Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Make Money Off Of Viral Videos? Yes You Can!

June 25, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Marketing, Video Marketing

(This post is courtesy of

If you were a young filmmaker in the 1990’s, you dreamed about making feature films or having your TV pilot get picked up. If you’re a young filmmaker or videographer in the 2010’s, the dream is a little more accessible: to create a smash hit viral video.

The great thing about YouTube, Vimeo, Vine and other video sharing channels is that we all have a shot at making some real money behind the camera as long as our content is good enough. But what does that mean exactly? Does that mean that it’s so funny that it makes you laugh until it hurts? Is that all there is to great content? And beyond that, how do you turn a good video into real income?

It’s wise to open your mind up to all possible revenue streams from the start. The most obvious path for earning income through a video is with ad revenue. This may not net you much. A very popular video with over a million hits might reach the four figure mark for ad revenue, but the vast majority of videos, even popular ones reaching more than 100,000 views, are lucky to earn more than a few dollars in their lifetime, and if you’re using licensed music, then you can forget earning any ad revenue at all.

David After Dentist” has earned $100,000 after more than 100,000,000 views, but not many videos earn one hundred million views. It’s one thing to get lucky with caught footage that earns you that much revenue, but when you’re investing time, energy and professional production values into a video, you need more reliable revenue streams. You don’t buy a $2,000 HD video camera and study videography in order to play the lottery and shoot for nothing but million-to-one shots.

Licensing is another obvious path for revenue. These videos tend to launch catch phrases and mini-celebrities. They’re sort of like the sitcoms or television commercials of our time, with “Hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband” and “Don’t tase me, bro!” standing in for “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” and “Wheres the Beef?”

Not every viral video is ripe for this treatment, however. Studio 8 staged a “caught on camera” lightsaber battle at a birthday party. The concept launched the video into the six-figure view range, but it’s a difficult idea to capture on a t-shirt.

Creating the right content, then, is a big part of earning ad revenue through a viral video. Some may beg to differ, but it seems as if we can define strong, sharable, monetizable content as follows:

  • It resonates immediately: Videos that take all day to get to the point or that you have to really sit there and think about simply don’t have the immediate impact that gets people thinking “I have to share this with a friend right now.”
  • It’s easy to discuss: You might not need a catch phrase, but your video needs to be easy to talk about around the water cooler. What makes it appealing and why should I watch it? If you can’t answer that in ten words or less, then it might be a little too complex for viral fame.
  • You own everything: You don’t want any licensing issues regarding music and stock footage that you used. All-original content is your best bet to avoid these issues.
  • It fits on a t-shirt: Not every great video fits on a t-shirt, but just about anything that’s going to earn you any real money as a viral hit probably will.

What people are looking for when they’re browsing YouTube isn’t just something to make them laugh, it’s not just an insightful commentary or a mind blowing scientific fact. What they’re looking for is a cultural touchstone. Something to share, to talk about with their friends, and to watch again and again. Create with this in mind and you’ll have a much better shot at a viral hit that can earn you real income.

Other Posts You’ll Want to Read:

Vimeo on Demand: Make Money Selling Your Videos Through Vimeo

Vimeo Tip Jar: Make Money On Your Videos

YouTube Videos – Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Them Going Viral

Our Top Tips To Getting Your Videos Viral

Stabilizers: Here’s Why This is Another Video Essential For Professional Looking Video

You have a plan, script and maybe even put together your shot list. Let’s now focus on what you need to get those great shots – using stabilizers!

Cameras are getting smarter and many now come with built-in image stabilizers and editing systems have plug ins that help you steady your shots but you don’t want to rely on these because they aren’t perfect, compromises image quality, and really aren’t meant to take the place of using a tripod, monopod, or other stabilizer.


Your camera can’t get a clean stable shot by itself even if you think you have the steadiest hand in the world. I know the hand held look is a lot more accepted these days but did you know that what you see the cinematographers do on television and in the movies takes a very practiced hand to give you the sense of hand held but not in a distracting way. Most of these are done with the use of a stabilizer…even if it’s just what they have at hand, a table top, doorway, knee, etc.

I own 4 video tripods and six monopods. No lie. Some are cheap and inexpensive that I can take with me on a trip or easily throw in the trunk of my car.

But I use a good tripod when it matters. I also use my monopod a LOT! Not only does it serve to stabilize my shot much better than hand holding, it also allows me to get some cool angles on the fly.

It’s also a good idea to keep a very tiny table-top device to attach to your mobile phone in the trunk, your purse or a backpack – just in case.

What To Do If You Don’t Have a Stabilizer With You

There are going to be times when you won’t have a stabilizer handy but don’t let that keep you from steadying your shot. Look around you and see what is available to you to help you stabilizer your camera.

Shooting an interview? Prop your camera against something, like a purse or bag, on top of a table. Need the camera higher? Use empty upside down water or wine glasses.

Shooting outdoors? You can prop your camera up on a fence, car hood, against a tree or on a low, hanging limb.

You can even use your body to steady your shots.

While handheld shooting for spur of the moment testimonial or marketing videos is better than not getting the shot, if you’re going for a higher a beautiful cinematic scene or want to inspire awe in your production, you won’t if the video is shaky, and small cameras and DSLRs shake. Especially smartphone cameras when you hold them out in front of you!

If you’re going for that one long distance shot where you’re zoomed all the way in to climbers hanging to the side of El Capitan in Yosemite, you need to be on a tripod. Period.

So go invest in a tripod please, and make sure you use it!

Next week: Why you need decent audio.

Other Posts On This Topic

The Steadicam Merlin 2 – For A Smooth Moving Shot Wherever The Scene Takes You

Camera Support Designed For The Small Camera – The Dougmon

SteddiePod – A Tripod, Monopod, Jib And Boom All In One? Yes!

Video Gear: Throw A Travel Sized Tripod In Your Bag

iPhone Stabilizer – 3 Options For You When Shooting Video

How To Make Videos Without The Shakes

Video Gear: One Cool Little Tripod You Gotta Get



Arri L-Series – The “Gel Killer” Fresnel Light

June 21, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts

The Arri L-Series fresnel light was on display at the NAB show and although this light costs more than my budget allows at the moment, watch this short video to see why it caught my eye and why I wanted to show it to you in this very short 1 minute video.

(If you can’t view this video on this page, you can watch it here on YouTube.)

A Fresnel Light (pronounced “fre-nel”) is a focusable spotlight with a fresnel lens on the front of the light. This lens casts a soft, even illumination across the light’s beam. The light is adjusted via a knob on the back of the light from “spot” for a narrowly focused beam, to “flood” for a wider beam. You see these types of lenses used in film, television, and theater lighting, due largely to the ability to focus the beam and the “throw” it affords.

More and more, you’re seeing LED technology that is producing video lights that have more complete control over the color and intensity of light than ever before and this Arri light is a great example of that.

Normally you control the color of lights with gels, which is cumbersome and expensive, and difficult to get an exact color. Watch the video and see why I call this light the “gel killer.”

Do I want one? Yes, I sure do! They aren’t cheap, but are oh, so nice. You can find the one I show you in the video, the Arri L-7T Tungsten LED Fresnel (Stand Mount), at B&H Audio Video.

More Recent Reviews and Posts on Lighting Equipment

Lighting For Video: Meet Lumos’ Trip Series LED Lights And See Why They’re #1 In Asia

The Anova iPhone Controlled LED Video Light “Lights” Up NAB

DIY Video Lighting: How To Get A Soft Box Effect

Lighting A White Background To Get That “Heavenly” Effect

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