On a cool, early spring day I was investigating some property I owned with my then new Sony DSC-T30 Cybercam. It is a very small, “ultra-compact” camera that is about the size of an average deck of playing cards. Near the boat launch area I noticed a giant Blue Heron, hanging in a tree. The tree was a gruesome hulk of an old oak, about 80 feet tall and completely inaccessible. It was clear this bird had somehow slipped while perched on the only branch and got caught in the only fork in that otherwise barren branch.

What does this have to do with video? Well at that moment while I was taking pictures, I flipped my new camera to the video mode and handed it to a friend and instructed him how to push the start button. That was where I did my first video that I later combined into a video and posted on YouTube. Although I did some formatting using Windows Movie Live, the whole process of getting from the scene to YouTube took about 20 minutes. That was about 200 videos ago. That camera is so small I carry it with me like that guy who used to pack his HP calculator. Okay, I may be using a dated example, but like that HP, I find my camera as a great tool, allowing me to create media when the moment presents itself and since the camera is compact (and the new ones are even smaller), it is easily packed on my belt or in my pant’s pocket.

My ancient, but trustworthy Sony ultra-compact camera. 40,000 pictures and 200 videos later, well used!

Creating videos is pretty easy and even better, it is a powerful way to network on Social media. With proper use of keywords and key phrases, you can capture traffic, create a network and engage that network in ways that can help you build your business. That is why YouTube is one of the more important Social Median networks to market to. Videos also allow you to create interesting, personal messages support your business, product or service. I am not talking about a commercial either. You should create compelling video content for your site visitors to keep people coming back to your site which again, offers you opportunity to build your business.

Your media should be presented in a way that is fun, yet professional. Although I said you should not create commercials, there are lessons to be learned from that industry. The key one is that people remember the fun commercials and tend to share messages they think others will enjoy as well. Your message should be presented with the minimum of production and get to the point fast. Your message should have good audio and video quality so that people will enjoy watching the content. If your video is like watching a movie underwater or the sound is distorted or hard to listen to, people will “opt out” and move on.

When you get it right, you will know because people will “opt-in”. The ideal behavior is that they will friend or better, subscribe to your channel. If you do your keywords and phrases smartly, as well as brand your video with your web address, some, if not all that find your message compelling will follow up and visit your website. If you have created compelling content for your website, you have an excellent chance that the process of uploading a ten minute video will have created a great lead, new client and promoted your business, product or service.

There are other advantages currently in hot debate on how multimedia such as YouTube movies can help your websites search engine optimization. The current suggestion is that uploading videos is a positive to your search engine ranking. Now whether that gets you from page 50 to page 30 isn’t really that important. What is clearly an opportunity is that by your posting videos or even building relevant “Playlists” to deploy in your website, you have now increase your visibility on the Internet. If you have a website, you now have another link to your website whether that be in the opening and closing credit titles on your video or in your profile. Links are your friend and you have a lots of tools in YouTube to make them relevant.

How to do it?

Microsoft Lifecam Show HD webcam for your laptop or netbook.

The tools are also quite simple and affordable whether you want to use a hand-held compact camera, a DSLR, an HD web video cam (Kodak Zi8 is a great choice) or a web cam on your computer. Free software that allows adding branding art, titles and additional images is readily available for Windows based computers and is part of the basic software that comes with most Apple computers. Other software packages available for under $100 include Pinnacle Studio Ultimate, Adobe Premier, Sony Vegas, and others. Just be aware of the software’s requirements of your computer. Although most of these software programs will work with any Pentium 4 computer, some do have memory and processor requirements for compiling movies in higher resolutions such as high definition. (720/1080)

You can even shoot High Definition via your desktop or using a hand-held camera. Currently both my desktop and my laptop are equipped with web cams that have 1280 by 720 dpi HD capacity and the camera that will replace my trusty Sony will shout up to 1080 HD. Shooting HD is not necessary, but I suggest that YouTube wants you too! I say this because although you can only upload a ten minute video on YouTube, it doesn’t matter if that is produced as a HD or a 320×240 (low resolution) movie. There is a big difference in how much data it takes to do HD over any other resolution, but YouTube doesn’t care as long as it is ten minutes or shorter. Given that more and more people can push their computer to their television, I am opting for HD because it looks, well, high quality compared to the next best choice of 640×480.

Once you see High Definition, (1280×720), you won’t really want to consume anything else. For your information, although it seems that HD is about twice the resolution as the next format, when you count pixels, you get the idea just how much more information HD presents. 640×480=307200 total pixels whereas 1280×720=912600 pixels. That is about three times more detail and we are talking the lowest version of HD currently available. Furthermore, two years ago they were already debuting the future HD possibilities that included four times 1080P at CES. I will suggest to you that shooting anything less than HD is like creating movies for black and white television.

Today you can find a variety of compact cameras that will shoot HD video for less than $250 and a few that will go fully HD for around $400. I prefer the Sony products because of experience and that unlike many other cameras, Sony cameras will shoot video AND sound while zooming. This seems like a picky feature, but some cameras are so noisy that they disable audio when you zoom. There are also “blogger” video cameras that record in HD for $100 to $250 and the web camera that I used to do the video embedded below retails for under $50. To see that video camera in action visit http://plugpitch.com where there are three videos. The first is done in 640×480 and the two following which are marked “HD” are done with using a webcam. All videos are produced using “green screen” friendly software as well.