Producing Effective Marketing Videos on a Shoestring Budget

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59% of executives would rather watch video than read text.

With that in mind, any clever modern marketer bets on video marketing. That’s not news to anyone on here.  You probably already do it.

But do you do it well?

Entrepreneurs or startup workers feel the sweat coming out now. Few of us have access to Hollywood budget productions. Or even just a dedicated co-worker who only does video.

A lot of us do them ourselves. But in a world where all your competitors also do video marketing, how do you stand out without breaking the bank?

Read on and find out. I’ve collected actionable tips that’ll help you be more visible in our video world. 

Use your smartphone

A lot has happened since you received blurry homemade shots from your aunt over email. The modern smartphone is an absolute powerhouse. And it’s definitely enough to promote your company on social media.

In fact, with limited technical knowledge, it might be even better than an expensive cinematic camera. At the very least it’s a lot quicker. And a lot cheaper.

And in fact, many gear enthusiasts we talk to say the same thing: Drop the expensive camera and just start producing.

Why? Because you don’t need to snatch awards from Christopher Nolan. Just out-do other marketers who work under the same conditions as you. Limited budgets, incredible time constraints and pressure to achieve results.

So for a limited investment, you can get a forceful return. And you can upgrade your camera as your company grows. No need to start out with a £5,000 camera.

Fix your setup

Of course, there’s also piles of horrible videos floating around on LinkedIn. Bad sound and poor quality ruins even the most sincere attempts.

So how come some can pull it off – and others can’t?

The answers lie in all the extras. Your smartphone can record high quality video. But it can only do so under certain conditions.

Photo by Joshua Hanson on Unsplash

Lighting

In our experience, the biggest culprit of bad smartphone videos is poor lighting. To tell you the truth, your smartphone sensor isn’t that good compared to most cameras in low light.

That’s not a fault with the manufacturer or model. There’s just not enough space to go crazy with specs. 

So, what’s your options?

  1. Find a well lit room. Don’t go straight for investing in gear. Start out by finding the best lit room in your office or outside. Experiment with finding the best room, the best part of that room and which way to face and shoot the video. Keep your camera open to find the best place. Record, watch and rewatch until you hit the sweet spot.
  2. Go cheap. You can get a very decent and versatile led ring light.  And it’s a small investment for the ability to record good videos wherever you go. Consult this guide to see some options.
  3. Go rental. Of course, as a camera equipment sharing platform, we’ll suggest renting lighting. That means you can set up a dedicated day or two for filming and save loads on equipment.

Sound

Those of us who’ve done a lot of video meetings these last few months know one thing. Nothing vaporizes concentration like the hammering of a construction crew down the road. Or the loud laughter of your idiot colleagues.

The idea is simple. You want crisp sound that carries well. You want to be understood.

Here, our suggestion is simple. Get a microphone. You can go as low as £10-15 for something decent that’ll last you long enough and achieve decent quality.

Or you can splash the cash for something better. Our suggestion is simple: start small, go big as your business grows.

Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

Stability

Do you like shaky footage?

How about sudden movements and loss of focus?

I mean, it was okay in the Blair Witch Project. It’s a lot less enjoyable in a promotional shoot on Facebook.

A thing every smartphone video marketeer needs is stability. It comes in many forms.

Try the simple tripod you could get anywhere. Or this monstrous sci-fi looking rig. You’ll get decent results with the tripod – but throwing more money after it would also yield some great returns.

Either way, no matter how strong your muscles and skeleton, you cannot achieve the same effect using only your hands. And things only get more complicated if you add lighting and microphones to the mix. 

Other small upgrades

Got a taste for more? Consider these small gadgets to upgrade the experience

  1. A remote shutter release – you’ll thank yourself for buying it.
  2. An anamorphic lens for that cinematic feel 
  3. Consider hiring an editor to mix and edit your footage. It always takes much longer than you plan for. If you’re confident and brave, try it out yourself!

Get creative and start shooting

By now, I’ve hopefully convinced you that you don’t need a complete film crew to produce good videos.

You’ll be good with just your smartphone and a few gadgets to go along with it. 

If you want to reach your audience where they are – LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook – you need video. And it needs to be good. But not perfect. 

And that’s the sweet spot the smartphone is in.

If you want some inspiration, Hubspot has made an excellent guide for putting together your video marketing strategy. Check it out.

Start by experimenting with your phone and some cheap equipment. Then upgrade along the way if you see video marketing working for you. You’ll find that it’s either a worthy investment or unnecessary. 

But then you won’t be several hundred or thousand pounds in the hole.


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