10 Must-Know Travelers Tips to Hong Kong

Hong Kong is an international city and it has vast number of tourists come from all over the world in all year round. According to the Hong Kong Government statistics, the number of international tourists visited Hong Kong in 2005 reaches 10.8 million which represents a 13.1% increase when compared to 2004. Countries such as Australia, Canada, French, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Korean, Thailand, British and United States all contributes significant tourist growth for Hong Kong. This article presents some critical traveler tips for tourists so that you could enjoy more and have a wonderful trip to Hong Kong.1. Personal Identity and SafetyTourists must carry valid personal identity documentation such as passport during their stay in HK. It is a very safe city according to the low crime rate. However, due to the densely population, it is not suggested to take a large amount of cash when going out since most of the shops in Hong Kong accepts credit cards. Expensive belongs should be locked in the safe in hotel. You could easily find policemen on the streets whenever you have encountered any problems.2. Service ChargesMost of the restaurants except fast food shops will add 10% service charges to the bill. Therefore, you may choose to give out the odd dollars from the changes as the service tips. For taxi driver or bellboy in the hotel, there is no pre set norm for the service tips, you may choose to give out whenever you think the service is deserved for.3. Telephone ServiceAll local telephone call is free except for the public telephone which charges HK$1 for every 5 minutes. Emergency call is 999 and it is free to call even in public telephone. You could either use IDD telephone call card or credit card for long distance call, or simply through operator for collect call in all public telephone counter.4. Drinking WaterThe drinking water in Hong Kong reaches World Health Organization standard. However, you may also choose to buy the bottle water in the supermarkets if you think it is necessary.5. TaxiAll taxi only accept cash and they have invoice print out whenever you request. It is easier to catch the taxi in the taxi stop or outside the hotel. Many of the taxi drivers could understand simple English. It is suggest writing down your destination (in English) on paper to minimize misunderstandings. The taxi charges is based on the meter which is HK$15 for the first 2 Km and HK$1.4 for the subsequent 0.2 Km. Besides, there are tunnel charges ranging from HK$3-45 depends on which tunnel you have to take. The charging table is clearly shown on the inner side of the doors so you could check it before you pay. In case of any complaints or lost case, you may record down the name of the taxi driver and his license plate number which is clearly shown on the front seat stand, and reports to the police hotline: 2527 7177 whenever necessary.6. Mass Transit Railway (MTR)Hong Kong has 6 MTR routes, which covers most parts of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and New Territories.1. Tsuen Wan Route: Tsuen Wan to Central
2. Kwun Tong Route: Yau Mat Tei to Tiu Keng Leng
3. Tseung Kwan O Route: North Point to Po Lam
4. Main Route: Sheung Wan to Chai Wan
5. Tung Chung Route: Tung Chung to Hong Kong
6. Airport Route: Airport to Hong KongDue to the convenience of MTR and the compact area of HK, most tourists find it is not necessary to rent car during their stay. Besides, due to the very heavy traffic and the complexity of the city roads, it is not recommended for tourists to drive. In case you really need car rental, you may consult your hotel, and be ready with your passport and driving license.7. Kowloon Canton Railway (KCR)The KCR is the major railway which links up the New Territories and the city of Kowloon. It runs through Tsim Sha Tsui East to Lo Wu which takes about 40 minutes for the whole route. Lo Wo is the final station which you could pass through to enter China with valid visa. The train will depart for every 3 to 10 minutes, and the earliest one will be started at 5:35 a.m. while the last one will be departed at 12:20 p.m. The ordinary fair and the first class fair are HK$18 and HK$36 respectively from Hung Hom to Sheung Shui.8. TramThe tram service has been started in 1904 and it is the oldest transportation system in HK. It only services the Hong Kong Island running from Kennedy Town to Shau Kei Wan plus another route to Happy Valley. The earliest tram starts at 6: 00 a.m. and run until 1:00 p.m. and the fair is HK$ 2 for adult and HK$ 1 for children under age12. It is the cheapest transportation in Hong Kong, and you are highly recommended to take a ride at the upper stairs so that you could enjoy all the street scenery of Hong Kong.9. Star FerryThe scenery of HK harbor is famous in the world, especially the night scenery. Besides, there is spectacular light show by the commercial buildings in the Hong Kong island at 8:00 p.m. every night which you must not miss. The Star Ferry has been serving on the harbor for more than 100 years, and the fair is less than HK$3 per rides. You could take the Star Ferry from Cental to Tsim Sha Tsui at around 8:00 p.m. You could enjoy the harbor scenery on the ferry and continue with the light show at the Starlight Road of Tsim Sha Tsui.10. Hong Kong International AirportThe most convenient route to the HK International Airport is through the MTR which takes about 23 minutes from Central. It passes through stations of Kowloon, Olympic, Tsing Yi, and the train will be departed for every ten minutes. With the MTR, you would never miss the airplane due to the traditional traffic jam.Other than the MTR, you could take the Airport Bus which starts from 6:00 a.m. at the morning until 11:00 p.m. at night. It covers most part of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon with major hotels.

