In today’s digital world, video marketing has become an essential part of any business’s marketing strategy. There is no wonder why our leading advertisement for our own company is “Video is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity.”

However, many businesses are deterred from creating their own videos due to concerns about the cost. Fortunately, with the advancement of technology, it’s easier than ever to create high-quality videos on a budget.

Creating your own business videos can be a fun and exciting experience. It’s like being your own Hollywood director, but with a smaller budget and fewer paparazzi. However, filming on a shoestring budget can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. With the right approach and a sense of humor, you can create professional-looking videos that won’t break the bank.

Now, we know what you’re thinking: “But I don’t have a fancy camera or expensive lighting equipment!” Fear not, my friend. You don’t need the latest and greatest gear to create compelling videos. Your smartphone and a few basic accessories will do just fine.

Plan Your Video

But hold on a minute! Don’t start filming just yet. Before you hit that record button, take some time to plan your video. Think about what message you want to convey and who your target audience is. And if you’re feeling stuck, ask yourself this: “What would Nicolas Cage do?” Okay, maybe not the best advice, but you get the idea.

  • Plan: Consider your target audience. Don’t think that everyone is your target, this is called “shotgun marketing” and it almost always fails. Create your Brand’s Avatar and sell to them.
  • Plan: The purpose of your video. Every video should have a purpose and a driving message. And while you think this might be to “sell your services or products” – it’s deeper than that. Think about how this video will impact your audience when they watch it and what they will take away from it. Remember our motto from our talk show Coffee + Cameras, “you are not your client.” What your client will understand from your video is not the same thing as what you would, you know your business back and front, be sure to tell them what you want them to know.
  • Plan: What is the value of the video to the audience? This will help you create a video that is effective and engaging. If you were watching a commercial during your favorite show and someone came on and pointed at a logo and said “buy this so we can make money” – you would be confused and in the end not want to do anything that person told you to do. Give your audience a bit of value. Something they can enjoy or learn. This is why so many commercials have a bit of humor or facts about things you didn’t know. Engage them with something of value and they will then see your business as worthy of their money.
  • Get everything you need before you start. There is a lot that goes into shooting a brand / business / commercial video. Be sure you have your ducks in a row before you begin: actors, scripts, locations, costumes / hair + make up, props, crew if needed, gear (camera, mics, lighting) and anything that truly sells your brand
  • If you like to read – check out some of our favorite film making books for inspiration.

Everything In Front of Your Camera Is Now Brand

As a business owner, you know your logo isn’t your brand. Your brand is far, far more than that. It’s everything you put out, express or convey through your business. So be aware of how you look, how you’re dressed, how you are speaking and everything in the background.

Be ready to hide garbage cans and empty Starbucks cups. Even big budget productions Game of Thrones messes this up from time to time. Keep your eye sharp.

Don’t Forget The Media!

It’s very easy to overlook what you’re actually shooting on and backing up to because unless you know better, SD cards are SD cards, when in fact there is so much going on with digital cards that it can make your head spin.

Be sure to get the correct type of card (write speed, space and quality of brand) before you shoot. You wouldn’t want to spend all this time getting ready to shoot and then you can’t actually shoot, or worse… the media gets corrupted and you lose everything on a cheap SD card.

Lastly, video is a bigger space hog than you think. Be sure to have external hard drives to back up all the footage. If you want a drive that is just for backing up (and not editing from) we recommend this drive. If you are wanting an external drive that is great for both backing up data and editing from, we recommend this drive or this drive.

Check out the rest of the media cards we recommend here on our Media Kit.

Shoot With What You Can

It’s impressive how far smartphones have come with their visual components. The cameras look great (but can sound terrible, more on that below). While we personally love higher end cameras, we use our phones often for social media content like stories and behind the scenes shoots. When you’re planning, think about how you want the video to come across to your audience – if you want to look luxury and high end, you need to shoot with better lenses and cameras. If you want a feeling of community or more simple emotions, a smartphone can be used very easily!

This being said – There are two elements we will always say that are the most important when shooting your own videos. The camera isn’t as important as these two things: Good Lighting and Good Sound.

