Poor Man’s SONOS: How To Make a Badass Bluetooth Audio System from Amo Box and Old Radio Shack Speakers

My badass, poor-man's semi-portable bluetooth amplified speaker system
My badass, poor-man’s semi-portable bluetooth amplified speaker system has sound that compares to the Sonos system.

Who needs the fancy Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth wireless rechargeable speakers? Or your fancy SONOS systems?

Here’s my morning project… a do-it-yourself semi-portable amplified Bluetooth speaker system made out of my grandfather’s amo box. If you already have a pair of decent speakers, this system will set you back exactly $44.84 and give you sound that competes with a $300 SONOS (although the Sonos software is really cool and Wifi range is much better than 20-25 feet of Bluetooth).

If you don’t have the fortitude for this, here’s the link to buy the Sonos for the best price I could find online ($199 on Amazon).

Parts include:

  1. A pair of speakers. I used a pair of Radio Shack Minimus 7 speakers. They don’t make them like this anymore, kids. Before there were websites, the audio mags used to rate these as the best. Again- you can bring whatever nice speakers you already have.
  2. A Bluetooth receiverBelkin F8Z492TTP Bluetooth Music Receiver (1K plus four star rating on Amazon, and can’t beat the $24.99 price). *** Update- the Homespot NFC Bluetooth is $27.99 and worth the extra $3 because the range is better and it beeps when it’s paired. According to Amazon reviewers, it sounds better too.
  3. An amplifier. You probably already have one, but I LOVE the sound of this puppy and it’s dirt cheap: “Lepai” LP-2020A Tripath Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Mini Amplifier with Power Supply (awesome sound for $16.85, and we’re talking 1,500 almost 5-star ratings). I think this is the best tech bargain I’ve seen in my life.
  4. Accessories: The bluetooth receiver and amplifier come with power cords and audio connectors. So all you need is some speaker wire, glue, and an extension cord.

Wish you could hear it. It’s pretty bold. Nice whoop-ass Redneck acoustical system for the pool or home. Another update Jan. 11, 2014: I just cranked it and asked a buddy and his kids to close their eyes. They picked this rig over the Sonos playing the exact same song!

The instructions are simple and, of course, you don’t need the amo box. But it’s nice if you want to move it around.

  1. Plug the speakers into the Lepai amp speaker inputs. Plug the Lepai amp in the wall. You can handle that, right?
  2. Plug the Homespot (or Belkin) Bluetooth receiver into the amplifier photo/audio input. Plug the power in the wall.
  3. Get your iPhone, iPod or laptop and “find” the Homespot or Belkin, then pair them.
  4. Turn on the sound of your device (no special app required) and it comes booming out the speakers like audible love!

Let me know if it works for ya? I can’t believe more people don’t do this!

How Much Money Does Jenna Marbles, Smosh and Toby Turner Make on YouTube?

Jenna Mourey (Jannamarbles) makes $4.3 million. Smosh makes $5.7 million. And Toby Turner (TobyGames) makes $4.2 million.

That’s according to this infographic, so it’s got to be true.

One of the top reasons people visit WillVideoForFood is to read about how much money YouTubers make. Read more…

how, much, money, youtube, stars, jennamarbles, toby, turner, smosh, jenna, marbles, make, 2013
How much money do youtube stars make?

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How Do I Become a YouTube Partner and Make Money on My Videos? 2012

Here's you as a YouTube Partner. Hmmm.

I’ve had a few requests from readers/viewers to clarify YouTube’s evolving Partnership program, and help “up and coming” YouTube creators understand how to make money via video. As always, I’d caution YouTube video creators to keep realistic expectations on earnings– right now there are hundreds of YouTubers earning six-figure income from YouTube. But the majority are earning small amounts, and the driver is daily/monthly views.

Below is some information about the evolving YouTube Partnership, and 9 additional ways to make money via video.

