Posted: Fri 25th Feb 2022
When looking to dive into the world of video marketing, it can be so challenging to know where to invest time and money.
One of the things most often overlooked is the equipment. Yes, most smartphones today are indeed 4k, which means they're more than capable of shooting, editing, and uploading video. But a smartphone is only the very basic element here.
Knowing what type of equipment to invest in and what is just an unnecessary expenditure is tricky.
Search the internet, especially focusing on online gadget shops, and you'll soon buy into the theory that you need it all; it all needs to be top of the range, and it has to happen now. Not the case. There is nothing at all wrong with starting with a smartphone and a few other bits of kit.
This post will explain the entry-level things you absolutely will need to get started with your video marketing and the things that can come later down the line.
How much to spend on your start-up kit
When it comes to making videos, I have seen just about every gear setup there can possibly be. From doing budget-end videos and one-person podcasts to much larger broadcasting productions, I have experienced a range of products to get the job done.
With a video kit, it must deliver good picture quality, lighting, and sound. This will all contribute to giving your business a professional image, but it can be confusing to know how much to justify spending on the initial setup. Budget is a personal thing, or it may be something you're limited with and have little-to-no control of.
The real answer to the financial outlay is that you could spend thousands of pounds - easily, and likely within one shop or online retailer. Do you need to spend this much? Absolutely not.
Technology is constantly changing. There will always be time to invest in a more expensive piece of kit that actually makes a difference later on down the line, one that maybe offers a couple of extra features to warrant its higher RRP.
The great thing is that as you develop your video marketing skills, you will know what you want to improve and have the experience to avoid being baffled by salespeople with their technical jargon.
Consider the first time you took a vehicle into the garage; if you'd have been told it needed a whole new engine, you may not have questioned this. What if it happened to you today - you know your car, its history, its faults, and what is needed to improve its operation. This is precisely how you'll be with video marketing equipment.
You can't buy experience, but boy, can it save you money!
Essential items to start filming video
Now, I am not saying everything should be cheap, far from it, but there are certain things you would be wise to invest in, and I'll explain what I believe these to be in this section of the post, along with the things you really can afford to scrimp on.
If you're not going to use your smartphone for filming, or aren't sure, then a camera is the only other solution. The camera is the item that will have the most influence on the picture quality of your video, and today's standards are pretty high. Viewers expect a high-quality viewing experience.
You could expect to lay out anything from £300 to £3000 for a camera today, and that may just be for the body alone, without additional lenses - which can be vital.
Consider the type of videos you will be making, For example, if you will be shooting lots of interviews, then a lens that can obtain a close-up shot where people's facial expressions are easily seen would be a good investment.
Conveying emotions is excellent for establishing trust, and a clear image of a person, warts and all, is the best way to gain consumer engagement.
I would advise buying the highest-quality camera you can afford from a reputable shop with a warranty. Do your research first, and thoroughly examine the camera's specs to ensure your money is being well spent.
Tripods come in small form for smartphones and much larger for big shooting cameras. A tripod isn't an essential item if you will be using a smartphone, as it can just as easily rest on a stack of books, but the fact of the matter is it must rest somewhere that provides stability.
There's nothing worse than shaky images on screen; they're distracting, irritating, and can quickly result in potential consumers switching off. For this reason, I would say that a tripod is an essential piece of kit to have when starting this journey.
I would advise investing in lighting - it can make such a difference when wanting to achieve high-quality video. Your marketing and sales video content has to be seen, and without adequate lighting, it simply won't be.
Some people opt for elementary lighting systems, some choose to sit in front of natural light, but there are flaws with both of these things.
Low-quality lighting systems are not built to last, and often they lack the power needed to really light the room, particularly when wanting to illuminate one item. Natural lighting is dependent on the time of day and the season; it really isn't something we can guarantee to have at our disposal.
Let's look at the lighting options we have:
Clamp Lights: Around £10, versatile, lack of dimming control, often harsh brightness.
Purpose-Built Studio Lights: £100-£500, complete kits, excellent controls, large and bulky.
A microphone is a necessity. With any great interview you've seen, you won't have heard much background noise; the speaker may as well be standing in front of you, talking directly to you. This will be due to the microphone capturing the desired audio-only.
There are different microphone options, such as a lapel microphone which can be simply clipped to a shirt and retails for less than £20. As you climb the price points, the sound quality will be slightly better, but in my opinion, not significantly so. £40 is more than enough to get you the best audio recorder out there.
There are so many accessories out there that you may want to consider. One that often crops up in the essential category is a backdrop.
A consistent backdrop can promote a more branded, authentic feel to your videos. If you're just starting out and filming from your home study, or family kitchen, I would suggest looking at a backdrop to help consumers separate your business away from your home. But they're not essential, and personally, I don't use them.
You may also want to look at the different software that's out there to help with the editing of your video; the free websites are often pretty good and certainly worth a look. For more tips and guidance on this subject, check out my video here.