Select A College That Will Help You Find A Job

If you are a high school senior or junior making decisions about the college you will attend and your goal is to graduate with a good job, you should think about a few issues that are seldom discussed. Since the cumulative effect of your choices can greatly impact the number of employers that will want to interview you in your senior year of college, wise students carefully think about each decision.

When evaluating colleges, most students and parents consider factors such as:

- Accreditation
- Admission Requirements
- Grant/Scholarship Money
- Tuition, Room & Board
- Size, Location and Environment
- Distance from Home
- Safety and Security
- Class Size
- Dorms
- Medical Facilities
- Campus Activities, Entertainment & Sports
- Gut Feelings

Although those college selection factors are important, there are other considerations that should also be evaluated. Here are a few things that may affect your chances for finding a good job when you graduate.

Reputation Of The College- Students should apply to the best colleges they can afford, colleges with a good reputation in their field of interest. A good college reputation will help when you begin to look for a job. Even if you are still uncertain about your major, keep in mind that nationally known and respected colleges tend to be more attractive to many employers. You will have to decide whether graduating from a college that is highly respected in your field, is worth the financial sacrifice.

Questions: Is there a two-year or lower cost four-year college that you can attend for the first two years and then transfer to a better college? Have you considered working full time and attending college at night or on weekends, as a way to afford a college with a good reputation in your area of interest?

Job Search Preparation and Employment Assistance – There will be great variations in the quality and quantity of people, training and services that colleges provide to students in the critical areas of job search preparation and employment. Some colleges recognize the importance of job search preparation, accomplishments and work experience. Other colleges don’t even help very much with the senior year job search.

Since your goal is to graduate from college with a good job, a great deal of weight should be given to colleges that aggressively support and encourage each student’s job search preparation efforts through ongoing training, coaching and job identification. A short meeting with someone in Career Services in the senior year of college is totally inadequate for any student who hopes to land a good job.

Questions: How many people work in the Career Services Office, as compared to the total number of students? Does the freshman orientation program emphasize preparation and planning for the end goal? Does the college recognize that preparation for the senior year job search starts in the freshman year and continues throughout the college experience? How much job search training and personal attention will students receive each year? How many employers visited the campus last year to recruit students in your specific field of study? How does the college help seniors find jobs in their own field? Have the college leaders created a campus culture that truly helps students find good jobs? Does the college maintain a close relationship with alumni who can help students find good jobs? Do your professors and instructors serve as consultants to employers or belong to associations in your field? Do they introduce students to their industry contacts?

Active Student Participation – Employers love students who can present them with a list of significant accomplishments. Getting involved with on-campus and off-campus activities is a good way to demonstrate student capabilities and successes.

Questions: Does the college and the local area offer students a wide array of opportunities to participate in campus, community, work and leisure activities where students can accumulate a list of successes and impressive accomplishments? Will the student take advantage of these opportunities to work and participate?

Your College Major – Not all college majors lead to good jobs. However, most students will do better when they select something they do well at and enjoy. Therefore, students should do some research and identify colleges that have a good reputation in their field of interest.

Even though a college has a good overall reputation and offers 60 – 80 different majors, not every major offered is of the same quality or has the same reputation among employers. When a college has a great reputation in a given field, more employers will seek out, interview and hire students from that college. Wise students take the time to find out which colleges have the best reputation in their field of interest before they make their final college selection.

Questions: Does you college major lead to a good job? With the major you’ve selected, what kind of jobs are you most likely to obtain when you graduate? Which employers offer those jobs? What do those employers want and expect from students interviewing for those jobs? What should you do during the college years to get prepared for those jobs and those interviews?

Your College Minor – Many students don’t give much thought to their college minor. However, it is important for students to select a minor that will support or compliment their college major. When a minor is directly aligned with their major, it tends to strengthen a student’s expertise, especially in technical areas. Some students choose a business minor, recognizing that there is a business component to every field. All businesses need people who have technical expertise in that field, but can also run the business as managers and hold positions in sales, marketing, customer service and human resources, etc.

Questions: Which college minors will best support and compliment the selected major? Would it make sense to minor in business so as to open a broader array of employment opportunities in the field of interest?

Feeling comfortable with your field of study is extremely important. However, graduating with a good job is also important. That’s why savvy students think about each college selection factor and concern from an employment point of view. Why not select a college that will help you find a good job?

Real Estate Investment Strategies – Part I

“What Should I Do Now?”….. Why That Question? With the deepening recession, and the national political shift from capitalism toward socialism, the “Investment and Ownership Model” for real estate has definitely changed, and may remain changed forever. What worked well in the past may not work so well in the future.

Real estate investor confusion will continue until a new effective real estate investment model is developed, and is then proven successful through application in a deep recession.

This presentation is divided into three parts:

Part One: Factors That Changed The Real Estate Investment Model

  • How the train wreck began

Part Two: The Real Estate Investment Market in the Pacific Northwest

  • Were are we now

Part Three: What Should I Do Now?

  • A study of the Real Estate Investment Basics
  • How to start to form a viable real estate investment strategy

Part One:




Period: 2004 through 2007 – The Real Estate Boom and What Led to It.

