Over the last 7 years I have learned something… being a videographer can be mentally and physically demanding at times. From 12 hour shoots, to multiple complex pieces of equipment to monitor. From time management efficiency to creating relationships and developing personal skills with clients. From pre-production to post, the job of a videographer can be tough…but I wouldn’t want it any other way.
As a young videographer, I have learned so much throughout my career and if I can give one important fact to the audience it is this… You will learn something new on every project you do, and sometimes it can be painful.
This is an incredibly important point that has helped me since I first picked up a camera. The reason for this is because videography can be a complex and demanding job and things can easily go wrong. SD cards can break, cameras can overheat, mics will rustle or audio can peak, lighting might not be perfect. Things can go wrong, so it is important to know this early on and be aware of it. Check out my 2014 showreel.
During my first few free jobs as a videographer, I began writing down the pros and cons of every shoot I would work on and how I could improve for my next shoot. This could be a simple thing from changing my f stop for a certain angle of shot, to working on my directing skills and being clearer to the client. I have found this incredibly useful for me over the years and has really helped me become a better videographer. Check out one of my videos from 2017 when I first started using my own equipment.
As a few years passed by, I learned more about equipment and the importance of purchasing the correct equipment to work with other kit. However I learned this pretty quickly, buying the best equipment won’t make you the best videographer. You need to learn how to use what you have got, don’t over complicate things. I really think this was important for me and made me wiser with my visual choices when working on a project.
I believe my creative speciality lies primarily in creating wedding films. I have learned most of my skills over the years, as I am filming a live event, something very different to a staged shoot. This can be both a pro and a con as I will need to be on the ball and have great time management skills. Over the years my skills within wedding videography have sculpted my video skills on other projects. The main 3 skills I have developed over these shoots would be time management, creative style and building a relationship with the client.
I often look at a day’s work and think of myself going into an auto-pilot mode, where I just focus on what needs to be done. I really find this freeing in some way. Please check out one my wedding films I made in 2019. I think my work has really has developed since my first showreel in 2014.
It is important to look at other videographers as inspiration, not as a threat. With this mindset I have been able appreciate other work out there and play with their styles in my own work. For example I watched 3 wedding videographers for years as I built up my portfolio.
As a videographer, I have learned the importance of being pro-active, pushing myself into filming content I haven’t done before. I really believe that making my own content requires many skills and develops my craft.
A last note from me, it is important to go easy on yourself. I am always aware of the things I need to work on, but that’s the exciting thing…to keep working and improving on my skills. One problem creatives all may be familiar with, we sometimes strive for perfection and fail to meet it and we end up not liking our work. That is the mystique of art. I remind myself to pick myself up and create more content. It may take patience but it will be worth it to look back at the art you have created.
I hope you found this personal blog insightful and motivational for anyone working in their own craft at an early stage in their career. Just remember to look at how far you have come already and keep on striving towards your goals.
If you are looking for a great video company to create some inspiring content for your brand, get in touch with us.
You have some video content, but you only have it saved in one place and oh no…that hard drive gets lost/stolen/corrupted/accidentally wiped and you lose your content. Unfortunately you’d be surprised at how many people lose video content just because they forgot or didn’t know where to back up their video content. It’s such a simple process but if you don’t do it, you run the risk of losing your footage forever. This blog is a quick guide to three different ways to keep your video content safe. But first, have a look at this video to understand why you should always back up.
Google Photos is a photo sharing and storage service developed by Google. As well as photos, it can store unlimited videos in full HD. Part of the Google One cloud storage service, you can store up to 15GB for free or up to 100GB for £1.59/month.
Google Photos is a great tool for beginner video creators or marketers out there looking to save their content to the cloud. Check out this video below for more information.
You can use the app on iOS and Android devices and on desktop computers through your browser. One great added bonus, especially for video production novices, is its ability to create videos, GIFs and more automatically using Google’s all-powerful AI capabilities.
SanDisk iXpand is a great tool for backing up footage from your phone, especially if you’re out and about without easy access to cloud services. Think of it as a USB stick for your phone. With prices starting around £24 for a 32GB model, this device is a great piece of kit. It’s available with a Lightning connection, USB-C, or both! The iXpand mobile app lets you manage your data and preview your footage.
LaCie Rugged Mini
Now let’s have a look at a common hard drive brand used by professional videographers. LaCie have a range of drives to suit all requirements and budgets, including a new model which is on the pricier side but is resistant to shock, drop, dust and even water!
These super reliable hard drives are perfect for creators and marketers producing content regularly. They perform extremely well when it comes to raw transfer speeds, and their small size means they’re easy to carry around.
We hope you found this blog useful. Hopefully we have saved you from losing your video content. If you are looking for professional video production partners to make your brand stand out, please get in touch with us.
There are so many outlets for video these days; YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, just to name a few. But what are brands doing differently on each of those platforms, and why? Let’s take a look at how some brands are using their social channels to really push unique original content.
Patagonia on YouTube
In 2021, Patagonia released a documentary video on their YouTube channel. The film is about the citizen-led community-energy movement in Europe and the visionaries lighting the way. Patagonia have launched a campaign to support community-owned energy across Europe.
Publishing this video on YouTube has proved successful, with over 299,000 views in just 8 days. The documentary is a perfect fit for YouTube as the video is long-form content. A video of this length might struggle on other platforms to get the same reach. The clothing brand can utilise its modern aesthetic style to attract its target market of young people.
Vessi on TikTok
Waterproof shoe designer Vessi decided to go bold and adventurous on TikTok with their brand. Instead of sitting back and leaving consumers to find out their effectiveness, Vessi went all out to show how much damage the products could take.
In their videos, Vessi shoes undergo ‘quirky’ testing from consumers jumping in puddles, to walking in dirt, to pouring wine, green beer and coffee on their shoes. And guess what, the shoes don’t suffer.
Snappy, self-shot and straight to the point, this type of content sits really comfortably on TikTok. The ‘wow’ factor of seeing the shoes in action gives viewers a reason to share the videos and to seek out the next Vessi experiment.
