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7 Videos You Can Make in 7 Minutes (or Less) Using Only your iPhone

7 Videos You Can Make in 7 Minutes (or Less) Using Only your iPhone

Is it just me, or is Twitter brimming with videos these days? They’re all over the place and I love it! After playing with easy video apps for years at this point (Years! That’s scary), I can easily tell if a video was created using these apps or not.

But I’m always just a bit surprised when I can tell videos from big brands are made with free and cheap video apps. I mean, these are brands that have tons of money to spend on videos and easy access to pro videographers, but they’re using the same tools every solopreneur or one-man marketing machine could (should) be using.

This, more than perhaps anything else, should illustrate that you don’t have to sacrifice quality to produce your own videos on a smartphone. That good videos don’t cost a lot of money. And that you can still make compelling content on the fly.

To illustrate this point, I’ve shared seven videos you can make on an iPhone in 7 minutes or less over the past week or so on Twitter. Now, I’m aggregating them into a blog post for a quick reference/repository of ideas.

1) A Blog Graphic Video

Time: 1 minute

This is about as simple as video gets! Unlike most videos, these types of videos aren’t meant to tell a story. Instead, they convey a small amount of information quickly and attractively. The motion of the test also adds some extra oomph to your social feed.

Another benefit of a blog graphic video is that it benefits from higher organic reach on Facebook (up to three times higher than text or photos!). That’s a whole lot to gain from such a small amount of work!

All you need to do is use one of a handful of apps, like Adobe Spark Post or Legend, to add and animate text on top of an image or video. And, you don’t even need to film or take your own photos. You can also use stock photos or video. A personal favorite of mine is Pexels, which offers both stock photos and stock video and doesn’t require attribution.

Another pro tip? Have your brand style guide handy so you can make sure to match colors and fonts with your existing brand identity!

2) Animated Quotes & Tips

Time: 1 minute

Similar to the blog graphic videos, you can use these same simple apps to create short videos with tips or inspiring quotes. The benefits are the same: it stands out on a timeline, it has improved reach, and it also helps ease you into the process of making videos.

A pro tip for these types of videos (blog graphics and tips/quotes): use Buffer to schedule your videos across social platforms easily and quickly. They’ll post as native videos on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram. And, unlike Twitter on a computer, Buffer can schedule mov files (as well as mp4 or avi), which is Apple’s standard video type.

If for any reason an app saves the video as another file type (like m4v), you can use iConv to convert your video and audio files to other formats quickly and easily. This is a great resource if you need to send your videos to a coworker to post on social media—then, you can share them in whatever format they’ll need!

3) Custom Calls to Action and Branded Intros

Time: 4 minutes

You know from my style guide suggestion earlier that it’s just as important to remain true to your brand identity in your videos as you do in your photography and design. You want to use the same colors, the same fonts, the same overall vibe as you do everywhere else.

An added bonus for using video, in general, is that it’s super shareable. In fact, some statistics I’ve seen say that video is shared up to 1200 percent more often than other types of content. That’s a lot of sharing! Which is great…

But I’m sure you’ve seen videos shared before that don’t offer any context. They don’t credit the source, they don’t provide a link for more information. One way to make sure every person your video reaches knows where to look for more info (your website, your social profile, whatever) is to add custom intros and/or calls to action.

The good news is you don’t have to hire someone on ZenDesk to make one of these for you. There are quite a few apps that allow you to make your own from basic graphics and logos.

Adobe SparkPost is a great option for calls to action (the slide at the end of the video that tells users what to do: go here, read this, buy that, etc.). There are quite a few video effects apps that can be used to help create awesome branded intros. If you’d like a tutorial on my favorite app to make custom intros, you can sign up for my free 7-day e-course (it’s lesson 5, I believe). I’ll walk you through the process step by step!

A pro tip here is having a handful of transparent PNG versions of your logo on your phone. I usually have one dark and one light version. Then, you can quickly overlay in on various colored backgrounds in SparkPost and import that video or photo file into the video effects apps to add light leaks (like mine), background textures, and motion.

Even for quick video that you share directly from your phone to social media, there are branding options. For example, the app Pre-Edits allows you to quickly add a website and/or other text on top of your videos as you film them, so you can share them quickly without losing out on adding a call to action.

4) Step-By-Step Tutorial

Time: 5 minutes

What makes this particular type of video so great is that collage apps, like PicPlayPost, make it easy to put a handful of short video clips together into one video that tells a story from start to finish.

It’s also great for beginners who don’t want to have to connect multiple clips together on a single timeline just yet. All you need to do is choose the layout of your video collage and select your clips. You can choose whether to play them all at once, or in sequence, and you can even loop them a few times. The app also allows you to add music from your library (just make sure you’re using royalty free music you are actually allowed to use!).