A YouTuber can expect to make anywhere from 50 cents to $5 on every 1,000 views. So a channel getting 1,000 views per month can maybe cover a cup of coffee. The bigger YouTubers like RayWilliamJohnson are making anywhere from $500K to $4 million a year (SocialBlade), and I’d guess it’s around $2 million. It’s a steep pyramid, folks.

So here are the ways to become a YouTube Partner, where you’re eligible for “revenue sharing” on your videos. Ads appear before and around your videos, and Google shares a percent (roughly 40% of what advertisers pay for those ads).

  1. Sign up to become a Partner on YouTube. Unlike previous years, most are granted Partnership (including my dog, FreddieNalts). In truth, this isn’t a full Partnership as we previously knew it. You’ll make a smaller amount of money because the ads are not exactly premium. YouTube has effectively changed the name of “monetize your videos” to Partner.
  2. If you’re getting tens of thousands of views per month, you could approach an Online Video Studio (OVS) to come a full-fledged Partner with advanced branding. You’ll need to share a percent of your earnings with the studio, but you’ll get some help resolving issues, and potentially some help building an audience. This type of Partnership also allows creators to customize their channel page and put a small icon over the videos that appear on “watch page.” This used to be available directly via YouTube, but YouTube is increasingly encouraging intermediaries to handle this process… remember Google doesn’t like to deal with people. It’s a technology firm, and isn’t resourced to provide personal attention to millions of YouTube creators. So becoming a full Partner can be accomplished broadly in two ways. First, you can sign with an “Online Video Studio” (OVS). In that post about web studios, I neglected to mention The Collective, which has helped a couple YouTubers (Fred, Annoying Orange) cross over to television.
  3. Finally for smaller YouTubers, there’s another option I discovered via Jason Urgo last night. Urgo/SocialBlade is helping smaller YouTubers (maybe 1,000 views per month) you can apply to become a Partner via Maker’s RPM Networks. The result is similar to option #2 but the bar is lower.

Don’t think of YouTube ad revenue as your only source of income for video creation. Here are 9 other options for making money via online video:

  1. Create Commercials. If you’re talented and have high production capabilities (but don’t have an audience), you might join Poptent and create videos and commercials for brands… you’re not guaranteed to be compensated, but if a brand selects your video, you can make $5 or $10K.
  2. BYOS. If you have a large audience, you can pursue your own sponsor (bring your own sponsor- BYOS). Just call a company and see if they’ll pay for a custom video or some product placement. These are easier to get if you’re in a web studio/OVS.
  3. Get Free Loot. Call a company and see if they’ll send you free loot in exchange for your mentioning them. It’s not easy to find the right person, but I’ve been surprised how receptive companies are. They often have programs to reach online influencers, and if you have a decent audience… that includes you.
  4. Sell Your Stuff. This DailyFinance reminds us that artists can sell their stuff via video. Got something on eBay? You could mention it in a video, and see if you can get the video SEO-optimized so it might appear via a Google search.
  5. Sell your videos if you think there’s a market for them. Learn more here. I believe you need a Partners account to do this, and I wouldn’t count on this tool. Most people don’t purchase amateur video content, unless you count porn or Louis CK. I suppose there’s some “how to” video that’s worth buying, but I don’t see this as being lucrative.
  6. Drive to Website: you can try driving traffic off YouTube onto a website that allows you to sell loads of additional advertisements/sponsorships. It’s difficult to get people to follow a link of YouTube, and I’d estimate low single-digit numbers (depending on the reason). But Smosh’s “Smosh Pit” is a nice example of how YouTubers have created adjunct websites where additional monetization is possible.
  7. Affiliate Links: If you’re really cheesy, you can try making videos an inserting affiliate links into the description. I’ve never seemed to make anything notable via affiliate links on my blog and in a few links from a video.
  8. Merchandise: CafePress and other sites allow you to create your own branded merchandise and sell it to viewers. I think I’ve sold max. a dozen things on CafePress, but I haven’t put much effort into it.
  9. Get Rich Quick: Try one of the bullshit “get rich quick” schemes. Good luck.

