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How to "Konmari" Your Videos in 2019

Happy New Year! Everywhere you look, people are jumping on board the Konmari method, and simplifying their homes. Less clutter equals a more fulfilling life, right? If you’re not sure what that is, it’s a new show on Neflix based on Marie Kondo’s book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” She helps people get rid of unnecessary things, basically curating their homes and closets. But…what does that have to do with video? More than you might think!

Marie Kondo via Flickr

Marie Kondo via Flickr


As I was watching her show the other night (guilty), I realized so much of what she was talking about, applies to what I do every day! And with so many people jumping into DIY smartphone video, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by a mountain of bells and whistles. Apps, graphics, fancy transitions, a million cameras to choose from, ahhhhhhh!!!! It’s sooooooo much!


So first, let’s take a minute to breathe and take a queue from Marie Kondo. How? It’s simple. Here we go:

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How to Konmari Your Videos in 2019

  1. Be Intentional
    When Marie Kondo walks into a house, prior to tidying, she take a moment to greet the house. Now…do you need to talk to your video, and thank your smartphone? Not…exactly. But, all too often I see people rushing into creating, without thinking about who they are talking to. For her, each house is different, and for YOU your audience is different than the audience of another video. So, ask yourself these three questions as you a breathing: a. Who am I trying to reach? b. What do you want them to take away from your video? c. Is there a call to action that has to happen?

  2. Have a Process
    On each episode of Marie’s show, she walks people through the Konmari Method of tidying up. She has very specific steps to take, and an order to go in. She has folks start with clothes, then books, and so on… You will be able to maximize how much content you make, by also having a process! Remember to: a. spend time on pre-production: use this time to plan your video, write your script, or interview questions, to scout locations, and figure out what you’ll use for audio and tripod. b. Production Day! If you can, shooting more than one video at a time is SOOOOO time effective. We all know that the setup is what takes the longest, so if you’re all set up - feel free to bring a few different changes of clothing, and make multiple videos. c. Post Production: make sure your graphics are clean (like that tidying up pun?), you may not even need graphics - don’t overthink!

  3. Does Your Video Spark Joy?
    Of course this is going to be included, c’mon now…ha! But, it’s not what you think. I’m not talking about if your video sparks joy for your audience…yes, that’s important. But, Marie’s key phrase she asks everyone on her show, applies to how YOU feel about what you’re creating. Are you compelled by your message? Then it’s awesome! I don’t necessarily mean it’s flawless when it comes to production. What I DO I mean, is does what you’re saying speak to you, motivate you, fill you up? If it doesn’t move YOU, the #1 fan of what you’re doing, who WILL it help? Be confident in what you do, and put it out into the world with confidence. Share it with your audience, and love it!

    Thanks for reading, rainbow pukers - did any of these tips clarify anything for you? As always, feel free to send me a note with any questions or drop me a line in the comments! And, if you dig this post and want more video tips, I’d love to have you on my email list!

Hi, it's Erica :)

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How to Relax on Camera

We've all been there...the camera flips on, BOOM - we freeze.  What is it about the lens that makes us lose our cool?
Here are a few tips to help ease your nerves on camera! 

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1. Forget the Script
All too often I see people trying to memorize WORD for WORD what they are going to say. Unless you are in a highly regulated industry, this is a huge no-no. Especially if you are talking about something you LOVE. A script is the fastest way to take the life out of your voice and make you sound like a scared robot. Instead, try...

2. Using Bullet Points
Keep the bullet points close to the camera. Make sure they are big enough to read and in your sight line, this way you have jumping off points - but, won't be concentrating on reading something you already know! 

3. Get Silly
Alright, stay with me here...this may sound weird, but it's gonna work. On your cue sheet with the bullet points, about halfway down - tape a photo of something that ALWAYS makes you smile. It will remind  you to relax, and to...

4. Pause
My mentor, Don Shelby...always said, "Silence is more compelling than the word, "um"." This is SO true. The best speakers I've seen purposely work pauses into their presentations and videos. He would always joke, "People always expect something profound after a pause! Half of the time I'm just trying to remember what to say...but, if I do it as I look around with confidence, it looks brilliant!" 

