If you're starting out in marketing, like a lot of entrepreneurs, you'll probably be working on a tight budget. This means you'll probably have to produce your own audio and video content.
Don't worry about this: you can do a lot of great work without having to spend a lot of money. You can produce perfectly good audio content recording with your iPhone or the built-in mic on your netbook. Add a copy of a free tool like audacity and a short learning curve, and you can produce perfectly good podcasts for free.
The price of webcams has come down so fast it's almost mind-boggling. You can get a perfectly good, full high-def webcam for about $1-200 these days. With plenty of free non-linear video editing tools (like Kdenlive or AviSynth or Cinelerra or LiVES) available, you can get into high-end video editing for an absolute song.
If you've got a reasonable budget, commercial tools like Sony Vegas or Adobe Premiere can be had for well under $1000. You can do pretty much anything you will need to do as an Internet marketer with these tools.
Priorities: Audio First, Then Video
Video, of course, is the new hotness. It's cool, and it's sexy. But it's not as important to have quality video as it is to have quality audio. Video makes great eye candy, but it's the spoken message that people really need to hear. If your video is a bit off, it's not the end of the world; if they can't understand what you're saying, forget about getting your message across.
What this means is that if you've got a limited budget and you have to make a choice, you should spend your money on quality audio equipment, *every single time*. Remember this. Write it down. Repeat it to yourself. Learn it, know it, live it!
You can get a solid, high quality wireless microphone set for few hundred dollars. You want a good lapel mic with a high quality receiver. Shop around, read reviews, pay attention to ratings. Did we mention that getting this high-quality audio equipment is important?
High Quality, Crisp Video
While having a good quality camera is important, the truth is that creating really high-quality videos is usually more about shots, angles and proper lighting than it is about having an expensive camera.
Does this mean you shouldn't buy a high quality camera? Absolutely not. But you don't have to spend thousands of dollars to do the job! These days you can get a high-def camera that will be perfectly good for all your marketing video needs for under $1,000 -- possibly even under $500.
That said, if you're going to be doing DVD or Blu-Ray content, yes, you should probably invest in a higher end camera. But mostly you will be generating web videos, either for marketing or information products, and you don't need the same resolution or quality for that.
Another thing to keep in mind is that sometimes it is worth the money to bring in a professional. This is particularly important if you are going to be doing a lot of interviews or instructional videos in a specific setting. Hire a professional to do the lighting setup, but take the time to learn what they are doing.
You can shell out $50-70 per hour for a professional to do this work, and then invest in your own lighting set. If you've been paying attention, you can then do your own setup with your own lighting set any time you need to. This is more than worth the initial $3-500 investment; the knowledge will pay dividends for years.
Bells and Whistles -- What To Do Yourself, and What Not
You can learn the basics of video editing with a good non-linear video editing (NLVE) package in just a few evenings. When you're starting out and have little or no budget, it will be worth it to do your own editing. But it's more important to look at this as a learning experience, getting a feel for the concepts of editing and presentation.
You should try to outsource as much of this work as you can as you go forward. You need to be the creative vision behind your videos; you should not be spending all of your time and energy doing the grunt work of production. In a perfect world, the only time you should be putting into your videos personally is the time scripting and actually being recorded.
Outsource the 3D logo, the cool music, and the snazzy introduction videos to someone on eLance or even Fiver. If you can't spend a lot of money, try to find a video/film student who's looking to get started or make some money instead of a high-end, seasoned professional. As long as you find someone whose taste matches your own, you should be fine.
You should be willing to invest some money in getting set up with good equipment, but the real place you should be looking to spend your budget is getting information and knowledge from proven professionals in the field. This sort of input is almost priceless, especially when you're getting started.
Put your effort into finding good resources, people who know what they're doing and whose tastes match your own. If they have a proven track record, be willing to accept their (constructive) criticism of your own plans and ideas. Sometimes other people's taste is superior to your own; don't be too proud to change your mind if someone with experience can suggest something better.
Above all, work on getting yourself into a more managerial, mastermind role when it comes to your multimedia production. If you're doing things right, your time will be too valuable to spend on all the details of creating the videos. You shouldn't be a one-man band!
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