Incompetech is great for free royalty-free music, but requires attribution. You can also buy a few soundtracks from AudioJungle or Pond5 to keep on your phone at all times and use as needed.

You’ll notice that my collage video also includes a custom intro and a call to action. You can use a separate app, like iMovie, to string your collage and custom intros/CTAs into one cohesive video.

5) Tiny Testimonials

Time: 6 minutes

I love tiny testimonials. For social sharing, I prefer them so much more than long testimonials. All you need to do is take out some of the best parts of that long testimonial and turn it into a tiny testimonial.

The style I like to use is putting one great quote first, then my custom intro, then the rest of the quote and then my call to action. Otherwise, at least for social media, having that custom intro first might encourage people to scroll past your post before they invest in watching it.

An important note: did you know that 85 percent of Facebook videos are watched without sound? Since most social platforms auto-play your videos (without audio) using captions at the bottom allows them to experience your video, follow your story, understand what you’re saying, without having to turn on the audio. One pro tip is to use the app Gravie to add text on top of your videos, like you see in my example here.

6) Timelapse E-Vite

Time: 7 minutes

It’s amazing how a timelapse can turn a simple video clip into something special. I use timelapse videos all the time for invitations—to webinars, to new courses I’ve launched, etc.—because you just need some props and an iPhone to make one.

I prefer Lapseit to capture my timelapses, since it lets you re-time them to specific durations. For example, if I shoot a timelapse within the iPhone camera app, I’m stuck with what I get. But, if I shoot it in LapseIt, I can reformat it to be however long I need it to be—10 seconds, 30 seconds, a minute, whatever!

Lapseit also allows you to add music from your library to make this type of video even easier.

7) Animated Explanation Videos

Time: 7 minutes

Not every business has an abundance of things to “show” their audience. Some of us work in more cerebral environments, and watching people think or type doesn’t make for a compelling video. Fear not!

Animated explainer videos are great for companies that want to share concepts and ideas, rather than visuals and experiences. They also work well for numbers or even videos accompanying blog posts, like my example here.

There are quite a few apps that allow you to create animated videos. Some use cartoons, some rely on icons, some use your own photos and visuals. Finding the right one depends on your brand identity.

I actually have a whole module on this in my latest course, LittleBig Video, to show you exactly how to make animated videos (as well as all the other videos I talk about—and a bunch more) on your phone really quickly and easily. You can learn more about the course here.

There are a ton more types of videos you can make in only a few minutes using just your iPhone, but that’s the end of my 7-minute video blog series. To learn more types of videos, or to follow step-by-step tutorials, check out LittleBig Video. I hope to see you there!

About the Author

Sarah Redohl is a new media journalist, focusing on mobile storytelling, 360 video and storytelling for good.

Her work has been featured in The Washington Post, the Travel Channel and National Public Radio, among others, and she has presented on TedX stages, MoJoCon, the What If... Conference series and more. Redohl has won regional and national awards for her visual storytelling, and is recognized as one of Folio: Magazine's 15 Under 30 young professionals driving media's next-gen innovation.

She's passionate about bringing storytelling tools to small businesses and nonprofits, and is part of a journalism collaborative that aims to bring the power of storytelling to nonprofit agencies in developing countries where stories might otherwise go untold. 

Connect with Sarah on TwitterInstagramPinterest and LinkedIn.


3 Videos You Can Make (Without Being On Camera)

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Some people really hate the idea of being on camera. For people who don't crave the limelight, appearing on video can feel more like a prison spotlight.

Believe me, I hear you! I, too, don’t enjoy being on camera very much. Despite that, I’ll grin and bear it, hopping on Periscope (@SarahRedohl) most weeks for mini webinars and being a “face” for StoryLab when I need to be.

But for a lot of video newbies, the idea of appearing on camera is enough to make them never try video at all. And I think this is the wrong way to approach things.

Yes, it’s super easy to shoot a Twitter video reply, hop on Periscope or shoot a “talking head” expert video. But there are other ways to create video content without the need to put your face in it. Here are a few options.

'Hand-imated' videos

I don’t literally hand puppet videos, necessarily. I just mean a video in which your hands are the only cast members. These are just as easy—if not easier—as hoping on Periscope! All you need to do is have a concept. One brand that uses these types of videos a lot is Google.

Want to go behind the scenes at Google? Follow the adventures of #NatandLo → youtube.com/natandlo

Posted by Google on Thursday, July 23, 2015

Paper cut-out videos

They print out images (that of course they have the rights to use) and basically use them to illustrate a story, like this one above.

