I think a lot of small business owners have a limited idea of the kinds of online videos they could be producing and publishing to support their business. There are several types and styles of online videos as well as several ways that businesses are using online video for business. I like to break online video into four basic type of videos:

  • Live action
  • Screencasts
  • Animation and animated infographics
  • Photo slideshows

Live Action

Live action is probably the first type of online video that comes to most people’s mind. The video is produced by filming live action with a video camera, editing the footage and uploading. The majority of online videos on the Internet are live action videos, so there’s plenty of examples out there and I’m sure every Internet user is familiar with this type. But, there are other types that may be more appropriate for your business.

Screencasts

A screencast is a less known type of online video. According to Wikipedia, “A screencast is a digital recording of computer screen output, also known as a video screen capture, often containing audio narration.”

Personally, screencasts are one of my favorite types of online videos. They’re perfect for demonstrating computer software and applications. Here’s some examples:

WordPress.tv

Salesforce.com

If you have a software product or web service or application, consider using screencasts to point out its features or show users how to use your product. Screencasting software is fairly inexpensive and readily available for both Macs and PCs.

Screencasting software:

Camtasia

Camtasia for Mac

Jing

Screenflow

My preferred application in this set is TechSmith’s Camtasia for Mac. It’s fairly easy to learn and intuitive to use and TechSmith has done a great job creating it’s own screencasts to demonstrate how to use their products. There’s also a large user base and community to learn from and share with.

Animation and Animated Infographics

Some might consider animation and animated infographics a subset of screencasts since they’re created using software, but I like to separate them because you’re not necessarily capturing a digital recording of action on the screen.

I think animated infographics are particularly well-suited for situations where someone needs to explain a concept. Need to explain what digital convergence is or how to manage in an era of changes in workplace demographics, technology, regulations, and expectations? Or how to explain what the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative is or what power is? Try an explanatory video using animated graphics. Check out some of these examples.

Did You Know 4.0

Girl Scouts

Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative

Believe it or not, some of these videos were created using software you probably already have – Microsoft PowerPoint or the Mac equivalent Keynote. If you’ve created presentations using PowerPoint or Keynote, you’ll probably find that you can incorporate some animation and effects fairly easy. But be careful. Make sure the animations and transitions contribute to telling your story or explaining your concept. Keep it simple and don’t get too carried away.

If you’re needs are more sophisticated, you may need to look into Adobe Flash which is a bit pricey and has a pretty steep learning curve or dedicated motion graphics software like Apple Motion or Adobe Aftereffects. These are incredibly powerful software applications so be ready for some serious learning curves if you tackle these.

Some software:

Keynote and PowerPoint

Adobe Flash

Apple Motion

Adobe After Effects

Photo Slideshows

An often overlooked type of online video is the photo slideshow. If you don’t consider yourself technically inclined then this is probably the simplest and easiest type of video for you to create. The idea is to take a series of photos and create a slideshow, often set to music or with a narrated audio track. The photos may have some text included.

Here’s an example I did awhile ago:

Plastic Bottles and Ocean Pollution

Some software:

iPhoto

Keynote and PowerPoint

Hopefully these examples demonstrate some options for producing online video that you hadn’t thought of before. We’ll explore these in more detail in next Tuesday’s workshop, Using Online Video for Your Business Workshop. Sign up now!