By 2017, it’s predicted 90% of all internet traffic will be video content. They’re easily digestible and offer a chance to show the world how awesome you are. Plus, people are more likely to watch a video than read an article, and having video content boosts SEO rankings – driving traffic to your site.
So what are you waiting for? You don’t have to invest in anything fancy because there are many inexpensive alternatives to suit any budget. Here’s our guide to the best value video equipment:
1. Be Smart
According to Mobile Marketing 72% of people in the UK own a smartphone and 89% of 18-29 year olds in the US own one too according to another report. If you’re one of them, you already own the means to record, and these days most phones film in HD. Just be sure to shoot in 16:9 (landscape) rather than 4:3 (portrait), as this looks more professional.
2. Use Your Apps
A variety of free apps are available to improve videos on phones or tablets. Horizon addresses the above mentioned framing issue, while Lightt is a quick-and-easy editing tool that allows you to add unique filters and special effects.
3. Browse for Bargains
With smartphones increasing in popularity and digital cameras improving in quality, camcorders are quickly becoming obsolete. However, this means camcorder prices are falling and there are some real bargains to be had. The Toshiba CAMILEO-X400RD, for instance, has great features and is only £89.99 ($150) on Amazon.
4. Say Cheese!
If you’d prefer to buy an entry-level DSLR (Digital single-lens reflex… or ‘fancy camera’), the Nikon D5100 has great reviews and is available for a knockdown £279 ($460) at SLRHut. It offers full 1920 x 1080 filming and has built-in editing features.
If your videos are going to be more adventurous, the Drift HD Ghost range is a safe bet. Available from just £155 ($257), you get a lot of bang for your buck. It’s waterproof up to 9ft and has reinforced casing to protect the LCD screen. The inbuilt wifi enables you to operate remotely, and the lens rotates so you can adjust to capture any angle.
Keeping the shot steady is a hallmark of professionalism, so avoid ‘shaky hand syndrome’ and get a tripod. Virtually all tripods use the universal screw that fits any camera, and a variety of grips are now available for smartphones. Failing all else, at least prop your device on a table or chair to ensure it stays still.
7. Take The Mic
Most smartphones come with a microphone for handsfree calls, but you can use this to improve sound quality when recording online videos. Here’s a great video to show you how.
When it comes to the background, avoid having any clutter or unnecessary distractions in shot. If you’re indoors, try recreating that studio feel by hanging a plain sheet behind you, or simply stand in front of a plain wall. With the right lighting, it can look great.
9. Brighter is Better
There’s little need to invest in professional lighting, just make use of any lamps you have and bear three basic rules in mind: The ‘key light’ is brightest and should be placed at a 45° angle to your camera, avoiding a ‘deer in the headlights’ look for your subject; the ‘fill light’ should be placed on the other side, filling in any shadows; The ‘backlight’ should then shine down on your subject, making them stand out from the background.
10. It’s All in the Edit
Chances are your computer is pre-loaded with basic editing software, perhaps Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. If you’re new to video production, these entry-level packages will have all the functionality you need – you can add titles, increase audio levels, layer music, and play with special effects. But it’s advisable to keep things simple. Unless you’re looking for specialist features like multi-cam editing, it’s unlikely you’ll have to upgrade to industry-standard software.