1. Stock Market Lost Investor Reliability. The stock market took a dive, and continued to perform poorly. Many investors relied heavily upon stocks as the backbone of their retirement portfolio. Many stock-based retirement portfolios lost about 40% of their value during this period of time. This came as a real cold shower to a number of folks who were on the verge of a comfortable retirement.

2. Bond Market Lost Appeal. The bond market had lost much of its appeal to the stock market. While uncertainty was driving many away from the stock market, the bonds had very little appeal as bond yields continued to drop with falling interest rates on government securities.

3. Real Estate Market: “The Only Game in Town”. The real estate market became the “darling of the investment smorgasbord”. If investors have three tables from which to dine, real estate became the only attractive table which appeared safe to dine.

The walking-wounded stock investors flocked to the real estate market. They bought the duplex on the corner and the house next door. Buying pressure helped cause prices to soar.

The real estate investor’s mantra was clearly either:

  • Buy, buy, buy! Then, sell and do a tax deferred exchange into a bigger and better property; or,
  • Buy, fix it up, then flip it to those with less “fixer ability”. Then, repeat the process as quickly as possible. There was profit in nearly every move. If you erred, just hold on, the market will make you well again.
  • For either strategy, clearly “Borrow as if there’s no tomorrow”. Rates are low and yields are high. It’s an investor’s dream come true. The only mistake to be made was not getting into the game.

4. Mortgage Loans Were Plentiful. The availability of long term money in the capital market remained high and rates were low.

Newly created loans were immediately sold into the secondary mortgage market. The secondary mortgage market bundled loans and sold commercial mortgage backed securities (“CMBS”) to pension funds and institutional investors. They were attracted to the yield and safety of the underlying mortgage bundle. The mortgage default rate was extremely low. There seemed to be almost no risk at all.

The Mortgage Lender’s Process: Make a batch of loans as quickly as possible, and then sell them quickly for cash into the secondary mortgage market.

The secondary market had a strong appetite for CMBS offerings.

The secondary market (mainly Fannie Mae) would then slice the CMBS into pieces of the offering. They would then sell each slice or tranch with a priority in accordance with which slice would be paid off first in the event of a foreclosure. Some tranches were the most risky and would be sold to generate the highest yield for the investor. Those tranches of lesser risk sold for lower yields, and so on until the entire offering was fully sold out.

The players in the secondary market became rich with profits. Like Robert Zeckendorf had discovered in the 1950′s, a property could be sold in pieces with the cumulative value of the pieces exceeding the value of the whole. Sell pieces, and make abnormally high profits. Like Zeckendorf, they would discover the cost of failure, if any piece of the offering failed.

Huge Benefit to the Mortgage Lender: Using the Primary Mortgage Market and Secondary Mortgage Market scheme, the mortgage lender would never run out of money to lend so long as the secondary mortgage market remained eager to buy the newly created mortgage loans.

What a system was created!!!… Lend and never run out of money!

That is exactly what happened as mortgage market lenders raced to develop new mortgage loan programs. Their lending strategy was:

  • Develop a new mortgage loan that was a bit more attractive than your competitors are offering.
  • Make it easier and quicker to get a mortgage loan than your competitor.
  • The Lender’s Mantra: “Pick me, pick me!”
  • The lender was paid a loan fee, and a loan processing fee. The lender would often receive a “back-side” rebate as the loan was sold into the secondary market.
  • A loan servicer has the task of collecting the monthly payment and allocating it between property taxes and insurance, and then allocating the remainder to interest, and then to principal to amortize the loan.
  • For servicing the loan, they collected a “loan servicing fee” that was often as much as ½% of the loan.
  • It was like the nurse that married the undertaker: they got paid coming and going.

5. Mortgage Borrowing Standards Loosened. As part of the new loan program process, lending standards were loosened substantially.

  • The “Credit Score” Became King. The lender came to rely heavily upon the Fair Isaac credit scoring model. The credit scoring system became the primary criteria in qualifying for a mortgage loan.
  • What Is It? Your credit score is a three digit expression of how you had handled credit in the past.
  • What Was the Premise? If you had performed well with credit in the past, so might you perform in the future.
  • If your credit score was high enough, loan terms were made so attractive that almost anything with a good credit score would be offered the most liberal loan terms.
  • You may recall TV commercials that boasted that they would lend 125% of the value of your property. Had the world gone mad? What safety could exist for the lender if there was no collateral behind at least 25% of the loan being made?

6. Real Estate Values Appreciated at a High Rate. Easy borrowing and a huge demand for investment real estate caused the illusion that you really couldn’t pay too much for real estate.

  • If you over-paid, just wait. The market will catch up with you soon, and all will be well again.
  • It was not uncommon to find appreciation rates of 15% to 30% per year. Areas like Las Vegas and Phoenix experienced even higher appreciation rates.
  • Recent market evidence proves that the most over-heated markets that spiraled upward at the most rapid rates have tumbled at even faster rates.
  • Examples: Bend – Redmond in Oregon, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and parts of California are primary examples of “fast up and fast down” markets.

Fitness Tips For the Busy Traveler – How to Get Fit Even Though You’re Traveling All the Time

You might be overworked, stressed and traveling all the time, but you can still make room for exercise, keep the weight off and tone up if you do it smartly. Read the following time saving exercise tips for the busy traveler.

