There’s no doubt that there’s a big hype around video content on the Internet nowadays. Let me just ask you one question: what would you rather do – read a 1,000-word blog post or watch a 3-minute video? If you’re like most people you would watch the video.
And you don’t have to take my word for it. Video content will represent almost 80% of all Internet traffic by the end of 2019, according to this study. You might think that’s a bit exaggerated, but it already is up to 69% of all the traffic, so it doesn’t sound that unrealistic anymore, does it?
Mobile Internet speeds are through the roof, you can watch videos anywhere at any time and all social media platforms push video content more and more towards the user. So it makes perfect sense if you think about it a little bit.
My point – if you don’t jump on this train right now, you will get left behind. There’s no if, but when.
The problem is that video content takes so much more work, time, and money to produce than written content right?. Well, yes and no. If you know what you’re doing you can create amazing looking video content with very small production costs.
When people hear the term “video production” they think of big budget companies that would charge an arm and a leg to shoot a video for you. I’m not saying that’s not true, but you can have a great video produced with nothing more than your iPhone and video editing software.
But let’s start with the production aspects and we’ll go into video editing later on.
Plan your video
The very first stage of the video production process is the planning. The part where you write a script for your video. What is the video going to be about? What will you say in the video? What will you shot? What angles will you use? How long will it be, and so on and so forth.
Write all of it down on a paper and stick to the script. It will save you time when filming because you will be more coherent and you will not have to re-shoot the entire video over and over again.
It’s really important to make your scrip catchy and hook your viewers right from the beginning. Otherwise, they will skip your video after the first 3 seconds. So you need to be really bold and out there right from the very start.
You can start by using your mobile. Most high-end smartphones will shoot great videos, there’s no need to invest in a fancy and expensive camera right from the start. The Samsung Galaxy S7 & S8 have amazing video quality as well as the iPhone 7. I haven’t got my hands on the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X yet, but those should be even better.
But don’t worry that much about brands. As long as you can shot in 1080p with your phone you will be fine. Later on, if producing video content grows on you can invest in an entry level DSLR camera. The Nikon D3300 is a good start.
If you are a GoPro owner, this little camera can be used for other types of videos too, not just for action sports. The fisheye lenses will actually make the video look more dramatic. So go ahead and use it if you have one.
Poor lighting can break a video no matter how good your camera is. So definitely try to lit your videos very, very well otherwise they will look rubbish.
If you are filming indoors pick the most bright room and stand in front of a window so there’s plenty of natural light coming in. Additionally, it wouldn’t hurt to invest in some LED lights that can be attached to your camera (these will run you like $20-30$) or even some cheap studio lights. This model, for example, works extremely well and it will cost less than $200.
Many people think they need to have this fancy studio setup to be able to film their videos. The truth is that most individuals and small business owners will actually start filming videos in their living room or home office. So zero locations costs.
But if you are concerned about your kitchen cabinets being in the background of your videos, worry no more. You can add any backdrop you want later on when you edit the video. Simply use a green screen background when you shoot and you are fine.
These things cost as little as $50-$60. And if you don’t want to spend that either, there are cheaper DIY green screen background alternatives. Check out this post for more information on how to shoot a green screen video.
So let’s recap what’s our video production costs before we get into post-production:
- Plan / script = $0
- Camera = $0 – $400 (if you go with an entry-level DSLR)
- Lighting = $0 – $200 (if you go with studio lights)
- Location = $0 – $50 (for the green screen setup)
So, at most, you’re looking at a one-time investment of no more than $650 and you’ve got yourself a pretty decent home video studio to use for years to come. But then again, you can start off with much less than that.
Video editing (post-production)
If you think you’re done when you turn off the camera, I have bad news for you. Video editing will eat up just as much time (if not more) as filming does. But this is where you really make your video pop and look amazing.
B-roll stock footage
Depending on the type of video you are shooting, there will be moments when you cut away from the main shot and add in B-roll footage. You can find tons of free and paid stock footage on websites such as Video Hive or Adobe.
Let’s say for example that you’re in the traveling niche. You could easily fit some B-roll of some nice landscape as you are talking about top 10 mountain villages to visit in Europe let’s say.
Stock footage looks very professional and you can get it for very little money, or even for free. The paid ones will be in the $10-$20 range depending on the length, resolution, and type of footage.
Additionally, you can build your own library of stock footage by shooting as much B-roll as possible and add the best scenes in your videos, wherever they fit naturally.
Making your video look better is quite easy these days. And color grading is probably the quickest and effective technique of making videos look professional.
There are a ton of video editing platforms and software you can use. Personally, I use Adobe’s Premiere Pro which is around $300, but there are free options as well, such as Lightworks or VSDC.
The actual settings you want to use will depend on how the raw footage looks, but generally speaking adding more brightness, cranking up the saturation and increasing the contrast works really well for most videos. But definitely play around with the settings and see what you like best based on your style and the type of videos you are doing.
If you don’t have time to handle all that on your own, or you don’t feel creative you can outsource it to a video editing company overseas which can take care of the editing for you.
This will probably cost you $50-$80 if your requirements aren’t too crazy.
Animated lower thirds, titles, text overlays and all kind of animated elements, in general, will give your video a more professional look. You can easily add these in using Adobe’s After Effects for example or any of the free video editing tools already mentioned above.
So to recap, the video editing can be done with zero costs if you using a free editing software and you are willing to put in the time and effort, or you can invest around $300 in a better editing software if you are passionate about it.
Alternatively, you can have someone else do the edits for you so you can spend more time on producing the content. But this will result in a recurring cost of at least $50 per video.
So there you have it guys and gals – a rough cost structure for getting your feet wet with creating video content. It might be more time consuming than producing any other type of content, but you can do it in a cost-efficient manner and you will read the benefits over time for sure.