5. Tell a Story
Too often we try to "craft" the perfect "soundbite" - and then we lose the passion in our voice. Think of an example to illustrate your point, work it into the bullet points sheet, and let your imagination take you to that place. Use action verbs like, "As I was walking into the building I thought...." and it will actually tell both YOUR brain AND the VIEWERS brain, that you are physically moving. Which, calms you down naturally. Fun trick, eh? Wow, our brains are cool.  

What tricks do you rely on to relax on camera?
I'd love to hear any other tips, and I'm sure everyone reading would, too!

Also, want to get better on camera, AND with live video? Your timing is perfect :) 
Next week (Feb 22nd) I'm teaching a workshop to help with just that! See the link below, or click here before tickets run out :) 

Thanks for reading! Stay awesome and keep puking rainbows :) 
Erica

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Video: Look More Professional Using Everyday Items

All too often I see beginners in video get hung up on things like finding the perfect tripod, the lighting set with the best reviews, the perfect furniture setup. But, the truth is...a lot of this is simply, procrastination. I know, because I've been there. But, you wanna know a secret? I didn't use half of the gear my classmates did in college, and I still pulled out better grades for creativity...because when it comes to creating something, it's all about using what you have. In fact, I didn't buy my first light kit until two months ago. Granted, I have a director of photography who has some amazing lights, and that's what we used for professional shoots - but, when it comes to my personal vlogging setup, I was simply sitting in front of a window, so my eyes would pick up the window panes and sparkle. Tah dahhhhhh. See below: 

It doesn't look bad, right? Because using natural light in the right circumstances can be awesome! I was lucky to have an apartment at the time that had great natural light not only in front of my face, but streaming in from other windows behind me, at a lesser intensity. 

When you are first getting started, video is all about using what you have - instead of concentrating on what you want. Be creative. Innovate!

Whenever someone takes one of my video boot camps or mini sessions, they are allowed access to "Team Puke Rainbows" - a private facebook group to bounce ideas off of each other. I love this, because all too often I've seen newbies post the work they are proud of in a forum of Film School grads who tear it apart to feel better about themselves. WTF. Ugh. Not necessary at all. So, we have our own small safe space for Team Puke Rainbows folks to show their setups, gear, toss around ideas, ask for feedback on new videos, etc...

The Innovative Setup

One of our team members, Valerie, posted this photo the other day - when I mentioned that I love the innovation of her tripod setup, she said it actually made the interview easier and more dynamic because she would swivel the chair for some subtle movement. Genius! She also used the lighting she had, and angled it in a way that would minimize shadows. Boom Diggity! 
 

Gorilla pod on a wastebasket/swivel chair = a DIY Dolly. Very creative! photo:  Valerie Turgeon  

Gorilla pod on a wastebasket/swivel chair = a DIY Dolly. Very creative! photo: Valerie Turgeon 

Other ways to use floor lamps would be to take the shades off and point them at the wall directly ahead of you if it's white, and bounce the light off. Or, by using a window as natural light (like I did above) and simply putting daylight colored bulbs in the lamps behind you, so they don't look orange in comparison (they'll say "daylight" bulbs in the store), this is a pretty good bet in Minnesota - because winter light is such a "blue" color outside anyway, so it will match the color temp bouncing off of the snow.
 


Here are 4 other "how to" hacks if you don't have equipment and are using a smartphone: 

1. No Tripod? Use books. Stack them up, lean your phone or camera against them, and go to town! 
2. No mic? Slip another phone into the front pocket of someone's shirt, and hit "voice memo" - then sync up the audio in your edit. 
3. Another mic workaround is using  your headphones, but maybe disguising the earbuds by threading them through your shirt, so just the mic area is sticking out like a lapel mic. 
4. Use natural light, outside - try to stay in the shade, unless it's the "golden hour" - within 2 hours before or after sunset, when the sun isn't direct, and is really flattering. 

Of course - buying video gear isn't a "bad" thing. Have the budget? That's awesome. If you're looking to invest in some of the more inexpensive gear, take a gander at this blog post I wrote last month. 

