Jules Watkins’ course iPhone Video Hero has inspired many. In this interview, he offers video creation tips that will benefit any aspiring video marketer.
Covered in today’s podcast:
01:50 – Welcome video expert Jules Watkins
02:36 – The idea of factual entertainment
04:40 – Bringing professionalism to video marketing
06:20 – Cutting out the fluff
07:33 – James’ video production tools
09:10 – Making it “visual”
11:02 – Equipment vs. story
13:12 – Who’s doing the filming?
16:55 – Get started making videos
18:47 – Creating videos without the upfront costs
22:58 – Strengthen relationships through video
24:46 – Different style approaches to video
30:39 – iPhone Video Hero’s target market
32:19 – Accessories and apps for the iPhone
The power of edutainment. [Click To Tweet].
Keep it concise. [Click To Tweet].
How can you grab your audience? [Click To Tweet].
Story before equipment. [Click To Tweet].
Look for visual metaphors. [Click To Tweet].
James: Good day, James Schramko here. Today, I’ve got another interview. I like to bring these interviews because we get to dig inside the mind of an expert on various topics.
Today’s topic is really close to my heart. It’s something I’ve been involved with, on almost daily basis for the last couple of years, and I think that it’s a huge opportunity for more people to get involved with.
And of course I’m talking about the area of video marketing. And who else could I invite for a show like this than Jules Watkins. How are you Jules?
Jules: Yeah, very good James. Thanks very much for inviting me on.
James: Well, it was just a matter of time because I have two of your products that I absolutely adore. And I think I commented somewhere that iPhone Video Hero is one of the few products where I got access to it, and watched the entire product in one sitting because it was so engaging and so interesting.
And a lot of that comes down to your presentation style and the way that you put the course together. So congratulations on doing such a good job with that.
Jules: Oh yeah, thanks very much for that. Well, that’s exactly right. I did try and put a lot of myself into it, and some of my background which I’m sure we’re going to talk about in a sec.
Jule’s Television Background
James: Yeah. Well we’re not going to go too far into it, but I would love the short background. But just from what I gathered from watching your courses, it seems you like you have a really well-credentialed, proper official TV background.
Jules: Yeah that’s it. The very short version was I actually started off in photography, then I did a little course in multimedia, I ended going for the back door, really, into the world of television.
It took me a few years to work my way up to becoming a television producer-director here in the UK. I did shows like Pimp My Ride for MTV and Biggest Loser. I did some shows for the BBC.
As a freelancer producer-director, you know that was fantastic experience and massive opportunity that I’m really sort of, I guess I learned how to deliver content in an engaging, entertaining way, and there’s a style of TV called factual entertainment, which is basically TV, where you try and entertain people, but there are factual nuggets along the way, so to speak.
Educating While Entertaining
So you know, some of the property shows, you know, they’re quite entertaining, but they’ve also got some information in, or like Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares, you might know about that, you know. So again it’s an entertainment reality show but there are little tidbits about business in there.
So I think I’ve sort of brought that into this world of entrepreneurship, and tried to sort of teach people but also make the experience of going through it quite interesting as well.
James: Yes, so I would coin a word: “edutainment” for that style of content. And it’s certainly been something that I’d aimed for. I like to have even shows like this where we’re just chatting. I want it to be easy to listen to, but I also want people to learn a lot. And of course I want action steps, something that people can takeaway.
Because like those TV shows, I mentioned that a lot of them maybe, the government ones, but the commercial ones, they have to make the entertainment compelling enough that people will stick through the content and hang around for the advertisements in between, and that’s part of their revenue model right?
Jules: Exactly right. That’s why I find it such a great link into this kind of world of marketing because it’s all about grabbing an audience you know, right at the top.
Engaging them, as you said, getting them into the ad breaks, making them want to come back afterwards, and then at the at the end, there’s always a big call to action you know, coming out next week, or go check our website, or go by the book of the series. So it’s very, very similar in many ways.
James: Yeah we have a lot of those things in podcasting, we talk about previous episodes, we back seed the episodes that we’ve already done, we pre-empt episodes that are coming down the line.
We have lots of engagement things where we, kind of like a callback radio show where we say, “Listen, could you leave a comment on SpeakPipe or on our blog, we red out our comments.” So we’re always trying to do those things.
From TV To Online Marketing
The thing that I can relate to very well with your story is that you’re like this absolute professional in a serious industry, and you’ve come to the Internet space with that knowledge, and you would’ve found a lot of cowboys who are just sort of winging it, or making it up, or theorizing about how to do videos, right?
Jules: Yes. I mean, the market is obviously growing and a lot of people call how the videos being a sort of hot property. So there’s a real spectrum of people out there, I do think there are different people who’ve got different things to bring to the table, so to speak.
