Videography on a Budget
When used effectively, videography can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool for businesses to spruce up their online presence. As a very desirable form of content to have for both websites and social media, the obstacle for many businesses getting started here is often a simple one – budget.
With the right skills, knowledge, and a little bit of improvisation it is in fact possible to create professional looking content without the backing of a Hollywood studio.
Camera and gear
Typically, the most expensive part of production comes down to the tools of the trade. If you’ve already got a camera, then great. If not, you might be surprised by how much you can already do without one.
With improvements in phone cameras over the last few years, it is entirely feasible to shoot professional looking content without having that fancy 4K camera and microphone. There are a few basic principles of the phone camera to understand before you point and shoot however, so make sure you have a read of our blog post on filming professional looking videos on your phone.
Keep it simple, keep it cheap
The professional grade stuff on the market is there to perform under pressure. When shooting on a budget, the less you complicate things for your content the cheaper it will be to create professional looking videography. A simple piece-to-camera video can realistically be done with nothing more than a smart phone and a steady surface. Just make sure you keep a couple of things in mind.
A shaky camera can instantly send your content from professional video to home video. Even the steadiest hand in the world will struggle with maintaining a smooth shot for the duration of your video, so try resting your camera/smartphone on a steady surface if you do not have a tripod. A table or books will do, just make sure the shot is level.
Try and stay away from movement. Static shots are easy to keep steady with either cheap equipment or a knack for improvisation. Without an exceptionally good inbuilt stabilization setting or an expensive gimbal for either your phone or camera, movement is instantly noticeable if not done smoothly, and will subtract from the professionalism of your video.
If you must have movement, try purchasing a gimbal for your phone to ensure smooth shots, as these are significantly cheaper than a gimbal for a full-sized digital camera.
An easy one to manage and an important one for presentation. Rather than spending big money on a lighting rig for your content, simply be mindful of light sources when shooting. Make sure the focus of the video is not covered in shadow, and that you can easily make out the subject’s face. Not enough lighting? Stand under one of the ceiling lights in the office, move a lamp or head outside. Simply taking the time to think about these things when filming makes a world of difference for the end product.
As one of the more difficult aspects of videography to manage on a budget, sometimes the best way to manage this is simply trial and error.
Many phones and cameras come standard with quality microphones; however, these can often run into issues with wind and background noise. Before settling on the where and how you are going to film, make sure you take a practice shot and listen to the audio through a pair of headphones. Most of the time if you are shooting in a quiet area, the inbuilt microphone is good enough. If there is too much background noise/wind, try moving elsewhere. Worst case scenario, you can purchase lapel microphones that plug straight into your phone/camera for cheap.
Once you have worked out what you are going to film, where to do it and what gear to do it with, the most important thing from there is to maintain consistency.
When taking multiple shots for the same video, make sure you do it with all the same gear. Filming outside with a Lapel microphone? Make sure you film again with the same microphone later, otherwise the change in audio will be instantly noticeable (and jarring) if it is too dissimilar. The same can apply to the video so be careful, and make sure you check.
Location, location, location
There is absolutely no need to fork out for an expensive studio or green screen when filming videos for your business. A simple plain wall in the office would suffice as a professional looking backdrop. You can take things outside as well if you need, however do be mindful of the issues discussed before surrounding lighting and audio. Try to keep the background simple if you can, to not distract from the content of the video.
The (often overlooked) wonders of post-production
Too many people post videos to digital platforms without even the most basic of editing. Want to show your clients that you value attention to detail in your work? Crop out those three seconds between starting the video and beginning to talk.
Though essential for cutting multiple pieces of footage together, the value of touching up your videos with editing software can often be overlooked. This again can be something that many people avoid due to the sizeable costs associated with licensing video-editing software, however there are a large number of free programs available out there that will do all the simple things you need without the expensive price tag. Afraid you won’t know how to use the software? There’s a YouTube video for that.
With the tools needed for videography now more accessible more than ever, video content is becoming a must for all forms of digital marketing and online content. You don’t have to break the bank to begin creating this content, as you may already find you have all the tools needed to get started already. All it needs is a little know-how.
If you ever have any queries about creating this sort of content for your marketing, please get in touch with our content creation team.