Hey there, Connection Creator!
Welcome to my little corner of the internet. If you’ve stumbled across this post it’s because at some point you made the decision to start using Video to communicate with your ideal clients…
And now, you’re overwhelmed by it all.
Maybe you started googling ‘equipment for video production’ and got so confused. Maybe you couldn’t even start until you found this post.
So you focused on other things and video went by the wayside.
I totally know how this feels. I’ve just come out of a 3 day ‘research binge’ for new equipment and let me tell you – my brain is fried and I never want to upgrade again! (of course, I will eventually, but hopefully it’s not for a while).
Not only that, before I wrote this post I interviewed 5 entrepreneurs, like yourself, who were struggling getting started with video. Not all of them had this issue, but I was surprised to find that many of them just had no idea where to start and what to look up in Google.
So, this post will be your starting point.
Don’t worry, though, this post isn’t about the ‘techie speak’ or overwhelming you with details.
Here you’ll find the answers to getting started with Video without the huge investment. Breaking through that block without getting overwhelmed in Google and Youtube searches.
I know what you might be thinking. Surely, to look professional I need to spend money, Tiff.
Well, you know what, you actually don’t. These days, a small investment can go a long way when it comes to equipment and video quality.
My suggestions include a lot of things you already own and didn’t realise would work just as well.
The biggest benefit of starting this way, is that you can focus on the other really important elements like What to say and How to say it.
Which believe me, can have an even bigger impact on your videos, your audience and your ability to connect.
Have a look at my suggestions below, but if you really want to invest more money into your equipment, then register your interest for my upcoming eBook: Ultimate Guide to Equipment for Video: Connect with your Ideal Clients through Video.
Before I get to the nitty gritty of the equipment, I want to help you break through that block, that anxiety and that horrible feeling you have everytime video comes up.
I know – this is supposed to be about the gear – and you can scroll on past – but if you want to take a bit more time to actually break through those blocks in your head that are holding you back – you’ll be able to leap on forward.
Stop overthinking it!
Odds on, if you’re getting stuck with video there’s a whole host of things going on in your head.
What equipment should I buy?
Is this the right thing?
What if I buy the wrong thing?
What if I spend all this money and never make a video or worse still noone watches?
What if I get ripped off?
Why does it all have to be so complicated?
X Guru says to buy this and Y Guru says to buy that – which one do I buy? Or none of them?
Yup – it’s a frigging minefield of madness and let me tell you I think all of these thoughts, especially with the last lot of gear I purchased.
Basically, it comes down to a mixture of high expectations and the craziness of the What If monster.
First step – know that you’re learning. It’s okay to make mistakes.
If you buy the wrong thing you can just sell it to someone on ebay and get your money back (just don’t rip up the boxes).
Don’t worry about getting ripped off. Yes, there’s the whole what you focus on you’ll attract thing so you don’t want that to happen. But you see I have a different take on it all.
I don’t understand the energy that goes into being upset about over-paying for something. 1 – am I really prepared to research for 10 weeks to make sure I get the perfect price? Hell No! That’s valuable time I could be making videos that could lead to sales for 10 times that amount.
So what, if it’s cheaper on another site. Was that what I was prepared to pay? Yes. Okay then let’s focus on other things in life – because there is way more to life than worrying about getting ripped off.
I also like to think of it in this kind of weird spiritual way. For a brief moment in time, someone had a little more money coming to them because they priced something higher. Now, with the ebbs and flows of the Universe, that flow will come back to me from another source or in another way.
I’m not saying don’t shop around, or pay thousands over a regular price. But once you’ve set aside your time for searching for deals, you’ve completed it and made your decision. No regret needs to happen after that point. That’s just wasted energy and has nothing to do with you as a person.
Whoa – it’s getting all a little woo woo in here. But these are things I think and focus on to keep me moving forward – especially through stuff that can hinder my momentum.