Nike on Instagram
Nike have utilised the importance of promoting beautiful storytelling to their audience through their Instagram channel. The short-form video pieces use a variety of contributors, from household name Nike athletes and younger athletes starting in their career, to everyday people who wear Nike clothes. Through their content, the company promotes the importance of equality and diversity within the world of sport.
Nike’s video content on their Instagram channel isn’t to sell specific products, it is instead designed to make the audience feel part of the family. Note the minimalist use of text graphics, and the way the content is enhanced by audio without relying on it too heavily. It feels beautiful and cinematic, yet social native at the same time.
With 11.4 million subscribers on Snapchat, Mashable targets a dedicated audience who are passionate about gadgets, smartphones and social media.
Mashable is the go-to place for the latest news on tech, gadgets and more. Their Snapchat distills their website content into quick, digestible stories. They stand alone, while also drawing users to the website to read more.
This is Engineering on Twitter
In recent years, there has been a dramatic shortfall in students pursuing a career in engineering in the UK. However, the #ThisIsEngineering campaign is seeking to combat this rising problem.
The campaign showcases video content of engineers speaking about their passion of engineering in areas like sport, technology, and design. And thanks to Twitter’s emphasis on discussion, the video content becomes a jumping-off point for engagement between students and the brand. The video content utilised on Twitter highlights a great way for an organisation to target an issue that is currently spreading across Britain.
Searchie on LinkedIn
Searchie is a recruitment platform based in Dubai. Searchie are a cool example of a brand using their LinkedIn page specifically to target their professional audience with a regular stream of video content released on their feed. The aim of the content is to give the company a strong reputation for being experts in the field of recruitment.
Searchie also offer LinkedIn live knowledge sharing sessions by exploring the opportunities and methods included in the broad subject of their space. Executives and leaders in their brand are regularly interviewed and their episodes are broadcast on a regular schedule.
We hope you found this blog useful and insightful. When it comes to social media video production, we really know our stuff. So if you want your content to make a real impact, we’re here to help.
With modern-day phone cameras, it’s really easy to achieve high-quality video and with just a few quick and easy tips, you can really start to make your content look and feel even better. It’s harder than ever to spot the difference between professional and amateur video footage these days. The difference usually lies in how an interview is lit, or maybe the quality of the sound. These can be tricky elements to master and a lot of the time, have a monetary value attached to improving. Framing and focus are two areas where you can, in some cases, vastly improve your picture quality and it won’t cost you a penny.
Good framing is something that can start to make your content look and feel professional, and once you know the fundamentals it is something you can start to have fun with. Good framing looks like this:
This is the amount of space between the top of your subject’s head and the top of the frame. The great thing about this is that you can give as much, or as little as you like depending on your personal preference. What I would say is to keep this consistent across your project. If, for example, you need to cut together multiple interviews, then make sure you’re giving the same amount of headroom in each shot.
2. Objects in your frame
Be very deliberate about what’s in the foreground/background of each of your shots and if you have the time, think about the symmetry and balance of what’s inside your frame. If you have a coffee cup in the shot, then make sure it’s clearly identifiable whilst not obstructing your subject. Place objects left or right of frame and experiment with how close/far away from the camera they are.
Use whatever lighting you have available to you to help pick out your subject. This will help you draw your audience’s attention to where you want it. If you’re filming outside, take a moment to consider the angle your shooting at. The sun is a great source of natural light and a slight change of angle can make all the difference. If you’re filming inside, then experiment with all light sources and if you have a panel light or light ring, then experiment with distance/intensity. You really do notice lighting if it’s wrong, so it’s definitely worth taking the time to get right.
On the other hand, this is what bad framing looks like…
At first glance, leaving a ton of headroom doesn’t look that bad, but it can throw off your eye line if this isn’t consistent between shots. If you do decide you want to negatively frame your shots, make sure that that’s a running theme throughout your project as this is something that is really noticeable if not consistent.
2. Objects in your frame
Make sure that there’s nothing in frame that distracts from the story you’re trying to tell, i.e an open bag on the table behind, or a plant that’s obstructing your subject a little too much. Like I stated previously, make sure the things in your frame are an improvement, and are identifiable without being a distraction.
This is something that becomes more obvious when viewed on a laptop or a TV, a slightly skewed angle on a phone screen or camera monitor can look a lot worse when viewed on a bigger screen. A really easy fix for this is just to turn on the gridlines in your phone or DSLR camera settings. This really helps with making sure you’re shots are lined up properly, but also helps identify what works/doesn’t work within the frame itself.
Focus is something that phone cameras are great at doing automatically but if it’s not right, you really notice so it’s always good to check this before you press record! It really does affect how professional your content looks and if your subject is ever so slightly out of focus, it can bring down the quality of your project quite significantly.
With these quick and easy-to-apply steps, the video quality will really start to improve. This can get a lot more complicated depending on what you’re shooting though, so if you’re looking for someone to come shoot and edit professional-quality digital video, then check out our work
We’ve all had to contend with dodgy Zoom video quality in some way shape or form over the last year. Whether that be through a bad internet connection, a terribly framed shot, or just some bad lighting. These are usually just inconveniencing at best, but that all changes when you need to use Zoom to record video content and there are a few really simple steps you can take to optimize recording through Zoom that I’m here to share with you…
Zoom is a great tool for recording multiple people at once, but depending on how you have it set up, you’ll get massively inconsistent results when retrieving any footage you’ve recorded through there, so we’re going to layout the best settings to have turned on, along with some general tips that should improve your Zoom recordings. There are different best practices depending on whether you’re going to edit the footage or just upload it straight away and hopefully, this article helps you decide the best settings for exactly what you need.
So there are a few really easy options in setting for you to get the best possible video quality back out of Zoom while using your built-in webcam. The first being to make sure Enable HD video is ticked in your options. You can find this by going to Zoom > Settings > Video > HD and making sure it’s ticked. While you’re here you might as well make sure your other video setting are right for what you need i.e. if your video seems a little dark, try ticking ‘adjust for low light’ or if your subject is appearing a little shiny, you can enable the ‘touch up my appearance’ setting which then gives you a slider so you can choose how much to apply.
