Updated: Mar 21
Creating engaging video content is essential for modern businesses to stand out in today's digital landscape. However, for non-videographers, the process of selecting the right equipment can be daunting. This article aims to simplify the decision-making process by providing guidance on choosing the appropriate gear for content marketing videos, even if you have no prior videography experience.
Start with the camera
The camera is the heart of your video production setup. As a non-videographer, you don't need to invest in high-end, professional equipment. Instead, consider the following options:
a) Smartphone: As a videographer, it always pains me to say, "yes, you can use your iPhone." Its definitely not ideal but modern smartphones have impressive cameras that can shoot high-quality video. If you're on a tight budget, your smartphone can be an excellent starting point. There's a pretty good chance that you will own a smartphone regardless. So, this is a great way to really help a limited budget. But if your phone purchase is influenced base on its video qualities, you obviously want to stick with the big names - Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, iPhone. To enhance the video quality, invest in a phone tripod or gimbal for stabilization.
b) DSLR or Mirrorless Cameras: These cameras offer greater control over image quality and settings, such as aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. This is generally the route I would recommend. Especially, if you have the budget. Choose a camera with good video capabilities within your budget. Look for features like 1080p or 4K resolution, body stabilization, and full frame sensor. Both camera types have their advantages and disadvantages, and it's essential to understand their differences to make an informed choice.
DSLR cameras use a mirror mechanism to direct light from the lens to the optical viewfinder. This design makes them generally larger and heavier compared to their Mirrorless counterparts, which lack the mirror and display the image directly on an electronic viewfinder or the rear LCD screen. Mirrorless cameras have a more compact and lightweight design, making them ideal for on-the-go shooting and traveling.
In general, Mirrorless cameras have an edge when it comes to video capabilities. They often offer better video autofocus, higher-resolution video formats, and more advanced features such as log profiles for color grading. However, some DSLRs have stepped up their game, offering competitive video features.
A few cameras that I have used in the past are the Canon T-series, Canon R-Series and Canon C-Series. (Listed here in order of least expensive to most expensive. ) The T-series is a great inexpensive DSLR for beginners. The R-Series is a mirriorless step up from the T-series, which will give you more options at a higher price. Finally, the C-series is Canon's cinema line of cameras. These are much more expensive but definitely worth it. However, be aware that these are not exactly "run-and-gun" friendly. They are heavy and take a bit more to set up.
2. Invest in audio equipment
Clear audio is crucial for creating professional content marketing videos. You could have the most beautiful shot thats has perfect composition and it absolutely would not matter if your audio is trash. You can always cover up bad footage with B-Roll. You can't hide bad audio. Consider investing in an external microphone for better sound quality:
a) Lavalier Microphone: These small clip-on microphones are perfect for recording interviews or talking head videos. They can be connected to your camera, smartphone, computer, tablet, or even devices like a Zoom recorder.
I am currently using this DJI lav mic pack. I am a big fan of the compact size, audio quality and the fact that it can save on both the receiver and the transmitter pack. Just make sure the firmware is constantly up to date.
b) Shotgun Microphone: This directional microphone is ideal for capturing audio from a specific source while minimizing background noise. Attach it to your camera or use a boom pole for better positioning. Shotguns are usually better than the internal mics of your camera. The easy way to use them is to just attach them to the hot shoe mount on top of your camera. However, that's not the right way to do it. The best way to use a shotgun mic is for it to be pointed up or down at your subject's mouth. The shotgun picks up a lot more noise when it is placed on top of the camera and pointed horizontal to the subject.
3.Lighting plays a crucial role in creating high-quality, professional-looking videos.
Understanding the basics of video lighting and investing in the right equipment can significantly enhance your content's visual appeal. In this section, we'll go into more detail about various lighting setups and types of lights to help you make the best decision for your needs.
Three-point lighting is a fundamental lighting setup that involves placing three light sources around the subject: key light, fill light, and back light. This setup creates a well-lit scene with depth, dimension, and balanced shadows.
Key light: The primary light source, typically placed at a 45-degree angle from the subject. It provides the most illumination and helps define the subject's shape and features.
Fill light: Positioned opposite the key light, the fill light softens and balances the shadows created by the key light. It's usually less intense than the key light to maintain a natural look.
Back light: Positioned behind the subject, the back light separates the subject from the background, adding depth and preventing the subject from blending into the background.
Types of lights
Several types of lights can be used in video production, each with its unique characteristics and benefits.
a) Softbox Lights
Softbox lights consist of a bulb enclosed within a box-like structure, covered with a diffusion material. The diffused light reduces harsh shadows and creates a soft, even illumination ideal for various video styles. They are an affordable and beginner-friendly option for studio setups.
b) Ring Light
Ring lights are circular lights that surround the camera lens, providing even, shadowless illumination on the subject's face. They are popular for vlogs, beauty videos, and product demonstrations. Many ring lights are adjustable in brightness and color temperature, allowing you to customize the light to your preferences.
Examples: Neewer Ring Light Kit, Yongnuo YN508 Bi-Color LED Ring Light
c) LED Panels
LED panels are versatile and energy-efficient lights, often featuring adjustable brightness and color temperature. They are lightweight and portable, making them an excellent option for on-location shoots or small studio setups. Some LED panels also come with diffusion materials or built-in diffusers for softer lighting.
Examples: Neewer LED Video Light
d) Umbrella Lights
Umbrella lights utilize reflective or shoot-through umbrellas to diffuse and spread light. Reflective umbrellas bounce light back onto the subject, while shoot-through umbrellas allow light to pass through, providing softer and more even lighting. Umbrella lights are another affordable option for beginners, but they may not offer the same level of control as softboxes or LED panels.
Examples: Neewer Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit, LimoStudio Umbrella Lighting Kit
Practical and ambient lighting
In addition to the primary lighting setup, consider using practical and ambient lighting to enhance the atmosphere and mood of your videos. Practical lights are visible light sources within the scene, such as lamps or candles. Ambient lighting refers to the natural or existing light in a location, like sunlight coming through a window. Utilizing these light sources can add depth and realism to your videos.
4. Stabilize your shots
Stable footage is essential for producing professional-looking videos. Consider investing in the following:
a) Tripod: A basic tripod is an affordable solution for stabilizing your camera or smartphone during stationary shots.
b) Gimbal: Gimbals are handheld stabilizers that use motors to counteract camera shake, resulting in smooth, cinematic shots, even while moving.
5. Editing software
Lastly, you'll need editing software to piece together and polish your video content. Choose a program that fits your skill level and budget:
a) Free Options: Capcut, Davinci Resolve, vivavideo,
b) Paid Options: Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro and Davinci Resolve offer more advanced features for professional-looking edits. Personally, I am an Adobe user and find it to be easier and have more features than the other two. However, that can be biased. Use whatever software gets the job done efficiently for you.
As you've seen throughout this article, investing in the right equipment and mastering the basics of video production can make a significant impact on the quality of your content marketing videos. By following these tips and guidelines, even non-videographers can create engaging and professional-looking videos for their businesses.
Are you ready to elevate your content marketing strategy and harness the power of video? Holleran Creative is here to help! I can guide you through the entire process, from equipment selection and setup to video production and editing, ensuring that your videos captivate and convert your target audience.
Don't let the fear of video production hold you back any longer. Contact Holleran Creative today and let us transform your content marketing efforts with the power of video. Visit our website at www.hollerancreative.com or call us at 980-358-7907 to get started on your video marketing journey!