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March 05, 2009
How to produce a 2-person video blog post
Afterward, a common question has been: how do you do them? Here's a 9-step tutorial. On a Mac, the technology is pretty simple. If you're on a PC, sorry, we can't help.
1. Download the Mac beta version of Skype (version 2.8.0, free). Skype is your connection engine. The beta version features dramatically improved video and sound capabilities. (We previously used Ooovoo, which has a sweet display of side-by-side videos, but Skype's video and sound quality are vastly better. Plus, Oovoo kept crashing on my Mac, even after a reinstall.)
2. Download Call Recorder ($14.95, demo version available). It plugs into Skype; only one of you needs to have Call Recorder on your machine to record your interview, chat, or debate.
3. Click on the "recording" settings of Skype. In the Preferences menu, here's how we set our options:
- Audio encoding: AAC compression
- Audio quality: High
- Video encoding: H.264
- Video image size: 320x240
- Video frame rate: Maximum
- Record video: Two Track
4. We use the built-in iSight cameras that are standard with most Mac laptops. You can buy add-on software called iGlasses ($9.95) that lets you adjust camera color, brightness and contrast. It also sharpens the picture.
5. We set our cameras at eye level so it doesn't seem as if we're staring down a well. To do that, we perch our laptops on a stack of books. We try to record in early afternoons, when sunlight streams through each of our respective windows, giving us the best light source.
6. Wear earbuds. Both of you. They make it easier to hear the other person better and more importantly, prevents an echo of the other person's voice feeding back into the microphone. We hide the cords behind our necks. (We use the Mac's built-in mic, but a plug-in mic sounds much better. A relatively new variety of USB-driven mics sound great.)
7. We direct-connect both laptops to a broadband source rather than using wi-fi, whose signal can drop out for myriad reasons, causing glitches in sound and/or video.
8. When you're ready to record, push the "record" button in the Call Recorder window. When you're done, run your video through a translation program that comes with Call Recorder, called "Convert for Internet." This takes the two audio tracks and converts them into one. Depending on the length of your video, the conversion can take anywhere from 10-60 minutes.
9. We upload everything to our YouTube account. Translation there is S-L-O-W. Paint the house, or go house shopping while waiting. Not to give YouTube too much good-natured grief, it recently changed its file-size limit from 100MB to 1GB. Nice. To embed the completed video into your blog, copy the "embed" code and paste into your blog post. On Typepad, which we use, you'll have to switch your view from Rich Text to HTML. Remember that your RSS subscribers probably can''t view embedded videos, so include a link to your video on YouTube (or Vimeo or Blip.tv or whichever site you use).
That's it. The easy part is the technology. The hard part is picking an interesting topic, staying relaxed and keeping the video to under five minutes.
Let us know in the comments if you decided to produce a bloggingheads video after this tutorial, then link to it.
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Bless you, Ben - this tutorial was so helpful! Makes me want to try it, too. And thanks for the lead on iGlasses! Didn't even know that program existed. You and Jackie ROCK.
Michele -- Well, thanks! As for doing your own 2-person video post, go for it.
Great post thanks. Found you through Twitter and just what I was looking for. How do you embed the video into your blog?
Ben & Jackie,
I used to listen to your Church of the Customer podcast years ago. I even won your contest for the autographed copy of your book Creating Customer Evangelists. I am so glad I finally found you both again. I’ve signed up for each of your Twitter accounts and look forward to reading your blog. I’ll have to pick up your latest book. It’s great to be back in touch.
Sally -- I updated a step 9 to the tutorial to address your question, but basically it's copy the "embed" code from YouTube into your blog post. The embed code is found in the upper-right-hand corner of your uploaded YouTube file.
Jonathan -- Good to see you again! Hope you enjoy the second book. It picks up where the first one left off.
Thanks for the step-by-step instructions.
Will give it a try. Hope I will have same results as you had.
I am glad to talk with you and you give me great help! Thanks for that， I am wonderring if i
can contact you via email when i meet problems?
Bryan Person used this method to record a video conversation with me last week, and it turned out very well. Here's the link to the blog post I did about it:
And here's the post on Bryan's blog:
I'm going to try one myself today with Brent Evans of the GeekTonic.com blog, for my Kindle Chronicles audio podcast about the Kindle. Thanks for sharing this!
Nice job, Len and Bryan!