How to Shoot Great Videos on a Budget

Posted by Kameron Hurley on December 7, 2020 at 9:00 AM     Video
How to Shoot Great Videos on a Budget

YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine, and if you don’t have content hosted there, you are missing out on a tremendous potential audience. But how can you create compelling videos that convert… when you’re on a budget?

At Marketing Essentials, we have developed videos for clients on budgets that run the gamut from shoestring essentials to big-market breakouts. 

Here are some budget-friendly video tips that we’ve acquired over the years: 

Invest in a Camera and Microphone

You can get by making videos with a good camera - but you really need to invest in a great microphone. Many audiences listen to videos the way they do podcasts: while doing other things; and audio that sounds tinny, or has a lot of background noise, is super distracting. 

Better to create a video with NO sound instead of bad sound. No microphone? Think about what you can do with simple visuals and a canned audio soundtrack. You’d be surprised! (but really. Get a great microphone!)

✔️Related [Checklist]: How to Prep for a Video Shoot at Your Company

Understand Your Video Audience

Great pieces of content in any form entertain and educate; they provide value to the intended audience. What challenges is your audience facing? How can you provide value? Your videos should be engaging and interesting, and use relevant titles and descriptions on YouTube or another video platform that includes target keywords they are searching for. 

If you start brainstorming and storyboarding a video and it turns out it doesn’t entertain or educate, then you may have had a great learning experience, but… also blown your video budget on a project that only your mom is watching. 

Storyboard the #@&# Out of Your Video

The best thing you can do to stay on budget? Do all your planning before the day of the shoot. While it’s true that we all occasionally carve out moments of greatness and creativity the day of filming, if time and budget are tight, you are best served going into your shoot knowing exactly which shots you need to get. Create a storyboard, which is a visual representation of the types of shots you need to get, paired with any on-screen or scripted text that should be shown or heard at the same time. 

Our team creates a full storyboard and script for each video, then we prepare a list of shots we will need to get the day of filming. This saves our clients time and money, ensuring we can get everything we need in a single day or even a half-day of shooting in many cases. Bonus points for scheduling any still photography you’re doing for the same block of time. Get everybody in, cleaned up and prepped - one and done the same day. 

This also cuts down on the amount of editing you will need to do. If you shoot 20 hours of film, someone is going to have to go through that 20 hours minute-by-minute to pick out the best parts and pieces you need to tell your story and match them to the storyboard. 

But Don’t Skimp on B-Roll

One thing it’s easy to overlook when you’re trying to work efficiently is… getting enough B-roll. B-roll is all those “filler” or “cutaway” shots that editors can clip and insert into the film to cover gaffs or awkward transitions. B-roll is also vital for interview-style videos. It gets boring staring at a talking head for three minutes, let alone 30, and making time in your on-site shoot to get B-roll will save you a LOT of pain later. 

Promote the #@&# Out of Your Video

Ever heard the phrase “Build it and they will come?” Well, ask Quibi how that turned out. When you have created a great piece of video content that engages, educates and entertains - tell the world about it! Promote it across your social channels, recommend it to the audiences you built it for; reach out to your existing network and their network, too. Embed it on your website in an appropriate place, put it on YouTube with targeted keywords and descriptions, and look for other ways to leverage it in your communications, such as email or newsletters. Put clips on Instagram and TikTok, if that’ where your audience is. 

Build it, and share it, and share it again. 

Rinse and Repeat 

If you are just getting started creating your own videos, then the first few you do are going to teach you a lot. That’s not to say that every video isn’t a learning experience (we learn something every time!), but those first few are going to teach you a lot about video scripting, shooting, editing and prep. 

As you begin tracking how they are viewed and shared (or not) and tweaking keywords and descriptions, you will also begin to learn more about your intended audience. This shouldn’t bum you out! This should totally excite you because, with every video you do, you will continue to test what works for you and your audience. After that, it’s only a matter of time before your video strategy really takes off. 

A compelling video strategy isn’t just about shooting a few videos. It’s about continuous learning and improvement over time. The world changes, our audiences change, and the way we approach video will continue to change, too. When you stop learning and improving - that’s when you fall behind. 

So: keep swimming! 

Get Started Creating Your Own Videos

If you need help getting started with video filming or editing, we have a team of video experts at Marketing Essentials on call for coaching - or we can take your project from idea to execution!