Are you thinking about adding video content to your marketing plan? Are you a bit overwhelmed at the thought of trying to determine what you need to make it work? Feeling a bit out of your element regarding video is pretty normal. The thing is, it doesn’t need to be scary or cost a small fortune.
You can create your home studio using only items you already have on hand. Or you can invest in quality video production equipment. In today’s post, I will share the video production studio we recently set up for Etched Marketing. I'll also show several video/production quality examples so you can see the difference; this will let you decide for yourself what you want to do for your business.
A fancy, expensive setup and professional video editing software is not required. It’s just not in today’s world. Social media has brought video marketing to the masses. It's made it easy for people to connect with their audiences through video. Facebook Live or Facebook Videos are an easy way to try out video marketing and get started. The great thing about social media videos is that you don’t have to have production-quality videos. In fact, it's often the opposite. The “slick” videos aren’t as popular as rawer, behind-the-scenes videos.
Social media is about connecting with your audience and sharing a bit more about yourself as a brand or a person. It’s a sneak peek behind the scenes. Due to this, it doesn’t have to be super fancy to be effective. Some of the favorite video content pieces are simple, everyday moments in our businesses, but they’re not things our customers typically get to see– a live video shoot that shows off a new shoe line that’s being introduced, a behind-the-scenes prep for an interview/podcast episode that’s coming up soon, a brainstorm session with the team, all of these are potential video subjects.
If you’re going to start shooting your videos off your cell phone, great. It’s one of the quickest, easiest, and most cost-effective ways to include video in your marketing plan. The barrier to entry is low because you’ve probably taken a video on your phone at some point in time. You don’t have to have fancy editing software or any unique gadgets to use your phone for video.
This video below was shot on an iPhone 6, using the standard camera lens and microphone. There’s no external lighting (just natural light through a window and an overhead light) or audio support. This is as real as video gets and as cheap as it can be done. I’ve added nothing to this example video.
If you’re looking to invest a little, say $50, in your video setup, I recommend you consider a few things. They’ll make it easier for you, and you should see a slight increase in your production quality.
I recommend a tripod for my phone, a Bluetooth button to control the camera, and an external Lavalier microphone. The three pieces together run about $45 and will make a difference in your final product.
If you’re using your phone and taking videos in your home or office, be sure you’re positioning yourself near a good source of natural light. If you have a big window in a room in your home or office, try to shoot your video near it for the best lighting.
Update: In 2023, I still use my phone for many of my videos today. I use an iPhone 13 Pro, a ring light, and a gimble to steady the shot if I'm moving around in the video.
If you have a bit more to invest in a video setup or you’ve been doing it for a while and know you want to up your game, then it may be time to look for hobbyist or professional quality equipment. This is the setup I recently invested in for our videos. I believed strongly in video marketing and decided it was time to invest in a real, professional video studio for our use. Luckily, I already had a reasonably new Nikon DSLR camera and a new 15” MacBook Pro, which significantly cut my costs.
For videography, I find the Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm lens to be my preference. I also have the standard kit lenses and a Nikkor 50mm lens, but honestly, I like that one a lot better for photography than videography, at least close-up video work.
For my basic setup, I use a simple Amazon Basics tripod, a backdrop stand, white backdrop paper, and clips to weigh the paper down so it stays in place. I use Neewer softbox lights, have more control over the lighting in the room, and a Rode Videomic external microphone for the camera. Right now, I’m doing all the editing in iMovie and using it to add the text overlay. In the future, I may move to another program, but for now, it suits my needs, and there’s no extra cost associated with the program since it’s already on my computer. (2023 update: I edit my videos in Camtasia on my Mac these days, but honestly, 99% of my videos are shot on my phone these days - the big camera set up is cumbersome, and phone video quality has improved significantly in the past six years).
You can see the difference in video production quality in the clip below.
You’re truly the only one who can decide if you need/want to invest in a video studio setup. If you’re getting started, I would do it as simple and easy as possible. Figure out what you’re doing and determine if it’s an area you want to focus on for your business. You most likely understand the benefits of video marketing. However, the reality is, like anything else, it takes time. And if you’re not ready to invest the time, then it’s probably not right for you today. You can see great results if you’re consistent… like pretty much everything else marketing-related.
Are you curious why I’ve invested heavily in a video setup? I’ve been in marketing for years, and I know video is where we’re headed. The importance of video is widely reported… look at a few of the statistics listed below -
It made sense for my business and was within budget to go ahead and invest in the setup this year. If you’re unsure or not yet, start with your phone, a desk lamp, and a simple, neat backdrop and see what happens. If you enjoy the video and it drives business for you, invest in more.
I was lucky; I studied broadcast journalism in college and took videography courses. I’ve done stand-ups, reporting, and videography before, so I’m pretty familiar with what you need to do to be on camera. And even with all that background, returning to that after so many years is still a little intimidating!
I am also a hobby photographer and have many studio items I need. When it came time to invest in the final pieces for my video studio, I only needed a few things. To do this, I bought a new mic, lighting kit, phone tripod, and Bluetooth button for my phone. I had everything else.
Only you can decide what’s right for your business. If you’re still thinking about it and trying to decide what to do, check out this blog post I recently wrote on why video is important to your business.
This post includes affiliate links to the items that I shared in this post.