This article will detail how I am able to make a comfortable side income by creating, editing and posting videos — all on a $200 Chromebook.
First things first
I have been a video producer to a greater or lesser degree practically my whole life, I began back in the days when the idea of editing a sophisticated or effects-laden show anywhere but inside a $300 an hour professional edit suite was a dream.
It hasn’t been all that long ago, really, since the idea of nonlinear editing came into being. That means editing digitally and not using two VCRs (videocassette recorders — remember those?) to put together your edited master videotape.
This process was cumbersome, time-consuming and often frustrating — not to mention expensive.
To get an idea of just how far we’ve come, watch this Brief History of Video Editing.
To visit the VideoBlocks site, click here.
Enter the 21st century
Video editing has clearly come a long way since those horse and buggy days when I began. And you are the happy beneficiary.
Nowadays you can put together a show directly from your smartphone that’s every bit as good as many of the programs I labored over way back when.
And, if you access those same online video editing sites from your laptop or PC — and yes, even your Chromebook — you’ll be able to put together very sophisticated looking shows by utilizing their templates.
How to edit online
Elsewhere on this site, I review six online editing sites and evaluate their merits. Click here to see that post. I won’t rehash it here.
But I will say that editing online — using a totally web-based laptop like the Chromebook — makes it possible to spend as much as 11 hours a day, sitting in your favorite easy chair — or coffee shop — or pub — with a tool that weighs less than a pound, yet possesses much of the editing punch of a laptop three times — or even six times its weight.
And all on a single battery charge. Amazing.
Everything is stored in The Cloud
The Google Cloud, to be specific. All your files will be stored here — everything from video clips to images.
Unless you choose to go the old fashioned way and store your stuff on a USB flash drive.
I frequently find that’s an easier option than storing things in the Cloud where they’re sometimes hard to find quickly.
Today, I’m going to recap how I find the three most essential elements of my shows simply by knowing where to look online. We’ll cover
- Video, and
How to download images from Google Images
More often than not, you’re going to want some great stock images for your videos. But you’d rather not pay a fee for a royalty-free image.
No worries. You can easily download very high-quality images from Google and do so without worrying about copyright infringement.
- Open up Google in a new tab.
- Click on Google Images
- Go to the bottom right hand corner and click Settings
- Then click Advanced Search
- Enter the name or type of image you’re looking for
- HINT: Sometimes being nonspecific will give good results. Otherwise, you are free to enter as complicated a term as you like.
- Scroll to the bottom and click the Usage Rights dropdown box
- Choose the option: Free to use or share, even commercially
- IMPORTANT: You must choose this option every time you come back to this page and do a new search. Otherwise, Google will give you coprighted images.
- Scroll down until something catches your eye, then click on it.
- This will open it up much larger and you can see an option to the right: View Image
- Click that and the image should open very large in a new window.
- Right click your mouse or use the keyboard command CTL+S to save the image.
- Again, I send it to a downloads folder I created on my flash drive, but feel free to store it in the Cloud if you wish. Choose My Drive under Google Drive in the Folders window that comes up.
- In any case, give it a name you’ll remember.
- Although frequently, I’ll create a specific folder for the show I’m currently working on, pick one title: “realestate,” for example, and then assign a series of consecutive numbers as I save them.
- But sometimes I get lazy and just use whatever title the image already has and rely on recognizing it in the folder (choose extra large icons in View settings for any folder).
How to download high-quality video clips
Pexels — This can be a good site, particularly for generic footage like a crowd walking. HINT: While you’re on this and other free video clips, try downloading about a dozen abstract sequences like this one. You may be surprised at how often you’ll wind up using them in the course of creating a show.
Pixabay –– Another relatively good site for generic footage. Get something specific — like sailboats — or download a bunch of free vector graphic sequences like this one.
Videvo — and the list goes on. We got these recommendations via a Google search for Free Video Clips. Videvo has some of the better quality clips, like this one of moon over water.
Where to find good production music — for free
Audionautix — This site has some of the best production music on the Web. Search for your tune among hundreds of tracks. Pay attention to the license agreement for each track, although if it says Creative Commons, like this one, you need not attribute the source of the music.
FreeMusicArchive — a veritable wealth of pretty good music. Most of it is Creative Commons, so no worries about attribution. Here’s a selection I found by going to the Instrumental section.
YouTube – a repository for an impressive collection of Creative Commons music — although most require attribution. Here you’re able to sort by genre, mood and length — which can be pretty handy if you already know your video’s length. Sorry, no shareable preview from these folks.
Just be sure to remember to cite the composer as well as the name of the piece for every cut you choose to use.
You can read more about exactly how to create a show in Animoto, my favorite online site, here.
But there are others, obviously — just differently featured — and all with free or paid options.