As a marketer, can you afford to ignore this powerful medium?
As a marketer, I have long been an advocate of using video to supplement written content. Video marketing has found its niche. Yet many firms that have put it on the back burner has become discouraged by cost or its technical nature.
I decided to build my own home editing suite to expand my marketing abilities. Short, high-quality video content is another tool to use across multiple channels. Businesses are finding that video is a major asset for:
- delivering high marketing quality content via multiple channels
- recruiting new employees
- training existing staff
- delivering messages internally from management
- “how to” videos for consumers purchasing their products
Part I covered off on what you will need to build a quality editing suite. Part II of this guide looks at selecting the right editing software. Part III will close out with tips for selecting a quality video camera. In Part I, the options I have chosen for my build of the editing suite come to $3420, of my $5000 budget. There are options for any budget.
Selecting a Video Camera
Selecting a video camera is like shopping for home. There are thousands of choices available. Only you don’t have a realtor to sort through the listings and do the leg work for you. That is why I have decided to help provide some direction. There are many options to be considered. I have boiled them down to help guide you through the madness. Let’s start with a few basic steps.
What type of camera do you need?
- You could shoot your video on your smart phone, as they have advanced a great deal in video quality. However, if you are recording events of any length, you may not have storage or battery life to finish the job. They also have horrible onboard microphones, which will undermine your video content.
- Camcorders are the standard video camera for amateur users. They can be limited in features compared to more expensive cameras. They are also wonderful for those who are allergic to technical menus and camera settings. They contain features such as auto focus, zoom capabilities, cleaner shots in darker locations. They have on board mics that capture decent quality sound, and shoot in 1080p, with more expensive models shooting at 4K. This option can be purchased between $700 to $1000 or more.
- Advanced users might want to go with a DSLR camera. However, there are just as many cons as there are pros with this option. The biggest advantage of DSLR’s is that they have fantastic HD or 4K quality video. You can also use interchangeable lenses to get more out of your camera. One disadvantage is that you will need a separate audio recorder and microphone to capture decent audio. They require the use of a tripod, lest handheld footage will be very shaky. This option will cost you around a grand, but more advanced models could cost double that.
- Professional video cameras are for advanced users. Most have high-end sensors and use interchangeable lenses. They shoot HD and 4K footage. These cameras are not simple to set up either. You will need the proper lenses for the camera’s mount, a monitor or viewfinder, battery packs, as well as any other necessary support gear. These will cost a couple of thousand dollars for the camera, but with the support gear you could inevitably spend five times that.
Narrowing the Field
- Determine whether you want a camera that records onto tapes, discs or memory cards/hard-drive. Hard drives are great, but you can extend your shoot times with memory cards.
- Find a video camera with lots of pixels. The greater the number of pixels, the clearer your images will be. Also, the more realistic colors your camera will be able to capture.
- Pixel data is captured on a CCD chip behind the lens. This is like the way film captures light for a film camera. Most home camcorders have chips between 1/6-inch to 1/3-inch. The larger the CCD, the more light is taken in, resulting in brighter pictures with better colors. Camera’s with three chips handle colors better than one chip cameras.
- Good low light performance is essential. Most of the events you record will be inside. So, it is important to find a camera that performs well in low light conditions. Most of the better cameras have low light settings in their menu.
- Video stability is a primary objective in video capture. Shaky picture quality is a major complaint for viewers. Some cameras have auto features to assist with this, but most of it comes down to how steady your hand is. Be sure to find a camera that is comfortable in your hand, and that you can access controls easily.
- Connecting your camera to your editing suite will require the right type of output connections from the camera. Most computers are equipped with a USB 2.0, or USB 3.0 on newer models. Look for a compatible output to accommodate your computer input. These include Firewire (IEEE1394 interface), HDMI, or USB 2.0 (or USB 3.0 if your computer supports it).
- Today’s camcorders use LCD screens to view what you’re filming and to review what you’ve already shot. LCD screens use up the battery very quickly. They also can be difficult to view in strong daylight. A traditional viewfinder comes in handy in these situations.
- Most built-in microphones on camcorders pick up noise from handling the camera. Sound is greatly important to your video. Look for the ability to connect an external microphone to improve audio quality. Also, a headphone socket so you can monitor what you are recording.
- Check in with the court of public opinion before making a purchase. Online reviews are a great sources for learning what people like and dislike about the various models. Make a short list of contenders and then research their customer ratings. You will learn a lot.
- Stick with brands that you recognize. Panasonic, Sony, Canon are the major players. They have been in the video camera game since the beginning and have it down pat.
My Personal Favorite
Panasonic HC-WXF991K 4K Ultra HD Camcorder with Wi-Fi – Currently $898 via Amazon
According to Tim Boyle of Lifewire – “UHD/4K video still hasn’t quite reached maturity, but it’s only a matter of time. As the hardware infrastructure continues to proliferate and support both wired and wireless platforms, the video capture devices become a bit more affordable. For now, though, they’re still pretty expensive, and the Panasonic HC-WXF991K is no different. At just under $900, this is firmly a high-end camcorder. But the 4K Ultra HD recording, LEICA Decoma Lens 20x optical zoom range and in-camera effects and editing modes really seal the deal. There isn’t a whole lot in the realm of features—it’s got in-camera dolly, zoom and cropping effects, as well as WiFi connectivity and a hybrid optical image stabilization—but the 4K shooting is the real selling point here. That alone ensures its compatibility for the next several years.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
The Hank Moody School of Creative Writing – Relax. Video marketing is not going to put us copywriters out of business. If anything, we will be needed more than ever. Planning is more important than ever. You will learn how to tell your story in an interesting, concise manner. You will learn to cover off on the important and interesting notes in a quicker and more direct fashion.
Famous Last Words – “Write drunk. Edit Sober.” – Ernest Hemmingway
The Big Kumbaya in CyberSpace – The Big Kumbaya in CyberSpace – Humans are incredibly visual. They usually are much more comfortable learning visually. Delivering information through video can keep your audience’s attention longer. It also can make your message more easily understood, and significantly more memorable.
Thank you for taking time out to read this piece. To hear the rantings of other voices on the same topic, try these two out:
Camcorder Buying Guide by Consumer Reports
Finding the Right Camcorder by Meredith Krebs