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The Ultimate Guide to DIY Video for Beginners and Small Business Owners

Table of Contents

Whether you’re just starting out as a beginner videographer or are an entrepreneur looking to grow your small business with video, taking a DIY approach can be the best option. From setting up a studio space at home to creating vlogs and crafting killer marketing videos on your own, these tips and tricks will help you get set up for success. We’ve put together this ultimate guide to making quality video content that both impresses and inspires your target market. From the equipment you’ll need to setting up your space and setting up the shot, we’ve got you covered:

Dirt Cheap DIY: Video Production

If you’re a videographer growing your business and your portfolio, it often pays to find ways to reduce production costs. Or you may not be an aspiring videographer, but rather are a small business owner or entrepreneur looking to step up your video marketing game. The good news is that you don’t need to be a professional videographer to create a quality product. While you don’t want to cut corners, you do want to look for ways to DIY and bootstrap your business. Do it yourself video production doesn’t have to mean sacrificing the quality of your product, either. Let’s explore some of the easiest ways to save money on production costs:

Affordable Starter Gear

Your camera and equipment are the biggest initial investments you’ll make in your business. However, you don’t have to go broke buying the most expensive gear. There are plenty of affordable options that will serve you well and help you deliver a great result for clients. Items that you’ll need include:

  • Video camera
  • Lighting kit
  • Tripod
  • Boom pole
  • Shotgun microphone
  • XLR cables
  • Wireless microphones
  • Headphones

DIY Video Kit

Keep in mind that audio is one of the most important aspects of a professional-level video. With poor quality sound, even amazing visuals can’t turn a video around. Invest in good audio equipment, including microphones. Consumers today have come to expect a high level of quality, as DSLR cameras and even mobile devices that are commercially available provide impressive video capabilities.

Don’t just go with the cheapest options. Do your research before purchasing equipment so that you can find quality products that fit your budget. You can always upgrade as you grow your video production agency.

Best Film Editing Software

In addition to gear for shooting videos, you’ll need quality editing software. PC Mag has compiled a thorough list of the best options available today. The editor’s choices include Adobe Premiere Pro, Corel Video Studio Ultimate, and Apple Final Cut Pro X. Editing software offers a variety of features like motion tracking, 3D editing, Multicam editing, and more. With professional-level software becoming increasingly available to consumers, it’s much easier to find the software you need in order to create high quality videos.

DIY Video 2

Brush up on your storytelling skills

Operating the equipment is just one piece of the filmmaking process. Being a good storyteller and understanding what makes a compelling video is essential. Familiarize yourself with various types of digital videos that clients are seeking today. Content marketing video production includes a variety of video types today, including explainer videos, commercials, product features, brand awareness videos for social media, and more.

Make sure everyone knows their role

Working with a crew makes video production run much more efficiently and takes the pressure off of the videographer. Make sure that everyone on the crew understands their role and responsibilities. With clearly defined roles, every aspect of video production should go smoothly.

Running a professional video production studio can be costly. However, there are some practical ways to DIY your business in order to create more revenue and increase profits. You don’t have to sacrifice quality and reputation in order to build your business for cheap. Keep these tips in mind to reduce production costs while still delivering an excellent product to every client.

In addition to equipment and gear, lighting is one of the most essential elements to get right. If you’re working on a home studio setup or trying to transform a space into the perfect place to film, you don’t need to get overwhelmed with lighting options. There are a few basic tips to keep in mind when putting together a lighting kit:

Achieving Dramatic Lighting at Home on a Budget

Creating video content and images for your business on a budget requires some planning and skill. In addition to quality sound, getting the lighting right is one of the keys to ensuring that your videos look polished and professional, no matter where you’re filming. Getting film lighting right is tricky, especially when you’re just getting started and can’t afford pricey equipment. Luckily, building a lighting kit that will give you beautiful results without spending a lot is possible. We’ve got some smart tips to help you achieve dramatic lighting at home on a budget:

Use quality bulbs

Bulbs are the most important items for any lighting kit. Put your money to good use by buying quality bulbs that have a high CRI (color rendering index). Use a dimmer and dimmable bulbs to make it easier to adjust the lighting. If you don’t use dimmable bulbs, the lights will flicker as you adjust them, making for a less than smooth lighting transition.

