As a professional video producer, I often get asked the question “can I shoot the video myself and you can edit it?” I certainly don’t blame people for wanting to save money. Video is expensive, and their iPhone shoots really nice, clear footage.....But, what many people don’t understand is the expertise it takes to get the lighting, the composition, and the framing just right to get professional, quality shots. These professional shots are the very foundation of the video. No amount of masterful editing can make bad video look good. I always plead with amateurs to avoid shooting anything themselves.
Below however, I suggest alternatives to time consuming and expensive location shooting. There are several great options for producing beautiful videos that have clear audio without ever shooting anything. These types of videos portray companies in a positive light and can result in engagement and enticement. Here are a few suggestions for creating professional looking videos without spending a fortune. In fact, there is a free option.
Create a Video Without Using Video
One, if you really want to save money, the least expensive and perhaps free video is a do it yourself slideshow using professional photos. Those photos may be ones you already own. If not, you can buy them from a stock photo service. It’s as simple as creating a powerpoint presentation. Anyone with Keynote on their Mac or Powerpoint on their Windows program can create their own slide show video with text, music, sound effects, or narration.
If you want to add professional narration, turn to a service such as speedyspots.com or Voice123.com. You’ll great choices in all demographics of professional voice talent at a reasonable price. It’s about $35 for a 30 second track. Just pull your professional photos into Powerpoint, add text if you like, and then add music or narration. Here’s a video showing you how robust a Powerpoint video can be. It’s by Raddini Gusti Rahayu and it has more than 8.2 million views.
If you need specific instruction on how to add music or narration, here are links to a few tutorial videos. This one is from GCF LearnFree.org. It’s a step by step in powerpoint for adding in narration.
This one is for Keynote. It’s about adding several tracks of music in Keynote.
Chuck Delano created this video.
This one shows you how to add narration in Keynote. This also shows you how to export your presentation to create a video or .mov file. This is by Richard Gaudio.
Use a Production Company Just For the Edit
The next step up from the free or very cheap Powerpoint video is to hire a professional video production company and furnish the company with your photos and have them edit the video. You can save money by doing the organizational work such as creating a specific script. The more specific you are, the less time your production company will spend editing. Just use a document that allows you to put the visual elements you want in the left column and the audio elements, such as the script into the right column. The left might say “Photo1”. The right column would say “This beautiful home..” or “music full”. This method will save money, but don’t expect your video company to be able to deliver a lot of creativity.
Most companies charge for the editing by the hour. So, if you have everything organized, they will be able to edit quickly while giving you a much more custom and quality look as opposed to the powerpoint. You could also hand over 20-30 photos with a script and let the company be a little creative. It may cost a bit more than the “totally organized option”, but it should look better. Below are some examples of these photo videos that are nicely done.
Here’s an example of this type of slideshow video for a business. This may have been done by a company or in a program such as IMovie. This video was done in Final Cut Pro. It uses stock photo, photos from the client, and a voice over and was done by a professional video production company but at an affordable cost.
Use Stock Video
Want to add a little something “extra” to the slide show video but still want to avoid location shooting? Another relatively inexpensive alternative is to use stock video. You can add a nice “story” around stock video and create a quality video. Again, using royalty free music and professional voice over talent, you can get a custom video without breaking the bank.
The next step up would be to hire professional talent to deliver an on-camera script and use photos and or stock video to complete a really nice looking, but still affordable video. There are dozens of companies that offer Walk-On Web Actors or talent to deliver a script. Some are as low as $15 - $50. These companies can send you the “raw footage of the actor against a green screen and your local company can edit it. Below is an example of this type of video.
This type of video can be relatively inexpensive. Professional on-camera talent can present your message very well, and these types of videos are quick and easy to produce. These are actually less expensive than if the business owner wanted to be the talent and read the script in a studio.
The next step up, but still avoiding expensive location shooting is to inquire about coming to the video production studio and shooting interviews and any other possible b-roll at the studio. Studio shoots are easy. The lights are set up, and you just turn them on. The monitor and teleprompter is there. You’ve saved your video production company drive time and set up and tear down time. So, you’ve saved yourself money.
Again, when you think of saving money on video, consider all the alternatives to a location shoot. What’s your message? Can it be professionally delivered using nice photographs. Could your executives come to a studio if they need to be part of the video? Do you have time to write a script? Do you have time to create a Powerpoint video? Consider all these options. But, please, please don’t try to save your video production company time by shooting the video yourself.