If you film it, they will come

I shot the video above on an iPhone. It was filmed in 30 minutes during lunchtime. I edited it in two hours. It was online within three hours of shooting it. To produce that in the same resolution (1920 x 1080) even five years ago would’ve cost thousands of dollars.

Video has come a long, long, LONG way in a short time. Ten years ago I was making television commercials with $50k+ broadcast cameras like this:

Ikegami broadcast camera

They looked impressive. They weighed a ton. And to get that authentic 16:9 ‘widescreen’ look, we would put black bars top and bottom in the edit suite. It’s true.

And now TV commercials, talk shows, even movies are being filmed with digital SLRs like the Canon 5D below. Amazing.

Canon 5D MKIII

The barriers to in-house video production are … well, there just aren’t any. It’s insanely cheap to set yourself up, and today we’ll delve into the Geurilla Guide to In-house Video Production. Here we go!

SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS

  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • Instagram

Join all three in the name of your business.

SOFTWARE

You’ll need something to edit your video with, and something to tweak your audio with. You can get away with using one application, but your goal should be to use separate, dedicated solutions. Personally, my toolbox contains:

I know of editors who use only Apple’s Final Cut Pro for both video and audio. Same, same with Premiere. Both have adequate audio editing capabilities, but not as adequate as the real thing such as the afore-mentioned Pro Tools or Apple’s Logic Pro for example.

Hang on, why do I need an audio editor?

Because sound is vitally, amazingly, ridiculously important. Good audio will make or break your production. Seriously, it’s more important than video quality. YouTube has conditioned us to tolerate poor quality video. Which is ironic considering the high quality / low cost tools we now have available for filming. There is NO excuse for crappy sound though. Good audio editing software (or if you want to get with the hip kids, Digital Audio Workstation or DAW) can help quash the sound of your air conditioner / bring up low levels / make a voice sound more vibrant and so on. It’s important.

There are also freeware / shareware / donation-ware options when it comes to video and audio software. I’ve used both Goldwave and Audacity in the past. Both are really handy tools, and probably a good place to start. Mashable has a list of other options you can try as well.

Windows Movie Maker is a freebie video editor that can you help you with the basics. iMovie is the Apple equivalent to Windows Movie Maker.

HARDWARE

Your basic setup for an in-house video production unit consists of the following:

  • A camera – the Canon 5D DSLR mentioned above is perfect
  • A tripod
  • Radio mics – microphones that clip onto your clothes
  • A decently specced computer – for handling the large video files
  • Three lights (a keylight, a fill, and a backlight) – for getting good depth in your indoor shoot
  • Green screen – if you want to have flexibility for backgrounds

Those first four are essential. You can add the other two when you’re ready to step up the quality levels.

WHAT TO FILM

What video content can you create that will provide value to your audience?

Do you sell products that require a steep learning curve? Perhaps you need to produce a series of ‘how-to’ videos.

Are you in a fast-paced, ever-changing industry? You might create a weekly show that looks at the latest industry news.

Are you running a competition? Think about how video can support it.

Remember, your content doesn’t have to directly sell your business, your products, or services. It doesn’t always need a call to action. But there should be a reason for the video.

THREE RULES TO LIVE BY

  1. Keep it short
  2. Get good audio
  3. Relax in front of camera

By the way, don’t try and make something viral. Viral just … happens.

UPDATE: I’ve been asked what the video above is for. It’s a promo for MYOB’s annual short film festival. The audience is MYOB staff, although in this case the promo has made it onto MYOB’s public channel.

Here’s one of my entries (made with @daylandoes and Lucky) from 2011.

And for bonus points (and seeing as we’re talking about social media and content creation), here are some promos I made for that video:

Check out the radio mic on my shirt in this video below …

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