(First tip: while you are reading this article, why don’t you sit up straight and stretch out your neck at the same time. Or do some quick buttock clenches, calf raises or arm circles?!)

Act as if escalators, travelators and elevators do not exist. Get to the airport a little earlier so you can walk all the way to your gate. Many airports have massage centers, so you can also catch a quick deep tissue massage while you are there. Resist the temptation to grab a bite to eat or a milky coffee if you know that your inflight meal will be served within a couple of hours of take off. Or eat a light meal now and do not eat again on the flight.


Perform leg extensions, arm stretches and neck/trunk movements. Not only will it help you keep fit, there is a link between sitting too long in a confined space such as a long flight and DVT (deep vein thrombosis which are potentially lethal blood clots)

A long flight, without distraction, is also a great opportunity to re-charge your mind as well as your body. Close your eyes, take deep breaths and say some affirmations to yourself:

“It is easy to find time and energy to workout on this business trip”

“I have a fast metabolism and lots of energy”

“I will workout during any spare moments, getting healthier and healthier with each minute of exercise”


As soon as you have checked into your hotel, do some exercises straight away, no matter how tired you feel from the flight. Take a brisk walk around the block. The fresh air will do you the world of good and it is often a good way to get a feel for the local culture and to generate talking points for any business dinner you might be required to attend during your trip.


Don’t think you have to set aside at least one hour to exercise properly. This is not always possible on a frenetic business trip. So instead of being unrealistic about your exercise goals, just try and do little and often. Set your wake-up call for 20 minutes earlier. Head over the to the gym and pick any aerobic exercise for 10 minutes. (treadmill, bike, rowing machine…or something even more basic such as star jumps or jumping rope). Many treadmills or bikes have attached magazine racks so you can read the essential emails, reports or presentations you might require for the day. See if you can walk to your business appointment instead of taking a cab. That’s another 15 minutes of exercise there. Remember to take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator whenever you can.

Before you go to bed, head back to the hotel gym and lift weights for 10 minutes. Add up these pockets of exercises and you have exercised for at least 40-45 minutes today!

You can also exercise while waiting around. Try arm circles as you wait for a taxi, or calf raises before the meeting starts.


It is all too easy to over-indulge in unhealthy food when you are on the road. Sometimes you can catching quick bites to eat in between meetings, or wolfing down the breakfast buffet because, well, because it’s there and your company is picking up the tab. Pack healthy snacks instead. Consider any of the following: nuts, sesame packs, protein bars (check the label as some protein bars are packed with sugar), dried fruit, oatmeal bars, goji berries or healthy breakfast cereals


It is too easy to drink and eat excessively during those long business dinners. Before you join your business colleagues in that extra bread roll or dessert, just remember the saying: “a moment on your lips, a lifetime on your hips”.

Very Important MLM Marketing Tips For the Newbie

It has been said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” That being said, it still might be totally new to you. And for you the phrase, “MLM marketing tips,” could be a life changing experience and profoundly change your life, especially if you are a struggling network-marketing entrepreneur and are just getting started.

I do not pretend to be an expert but I have been in the network marketing business long enough to pick up a few things that might be worthwhile for you to ponder. Below are some MLM network marketing tips that if applied to your business might make a major difference.

1. There are hundreds of reputable network marketing companies out there, do not fall for the hype when told “Ours is the best, it has the best comp plan, the best product, the best leaders etc..”

2. Look for a company that has no objections to using one of the many attraction-marketing systems such as My Lead System Pro, to funnel leads into your business. Avoid if possible the pain of warm market recruiting, which quickly turns to cold contacts and expensive leads as you quickly sift through your warm market in a matter of weeks.

3. Do not scatter you focus, as there are many tools in the attraction marketing tool bag. Pick one that fits you and stay with it until you have mastered it. Then go on to the next one.

4. Get started immediately by using one of the following leads training tools that are part of the attraction marketing tool bag: article marketing, video, Face Book, Twitter, PPC (Pay Per Click). As I said these are just a few of the tools that attraction marketers are trained to use to generate 6 and 7 figure incomes in attraction marketing.

5. I can’t stress enough the need to buy educational and motivational tools such as computer software for marketing, and books, and cd’s, as training material to keep motivated. As well as the weekly conference calls and or webinars. Without motivation most network marketers eventually give up.

6. I have mentioned this before but it can’t be overly stated, have a daily do list and do it daily. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, as what works for someone else might not work for you, but be consistent.

7. When leads start coming in, always do a follow-up. After all of the time and effort to get a lead, why throw it away. Foolish indeed.

8. Always be positive, never criticize and always be ready to affirm, and give a helping hand.

9. This leads me to my next point and it is the basis for attraction marketing and why it is so powerful. If you first bless a person by giving away something of value, you in turn will be blessed as they respond. That is how attraction marketers grow their businesses.

10. Remember not all, but most network marketers struggled to get where they are, and are where they are, because of consistent daily action. You too can be one of the top 3% if you take to heart these ten MLM marketing tips. So don’t give up.

Creating Video for Your Training Events

Why should I create video?

Before I start showing you “how” to create great video, let me share with you why you ought to be doing this.

