Video increases engagement. All of us tend to pause just a little bit when we see a video. Whether it is in your Facebook or LinkedIn newsfeed or most anywhere else on the web we might be surfing at the moment.
Fortunately, a video does not always have to be a talking head. I realize that many of you reading this are put off by recording yourself on video. While I do think that is a great engagement opportunity, there are some other ways to create videos that don’t require you to talk into a camera.
A few months ago I came across a video creation tool that takes the content of an article you have posted on your website (or elsewhere) and automatically creates a video. This service takes the text of your article, summarizes it into a shorter form, and adds appropriate images and audio to create a quick, engaging video. The service is called Lumen5.
Getting Started with Lumen5
Getting started with Lumen5 is quick and easy. You just enter the website address (URL) of one of your existing articles and click Create. You can also “use your content,” which opens a box where you can paste the text you would like to use for the video.
Choosing Your Text
Once you have selected the text you want to use, the “storyboard” panel opens. The left-hand panel shows the complete text of the article and the right-hand storyboard panel shows the text used in the video. Each text field displays the text that will show on an individual slide. You can add, edit and rearrange the order of text to create the content and flow exactly the way you want. It is strongly suggested that text fields contain less than 140 characters. A word count provides an easy way to determine if you should break text up into an another “scene.”
Selecting Images, Colors, and Music
Once the text is the way you want it, click Continue to see all your text arranged on individual slides, with some images. These images have automatically been chosen based on keywords in the text. All photos are “royalty-free” so you do not have to worry about breaching any copyright restrictions. If a picture requires attribution, a slide will automatically be added at the end of the video providing appropriate attribution.
If you do not like the images selected automatically, you can change the images just by dragging and dropping a new image onto a slide.
What are Lumen5 Smart Templates?
Another option to create these videos is the “smart template.”
Smart Templates are a series of video templates intelligently crafted by the Lumen5 system based on your industry and interests. When you add the RSS feed for your website, any new articles published will automatically be created based on the article content. When you publish a new article, the system automatically generates a new video based on the content. These custom-tailored videos are delivered straight to your inbox.
If these automatically generated videos did not come out quite right, you have full editing capabilities as described above.
Finishing and Rendering
Once you are happy with the video, hit Publish. The video will take some time to render (a process for making the video publishable) — how long depends on how many other videos are being created at the same time. A message will give you a rough idea of how long it will take to be ready. During the rendering process, there is no need to remain on the site. You will receive an email notification when the video is available to use.
Here’s a sample of a video I created using Lumen5 for one of my previous TechTips articles. This video took me less than 10 minutes to create. It is less than one minute long.
How Much Does It Cost?
Lumen5 has a free and a paid version.
The free version allows you to create unlimited videos, provides access to millions of photos, videos, and music tracks, and gives you all the editing capabilities described above. The credit screen at the end of the video does include Lumen5 branding.
The paid version allows you to create a higher quality video (720p and 1080p HD), and hide the Lumen5 branding in the credit screen. The cost for the Pro version is $49 per month.
I continue to use the free version as I have not seen the necessity for higher quality video and I am okay (at least currently) with the Lumen5 branding on the credit screen.
What video tools have you found helpful to get your message out?