What Could You Time-lapse Right Now?

What is a Time-Lapse?

A timelapse is a series of pictures taken at a set interval, for example, every 10 seconds, and then the pictures are stitched together into a video clip. Every video we watch is really just a series of still images placed next to each other like a cartoon flip book . Around 25 pictures in each second is what feels like normal motion to our human eyes and brains. Time-lapsing is similar to fast forwarding but it has a completely different feel and it is best used to capture and condense longer periods of time.

When to Time-Lapse

A time-lapse will work really well when there is any kind of movement such as:

  • clouds in the sky
  • people walking
  • construction works
  • cityscapes
  • a tractor in a field
  • people working on a production line
  • people painting on a canvas

Think about 3 time-lapse videos that you could start filming right now and tell us your 3 ideas in the comments below.

  1. _______________________
  2. _______________________
  3. _______________________

How to Time-Lapse

On many phones including the newer iPhones and Samsungs there is a built-in time-lapse option in the Camera app But if you can’t find it on your phone’s camera then you can always install a free time-lapse app.

Tip: When searching for free apps, look for the highest number of review as well at the number of stars; a five star rating may only have one review

Make sure the camera is completely still and that it will remain steady for the duration of the recording. It’s best if you have a tripod but with a little ingenuity, you can makeshift a tripod using books, paper clips and pretty much anything with enough tape!

Press the red button and then wait as long as you feel you have captured enough of the action and story. For example, if you’re capturing a sunset, you will want to wait until the sun completely disappears completing the action as well as the story. This can take some testing so give yourself enough time and plan in a rehearsal. Press the red button again to finish recording your recording and your phone should automatically save your time-lapse in your library or gallery.

Next, open an easy to use video editing app like Quik. This app is free and available for both iOS and Android. You can add text overlays to your video, choose a song that suits the tone, add a still image of your logo to the end and upload straight to social media.

Presto you’ve got some shareable visual content. Go you!

The Vidacademy

Methods of Filming Testimonial Videos

What is a Testimonial Video?

A testimonial video is visual evidence that your cutomers believe in the benefits of your product or service, so much so that they are willing to share their experiences with others.

Why Create Testimonial Videos?

According toWebDam

Videos on landing pages increase conversions by 86%

By having real people telling their story about how your product or service has improved their lives is the surest way to build trust with your online community. Also testimonial videos are a great way to start or continue on your video making journey as they are relatively straightforward to plan, film and edit.

Methods of Filming Testimonials:

There are a few methods of filming testimonal videos and these can depend on your proximity and/or your relationship with your customers.

1. Face to Face

If you have a good relationship with the client and if they live nearby why not arrange to go to them or even better have them come to you. That way you can be there in person to direct the shoot. You have full control over how the video looks and sounds and you can ask the client to repeat or expand on certain topics until you’re happy with the results.


2. Video Chat

It is often the case that your best clients don’t live near you or they are very busy and you don’t want to request too much of their time. In that instance you could set up a conversion through a video call. You have the benefit of being able to direct them and help them set up how their video looks as well as their sound, but it makes the process more streamline and you could get multiple testimonials in the same day from all over the world. There are no limitations.

I highly recommend Zoom, a video conferencing and webinar software. It’s like a amped up version of Skype that allows you to easily record the video to your desktop. I was recently interviewed  via Zoom by the fabulous Stephanie Obi, aka the Queen of Online Courses. Stephanie is based in Nigeria so recording a video call was a perfect solution and it was enjoyable and simple to set up.

After filming, you can transfer the video to your phone and edit them there using Splice for iPhone or FilmoraGo for Android or iPhone.


3. Self Filming

Sometimes your clients may already be competent with video or feel comfortable enough to to film themselves and send it to you. This sounds great in theory but there are a few things to consider in advance before handing over all of your directional responsibilities. This will ensure that you and your customer are on the same page and that both of you are happy with the final outcome. Considerations include the questions that you want them to answer, whether or not you would like them to record vertical video or horizontal video, and if you want them to look straight down the lens or to the side. These considerations are especially important if you intend on creating a montage or putting a number of testimonial videos together so that they are all uniform and easy on the eye of the viewer.

To recieve a self-filming cheat sheet that you can customise and send to your clients, e-mail info@thevidacademy.com with Testimonial Cheat Sheet in the subject bar.


What’s the Story?