Firstly I believe that all trainers, be they corporate or self-employed, should be technically capable of using the internet to aid learning and development. I’m not saying you need to be a coder or flash programmer, but you do need to be able to find your way around web based applications and software and have a solid appreciation of the cloud and Learning Management Systems.

This leads onto video. Video is not new. Many of us use DVDs on our courses, YouTube clips and online video to present ideas and concepts. But how many of us actually create video and use these clips on our courses or in our blended learning delivery.

Learners consume video every day. The ubiquitous use of Smartphones and Tablets mean that everyone has the capability to devour video. People now prefer to watch a video than read a web page, YouTube is the second most popular search engine, after Google, and is particularly popular with the Generation Y. And video can paint a thousand words.

More importantly video can capture a presentation and can be consumed by thousands of people simultaneously. Can be paused, re-wound, replayed. Can you do that with a live trainer?

Video is great for eLearning, can be delivered via your LMS, is engaging and expected by the tech savvy learner. If we don’t provide video, we’re falling behind the curve.

Let’s take a look at how. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how easily it can be learnt.

How do I Create Video?

There are essentially two ways of creating video. Outsourcing the whole project to a dedicated production firm or DIY – do it yourself. Outsourcing is where most firms go but this option is hugely expensive and will only allow you to produce limited footage but the output is always first class.

DIY is less expensive and gives you far more control. There are three ways you can do this. Equip a studio with all the equipment you need, use your Smartphone or use your laptop or PC webcam.


Your Smartphone will produce decent video which can be edited using software to produce a reasonable final result. Do get yourself some sort of tripod. For a couple of pounds you can buy a tripod that’s specifically designed for Smartphones. I picked one up this year from eBay and use it for learners to record their own videos on my courses. The tripod stops the jerkiness that will occur without.

Smartphones can be used “selfie” style to record you talking about your topic on location if you wish. I’m often seen walking my dogs self-recording myself sharing a selling tip or idea. It adds realism to the footage, integrity that studio video doesn’t have. The major downfall is sound, it’s just second rate. You can buy lavaliere microphones for £50 that solve the problem and give your video professional sound. But these are fiddly and remove the portability advantage of the phone.

The other problem is transferring the video onto your PC or laptop for editing. Many Smartphones upload videos to cloud storage and since video sizes are enormous, this process can be very cumbersome. It’s best to tether your Smartphone to your PC and transfer the footage by cable.


These come installed in tablets, laptops and can be purchased for a few pounds for PCs. They produce good quality footage and are easily edited because the files reside on your PC after recording. But the outputs just look like webcam videos. People don’t look at the camera when they record themselves, preferring to look at the screen and the output looks stilted, just a trainer talking to the computer.

Backgrounds generally are poor, maybe a bookshelf or a blank wall.

You can record your Skype output easily enough. For £20 you can buy software that will capture your Skype video conversation with someone and output it as a movie file.

I’ve done this very successfully when interviewing experts or SMEs. Recently I interviewed on Skype, for an hour, the UK’s most successful protection salesperson. I used the software to capture the interview and created a series of clips which had both of our images side by side. The audio was OK and it had a sense of excitement and edginess which made it very engaging.


If you want to be able to produce a wide variety of videos, then you really want to invest in a studio with the capability to record video at will. Later I’ll show you six types of video which will add variety to the mix and you can only do all of these if you have a fully kitted out studio.

Ideally your studio should be large enough to house all the kit, should have the ability to control outside lighting and should have an element of sound proofing as well. Corporate trainers will be thinking of a spare room, self-employed cousins will be thinking of a spare bedroom, garage or study.

Depending on your budget you can sound proof the walls with carpets or specialised wall coverings and buy blackout blinds to obscure all outside lighting. Or you can just close the windows and ask everyone nearby to keep quiet.

You do need a minimum of equipment to be able to produce video and here’s your shopping list in no particular order:

  • A giant whiteboard to produce whiteboard style videos
  • A green screen background to produce Chroma Key or green screen video
  • A camera. Spend well here, opt for a prosumer model, but most modern camcorders will produce really good HD video. Make sure it records to an SD card so you can conveniently transfer the final footage to the PC. Don’t use the on camera editing tools, use software on your PC.
  • Tripods for the camera.
  • Autocue device such as a tablet. You position this using a gadget that attaches itself to the tripod so the autocue is just below camera level. Autocues are useful if you haven’t memorised the presentation or talk that you’re videoing.
  • Lavaliere microphones wirelessly connected to your camera. Sound taken from the camera is second rate. Your learners will forgive you for second rate footage but will be less forgiving with lousy sound. You can buy a directional external microphone that sits on top of the camera but a lapel microphone allows you to move around and still pick up excellent sound.
  • Lighting. This is the most important aspect in creating truly professional video. As a minimum you’ll need two or three hard “barn door” style lights that can illuminate your green screen and whiteboard plus softer lighting to illuminate your subjects face and body. Google lighting and you’ll find dozens of companies that’ll advise you. I spent around £300 on lighting.
  • Editing software for your PC. These are not expensive, around £100. Don’t rely on your PC’s free offering, these don’t have the features you need. More on this later.
  • A very powerful PC that can cope

What kind of videos should I create?