But I am shocked sometimes when I hit on some sort of video course and the sales video’s so badly shot, or underexposed. And I just can’t believe it. I can’t believe the trick of it, to be honest. But, there’s a whole range of things out there, but I do agree that, I think you’ve got to choose who you want to be taught by carefully as well.
James: Yes. So I guess, I had a similar background and my business background really helped out with my own line of business and a lot of people lacked that knowledge that I was able to accumulate in the senior role as a general manager. And it gives people like you and I an advantage, but then we’ve setup these causes to help share the knowledge.
You’ve got iPhone Video Hero. I’ve also taken your ScreenFlow Hero Course, which is great because I use ScreenFlow, and with that course, the interesting thing for me is I was aware of most of the things that you talked about in that one; however, I’ve been using it every single day for a couple of years by then and I imagine, it would have been so handy for me to have access to that course when I started.
All About Timing
And I think you can shortcut that learning curve for people. In such a short course too, you really managed to get it so concise.
Jules: Well that directly goes back to TV. In TV, everything’s about timing. So if you make a show, you know, it has to fit within a certain time frame.
Like Pimp My Ride, it’s a half-hour show in MTV; it’s actually 24 minutes when you take out the outbreaks. And you know, within about a 20-second range, you have to get this whole story. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s about car makeovers. And you have to get the whole story of the owner, and the process, and the end result all in that time.
So every second is critical and I suppose, I’ve taken that over to my courses. I know that particularly business people and businesses are really overloaded, they’re really busy. And I try and just to get to the point quick as I can, and make it succinct so that, they’d go for it, and think, I sat down there for three hours and now I’ve got this kind of result.
James: You know the funny thing is, I get a lot of evidence that that is the case that people often comment, they loved my 3-5 minute videos. They’re super short really, in the scheme of things. And I don’t think there’s much fluff in the video content that I’m producing. And I want us to go into the next step, which is how I’m recording those videos.
My regular viewers would know that I’m using a mixture of hardware, and a lot of it depends on where I happen to be. I range from everything, from just an iPhone, when I’m out and about, and just an iPhone with one plugin, the Rode smartLav actually.
The iPad or the iPhone with the smartLav, is my usual out and about equipment, and I’m using TiltShift video to get the nice blurry effect and to adjust the contrast and saturation. That is all I’m using for most of my out and about videos, and at home, I’m using a DSLR camera.
So I take it up, you know, go up a notch, and I did that because I figured it’s great to have the permanent tripod mount and the boom mic and the proper lighting. And I might as well, if I’m going to be filming at home, it’s not like I can skimp on $1,000 or $2,000 worth of set up, the funds were there, so I actually alternate.
But the interesting thing to me is my audience seems to be OK with it. They permit a change in production value when I’m out and about because they’re far more engaged in the story.
And probably one of the most ghetto videos I made was at the Ferrari museum in Italy, where my son, who was I think was probably 9 or 10 at the time, was holding a camera for the shots. But I still happen to stitch together a short story around that trip and people really liked that.
Jules: Yeah, I’ve seen that video. It’s excellent. And I think what strikes me about that is, the fact that, taking the opportunity to make videos, finding that metaphors in real life that you can actually get a business message out, so you talk about the experience of doing the test drive, and then about the Ferrari brand, and the service.
Whatever you can think of, you can actually combine a business message that you may have. Whatever kind of business you’re in, to something, some real world experience that makes it a lot more visual. That’s why, the big challenge with videos is making it visual, and particularly with business.
Now that’s why when you watch The Apprentice for example, the way that they produced those tasks they have to do are very visually done.
It’s not about, how many shoes can they sell on eBay. It’s more like, can you go out and sell, how many hotdogs can you sell in the market, right? They’re choosing tasks that are visual. Something that people can look out and understand the message.
I think that when you are making your videos, always try to find these metaphors. And you do that really well, sans the production values. I think, absolutely, you’re right. Again, a lot of TV shows are not like that. You’ll get the big, glossy set pieces.
I have done reality shows with five cameras in a studio type of environment, with loads of lighting and a big production and yet the actual footage of the contestants running around and jumping in taxis and doing all kinds of stuff… are shot by sometimes quite junior people with quite small camcorders getting into the action and being around.
The best camera in the world is the one you got with you. If something is happening and you got your camera, it’s far more valuable than waiting for a crew to turn up, or so to speak. So, again I think people are conditioned to be able to accept these different styles as well.
James: There must be some kind of evolution that people go through because it fascinates me that the biggest question I get asked all the time is equipment, equipment, equipment. What video you are using, and then they ask, what lights, what microphone.
Story And Emotion
The next part, the least focused on part is probably far more important, and that’s stuff like the story and the emotion. And the really advanced stuff that I’m really experimenting with now is the music and B-roll. I found some fascinating things in my video stats. I am using the Wistia player which I absolutely adore.
Interestingly, a recent video that I made which was a video for my live event of where I spliced in roles of surfing, and of all things, a seagull walking around and going like arhk arhk – that part of the video gets replayed more than any other part of the whole video.
