You know you need something visual and snazzy to live on your blog or accompany your social post. You also know that visual content is more likely to be remembered, interacted with, and well…shared. So what’s the catch? Your team might not be sure whether you should handle your video production needs in-house or call in the pros. As always, we’ve got your back with tips that will make sure your visual content marketing skills get results.
Of course, content marketing is a crowded field, and you’ll need to make sure your visual content stands out. Before you begin any project, make sure you fully understand the goals — and what it will take to get there. Be honest with yourself about whether you have the technical skills and team capable to execute the project. If you don’t, no sweat — sometimes you need to pull in professionals to produce your content. But if you’re going to DIY it, here are the minimum requirements you need to meet to ensure your content is of the highest quality.
Can you hear me now?
Okay, forgive us for the old Verizon reference, but this is important! Using a lavalier microphone that clips on your speaker is one of the easiest things you can do to make your video sound great. Since most cameras have a mic already, many people overlook this crucial component. Don’t confuse some sound with good sound. A lav mic brings the microphone closer to the speaker and effectively cuts down the chance for interfering room noise and distracting echoes. You can find lav mics compatible with your video camera, DSLR or even your phone. They come in both wired and wireless versions and in a wide range of prices— starting as low as $20.
Light ‘em up.
Lighting is another critical element to making your video look like a million bucks. Mediocre lighting or visible shadows are an easy way to spot poor production, but there’s a pretty simple way to prevent that and still come in under budget. These days, LEDs have made lighting easier and more affordable than ever—forget about burning your hands on hot fixtures or dropping big money. A simple light kit can run you between $80 and $500 and make all the difference. See for yourself below:
Steady on the course!
Have you ever gotten dizzy watching old videos on a handheld, shaky camcorder? (Okay mom and dad, no more baby videos, please)! Nothing screams “newbie” like a camera that just won’t stay still. A tripod is the easiest way to take your video from backyard-cookout quality to professional-grade. There are tall tripods and little tabletop models and everything in between. You can get tripods for all types of cameras and phones for $15 – $80. And if you don’t feel the need to make the investment, improvise by putting your phone on a flat surface like a file cabinet or desk to steady your shot.
These three key components of production will have your videos looking—and sounding— great. But another important part of handling video production on your own is knowing exactly what you’re getting into before using your fancy new toys. Having a buttoned-up plan going into a shoot prevents your production from straying too far off budget with last-minute, unplanned purchases. At MediaSource, we advise creative teams to stay organized and be prepared going into video shoots by remembering these simple T-R-I-C-K-S:
- T- Think Ahead – Make a shot list, keeping in mind key sound bites you hope to get
- R- Reserve Space – call ahead to inquire about the space and ask about any associated costs. Be sure to see the space in person before your planned shoot, and as always, have a backup plan!
- I- Insist on Perfection – You only get one chance to do it right! Study the frame and make adjustments where needed.
- C- Create a Look – Think like a producer to create an interesting shot composition. What props will you need—and do you have them, or need to buy beforehand?
- K- Know What to Bring – Do you have the right camera? Are your batteries charged?
- S- Sound Like a Pro – Find a quiet space to shoot, and listen to your surroundings. If you hear noise, the camera can too.
Employing these strategies and planning frameworks will help you produce quality videos that can earn results for your brand. However, don’t settle for DIY if your skills aren’t quite there yet. Hiring a pro for your video production needs—especially for challenging jobs, is always a smart move. Just like you would hire a plumber or carpenter for complicated home repairs, some video projects call for a professional to get a high-quality job done on time, and the investment is worth it. Now go out there and create some visuals!