The Marketer's Apprentice

“Hassle-Free” Video Marketing Equipment

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.

Camera:

Apple iPhone 4S 16GB ($199 with a contract)

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.
iPhone 4S

Tripod Mount:

Studio Neat Glif Tripod Mount & Stand for iPhone 4 & 4S ($27.95)

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.

iPhone tripod adaptor

Tripod:

Manfrotto MKC3-H01 Compact Photo-Movie Kit (Black)  ($59.89)

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!
Tripod

Microphone:

Audio-Technica ATR-35S Lavalier Microphone ($26.45)

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.

Lavalier Microphone

Microphone Adapter:

Owle Bubo iPhone 4 /iPod Touch Microphone Adapter ($27.95)

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!

Post Production

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.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Greg Reed March 5, 2012 at 2:49 am

Great info Jenn. Is there a remote function that turns the camera on and off or do you need another person with you?

Or are you using an editing suite to clean up the edges?

Greg

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Jenn March 5, 2012 at 4:29 am

Hey Greg! Good to hear from you.

With the iPhone, I either have my hubby turn it on for me, or I do it myself and then edit the intro and exit right within YouTube. If there’s enough interest, I can shoot a video on how to do that simple task.

Jenn :)

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Greg Reed August 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Jenn

I just re-read your post again. I’m about to buy a video camera etc etc but I can’t find anything suitable for the budget. The Flip or Kodak Zi8 wouldn’t have been great.

Anyway do you consider having a camera with an external microphone jack more imortant than the ability to turn on/off remotely (I’ll be shooting all my videos on my own)

Can you let me know your thoughts

Greg

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Jenn August 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Hey Greg,

Great to hear from you! I do consider having a camera with an external mic jack more important than the remote capabilities. Especially if you’re importing to a video editing program. You can easily just edit out the intro and outro where you’re turning on/off your camera.

However, I DO love my remote… it makes life much better!

Jenn

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Greg Reed August 24, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Thanks Jenn. I took your advice and grabbed a camera with an external mic.

I appreciate your help and updates.

Millie Lavoisier March 5, 2012 at 3:05 am

Hi Jenn,
I’m just like you. I avoid as much as possible post production editing because it takes a lot of time and it’s just easier to get good at shooting a good video right there.

Thanks for the tip about youtube. I’ve never used it but I’ll check it out.

I use annotations a lot in youtube. This helps me get a lot of sharing from my viewers and increase my viewers.

Millie

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Jenn March 5, 2012 at 4:28 am

Yep, single shoot is the way to go. I’d love to hear more about how you’re using annotations to increase views and shares.

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Edward March 5, 2012 at 5:21 am

Thanks Jenn!
This is exactly the tech support I want.
The simplicity is stunning….
E

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Jenn March 5, 2012 at 5:29 am

yah! glad I could help you out :)

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John Strazza March 5, 2012 at 7:39 am

This is great .. love the simplicity. I’m listening too; I did 4 videos last week .. (maybe I’ll send a link to them when there live .. but not to spam you of course). At first they were too serious. Then we decided to have fun, and fun often works! It’s a series of interviews of a “web guy” in the shower .. called the naked truth series (of course all one sees is the shower curtain) but they were very funny, and the content was great. All a minute or less long. We’ll do more to get it right, but we’re having fun, and I believe that’s where good ideas germinate. Do and discover …
Jenn Thanks so much for your content, JS

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Jenn March 5, 2012 at 8:27 am

Hey John,

If you want to share your videos with the rest of the gang here, I’d be happy to review and give you some feedback. Others would find huge value I’m certain.

Marketing is about entertaining people with a message that connects and inspires. So yes, funny, when done right works well!

Glad you’re enjoying my content.

Jenn :)

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Eric Walker March 5, 2012 at 7:43 am

Pardon what might be blasphemy…

but I don’t own a Mac. I’m a PC user. Not that I have any allegiance either way. My PC is just what I use. Since I consider myself more a “typist” more than anything, it works.

Also…

And this might come as a shocker, but I don’t own a cell phone let alone a smart phone. I’m backwoods baby :-) But I’m considering a smart phone purchase for all the obvious reasons.

So here’s my question…

If I get the Apple iPhone 4S 16GB it seems I’d also need to ditch my PC for a new Mac computer. True? Or is the Apple iPhone compatible with my PC?

Pardon my ignorance if the question strikes you as odd, but I wanna know, and you are someone I think who knows ;-)

Thanks Jenn!

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Jenn March 5, 2012 at 8:26 am

Hey Eric,

No way! You would NOT need to get a MAC in order to use the iPhone. You can actually upload directly from the iPhone to YouTube. And I’m sure you’d be able to import to your local video editor.

