which I'll talk about. Titles can also be used in the middle of your video if you want a short visual break between subtopics.

Captions are useful to add to your clips. This is text that you overlay onto your video that corresponds to the audio track. If you were doing a community tour on video for example, you could label each of the landmarks by caption text as you go from scene to scene.  It makes a deeper impression on the mind to hear and see something that may be new to the listener.

Credits are what video editing app calls what you put at the end. We'll call it "branding reinforcement" and "call to action". Don't leave your viewer without a "what comes next" answer. However, one caveat, just keep in mind how your video is to be used. If your video is to be incorporated into your IDX 'virtual tour' your MLS is going to require that specific name and/or branding is left OFF.

Well there you have an introduction to some basic concepts universal in video presentations and video editing.

If you are ready to get serious about using video in your marketing plan, consider coming to my premium online class called "Video Essentials for Business." That link will take you to the page to tell you more about the class. The class is a set of pre-recorded training videos to teach you what you will need to know to produce quality videos for your YouTube channel. I hope to see you in class! :)

To read more posts about video editing, check out my list of posts in this video series

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About the
  is a Technology Manager residing in NYC who specializes in applied technologies in the fields of Architecture and Real Estate. Craig focuses on finding the best uses of tech as can be used to help a business be more successful. He is keen on always seeing the perspective and viewpoint of his audience and he tailors his teaching to be easily understood. Visit my "Recent Posts" page to see a listing of all that is new in case you missed anything!

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Re-Bloggged 5 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Debbie Gartner 09/23/2012 07:42 AM
  2. Linda Sabo 09/23/2012 01:15 PM
  3. Cheryl Ritchie 09/23/2012 01:20 PM
  4. Sheila Newton Team -- Anderson & Greenville SC Real Estate 09/23/2012 06:05 PM
  5. Paul Gapski 09/23/2012 11:32 PM
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Real Estate Technology & Tools
Real Estate Technology
YouTube Thursdays
Addicted to Active Rain
video series
video editing

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Melissa Zavala
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County
Broadpoint Properties

This post is chock (am I spelling that right?) full of information--I'll need to absorb a little at a time. Thanks for the tips!

September 23, 2012 07:35 AM
Bill Gillhespy
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos
16 Sunview Blvd

Craig,  Another well written overview on the nuts and bolts of upgrading to video.  Do you plan to offer any specific camera evaluations ?

September 23, 2012 07:35 AM
Jerry Newman
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation
Green Home Realty, 210-789-4216,

Hi Craig, Thanks for updating and re-posting all this great information. I know I missed your original series, and I need all the instructions that I can get.

September 23, 2012 07:37 AM
Craig Daniels
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant
Tech Training for You!

Melissa - I know you do a good job with video. Glad if you pick up a point or two for thought! :)

Bill - part of what we talk about in class is what to look for in buying a camera. Our smartphones are often a great starting point for some good quality videos and it is equipment we already own. Do you have an iPhone or an android?

Jerry - glad you are catching the series on the 'rerun' channel :)

September 23, 2012 07:41 AM
Sussie Sutton
UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers.
UTR Texas Realtors

I am certainly ready to step out of my comfort box and do a video. However, I am not a tech person at all and have a very difficult time learning new things. If I have someone sitting at my side to let me do it a couple of times then I can get the hang of it. Now all I have to do if find someone to sit with me.

September 23, 2012 07:44 AM
Tatyana Makarov
Your Greater Hartford Area Realtor
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Great post, Craig. Just in time... Bookmarked!

I am doing some videos and sure can use your advice.

Thank you, as always.

Have a great day.

September 23, 2012 08:06 AM
Kristine Ginsberg
Morris County, NJ Stager
Morris County, NJ: Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC

Craig - I haven't been in the Rain a lot lately; work's been crazy, but was so glad I found your post. I immediately bookmarked for future reference and already learned that it's best to use video editing software rather than just upload directly - good to know. I'm off to Gayle Rich-Boxman's home in Fishhawke Lake along with Debb Janes, video extraordinaire so I plan to pick her brain and learn all that I can. Between your posts, and her knowledge, I may just get a video done yet! Thanks for sharing your vast knowledge - your generosity doesn't go unnoticed!



