Entrepreneurs

Must-Have Tools For Effective Video Production

By Anna Anisin, founder and CEO at Formulated.by, overseeing client strategy and business development.

It’s no secret that the future of content is centered around video — consumers want quick, digestible content that’s high quality and easy to watch. However, creating high-quality video content requires you to invest in the right tools and technology. To someone who is just getting started, this can all feel very overwhelming. The good news is that you’re not alone.

At Formulatedby, we recently made the decision to focus on video content in the new year, based on data that we collected from our community. This was all completely new to us — from camera selection to purchasing green screens to finding the right video encoder — and we were completely starting from scratch. After a couple of weeks of heavy research, we identified all the essentials we would need to get started. Here’s what we came up with, and here’s what you can do to invest in creating your own video content.

Lighting And Backdrop

Let’s start with the basics. To produce a high-quality video, you’re going to need proper lighting and a clean background. You’ll need professional studio lighting with 2500 lumens or more. You should also look out for lighting that allows you to set your preferred color temperature. Multiple lighting sources are common to have — feel free to try out different products.

You’ll also want to make sure you have a solid backdrop. Either a green screen or a print out background would work great. Pro tip: If you’re using a green screen for nonlive video content, avoid using built-in green screen backgrounds from tools such as Zoom. The quality will look much better if you edit your background after recording the video. Here are a couple of items we recommend for lighting and backdrop.

• Key light.

• Selfie ring light with a tripod stand.

• Green screen.

Video Sources

We tried purchasing a cheaper camera; unfortunately, the quality wasn’t high enough, and we ended up needing to upgrade. If video is part of your strategy, we recommend investing in the Canon EOS 80D Digital SLR Kit with EF-S 18-55mm, but any similar camera will work just as well. Since you’ll need to purchase a few accessories to get up and running, it’s better to identify the right camera upfront so that you won’t need to go back and repurchase everything else.

We recommend purchasing additional accessories to accompany your video source:

• A replacement USB cable to connect the camera to your laptop or computer.

• A portable desktop mini tripod to allow you to shoot all the angles.

• A cam link to make your livestreaming video look like a high-quality production. Trust us: It’s worth the investment. You will also need to grab an HDMI cable to connect everything. 

• A camera AC adapter to keep your camera from falling asleep.

• A 256GB flash memory card to back up your content.

Audio Sources

You need a viable audio source that includes microphones, plus any adapters or tools that may amplify your audio quality. We used the Blue Yeti USB Mic, which has great quality and reviews, but any comparable USB mic will get the job done. In addition, we invested in the following accessories to ensure we capture crystal clear sound.

• A foam mic cover with a windscreen to protect the microphone from scratching. 

• A microphone pop filter to block unnecessary breathing noises. 

• A microphone arm to save space in your studio.

• A 3.5 mm aux cable to connect your microphone to the camera. 

Video Encoder

You’ll need computer software or a stand-alone hardware device that packages your video in real time and sends it to the internet. This is required to compress and convert the incoming audio-video signal into a digital, web-friendly format. OBS is a common open-source software for video recording and livestreaming, and it’s the one that we used to build our studio. But again, many comparable options exist, and I suggest you do your research before making any purchase.

Stable Internet Connection

This one may be obvious, but we can’t stress enough the importance of having a fast and stable internet connection. Whether you’re just hopping on a quick business call or producing hourlong recorded content, the last thing you want is to make a large investment in your production tools just to have your video freeze, buffer or drop off entirely.

Extras

These are not immediate requirements to producing high-quality video, but they become almost essential if you want to continue producing content in the long run. They also make your life a lot easier.

• A USB wall charger/surge protector to protect you from burning out your devices if the power goes out. It’s also a very handy way to keep everything in one place. 

• Self-adhesive cable organizer clips to keep the wires nice and neat.

• An additional screen to see what’s going on if you’re livestreaming.

• A teleprompter app if you always stay on script. Another option is to print your script out (I do that for more technical content) or memorize the script and then deliver it more impromptu. 

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed after seeing all the prework that goes into creating a high-quality video. The fact is that virtual environments are here to stay, so it’s worth making the investment in the hardware and software upfront so you can get ahead of your competitors. After just a few videos and livestreams, you’ll find everything becomes second nature.

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