It’s this little breakout between phases where there’s this seagull walking around squawking and a bit of background music. These things are really fun to play with but it seems like a lot of people are stuck with step one, equipment.
Jules: Yes. You’re right. There is a huge obsession which camera to get, which lens, which microphone and you’re gonna get swamp by that. I think you could have kind of break out from that.
Just try watching other people’s videos, learning from them, watching TV shows a little bit, are incredibly valuable and definitely, a lot of people are just sitting there and talking to the camera, it’s always better to actually show what you are talking about.
It sounds a little bit obvious. You can try and find other footage and get what we’re talking about. Think a little bit out of the box. Something that might be not obvious, but something that kind of relays the symbolism of that message.
I think you’re going to stand out, you know. Because a lot of entrepreneurs are making the wrong videos and not doing that, and by doing that, you’ll instantly, you will stand out.
James: In my live event video, my real specific goal and the premise of the event is come and live like I live. Come to the same beach that I live at, enjoy a Sydney summer surf, meet other people in a great relaxed environment and I wanted to inject that.
So with my other friend who was right in this stuff, Ryan Spanger, he was giving me some tips on the documentary aspect and storytelling aspect. I actually got some bits and pieces from different cameras. Everything from my phone to the Canon 60D. I had a go of editing it in ScreenFlow.
Outsourcing The Work
There is also the other option of paying someone to come and film stuff and edit it. And I’ve done that for clients as well. That is a super awesome idea, it is a relatively easy to do. You just pay someone and they do the work and then you get the results. But that’s probably for the higher market and I found for corporates, that is definitely the way to go.
The last thing I want to be doing is walking around with an iPhone and sitting here on ScreenFlow for hours. So that’s the kind of spectrum that I’ve worked with, filming and editing my own stuff through to having someone else to do it for a fee.
And now I found that little ground where I generally do the filming but I just put the raw file into Dropbox and my assistant has now got the same software.
She’s got ScreenFlow so I was actually able to export my templates to her and she’s able to edit it and she’s got real value from your course because she’s not me and she shortcuts the two years of editing by just watching the course which you kindly organized for us.
I wonder where most people sit in that spectrum. I suspect a lot of people are doing everything themselves.
Jules: I think you’re right. The advantages of doing it yourself, filming yourself, you can be very reactive and do it a lot quicker. You do not have to pan a headlight and say, this is going to be my video today. You can kind of react to the news happening or events that happens.
I think having the skills of filming is very valuable. Just on that note you are talking about, one very thing about the iPhone is the fact that it’s with you, you are building a library of footage.
Slices Of Life
You talked about surfing and seagulls. I think everybody should be capturing their life, just building their own library of footage, of stock footage because you never know when you come to make this video, your about me video or your sales video, you will be able to go in, find stuff and just go list it in keywords so you can find it later.
It can be shots of your kids or behind the scenes or something like that. Just having this archive is very, very useful. But going back to what I was saying, filming yourself is very, very useful but having an outsource to actually do some of the editing, definitely, if you got the budget for that, then that should be the way to go particularly when you are juggling a lot of stuff in your business.
James: Yeah, we started with podcasting and moved on to video and that sort have been the natural progression. We even offer the service now for a lot of people where they just have to put their raw stuff into Dropbox. We do the editing, whether it’s the audios or the videos.
I think there is going to be an increased demand for that sort of stuff but it is kind of difficult to organize on of the background. You get a lot of questions. Where to I hire someone? How do I train them? What equipment do I need?
There are a few obstacles to getting that done but I think the most important point is to be making those videos. Start making them.
The Advantages Of Today’s Technology
It is a tremendous boost to my business to be able to be on the screen to be out there and publish your own stuff is so liberating because it would have cost a fortune to have the equipment that we use now and take for granted at home.
Even what comes standard on an iPhone 5 is probably giving you as good an output as you might have had a few years back in a TV studio.
Jules: Absolutely. The quality is astonishing. It’s definitely high quality. I used to, about 12 years ago, be making shows for SkyTV, shooting them myself and the camera quality is probably half of the quality that you got with an iPhone. The technology made it easy. It’s so liberating.
I find that having worked for TV with a lot of people above me, like the executive producers, series producers and channel managers – all having their own input, helping and interfering the creative process. The whole thing alter by the time you get to the end.
Also, I make videos for clients as well, more like the business type videos for clients and normally, if you get to the company, you will have a sales manager involved.
You talk about the script and the vision you have will suddenly become altered down and it will be compromised whereas I think a lot of business owners don’t realize what power they’ve got not to have a lot of people above them.
The fact that you can actually make those decisions yourself, what you’re going to say, how you’re going to film it, what kind of style it’s going to be and publish them all on the same day without too much interference. That is absolutely liberating. That is what really excites me about this whole space.