So, get out there and create! Stop waiting for permission and the perfect gear setup, because it probably won't happen if you do ;-) Plus, the more you practice without the fancy gear - the more you'll appreciate it when you DO invest, and the more ideas you'll have for how it can make your videos even better. 

Keep puking rainbows, friends! And if you need other tips on how to get started, click here for a free guide for beginners. Try something new, you've got this! 

As always, I'm here if you have questions! 

Erica



 

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December Smartphone Video Bootcamp

dec smartphone.jpg

Since we had such a blast this spring  in Minnesota with our smartphone video bootcamp - we're bringing it back, just in time to wrap up 2017!

By the end of this year, online video will account for 74% of web traffic! But, how do you get started...without breaking the bank for your organization? Smartphones have come a long way since the Zach Morris days, and they hold the answers for many businesses on a budget. Jumping in feet first can be daunting, so this bootcamp is designed to keep things simple for beginners. 

Topics will include:

- How to shoot and frame video
- Easy lighting tips and tricks on the go
- Simple ways to get better audio
- Tips on how to make the most of out of a shoot day
- Questions to ask when you are interviewing someone to get the most moving response
- How to prioritize the steps in your video strategy plan (where the heck do we start, right?)
- Editing basics, and programs/apps to help you
- Maximizing your video once it's done: tips for uploading
- The differences in shooting for videos meant to be viewed on mobile vs desktop

Eventbrite - December Smartphone Video Bootcamp

Early bird tickets are on sale now, and the discounted price is available until November 17th - spots are limited, so buying a ticket sooner rather than later is recommended. I can't wait to see all of you there! Celarity is our host/sponsor, and they will be providing a light breakfast, coffee, and snacks. 

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4 Mistakes to Avoid While Shooting Smartphone Video

College of Saint Benedict and   St. John's University participate in a Puke Rainbows DIY smartphone video workshop

College of Saint Benedict and St. John's University participate in a Puke Rainbows DIY smartphone video workshop

More and more content teams and small businesses are using smartphones to capture video content. And, why wouldn't you? It's inexpensive, and is great for certain platforms. While you're not going to become Martin Scorsese overnight, there are a few common mistakes you should avoid to get the most of your top tier smartphone video skills. 

  1. Shooting without a plan. 
    Video is so accessible to us on our phones, and in some ways that can make us lazy or frantic in our efforts. Instead of going to an event with a plan, we may simply shoot as MUCH footage as possible. But, this also means way more time sifting through it in post production (editing). Have a plan. Know what you need the video for, first. 
     
  2. Shooting vertically with your phone. 
    Chances are, you’ve never watched your TV vertically, right? When you shoot your video vertically, instead of shooting in landscape or horizontal mode, it makes it tougher to use across all platforms. Sure, spots like instagram crop it into a square, anyway - but, think about the fact that if the video is as good as you want it to be, you very well could be using it in an upcoming meeting, at a conference, or in a presentation - on an HD screen, and shooting in landscape mode will safe you from editing hassles of putting it on a background, etc...
     
  3. Forgetting about speed effects. 
    Hanging out at an event? Set up your smartphone and shoot a timelapse to show how many people are flowing in and out. Looking to show emotion? Get in close, and use the slow motion feature - smiles, laughs, tears in slow motion allow viewers to live in that beautiful moment, even longer.

     4. The “to catch a predator” interview technique.
         If you sit someone in FRONT of a window, and try to film them as they are backlit...chances are, they        will look like a silhouette. Instead, have them look AT the window. The light will be even on their face. 

Not sure if you should try the DIY route with a smartphone, or hire a video crew? Here is a handy post that may help you make that decision: DIY Video vs. Hiring a Professional

Best of luck with all of your video content missions, and as always - feel free to message me if you have any questions. I'm also offering internal Smartphone Video Workshops if you'd like to bring your team together for some fun training and Q & A to save time while you're learning this fun new world. Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to read the tips - stay in touch! 