I’m going to share with you six varieties of video that you can produce in your studio. Remember variety is key to learner engagement.

Expert Interviews

Everyone likes an expert and you can very easily interview an expert and record the footage. I mentioned using Skype earlier but an alternative is to studio record the interview. You can fix up the camera with a directional microphone and just interview your expert with both of you in front of the camera.

A more engaging way is to video your head asking the questions and then switch the camera and video your expert’s head providing the answers to the questions. Ensure you position the camera so it stays to the left or right of the eye line of the two people talking, giving the impression of a seamless interview.

With your editing software you can cut the clips and sequence them in the correct order.

Green Screen

My favourite and very professional. I’m sure you’ve seen these. A trainer appears to the left of the video screen with an ever changing background. Backgrounds can be movie clips, photos, descriptive words or animations and these all add to the message and provide a visual aid to the learner.

Essentially you create a green backdrop to the trainer speaking to the camera. Cover the back wall with a green cloth or buy a stand that’ll allow you to drape a green cloth behind you. When you edit the clip on your PC, you remove the green image which makes the clip transparent. You then add your new background to suit. Render the whole thing to a finished video and you have green screen video.

Whiteboard video

Here you present to the camera using the whiteboard behind you to illustrate your topic. Very engaging and can be used to present complex topics in the same way as you would present in the classroom.

It’s best if the whiteboard occupies the whole video screen to give the impression of a whiteboard studio and the trainer stands to one side, not the middle. There’s a rule of thirds in video and the presenter should occupy the left or right side of the picture.

Use a lavaliere or lapel microphone so that sound is picked up even when the trainer has her back to the camera.

PowerPoint video

Very similar but you use a TV to your side with a PowerPoint presentation. The downfall is that you need to cart a TV into the studio. I find it a whole lot easier and more engaging to put the PowerPoint presentation as the background on a green screen video.

However, if you’re bringing in other trainers to be recorded, many are only comfortable if they can use their PowerPoint deck as part of their presentation and that’s totally fine if it helps them present well.

Cartoons and animations

These are fun to produce and even more engaging to watch. You can present something complex in a cartoon storyline and your learners will love it.

Many think you need to be a cartoonist or a flash programmer to encode cartoon videos but you don’t. You do need software but you only need to spend around £75 to buy software capable of having moving cartoon characters, backgrounds and words whizzing around the screen. Add a music track and you have a very appealing piece of video.

PowerPoint will do this for you if you know about animation movements and rendering a deck to video.

I particularly like the hand-drawn videos you see on YouTube. These involve a hand mysteriously drawing and writing words narrated in the background or left with music for the learner to read. Again you can buy inexpensive software to do this for you.

Prezi videos

A Prezi presentation narrated and captured to video can be extremely attractive way of sharing information with learners.

Software is needed to screen capture and to turn the finished result into video. Set up the pathways in your Prezi and literally present it on the computer talking to the microphone as you would an audience.

The final result is very effective.

How do I edit the video?

As I mentioned earlier you need to purchase software to render the video and take an online class on how to use it well. Many blemishes can be cleaned up with the software, bad sounds and noises can be removed. You can increase the volume, cut sections out, tidy up the beginning and end, add music for the introduction.

You can’t create green screen video without software. Here you add backgrounds of your choosing to spice up the final edit.

The final role of the software is to render the finished item into a file type that can be viewed by the learner. There are a huge variety of file types to use. High Definition, wide screen, these are all choices. You can also shrink the file size which is the honourable thing to do if your learner is going to stream the video over the internet.

Don’t under estimate the PC you need. Video rendering software is power and resource hungry. You need a massively fast processor, huge memory and an enormous hard-drive. A dedicated PC for video rendering is a must. You can’t do it on a sub powered PC or laptop.

How does my learner view the video?

Gone are the days of creating DVDs or cassettes for the learner to view your videos. That’s so last century. Nowadays your learner will want to stream the video over the internet. They will want to use their phone or tablet to watch the clips you produce or a laptop. This all depends on your IT set up in your company.

As a minimum you’ll want somewhere to store your videos in the cloud. You may wish to store them on the company’s servers and provide links so your learners can stream them over the intranet.

If you have a Learning Management System, links can be provided to learners through this medium.

YouTube is a popular cloud storage but it’s very public. You could open an account with Vimeo which allows unlimited storage and very powerful playback features and you can password protect them or only allow people with a link to see them.

YouTube and Vimeo give you code that you can put onto your website or blog so that people can view the videos from there, that way you can provide other media such as handouts or PDF documents to read or download to accompany the video.


This has been a whistle stop tour of how to create videos for the modern training professional. You don’t need an enormous budget, just some creativity some tech awareness and the motivation to want to learn and get better with time.

My advice is just to start and keep evolving. You’ll make mistakes but get better and better. I did.

The future of learning and development will move to a web based video based environment so we might as well get good at it now.

Parenting Dilemmas – A Few Quick Fixes To Make Shopping Fun

Shopping for some is just a ritual whereas others look at it as an indulging and exciting experience and still, a few others tag it as a taxing and tiring activity. The experience and expressions vary across age groups, genders and even geographies. Men more often than not plan to go shopping, if and only if there is an urgent need or at times, if it has to do with a special occasion or pleasing their spouse and winning over their girlfriends. Women on the other hand indulge in shopping more often and acclaim it as a stress buster, a fun activity and the best way, to kill any spare time at hand.

