The Great Ideazine
     March 17, 2010Volume 9   Number 7   Issue 255     
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Introduction

Well, I managed to stay on topic for the second week in a row. I get right down to the nitty-gritty this week.


Quick and Dirty Physical Products Part Two

by Jim Green

Retail Products

Items like t-shirts, mugs, mouse pads and calendars are traditionally among the more expensive items to produce because of manufacturing costs. However, a service like Cafepress or Lulu.com, where items can be manufactured on an “as-ordered” basic, makes this much more viable. And you can drive sales straight to your Cafepress “store”, right from your website.

Video

So you can't afford to run out and buy a $1,000 Camcorder. You can still make a respectable video. You will need:

  • Your household digital camera (providing it has video capacity)

  • A tripod ($20 at Staples)

  • Still photographs to insert into your video

  • Windows Movie Maker (free with your PC, most likely)

  • Free sound files (try on-line libraries like TemplatesWise.com)

It takes a little creativity and patience, but you actually can make a video that you can burn onto a CD using just these basic pieces of equipment.

Only you can decide, however, if the finished product is worth the investment.

If your digital camera is really not up to the job, you can pick up a decent camcorder (Kodak Zi8) or a FlipCam (not my choice) for under $200 at Amazon.com. Or you can look for a used camcorder on eBay, Craiglist.com or Amazon.com. And check out camcorder rentals (start by asking at your nearest community college, if they have a photography department, or camera store).

Most large cities will have a camcorder and pro video rental store. Rentals typically start $250 per day.

Video Editing Software

If your PC has Windows Movie Maker, put it to good use. This free video editing software is capable of producing perfectly professional videos. It allows you to add single audio tracks, or delete audio altogether. You can delete ambient sounds – delete the audio from people talking in your videos, and replace it with background music, for example. Saves as either WMV or AVI files. You can use transition effects, and insert single photographs, speed up or slow down the action and generally manipulate your video in a variety of ways. (It’s main drawback? Only one audio track.)

Another option is Avidmux Free DV. The advantage of this video editing program – you can lay two video tracks at the same time.

Also, check your camera’s installation disk -sometimes it actually comes with video editing software!

Audio Creation

Depending on what you're producing and how you're producing it, you may first need some audio capture software. One excellent, reliable and free option is Audacity, an open source software program for recording and editing sound. I use it quite often.

Screen Capture

ScreenToaster – on-line free screen capture service, though you may wish to remember that allowing an on-line script access to your computer or web cam is theoretically a security risk.

If you have more leeway in your budget, try:
SnagIt 9 – $49 from TechSmith Corporation. This utility also allows you to designate keyword tags and categories (“flags”) for each frame. It also provides editing ability. At the time of writing, they also offered a 30-day free trial which should allow you to complete your first project and get it out there earning money for you. So you've got your multimedia files. How do you produce retail quality CDs and DVDS?

CDs/DVDs

Here’s where we begin to talk about on-line publishing and distribution solutions. Before you rush out to purchase boxes of CDs and jewel cases, check out on-line solutions. In the case of CD and DVD production, this is often your cheapest option.

Kunaki – a digital DVD and CD publishing/duplicating service. They have an ingenious business model. You sign up for an account with them, then download their (surprisingly small) software program onto your computer. This allows you to insert your HTML executable file for your “book on disk” or video, choose a cover image (or add your own custom one). Add your cover text – and see what your finished product is going to look like. In 3D. (You can actually “turn” the on-screen finished product round to see what it looks like from all angles.)

When you're happy with it, upload it. Then Kunaki's automated manufacturing system lets you design your product and have it shipped out – as many or as few copies as you like – within a few hours. And you can create it for a single customer only, or more than one – up to 500. Delivery time is an estimated three days across North America.

Kunaki combines burning, manufacturing and shipping for an incredibly low price. They manufacture your product CDs and DVDs, and provide them your custom-designed jewel or DVD casing – all done with 24-hr “rush” manufacturing. Cellophane wrapped, full colour CD printing all included.

Kunaki also provides you with a UPC bar code per unit – really helpful, as a lot of retail outlets (including Amazon) absolutely require a bar code.

TIP: If you want to run an affiliate program for your CD or DVD (or sell multi-disk sets and test sales pages) you can order a separate piece of simple software to add this amazing functionality – the Kunaki Software

The best laid plans are prone to change, I had planned to finish talking about the software and equipment that I use, but it appears that I haven't exhausted this topic yet, so look for more next week.


Final Notes
from Your Faithful Editor

For a complete step by step video tutorial on domain flipping, including how to find good keyword domains, how to add value to your domains, and where and how to sell them for the highest price, check out 7DollarDeal.com.

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