There was a recent discussion thread I participated in on a marketing forum regarding the tools people use to create videos. There are quite a few products being released lately targeting video, and the original poster wanted to know how people were getting the job done. I thought I would share my contribution to the conversation.
I come from a film/video production background and find myself consistently drawn to a basic set of reliable and versatile production tools. I also tend to resist template driven tools because they naturally limit your creative options and tend to make your results look more generic. They do make it easier for people with little production experience and no arsenal of production tools to get good results fast, but that’s not worth the trade offs for me. I have pro level tools and the experience to use them.
Here is what I use on the production side of things:
- A good light kit to make every camera’s output look better (I created this report that shows how to make a low-cost lighting setup that delivers professional results.)
- Premiere for editing
- After Effects for motion graphics
- Camtasia for screen capture
- Photoshop for graphic creation and editing
- PowerPoint for Slideshows
- An AKG Perception 420 mic running through a small Yamaha mixer for voice overs
- Audio-Technica ATR3350IS wired lavalier mic
- VideoBlocks subscription for stock video and After Effects templates
There are lots of interesting video tools popping up all the time and tons of free and low-cost solutions for various aspects of the process. In fact, you can find free and low-cost versions of nearly everything on my list with the exception of the microphones. But, I get the best and fastest results when I use well-designed and reliable tools that I am experienced using.
Another benefit to using the tools I have chosen is that I don’t have to keep buying and learning new software and hardware. Other than keeping current with the latest versions, I haven’t changed the software I use in years. Each new technique and style that pops up can be created with the tools I already have.
You might have noticed I didn’t make any camera recommendations. There is such a huge range of options available that it is hard to make a general recommendation. If you have a recent iPhone or other smart phone, you probably have a good enough camera to create professional looking videos (the key to good results with cheap cameras is lighting!) I tend to use mid-range consumer camcorders for lots of my projects that are going to end up online. A $5000 camera won’t make much difference if you are mostly shooting talking head videos in your office.
With my tools, I can setup and shoot a very professional looking talking head video in about 15 minutes. Another 30 minutes at the computer and I can have everything edited with opening and closing graphics and a little audio and video ‘sweetening.’
Ultimately, you have to make the choices about what tools to use based on your experience, your goals, and your budget. If you want to be a hands-on video producer, then the tools I use might work for you. If you’ve got no budget, you can spend some time learning some of the free options until your budgets allow you to move up to better tools. And, if you are just looking to add a little video into your existing products and marketing, you might be best off using one of the more template driven solutions to video production. The results will look good, even if the style isn’t exactly cutting edge and unique.
Here are a few examples of Projects I’ve done:
Recently, I spent about 30-60 minutes using some creative commons images, Photoshop and After Effects to create this video intro to customize a PLR video product.
I used Photoshop, PowerPoint, Camtasia, and my voice over mic to create this video sales letter for that same PLR product.
And, one stock video from VideoBlocks and a few minutes in Premiere created this intro to customize a different PLR video product.
What video tools do you like to use when creating your projects? Leave a comment below and share your experiences…