September 23, 2012 08:11 AM
Wayne Johnson
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS®

Craig-You have added another great tutorial on how to help our marketing. Thanks for you continued guidance.

September 23, 2012 08:46 AM
Gary Frimann
California Broker and REALTOR
Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates

Craig, I think you have the best posts and most useful posts on ActiveRain!  Always informative, and now I am encouraged to try video.  Cannot thank you enough.  I bookmarked this as I think it might take a second and third look. 

September 23, 2012 08:57 AM
Richard & Beth Witt
Broker/Owner RE/MAX Wittney Estates Long Island NY
RE/MAX Wittney Estates 516-795-6900

Another wonderful post... I must admit I get a little brain freeze from it but I have bookmarked it and I will attend your online class... can you recommend someone that can do these videos for me :-(  I'm still working on Linkedin and Twitter and Pinterest.... OMG my poor brain.....  Beth 

Thank You

September 23, 2012 09:05 AM
Kathy Stoltman
Ventura County Real Estate Consultant 805-746-1793
Rockwood Realty

Craig, I have your site bookmarked and will be attending one of your classes soon.

September 23, 2012 09:42 AM
Craig Daniels
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant
Tech Training for You!

Sussie - having a video partner/assistant is a good idea - it would be a fun experience for a high school or college student if you can think of anybody, just a thought. Also don't overlook the class where we are there to give you firsthand assistance and guidance also

September 23, 2012 12:21 PM
Ginny Gorman
Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond
Phillips Post Road Realty ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate

WOW Craig, i've been working all day & just saw 100+ posts here...why doesn't everyone sign up for your VIDEO ESSENTIALS course...they all need it!!

September 23, 2012 02:21 PM
Melissa Marro
St Augustine, St Johns, Ponte Vedra
Watson Realty Corp


I've been trying to figure out how to do this stuff. I am now downloading the movie maker and will be giving tihs a shot later tonight!

September 23, 2012 03:14 PM
Gita Bantwal
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel
RE/MAX Centre Realtors

I will bookmark this post and read it again later. I need help in creating videos.

September 23, 2012 05:13 PM
Joan Whitebook
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services
BHG The Masiello Group

I have bookmarked this post.   I really need to read up on video and start using it.  Thanks for this very informative post.

September 23, 2012 07:11 PM
Michelle Carr-Crowe Just Call 408-252-8900 Luxury Homes in Top Silicon Valley Schools-San Jose, Cupertino, Saratoga & Palo Alto
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years
Just Call 408-252-8900 Lynbrook Homes Cupertino KW

Yes, I did enter the contest and will have to play around with these tools. Thanks for the reminder about audio quality.

September 24, 2012 12:16 AM
Craig Daniels
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant
Tech Training for You!

Tatyana - I'm glad you are doing videos - those who do will stand out

Kristine - soak up knowledge from Debb, she knows what she is talking about! most of all have fun at FHL :)

Wayne - very glad to help! thanks

Gary - I highly encourage you follow through on looking into video :)

Beth - tech-savvy younger assistant from high school or college would be worth looking into - helps give them practical work experience and gives you some help with videos! meanwhile, hope to see you in class

Kathy - I'd love to see you in one of the courses! that would be great


September 24, 2012 10:18 AM
Craig Daniels
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant
Tech Training for You!

Ginny - at "comment 134" hehe - well this post had a previous life, but that still is a LOT of comments - I can't agree more with your call to action in your comment ;)

Melissa - be sure and check out my series (link above) for other blog posts on the topic

Gita - see you on the return of being bookmarked! thanks

Joan - I'm glad I could encourage :)

Michelle - we do have great tools within our reach - a little investment of our time and we can master using them :)

September 24, 2012 10:22 AM
Mona Gersky
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC

Okay Craig, I'll start with movie maker and see where that goes.  I guess I can find time to ramble about and figure it out.  If I can't then, I've bookmarked to access your online courses.  Thanks as always for your generosity of information.

September 30, 2012 05:32 AM
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