For most part, it tends to be exciting, except for when you go extravagant or end up getting stuck at a tatty and cramped store. Also, when you do not get to park your car close to the store, you have to get at. Reasons could also vary from not so supportive & welcoming store staff, lack of time, and store running sort of the stuff you are looking for and at times, even your poor memory. Nevertheless, shopping as an activity is unanimously supposed to give shoppers the much needed high, when feeling low and a surpassed sense of excitement when a kick is enough to let you switch your mood gears.

The modern lifestyle, lack of infrastructure, the social set up and demanding jobs have changed the way people shop. Over the last few years, shopping has evolved as an important chore that needs to be well planned and better managed. A few quick fixes could address the nuisance at hand and deliver one of the best shopping experiences to rejoice, with minimal efforts.

Plan Ahead: Sit down and think through, what is that you need? What is your shopping budget? Assign priorities to the items you need to purchase. Do not miss on deciding which stores to drop in at. Decide which items could be easily availed online if you wish to save on your valuable time, while shopping offline at the busy and crowded stores, malls, supermarkets or fashion streets. If time is a constraint, restrict offline shopping to items you can not settle for without having to view, check and deal with.

Shop Wisely: Knowing in advance what items to pick, in what measures & at what price helps with wise shopping decisions as you do not end up overspending. Use any coupons you have, to make purchases at your favorite or regular stores. Regularly check for the expiry dates of your coupons. Question yourself every time you wish to make a purchase, to know what matters the most? Is it the value for your money or pure indulgence? Believe it or not, they do reflect on the choice of stores, brands, the price you pay, the time you invest and your shopping plan, on the whole.

Do your Homework (For Special Occasions): You know, your spouse’s birthday is round the corner and you always wanted to surprise her with a birthday bash.

Well, a great idea if you plan ahead and implement it right! Simply, sit down and prepare a list of all the items you would need for the special day in right proportions and from the right stores. After all, you don’t want your spouse to be frowning at you after you have put in sooo much of efforts, planning and organizing the special day.

Manage Your Time: Decide beforehand, where to go and which stores to drop at rather than moving all around the malls and stores, which come on your way to the market. Also, take the directions or the map for the stores you will be shopping at. Good, if you have a GPS locator in your car! It would save you a lot of time, energy and even gas while hunting for items on your shopping list or going back and forth.

Forge Relationships with Support staff: Relationships with the support staff at shopping malls or supermarket stores always helps! The reason being, if you manage to pull the right chord during a conversation, you strike a relationship and that follows in with added shopping convenience, which means informed buying decisions, volunteering, supportive and welcoming staff members. This is how it happens: The conversations you exchange let you generate awareness about your tastes and preferences. So, the next time you go shopping, you will be amazed to see the staff members offering to help you out picking up the items on your shopping list, with greater ease and in a relatively smaller time span.

Go Online with the Web! : Use web applications, technology and the shopping tools besides shopper reviews (on product and services) to decide what to pick, from where and when exactly. The reviews more often than not tend to be helpful in making right purchase decisions. You know what’s in and what’s not!

The available shopping tools and gadgets help you save a lot of time by helping with better management of your shopping. eBay Shopping Carts, Online Shopping lists, Store shopping tools and other such web or desktop applications make shopping more manageable and more fun.

Involve your Family: Get your family members, your spouse and your children assist you with the grocery shopping, if not shopping for special occasions. Seek their feedback on the shopping list you prepared and check with them, if you have missed on any of the required items. Make your shopping lists accessible to them so that they could be of help to you, with your shopping chores (when you happen to be too busy or pre-occupied with your workplace assignments).

Would that not be great, if your spouse and children could pick up grocery or other regular stuff on their way back home? All they would need is your shopping list stored online, available over the web and shared or else, just accessible at home.

Be Smart on Pocket: Be sure, you have checked out the options available comparing in line with the prices tags while making a purchase so that you do not feel stupid and duped when next morning, your colleague walks over to you just to let you know that he got the same stuff for a few less dollars.

Store Chores: Have you been to this store before? If not, have you checked out on concerns like parking space, support staff, payment counters, the ambience, the total area the store is built in, hygiene, availability of basic stocks et cetra. More often than not, shoppers loose their patience at the store if the parking space is too far or too over packed for them to park or if the store is running out of basic grocery items like Sugar, rice et cetra. Even if you have to wait in long queues to get to the payment counter. What if, you keep bumping against other shoppers while trying to pick up stuff? How would you feel at a store that is too cramped to even walk through different aisles?

Better, if you already researched or gathered such information if you are planning to visit or check out a new store! For the rest, you have experienced it over and again and you know well, if it’s worth another visit………

Look out for Bargains: Bargains have always been looked-for, extensively indulged in and widely enjoyed by shoppers across all age groups, genders, social status and geographical boundaries. Why to miss on those big bargains and great deals???

