Words cannot describe the hours of frustration that have accompanied my video marketing efforts over the last six years. Most of the problems stemmed from:
- lighting problems (either insufficient light, or too much direct sunlight!)
- too much wind causing sound quality issues
- unnecessarily complicated equipment
- ridiculously complicated editing software
- video file format and size conversion (such as .mp4 to .mov)
The good news is the last three problem points are no longer in the picture at all. They’re gone—when you use the right set-up. And I’m about to share my simple set-up with you. The crazy thing is that the equipment listed below is the simplest, least fussy set-up with the best quality results.
I was one of those excited people who stood in a line for hours some 3 1/2 years ago to get the first iPhone. Overnight, business on the go was so much easier. Today, in 2012, it’s that much better. I absolutely LOVE the fact that my iPhone now qualifies as an EXCELLENT quality HD video camera + digital point-and-shoot all in one. Complete with the accessories below, you’ve got yourself a simple, fuss-free video marketing equipment setup.
One minor drawback to the iPhone is that you can’t connect a tripod directly to the phone. The iPhone is just too compact for that. So you need something SOLID to hold your iPhone to the little bolt on all tripods. The Glif is just that. It’s entirely a friction fit to your iPhone, but your camera absolutely won’t fall out unless you bump it fairly hard. I shoot my videos in landscape mode (ie., the iPhone lays on its side) but the picture below shows that the Glif is even pretty secure holding the phone vertically.
Now for the tripod. If you already have a tripod, great. I have two favorite tripods, both fairly cheap but plenty robust. Although I use a sturdier tripod for shooting video at home, I am recommending this sweet little compact unit for it’s portability… and simplicity!
In a quiet place, the iPhone’s internal microphone is remarkably good. I wouldn’t call this equipment vital, but background noise does make a good video seem less professional. I’ve had this same inexpensive mic for years, and it does a fine job. The watch batteries that power this little microphone last a long time, but I always keep a spare on hand.
Another small drawback to the iPhone is that an external microphone won’t work without an adapter. The microphone jack (the pointy plug thing) will fit into your iPhone just fine—but it won’t work. So you need an adapter. They come cheaper that the Owle adapter, but I like knowing that interference or flimsy wires won’t derail my video shoot.
Total Cost: $342.23
It’s crazy, but all that equipment costs a little less than a decent, lower-end HD video camera. So many of my friends already have iPhones or other HD- capable smart phones, so your total investment could be as little as fifty bucks and change. Again, you’ll have to trust me—it wasn’t always this cheap or easy!
I’ve learned to do my best to AVOID post-production work. I don’t enjoy editing videos (which I do in iMovie if I must), so most times I just plan my shoot, run the camera, and then upload to YouTube.
YouTube has come a long way, and now includes a small editor. So if you’re on your own shooting videos, you’ll have to press the record button on your iPhone, then walk in front while the video is rolling, and shoot your video. Of course you’ll want to edit the walking out… Upload your unedited video directly to Youtube, then cut out the few seconds at the beginning and end of your videos where you are walking to turn the video on and off. You’ll find how to do that in your YouTube video settings.
And that’s it! At least from a techie standpoint. : )
Now it’s your turn
You’ll hear me say this again: get out there and shoot some videos! If this is you’re first crack at videos, don’t worry. You’re going to be terrible! But no worse that I was when I first started… It’s like riding a bike. You need practice.
So if you are serious about including videos in your marketing, make a commitment to shooting a video a day. Shouldn’t take more than fifteen minutes. Upload your videos to Youtube, but keep the setting on private, and watch your new videos. Just be okay with terrible videos at first. It will only get better and easier. I’ve coached plenty of video marketers, and you would be amazed how much progress a brand new video marketer can make in only a few weeks of practice.
Are you up or the challenge? Do you have a favorite video equipment setup? Let me know in the comments below.