When I released this personal brand video explaining a little about who I am, what I’m about, and what I do several people positively reacted to it (also, several people didn't). I didn’t really expect much to happen when I put it out there, but within moments I received several messages and emails asking how I did it. So, for those of you who are interested in how I did it, this blog post is for you. The techniques I used were fairly simple and in this post, I’m going to provide the step-by-step method I used to create this video. You don't have to do exactly what I did. I'm just showing you how to get the exact same results. Feel free to modify any of these steps as you wish.

Finished Video

How-To Video

The Tools

First, here is a list of the tools I used. Not all of them are necessary, but they're the ones I used. For the pieces where I'm aware of alternatives that will accomplish the same thing, I put these in parentheses.

  1. Apple Keynote (Version 5.1.1) for Mac (Apple Keynote for iPad will accomplish a similar effect)
  2. Final Cut Pro X for Mac (iMovie for both Mac and iPad will accomplish the same thing)
  3. Typeface: Gotham Light and Gotham Medium Italic (Gotham is a premium font set—for a free typeface that will pretty similar, try Gill Sans and Gill Sans Bold). Also Gotham is a very, very thin typeface. When exporting it can look slightly grainy, so a heavier one may actually produce better results.
  4. Color: RGB Profile: 231, 88, 2
  5. Pen and Paper or some application where you can be free with your thoughts and document what comes to mind: I like distraction free text editors. My favorite is iA Writer, followed by WriteRoom, and for large documents I use Scrivener). If you're using an iPad, I use both Notability and Note Taker HD, although I do find Notability much more accessible. Notepad on Windows and TextEdit for Mac will also get the job done. For me, however, there's simply no replacement for pen and paper.
  6. Audacity: Audacity is a power audio editor. And it's free. For this presentation I didn't need to use it, but I often find it much faster for basic fades, cuts, and conversions than GarageBand, Logic, Adobe Sound Booth, etc.

Step 1: Develop The Content

Before I opened any program, I seriously thought about both the community and the message. I always want to be extremely clear about what I want to communicate and with whom I need to communicate that message. I'm not a fan of one-way communication. That's why I ended the video with, "Everyone has a story. What's yours?" After I thought about that, I put the pen to paper and created an outline of how to develop the story. Once the outline was complete, I began drafting sentences. I chose to use a very approachable style because that's who I am, implemented a few pieces of humor, and employed heavy use of ellipses (…). *Hint: rather than typing three periods, the way to create a true ellipses on a Mac is "Option and Semicolon" and "ALT 0133" on Windows. That will keep them together and only use one character (very useful when laying out text or using Twitter). Once I had everything more or less written on paper, I moved on to the next step…

Step 2: Prepare the Presentation

I used Apple's Keynote for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the presentation size is already optimized for high definition and high resolution displays and a 16:9 aspect ratio. This is a good thing when the final presentation is destined for YouTube, Vimeo, Blip.tv, or will be used with newer projectors or wide screen televisions and monitors. However, this may pose a problem if you plan on presenting using older 4:3 aspect ratios, such as older projectors and CRT monitors. If you don't change output settings, it's easy to have a good portion of your presentation extend beyond the projector screen, wall, or display. For those situations PowerPoint may be a better option for you. Also, if you don't have a Mac or have access to one, PowerPoint may be one of your only options. However, two good open source (i.e., free) alternatives are Google Docs Presentation and Impress, which is part of the Open Office Suite. Once you open Keynote, you are asked to choose a theme. I chose "Showroom" because the background is just simple enough to not be boring and provides just enough silver and contrast without being too much. Now, the steps…

  1. Open Apple Keynote
  2. Choose a theme
  3. Save the document
  4. Delete the existing text boxes
  5. Click Text Box at the top to place a new text box in the center
  6. Click Inspector, Colors, and Text at the top to open their respective windows
  7. Highlight the sample text and use your inspectors to choose the font, size, and color you want (For me, the font is Gotham Light for the regular text and Gotham Medium Italic where I want emphasis, the color is orange—231, 88, 2 RGB specifically, and the size is 72, because I exported the video at 1920 by 1080 resolution and didn't want the text to be too small.
  8. Once you have your text the way you want it, duplicate the slide until you have the number of slides you need
  9. Type the content
  10. Spell Check
  11. Run the presentation and manually advance to check for flow. Also start thinking about which slides need to remain longer (both because of the time necessary to read them, and for emphasis on key messages and style).
  12. Spell Check
  13. If you are going to add music, keep in mind that you will either need to edit the audio so that it fades out towards the end or ends with the presentation (you can either change the audio or the presentation so that they match)
  14. Go back and add emphasis where you want them by either changing color, size, font, weight, or a combination
  15. Take a break and enjoy a nice glass of coffee, tea, water, or whatever you drink. Look outside and notice something new…or old…just notice something

Open keynote and select your theme

Highlight the text boxes and delete them.

