To while away the hours on a return flight to Melbourne recently I completed reading “Hooked” by Nir Eyal. It made me think about the way companies such as Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram (amongst others) approach the world. They have turned vitamins into painkillers so you have to have them…
For some time I have been meaning to re-record two videos that I star in. I made them late last year to illustrate “Why you need Lean Commercialisation” to go on the website. I needed something short and professional to present my message quickly so that potential clients are happy to invest a minute to learn more.
My original video took four hours to record and has too much background noise. Even if the sound track was fine, it would still require some video editing to make it of acceptable quality to be released. And I'm not sure I chose the right tie. Hmmm... perhaps I'm not cut out to be a Video Star after all.
So what to do? I still need to get the message out but spending over a day making the recording, editing it and hosting it is time I do not have.
A while ago I came across PowToon. It is a web-based application from a UK company which allows you to create your own cartoon message as a video so I thought I’d give it a go – apparently 1.3 million videos have been created to date, some by companies such as ebay and Cisco so I’m in good company. PowToons itself has many “schemas” available so you can use different icons and animations. I selected “Picto” as my style.
So how did I go about producing my video? There are five main steps:
- Put together a script. I started up Word and wrote my 55 second script to cover five areas – who I’m talking to; the pain I’m solving; my expertise; the solution and call to action. In their tutorial PowToon recommend this takes less than 90 seconds so I was well under the maximum.
- Record the Audio. I put on my Sykpe headset and used Windows Recorder to record my voice. This produced a .WMA file so I used an online converter to make this into the .MP3 file that PowToon requires. I loaded the audio file into PowToon. Here’s a tip: if you do this, speak slowly and make sure you leave a second between each sentence because it will make synchronisation with graphics easier in the next step.
- Create slides. Break the audio file into sections (each sentence seems to work well although this is not mandatory) and add the animations. I wanted to add some logos to the slides and needed to remove their background colour – ten minutes with PhotoShop solved this little problem (thanks to an online web tutorial).
- Publish. I published to Vistia which is a commercial video sharing site (three months hosting is included in the PowToon annual subscription). Vistia’s site gave me a snippet of code for the last step.
- Advertise. I placed the snippet of code on the front page of the Meteorical website (and below) so users can click on the thumbnail and see the short animation.
All-in-all the process took me four hours including watching the online tutorials about how to use PowToon and Vistia and paying with my trusty debit card. The total cost is $19pm for PowToons and $25pm for Vistia for a year. The alternative (buying a camera, microphone, video editing software, etc. is considerably more). Doing it again would probably take around half the time.
So what about the result?
Take a look at the presentation - it's only 53 seconds. Less time that it took you to read this far!
What do you think?
Does it look professional?
Do you want one?
I’d be interested in your thoughts so please write your comments below.