 

How To Get Views on YouTube (via Kindle)

So you want to know how to get views on YouTube. You want to grow a vibrant YouTube channel, go viral, and become the next Ray William Johnson. Do you cheat, or choose a more proven way?

No Kindle lovers… you could read a great American classic on that sun-enabled iPad you call a Kindle. Or you could dive into some magazine article about the proliferation of germs on door handles. But here’s “How To Get Popular On YouTube Without Any Talentright on the Kindle store. Is this a blatant promotion? Yes!

Oh it’s 34 pages long which is pretty beefy even though the image makes it look like a tomb.

What To Do When You Go Viral… Accidentally

So your video of you dog/baby/pratfall suddenly goes viral, and you’re faced with choices… how do you capitalize on the luck?

Can Fail Dog be the next "Guilty"?

I’ve had the pleasure of informally coaching viral lotto winners, from “David At the Dentist” and Richter Scales to the recent Dagfinn (who is navigating his stick the way I manage my career). It’s a small world, and if I’m checking e-mail I’m happy to help a fellow “Viral Video Genius.”

Anyway, here are some of the pieces of pro-bono advice (I never ever ever charge fellow creators) which I’ve provided. In general, the goal is to knock out some important things (getting channel in shape, applying to be YouTube partner, tagging video), enjoy the ride, and hope the 15 minutes lasts.

  1. Get your YouTube channel submitted to become a Partner (I used to help rush that before YouTube scaled back on human contact)
  2. Optimize the video for search. Most viral lotto winners have failed to describe the video, and load the description/keywords with terms that people might use having heard about the clip.
  3. Provide a URL (or Facebook fan page) in the video description with more info and contact information. It’s very difficult to use YouTube’s lousy message system which GOD FORBID they merge with Gmail (I’m on year 4 of that idea). Make sure this hyperlink appears in the truncated description.
  4. Pay attention to, but doubt, the multitude of business propositions. Sure it may make sense to create some merchandise but a) it’s kinda cheesy, and b) It won’t be a drop in the bucket relative to ad revenue.
  5. Pray the viral viewing continues. By my best guess, David at the Dentist has paid for an Ivy League college with his viral clip, which has surpassed 100 million views.
  6. Be open to a sponsorship ($5-$20,ooo) but that depends on timing and the content. It’s unlikely these will keep rolling in, so be selective and more while the video is hot. It’s generally hard to find these… they kinda have to come to you.
  7. If you’re lucky enough to get national media inquiries DO IT. It’s free (except hotel/travel), but it will drive views and intrigue. If you are going to merchandise, here’s a way to promote that subtly. For instance don’t pimp a website, but consider wearing a t-shirt that celebrates your viralicity.
  8. If you plan on creating more videos, then ask viewers to subscribe. Also create a good looking YouTube channel page… otherwise people won’t even think about subscribing… they’ll just think it’s a one-hit wonder.
  9. Post more videos but do not expect anywhere near the views. For proof, check the other videos on any channel that has a viral one. It’s very rare to see, for instance, a second “Charlie Bit My Finger” do anything even close to the first. Still worth trying.
  10. If you want to do some audience development and promotion, check out my free eBook called “How To Get Popular on YouTube Without Any Talent” (version 4). If you really want to get fancy, pick up my real book “Beyond Viral“).
You get typos when you get an eBook cover designed on Fiverr.com for $5

 

What Happens in 60 Seconds on the Internet

Hats off to infographicguy’s visual and exciting explanation about what happens in 60 seconds on the Internet. Imagine if more companies used video and infographics to communicate otherwise complicated ideas. They can hire their agencies, or ask the infographics guy for help for what would likely amount to 1/10th the cost.

 

YouTube Heroically Guards Against Photosensitive Epilepsy

I was uploading some videos today, and I found a new “YouTube Ratings” check-box. You gotta let them know if you’re uploading a video with strobing or flashing lights.

Got photosensitive epilepsy? Fear not. YouTube's got your back.

It seems YouTube is guarding those people with photosensitive epilepsy. People living with this condition experience epileptiform seizures upon exposure to certain visual stimuli.

