The #DIY Guide to Creating Your Own #VideoMeme (The One With the Black Lines at the Top and Bottom)

It’s inevitable.

Do something for a bit, then people want to know how you do it. I don’t blame them. I was in that position myself not too long ago.

After searching high and low, I finally found the tools needed to create video memes for myself.

You know what I’m talking about, right? 

It’s those videos that have the black bar at the top and bottom with the video playing in the middle. There’s usually a short headline in white text which is clever enough to make you want to hear the contents of the video.

For a month now, I’ve shared a 45-second video clip (or less) through my social media channels every weekday. On Instagram, my video views went from 25-30 views to now nearing 100 views per video.

Not bad, eh?

So here it is…my do-it-yourself guide to creating your very own video meme (or meme video, not sure what it’s called)…

Step 1 – Get video content

Every Thursday, I record 3-4 video clips which are anywhere between 3-7 minutes each. I keep notes in my notebook throughout the week on topics that interest me. I also get ideas for my videos from client interactions, as well as my past blog posts.

I then rehearse what I’m going to say because I’m a one-take lady. I don’t memorize the script (because there is none). I simply rehearse so I understand how I’m going to transition from one sentence to the next. Rehearsing also helps me stay on point so I avoid rambling.

I also dig into the archives for videos I’ve recorded from the past. It’s a great way for me to share old footage to either poke fun at myself or to share timeless gems that are still relevant today.

If you’re looking for lighting and microphone suggestions, there are TONS of videos out there with suggested ideas. Check out this video.

ACTION = Record video content, or resurrect old ones from your personal archive.

Step 2 – Document the video content

Okay, so what do I mean here? Well, before I can edit the video content, I have to know what I’ll be editing.

So, I listen to the video content and make notes. What I’m listening for are 45-second gems which I can then cut out and produce as video memes.

Why 45-seconds? Instagram allows 59-second video clips, Twitter caps it at 45-seconds.

I note the timestamp and make notes in my notebook. It looks something like this:

So, let me explain what you’re seeing:

  • In my notebook, I write X for the first zeros because I find it tedious to write the double zero each and every time. None of my video reach the hour mark, so there’s no need for me to write the first set of zeros.
  • The second set of zeros are for the minutes and the last set of zeros are for the seconds. This helps me know where the start and end times are for the micro-content I want to pull from the larger video clip.
  • I make notes about the video clip to remind me what it’s about so I don’t have to rewatch it.

I then transfer my notes to a spreadsheet…

I do this because I know I won’t be doing the production work forever. I’ll take on a team member who will do it for me. So, I’m getting into the habit now of sharing my content notes using a method that can be followed by someone else.

The spreadsheet has five columns (download the template here):

  • Timestamp – The start and end time for the clip
  • Content – Notes about what the clip is about
  • Action – There are 3:
    • Micro + Full = Use the clip as a video meme (micro) and include in the full-length video that’ll be published to YouTube (full)
    • Full Only = Use in the full-length video only
    • Delete = Do NOT use in the full-length video
  • Filename – Where the final video has been saved
  • Published – Yes is that it has been shared through my social media accounts, No means it has not
  • Meme Title – This is the headline I’ll wrap around the video on the black background

ACTION = Use the spreadsheet to document what’s being said in the raw video footage so you identify four to five 45-second clips which can become video memes.

Step 3 – Edit the video content

My video editing tool of choice is iMovie. I watched a free tutorial back in 2015 (here’s the link) and I’ve become proficient. There are others out there, but iMovie is what I use.

I download the iMovie app to my iPad and that’s where I edit the content. Following the timestamps I documented in my spreadsheet, I create up to five micro-videos, no longer than 45-seconds, from the larger video file.

I then use the fade to black feature at the end of the video clip to fade to my call-to-action. I created the black screen using Canva, saved it as a jpg, then insert it at the end of the video clip.

Once all the micro-videos have been created, I go back to my spreadsheet and fill in the Meme Title column with the headline I believe best captures the clip.

I’m not sure if there’s a rule, but a good meme title is a statement that begins within the 5 Ws (Who, What, Why, Where, When) and How.

Meme titles which are questions seem awkward to me and actually reveal the age of the person who created the meme (an older GenXer or Boomer). Stick with the statement.

Each video clip is saved as an mov file on my hard-drive.

ACTION = Create 4-5 video memes no more than 45-seconds, then give each a meme title.

Now, it’s time to create the black bars thingy.

Step 4 – Create the video meme

I searched high and low for something that’d help me easily create the video meme with the black bars at the top and bottom. There are tutorials on how to do this in your favourite video editing software, but I needed something quick and easy.

It took me awhile, but I finally found one. It’s an app called InShot  (Android | iOS). I use this app on an Android device.

There’s a tutorial I watched on YouTube on how to use this app to create video memes. Watch it below.

In fact, you can upload your entire video and edit it in InShot. The reason I use iMovie to make my micro-videos is because I want to add my call-to-action at the end and allow the text at the top and bottom to fade out when the call-to-action is shown. 

ACTION = Create your video meme using InShot.

Step 5 – Post your video meme

I post to my account on Instagram (3x a day) and Twitter (once a day). I post a longer version on my Facebook business page (but haven’t in a while – I just don’t seem to get the same level of interaction as I do on other social media sites). The longer version of the video is posted to YouTube every Wednesday.

To help me from losing my natural mind, I use Grum to schedule posts to publish to Instagram. Unlike other services where you schedule to post to Instagram, then have to manually push it out, Grum does exactly what it says. You schedule to Instgram, Grum posts to Instagram. No other service does this.

As for the other sites, there are plenty of push (sorry, automation) services out there. I use them to keep me consistent in sharing content. But, I also go into each social media site and connect with people who like and share my content.

ACTION = Share your video meme.

How much time does this take?

  • Content Curation – This is the amount of time it takes me to collect interesting articles, videos, podcast interviews, and just general musings throughout the week. I wouldn’t include this time because it’s hard for me to quantify.
  • Content Creation – So, to create the content (Step 1), it takes about 1-2 hours once a week (depends on the number of takes and the length of the raw recording).
  • Content Editing – I can definitely pass off Step 2 to a content editor. In fact, I’d enjoy delegating this task. Right now, it takes me about 2-4 hours to watch and document the videos (depending on the length of the raw video).
  • Content Distribution – Steps 3, 4 and 5 can be outsourced. Right now, it takes me anywhere between 4-6 hours on a Sunday to schedule everything. It’s boring AF and there’s no way I should be doing this part. I just want to curate the content, create it (Step 1), then show up and interact with people on social media after the content is published. Similar to what I do when I speak.

So, overall, publishing daily video memes – and related tweets, quote images, plus the full-length video to YouTube – can take as little 7 hours to as much as 12 hours a week to curate, record, edit, and distribute.

Before Posting Your Reaction, Please Note…

I’ve seen the comments area on posts similar to this one turn into a “OMG, help me, I’m stuck” kind of thing.

I have to stress that I cannot help you troubleshoot. This is the process I use and it works for me due to my budget and the tools I have.

I’m only sharing my process because I have gotten a few questions about what I’m doing, but I’m not sharing this so I can become your tech support. Please bear this in mind.

I also ask that if you have any questions, or suggestions on other tools to use, just post it below. No need to send me an email. The community is here to help and the community can benefit from the answers too.