Mindset: Get Your Head Straight
Okay – now here’s a bit more mindset advice as a bit of a heads up as you’re starting out.
Remember, you are diving into a new skill, a rather complex skill with a lot to learn and many people work in film and video for decades without considering themselves a master.
I know I definitely don’t.
Like any skill as you’re diving in, be prepared that your early work is going to suck. Now that’s no reflection on you personally.
This happens to anyone in Art – I know I’ve suffered it in both my photography and video work. As you’re learning the skills to go with the new equipment for creating video, very often your vision will exceed your capabilities.
This is of course depending on your background skills – but for most of us – we didn’t get behind a camera and become an instant Scorsese.
As you’re practicing and doing your takes – prepare to throw the first pancakes in the bin. Don’t let it unsettle you if it doesn’t go off without a hitch in the first few takes.
Now: The Equipment!
Come On Tiff – what camera could possibly be professional for under $50
Well – it’s a camera you already own.
Your Smartphone. The cameras in smartphones are just getting better and better with every release.
I use my Samsung Galaxy s7 and it does a fantastic job – especially for Facebook Live broadcasts.
Yes – it’s a bit of a cheat because really it’s an $800 camera but hey most of us own one.
On the other hand – when it comes to making videos it’s your Audio that has to be as good as possible. People can handle poor video quality but poor audio can make people click away sooner.
Also – other options are – don’t film yourself – just film your computer screen – using Jing (PC) or Screenflow (Mac). You can create a bunch of slides and talk over the top of them. Nobody even needs to see your face (but we’d like to :D)
You can also use sites like videoblocks.com which have a range of stock footage in video form you can use. You don’t have to be in front of the camera.
In fact there are so many types of Videos out there.
I came across this awesome tip over on youtube years ago and I tested it out.
Grab yourself a good quality set of headphones with microphone for your smartphone. You can cut off the ear buds but leave the microphone attached. Plug it in and then download an app like [Rec Forge (FREE) or Rec Forge II (check money and names).
There are plenty of other apps out there that will allow you to record audio but so far I’ve been using Rec Forge (FREE) with some great results.
Advanced Tip – beware of windy conditions if you’re outdoors. I spent days hunting around for a way to create one of those furry wind covers and found some complicated tutorials that I couldn’t follow. [link if I can find it]. Best tip I have discovered so far is using double sided tape and taping the microphone inside the shirt – although that wasn’t for this specific microphone it was for another type – outside the $50 range – which will be in another post and guide-book.
Another advanced tip – grab yourself a 3.5mm cable extension cord if you are filming yourself with the smartphone.
Now – you might be thinking – my smartphone records audio – why not use that? And sure it’s a great option to get you started. The thing is – is it will capture a lot of other noise and can make you sound like you are talking from a tunnel or a bit echo-ey (I have no idea how to spell that but hopefully you get what I mean)
Let there be light
Okay so here’s my super secret, super cheap and super easy lighting hack for video. Wow – did I just use super three times in the same sentence… maybe I should edit that out… or maybe not…
First up – you need natural light from a window. Make sure you don’t have direct sunlight on your face – you’ll need to know what time of day for which windows etc. Make sure you do a couple of tests.
Place yourself so you’re facing the window and the camera is between you and the window.
Advanced Tip: If you have windows where you can look at the setting sun – that can create some fantastic looking light for you. It’s so awesome because it can bathe you in a warm glow and you won’t be able to see any smile lines etc on camera.
A $0 Tripod
Nothing turns me off more than shaky cam – probably because I’m exceptionally shaky with a camera in hand. If I’m taking photos I have to lean on something and when I did my first facebook live I was sitting on the ground with my leg up and putting my elbow on my leg.
If you’re an Avid Reader and have piles of books around your house – heck if you even remember what a real book looks like – this will totally work for you.