I wonder if there’ll soon be a “check here if your video contains any portion of We Can Make It Because of The Burgers and the Fries.”

Great Resources on Creating Film Look Using HD-SLR Cameras

What are the best free online-resources to help you create a film look with a digital camera (even a $500 HD-SLR camera will do the trick). While writing my last post about how to create film-like effects using an HDSLR camera within a budget, I realized there’s loads of great articles, blogs, video tutorials, discussion boards and other forums to the free exchange of what people learn in the trenches. So here’s the beginning of a list of some very useful posts — some new and some old. See my last post for tips like using depth of field (with decent lens), 24-frames-per-second, panoramic display, decent lighting and audio.

Now for some free online-resources to help further…

 

The "bleach bypass" effect is seen here, where black and white (toned silver) sit over a more subtle color.
  1. Curated Articles on Making Video Look Like Film: Urban Fox curated some articles on making video look like film, and is well worth a glance. I especially liked Christina Fox’s article that sums up selecting an HD-SLR camera, using 24-frames-per-second setting, using depth of field, and lighting. He also mentions sound quality, and FilmRiot has a segment devoted to surround sound.
  2. Softweigh Multimedia has some detailed tutorials for building some clever video camera gear at nickles on the dollar. Note that what you’re purchasing is not the device, with supply estimates usually in the 10 or 20 dollars. You’re buying instructions.
  3. DIY Lighting Hacks: You know lighting can turn an amateur video into something quasi-pro, but you don’t know that you can make dramatic improvements to your lighting without spending a fortune. Got a coffee can? A milk-bottle jug, or a ? Want to make an affordable light tent to give your photos or video that catalog-like professional look? Check out Darren Rowse’s “DIY Lighting Hacks for Digital Photographers” at Digital Photography School.
  4. [/caption]Bleach Bypass: There’s a very cool video software effect that comes with some editing packages called the “bleach bypass” (also called skipped bleach or silver retention) look that I used in this Fringe parody. It creates bold colors and a really cinematic look. I constantly search how-to videos before applying this effect, and often mistake “bleach bypass” with “bleach bypass” for reasons that are obvious at least to me. Here’s a nice how-to on creating bleach/beach bypass using Final Cut Pro. I typically use Final Cut Express to fetch this effect, but only after I’ve edited the video using my antiquated iMovie 6.
  5. iJustine Blog: The top YouTuber provides a list of her production equipment in a post titled “How to Make a Video.” Couple that with the VideoFilmMaker’s contrast/zebra effects and you’re in good shape.
  6. Software You Didn’t Know You Needed: Rocketboom has a post about video-making software that I visit every once in a while to remind myself the name of software that I probably already own but can’t find.
  7. Videomaker’s Forum: Lots of smart vid production die-hards peruse the Videomaker forum (see home, which has search) to provide great answers to the curious. As an example, here’s on about HDSLRs.
  8. My little homemade Amazon store features some of the best-reviewed HD-SLR cameras. Buy 'em here and maybe I'll finally make some Amazon Affiliate money to offset my obsessive purchases of gear.

    Howcast Quick Videos: This short, instructional video site was founded by Google Video alumni, and offers a sleuth of simple instruction videos across a wide range of topics. You may want to search Google and Howcast” when seeking a video how-to. The search engine has a difficult time finding just the video production clips, and as you can see in the Howcast search results for “video production,” A refined search for videocamera did somewhat better. Some stink like “How to Get Great Video Production,” which is simply an air. The “How to Get Your Video Noticed on YouTube,” which is somewhat painfully remedial but useful as a primer.

  9. Picking a Semi-Pro Video Camera (in case the increasingly popular HD-SLR still cameras with video aren’t cutting it): VideoMaker’s blog (August 2011) has a nice post on the leading semi-pro (or professional) video cameras available, and here’s the WillVideoForFood Amazon store for these brads, which range from $2K to $5K.
  10. Shirtless Apprentice: While this For Your Imagination show was cancelled in 2008, its archive of production tips are somewhat evergreen, and the format is fun and simple.