One of the primary focuses I’ve had since I’ve been working more on my own site than others has been the refinement of my video production pipeline. I’ve actually gotten production of a 20-minute to half-hour show down to a one day process that’s mostly hands off.
Like with most things, though, I’m very interested in further streamlining the process, so I figured I’d just do a generic post here that outlined my process and opened it up to constructive criticism.
The Type of Show I Do
If you read me mostly through the RSS feed, you may not have realized that I feature my video work pretty prominently on my website. I mostly do interview or discussion podcasts, with a rare show in which I rant or editorialize about something that’s caught my eye.
It’s taken me around a year to get the process down to something that works for this format, but I’ve finally gotten it to a place where I’m happy about the level of work involved for the level of output.
Pre-Production / Production
Obviously, there’s pre-production that goes into anything you do with video. My process was simple. I designed some intros for the show, which are quick 10 second things that really just set the name. I may juice them up later on, but at the moment, I’m relatively satisfied with them.
I designed the graphics with Corel Paint Shop Pro, which I find to be a much cheaper and fairly well rounded alternative to Photoshop.
I also designed my slates in Corel. Normally, I’d do those on the fly in Sony Vegas as each episode comes out (and some of it is still done in Vegas – more on that in a second), but given that most of my shows are remote interviews, I needed an easy way to record both sides of the conversation without doing some sort of loopy multi-computer setup, and without a Tricaster.
A video conference puts both folks up on the screen at the same time, and for the $10 a month subscription level, I can record and save the files in just about any format I have a codec for (you can try it for 30 days for free to see if it works for you).
Going back to the work I did in Corel, for a second, I designed overlays that went over what came out of Oovoo so I could brand the podcast myself instead of having Oovoo logos plastered everywhere – giving it a much more professional appearance.
Rendering and Uploading
Once I’ve recorded the show, I toss it into Sony Vegas, trim it up a little bit and line it up with the overlay slates, and then put some titles on top that pertain to the show a little bit (relevant addresses, news pieces, comments, etc).
Given that I’m now doing HD video, the files end up being pretty huge, and take about an hour to two hours per half hour of video to render on my laptop. Thankfully I’ve got AT&T Uverse, which has a monster pipe to the internet (comparable to Verizon’s FiOS), so it only takes about an hour to upload. I tend to upload a day after I shoot, just because I spend most of the day writing and let the shows render/upload overnight.
Where I upload is of particular importance, at least for keeping my workload slim.
I have a script I wrote set up so where I only need to upload it one time, instead of over and over to multiple services. I upload it to my server, and then my server will re-send the file out to the media marketplace I’m working with now that puts it out to various media buyers as well as my account on Episodic.
I also maintain a podcast feed for the video. I think that podcasting is unfortunately getting deprecated over time now that many set top boxes are deciding not to deal with MPEG4 content and opting for Flash (although I hold out hope that this trend won’t continue indefinitely).
Episodic has some support for RSS feeds, but I’ve gotten into the habit of generating my own feed using a simple Blogger blog chained through Feedburner.
It’s pretty slick, all in all, and it works for me. Usually within 12 to 24 hours of recording a video, I have it propagated out through a pretty large list of distribution points.
What’s your process?
I’m interested in hearing your process for video distribution. Which avenues bring the most reward in terms of engagement and viewership? Are there any glaring holes I’m missing?
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