5 things you need (and don’t need) to create video content on a tight budget

You probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you that most of the field reporting you see on the news from CNBC, BBC or Channel News Asia is taken on a smartphone. But it’s true. So lets bust a few assumptions about how you can start creating great video content without blowing your marketing budget.

You don’t need fancy tech to start creating video

You already have a pretty powerful camera in your pocket – your mobile phone. Combine that with three golden rules to upgrade your video from amateur to professional: stable picture, good lighting, and good audio. Invest in basic accessories such as tripod stands or ring lights, which are cheap and easily available online. Last year, we had to launch a new Mini Kit for our customers – with a smartphone and gimbal included – because we realised that they felt more comfortable working with this over larger cameras and tripods. We also love making full use of natural lighting, which flatters everybody. That’s why if you head out at 5pm on a sunny day, you’ll find amateur filmmakers trying to chase the sunset for that perfect glow.

You don’t need to hire a dedicated person

You can ask around the office if anyone is interested to lead this project, and you might find a few hidden talents within your team. The responsibility doesn’t have to belong to one person alone, rotate it among your team every month or project to give every team member a chance to flaunt their prowess. Bonus: Video skills makes a great addition to everyone’s resumé.

You don’t need to spend a fortune to travel to exotic locations to get that perfect shot

But you also don’t have to stay stuck in the office. Explore your neighbourhood or city, and notice how certain locations can evoke a feeling or mood. Play around with different elements, and film in multiple sites, to keep things interesting. This is also a chance for you to get creative with formats. Animation, stop motion with paper cut-outs, or even the trusty green screen and stock video combination. The possibilities are endless.

You do need to know where and how your target audience consume video content

This involves a fair amount of listening and learning about your audience, which you should be doing anyway. You have a perfect idea of doing a music video, but maybe your target audience are too time-pressed to watch 3 minutes of a music video, and instead would prefer a fast-paced 30-second clip. Nas Daily is a great example of this. He primarily posts on Facebook where people often have short-attention spans while browsing, and therefore understands that his videos need to be bite-sized to appeal to his audience (hence his famous tagline, “That’s one minute, see you tomorrow!”).

You do need to make your video stand out from the crowd, and ultimately have fun with it

Too many people get intimidated on camera but this doesn’t have to be the case. Filmmaking is about letting personality and fun come through to engage the audience. Blow the minds of your audiences by focusing on the story and message, instead of clever editing or gimmicks. When you’re doing or saying something fantastic, people care more about how your video is so different from any other video they’ve seen, and you can be sure it’ll attract viewers in scores. For example if you’re looking to launch a shoe brand, you can skip the typical wide-angle parkour shots, and instead share anecdotes about your brand story and some fun footage of the shoe in action, suddenly you have a low-cost video that everyone wants to watch.

Armed with these tips, anyone can create great videos and shouldn’t feel intimidated about embracing video to tell their story. By knowing the content your audiences like to see, and what your competitors aren’t doing, you’ll find the sweet spot to start your video journey. Be smart about the execution and let your creativity run wild.

The writer is Antoine Bouchacourt, vice president Asia, Shootsta.


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