How to Make a Video on the Cheap

Video marketing is a great way to advertise your business, and it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune in equipment and editing software. Here’s how you can produce a video for your business inexpensively.

You’re probably not surprised to hear that videos are a fantastic marketing tool. YouTube is the second most searched website in the world processing more than 3 billion searches each month.

Facebook, with its more than 1 billion monthly active users, knows how to do video too. It only takes a quick look at your newsfeed to find an endless stream of video content.

Let’s not forget Instagram, Vimeo, and the endless amount of blogs that feature video content. In short, Internet marketers know that video works. People would rather watch than read in many cases, and a video has the unique ability to combine the message of your business with engaging content.

But there’s a problem. Video takes time and money to create. You need quality equipment and somebody who knows how to use it, right? Before boxing yourself in with such lofty standards, let’s explore the reality of video.

Online and Offline are Different

First, let’s make a differentiation. If you’re making video for online channels like a TV commercial or some large event where a super high quality and professional product is needed, yes, you need high-quality equipment and people.

If you don’t have the money to pay for a high-quality product, it’s best to steer clear of video in those circumstances.

For use in Internet marketing, the rules are different. You can probably reach your goal without a large-scale investment.

The Real Truth

Don’t let your lack of a mega-budget hold you back from creating video for use online. Let’s bust a few myths.

Myth: You can’t use a smartphone- That was true a few years ago but today, not so much. Apple made headlines when it published a film made entirely with the iPhone 5S. Sure, a team of editors made the video a feast for the eyes but it started with content from a smartphone. You don’t need Apple quality video. Your smartphone, providing it’s relatively new, will work just fine for Internet videos.

Myth: You need expensive lights, microphones, and other equipment- Obviously, better equipment will produce better results but with a little bit of know-how, you can do quite well with equipment that is cheap or free.

Want some free lighting? Use the sun! Record your video during the day with the sun shining on the person or object and your lighting problems are solved.

For a microphone, you can pick up a quality USB microphone for around $100. Others are even cheaper.

Myth: I need to buy video editing software- There are free or cheap tools available. Apple’s iMovie cost $15 and if you want to go up to professional level tools, Adobe Premiere costs about $20 per month. If you want a free editor, many software packages have a 30-day trial and there are some that are completely free but offer limited features.

In some cases, simply making a video from your phone using the phone’s microphone works fine but most of the time, taking a little more time to edit the video will produce a more refined result.

Myth: Video editing software is hard to use- This is true if you plan to learn all of the advanced features that professional editors might use. In reality, you’ll probably cut and paste clips, import audio, maybe do some coloring, and add some text. These are easy features to learn. Like any piece of software, there will be a learning curve.

Myth: I need to be a creative type- This is true to some degree. If you don’t enjoy the creative process, somebody you know probably does. Ask them for help. However, you don’t need to be a Hollywood director to make a web-ready video. Develop a goal and follow a process. Here’s how.

SEE ALSO: Video Marketing Mistakes That Cost You Sales

Your 7 Step Plan

1) Set a Goal- What do you want to say? Are you advertising a new product? Giving a behind the scenes look? Making somebody laugh? First, decide what you want your audience to take from your video.

2) Write a script– It doesn’t have to be complicated but if somebody is speaking, give them lines or talking points. Map out what the video will look like, and the music (if any) you will use.

3) Pre-production- Find locations, schedule the people who will be in the video, and make any other needed preparations.

4) Shoot the video- Using the highest quality equipment available to you, shoot the video and if there is somebody speaking, record the audio separately. Use a location without background noise and no echo.

5) Editing- Combine the audio and video, cut anything that isn’t needed, and add effects.

6) Screening- Show people that will give you an honest opinion. If they have concerns, go back and edit some more.

7) Post it

Bottom Line

Obviously, the higher the quality, the better but also be realistic. Depending on your goals, you might be able to shoot a candid video in seconds using your smartphone. If you’re looking for something more polished, follow the steps above. Either way, video doesn’t have to cost thousands. You can do it at minimal cost.

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