Other times, they’ll just write out a story on a white board or a piece of paper:

White board videos

To shoot a video like this, all you need is to write out your storyboard and decide the best way to tell the story. Prepare your materials, set up your camera facing directly down on your “stage” and record your story and voiceover on your Smartphone. Of course I suggest using a microphone if you have one available (even if its just the mic on your earbuds).

Since you want to keep your videos short anyway (about a minute or so), it will be really easy for you to repeat your video a handful of times and choose the best take.

The act of just doing the video a few times and choosing the best option will save you loads of time trying to edit everything together from bits and pieces of video clips.

Estimated time, from story concept to clicking ‘Share’: 30 minutes

Animated videos

These videos require NO filming. None. You can create one with nothing more than a story to tell.

There are also all sorts of resources that make production super easy for people who’ve never created an animated video before in their lives.

GoAnimate

(Or PowToon, Moovly, or Animaker)

Probably the most well known video animation option is GoAnimate. Using the service is exceptionally easy.

You can add text, icons and charts to illustrate your point without ever picking up a camera and clicking ‘record.’ The GoAnimate library comes with a handful of pre-built templates, customization options, and thousands of icons, so you can really make each video your own.

They offer a 14-day free trial to the service to see if it works for the types of videos you want to create. After the two-week trial, GoAnimate costs $39 per month, but if that’s too steep for you, there are a ton of other options.

PowToon is a free option, but there’s also cheaper options like Animaker and Moovly. I’ve used GoAnimate and PowToon, and while I like GoAnimate’s interface better, I do think $39 for the benefit of a prettier interface is a little much.

The best option? Create one animated video in each before you decide which star to hitch your wagon to. If, after it all, you don’t choose a favorite, you’ll still end up with four animated videos to start sharing!

Adobe Voice

This is a super sweet app you can use to create animated videos on the go. Although the amount of information you can put on one video slide is limited, the interface is so easy to use it’s perfect for beginners. It’s so easy most people may not even need to write a storyboard before getting started on production.

Simply choose the type of story you want to tell and narrate your story sentence by sentence, choosing one or two of hundreds of available icons (or your own original photography from your phone) to illustrate your points.

In just a few short minutes, you’ll be able to explain abstract ideas quickly and directly, using just your phone (and hopefully a microphone if you're narrating)!

Estimated time, from story concept to clicking ‘Share’: 20 minutes

Photo slideshows

Another option to add some motion to your social feeds without appearing on camera is to turn your photos into a photo slideshow. This is a great media type to show off an event or other photos that may not necessarily tell a story on their own.

Often, you may not even need to narrate the slideshow; you might just be able to add some music and you’re done!

With more than 100 photo slideshow apps, you’re sure to find one that has themes you like and a simple workflow.

Flipagram

I’ve used Flipagram, Animoto and PicFlow, but Flipagram is probably my favorite for the control the app gives you over changing layouts, timing, music and narration (and it’s free).

Estimated time, from story concept to clicking ‘Share’: 10 minutes

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Even if you hate being on camera, hopefully these three ideas will give you enough of a push to get started with video. If you do, I think the benefits you’ll see will make you see how worth it video can be!

 
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About The Author

Hey, I'm Sarah!

I love teaching online business bosses to create better content and incorporate cool tech and tools into their content marketing machine so they can get better results (more traffic, more customers, more money) in less time. After all, isn't that what content marketing is for?

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

 

The 7 Files I Always Keep On My Phone (For Content Marketing on the Go)

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When you’re a solopreneur, you often get to see every detail of your business—from the innovation process, to selling your services or products, to watching your customers succeed. Every step of the way is a story.

I work with a lot of large companies that are implementing a more agile content marketing strategy—one that’s based more on the moment than ever before. For once in marketing, the big guys are trying to do what the little guys like us could do all along—be there for all the small details so they can share them to show their humanity AND their expertise online.

If you’ve been around the blog for awhile, you know that I love to turn every thing we do into an opportunity to create cool content, from videos to fun gifs to memes—and I love to do it all (or as much as I can) using just my iPhone.

But to do that, there are some consistent branding tools I like to have on my phone at all times so I can quickly check that everything I do fits my brand’s colors, fonts, message and goals. Here are the seven files I keep on my iPhone at all times to produce cool content really quickly on the go.

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My Logo

This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many solopreneurs don’t keep a copy of their logo readily available. And I know the frustration of not having one when I need it. Try having to cobble together a video intro with a 72 pixels-per-inch screenshot of your logo! Don’t be that person.

Instead, I like to keep a handful of high quality logos on my phone always.