I’d say the main thing to think about before changing/applying any of these settings is what do you need to get from the footage? Do you want the participants’ names to be visible? This is easily changed by ticking the ‘Always display participant name on their videos’ and can’t be removed later, so it’s important you get this right up-front. Another setting in here that you might want to have a play around with is ‘Hide non-video participants’ which will change how your Zoom looks from a formatting perspective. This can help you manage participants that either don’t want to be on camera themselves, or that you don’t want/need on camera yourself. If you’re editing the footage, you probability want to have your Zoom in gallery view as this format allows for greater flexibility when editing. If you’re putting the footage straight online then you’ll probabily want to have Zoom set to paticipant view. I’d say just have a play around with this until you find the right format for your content.
There are a couple of other settings that you might want to have a look at if you’re editing the footage you get out of Zoom. Firstly, if you go to Zoom > Settings > Recording: you’ll see an option to ‘Add a timestamp to the recording’. I’d suggest unticking this unless you need this information burnt into the footage. Next go to Zoom > Settings > Recordings: and tick ‘Optimize for 3rd party video editor’. This just lets Zoom know that you’re planning on editing this footage and makes it easier to export out in a format that will be acceptable in most editing software.
Now lighting is something that even the most experienced video producers have a hard time getting right, but there are some really simple tips you can use to get better natural lighting on you or your subjects through Zoom.
Firstly, have a play around with locations around your house (or wherever you’re setting up) as some rooms/angles will just naturally have better light sources. I’d suggest trying to use all-natural light or all artificial light as a source as I find it’s quite obvious when you have a mix of both. I’d suggest experimenting with the direction you/your subject is facing as even just a slight change of angle can make a huge difference to how you’re lit.
Alternatively, if you’re experiencing problems with not having enough light on a subject, you can go to Zoom > Settings > Video > and tick the ‘Adjust for low light’ box to see if that helps. If your video is still too dark and there are no easy lighting options to hand, try turning your laptop screen to its brightest setting and try changing your ‘Adjust for low light’ setting from ‘auto’ to ‘manual’ as that will give you a slider which allows for more control.
Now, sound is probably going to be the most inconsistent thing you get back out of Zoom, so it’s definitely worth taking the time to get this right. Consider how many people are on the call. Is it appropriate to ask everyone to wear headphones? This way, you eliminate any background noise/feedback which can be difficult to work around in post-production.
Depending on what you’re shooting, wearing headphones may not be an option so make sure you go to Zoom > Settings > Recording and tick the ‘record a separate audio file’ box. This gives you full control over each participant’s voice e.g if the subjects are all speaking at different volumes or talking over each other, you’d have the ability to edit this later on.
Remember, some of these settings will work better if you’re planning on editing the footage and some will work better if you’re just uploading it straight away. I’d suggest taking the time to plan out exactly what you need before you start recording anything. Don’t let yourself get to overwhelmed with this either. We’ve edited a lot of Zoom content here at Studio 91 Media, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need help with your project.
Slow motion video has been a phenomenon for years, it’s not something new. If you go way back to the early days of film and flick through different films, documentaries, sport broadcasts etc… you will find glorious and impactful slow motion scenes.
When watching a video, do you ever stop and notice the frequency and way slow motion is utilised for certain shots? This is because slow motion is a great and simple way to make a video or scene more impactful, dramatic, intense and artistic. It’s pleasing on the eye and it draws viewers in. With slow motion, time is almost frozen and you’re taken along for the ride. It’s an amazing tool – use it! To whet your appetite, here are some great examples of slow motion utilised in cinema:
Is slow motion just for Hollywood?
Well, no! Thankfully we are blessed with incredible tech these days. Slow motion settings are compatible on almost all camera, phone and tablet devices! You don’t need to go high-end and purchase the most expensive camera out there. It is true that the higher you search you can find more cameras with a higher frame rate…but the specs we see on most mid-range devices definitely do the business! Which means you can create stunning slow motion video content on a budget. From your GoPro to your DSLR to your phone, chances are you’ll have access to a high frame rate camera that will deliver the slomo goods.
Let’s get technical…
Humour me for a second while I talk about the numbers. If you film at normal speed with the native camera app on your phone, chances are it’s shooting 30 frames per second (fps). That means that every second, the camera is capturing 30 images. When played back, these 30 images create smooth motion in real time.
When you go into slomo mode, either in your native camera or a dedicated video app, you’re increasing the frame rate. You might be shooting in 60, 120 or even 240 fps. When that’s played back at 30 fps, each second of what you captured becomes 2, 4 or 8 seconds long.
As well as looking cool and a bit ‘arty’, slow motion is an easy way to make handheld footage appear more stable. As well as slowing down the subject, you’re also slowing down the movement of the camera itself, which can smooth things out and cover a multitude of sins.
Slow motion is best used sparingly, for scenes that really portray emotion. Examples of this could be a group of people celebrating and dancing, or a person in despair running towards the camera. When there is a lot of action or fast movement, slomo draws the viewer in and shows them more detail.
Used correctly, slow motion can leave the audience feeling inspired, drawn in and focused on the scene, which is something every creative wants to bring to fruition…powerful, enchanting story telling.
Apps that will aid your slow motion filming
For most people, the slow motion mode in the native camera app is more than enough to capture great artistic content.
However, once you’ve mastered the basics, consider going a step further. Apps such as Filmic Pro, Moment Pro Camera or MAVIS (iOS) give the video maker manual control, which can really spice up video work and make it look more professional. As well as frame rate, these apps let you change the aperture, focus, shutter speed, picture profile and so on.
We hope you found this blog insightful and enlightening, and we’re here to help if you need to bring the professionals in for your next slow motion masterpiece! unique creative slow motion spark in your video content, please with us!
The COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly tough for people across the world. It’s not just the health crisis itself, it’s the general sense of doom and gloom and uncertainty. As a marketer or business owner, you might not really feel like putting video content out there right now. Maybe you feel like nobody will care what you have to say. Perhaps you’re being extra careful with your marketing budget, which is understandable given where the economy is headed. However, when it comes to video there are so many reasons to be optimistic about the year ahead! So here are 5 reasons why you should stay positive about making video content during 2021.
