My clients want to present themselves, their product, service or brand message to their target audience in the most effective way possible on video. I work virtually with a variety of clients from all around the world, including professional service firms, established business executives, rising stars, VIPs, to best-selling business authors – who want to deliver effective online video presentations; whether it is for sales presentations, product demonstrations, internal staff communications, video blogging, video interviews, or sharing their thought leadership online with video.
A few of my clients have come to me with existing video presentations of themselves filmed with their cell phones or webcams. Unfortunately, in many cases, the video footage looks unprofessional and poorly shot (bad lighting, incorrect framing, settings, poor audio etc). Without realizing it, they are undermining the perception of their brand with their viewers. (FYI: The below image is a demonstration taken from our book How to Present on Video).
Other clients come to me, troubled about where to start, and are looking for advice on video equipment.
In this article, I’ll make it relevant for as many people as possible and focus on how you can achieve great results using affordable equipment that is commonly available to everyone.
When it comes to creating your own business videos you don’t need to be a Spielberg, nor do you need to spend a fortune on the latest high-tech equipment to look great on video – but if you want to stand out from the crowd online you will need to purchase some basic pieces of equipment. First, let’s start with what to avoid.
2 Things to Avoid
- Do not use the webcam on your computer
- Do not use the video recorder on your cell phone
Even though smartphone cameras improve every year, these tools will limit you. Notice the difference in quality in the videos below (just watch the first 5 seconds of each video to get a feel for yourself). Both videos are shot on HD with similar lighting Daylight (5000K).
Filmed on an Android HD smartphone (personal vlog)
Filmed on a Canon Vixia HFM40 HD Camcorder (STEBIAN.com)
Even though the filming set-ups and video delivery styles differ, the difference in video quality is noticeable. I love filming on the fly with my Android smartphone and I use it extensively for filming my personal travel vlogs or behind-the-scenes content. My smartphone is a top of the line model, it simply is not good enough for filming my video presentations.
If your video content is designed to influence your prospects, or position your professional brand then I highly suggest investing in a basic HD video camera for your professional shoots.
The 3 Essential Pieces of Equipment
- HD video camera, with a remote control for filming yourself. HD is vital for image quality ($300 – $700). You get what you pay for when it comes to image quality. Buy the best one your budget allows for
- Tripod, preferably 72-Inch, with built in bubble level ($20 – $40) there are more expensive versions but I have found this Tripod model suitable
- A good quality microphone. In the past I used a lapel microphone, newscaster-style, with an integrated cable (20feet) that connected directly to my camera. Unfortunately I initially went for a cheap option ($25) and ended up with cheap sound. Like your HD camera you get what you pay for. I recommend investing in a higher-grade microphone that mounts on top of your video camera for better quality sound. ($140+). Note: Wireless mics are an option and some have reviewed quite well, however they are expensive starting from ($600+)
- Optional: Video background recommendations
If you are really serious, I also recommend you invest in a portable studio lighting kit ($100 – 300+). Here are some simple studio lighting techniques to help you present yourself in the most flattering light.
Which HD Camera to Buy?
To create compelling video presentations that stand out online you need to invest in a reputable brand video camera with a decent lens and sensor, the ability to plug in an external microphone, and a LCD panel that rotates around so you can view yourself in the frame while it is filming you. You also want a remote control small enough to hide in the palm of your hand, to control the camera while you are filming. This is a big plus if you are filming yourself and don’t have the luxury of a camera assistant.
I have experimented with lots of different video camera brands and to date, I have found the Canon brand of camcorders most convenient, simple, trustworthy and easy to use and there are some amazing bargains to be had on Amazon. You can pick up a great video camera for under $700. Here is the model I currently use now.
If you want more look great on video tips and resources check out our published articles section or if you would like to get some personalized feedback on your current video presentations – let me know about it here.
Thank you so much for stopping by!