With the advent of the smartphone, most of us carry a fairly decent video camera in our pockets so it is no surprise that small businesses opt to shoot video themselves. The aim of this article isn't to dismiss self-shooting but to offer advice on when is best to shoot it yourself and when it’s best to call in help.
So when is a good time to shoot it yourself? Self-shot video will always look amateurish but that is not necessarily a bad thing. If you plan on releasing short, informal, regular video updates. Things like video diaries and in some cases podcast style “vlog” videos. That amateurish self shot style can actually suit this type of video. Shooting it yourself can be an easy and affordable option, you don't need to book crews nor do you need to hire expensive equipment.
What I would recommend for any self shooters is to take the time to research, perhaps even get advice from a professional as poor lighting and sound can turn off your audience. By this I don’t mean spend a fortune on lighting and sound equipment but there are tips and tricks you can use to get the most out of the equipment you have. Perhaps in a future article I can go through these.
Now on the other hand, shooting it yourself can seem like an easy and affordable way to get your brand, product and message out. This is where I would say shooting it yourself can be to your detriment. Applications such as brand awareness, product demo’s and promotional videos need more than just hitting record.
These types of videos require research and development to craft a visual message that engages, educates and informs your audience. Attention spans are small so every frame counts. Throughout my career I have seen countless small businesses (and even some big ones!) fall into the trap of shooting their own brand, promo and product videos. Sadly it makes their brand look cheap and their message diluted. When you hire creatives you are not just paying for someone to come and push record on a fancy camera. You are paying for a well researched, refined video that delivers your message in a clear and concise manner.
To summarise, shooting your own video is not a bad thing. It can save you time and money if used in the right way but always do research and get advice to maximise the equipment you have. If self shot video is used in the wrong way you can really damage your brand. With any form of external communication you need to ensure the message is clear and precise, any dilution of this will lead to another pointless talking head video gathering dust on youtube.
I hope you enjoyed this fairly short article, as always if there are any questions or topics you would like covered in future articles get in touch.
Liam Bauckham, Clear As Day Productions.