How to Produce Professional Videos at Low Cost and with No Experience

By Vilan Trub, Business Wire Marketing

The videos you constantly see online, whether on a branded website, a social media platform, or a news73 percent of all adults outlet, can be replicated at low cost and by someone with no production experience. This revelation is important because if you aren’t currently tapping into the trend of video marketing, you will be soon once you realize how easy it is, and how significant the potential results can be.  How significant?  According to an Animoto Online and Mobile Video Study conducted using 1,000 U.S. consumers, “nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of respondents are more likely to purchase a product or service if they can watch a video explaining it beforehand.”

Camera phoneCamera

Option 1: Low cost:
Cell phones turned into computers overnight and the world has been watching them ever since. With the launch of the latest series of smartphones, camera technology has been exponentially improved giving everyone access to HD (1920 x 1080) quality recording devices.

What exactly is HD?
HD refers to the lines of resolution in an image. Video footage with a higher quantity of resolution lines is deemed high definition because of the greater appearance of detail in the image.

Take advantage of your access to HD recording devices and create beautiful videos – all with the device you have in your hand right now.

DSLR tripodTo maximize the effect of your smart phone camera stay zoomed out to the widest setting and capture your footage in a well-lit environment. Don’t be fooled, even Hollywood admits to the astounding quality of footage captured with  an iPhone.

What will make your footage stand out from other “smart phone” videos is the use of a tripod. Yes, they make tripods for cellphones, pointing to the quality footage that can be captured from the same device that you occasionally use to order dinner.

Option 2:  Medium budget:
Let’s say you plan on regularly producing video projects and you want some versatility in the tool used to create your visuals. A DSLR camera is an affordable way to create professional quality images with an easy to use technology while giving you more control over the depth of field of your images. And at a $400-$500 price point for an entry level camera, it is so affordable and easy to use that Hollywood often takes advantage.DSLR

What is depth of field?: The range of what is in focus in your image compared to what isn’t. When you see an object in the foreground in sharp focus, and everything else is blurry, you have a shallow depth of field. With a DSLR camera you have more options for how you want your image to look.

A DSLR camera will also give you much better color reproduction as a result of the larger sensors (what captures the image) so your images will be vibrant and pop.

Lighting

Option 1:  Low cost:
Light bulbs make light. It’s what you choose to illuminate with that light that will make the difference clamp lightbetween clunky amateurish videos, and professional digital media. By utilizing higher wattage bulbs, such as 150w and 200w, and clamp lights that can be purchased at any local hardware store, you can create a studio right in your office.

How can these lights be used to create a professional image? The term to remember is three-point lighting. This lighting scheme uses two lights to illuminate both sides of the subject. The third light is what really makes the image look professional. The third light, cast over the back of the subject illuminating highlights such as hair and shoulder, creates separation between the subject and the background. This allows the viewer to perceive depth on a two-dimensional medium.

Option 2: Medium budget:
Basic lighting kits are affordable and extremely easy to use, assemble, and store. A light kit is superior to using clamp lights because the light stands are easy to assemble and move around. With clamp lights, creativity is required in identifying objects to which they can be clamped. With a light kit all the tools are available. The height of a light stand can also easily be manipulated, offering many variations of lighting schemes that can be tried out without too much time or effort.

Sound

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Option 1:  Low cost:
For a production, sound is the most important aspect. If the audio is crisp and clear, clean of ambient noise and static, the audience will accept your media as professional grade regardless of what type of camera or camera phone you use. Eyes can fill in the blanks better than your ears, so it’s important for the audience to hear what they need to as if the speaker is in the room. This can be accomplished quite easily and with a low budget.

Wired lavalier microphone: A microphone that clips to the subject’s lapel can be purchased in the $50 dollar range. This microphone is great for capturing the speaker’s voice because it is located so close to the source. This particular microphone is designed to work with mobile devices, however, if you already have a microphone or are purchasing a microphone not designed to work with a mobile device there are solutions. With the addition of an adapter, in the $20 to $30 range, you can easily connect your microphone to a smartphone to use as an audio recording device (use the voice memo app if filming with an iPhone).

Remember that sound and video need to sync. For every time you roll your camera or recording device, film a piece of paper labeled with what take you are recording, then clap your hands together. That clap provides a distinct sound that you can use later to sync your audio and video during the editing process.

Option 2: Medium budget:
If you have any budget at all, it’s always recommended that sound be your first investment. If you can afford it, invest in a wireless lavMic microphone system. Why wireless over a wired microphone? A wireless mic system allows you to record your audio directly into the camera or recording device. There is no need to sync audio and picture when editing and you can immediately view back your footage to test quality of both image and sound. Of course, you should still mark each take with a verbal label (saying take one, take two) so you have an easy way to reference the footage during the editing phase.

Editing

Option 1: Low cost:
Editing video is not as hard as most people think. You choose the footage that you want and discard the rest. The digital revolution has ensured that everyone can be an editor and with great ease. Youtube offers editing capabilities, as well as other free online options. If your video and audio was recorded separately remember to locate the exact second the clap (previously discussed) occurred, as well as the sound of that clap; match the two and you have just synced sound and picture.

editingOption 2: Medium budget:
For basic digital media there is no need for excessive editing software. This is not because of the price but rather the learning curve required to maximize your purchased editing software. If you are willing to put in a little time to master such techniques as color correction and more intricate editing, look into tools like Sony Vegas Movie Studio, or the higher end Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. A list of other recommended software can be found here.

We know video is one of the fastest growing content tools, and consumption rates are at an all-time high. We also know that video builds relationships between organizations and their customers.  Now you know just how easy it is to make your own!  Have any additional tips related to video creation?  Let us know.

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For more information about the role of video in the news process, we suggest the following articles

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