1. Video is more important now
Don’t forget that consumers are still spending, we still love watching good video content, and people generally have more time on their hands. Here are some reassuring stats about the state of video content marketing in 2021:
Video remains a key priority for marketers with usage and spend both, overall, increasing slightly throughout 2020, and plans to increase again in the next 12 months.
91% of marketers feel the pandemic has made video more important for brands.
Marketers feel more positive about the return on investment offered by video than ever, as it continues to strongly influence traffic, leads, sales, and audience understanding.
So we can all agree that video is still a really valuable marketing channel. But budgets are still incredibly tight, and video costs a fortune, right?
The pandemic has impacted the video marketing landscape in contrasting ways – while video is generally seen as a more necessary tool by both marketers and consumers, many have seen budgets restricted and plans shelved.
Actually, maybe it’s not time to stop doing video, but simply to change the way we do it. Now more than ever is the best time to try out new creative ideas for videos, such as new styles of filming and editing. We should strive and thrive during these tough times in our artistic approach to making amazing video content.
If we’re on a budget, maybe there’s still a creative way to get the results we need. In the same way, if restrictions cause our filming plans to be shelved, is there an alternative approach that doesn’t require any filming? 2021 is the year for new video content creation ideas to shine.
3. Consumers are watching video content more than ever
The average person will spend 100 minutes each day watching online video in 2021.
Write this one down, it’s a good one. As the quotes insist, consumers are watching video content MORE than ever. This is inspiring for video creators out there, we are in demand!
So let’s grab the opportunity with both hands like we did in 2020. We saw creators and marketers completely revitalise their video content production and strategies as the consumer wanted more. A great example of video content reaching the consumer would be TikTok, which exploded into popular consciousness in 2020. Consumers are craving more in 2021, so let’s give it to them.
4. Video is exploding with new trends
More than 99% of current video marketers told us they’ll continue using video in 2021, and 96% plan to increase or maintain their spend (again, up slightly from 95% last year.)
In 2020, we saw an amazing rise in creativity of video content, with new trends creating a buzz over all social media channels. As a market, video content has become more creative than ever!
You only have to look back over the last year to see how different ideas have helped push new video content out there to the audience. Examples such as user-generated content like mobile phone pictures and videos from the general public being used in advertisement. Or iconic scenes from nostalgic films being implemented into advertisements. Animation has been another massive area. Not to mention Zoom events and the various other types of live stream.
5. We have more time to learn
Here is the last key point to take away from this blog. In these unprecedented times, we have the opportunity to develop ourselves as individuals in the skills we know and the skills we don’t.
Now is a great time to try something new, get out of your comfort zone within video production.
As creatives, we all know there is always room for improvement. Video production is an art form and takes time to master. Whether making short form content on your phone or filming on location with your camera and equipment, you always want to improve on your video skills.
Thankfully the internet is here to help us out. Phew! There are thousands of online educational videos, articles, blogs, books you can look at to develop your expertise in video production. Check out this brilliant tutorial video as an example.
You can even binge watch a Netflix series and take notes of the creative approach of filming, framing, storytelling and editing. How good is that! Netflix can be your homework.
You can even set aside an hour a day to dedicate yourself to learning about cameras, editing software, lighting, audio, directing or producing, pre-production, social media video trends or many more techniques…the possibilities to learn are endless and you will thank yourself in the long run!
So, despite the adversity we’re facing at the moment, we hope these 5 quick points have helped you stay positive about your video content plans for 2021. Right now, the level of creativity all around us is astounding. Time and time again, we have pushed aside boundaries that we had always assumed were there. At times we have had to strip back, and at others we have strived forward with bold new approaches.
If you found this blog insightful, and you’re looking for a bit of unique creative spark in your video content, please get in touch with us!
This might be stating the obvious, but music can make or break your video! It is essential that you use good quality music in order to enhance what’s happening visually and maximise the audience’s emotional response.
However, sometimes it’s hard searching the web for the safest sites to source music. Many people make the mistake of using commercial music, which puts you at risk of your video or channel being taken down. Others settle for free music, which can often mean compromising on quality.
In this blog we will show some of the you a number of subscription-based, one-off licence and free music libraries that supply incredible music content. We will also look at the importance of double-checking the licences involved when sourcing library music.
5 of the best music libraries
So here are 5 of the best music libraries out there: Soundstripe, Music Vine, PremiumBeat, Artlist and Epidemic. If you are a frequent video creator and want consistently great music in all your videos, it’s well worth opting for a subscription, which all of the above offer. This lets you use as many tracks as you need, for a fixed monthly or annual fee.
However, if you’re working on a one-off project or you want to use music tracks from different libraries, you generally have the option to just pay for one track. The choice is yours!
All these libraries supply a brilliant variety of music genres, from hip-hop to punk, from classical to rap, and from jazz to acoustic. You will be amazed by the number and variety of tracks on offer to help push your video to the next level!
My personal favourite is Soundstripe. With a user friendly website and plenty of information on the creators and musicians, it is a user-friendly music library that covers all of my video needs.
If I want to source a low tempo track for a wedding video edit, or a high tempo track for a corporate video, hundreds of songs appear.
Soundstripe even has its own personalised, favourite and newly released collections for its users to grab. It’s not just music either; Soundstripe also has a video and sound effects section, full of really good stuff. In theory you can make an entire video just using material from Soundstripe.
Overall, for most video creators, these music libraries are by far the most used and effective tools for video content, as they hold thousands of diverse and engaging music tracks and sfx. If you want to highlight your creative style and take your videos to another level, for the monthly or annual price…it really is worth it!
Free music libraries
But what about if you’re on a budget? Well no problem, there are also free music libraries out there too. Audio Library is the most popular free music library with over 3.73 million subscribers on YouTube.
Audio Library also has plenty of genres to sink your teeth into. It’s probably the best out there, although there are other free music libraries out there such as Bensound and Purple Planet.
However, it is important to remember they do not offer the same level of choice or quality in the tracks they release on their sites. This may or may not suit you, but the choice is always yours. Another thing to bear in mind is that some of these options might be free for personal use, but require you to pay if you’re using the music for commercial projects. Which brings me to the next point…
Okay, so now you have the music library of your choice. Now let’s talk about licensing.