Erica Hanna
Emmy Winning Video Producer/Director/Speaker

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Helpful Tips for Journalists on Periscope

Periscope has been gaining popularity the past few weeks, and with all of the 'scopes coming out of Baltimore - the impact of live streaming apps is more apparent than ever. 

But, with new technology comes questions and learning curves. Obviously I'm still a newbie on periscope as well ( @meeterica is my handle) but, since I worked in a newsroom for 10 years I can feel the pain of journalists everywhere trying to learn how to work this in the most efficient way possible, quickly. 

photo: periscope via the stream of @paulLewis 

photo: periscope via the stream of @paulLewis 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when "scoping." 

Periscope Pointers:

1. People can hear you. All of the time.

Remember when you were taught that the mic is always on? Yes, remember that from J school!

Example: This seems like a no-brainer, but I saw a stream from a TV station the other day shooting a monitor with pool footage, and in the background the producer was asking questions about Antiques Roadshow. During the Baltimore protests. Ouch. Be careful.

2. Answer questions if possible. 

It's a social platform. If you don't answer questions, and ignore your viewers - people will get angry, quickly.

In a way it's like having a press conference, but standing at the podium in silence. If you are not allowed to answer questions, tell them, kindly.  Make sure they know you aren't ignoring them. Being polite goes a long way. 

3. Comments bothering you/obstructing your view during a stressful situation? Hide them.

Do this by swiping right, scrolling down, and hitting "hide chat."

Keep in mind though, that even though you can't see it, doesn't mean others can't. The chat is still there, but invisible to you. If you think the chat may be disturbing to others as well, clue them in on how to hide it - they may just tune in longer. 

4. Is someone harassing you? Block them.

Yes, you are a journalist and should listen, but I would argue that if you fear for your safety, and the person won't have a rational conversation and is distracting you from doing your job, they should be blocked.*

Etiquette: rule of thumb would be to warn them first, if you go by social media etiquette - simply saying, "NickelbackLover213, if you contribute in a rude or threatening manner, you'll be banned." I've actually had people apologize to me, and beg to be kept on the stream - mainly because sometimes sarcasm and intent doesn't translate well in comments, and they are simply joking. 

*Please note: blocking someone does not block them from the current broadcast that is open. They will still be able to participate, but you won't see it. The good news? They can't see any of your broadcasts after the current one is over. 

5. You can send your broadcast to limited/certain people.

Do you want only certain co-workers to see your broadcast? Perhaps your producer or reporter? Make it a private broadcast (the icon that looks like a padlock).

Select the people from your friends list, that you hope will see it. Send it to them. It will not be sent to the "watch now" tab. But, as with any new app, keep in mind...flubs can happen. Still keep the "mic is always on" demeanor, and if you see screen names you don't recognize entering the scope, you know something is up and it's accidentally been pushed out.

6. Watch out for yourself.

As Paul Lewis said on his stream tonight in Baltimore (to 2.3k viewers), "For every moment I am holding this camera, I am not looking out for my well-being. I need to log off. Thank you." 

7. You can save your broadcast!

Hit "save to camera roll." 

8. Your video doesn't immediately disappear from the stream. 

It should be available for reply up to 24 hours after you shoot it.

If you don't want people to be able to replay your video (for example: you were just shooting a test), simply open it, scroll to the bottom, and hit "Delete Replay." 

9. Show people love. Hearts are positive. 

People like what they see and/or want you to shoot more of it. Pretty simple. If you want to give someone a heart, just double tap the screen of their broadcast. But, please...don't beg for hearts. You look desperate. 

10. My scopes aren't pushing to twitter, even when I hit the tweet button?

I talk about this in my tutorial video (about 3 minutes in). More than likely it's in your device settings under twitter. 

11. Get quicker answers from followers. 

This is simple. Ask a multiple choice question, and ask them to choose 1 or 2 as their answer. Much quicker than making them retype. Example, "Should I buy a Creed record, or Nickelback you guys? 1 for Creed. 2 for Nickelback." (the answer should be no, to both, btw. ewwww.) 

