This was my first attempt at making an online video. Impressed? I thought so. Before I went to Mesh I brought my camera with big plans to create the most wonderful content. I thought that after the workshop (Making Online Videos) by the MGI crew I would have this awesome video. Well, truth be told a lot of work goes into making great online videos and I was missing some of the equipment. I did however learn a lot of tricks of the trade that I will be taking into consideration with the next video I make.Here are some of the tools you should have and why you need them (in order of importance):

Camera – yes, I had one. Not a fancy HD kind but they said that just having a camera is good enough for beginners.

Microphone – This is a must have if you want to have decent audio. They explained that a camera mic can pick up all that ambient noise and then you miss out on what the subject is saying. My original plan was to interview people but I switched it up because I didn’t have a mic.

Tripod – Dizzy much? I definitely will invest in one. Especially for those far away zoom in shots; it’s even harder to stay steady for those.

Bounce board – It’s one of those things that looks like you would use it to tan. I definitely could have used better lighting in some of those shots but I certainly would have looked awkward carrying it around. Their advice was to shoot in the sun when possible.

Why is video so important?

Just like with blogs, people are learning to become content producers and, in some cases, online video shows can look as professional as anything you might find on television. There is a lot of opportunity for organizations to reach out to these influencers. You can listen to what they say about your company or product, your company can even sponsor or advertise on their show. From the production aspect, video could be an alternative for your company to express and engage its customers online. Just look at the success of “Will it Blend?

In the panel “Video is Everywhere” all three speakers agreed that the future of television is online. Dina Kaplan, co-founder and COO of, explained that a major part of their business model is not only enabling people to host their shows but also connecting influencers with advertising dollars. There are plenty of opportunities to reach out to your audience through online video.

Rules to Live By

Just slapping together some clips, throwing a few powerpoint-like transitions and finishing off with cool music isn’t your way to the top (yes, glaring example of my video; I know). Producing a good show takes time, practice and staying true to the rules below.

1) Content is king. Can we drill this home enough? Nowadays it doesn’t matter what you are producing, a blog post, podcast, even your product. If it sucks, people will tell you.

2) Educate and Entertain. The MGI media crew have a formula they call E squared, education x entertainment. You want your audience to learn something as well as be entertained. The lesson doesn’t have to be as complex as chemistry but they should be able to walk away with at least a tidbit of new information.

3) Tailor your content. This is the beauty of having so many online options and niches. Do you like knitting? Origami? Steam punk? Make a show about it because, more than likely, there are a lot of people like you that enjoy the same topic. The bonus, as a content creator, is that you get to work on something that you are really passionate about.

4) Engage your audience. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. By participating in different communities you promote your show. This doesn’t mean spamming and leaving links to your show everywhere. Haven’t you learned? Instead, leave comments on other shows and participate in conversations related to the topic of your show. The people you engage will check you out and if you followed rule #1 you’re set.

5) Be regular. As in distribution. Your audience should expect when you are putting content out there. If it takes you two weeks to produce a decent show then take that time. It’s more important to follow the rules above and to be consistent.

*MGI media recorded the workshop; you can check it out here.*


  1. Love the video. Great first attempt. Way better than most. My first video online was really, really bad.

    That panel looks good. I have free guide to making online videos available. Just click my name if you want more info.

    Congrats on video!

  2. Awesome first video, Zoe!!

    It presents a wonderful snapshot of Mesh. Love the Thievery Corporation song…
    I’ll be checking out the link to the MCI workshop. Hmmm, I’m tempted to dive into this video world. Thanks for the inspiration, Zoe!

  3. Jim – thanks for the warm words! I’m really looking to stretch out into the world of videos so the link will come in handy. I’ll probably bug you on twitter for some advice as well 🙂

    Charlotte – I really enjoyed making (and shooting) it. A little side note for the song: I came across it in a cd that was given away free in an issue of Wired magazine all about Creative Commons. The entire cd is loaded with great music (even something from the Beastie Boys). You can check out the article and the tunes here

  4. A mic is especially important if you do choose natural light and shoot outdoors. Wind noise often drowns out noise from the camera mic and sometimes the lav that you clip on your subject. It’s suggested to do a test outside with the mike and play it back quickly to ensure you can hear your subject over the wind before you shoot the scene and realize you can’t hear anybody in it.

  5. Guinevere – Thanks for the advice. I’ve been testing out a lot of different scenarios for sound so that I know what to expect. It’s amazing what the camera mic will pick up.

    Great panel at Mesh, btw! Thanks for the visit.


  6. Zoe, I can’t believe this is your first video – it’s fabulous and really captured the essence of mesh. You’ve set the bar pretty high. I have a Flip video on the way and now have a tough act to follow.

    Thanks for summarizing your workshop notes. I arrived late and although I know MCI had posted the presentation online, I like having notes from the perspective of someone in the audience too.

  7. Thanks Eden!

    I have been buying and testing out a ton of different cameras. Flip is on my list but hard to do b/c they don’t sell it in Canadian stores (makes it annoying to return if I don’t like it).

    Also, if you check out Jim Kukral’s comment above; his name links to an online video kit for beginners. He is a huge Flip camera guru and the video kit has great information.


  8. Hi Zoe,

    Thanks for the shout out to our presentation and we’re very glad you found some tips you could use right away.

    Keep up the good work!

    Jeff MacArthur

  9. As one customer who had a problem with a flip (purchased by a friend visiting the U.S.) I hear you loud and clear. I should have my repaired or replaced one by next week and will let you know how it goes.

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