Have you been thinking about how to make professional videos on a budget? If so, you have come to the right place.
We are living in a world where anyone can create stellar video content. There are plenty of tools—both digital and otherwise—that can get you started. It truly is a fantastic time to be a digital content creator.
That being said, many creators, especially those that are on a budget, may think it is difficult (or even impossible) to create professional-looking videos. For these budget-conscious creators, it is easy to think that they need the fanciest equipment, professional actors, elaborate sets, and more. If you are a budget-conscious creator yourself, you may have, or continue to believe, the same thing. It is easy to get stuck on the “fancy parts” of creating, which can lead you astray.
Fortunately, you don’t need to make huge investments to create awesome, engaging, and effective professional videos. Even better, you can create these professional videos with tools that you already have at home.
To learn more about how all of us can create professional-looking video content, Dubb’s Chief Revenue Officer Darius Santos and I hosted a webinar with Pelpina Trip. Pelpina is the video marketing specialist for companies. She makes it extremely simple for companies to grow their businesses through the power of video. Through her extensive experience and passion for everything video marketing, she helps her clients achieve all of their video marketing goals.
To view the entire webinar, go ahead and click here. But if you don’t have time to review the webinar in its entirety, here are some of the main takeaways.
The Importance of Planning
One of the most important parts of making professional videos on a budget is getting prepared to do so. Before grabbing your phone, camera, computer, or anything else, you need to develop a plan. While planning can seem boring or tedious, it can save you both time and energy when you are creating your video content.
At this planning stage, it helps to grab a pen and paper. Then, you need to think about the “Three Ps.” Those Ps are people, platform, and purpose.
People stands for your ideal viewer. Essentially, you need to ask yourself who you are trying to reach. At this point, you really need to step into your viewer’s shoes. Think about what your viewer is experiencing and thinking. What types of questions would they want to be answered in your video content? Do you receive frequent questions from members of your audience?
All of these things are important to consider. The core of any great business video is empathy, so make sure that you are thinking of your audience before creating your content. It will ultimately result in a more effective video.
Let’s move on to platform. You likely know who your audience is and you likely know where you can reach them. Depending on both people and platform, you can then decide on your video’s format. You can do everything from creating horizontal or vertical videos to including closed captioning on your video content. In the end, people and platform can help you decide these very practical things.
Finally, purpose is critical. Ask yourself: what is my goal with this video? What would you like your ideal viewer to do, think, or feel when they watch your content?
These three Ps can really help you create a fantastic video plan. Once you have answered these questions, think of the start, middle, and end of your video. The start is obviously very important, as you only have a few moments to grab your viewer’s attention. In the middle part of your video, try to create several different parts. This way, you won’t need to record everything at once. And at the end of your video? Include a call to action so that the viewer can do something after watching your content.
Plans can certainly help you with longer videos. But they can even be a huge help when planning shorter video content. By spending as little as five to ten minutes on this, your work will pay off.
First Principles on Filming
So once you have developed a solid plan, you can film your content. As Pelpina says, there are two subcategories in this basket. There are first principles related to filming a person and first principles related to filming other things (like products or locations).
Let’s start by speaking about filming people. This is something that most people don’t really like. They feel uncomfortable talking to the camera. It can seem very unnatural. It can be even more intimidating when you see others killing it on camera while you’re struggling.
Ultimately, it takes quite some time to get really comfortable on camera. Mistakes are inevitable. The good news is that you can turn your bloopers and mistakes into something better. Even if you are making mistakes or your video isn’t “perfect,” your mistakes make you authentic. You’re seen as a human in the eyes of your audience, and this strengthens your relationship with them. Yes, a good number of us strive for perfection, but perfection can actually harm our cause. By accepting the inevitable mistake and continuing to create content, you will get much more comfortable on camera. In other words, when you let go of perfection, everything changes.
So beyond getting comfortable on camera, let’s discuss actually filming people with your phone. One of the many myths of creating content is that you need advanced equipment. As Pelpina described in the webinar, she previously used an iPhone 4 to create content for a national news show. No one ever noticed the hardware she was using. Instead, they were more focused on the actual content that she was creating.
Now, Pelpina uses the Sony a6100 camera for recording video content. It’s a pretty simple camera that goes for around $400 to $500. That being said, your hardware isn’t as important as your personality and what you are doing with your camera.
When filming with your phone or webcam, you’ll need to complete some basic checks.
First, you need to check your audio. You need to make sure that everything is clear before you get started. Ultimately, listen to your surroundings. Be aware of what your audio sounds like and whether there are certain people or things that are interfering.