Create a new text box by clicking the "Text Box" button at the top.

Open the Inspector, Font, and Color toolbars, and set your parameters.

Duplicate the slides and insert your text.

Step 3: Add Transitions

Believe it or not, you're finished with the difficult stuff. Now it's time to put make this presentation come to life. By adding the transitions and establishing the timing you can watch as you have effectively created a video.

  1. In the sidebar on the left, select all of your slides
  2. In the Inspector window, select the second icon from the left which is the Slide Inspector
  3. Click the drop down under Effects and choose the transition you like. I chose Anagram under Text Effects
  4. Select the duration of the effect and the delay for when it should take place. I chose 2 seconds for the duration and a 1 second delay for most of the slides.
  5. Go back and highlight the individual slides that need shorter or longer durations and/or delays and adjust them accordingly

Step 4: Add Audio

Here I'll show you how to add an audio track and/or voiceover. I didn't create a voiceover for this presentation, but I might go back and create one to increase the ability for it to reach more people.

Follow these steps to add audio:

  1. In the Inspector window, click the first icon on the left which is the Document Inspector
  2. Then click Audio
  3. Either drag the track you want to use into the box or click the iTunes button
  4. Adjust the volume as necessary (usually better to keep almost at max)

Follow these steps to add a voiceover (hint - it is best if you can use an external microphone):

  1. In the Inspector window, click the first icon on the left Document
  2. Then click Audio
  3. Click record
  4. Record your audio as the presentation progresses
  5. Press the escape key to save the recording

Step 5: Play the Presentation and Fine Tune

Here's where you begin to see the fruits of your labor. Click the play button in the upper left of the screen to play back the presentation from the beginning. Check to make sure the music makes sense and ends when it should. If you have another person nearby, see if they'll watch the presentation and provide any feedback. Make sure you ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I have enough time to read everything?
  • Does the presentation get boring because of content and/or timing?
  • Are there any misspellings?
  • How does the music, voiceover, etc. fit?
  • Is there a better way to say something that I'm saying?
  • Have I covered everything I want to say?
  • Is the audience/community left with wanting a little more?
  • Will this presentation truly serve its purpose?

After everything checks out, make any final adjustments. At this point, you are almost finished.

Step 6: Export The Movie

Once you are satisfied with the product, the timing, etc. it's time to export the presentation as a QuickTime movie. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Save all changes
  2. Click file in the menu bar, then export
  3. For Playback Uses select Manual Advance. This will make sure the video exports the video based on the timing and transitions you set earlier.
  4. For Format I always select Full Quality, Large because I can always convert it down later. You can't convert it up.
  5. Make sure both checkboxes for audio are checked, then click Next.
  6. Now, select the location you want to save the files and, name your file, and click Export.
  7. Keynote will now render your presentation and save two files as QuickTime Movies. One will be the actual video, and the other will be the soundtrack.

Export your video

Check your settings and make sure you export both audio and video.

Step 7: Combine the Audio and Video

Take your two videos and open up your favorite movie editor. I use Final Cut Pro, but it's definitely not necessary for what we are about to do. In whatever program you use, simply import the two clips, lay them on top of each other, and then adjust them to make sure they fit properly. I'll show you how I did it in Final Cut Pro. The steps are going to be fairly identical in iMovie.

  1. Create new project
  2. Import the video and the soundtrack into the new project
  3. Place both the video and the soundtrack in the timeline (I actually slid the music over to the right a little to drop it into the video when "Michael B. Maine" was introduced.
  4. Preview video
  5. Click Share, and Export Media to export the final movie

Mix the audio and the video together, make final adjustments and export movie.

Step 8: Upload to Your Favorite Video Hosting Service

Once I was finished with the final movie, I uploaded it to YouTube, Vimeo, and Blip.tv. If you want to compare the differences in how each service processes the final product you can see each of them at the links below.

  • "Who Is Michael B. Maine" on YouTube
  • "Who Is Michael B. Maine" on Vimeo
  • "Who Is Michael B. Maine" on Blip.tv

Thank you!

Thanks for hanging in there. I hope you found this useful. Let me know what you thought about this tutorial. Whether good or bad, I want to know your thoughts. How can I make this better. Also, if you would like to sign up for more tips, how-to's, invitations, and news, fill out the form below to be added to my newsletter.