Music copyright designates legal ownership of a musical composition or sound recording. This ownership includes exclusive rights to redistribute and reproduce the work, as well as licensing rights that enable the copyright holder to earn royalties.
The vast majority of music is copyrighted and the reason you need to license it is because it is someone else’s property, not yours. In order to use the desired music track, you must have a license to use it legally. If you don’t, you can run the risk of having your video taken down, your company’s reputation damaged, or at worst, being sued. You really don’t want to go down that route.
So what’s the best thing to do? Get the licence and save yourself the trouble! When you sign up to a subscription on Soundstripe, for example, getting the licence is simple. All you need to do is pick your desired music track then click the licence button. Then you will be asked what your project is called and what sort of content it is (e.g. a wedding, a movie, a live stream, etc.)
You can then generate a one-time licence, which is your proof that you’ve got the right to use that track for the project you specified. After this, you are able to download the track and it’s yours – for that video only. You need to generate a licence each time you use a track for one of your videos, regardless if you have already downloaded the file. Don’t forget this!
Remember this is similar for all types of music licensing. When you decide to source a song from a music library or get in contact directly with a musician or creator, you need to have written permission to use it.
Not only this, but different music libraries offer different types of licences based on several factors, such as where you’re posting the video and how many people it will reach. So it is very important to read through the licence and double-check whether it’s suitable for your needs.
For more information on licensing music, I definitely recommend this video created by Soundstripe.
We hope you found this blog useful as you go on the hunt for that perfect track. If you get the music right, you could significantly alter the audience’s response, and ultimately the success of the video. If you want help producing video content that looks and sounds amazing, please drop us a line.
In 2020, the demand for video and other digital content is huge. At the same time, however, budgets are extremely tight for many industries. Fortunately, that doesn’t necessarily have to put a stop to your content strategy. Here are three ways to create video content on a budget, courtesy of our Junior Video Producer, Will.
1: Strip Back
First of all, strip right back to the essentials and gain a perspective on what you really need compared to the budget you have. There is no denying that the higher the price of equipment, the more likely that the results will look and sound more professional. But that rule only applies if you already have a good knowledge of the equipment and how to properly use it. You can’t give a monkey an expensive spanner and expect him to fix a car!
We live in an era where you can film quality content from your phone and turn it into a professional piece of art! If you look at social media content, ask yourself how much of it is done off a phone? The lens and audio quality on your phone is always worthy of trying out and is also very quick and easy to use. From your phone you can develop the skills such as framing, lighting and more. There’s more info on this blog about how to get the best results when filming with a phone, and here’s a list of great video editing apps you can download. Instead of looking at what you need, look at what you already have.
Much of what you do when filming content starts in your head before going on screen. You need to develop that creative eye before you go about buying the new kit. So focus on the content you are creating, not the equipment you are doing it with.
2: Look Local
Just like the price of equipment, the price of locations to shoot are varied and you have to be responsible when going about picking your locations, especially when you are on a tight budget.
To overcome this challenge, simply look local, call in favours if possible, and use your creative eye to visualise locations within locations. Just like location, search locally for talent and try to go through existing contacts. Make sure you pay people what they’re worth and don’t rip anyone off – but be willing to compromise in order to take up less of their time and therefor save money.
3: Be Prepared
Creating video content is an art that takes time to get right. This is something people often don’t realise going in. It requires a lot of responsibility as there are many stages and elements involved in the process that require your full attention, but the end goal is always worth it.
You should go over every shoot you do and look at what you did wrong, or could do better next time, even if it was something others wouldn’t notice. That is how you truly develop your craft.
Take advantage of all the free resources out there to teach you the basics of filmmaking. YouTube is a great place to start.
So in conclusion, strip back, look local and be prepared. These three tips will give a surefire kickstart to helping you create video content on a tight budget. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need any advice on this subject, or you’re interested in bringing us on board for your next video production project.
This article was first written in March 2019, but we gave it a spring clean in September 2020
…without going bankrupt.
You already know that social media is one of the most effective forms of marketing available. You already know that when your potential customers are scrolling through their news feeds, the thing that’s going to grab their attention – and satisfy those pesky algorithms – is video content. But on a limited marketing budget, how can you create decent social media video?
This guide will go through the reasons why video is crucial, some options for creating video content on the cheap with no prior production skills, some best practices and some examples of excellence. I’m assuming a basic working knowledge of the key social networks and how they operate. If you’re not particularly social-savvy, there’s lots of free courses you can do through people like Udemy and the Google Digital Garage. This guide is primarily aimed at small businesses and non-profit organisations, but the information is relevant (and essential) to any person or organisation that doesn’t have the budget for a full-time social media video producer.
But first, a quick disclaimer.
What follows is a write-up of a social media video masterclass I ran in March 2019 at the Google Digital Garage in Manchester. All the information was correct at the time, but the nature of the digital landscape means that some of it will become outdated in the coming months and years. The basic principles will remain more or less consistent, but the facts and figures may not. Either way, I’ll try to keep this page updated from time to time. By the way, I’ve linked out to some products and third-party apps but there’s no incentive for me if you sign up.
Marketing is about telling your story, and video is the most popular form of storytelling.
It’s no secret that online video needs to play a part in any serious social media strategy. Facebook and YouTube have an ongoing battle for dominance. There are new formats like Stories and live video. LinkedIn is increasingly interested in video content. Silicon Valley is KEEN to push video, to say the least. Here are a few quick stats, to illustrate the current state of play:
86% of businesses are now publishing video content, compared with 75% in 2018 (Source: Buffer)
Half of customers get most of their video content from Facebook (Source: Forbes)
Tweets with video attract 10x more engagement than without, and LinkedIn posts with video get shared 20x more (Source: Twitter and Buffer)
I suspect that if you’re reading this, you already knew this stuff. But maybe you don’t know where to start. Maybe you’ve had a few quotes from video production companies and they’ve been prohibitively expensive. Maybe you’ve tried creating social media video yourself and you felt out of your depth. If any of those statements is true, keep reading because this guide will really help you out.