Pile those books up – baby! Make your own leaning tower of books and push the top book back a little so that you can put the phone / camera in front. (Sorry this probably really is best for phones – in terms of weight – to Jenga crash ratio – but I have other options)
If all of your books are in kindle or audio format – don’t despair – there are so many options. Unless you’re a minimalist master… (which I’m hoping to be – but luckily I haven’t gotten started yet)
Tables and boxes – can be used in combination – in fact tables and books can be used in combination.
If you don’t have a garage of old boxes waiting for the inevitable trip to the local recycling centre (if that’s the case – who are you and can you show me how on earth you are so organised? Is it the Kon Marie method?)
How about your Tupperware cupboard – using some of these on your kitchen bench could be another great solution.
Whatever solution you choose – take a behind the scenes pic and tag me on social or share it with everyone in the facebook group (link) – I’d love to see how creative you get with this.
Now you have the beginnings of getting started with video, make sure you test it out. Practice, review and be kind to yourself while you learn a whole new skill.
If you want to learn more, like how to work out what to say, how to edit or upload the video, get a copy of my soon to be released indepth eBook on getting started with Video. It also includes checklists to prepare you for filming and uploading.
Test it out
When I was an intern on an Australian children’s television show, one of my producers stressed to me “Pre-production, pre-production, pre-production” She even said it exactly like that.
The point is, that on all productions, no matter the budget, the bulk of the work should go into the pre-production phase.
That means testing things out before your actual filming day.
When I say test, be prepared to fail. Sometimes things won’t work. But that’s okay. It’s all part of the process.
Make sure you review how things look on camera. Don’t just set it up in your room, eyeball and say that looks good. The camera doesn’t see what the eye sees. Things will change when you look at the footage.
Make notes and try again.
When I say test things in advance, it doesn’t have to be a full-day affair. Sometimes a simple 10 minute test might be all you need. Other times an hour might be required.
So part of the process is reviewing your tests and making adjustments. You may have to test again. Just remember, this doesn’t make you a failure.
It’s a part of the process – If you’re failing, you’re learning!
Now if you’re making videos for your business, you are probably going to need to edit out certain bits.
You don’t have to. You can keep recording until you get a whole video that’s perfect.
But for some of you, you might at some point want to add in additional footage, or an intro or music.
Now in this post I’ll just tell you which software is free to start with. If you want help on how to do these things, you can google it or wait for my upcoming tutorial series (register your interest for that here, so you’ll know when it comes out)
For Mac Users:
iMovie is your free starting off point. It’s easy to use and is a great first stop for video editing. Many people use this for years so definitely check it out.
For Windows Users (like myself):
Windows Movie Maker is your free option. It is more limited than a lot of video editing software. But it will get you started.
If you want to invest a little more:
Filmora is a great video editing software tool for those just starting out doing videos for their business. It is affordable, easy to use for beginners and I’ve seen it produce amazing results.
At the time of writing it is only $40 for a yearly license or $60 for a lifetime license (pay once only). There’s a free trial so you can check it out. https://filmora.wondershare.com/ (I am not affiliated with them in any way, it just looks like a great solution without having to pay all the extra money for an industry level solution).
Now remember this is a recommendation for people with their own business creating videos. If you’ve stumbled on this post and you want to become a video editor then check out Adobe Premiere Pro (windows) or Final Cut Pro X (Mac) or Avid (Win and Mac). These are all used in the industry at the time of writing.
Don’t lose this momentum! You have some answers, start putting them into practice right now. What? It’s 1am when you’re reading this and the kids are in bed… okay as soon as possible then.
Just put the phone camera in your face and hit record. You don’t have to upload it anywhere, but believe me it will help you through this block.
First, sign up to my free Facebook group for some support while you put all of this into action.
Second, book some time in your calendar, or make a plan of when you are going to find your window light and do some tests.
Check out my post on gaining confidence in front of the camera for some extra information.
Let me know how you went. Did this post help? Did you get stuck again? Tag me in the Facebook Group for support.