There are certain sounds that you can turn off. Things like a fan, television, or music are great examples. However, there are some things that we cannot turn off. Our children or dogs, for instance, are most prominent here. Focus on the things that you can control here. If you can’t stop your child from interrupting your video, for instance, just roll with it. Like I mentioned above, these interruptions and bloopers can actually create strong relationships with your audience.
If you constantly have many distractions that you can’t control, you may want to think about investing in a sound panel. A sound panel absorbs sound around you so that your audio can be more clear. You can certainly invest in a high-quality sound panel, but they can be very expensive. I’m talking about sound boards that cost hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars. Instead of investing that type of cash, you can make a sound board yourself. As Pelpina says, all you need to do is purchase some fabric for around $30.
And if that doesn’t work? You can simply put down pillows and blankets right in front of you. While you may need to be creative, you can certainly do this on a budget.
So along with listening to your environment, Pelpina recommends that you look at microphones. Again, if you are on an extremely tight budget, you can forego a microphone. That being said, there are plenty of affordable microphones that can help you record terrific audio.
Pelpina isn’t sponsored by any microphone. That being said, she likes a specific microphone called the Rode smartLav+. It is a lavalier microphone, meaning that you can attach it to your clothing and use it on-the-go. You can plug the lavalier microphone into your phone and start recording. You can also clip these microphones onto your guests, meaning that you can get high-quality audio when you are conducting interviews. There are plenty of microphones out there, so I’m certain you can find a great one that is within your budget.
Now, from audio checks, let’s talk about lighting checks. You want to avoid shadows or other dark light in your videos.
So how do you avoid these shadows and have great light in your videos? To start checking your lighting, put your cell phone in selfie mode and see what your lighting looks like.
When recording yourself, what you always want to do is face the light. If you don’t have any lighting tools, try to find some duct tape in your home. With your duct tape, go to a window with good light and then put your phone on the window. Duct tape it to the window and begin shooting. This solves a lot of problems; namely, your hands are free and you have natural light.
Another important point is to keep your phone at eye level. By doing this, you make it easier to look directly into the camera. You want to look directly into the camera lens rather than yourself. Otherwise, you will be looking past the viewer. Because eye contact is important in both in-person and virtual conversations, keep this advice in mind. Look straight ahead, rather than up or down.
Related to this discussion, you may want to think about investing in a tripod. If you are on a strict budget, this isn’t a strict requirement. That said, a little tripod can make your life significantly easier. It lets you easily frame your shots and keep your phone steady. Pelpina prefers tripods that are small and super light. She uses the Benro BK10 tripod, but there are plenty of other small, affordable tripods that you can use. Whether you want to film horizontally or vertically, tripods help you get the job done.
When framing your shots of yourself or others, you will want to take advantage of the rule of thirds. As you may already know, the rule of thirds breaks down into horizontal and vertical thirds. To use the rule of thirds, feel free to leverage your phone’s grid feature.
The bottom line? You don’t want to be right in the middle of your shot. By using the rule of thirds, you can show off a large part of your background, making your video more exciting. And in the editing process, you have space to include things like calls to action, text, buttons, and more. While you don’t have to use the rule of thirds in every video, always think about including it.
Filming Products or Things
Many of the principles that apply to filming people applying to filming products or things. The great news is that you can create creative shots with virtually any thing or product.
For instance, if you are filming as something as simple as a pen, you can certainly put that pen on a table and film it from above. But you could also show yourself writing with the pen. A good mantra is “Say X, Show X.” The “X” here is a pen, meaning that whenever you are talking about the pen, your viewers want to see it doing something.
Also, think about incorporating audio with your video. Subtle sounds can really make your video pop. So in this pen example, you can click the pen as you are recording. You can move your camera really close so you can hear the pen placing ink on paper. There are many different things that you can do to incorporate distinct sounds in your video content. Make sure you take advantage of them.
From there, don’t just film your product or object from one angle. Boring videos are ones where there is just one shot of the product or object. Try varying your shots to include different angles and distances. By constantly altering the distance and angles of your shots, you keep the audience engaged and interested in your video.
This is one of the benefits of using another camera. You can not only more easily include different shots in your video, but you can more easily control your lighting in every video. Simply put, this can really make your videos shine.
Ultimately, video offers you tremendous opportunities to show off your creativity. You want to leverage video’s internal properties by filming things that move. Your viewers want to see action. But above all, video is a great way to show your passion. Being enthusiastic and passionate will make your video content more engaging and interesting.
Recommended Apps and Software
With all of these insights and tips in mind, you can get that much closer to creating awesome videos on a budget. In effect, these are first principles that you can use—no matter how much you have spent on equipment.