Enjoy your Shopping: Remember, you enjoy shopping the most when you have a partner or a shopping companion who could help you make right choices, does not loose patience every time you switch stores, question your purchase decisions on and off and offers you a hand, when you have to pick up all your shopping bags back to your car. Just make sure, you have called upon and asked out your friend to join you, when you go out shopping. It makes the whole experience fun and all the more exciting!

Self Employment Work at Home

Would you jump at the opportunity of self employment work at home and be able to set yourself up for early retirement?What if I told you a way you can start living the life you’ve always dreamed of, a life full of money and full of time. What if there was something that was easy to set up and could have you making money in a matter of days. Start living life and stop just going through life! Finally be able to make your work schedule revolve around your day instead of your day always revolving around your work schedule. Get rid of that impossible to please “boss” of yours and replace him with someone much more pleasant … yourself.If you are serious about self employment work at home to make money and to get out of the “rat race” once and for all, you need to read to the end of this article. It doesn’t get any easier than this. The strategies are incredibly easy to follow and WILL have you making money within just a few days or your money back. You have nothing to lose except your “boss” and the hassle of rush hour traffic as you travel to and from your job.What if you had access to a system where you could easily work just a few hours a week yet earn more money than you do now at your full time job?Would you let an opportunity to make boatloads of money working from the comfort of your own home just pass you by? Would you be happy with yourself going to work 5 days a week every week for the rest of you working years knowing that you passed up what could have been the best thing to ever happen to you?Because, you are reading this article you must already have a computer that is connected to the Internet. The only other thing you need is the information on how to set up a program that will start working for you on an automatic basis. There are many program out there just waiting for you to down load and start earning money.Just beware as you search that there is a lot of hype on the Internet. Many sites promise you more than they deliver. Remember this, instant success or becoming an overnight Millionaire is not a reality. But, dedication and perseverance to a program that is suitable and workable for your self employment work at home objective is attainable and can make you wealthy.

Icon Health and Fitness Pro-Form 990 CS Treadmill – Get in Shape on a Faster Pace

For those who are feeling down about your overweight – What if there is a fitness equipment that could burn your calories and get you in shape at a faster pace? Well, if you’re curious to know what it is, we don’t want to get you more anxious. The Icon Health and Fitness Pro-Form 990 CS Treadmill is a piece of good fortune for those who are striving hard to lose their weight!This Icon Health and Fitness Treadmill stands out from the rest with its new inclusion – iFit Live! With the iFit Live, you can connect to the Internet and download your fitness programs, motivating mails and text messages, or even some workout videos. Or you can even compete with your Facebook friends while working out.Equipped with a 3.0 CHP Mach Z Commercial Pro Motor, we think that the Icon Health and Fitness Pro-Form 990 CS Treadmill will not get exhausted even after long hours of continuous workout! Also, it has a Dual-Grip EKG Heart Rate Monitor that checks your heart rate.The Icon Health and Fitness Pro-Form 990 CS Treadmill has a CoolAire Workout Fan that’ll let you stay cool even if you’re on a strenuous workout session. But in case, you feel the workout little tiring, just connect your MP3 player to the Interplay Music Port and listen to your favorite track. This treadmill also comes with a console shelf where you can place your iPod at reach and change the tracks whenever desired! Doesn’t it sound like an icing on the cake?

Flash Digital Photography – Using Flash With Digital Cameras

Fortunately, we no longer have to deal with buying flashes for our cameras anymore. Flash digital photography is now a real term used both in words and in the photography industry. The flash (instead of being put on top of the camera like it used to) is now built right into the flash digital cameras themselves.Today, our digital cameras come with a built in automatic flash and, even better, is the feature that allows you to change the setting, depending on how much light is available. Some digital cameras even come with a setting that will let you know when the lighting isn’t right for the setting you have it set on. Then you will need to change the setting yourself.The best way to use flash with your digital camera is to first read the instruction manual on how the settings are set up and how you should use them. You should also learn how to use the settings by then taking that knowledge and working with your camera hands-on. Try it outside at different times of the day, in different areas, in your studio (if you have one), in your home and anywhere else you might be taking pictures. By doing this, you can see first-hand what settings work best for what type of lighting.Unfortunately, some digital cameras have the flash too close to the lens and that can lead to red eyes in your pictures. Fortunately, you can get a digital camera that has a setting to help reduce red eye or you can fix the problem with your photography software.You should also play with the settings with different areas where shadows could show up. This will help you determine how far away from your subject you can be before the shadows disappear. This happens because the flash didn’t reach those areas. The camera manufacturer will usually list the maximum flash strength and how far away you can be when taking a good shot. You certainly don’t want to lose any perspective and/or depth in your pictures.You can reduce both of these problems of red eye and poor depth by getting a flash device that is separate from your camera. You will just need a detachable flash component that is simply powered by a bracket on the camera along with a cable that all work together to help the flash inside the camera to work with the external flash unit. This will help your flash digital camera by providing an extra source of flash and reduce the amount of red eye and poor depth coming out in your pictures.Your flash digital camera can provide you with a wealth of creative photography opportunities. You just have to know how to use it and this is easy to learn. By using the steps outlined in this article and by playing around with your flash settings, you can get a great number of beautiful pictures using flash digital photography.