Where to begin, where to begin? That’s the problem isn’t it. When assembling a toolkit to build your video marketing machinery it’s easy to get bogged down by the sheer volume of choice. This isn’t helped by the fact that many of us don’t necessarily have technical backgrounds.
With that said, you still need the basic tools to record your videos in as professional a manner as possible.
Another stumbling block is the fear that the budget for video content creation just isn’t there. Yes, video equipment can be expensive. It’s also true, though, that for your purposes it doesn’t have to be.
That’s why we’re here. We can help you get started with the equipment you need to create video content that can boost your business and brand visibility. And you won’t have to sell your blood to do it either.
The goal is to do this as inexpensively as can be managed with equipment you can learn to use in a fairly short space of time.
Starting with the basics
The ideology behind no fuss video is rooted firmly in a do-it-yourself philosophy. That’s why we focus on sharing the fundamentals of video for small business owners who need to take charge of their content creation strategy themselves.
You can start producing video content almost immediately with three simple tools:
No matter what sort of content output you’re looking at, having steady footage with clean, clear audio will put you ahead of lots of sub par, shaky video that’s less than flattering, at least from a business promotion perspective.
So what camera, tripod and microphone?
If you don’t have the budget for a dedicated camera, you probably have one in your pocket right now that will do just fine. Most smartphones nowadays can shoot exceptional footage with a bit of know-how.
As we’ve written in a previous blog and in our books, however, relying on your smartphone’s audio recording capabilities isn’t the best idea. Neither is depending on your extended arm as a tripod for that matter.
When creating videos always think about the destination of the content. If you’re taking the time to get all gussied up for an on-camera presentation and crafting your message you might as well shoot for a level of quality that can be used anywhere.
The videos you’d upload on Facebook or Instagram should be sufficiently professional-looking to be embedded on your website. And you don’t want amateurish video on your website, do you?
Here are the basic accessories we use to get the most out of our smartphones:
- The Joby GorillaPod – This table-top tripod has flexible legs that make it extremely versatile.
- Glif Quick Release Tripod Mount – An attachment with which you mount your smartphone to the tripod.
- Shure MV88 iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone – This microphone is compatible with the iPhone
- Rode VideoMic Me – For android users, this mic is a great option.
There loads of other accessories to consider, including additional smartphone lenses to beef up the creative prowess of your phone.
For the time being, a modest investment in the add-ons we’ve outlined can give you the look and sound you want in your video marketing content.
Other camera options
As mentioned earlier, today’s smartphones shoot exceptional quality footage. However, even some reasonably priced, compact camcorders can produce equivalent or better quality footage. That’s because most camcorders have larger sensors than smartphones.
If you’ve got a bit more breathing room in your budget you may want to consider different camera options depending on your needs.
Consequently, some camcorders tend to perform better in low light than your phone and reproduce more lifelike colours.
With that said, you won’t be able to shoot a candlelight dinner or a seance with this camcorder as there is a cap on its low-light performance. That’s the case with most lower-end, prosumer cameras.
We’ve used the Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder and it is still part of our video production tool kit. Coming it at under 200 dollars it’s a good buy, all things considered.
What we like about the camcorder is the continuous autofocus feature. As a DIY shooter or YouTuber that means you don’t have to worry too much about appearing sharp and in focus in the frame. The camcorder takes care of that for you, which is actually a huge plus.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of camcorders is that they are relatively easy to use right out of the box. That’s not to say you’d throw the manual in the trash, but you can get up and running in a short space of time simply because camcorders are easier to learn.
The DSLR camera
We’d be nuts if we didn’t dedicate a bit of space to the DSLR camera. An acronym for digital single lens reflex, this type of camera is ostensibly designed for taking pictures.
As video features were added to these cameras, they put tremendous video quality in the hands of ordinary folks at prices that not long ago seemed impossible to contemplate.
Now we’re going to say something that might sound like heresy in today’s age, but the DSLR can be a real pain in the neck to work with. Before you go lighting the torches to burn us at the stake, just bear with us for a moment.
There is no question that we could not have accomplished much of what we did without the mighty DSLR. The price point, undeniable quality and creative flexibility enabled us to stay within our clients’ undersized budgets and outsized creative vision.
For the newbie to video, on the other hand, there’s lots to know about operating a DSLR effectively. If you can invest the time to learn how to work the DSLR camera it will be well worth it for your small business.
If the goal is to get a video marketing machinery off the ground in the short term, we’d suggest starting with something simpler like your smartphone or a camcorder.
When you are ready to step up your video content creation game, though, here is a DSLR toolkit that will serve you well:
- Canon EOS Rebel T6i DSLR Camera
- Canon EOS 80D DLSR Camera
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens
- Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Zoom Lens
- Azden WLX-PRO Lavalier Microphone
- Rode VideoMic Pro Shotgun Microphone
- Sandisk 64 Gig SD card
Now these are just some options to choose from. You certainly don’t need to have them all. We’ve basically pulled from our toolkit to help point you in the right direction.
Just a quick note about why we recommended these particular camera models: As a DIY shooter, you’ll want to go with a DLSR that has a flip screen. This is an amazing feature that helps you frame yourself correctly.
DSLR cameras have really come down in cost and gone up in quality and features. As your DIY video marketing ambitions grow, so too will your interest in boosting the look of your content.
The most important gear
Writing about gear to power your DIY video marketing goals isn’t the easiest thing to do, we have to tell you. There are so many options available and it’s difficult for us to know what your objectives are and what kind of budget you’re working with.
We’ve kept it simple, focusing on the basics to get you started. In the beginning, getting your sound quality and image stability sorted should be a top priority.
Everything else will fall into place as your DIY video abilities blossom. You can choose from the basic elements we’ve provided here, or feel free to rummage around our toolkit page.
There’s a lot to be said for starting small. It isn’t just a question of money. We strongly recommend that you invest as much time and energy learning the principles of DIY video marketing as you do choosing your gear.
There’s a mantra we swear by even if we haven’t gotten matching tattoos with the words just yet:
As you can see, that would have made for a very wordy tattoo anyway.
The main point is the most important gear is really what’s in your head. With the know-how and an emphasis on storytelling, you can do wonders with the recommendations we’ve laid out.