Three myths about video content
Before we get stuck into the nitty gritty of social media video production, I want to quickly address three big myths around video content. By the end of this blog post you will understand why they’re not true.
Myth 1: You need to buy expensive kit
A phone camera is no match for a professional video camera, but in most cases it’s totally fine. In the right conditions (which I’ll go into later) your phone footage will look and sound great. Trust me, I’ve produced news VTs containing large chunks of iPhone B-roll, which have gone out on BBC World News to millions of people. I’m also going to look at some of the best apps for quickly editing social media video on your phone, in some cases automatically. There’s a place for beautiful cinematography and deft editing, but in practice the content of the video is the most important thing.
Myth 2: You need to hire a professional
OK, if you need to create social media video content with real polish, then yes. You should speak to a professional videographer or video production company. Preferably one that will help you develop a creative idea, rather than simply churning out a bland corporate video. Take the hint – drop us an email and let’s chat. However, remember that on social media it’s important to deliver good content consistently. I’m not saying be sloppy. I’m not saying quantity is better than quality. But I’m also not saying every post needs to win awards.
Myth 3: You need video footage to make a video
Even if you’ve not currently got a social media video strategy, you’re probably posting content using images and text. At least I hope so. I’m going to show you some really easy ways to turn those static elements into compelling video content. This adds value to your images and copy, and makes them more attractive – both to the casual scroller and to those pesky algorithms.
Three examples of great social media video
Now you know what video production ISN’T, let’s look at what it should be. When you think ‘corporate video’ you think of bland footage of people smiling at nothing in particular, bland voiceover, and bland slogans. That’s not how it has to be – not if you want your content to be successful, anyway. Let’s look at some examples of where brands have got it right. I don’t have exact figures for how much these campaigns cost, but I’m confident that they could all be delivered on a super low budget.
Example 1: boohooMAN – Cyber Monday balloon
The concept is simple. A poor innocent team member. A giant water balloon suspended over his head. Every time someone comments “pump”, a balloon inflates, inevitably bursting after enough pumps. That’s fun enough on its own, right? But to spice things up, there was £500 worth of boohoo vouchers up for grabs for whoever’s comment finally popped the balloon. This campaign is the work of Social Chain, a social media content agency based in Manchester. It clearly involved some technical wizardry on Social Chain’s part to hook the comments module up to the balloon pump, but can you think of a way to do something similar on no budget?
Example 2: Wholesome Culture – tofu scramble
Wholesome Culture is a vegan store in New York, which posts simple recipes on its Instagram page. This looks like it was really straightforward to put together; they’ve simply cooked the food, filmed it with a phone, done a nice quick edit and added some text. This whole thing could be done in an hour or two with nothing but a kitchen and a phone – including the edit. It puts their product front and centre without being overly salesy, which is arguably the best kind of branded video.
Example 3: Dollar Shave Club – Our Blades are F***ing Great
Incredibly successful despite its tiny budget, this viral hit reportedly led to 12,000 people signing up to the subscription razor service in its first 48 hours.
Social media video: best practices
Now that you know what sort of content you should be making, let’s explore how you’re going to do it.
First, let’s deal with the weirdly silent elephant in the room.
These days we love to watch video without any sound. I find that a little bit infuriating as someone who loves good music and sound design and puts a lot of effort into making my projects sound beautiful, but that’s the way of things!
So how do we get our message across in spite of this? Ideally, the video should be visual enough that it would make sense without text (think about the format of Tasty videos) but in most cases you’re going to need subtitles of some sort. We’ve got another very helpful blog to help you create your own subtitles for little or no money.
The biggest publishing platform on the planet has been in a battle with YouTube for years over who has dominance in the video space. And, depending on which metrics you look at, it seems Facebook has won. Forbes claims that 47% of customers say they get most of their video content from Facebook, vs 41% for YouTube.
The main thing to keep in mind is that Facebook is looking for meaningful social interactions. People think that just means they favour personal posts over page posts. Yes, that’s true, but there’s also an opportunity to create a conversation around your content. It’s not enough to make nice videos, it’s not even enough to make videos that people want to engage with your brand on social media. You need to be creating conversations between people around your content and your products.
Examples like the boohooMAN water balloon stunt will become less effective, because people commenting “PUMP” does not constitute meaningful interaction. I recently posted a video telling the story of a dad who went above and beyond. He couldn’t find bedtime stories that reflected and affirmed his daughter’s black heritage, so he took matters into his own hands and wrote his own. This resonated well beyond the tiny audience (approx 100) of my fledgling page, and was shared 341 times. Compare that with the boohooMAN video, which received hundreds of thousands of views but was only shared 422 times.
How long is a Facebook video/piece of string
I often hear people say that videos need to be as short as possible on Facebook, around 30 seconds. This isn’t strictly true any more. Naturally, if you’re wanting to put out video content on a daily or weekly basis then you might want to keep it short for the sake of your own time and resources, but your Facebook videos don’t have to be short. If your content is good quality then there is an appetite to spend upwards of three minutes watching it. Facebook Watch has a heavy focus on longform TV-style content (content you can stick ads in the middle of) although the jury is out on whether people are ready to watch TV on Facebook.
Pay attention to the audience retention stats in Facebook Insights. These will tell you where in your videos people stop watching, and potentially pinpoint specific shots that are causing your audience to tune out. Chances are, most of your viewers will tune out in the first 10 seconds; don’t be disheartened, that’s the nature of auto-play!
Remember to add tags to your video and to put keywords in your title and description, so that your content comes up in search results. Ask questions in your title/description, preferably ones that allow for a wide range of responses.
Be prepared to shell out for ads/boosted posts
Ultimately, to get decent numbers on Facebook, you need to consider paying for the privilege. I would especially consider boosting video if you’ve paid a video producer to make it; John Lewis wouldn’t spend millions on a Christmas ad and then not put it on TV. I really like Hubspot’s approach to boosting Facebook posts; they only boost posts that are performing brilliantly on their own, so they can make their budget go as far as possible. They make the valid point in that blog post that ads and organic posts should always be thought of as two completely separate marketing strategies, even though they’re on the same platform.
