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To create great video products, start with a plan

The best video products always have a natural look; the action seems to unfold spontaneously. But as anyone who has ever worked on a professional video project can tell you, it takes great planning to produce a feeling of spontaneity. Experience teaches that most problems encountered during the creation of video products are caused by bad planning-or a total lack of planning. You've probably seen the short videos that cisco.com is using in its campaign to promote the "human network." In one of the more memorable videos, a kid named Myles dances in his kitchen.

An older male (probably his big brother) points a camera phone at Myles and says, "Do something cool." Myles performs some nifty dance steps as the spot shows people all over the world watching the 30-second video on their camera phones and laptops. Finally we see a child, about the same age as Myles, in a crowded street. He looks up in awe at the big screen in Times Square as the Myles video plays in the heart of New York City. This is an excellent video.

And what makes it excellent is that everything that goes on in it seems so spontaneous. Whenever this happens, you can be sure that a lot of careful planning went into those 30 seconds. I hope you get the chance to see this video. If you haven't seen it yet, just go to www.cisco.com. If you are thinking about creating your first video product, you can learn a lot from studying spots like the Myles video. If you're serious about creating video products for sale on the Internet, one of the best things you can do to learn how to plan and produce great material is to consciously study and analyze your favorite videos. If you have it in your blood to create video products, I'm sure this is something you've already been doing. If you're just starting to think about how to create your first product, develop the habit of watching your favorite videos from a different point of view.

You're no longer a consumer of video products-now you must watch as a producer or broadcaster would watch. When something works, always ask yourself why it works. And when something flops, ask yourself why it didn't work. Before we leave Myles and his road to Times Square, the first thing you should do is plan a 30-second video product. Approach the project as seriously as if you were doing it for hire. Shoot it with your camera phone-or with somebody else's camera phone if you don't have one-and do it for the purpose of posting it on YouTube or any of the other video sharing sites. The important thing is to get started. When you think about how easy it is to get started as a creator and publisher of video products, you can't afford not to take advantage of the power of video to drive traffic to your web site or blog. With a little practice you'll soon be selling professional quality video products on the Internet. .


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