Every day, video is evolving. What once seemed like rocket science in the early 1950’s, is now so abundant on our phones and tablets that we casually swipe past it with the touch of a finger. Nowadays, we’re all amateur videographers with a simple horizontal flip of a smartphone and the press of a button. The thing is, that’s all these videos are – amateur. Just because you have a camera that records HD video doesn’t mean you’re a professional videographer. There’s a lot of skill and strategy that goes well beyond the equipment, so if quality is what you want in your company videos, you shouldn’t waste your time on internal video production.
Professional video needs to come from the lens of an expert
Just because I own a KitchenAid mixer, doesn’t mean I’m Martha Stewart. There are many more skills (that I’m certainly lacking) required to make the perfect shortcake.
Lousy metaphors aside, what I’m trying to say is just because you can operate a camera, doesn’t mean you are qualified to shoot professional videos for your business. Users are more selective (and educated) than ever, and they can spot a video that looks like a cheap commercial in a heartbeat.
Why do you think the classic comedy Wayne’s World is so funny? Besides hilarious casting, it’s because two grown men are shooting a cheap cable access show in their basement. It works because that was the intention behind the humor.
If you’re trying to tell stories about your business, I’m sure you don’t want to become the laughing stock of your industry. Unless you’re in the film industry producing comedic gold like Wayne’s World or are a Fortune 500 company with the budget to take a gamble on something obscure, I suggest handing the reins to video experts while you focus on what your business does best.
Cringe-worthy content will do more damage than good. Is that a risk you’re willing to take with your video?
That being said, I’m talking about the videos that represent your brand. If it’s a simple, quick social post checking-in from an event, cell phone footage can be timely and effective.
It’s all about the expectations, context, and purpose of the video.
You need the right equipment
Though cellphone footage has come a long way, you’re still missing the essential equipment for quality video. Sure they shoot HD video, but with a fixed lens, built-in microphone, and rely on ambient light.
Professional videographers often argue that audio quality is equally (if not more) important than the visuals. If you don’t have your subjects properly mic’ed up and are relying on your camera’s built-in microphone, be prepared for the wind and ambient noises to take center stage. As a former TV reporter and videographer, I can tell you there’s almost no way to correct that in post-production.
You have more “wiggle room” to fix a shaky video shot with some of the editing software out there today (though you should also be using a tripod!). Even so, post-production shouldn’t be a crutch, and you also need to know the ins and outs of a professional editing software to do it well.
Another necessity for quality video is lighting equipment. For some reason when people are on a budget for a video, they always axe this. Big mistake! Even if you’re shooting outside, you can never bank solely on natural light. Plus, relying on artificial overhead lighting indoors won’t highlight your focal point and can leave subjects looking shadowed or discolored, even if you white balance the shot a dozen times.
You’ll get more bang for your buck
Not only does the proper video equipment come with a hefty price tag, depending on the size of your company, it might not be cost effective to hire a full-time in-house videographer – because now we’re talking full-time salary, benefits, and finding someone that’s the right fit.
You’d want someone with practical video experience, too, because the art of editing takes a lot of practice. With years of personal experience in editing video, I can tell you it takes hundreds of projects to fine tune your craft. Some of my most proud work created early on in my career, I would never put my name on today. I’m confident all video artists would say the same.
Whether you’ve given your video marketing strategy some serious thought or not, time is of the essence. Again, video is everywhere and it’s getting better by the minute. That means your competition is (or will be) using it too. It’s important your videos leave a good impression of your brand. So, unless you are a seasoned video storyteller, hiring a professional video team is likely your best option.