Any other questions? Feel free to tweet me at @meeterica or email me at: erica@pukerainbows.com 

---

I am a former Creative Producer/Director for WCCO-TV in Minneapolis. Currently I own this lovely company (Puke Rainbows). It's a blast. Need a speaker? I like talking. And Nickelback jokes. I've graced the stages of: 

National Press Photographers Association Workshop, Best of the Midwest Journalism Convention, The Midwest Journalism Conference, Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Social Lights Bootcamp (keynote), AdFed 32 Under 32 (keynote), Social Media Breakfast, Minnesota Association of Government Communicators, and many private speaking events/workshops for companies/news orgs about video production, tease writing, social media, and
even online dating stories if you really want to be entertained. 

 

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Periscope: a Tutorial for Beginners

Have you downloaded the new Periscope app? I'm totally in love. Live streaming video is now accessible to anyone (well, if you have an iphone anyway). Now, I may be a high end video nut - of course, it's what I do for a living. But, what you sacrifice in quality here, you gain in authenticity and pure awe. It's so great to be able to connect with people all around the world and learn about their cultures, without spending a dime! 

Now, let me be clear - yes, this could affect potential business-by encouraging people to handle live streaming on their own. But, honestly-the benefits of you learning about this, far outweigh my biz concerns (plus, this isn't an arena where I play often). 

Here is a quick tutorial about the app itself! I'd still suggest hiring a professional if you want to stream an event, mainly due to reliability of the stream, clarity of picture, and the fact that the app really encourages vertical video...which, is the only dumb functionality thing I don't agree with. haha! 

For those of you who are unable to watch the video...because, let's be honest - you're peeping this at work, and don't want your boss to see -  here are answers to a few questions I get frequently: 

q. what is periscope? 

a. an app that allows you to live stream straight from you mobile device. 

q. how do people use it? 

a. it depends - many people use it to talk to people. They answer questions about their occupations, country, etc... Other people become tour guides of sorts, and like to show what is happening around them - events, beautiful sights, etc...

q. what should a newbie know?

a. periscope, like most social platforms - thrives on conversation. If people ask you questions, answer them, and ask questions back. 

q. what about trolls? 

a. they are everywhere. Simply click on their photo, and hit "block." Problem solved. 

q. anything to beware of? 

a. the titles of broadcasts can be deceiving. If you are browsing with your children, it's a good idea to open the stream first, then show them after you make sure there is nothing dirty or scandalous happening ;-) Also, keep in mind that it makes it easy for people to know if you aren't at your house/are at your house. My rule of thumb is that I never show my house number, and keep my location vague when I talk about where I live. 

q. what is the coolest thing you've seen? 

a. i had a wonderful conversation with a journalist from Kuwait about women's rights the other day. Really eye-opening. MC Hammer (yes, that MC Hammer) has a great stream, and since there aren't a ton of users yet, he tends to remember repeat viewers/names of them. It's cool. Also, I'd recommend BradManTv -he is a lifecaster, which means he keeps his device on 24/7. 

q. any other cons?

a. it will suck your data plan dry, and your battery. So, it's best to use it if you're connected to wifi, with a full battery. 

q. what are the hearts on the screen for? 

a. it's basically a quick way to tell whomever is broadcasting, that you love what you see or what they've said. Simply double tap, and a heart will show up. 

Here are some photos/screenshots of cool things I've seen so far: 

Curling in Raleigh (by my pal @jfmecca) on periscope!

Curling in Raleigh (by my pal @jfmecca) on periscope!

Live music from Nashville, Tennessee on periscope!

Live music from Nashville, Tennessee on periscope!

Joshua Malina (one of my favorite actors from the TV show Scandal) talks to his fans and answers questions between takes. 

Joshua Malina (one of my favorite actors from the TV show Scandal) talks to his fans and answers questions between takes. 

A man feeds a hummingbird out of his hand on periscope!

A man feeds a hummingbird out of his hand on periscope!

I've already noticed a lot of people using this app around Minneapolis to shoot video and show our beautiful city to the world, and it makes me so happy! Hopefully you will be able to check it out soon, and travel the world without spending a dime (as long as you don't go over on data, haha). Enjoy, and happy scoping! 

 

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