I recently attended the prestigious Blas na hÉireann Irish Food Awards to produce videos for the event. I was surprised by much I learned, not only about food production and promotion but also about my own business and video production in general. The theme from most of the talks, speeches and conversations centered around the importance of telling a story. For me the quote of the week was by chef and author Brian McDermott,

“There are only two types of customers; new and repeat. You’ll get the new from the story and you’ll get the repeat from good products”

So what’s the story for your business? And how can you translate that story to a video that will tell your story for you online worldwide 24/7? Let’s start here:

  1. Work Backwards. What do you hope people will think about your product or service after they watch your video? Will they be left feeling inspired, hungry, curious, informed? What’s the emotion that you want them to feel?
  2. Call to Action. What action do you want them to take after they finish watching your video? Can you add an incentive that will further entice them to take this action? For example, visit our only store and enter this coupon for a 10% discount. Make the discount code unique to the video so that you can actually measure the impact of the video and not rely on view count or video likes.
  3. The Future. Every story has a beginning a middle and an end. In video terms the end is the future. Where do you want your business, product or service to go? What is the big dream for you? What is your grand vision? Don’t worry about sounding pretentious or about not being able to fulfill this dream. The audience just want to know that you dream big and there is more that motivates you than sales.
  4. The Middle. This is often the tricky part of any story but I like to think of it as the bridge; the best part of a city and sometimes the best part of a song. This is where you are now and it’s hard to see how well you’re doing from your own perspective so ask around. Ask your family, friends, mentors and customers to write a paragraph of how they see your business now. You’ll be surprised by how much they see that you don’t.
  5. The Beginning. Now this is usually the juicy part. Did your company start in a caravan out of necessity to pay bills? Was there an idea that woke you at night that you couldn’t stop thinking about. Romanticize the beginning even if there was nothing romantic involved. Make it romantic. Put on those rose tinted glasses and take a good look back at those defining moments that made you start but more importantly kept you keeping on.
  6. Be Authentic. You may have to romanticize yes but never compromise the true you. Video viewers are extremely perceptive so be bold with your concepts and ideas and don’t worry if you think your story doesn’t stand up to the likes of Facebook’s, your story is unique to you and viewers will resonate if you open up and give them a real insight to you and your business.

I hope this blog post has inspired you to start thinking up ideas for your story video. Don’t be shy and leave your questions and comments below!

Happy Videoing,

The Vidacademy

The Sound Paradox

We are living in a time where 2 controversial yet excepted truths exist:

Truth 1 – Sound is 90% of Video

No matter how well the visuals look, if it is accompanied by bad sound the ‘production value’ of your video decreases sometimes to the point where it is unbearable to watch. Recently we experienced a bad storm in Ireland and I went to visit my mother. She was watching television and the video was cutting to black every few seconds but no one seemed to care. However, as the storm worsened the sound started to drop in and out and within a few minutes the TV was off and the deck of cards were out. My point is that sound is king and you need to put as much if not more effort into getting this right as you do into getting your set, lighting and even your content correct.

Truth 2 – No One is Listening

According to DIGIDAY UK, as much as 85% of video views happen with the sound off! So we go to the trouble of recording good sound and  now no one is listening to it. IT’S A TRAVESTY! However we filmmakers and content creators embrace change… it’s why we do what we do. So wipe the tears away and check out this example from BuzzFeed Video of how you can tell your story with just music or without any sound at all:

… 3 ways to overcome The Sound Paradox

1. Plan it

The time spent planning should be double the time you spend filming and editing or at least on par. To begin, ask yourself  ‘where is the video going to end up?’ and ‘who is going to be watching it?’ If it going on YouTube and on your website then capturing dialogue and sound is important. If it going on your Facebook or Instagram feed then having text is important. The safest option would be to plan for both sound, text and music so that whichever way your audience is watching it they will be able to easily understand.

2. Capture Great Sound Anyway

The microphones on our phones are designed to transmit clear sound so they are incredibly powerful. The problem is that if we are using our phone to record a nice picture, inevitable we have to move a couple of meters away from the person, place or thing that we are filming. This gap is what is killing your audio, and so to bridge that gap a reasonably priced lavaliere microphone will do the trick. I have been using the Rode SmartLav+ (click on the image below to view it on Amazon.co.uk) and it has been really effective. My one issue is that the cable isn’t that long so it is worth buying an extension cable with it.

Rode Smartlav+ Lavalier Microphone for SmartphoneRode Smart Lav

3. Create Awesome Text

Apps are outdoing themselves these days and here are a few that I would recommend downloading today and trying them out for yourself:

a. Legend – Right now the app is strictly iPhone and it will only produce animated text for square video. Besides that this app is revolutionary. Graphics that could take hours to produce on desktop software now literally takes seconds on iPhone. Try it out for FREE!

