Five hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute.
That’s a lot of video and it’s not just teenagers and professionals that are contributing to it. Small businesses are beginning to recognize the value of using video to market their products and services.The great thing, is that it’s never been easier to properly shoot, edit, and publish videos for viewers to watch.
So why should businesses be producing video? It’s simple. Video is one of the most persuasive ways of reaching your customer base. According to InternetRetailer, “Customers who view product video are 85% more likely to buy than people who don’t view videos.” That’s a huge boost that some small businesses are already capitalizing on and it’s time for you to learn how you can do it too.”
This article was written by Taylor Kerby, Creative Director at Cave Social.
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The equipment you’ll need is minimal.
You have a smartphone less than two years old next to you right? Perfect. Pick it up. It’s going to be your new best friend. That baby can shoot 1080p and pick up surprisingly good audio. Plus, it can upload your video and share it anywhere on the internet. Just like that, you have about the same amount of filming power and technology as Steven Spielberg did in 1980. And he made some pretty good stuff, right?
Next you’re going to want something very sturdy to hold your phone while you’re shooting. Even though your phone does have an auto-stabilizer built into it, having something that is not going to wobble improves the overall quality of your video immensely. This can be especially important when shooting close-up shots for a product video.
You can either get creative with books and duct tape, or you can make a small investment for something like a suction cup mount which will allow you to shoot from just about anywhere. Or, explore Amazon – there are tons of goodies available for under $20.
There you go, that’s actually all you need to shoot product video (or service). Of course, you can always invest in plenty of other items that will take you all the way up to professional video such as shotgun mics, lighting equipment, high-end cameras and fancy tripods, but that’s not what this article is about. It’s about helping you get started down your product video journey. You’ll be shocked at the quality you can get from just using your phone.
Next, you need to know how to properly use these tools. Here are a few basic rules to always follow:
- Always use your phone in its horizontal mode. Vertical video is fine if you only want people to watch it from their phone on places like Vine – however shooting horizontally ensures that people on computers and TVs can still watch your videos too.
- Set up your phone at approximately eye level and about arms length away from you. This will ensure your audio is picked up really well.
- Never zoom in on your phone to shoot, as it will reduce the quality of your video.
- If you’re using an iPhone, use the lock on feature by holding your finger down on the screen. This will make sure that it won’t readjust focus if you move slightly.
Now that you’ve got some basics, let’s move onto some of the more ‘advanced’ techniques that will really help your video quality.
- Lighting: Smartphones are fantastic for shooting product video in natural light. If you don’t have professional lighting equipment, then this is your best bet for high quality. Head over to your closest window and face it, making sure that the light covers your product evenly. The best time to do this is when it’s overcast, or during early morning or early evening (otherwise known as the ‘Golden Hour’). The same principle applies for any kind of shoot, no matter the subject. Shoot for even lighting.
- Background: Selecting the right background all depends on the product video you are trying to shoot. It can be anything from an office setting, to the great outdoors. The important thing, is just to be aware of what best compliments the product and background you are working with. For example, if you’re shooting something that is white, don’t take video against a white background. Contrast is important for the eye to separate the subject from the background. Two great DIY ways to create your own background, is to use curtains or a projector screen. Using these will give you a fully mobile set that can move with you wherever you go.
- Noise: You may have found great lighting and the perfect background, but if it’s noisy, then it’s automatically a ‘no-go.’ One of the fastest ways to make someone leave your video is if the sound quality isn’t audible. Because we aren’t using professional equipment, it’s even more vital to make sure you have found a very quiet place where you aren’t battling other ambient noise. If you are looking to go the extra mile with your videos though, then I would highly recommend a Rode. They’re great multi-purpose mics that will give you great sound quality without the massive price tag that’s all too common in the video industry.
Real Life Example
This is Jessica Edwards, a real estate agent from North Carolina. In this case, her own personality, experience, and professionalism is her product and she is repping her professional services. She does a fantastic job of using video to drive her marketing. Let’s take a look at all that she is doing right:
- She has a window mount holding her phone arm’s reach away, framing herself properly.
- She’s shooting in the car which is mobile, meaning she can control the lighting to make sure she isn’t ever in the shadows – no matter the time of day.
- It’s quiet which makes sure the audio is picked up really well without needing to purchase a microphone.
- She’s shooting in the car which gives us the image that she’s on-the-go. As a real estate agent, giving the perception of being busy implies that she is good at what she does.
The choices she’s made are not a mistake. Everything works together to make sure she can deliver great videos to her viewers. She also does an excellent job of demonstrating her knowledge with the topics she selects, which brings us to our next point…
Picking a Topic
Perhaps you’ve heard the term ‘Content is King.’ It’s true, but only if it’s good content. Finding a good topic for your audience is tricky but as a rule of thumb, it should always be educational, entertaining, humorous, and/or heartwarming. If you’re reading this, then chances are you’re shooting for a business, probably some kind of product or service.
When filming for business, going with an educational video is always a safe choice just like Jessica has done in the video above, however you can also try to shoot a video with the aim to entertain. Take a look at what Subaru has done with this quick video shot on an iphone. This video is great because it shows their product in action, in a real life situation. It also provides entertainment value with emotion value at the end when the police officer is thankful for a getting a little help. Creating a video that is a combination of entertaining/funny/educational/emotional will have an exponential effect on the amount of views your video receives.
When selecting your topic, just be sure to keep your ideal customer in mind, and the questions they may have. Car buyers may want to know what kind of power or traction a car would have before they buy it, while a homebuyer may want to know how to pick the right real estate agent. Both of these videos do a great job of piquing their audience’s interest by naturally answering the questions they’re bound to have.
You can always add your logo or text at the end of it in the editing process, which is simpler today than it has ever been.
For editing simplicity, it’s ideal to shoot these in one take, so feel free to do some rehearsals or use cue cards. However, if you feel like you want to piece a few shots together, then there are some fantastic apps and computer programs that you can use for little-to-no cost.
My two personal favorites are Videolicious on the iPhone or Camtasia on the computer. These two options are very easy to master and provide immense value for their relatively inexpensive cost when compared to professional softwares. Both applications have fantastic tutorials that teach you how to add text, bumpers with your logo, music, and create smooth transitions.
Getting eyes on your videos is maybe the most important part about making a video. It’s important to upload it in two key social media networks – YouTube and Facebook. Upload it to YouTube and use that file to share around the internet. Make sure you post it on Reddit, StumbleUpon, Twitter, and any other networks that you have a following on.
The only social website that you need to upload a separate video for is Facebook. This is to capitalize on its auto-play feature and make sure you get the most views on it as possible. Uploading a YouTube video to Facebook will not have the same effect and in my own personal experience, will typically reduce the amount of views by about 50%.
After you’ve uploaded them to your social media accounts, you should do some personal outreach. Send your new video to people you think would be interested, whether it’s friends who will share, or businesses that you’ve mentioned. Ask them to check it out and share it if they like it. Remember that giving mentions to people or companies in your videos will greatly increase the odds of them sharing it.
Once you’ve done your outreach, keep in mind that it’s never a bad idea to put a couple dollars behind boosting to reach the appropriate audiences. Just remember that video creation isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. You won’t go viral with the first video you make. As you continue, you’ll get better and your followers will begin to grow.
Feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re having trouble with coming up with ideas for your brand or you need some help with resources – or tweet me @CaveTK. I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as possible and lend a hand wherever I can.