We spent a little time talking about hardware that you may want to consider. Depending on your budget, you may want to invest in a microphone, camera, or even a sound board. However, as a creator in the digital age, there are plenty of apps and software that can help you make fantastic content. Better yet, some of these apps and software offer free or complementary plans, which can be a welcome relief if you’re creating content on a budget.
Some of these apps include:
- Adobe Premiere Rush: Adobe Premiere Rush is an intuitive, easy-to-use app that lets you easily edit your video content. The basic app is free, but it isn’t available on every phone. If it doesn’t work for you, try KineMaster.
- InShot: this is a great tool if you are creating videos for social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok. It’s a free app for iPhone and Android (there are paid options if you need more functionality). Ultimately, InShot lets you change the canvas size of your video. For instance, if you shot your video horizontally and want it to be vertical, InShot can help you make that change.
- MixCaptions: This is an app that lets you automatically add captions to your videos. This provides immense value to those viewers who want to consume your content, yet can’t listen to the audio. Because most social videos are consumed without audio, this is an essential app for any creator.
- AutoCap: AutoCap is similar to MixCaptions, yet it is for Android devices. Seriously consider using one of these two apps to generate captions for all of your videos.
- Dubb: As I will describe below, Dubb is a fantastic tool to help you create, edit, and distribute video content.
There are plenty of other tools that you may use. For instance, Canva, DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro, and Camtasia are excellent tools to create and edit your video content. All of this being said, don’t let these apps get in the way of creating your content. You can debate between tools all day, but if you are finding that you are spending more time researching and less time creating, you should probably make a decision and move on.
Other Helpful Tips and Advice
In the webinar, Pelpina offered many other tips and insights on creating high-quality videos on a budget.
First, think about investing in ring lights. Ring lights can be great accessories to brighten your face on camera. Pelpina doesn’t recommend a specific ring light, but there are plenty of ring lights that you can try. Many of these ring lights, whether they are for your phone or for a webcam, are portable and easy to use. Depending on your budget, you may want to seriously consider this type of purchase.
Next, try to have all of your recording accessories affixed to your desk. This is a great way to stay organized and avoid scrambling when you are about to record. If you are searching for certain cables or cords right before you record, you may not be in the right headspace to record the best possible video. On the other hand, by doing this work once, you won’t make simple recording mistakes and be in the best frame of mind.
From affixing your recording accessories, follow several best practices when interviewing others on camera. Importantly, recognize that the best interviewers listen. They don’t want to hear themselves talk or show how intelligent they are. Rather, they devote their entire attention to their guests and try to have an actual conversation with them. In addition, make sure you include different angles in your videos. This is where having multiple cameras really helps. Doing so lets you switch up viewers’ perspectives and create more interesting videos.
Finally, consider using animated or movie-based videos. Sometimes, there are topics that you need to explain, but aren’t very easy to explain. In these sorts of cases, don’t hesitate to use explainer videos (like whiteboard videos). You can record a quick little voiceover over the video to provide even more context about the topic or ideas you’re exploring.
Learning More About Dubb
Ultimately, Pelpina shared some killer tips on creating high-quality videos on a budget. Regardless of your content budget, you can create awesome videos and grow your business. The best time to get started is right now.
As you start to implement these tips and insights, I recommend that you check out Dubb. At Dubb, we are laser-focused on empowering our users to create, edit, and distribute the best possible video content.
Using Dubb, you get to leverage a whole host of features. Some of them include:
- Dubb’s Chrome Extension: Our Chrome extension lets you create any type of video directly from your browser. From screen recordings, webcam recordings, or a combination of both, you can create high-quality content for your viewers.
- Plenty of Integrations: Integrations let you use Dubb on your favorite social networks and other digital platforms. From Gmail and LinkedIn to YouTube and Salesforce, you’ll find a ton of integrations with Dubb.
- Dubb’s Mobile App: Our mobile app makes it extremely easy to shoot and edit videos when you’re on-the-go. Essentially, you are getting a full production studio in your pocket. You can find it for iOS and Android devices.
- Many Calls to Action: Through Dubb’s many calls to action, you can more easily move your prospects down your sales and marketing funnels. This includes everything from scheduling a call on your calendar to downloading an eBook or white paper.
- Dubb’s Playlist Feature: Using Dubb’s playlist feature, you can combine personalized and more generic videos for your viewers. Leveraging this feature, you can substantially increase your chances of making a sale.
- Seamless Distribution: Dubb provides users with plenty of distribution options. Whether you want to send a video to a large audience or just one prospect, you can easily accomplish the task.
- Affordable Pricing: From our free plans to our more premium packages, you can use our tools without stretching your budget.
I’m confident that Dubb can help you with all of your sales and video marketing needs. To sign up for a free seven-day trial of our premium software, click here. You can also click here to contact the Dubb team.