You don't need fancy cameras & microphones

5 tips to make video content your members will vibe with

Being in the marketing department means you know how to do video content, right? I mean, those kids on TikTok do it, so how hard can it be?

Well, it’s true that it’s easier than ever to make content. But having access doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy. Those TikTok content creators? They make these little videos every day, all the time. Like any skill, it’s going to take a bit of planning and a lot of practice.

Starting is still easier than you think

We recently went through this process when we made videos for our Student Loan Sense project with Manchester Municipal FCU. Believe it or not, we did the whole thing with two smartphones, a makeshift tripod, one directional light and iMovie. Heck, I did a good amount of the editing on the iMovie app, too.

The point here is, you most likely already have everything you need to make decent video content. You don’t need fancy cameras and microphones, especially for something like social media. Yes, it’s going to be slow at first. You might have a rocky start, but after making just a handful of videos, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you streamline your process.

To help with that, here are some tips we put together to help you smooth out your own video content creation process:

Ask questions before you do anything else

A lot of people seem to think that writing starts when you put pen to paper, or more likely fingers to keyboard. Either way, this romanticized version of spur-of-the-moment inspiration probably means you’re leaving a lot of decent ideas on the table. What’s more, you might be missing an important question:

What kinds of videos do people actually want to watch?

When you know what kinds of questions and concerns your target audience has, it gets a lot easier to start imagining the kinds of video content they’re interested in. Asking questions at the start means you get to focus on explaining things and solving problems, instead of wondering what to do next..

For our videos, I can’t even begin to explain how helpful it was to have such a strong direction and goal. We knew where we wanted to go from the start, and it helped us avoid a lot of hemming and hawing.

An extra set of hands never hurts

Throughout the filming process there was one thing that made every single step just that much easier: Having an extra person around.

This seems like a minor thing, but I can tell you that in practice, it’s not. Having a second camera running, someone to stop and start the microphone, someone to help the actor remember their lines, or even just someone to suggest something new, it’s all invaluable. 

Looking at social media content, it might seem like a lot of content creators do everything themselves. But even if they’re one of the few who can, you shouldn’t feel like you have to.

Make sure someone is keeping you on track

As with any other creative process, new, exciting ideas are bound to pop up when you’re actively working on it. But that can be exactly the problem, because you’re right in the middle of it. If you start adding new lines or whole new scenes to your video, things can get out of hand really quickly.

We found it really helpful to actively keep each other in check. When someone has a new idea, even if it’s a good one, it’s worth writing it down and saying, “Hey, that’s great. Let’s give it a try after we’ve finished the things we already planned.”

Some people are really good at keeping both the trees and the forest in focus, but for the rest of us it’s better to have someone around to keep us grounded. 

It’s all about the consistency

Like I said before, we didn’t use a bunch of fancy equipment to make our videos. Other than a few voiceovers, most of the audio you hear comes from the microphone on a 2nd edition iPhone SE (in other words, not fancy at all). So how do you get good video content and good audio without professional equipment? The key is consistency.

It took some practice, but we found it was very helpful to do as many things as we could in the same way before moving on. When you see a certain angle used over and over again in our videos, chances are that we took all of those shots one after another. For example, when you see characters like the Student or the Federal Govt agent, we tried to shoot all of the scenes for each character consecutively.

This helps with a lot of things. The lighting, the camera position, the audio and even the costuming all stays pretty consistent. But most of all, this saves you a lot of headaches when you’re editing all that footage.  

Adapt your vision to the reality

It’s easy to get caught up in your vision; That is, how you pictured the set, the actor(s), even the way their voices might sound. It’s good to have this idealized version, to an extent, but you can’t let it get in the way of the actual video.

You have to keep in mind that your perfectly-shot, Oscar-winning dream video is only an aspiration. In real life, you’re going to run into life’s little imperfections, and you will have to adapt. The lighting won’t be quite right, your actor is going to sneeze on the last line, and when you finally get that perfect take, the microphone will have malfunctioned.

Hey, it’s okay.

It’s actually a good thing, because people prefer authentic content, and they’re less interested in over-produced corporate messaging. Believe it or not, there’s actually such a thing as “too slick.”

When you’re finished, your video might not look anything like you imagined it would. But it will be better, because it’s real.

Sam Dicken

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