Legend GIf

b. Vont – Choose from more than 400 fonts and make custom edits to text size, color, angle, spacing, and more for FREE!

c. Subtitles – If your video contains speech, your best bet is to use Facebook’s automated captions tool. The tool will generate a set of caption that appears overlaid on your video. You can preview the captions to ensure they’re correct, and make any necessary edits before the captions go live.

Happy Videoing!

The Vidacademy Team

Video Imagineering

Recently I was listening to an Audiobook by Paul Mason titled Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future and a word jumped out at me with so much impact that I paused the audiobook and went straight to Google. The word that struck me was:


What is Imagineering?

According to Dictionary.com, Imagineering is the implementing of creative ideas into practical form. A blend of imagine and engineering, the word is actually a registered trademark of The Walt Disney Company. However, the term was neither coined by Disney nor did it originate there. The word was “invented” by Alcoa Corporation around 1940, to encourage innovative usage of aluminium in order to keep up demand.

A Time magazine ad from February 16, 1942, titled “The Place They Do Imagineering” relates the origin,

For a long time we’ve sought a word to describe what we all work at hard here at Alcoa… IMAGINEERING is the word… Imagineering is letting your imagination soar, and then engineering it down to earth.

How Does Imagineering Apply to Mobile Video?

When I think of imagineering and video production, I picture brainstorming but in a highly structured order that is accompanied by an enjoyable step-by-step process. Video Imagineering sessions need to be enjoyable because videos are better when they evolve from the ‘want to entertain’ as opposed to ‘need to upload’. The first step in the production of any video is coming up with ideas and there are 3 important points to consider here:

  1. Everyone has ideas
  2. Sometimes the best ideas come from the people who you least expect.
  3. There are never too many ideas


There are never too many ideas.png

You may already have a number of video ideas, but why not create a target for building a spreadsheet of 100 ideas? Don’t stop until you hit 100 and when you do, you can then start developing a strategy by categorizing the ideas under video headings such as Event Videos, Training Videos, Entertaining Video etc. Once you have your categories you can start to consider timelines for publishing them and the sequence in which you’d like to publish them. Essentially once you have all of your ideas you then have the ingredients to create your video strategy and instil confidence in your managers or funding partners.

Succeeding at Imagineering:

So how do we take the ‘fluff ‘out of imagineering and bring it to the boardroom in a way that participants in the session will take it seriously? Below are some actions that you can consider and customise to suit your working environment before, during and after the meeting:

Before the Meeting

  1. Plant the Seed – Send an e-mail to anyone that has power or  interest in the videos that you are producing and invite them to a meeting the following week. Explain what imagineering is as well as the objectives of the session. Ask them to spend a few minutes of each day considering ideas that they might have.
  2. Follow Up – A few days later send the group a message with an idea or a link to a video or an image or that is a  good example of the type of idea you are looking for.
  3. Pick a Number – Decide on the number of ideas you’d like to generate before the meeting. Be realistic but ambitious. Create a list on a whiteboard, a flip chart or use a computer and projector. Just make sure that the group will be able to visualise how close their re getting their to the target.

During the Meeting

  1. Introduce the Objectives – Explain why you have asked everyone to meet, remind them of some of the links or images that you sent prior to the meeting and tell them how many ideas you are hoping to imagineer today.
  2. Create Agreements – It is important that everyone in the session starts by agreeing to a few basic agreements such ‘I will only think of the positives in other’s ideas’, ‘I will be confident in expressing my own ideas’.  Better yet, ask the group to establish their own agreements.
  3. Hit Your Target – Next, hand out different color post-its or stickies to each person and ask them to start calling out ideas and writing each one on a sticky. Collect the post-its and stick them to the wall in groups of five or ten so it’s easy to count how many you have.
  4. Grab, Group & Grow – Once all of the post-its are on the wall, ask the group if they can see any connections between ideas.  You’ll be surprised how many could fit into one ‘series’ of videos such as How To Videos, Event Videos and Testimonials. Grab the post-it’s, group them under headings and then grow the ideas by asking the members to expand.

After the Meeting

  1. Strategize  – Transfer all of the information  to a spreadsheet or document. Consider which videos could be filmed as part of a series or in the same location and the same people and group these together.
  2. Create a Timeline – You should give your self time to plan, film and edit each video or video series. As soon as one video goes into editing you should consider planning the next video so that there is no lag in your output.

Imagineering Session Tutorial Video from Salvation Factory on Vimeo.

Now you have a framework for gathering ideas and putting them into a strategy you should be more than prepared to start uploading valuable content for your current and prospective customers.

Happy Videoing!