Here is a tip guys, don’t rely on those big third party services for your livelihood. Due to circumstances beyond my control (coronavirus) my family business has been forced to sink or swim online. We have been doing a ton of marketing, on FaceBook, Instagram, YouTube and the like. Now some bot at FB has flagged my company for “Unusual Activity” and removed my page and also suspended my account.
I’m pretty sure that asking for donations from our followers was the root cause of all this. Whether or not we get back online doesn’t matter, the damage is done. All the links that bounce will reduce our potential to survive the financial squeeze.
All because we used a big, free service, and thought that it was “ours”
Well that is a lesson I won’t need to learn twice. Or at least three times, having already been burned by Google constantly shutting down or ‘upgrading’ services.
UPDATE: Facebook re-instated my account and our business page, no reason given. We removed the reference to paypal payment link, for video show bookings, maybe that was what it was?
In case you missed the last post, the Corvid-19 epidemic has reduced my income to zero. This is what I am doing to survive.
My wife and business partner came up with the idea, and did a whole load of FaceBook, Instagram and email marketing, so all of a sudden we had bookings, quite a lot of them. Right now I still have to do 4 more personalised kids show video’s by the end of tomorrow.
This is great, they are only R200 each, about $11 US, but everything counts at the moment. The problem is that each video is 30 minutes long, and on my dual core celeron laptop that equates to 3 hours of rendering each if you want HD.
Get the gig first, now learn how to do it!
So I have google. I have used Kdenlive before which amazingly turns out to be a front end to a command line video editor, “melt“, who knew!
My plan (now working) was this:
Render all the non-changing parts of the video (using a script – you can generate melt .mlt render files for pieces of a project inside Kdenlive and que them with bash)
Script the rendering of personalised voice-over parts of the video
Script the audio from the left stereo channel voice recordings over to being on both sides (why did Kdenlive do this to me?!)
Script all the different pieces getting put back together (1GB file in 15 pieces takes 10 minutes, using ffmpeg)
I used YouTube to help me reduce the quality (for someone who didn’t have bandwidth for 1.2GB download), uploaded to YouTube Studio and set the video to unpublished. Then downloaded lower quality again with youtube-dl, share using Google Drive.
It works, more please!
Now each new video takes about 20 minutes to do, instead of 3-4 hours previously. I am hoping to streamline this even more. I guess if I really needed to I could cobble together a system where all I have to do is say the recipient’s name and their video is generated automatically. Of course that would defeat the purpose of a “personal” video. I really do like to feel like I am giving attention to each order.
Why not order your own video for the kids? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your personalised show!
*Update: our President just announced an extra two weeks of lockdown for everyone.
My whole country is in lockdown right now. As a professional circus performer I am particularly affected by the order to stay at home…
As of writing this post, my last paying function, a small birthday party show, was a week and a half ago. I initially started uploading some crazy stuff to YouTube in the hopes that somebody might notice and donate to my family:
Then my wife had a great idea, why not offer an online show. Skype or Whatsapp video is a bit unreliable, so we came up with the idea of a custom, personalised video for parties, available as an mp4 download. Here is the trailer for our offering:
We have already received some enquiries about this video, here’s hoping enough people want one to make a difference to our financial situation here. I am charging $11 (US) for the full 20-25 min custom show video which will be available as a private download from my server (DigitalOcean of course)