DIY Video 3Utilize natural light

Whenever you can, take advantage of the natural lighting in a space. This reduces the need for bulbs and for spending time trying to position your lights just right. Natural light helps you get shots faster, but it shouldn’t be a substitute for good bulbs. Use a reflector for sunlight and plan to shoot when the sun is at its best- the hours before and after sunset.

Get familiar with the various types of lighting

Lighting plays an enormous role in creating the atmosphere for a shot. There are many different types of lighting used in cinematography, and it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with at least some of them. Knowing what type works best for the desired outcome will help you get the right set-up in place.

  • Key lighting

This is the main lighting that’s focused on your subject. It can be positioned facing the subject or placed behind them for a more dramatic effect. For this, you’ll need a light stand and clamp light. To diffuse the brightness of the bulb and soften the look, you can use inexpensive material like a shower curtain liner or wax paper.

  • Fill lighting

Fill lighting is used to fill up the areas of shadows around the main subject that are created by the key light. To add dimension and lower the overall intensity of the light, it should be positioned opposite the key light.

  • Backlighting

Backlighting is the last to be set up when you’re getting ready for a shot. It’s typically aimed down from above and should face the main subject. Reduce the intensity of the light by diffusing it, which you can do the same way as with the key lighting.

DIY Video 4

Lighting plays a significant role in creating the right look for your video. It can mean the difference between a professional-looking final product and one that appears to be done by amateurs. To present your business in the best light possible, aim to accomplish quality lighting, even on a budget. By knowing what you need to get started and understanding the basics of cinematography lighting, you’ll be able to achieve dramatic lighting at home.

Now that you’ve got your DIY studio space set up, complete with lighting, you’re ready to start shooting. A vlog is a perfect option for easing into video production, especially if you’re working on your own or with a very limited budget. We’ll dive into the tips and tricks that will help you craft killer vlogs to connect with your audience:

4 Tips for Creating an Effective VLOG

There are so many great video styles for businesses to use today. Including a variety of video types in your digital catalog can help you appeal to a broader audience, which in turn can mean selling to a wider market. One of the easiest video styles to attempt is the Vlog. Let’s explore what vlogging is and 4 easy ways to create an effective vlog.

What is a Vlog?

Vlog is a term for video blogging. To create a vlog, you simply take content that you’ve created in written format, or that you could put on your website in a written format, and turn it into an engaging video. It’s an informal style that makes you and your brand approachable, friendly, and informative. All you really need to make a vlog is a camera and an idea, so it’s an extremely accessible and affordable format for any entrepreneur or business.

Know what you want to say

Before you create a vlog, do some preparation. Have a good idea of what you want to say in your video. What info or messages do you want to get across? Set a goal for your video to be your guide. Know who your target audience is and craft your message for them. To do so, choose a single topic for your video. Pick something that matters to or will interest your target market. You may even want to write an outline or a script so that once you start filing you stay on topic and don’t start drifting off into other areas.

Get the right setup

Determine the best place for shooting your clog. Choose a space that suits the topic and the tone. Lighting is a key aspect of a quality video, even if you’re on a tight budget. Set up your lighting and the camera and do a few test shots. Figure out the right time of day to shoot, especially if you’re outdoors or in a room with natural light. Sound is another important element. Make sure you have a quality microphone and that background noise isn’t present when you’re shooting. These seemingly small details can spell the difference between an amateur looking attempt and a polished, professional style video.

Take the right approach

Your approach to the topic at hand matters. Make sure that your overall tone and approach are effective for your target audience. Speak clearly and don’t rush through what you want to say. The way that you look can make a difference, as well. Think about your appearance. While a vlog typically takes a more informal approach, what you wear can impact your message. For instance, you wouldn’t want to wear an old t-shirt and sweatpants to talk to your audience about a professional topic. Match your appearance and approach to the topic at hand.