Instagram is a strange beast, in that it started as something very simple (nothing but square stills) and is now three very distinct social media platforms: Stories, IGTV and the regular feed.
The 24-hour disappearing posts are set to be a big growing trend in the coming months and years, and it’s clear why. Vertical video is the most natural way to view content on a smartphone, so there’s no wonder it’s so popular. Stories works well as a standalone video production tool, without the need for other apps unless you want to fine-tune the edit.
You’d think this would go without saying, but think about how you can actually tell a story. You could show how a product is made, or take your audience on a tour of your workplace. Having one member of the team take over the story for the day is a great way of communicating your team’s personality. Whitworth Art Gallery recently let their work experience person take over; I loved seeing the gallery through fresh eyes, and how this young person was experiencing the art.
The most liberating thing about Instagram Stories is that they don’t have to be polished! Buffer ran an experiment to see how well professional-looking Stories ads would perform compared with DIY ones that anyone could make. They found that the results were as good, if not better, with the homemade-style content.
Brands are underusing IGTV
Buffer’s ‘State of Social 2019’ found that just 12.2% of marketers are currently using Instagram’s longform video platform. There’s a big opportunity here to create more polished vertical video content that reaches a younger audience, but beware that IGTV has yet to take off in the way that Instagram were hoping.
Probably my favourite platform for social media, although still not ideal for video, Twitter specialises in short content that is pithy and timely. Twitter itself offers a host of video best practice resources which are well worth reading.
Twitter users want to consume a lot of content in a short space of time. They’re not willing to dwell on one video for a long time like YouTube users do (and Facebook users to some extent). For that reason, it’s crucial that your videos are succinct, impactful and draw people in in the first few seconds. Personally, some of my most successful video tweets have been a single shot, unedited, that simply takes people somewhere they’ve not been before or shows them something they haven’t seen.
By the way, don’t just do video on Twitter, use a mix of different media. Sometimes the best way to start a conversation is with a simple text tweet.
The professional social network is really ramping up on the video front, with videos reportedly shared at least 20 times more than other content. Don’t miss out on this very effective marketing platform, particularly for B2B brands.
Find a personal angle
Tell your brand’s story
Provide context in the post copy
Best aspect ratio: square or landscape (portrait videos will be cropped in the feed)
The LinkedIn algorithm is unusual compared with other social networks, in that content gets reviewed by actual humans in order to decide whether it’s worth showing to more people. Right now they’re very keen to promote personal stories where people honestly open up about their work. So why not do that in the form of a vlog?
Don’t forget to provide context and hashtags in your caption. Try to minimise the amount of information you need to get across in the video itself.
LinkedIn recommends these four approaches to video content: teach us something, share a project, take us somewhere, or go behind the scenes. Focus on one of those things, and get started.
YouTube is obviously still a huge player, but be prepared to be working at it for a while before you see any traction. If you already have an audience on Facebook, start your social media video efforts there instead. Pinterest remains firmly focused on links and stills for the time being, although don’t be surprised if it’s the next big frontier of digital video.
Snapchat and newer platforms like TikTok are something you may want to experiment with, but I wouldn’t bother unless you’re specifically wanting to target a younger audience. And by younger, I mean “has only lived in one century”.
How to produce video content with a mobile phone
As far as social media video is concerned, your phone is the only production kit you need.
There is so much you can do with just a mobile device. If needs be you can complete the entire video content workflow – shooting, editing, publishing – on a phone. (Provided your thumb has enough stamina.) I’m going to go through the basics of mobile videography, then list some great apps that are available for editing video for social media.
Let’s look at the filming side first. This is just a very brief overview, but if you want to go deeper there are some excellent guides out there on shooting with a phone. I would particularly recommend Film Riot on YouTube. By the way, a common misconception is that you need the latest phone model with the best camera. It’s really more about using things like natural light to your advantage, putting thought into your framing, and possibly getting some accessories.
The basics of filming with a phone
Portrait or landscape?
Firstly, before you start filming, think about whether you need to be shooting portrait or landscape. That depends on which platform/s you want it to sit on. I’ll talk about the ideal aspect ratios for each platform later on. If you mainly want a square video, but feel you might also need a landscape version, film in landscape but be mindful of making sure everything will fit inside a square frame. Whatever you decide, STICK TO IT. There’s nothing more off-putting to your audience than a video that mixes different aspect ratios. You should be aiming to fill all the real estate available to you on whatever platform you’re on. Be aware that the video editing apps generally aren’t very flexible when it comes to aspect ratios, so check what’s possible before you start shooting your project.
No, I’m not saying you need to pay for a lighting kit, although I wouldn’t recommend filming in the dark on a mobile phone unless you have to. Usually, there is a perfectly good light source available if you know how to use it…it’s called the sun. If it’s too dark, move near a window or go outside. If there’s too much of a glare, try changing your position so that the sun is behind the camera operator.
Framing and eyeline
If you’re filming a human subject, a really good rule of thumb is that their eyes should be a third of the way down the frame. Think about where the camera is in relation to the subject: the camera should be roughly level with the eyes. It can be a little higher if you want the Insta model look, but having the camera lower than the eyes is never a good look. Where do you want the subject to look? In an interview setup, it looks good if the subject looks at the interviewer, to one side of the camera. If the subject should be looking at the camera, make sure they (or you) look at the lens, not at the screen.
Mix up your shots
This is particularly important for something like a highlights video of an event. You need to be getting close-ups, wide shots, shots of faces, any cool-looking objects, and anything else that catches your eye. Think about shooting from unusual angles so that you’re showing your audience an exciting point of view; e.g. is there a high point you can shoot down from; have you tried going low and capturing people’s feet; is there something you can shoot a bird’s-eye view of, like a plate of food? In an interview set-up, get “b-roll” shots that you can cut away to; these could include the subject from a different angle, the subject’s hands, or the subject in a different setting that gives context to what they’re saying.
Most phones have great slow-mo built in, so use it! Not only does it look sleek and professional, it also makes your shots look steadier. Use it sparingly though, mixed in with full-speed shots, and be aware that if you’re recording slow motion then you might not be recording sound.