I must admit, I do not know if there is any loss in quality importing directly to YouTube, as I have always imported to my MAC and then uploaded to YouTube.

A quick question for the Apple tech on your way to purchase an iPhone. Welcome to the techno age baby :) haha…

Great questions.

Jenn

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Eric Walker March 5, 2012 at 8:53 am

Thank you Jenn!

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John Strazza March 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Thanks Jenn,

I’ll share them when I get at least three videos up .. though it might be a “painful” learning experience :)

js

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Jenn March 5, 2012 at 3:24 pm

John,

I’m rooting for you. And I KNOW how brave it is of you to submit one of your early videos. I PROMISE, if you do, I will provide you with the best feedback/support I possibly can!

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John Strazza March 10, 2012 at 4:57 pm

That sounds like a plan .. I will show something (very soon) .. and that’s Promise too.
many thanks Jenn,
John

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Jenn March 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm

yah! looking forward to it John :)

Elaine Twiss March 5, 2012 at 11:03 am

Thanks for the info Jenn. I was wondering if I could use my iphone to do videos, now I know. Thanks for the tips on the other equipment too. This really helps.

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Jenn March 5, 2012 at 11:19 am

Elaine,

You’re welcome. We’re pretty lucky, because the iPhone is by far the easiest video camera I’ve ever used.
Let me know how the videos go!

Jenn

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Jenn March 5, 2012 at 11:32 am

Yah! glad to have helped :)

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Stig Ramstad March 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Thank you Jenn for another great post!

I’ve been wondering for a long time why my mic did not work with my iPhone, now I know I need an adapter.

I love the way you teach!

Stig : )

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Jenn March 5, 2012 at 3:22 pm

ah hah! problem solved. Love easy fixes, don’t you?

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Pete March 5, 2012 at 11:59 pm

I don’t know if shooting videos would help the restaurants I am involved in but I am willing to give it a go even just from a fun element part of things.

The restaurant trade can be rather fierce and competitive so maybe it would benefit if we shot a video but in a fun light-hearted way as John Strazza suggested above. (Although there would be no nakedness and no shower scenes.) LOL.

Thanks again, Jenn and all the other helpful comments about fun and annotations.

Pete

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Jenn March 6, 2012 at 4:42 am

Hey Pete,

Video is good for ANY business in ANY market that has an online marketing campaign. Look at it like this.

1. what are your online marketing goals?

2. how can you communicate your USP more clearly by using video?

I can envision a restaurant being able to show their customers what the experience of eating at their restaurant would be. In addition, if a restaurant has a unique cooking style, it might be fun to have the head chef on video, communicating why eating his/her food is the right choice, etc.

So many ideas. Think about video as being your potential customer’s eyes into your business. What makes them want to come in to eat? Show them that you’ve got it!

I hope this helps.

Jenn :)

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Glen Rosenberg March 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm

I learned A TON from Jenn.

I am super grateful I meet her. She absolutely knows her stuff and made a huge impact on me.

Jenn it’s good to see you online again. I’m not these days, but was just looking around youtube at old marketing videos I made and found one of yours that led me here.

I wish you lot’s of luck with your new blog.

I’d be happy to provide a testimonial if it would be helpful. Being involved with you genuinely took my knowledge of video marketing to an entirely new level and it still all applies today.

Thanks,

Glen

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Jenn March 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Hey Glen,

Great to hear from you—and thanks for sharing your feedback on working with me.

I saw somewhere (Facebook maybe) that you’ve got a little girl now… congratulations!! Isn’t being a parent the greatest thing in the world?

Best always,
Jenn

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Stig Ramstad May 13, 2012 at 7:44 am

Hi Jen,

If you add a Bluetooth hands free set to this set-up, you can start and stop video with the +, the volume button, located at the ear piece!

This way you don’t have to run back and forth to start and stop the video.

This feature works with snapping pictures as well, if you want to join family or group photos.

Best,

Stig R.

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Charles Christian June 23, 2012 at 10:49 pm

The advice on this posting is fantastic – answers every question I had about movie-making – for interviews at trade shows etc – without taking a dedicated video camera with me. It is also worth commenting that there is more good practical advice here than on dozens of Apple etc forums – and I know as I spent hours trawling thru Google. Now I’m off the download iMovies before I catch my flight to Vegas!

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Jenn June 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Yah! Glad this helped you Charles. I know how frustrating it can be to find the information we need to create good, professional marketing videos.

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Jenn August 24, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Good call Greg!

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