Optimize for impact

Lastly, once you’ve filmed your vlog and are ready to upload it online and share it across your chosen platforms, you need to optimize it. Come up with a clear, concise description and include your keywords. Make the thumbnail enticing and attractive. Use a title that accurately reflects what the vlog’s content is about, instead of using a clickbait title with little relation to the material. By optimizing your vlog, you’ll increase the chances that your target audience will find it, view it, and share it on social sites.

Before you film your first or your next vlog, there’s one other detail to consider, and that’s how you’ll set up the camera, film, and format the final product. How you format your video will depend on how you want to use it. For social media and distribution online, it’s a good idea to shoot in portrait mode, especially if you’re creating a vlog. Let’s explore the benefits of shooting in vertical orientation:

The Pros and Cons of Vertical Videos

Vertical videos, also known as portrait mode videos, are the opposite of horizontal videos with a 16:9 ratio. Many of us are used to viewing horizontal videos, but vertical is quickly gaining relevance. When you watch a vertical video, you may notice black bars along the sides of the screen because the video is taller than it is wider. It’s become an increasingly popular format because it fits so well on cell phone screens, which is where many people are watching videos these days. In fact, Smart Insights reports that 57% of video plays globally came from mobile devices and tablets. However, vertical video is not a perfect format. It comes with both benefits and drawbacks. Let’s explore the pros and cons of vertical videos:

Vertical Video Pros:

Natural orientation for mobile devices

As mentioned above, vertical videos are a natural fit for mobile, since most people hold their phones upright while watching. As consumers scroll through social media, they’re likely to stop and pause for a moment on content that catches their attention. You want to allow them to see your content immediately, without needing to switch up the way they’re holding their phones.

Works better for social media

When it comes to creating commercials or quick clips for social media marketing, this format simply makes sense. Your audience can stop scrolling, press play, and watch your video with ease without turning their phone. A marketing video maker would be foolish to insist on only making videos in the horizontal format when social media is so critical and dominant today. Social media is the best place for small business owners to connect with their customers, so creating video content that’s well suited for social platforms is optimal.

Greater completion rate

According to Impact, a whopping 90% of videos that are watched vertically have higher completion rates than horizontal videos. This makes it a must for marketers who want to get their videos not just seen but watched in their entirety.

Vertical Video Cons:

Creates an unnatural viewpoint

Think about our eyesight and how the human viewpoint works. We don’t see the world in portrait mode; instead, we prefer the straight line of the horizon. Watching vertical video goes against our natural perspective. That’s why movies and television shows are created and optimized for horizontal viewing. Movie production companies are not going to start switching over to vertical videos any time soon, or ever. Long videos

Can be somewhat limiting for amateur video creators

Shooting in the vertical format can be limiting for video creators. That’s why it helps to hire a pro if you’re working on a marketing campaign or just want to take your videos to the next level. Working with a professional video production studio is a great way to create vertical videos that capture your audience’s attention, especially as they’re scrolling social media on mobile devices. When done well, vertical videos can be an effective format for sharing your message and your vision with viewers.

Vertical isn’t the ideal format for all types of video content. However, it does have advantages for brands and marketers seeking to reach consumers on social sites and through mobile devices. With the dominance of mobile devices for consuming content likely to remain for the foreseeable future, it makes sense to use the optimized orientation for the platform, and that’s vertical video.

Video can be a powerful marketing tool for small businesses. You don’t need to be a professional videographer to start creating amazing content to engage with your audience. With the right gear and quality equipment, you can set up a studio space right in your home or office. Details like lighting and video orientation can make a big difference, transforming your final product into a pro-level piece of work. You’ll impress your target market and hone your skills so that you can keep creating quality video content to promote your products and services and grow your business.


Richard Tiland

Richard Tiland

Bio: I’m Richard Tiland, president of New Evolution and dk3studios. I’ve always had a passion for video. Even as a kid folks were always asking me to take the camera out of their face. Over the last 15 years, as I watched video grow I grew with it. I learned not only the skills required for making a high quality video, but the marketing techniques needed to bring in the best results.

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