Avoid using the zoom, as you will lose picture quality. If you can, just move closer to the subject. Some phones (like newer iPhones) have 2x optical zoom, but if in doubt don’t zoom.
When it comes to filming with a phone, the right accessories can make a world of difference without costing the earth. Some essentials:
These are essential if you’re doing interviews or vlogs, and they’re perfect for shooting time-lapse footage as well. Either get one designed for mobile phones, or buy a regular lightweight tripod and phone clamp. The Manfrotto tripods and clamp are good but there are plenty of others available too.
Yes, it’s the butt of many jokes and the favourite of tourists the world over. But if you want to move around while shooting selfie-style video (e.g. for vlogs, Instagram Stories) then you will look a lot better with a selfie stick than holding your phone directly in front of your face.
There are lots of good quality clip-on mics that can plug into a smartphone. Again, these are essential if people will be speaking in the content you’re making and you want it to sound good. Rode’s Smartlav is one of my favourites, despite unfortunately sounding like a high-tech Japanese toilet. It’s designed for phones but can also be used with a DSLR camera via an adaptor.
This is a generic term for devices that stabilise your phone (or any camera). They’re an easy way to get gorgeous smooth movement if you don’t mind paying a bit of money. I use the DJI Osmo Mobile, which you can pick up for £110.
This is what I use for filming, because it offers a lot more control than the native camera app. It’s expensive as apps go, but well worth it if you’re planning on doing a lot of video. It gives you full control of your focus and exposure, rather than letting your phone attempt to interpret what it’s seeing.
Best apps for editing social media video
There are so many options out there for putting your video together. Some do everything automatically, others give you complete control. Think about how you want to strike the balance between having control of the outcome and the amount of time you can afford to spend.
Really good all-rounder which seamlessly combines an iOS mobile app (sorry Android users) with a desktop website. No vertical mode yet but great at switching between landscape and square. Adds a watermark in the free version, but the premium plan is £8/month on its own AND it’s included in any Creative Cloud plan (e.g. Photoshop CC). It’s part of the Spark suite, which includes things like Spark Post for making really nice social graphics on the fly.
If you’re less bothered about telling a story with text, and just want to cut a quick highlights reel (e.g. of an event) this is a great option. You can drop in video or photo assets and create a video instantly, or you can spend time fine-tuning the duration of each shot. It comes with several free music tracks, which the app automatically cuts the video to. Landscape video only. Works on iOS and Android.
Only available for iOS, and unfortunately only does square video, but it does that very well and with a very simple interface. It’s got lots of cool features, my favourite being the ability to film yourself speaking and add text automatically through voice recognition.
This is a web-based service, specifically designed to quickly create professional-looking Instagram Stories using text and images. All you do is pick a theme, write a bit of text, and add an image. It plugs into free stock image sites like Unsplash so you can literally do the whole process in seconds. It’s made by Shakr, which also offers a paid service for video in general (not just Stories).
Available for free if you don’t mind the branded watermark, but their pro plans start at £6.99 which is brilliant value. You can also pay £1 to download a single video without the watermark. It works in an app and on the web, and all your content is shared across any platform you use it on. Works in landscape, portrait and square, depending on what format your assets are in – so again, make sure you decide on an aspect ratio and stick to it.
If you write blog posts then I would 100% recommend this. It can take a web page or chunk of text and turn it into a really nice-looking video automatically. You can tweak it to your heart’s content, but honestly I was amazed by what it does on its own. The free plan is OK if you don’t mind the branded Lumen5 end card, and pro plans start at $49/month.
A very popular option, with similar features to Magisto but with more options for things like customising text. There’s no free option apart from a 14-day trial, but the personal plan is £8/month and the pro plan is £22/month.
Three quick wins for social media video
I don’t blame you if you’ve read all of the above and feel a little bit overwhelmed, unsure of where to actually start. Don’t worry, because I’ve got some solid quick-win ideas for you. They can all be done with no prior experience, no special equipment, and virtually no planning. They might not all apply to what you do, but at least one of them will be perfect for kick-starting your new video strategy.
Idea 1: Time-lapse
These always look awesome, get a lot of love on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, and involve very little effort. You could do a time-lapse of a product being made, setting up an event, a car journey, or just behind the scenes in the office. Lots of phones have time-lapse functionality built in, although you may want the extra control that Filmic Pro or a dedicated time-lapse app will give you. Also, consider getting a tripod; it’s either that or prop your phone up in a precarious position and risk it getting knocked over halfway through the shot. (Speaking from experience.)
Idea 2: User-generated content
This is my number one recommendation if you already have a decent-sized customer base, particularly in the B2C sector. If you’ve got customers who love your product and identify with your brand, then the chances are they’re talking about it on social media, along with photo and video posts. All you need to do is repost! They are literally making your content for you, for free, and it’s more meaningful because it’s real recommendations from real people. That’s why UGC is a big part of the social strategy for big brands like Sharpie and Nike. It’s best to check you’ve got people’s permission before using their stuff, although most people are happy if you credit them. Consider actively pushing a specific hashtag that people should use if they want you to use their content.
Idea 3: Live video
I’ve not particularly touched on live video here, beyond the brilliant boohooMAN example, but it’s a hugely popular video format and definitely worth considering as part of your strategy. You could do a live Q&A, take your audience behind the scenes at an event, make a product live…there are so many possibilities, and the best part is that you don’t need to edit anything because you can’t! Live video works on Facebook, Instagram Stories, Twitter, YouTube and more. At the time of writing, LinkedIn are running an invite-only beta.
So, in summary…
It’s easier than you may have thought to publish good quality video content on a regular basis. Social media content doesn’t have to be perfect, but more polished videos should be used every so often alongside self-shot day-to-day content. Now go away, experiment with the various approaches I’ve explored here, see what works for your brand, and turn that into a viable sustainable plan as part of your overall marketing strategy. Create content that people will want to engage with, that encourages them not just to talk to you, but to talk to each other. Try and have some kind of call to action at the end of each video – not a hard sell necessarily, just something that nudges people towards your brand. Get in touch with me if you have any questions, otherwise…happy experimenting!