Anyone who has a Facebook business or fan page is likely, at some point, to want to create a video to promote that page. I know, I’ve done it with some of my other online projects, so I want to go through a quick and easy way you can use free software on your Mac (which is already likely to be pre-installed!) to produce a great little promotional video that you can use on YouTube or Facebook.
The Software You’ll Need
The very first thing you’ll need isn’t really software at all, but is in fact some photos. Decide what you want your video to be about – in our case, it’s Mr Bluescrubs advertising a web store that he can be purchased (along with many other things) from. So, we’re going to need some photos of Mr Bluescrubs, holding various items of jewellery or other things that are for sale. 4 or 5 photos should be plenty but do make sure they’re good quality photos as this will be the main view of your video.
Once you’ve got your photos you have a choice now. You can add captions directly to the photos using image editing software (such as Affinity Photo, Adobe Photoshop or something similar) or you can use the video creation software we’ll talk about in a moment to add captions.
Having decided which photos you’re going to use, you’re now going to need to put them into iMovie, which is now free and available from the Mac App Store. You can use iMovie for a whole raft of things, but it’s really good at stitching together stills photos into a video as we’ll see shortly.
Finally you’ll need a bit of a soundtrack to go with it all. The choice of this will be entirely up to you, but we’d certainly advise you to avoid the use of copyrighted tracks otherwise you’ll at best be asked to remove your video and at worst be sued for loads of money for using someone elses copyrighted works. If you don’t have any available music to go with your video, you can head to Shutterstock and find a track, but this will cost you around £34.00 for a licence to use the track.
Putting It Together
Putting it all together in iMovie is relatively straight forward – like most things Apple, it’s mostly a matter of dragging and dropping items – in this case photos. So, open up iMovie and click on the Create New box and then click the Movie option. There’s plenty you can do with iMovie but for now we’ll just stick with putting photos into a slideshow video. You should then see the window to the right. Open up Finder and select the images you want to use in this video. Drag and drop the pictures from the Finder onto the top left area marked Import Media.
From there, you can drag the individual photos down to the main area at the bottom and can then arrange them into an order that’s required. Once you’ve done that you can begin to get iMovie to work its magic.
Firstly, you can adjust the pan and zoom settings – if indeed you want any pan and zoom. I’ve found the video looks much more fluid and more like a video rather than a collection of stills if you have pan and zoom switched on. To alter the pan and zoom effects you’ll need to select the specific photo, then choose the cropping tool and then choose the Ken Burns effect. From there you can choose the starting size of the image and the ending size of the image, which iMovie will then move and scale smoothly across the length of time the picture is displayed. If you want to zoom in and then display the zoomed image for a few seconds longer you can either add a freeze frame section at the end of the selection or, as in the video I produced, I actually wanted the image to start zoomed out and the zoom in after a few seconds. The only way I found to achieve this was to add the picture twice, the first with no cropping selected and the second with the cropping as illustrated.
You can now add your captions using iMovie by clicking the Captions header in the top left window. There are various captioning options within iMovie, though the ability to customize these captions is fairly limited. This is where the idea of captioning your pictures in an external package such as Affinity Photo comes in, as you can add background colours and rotate the text if you want to, which isn’t available if you use the iMovie captions.
Having said that, if you caption externally straight on to the actual photos that you’re entering, you’ll need to pay attention to the pan and zoom settings you want, as the caption may not be displayed properly when zoomed. You may find that it’s better to pan and zoom the photo without a caption and then have a still photo displayed after the zoom with the caption. It’ll look a lot better if you have the same pan/zoom setting in the still photo as the end frame of the previous pan and zoom so that the video doesn’t suddenly jump to a different section of the photo or zoom level.
The Easiest Way to Create Facebook Videos
The method above is essentially free, especially if you can find some Creative Commons licensed music to use as a backing track. But whilst the method above is fairly straightforward when you get used to it, it is a bit fiddly for beginners and can involve some cost if you need to pay for your background music.
There are however, various online services that can create Facebook (or indeed, YouTube or any other format of video) videos simply by uploading your photos and creating captions. I’ve not used many of these but I have played with Clipman and I found this very easy to use. It will cost you a monthly fee to use Clipman but if you’re looking to do videos quickly (and a few of them) it could easily pay for itself in saved time.
The other alternative, if you don’t mind spending a small amount for some software, is Filmora 9. Filmora 9 comes with a number of free backing tracks as well as some great effects. The effects that Filmora 9 comes with allow transitions between scenes and captioning videos too. Filmora 9 provides a lot more flexibility and features compared to iMovie. For more information about Filmora 9, have a look at this review article about it.
Why Create Facebook Videos Anyway?
If you have an online business, or indeed even a ‘bricks and mortar’ business that you’re looking to promote then the statistics speak for themselves. Facebook videos tend to convert much better than simple images and the ability to retarget your audience based on how much of the video they watched can be very useful to put other videos in front of people who showed some interest in your business but didn’t convert the first time. I’m not going to get into Facebook advertising tutorials in this article, primarily because I’m only experimenting with it all myself at this point. But, I have experienced in my limited testing that videos tend to get ‘liked’ more, and tend to get ‘shared’ more than static images and if you’re looking for exposure to your website or business page on Facebook then a video is the way to do it.
The Mac is an excellent platform to create videos on, and has long been the platform of choice for multimedia developers and designers, so it’s not really a surprise that Apple provide the tools necessary to do it easily, for free. It’s pretty much the Apple Mac’s Unique Selling Point. If you want to play games, choose a PC, if you want to publish content (be that online or offline), choose a Mac.
The methods listed above also work just as well for creating YouTube videos, as both systems will produce great quality short promotional videos. If you’re looking to produce instructional or entertainment videos, you’re probably going to need the iMovie way since you can produce movie quality videos to any length you want.
Shortly I’ll update this article to include a little video which will go through how to use iMovie to do this.
If you have any questions, comments or just feedback in general, please leave a comment below!