I recently wrote that "Web-based video is something for Web-savvy wineries to look at more closely," to which faithful reader Mary Baker of Dover Canyon commented:
I found a blog post on Business and Blogging: Time to Get Serious About Video which references a more full-length article. But $3,000 for the camera and set up? Yikes!
Mary, it doesn't have to cost that much. Here's a great example of a Flash-based video (created on a MacBook Pro laptop) which didn't require any additional equipment. The two pieces of software mentioned (ecamm's Conference Recorder 2 and Vertical Moon's Video2SWF ) cost less than $60. Although the MacBook has a built-in camera, similar hardware for Windows, such as the Logitech QuickCam UltraVision, costs less than $130 (list).
There are even direct-to-digital camcorders like the Flip which sell for about the same price as a Web camera and will store up to 60 minutes of video, without requiring you to be tethered to a computer. Shoot video, plug the camera into your computer, convert to Flash, and post to your Web site or YouTube. I saw the 30-minute version of this cam at my local Costco for under $90.
Obviously, it depends on how fancy you want to get. Sure, you can spend several thousand dollars for a production-quality video setup (most of the $3,000 that Mary mentions above is for the camera alone). Heck, a new MacBook Pro is only $1,999. But it's dirst cheap to dip your toe in the water, assuming you have a computer of relatively recent vintage.
The real question is, "What sort of interesting stories can you tell about your wines and winery with Web-based video?" Frankly, I don't think over-produced marketing videos are the way to go. Like blogging, Web-based video benefits from being personal and authentic (and either brief or very engaging).
(Nancy Bentley, do you have any video advice?)