We’ve said it in the past and we’ll say it again, investing in video can be expensive. Now, do the benefits outweigh the costs? We’d have to say yes but obviously we’d be biased. Still, it begs the question, what should you do when you genuinely have no budget for commissioning videos?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Video is an amazing tool that can help any business, in any industry. Fact!
Still, we have to admit that it can get expensive.
Obviously the price will completely depend upon the requirements and other factors such as the production company, quality etc etc.
This can sometimes send some businesses into panic mode and what usually happens is they’ll get cold feet and close off the project completely.
Now, there’s an important distinction here between genuinely not having the budget to commission video work and just not wanting to spend.
If your situation is the latter we’d urge you to reconsider. The statistics behind video marketing speak for themselves. Speculate to accumulate and all that.
However, if you find yourself having absolutely no budget for video content we’re here to help!
We understand that it can be difficult for businesses during this time to splash on their marketing. Especially start-ups and industries that have been hit heavily by the coronavirus pandemic.
It is with that reason in mind that we’re going to give you 5 tips on how you can create your own content without having a massive budget to dip into!
In every single list we’ve ever created, planning almost always comes first.
We can’t stress the importance of planning enough. Proceeding without one is no doubt going to waste a lot of your time and potentially end very badly.
So what exactly do we mean by ‘a solid plan’?
Well, it begins by defining a clear goal. What do you want to achieve from your video?
Do you want more conversions? More followers? More traffic to your website? Define your goals at the very beginning of your project before you do anything else.
For the next part of your plan, you want to define your audience. Who is the target audience for your video?
This is an imperative part of your planning because it will be the driving force behind your video. Your target audience will dictate how you write your script, what kind of shots you get and even where you post and share the video post-production. It changes everything.
A good thing to ask yourself when planning your video in relation to your target audience is ‘what problem does this solve for my consumer?’ What we’re really getting at here is emotions. How will your project impact your consumers' emotions enough to encourage them to act?
This again will be heavily dictated by your target audience and your goal. For example, if your goal is to get your audience to donate to a cause, you’re likely going to play on the emotions of sadness and pity to provoke some form of action.
You can see how it all links. It may sound much but once you start defining and writing down the basics, it all starts to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Also like a jigsaw puzzle however, if you leave some pieces out, you’ll end up with an incomplete picture.
As a final point for any of the beginners, we’d highly recommend researching some basic video creation techniques. Shot selections, composition, basic editing - it will all help you when it comes to actually doing it.
No clues as to what this tip is about.
Finding the right location or backdrop.
This one may sound silly but you’d be very surprised how many people get it wrong here.
Your backdrop will undoubtedly add, or in some cases, take away from your video.
You first have to choose between what kind of background you want. Do you want a real background or a fake background?
The differences here are quite obvious. A real background is a genuine, unedited environment. A fake background on the other hand is exactly what it says it is, a fake backdrop that is added in the editing process.
Now which one is better?
Well, unfortunately we can’t decide that for you.
A video about nature and the many species that live in it? Definitely real.
A corporate update talking about the many facts and figures of the corporation? I’d probably go with fake.
Again, what this decision will come down to depends upon your chosen goal and your target audience. They will make this decision for you.
You also need to know what works better for you. More often than not you’ll find this is a real background because a fake one requires a green screen and some editing know-how, which is obviously not recommended for beginners. Although if you are desperate for a fake background, there are plenty of simple green screen tutorials you can follow online.
What we’re talking about here is a tripod of course!
This may sound counterproductive to our title but believe us, a tripod is definitely worth the investment!
They aren’t particularly expensive, you can pick a basic smartphone tripod up for about £7 on Amazon.
Camera tripods do tend to be more expensive but you can still find value ones for around the £20 mark.
You do get what you pay for so you can’t expect the best piece of equipment but it should more than do the job.
So why is this so important?
Well not only does a steady shot look more professional, but it will actually make the whole process a lot easier for you as the creator.
Once you set it up and have the shot that you want, you won’t have to worry about the camera again.
Not to mention that this will make your final production look ten times better!
Shakiness isn’t good in the board game operation and it’s not good in video.
Exactly as the title says.
If your video is going to be heavily reliant upon your captured audio (speaking, sound effects etc.) then avoid in-camera audio at all costs.
Not only does it sound pretty bad, it can also be quite unreliable.
The problem with the built in audio on our devices is that they pick up everything, and pick it up badly.
Ambient noises, natural static hissing and sounding like you’re talking from the inside of a cupboard. It’s not what you want.
Now some devices are better than others here but nevertheless, we’d still recommend avoiding them.
Even though it may require putting your hand in your pocket, it’s well worth investing in an audio recorder.
An audio recorder is without a doubt the best and most reliable option to capture audio.
Again, these don’t have to be expensive. You can find a lot of value options online that will perform really well compared to the built in audio.
However, If you are still insistent on using the in-camera audio, all we’d advise you to do is find a room where you can best control your surroundings and speak loud and clearly. Make sure to listen back to your recording before moving on though as it may need another take
Our final tip for you.
Use lights and take advantage of the weather.
It may sound silly but this is easily one of the most important tips on our list.
A poorly lit video just screams unprofessional.
Lighting can be difficult to get to grips with. Not everyone will want to go and splash out hundreds for a full set-up just for one video.
This is how you can use weather and natural lighting to your advantage.
As a general rule of thumb, there are three different times that you can shoot outside so that the natural light is soft and cinematic.
The first is outdoors on cloudy day, the second is an hour after sunrise and the third is an hour before sunset.
These are all optimal conditions for shooting with good natural lighting.
Obviously that’s for outdoor shooting so what about if you want to shoot indoors?
Well, there are a couple of things you can do to get the best natural set up.
First, pick a room with plenty of natural light and a lot of windows/open space. This will make it much easier to find a shot with decent lighting. Be cautious not to shoot with your subject in the direct line of light though as this will either make them appear really dark or it will completely blow out your background.
The second thing you could do is add some additional sources of light like lamps and ceiling lights. We usually advise against this one though. It can be very easy to overexpose your subject and add strong colour tints, especially if the lights you’re using have warm white bulbs. This will make your video one thing - yellow!
Creating videos without a budget can be difficult, but not impossible.
It can even be fun at times.
The truth is that your video might not come out like the ones you see on television or from the top companies over social media but that’s not really the point here.
By creating the video yourself, you aren’t really trying to compete with those companies anyway. They’ve put thousands upon thousands into their productions. You are creating this by yourself.
Obviously the more money that you can invest here the better. We’ve already recommended some small equipment purchases but ultimately if you can go higher, go higher.
If you literally haven’t got the budget for any of it then try without.