  • One transparent PNG version in my signature dark gray
  • One transparent PNG version in white
  • One gray version on a white 16:9 background
  • One white version on a dark 16:9 background
  • One transparent PNG version of my brand icon (the colorful circle)

With these five versions of my logo, I’m ready for anything that comes my way. I can quickly add my icon to blog images, I can watermark my original photography, or I can add branded introductions to the videos I produce on my phone. Not to mention, if someone needs my logo in a pinch, I can air drop it to them in just a few seconds.

Calls To Action

I produce a lot of videos between meetings, on airplanes, or generally in inconvenient places.

For example, whenever I do a training session that requires travel, I find that the plane ride home is a great time to produce a testimonial video about the training. Depending on how far I’ve traveled, I can usually produce the testimonial video and handful of direct-to-social promotional videos.

No matter what video I’m producing, I always like to add a call to action at the end.

Videos have an exceptionally high conversion rate, compared to any other medium. For example, landing pages with video have up to 800 percent higher conversions than the same page without video. And people who watch videos are 85 percent more likely to buy, 144 percent more likely to add it to their card, and 52 percent more confident in their product purchase.

Landing pages with video have up to 800 percent higher conversions than the same page without video.

Once someone has invested their time into your video, they’re primed for the next step. Make the ask! What do you want them to do? Follow you on social media? Sign up for your newsletter? Make a purchase?

The most common calls to action I use are:

  • Share the video on social media
  • Follow us on social media
  • Join the newsletter
  • Buy a course
  • Book a training
  • Book me as a speaker

As my aunt always said, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Get.”

Brand Style Guide

Trying to guess your brand colors never works out. So, I always try to keep the things I expect to need close at hand, including my brand colors, fonts and patterns.

I also keep any style guides for sub-brands I’m working on, too. I always like to know what I’m going for so I can be sure everything on-brand.

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Royalty-Free Music

Although many video apps come with stock music for you to use, it’s important to note that most of it isn’t licensed for commercial (i.e., your business) use. To play it safe, I always keep stock music I’ve purchased on my phone to quickly add to my videos.

Music can quicken the pace of your videos, it can make people feel specific emotions. Use it to your advantage! Here are a few places I like to look for stock music:

  • Audiojungle
  • Incompetech
  • ccMixter
  • Beatpick

Evernote

You never know when inspiration will strike. Some of my best blog posts were written in just a few minutes when inspiration hits me. It’s always easier to write when you’re in the right mood.

Use Evernote to never miss out on those moments. Keep track of blog ideas, blog outlines, anecdotes and more. 

Asana

This is a new addition for me, but I am quickly beginning to wonder what I ever did without it. It’s easy to track your projects and to do lists for a variety of big picture goals.

So, you want to update your site? Tick off each item as you accomplish it, and keep track of upcoming deadlines and recurring projects. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Calendar

I used to be a pen-and-paper person, but I’ve seen the other side and I like it. If you’re still clutching to your paper planner like it’s 1995, at least start scheduling your annual events, like birthdays, doctors appointments, domain renewals and more.

You’ll quickly realize how keeping this info on your phone and at your fingertips can save you time and keep you organized.

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About The Author

Hey, I'm Sarah! I love teaching online business bosses to create better content and incorporate cool tech and tools into their content marketing machine so they can get better results (more traffic, more customers, more money) in less time. After all, isn't that what content marketing is for? Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

 

DIY Tripod Mount for your Phone

tripod, tripod mount, iphone android, tutorial, video, smartphone, video smartphone, content marketing, mobile storytelling, videography, storytelling, audio, apps, applications,

When I was teaching a course for the American Society of Business Publication Editors, the Social Media Club of Kansas City and a few other groups, everyone was in awe of my homemade tripod mount.

I'd only manufactured it out of desperation--I misplaced my own mount and needed one for the presentation--but people love anything that's free, or close to it.

Sure, there are plenty of tripod mounts for your phone available for about $10, but you can build this one in less than a minute with $5 worth of materials you can find at any hardware store.

Macro Lens Hack for Smartphones

iphone photography, camera, photography, iphoneography, macro lens, mobile storytelling, storytelling

I was getting some work done at a coffee shop when I got distracted by all the condensation from my iced coffee that was inching its way closer to my laptop. I had been doing some research on getting better detail shots with a smartphone when an idea struck: could I use a tiny droplet of water on my iPhone lens as a makeshift macro lens?

Now, I've played around with a lot of macro lenses for iPhones, from the cheap the the insanely-expensive-for-what-it-is. And shockingly, my experiment produced pretty amazing results. Take a look:

 

The trick is for the droplet to be about one millimeter (yes, that tiny) in diameter. Anything larger and all you'll get is a trippy blurred effect. If you're having trouble with size, it should be about half the size of your lens. Here's a quick 30-second demo:

 

Give it a shot and let me know about your experiences in the comments!