In case you haven’t shot videos before here is a big piece of advice: shoot more than you think you will need and do those shots again (“for safety”). Until you edit your first video, you will never know just how important that quote is.

If you’re looking for the camera gear we use – check out of Camera + Lens Kit.

For something a little simpler – check out our VLOGGING Kit.

Use Good Lighting

Lighting can make or break a video. When filming, try to use natural light as much as possible. If you’re filming indoors, invest in some affordable lighting equipment to ensure that your video is well lit.

Soft light is almost always better than direct, harsh light. When we film for a client we use scrims or diffusion to soften the light to make the people in front of the camera looks natural and amazing. A more affordable option is to get sheers (you know, the kind you can hang up in your window so most of the light comes in but softens it a bit) and put that in front of your light source, even the sun.

If you’re looking to start buying gear – Here is our Lighting kit.

Lighting will make your video looks alive and real versus what most people think what “home movies” look like.  The key to good lighting is called “lighting with purpose” so every time you light something or someone, that lighting should have purpose and design. Think about how this makes your company look with your lighting.

Invest in a Good Microphone

NOTHING will make someone turn off a video faster than if it has bad sound. Good sound quality might be the most important aspect other than a good concept for video. Invest in a good microphone to ensure that your audio is clear and easy to understand.

We have made many videos about affordable options of microphones on our YouTube channel. As of December 2022, for smaller budgets, we recommend the Rode Wireless Go II system. It’s incredibly easy to set up and get working with amazing quality. And you can use it on professional cameras as well as smartphones. Be sure to watch our videos for more information.

When you’re ready to step up your game and still stay on a decent budget, look at the Deity S-Mic 2. The quality is remarkable at a price tag that is very doable. However, if you go this route, you will also need good XLR cables and a field recorder, so the price can stack up.

Want to know what we use for our corporate video shoots? Check out our audio gear kit.

Don’t Sweat The Gear

One of the key elements to remember when making your own videos that many people get hung up on when trying to create video content is that the hammer doesn’t build the table, the carpenter using the hammer builds the table. Meaning, it doesn’t matter if you use cheaper video gear, it’s about the message and branding you are creating and getting across to your audience. Emotional connection will win out over visual beauty every single time.

Editing Editing Editing

Phillip Seymour Hoffman said it best: “The film is made in the editing room. The shooting of the film is about shopping, almost. It’s like going to get all the ingredients together, and you’ve got to make sure before you leave the store that you got all the ingredients.”

When you’re making your video, think of it like making a movie. You are already putting so much effort into this, make sure it’s edited well. The number of videos we’ve seen that look OK but are edited terribly is too many to mention. And this is something most people can’t pick out when they watch them and think “something is off about this video.”

There are 24 or 30 frames in a second of video (depending on how you shoot it) so in our video production world, every single frame matters and cutting on the wrong frame can change the entire feeling of the piece. If this topic sparks your interest, check out this interview with Steven Speilberg and editor Verna Fields talk about how they edited Jaws.

Every cut has meaning. Make sure it’s clear to your audience what you’re wanting to explain. Speaking of which…

Keep it Simple + Clear

As you start filming, remember to keep it simple. Don’t overcomplicate things with fancy special effects or complicated camera angles. Just focus on creating high-quality content that resonates with your audience. And if all else fails, just add some cat videos to your footage. Everyone loves cat videos, right?

You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to create a great video. Keep it simple and focus on creating high-quality content that will resonate with your audience.

If you’re ready to take your video marketing to the next level and make it rain like Scrooge McDuck (who doesn’t want to go swimming in a gold pool, right?), consider hiring EO7 Media. We can help you create videos that will knock your audience’s socks off and have them begging for more. And who knows, with the right video, you might just go viral and become an internet sensation. Just don’t forget about us when you’re famous, okay?

So what are you waiting for? Grab your smartphone, unleash your inner Spielberg, and make some awesome videos! And if you need a helping hand, give EO7 Media an email. We’ll be more than happy to help.