If you are on LinkedIn odds are your news feed is starting to look a lot like YouTube with the surge of videos being posted by individuals, (shameless plug to check out Workspace Digital’s weekly video series).
Making a video goes far and beyond just turning on selfie mode, plugging in earbuds with a microphone attached to it, and calling it a day. For most that type of content can and will work, after all that’s a free set up (minus the cost of the phone, of course) and these videos can be recorded and exported in a matter of minutes, but for those looking to take their videos to the next level there are a plenitude of budget friendly options out there that aren’t time consuming.
This Isn’t Hollywood
Many people often get overwhelmed when thinking about video content and the time and cost that they think needs to be sunk into making a video. Sure, one can take out a second mortgage to buy RED’s ludicrously expensive $55,000 camera, but like most things in life, there are often other more cost-friendly options that can still get the job done while giving you tremendous results.
Here’s all someone needs to get started with producing videos: a camera, a microphone, and an editing software which comes free with every version of Windows, or iMovie for Mac OSX. For those looking for something more serious and hardcore, then there’s the legendary Davinci Resolve, which is a grand total of zero dollars.
This isn’t Hollywood so don’t get carried away. Like smartphones and technology in general there is always going to be a new fancier camera on the horizon every couple of months. It’s very easy to go down a rabbit hole with buying new lenses, external power solutions, monitors, other accessories and telling yourself “I need this camera.” It’s true that this type of equipment can augment videos to a powerful degree, however for the average person these are unnecessary and will only increase production time (the time it takes to film, edit, and export a video), and not to mention destroy a budget. Remember, time is money, stay focused and have a plan in place.
Show Me The Way
The most important tool in a video creator’s arsenal is a camera. Don’t be fooled by getting in the mentality that spending thousands of dollars is the only way to create good content. In today’s day and age a creator can purchase capable equipment at a friendly price. Just remember, a camera is just a tool, the type of content will always dictate the quality.
A personal camera recommendation is the extremely user-friendly Canon EOS M3 Camera, which has a tilt up selfie screen so someone can make sure they are in the frame and not cut off (this is a VERY underrated feature, and a must have). This camera can be bought for under $400. Cameras will always come with a battery and charger, but if buying used make sure the seller includes these.
For microphone needs, look no more than this mini microphone here, which will drastically boost audio performance for $55.
For SD cards, get a cheap one on Amazon for $10.
Also, treat yourself to a table tripod for $17.
An individual can get fancy and buy lights to get proper lighting, but for most who are already strapped on time and money, a camera and a microphone will suffice.
Don’t Stress Out
Starting new ventures, especially when technology is in the equation, can be stressful, but it’ll be okay. Handling and operating a camera isn’t any more difficult than using a smartphone or a computer/laptop.
Messing up and making mistakes are nothing to worry about. Mistakes will happen and that is okay. Learn from those mistakes and don’t let it get in the way from creating videos.
The biggest hurdle that many need to overcome is the editing software and how to use it properly. It’s easy to get overwhelmed on cutting and editing a video when one has never done it before, but there are lots of guides on the web, and one can even turn to YouTube to get a visual demonstration on how to do a specific action.
Of course, there are tons of editing features that can give a video fine detail, but these same features can also ruin a video if used improperly and can also add time that many don’t have when trying to push these videos out in a quick manner. Usually, dropping footage into the software and trimming the start of the clip and end of the clip should be good enough, and learning how to do that no matter the program takes a couple of minutes. Again, don’t get carried away with this step. Edit what needs to be edited and get the footage ready for export. Write down what needs to be done so you stay on course.
Keep At It
For others that want to take videos to the next level, just know that breaking the bank is not required, this cannot be stressed enough. A general rule of thumb is to purchase gear that will help achieve a desired outcome. If you don’t need 4k, then don’t buy a 4k camera, for example.
Also, as another general rule, it is never a good idea to go into debt buying camera gear. This is a mistake that is made far too often. Many people think “oh, i’ll just pay off the camera doing one or two projects”, but that is surely never the case. Do not fall into this trap and stay within budget.
$500 for all of the gear in this example might seem like a lot, but when considering this budget provides a camera with a selfie screen, lens, battery, sd card, tripod and mic, then $500 suddenly doesn’t seem all that bad. Of course, one can find cheaper solutions out there, but it’s better to buy once and never again versus buying a $100 camera and $10 microphone that will only fail within a couple of uses, and at that point you might as well stick to smartphone videos.
That’s A Wrap
It’ll take a while to get comfortable doing a set up like this, but the outcome of using a proper camera system can take videos to that next level and give it polish that can’t be achieved with smartphones.
Don’t be confused though as this set up is not for everyone. For a majority of people continuing to take selfie videos is going to be fine as it is free to do so and usually editing is not required; just tap the record button and upload away. But there might come a time down the road where your videos will need that extra polish or where you might need that extra flexibility that only camera systems can offer.