Creating your marketing videos doesn’t require a Hollywood budget. A bit of creativity, a touch of ingenuity, and a dash of careful planning can turn your simple productions into professionally looking masterpieces.
There are four essential tools that you will need, plus some added accessories if you want to go all the way.
1. A Video Capture Device

No surprises here. It’s pretty tough to make a video without a video capture device but these days, they can come in all shapes and devices.

Your current smartphone will take excellent HD quality video if that is how far you want to go. DLSR cameras deliver brilliant images and let you control pro features like the depth of field. For example when you have a close up of your main subject in full focus and with the background in soft or out of focus. Thi sgives your videos a real film quality.

Personally I use camcorders or specifically the Canon XA20. This is the PAL version of the very popular Canon VIXIA HF G20 HD Camcorder. I love this camcorder because it is so versatile. You can set it on auto functions and it does a great job focusing, adjusting for the lighting, even at low levels. But you can turn on the manual mode which allows you total control of capturing the image you want. It even has a Cinema Mode to capture that great movie look to your video.

Of course there are a great many other brands such as Sony and Panasonic that have similar camcorders but for our purposes here, I ‘ll stick with what I use.
2. Tripod

I like to know that my precious camcorder is nice and safe when I mount it on a tripod. That is why I use the well known Manfrotto brand. Tripods are not only used to hold your camera steady while you “perform” in front it. A good tripod also allows you to smoothly move the camera by panning left and right or tilting up and down – without the dreaded shakes.

Tripods come in two parts which can be purchased separately or together in one package. The first part are the legs. You will want sturdy legs that won’t blow in the wind, yet light and compact when you’re shooting on location. Look for legs that can fold out so that you can use them on uneven surfaces such as slopes and stairs.

The other part of the tripod is the ‘head’ which your camera attaches to. You will want to have silky smooth motion for your videos so you will need a fluid head. They are more expensive but tripods will last you a lifetime and while your video camera will always be superseded by the latest in technology, tripods will basically always be tripods, so well worth the initial investment.
3. External Microphone

Regardless of how great your video camera produces its images, it will always provide less than excellent audio. The simple reason is that to get the best possible audio with the least amount of background noise, you will need a microphone as close to the sound source as possible and that means using an external microphone with a long cable attached to your video camera. I use Rode brand of mics including a shotgun which only picks up sound in front of it and a lavalier or otherwise known as a lapel mic. These are attached to the presenter’s clothes right under their mouths. (I’m not sure where they are attached for nude shots). They can be both with a cord attached or cordless which gives you greater flexibility to shoot from a distance.
Whichever microphone you use, again for for quality because nothing turns off a viewer than poor sound quality.
4. Lights

Video cameras love light. And how you use your lights can make all the difference in the quality of your finished production. To start off, you will need three lights for the most basic set up. If you are presenting in front of the camera, you will need to set one your key light on one side at a 45 degree angle. This will light up one side of your face and leave the other side dark. So use your second light as a fill light on the other side to fill in the shadows. The fill light is not as bright so you will still see some shadows that create depth on the face. To make the fill light less bright, move it further away from the subject. The third light is the back light which lights the back of you and will lift you from the background.
And there you have it – the four essential tools for your video production. There are other accessories such as the green screen which allows you to create great visual effects. You learn more from my video of Green Screens.
Light reflectors are perfect for shooting outdoors when you use the sun as the key light and a reflector for your fill light.
If your are using your smartphone as your video capture device use a mini tripod to keep it steady while you make your presentation. Use the Rode smartLav+ for your external microphone.
Best of luck with your video marketing productions and I look forward to watching them in the future.
Gerry Tacovsky
Video Marketing Strategist
Vimaco