Gary Gumbleton runs Capital Content, a video content-led digital agency. What he doesn’t know about video content isn’t worth knowing. Here’s what he told us about DIY video content creation…

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ll know that video has firmly established itself as the digital content type of choice for brands the world over. The bottom line is if you’re not leveraging video in some way, shape or form in your digital marketing efforts, you’re missing a trick (and leaving money on the table).

The best part is that you can create some pretty damn good video content without spending a small fortune, or signing yourself up for an intense videography course. That’s because you’ve almost certainly already got the main piece of kit needed in your pocket/bag: a smartphone.

By the time you’ve finished reading Gary’s top tips for DIY video content creation, you’ll not only feel more confident but also hopefully inspired to get out there and create some video content yourself.

Always start with an objective or set of objectives

First and foremost, before you grab your smartphone and start live streaming to Facebook, take some time to consider what objectives you want to achieve through your video content.

Maybe you want to raise brand awareness, sell more of your products/services or highlight all the good work you’re doing in the local community. Whatever your objective, write it down and then focus on creating video content that will help you achieve it.

Your 3 video content creation options

In a nutshell, you’ve got three main video content creation options:

1. Hire a videographer

Whether you work with a freelancer videographer or recruit one internally as an employee, the nice thing about this option is you only have one person to deal with. That means your video content ideas shouldn’t get misinterpreted. It’s also a reasonably low-cost option.

However, a videographer will often be focussed much more on the actual production of video e.g. knowing how to use the equipment and creating some stunning content. What they won’t usually do is help you with the strategy side of things. That’s where a video content agency comes in.

2. Work with a video content creation agency

The second option available to you is to work with a video content creation agency. Obviously, this is going to be significantly more expensive than hiring a lone videographer, but you should benefit from the agency’s wider skillset when it comes to strategy, production and distribution.

3. Go down the DIY route

The cheapest of the three options, DIY video content creation is definitely a viable proposition. With a bit of practice and by following the tips in this podcast, you’ll be surprised at the videos you can create by going down the DIY route.

Just be sure to have your objectives figured out before you even pick up your smartphone.

Production basics

We’ve all seen those standard social media videos where someone is recording a video while driving their car, or talking into a shaky camera as they walk their dog down the road in the morning. While they do the job (sort of), they can be so much better with a little extra effort.

These production tips will make your DIY smartphone videos infinitely better and most of them are free:

  1. Always keep your phone horizontal
  2. Use the rear camera (it’s inevitably much better than the front one)
  3. Wipe the camera lens with a clean cloth before you start shooting
  4. Make sure you are well lit (use a spotlight if you need to)
  5. Consider using a selfie stick to achieve a wider angle
  6. Use a lapel microphone (videos with crap audio are… well… crap!)
  7. Use a tripod to keep your camera stable
  8. Invest in something like  the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 (it’s what is known as a smartphone ‘gimbal’ and it helps stabilise your footage so it’s not shaky or blurry)

Aesthetics basics

If you’re going to be filming a talking head video, like the kind you’d typically use for an ‘About Us’ segment, don’t look directly at the camera. People will receive the footage much better if you’re looking slightly off to one side.

Also, be conscious of what’s in the background and foreground of your video. Some relevant branding stuff is great. A dirty coffee cup is not so great.

If you’re doing an interview, have the camera positioned so you can’t see below the people’s waists. Nobody needs a crotch shot, after all. It can also be really effective (budget permitting) to use two cameras and switch between the people as they are talking (like you see on chat shows).

Rather than introducing yourself at the start of the video, use a title card overlay instead. It helps eliminate people getting your name wrong and means you can dive right into the main points from the get-go.

Finally, before you go off and shoot a timelapse video, think about why you’re doing it. While the technique can be good for highlighting a transformation over time, it won’t always achieve what you want it to in terms of marketing.

Useful applications/resources

While professional content agencies (like Gary’s) spend thousands of pounds a year on powerful software like Adobe Creative Cloud, you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve on your smartphone with a few apps.

Gary recommends:

Final thoughts

Gary believes that every business should treat itself like a media company. So like the BBC has a number of channels, each with different series and episodes, so too should your business. Define your channels (based on the audience you want to appeal to) and then come up with your series/episodes. The goal is to let people know what your videos are about before they click ‘play’.

Struggling for channel inspiration? Here are three examples to give you some food for thought: thought leadership, behind the scenes and community involvement.

Remember, video content is there to build trust. It’s a way of showing your audience that you know what you’re talking about (thought leadership), giving them an insight into your business (behind the scenes) and/or highlighting all the ways you’re giving back to the local community (community involvement).

Finally, as well as defining your objectives at the very start, you also need to structure and prioritise your content, otherwise you’ll be all over the place when it comes to producing videos. So, if your main aim for creating video content is to drive more sales, focus on doing exactly that in the first instance.

* Shameless Plug Alert *

Gary’s also written a book – Job, career, calling: My strategies, sales and stories – which is available to buy on Amazon. If Gary’s talk made you smile, please consider throwing a few quid at it. We’re sure he’d be very grateful.

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