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Podcast Episode 43: A Video Equipment Guide for Marketers

Jeffrey Lambert
Feb 15, 2020 8:00:00 AM

Including video in your marketing plan can seem like a daunting task. But creating marketing videos doesn’t require thousands of dollars in equipment. In fact, a creative mind, an iPhone, and some basic equipment are all you need to get started. 

Here’s a complete guide on what to invest in when beginning your video marketing journey.


Episode Transcript


Rod Rodriguez:             Including video in your marketing plan can seem like a daunting task, but creating marketing videos doesn't require thousands of dollars in equipment. In fact, a creative mind, an iPhone and some basic equipment are all you need to get started. Here's a complete guide on what to invest in the beginning of your video marketing journey.

Rod Rodriguez:             Hello and welcome to Inbound Academy brought to you by Rizen. I'm your host today, Rogelio Rodriguez. So you've made a decision to begin including video in your marketing efforts. It's a smart decision based on what today's consumers both want and use to connect with brands. The stats are clear, by using video, your business will reap advantages unmatched by marketing efforts not utilizing this medium. To talk about making smart investments to start or grow your video efforts, we invited Jeff Lambert, a regular host of this show but also our content coordinator to discuss.

Jeff Lambert:                How you doing, Rod?

Rod Rodriguez:             Hey Jeff, welcome.

Jeff Lambert:                This is a little odd, huh? We switched roles.

Rod Rodriguez:             Yeah, yeah.

Jeff Lambert:                So I'm here to talk about video. I've been doing that a lot lately. We've certainly invested more and more in video as a company as time has gone on. So I want to share that, I want to be the evangelist for doing some video this year if you're not already.

Rod Rodriguez:             Fantastic, fantastic. So Jeff, give us some stats. How effective is video when it comes to marketing a product or service?

Jeff Lambert:                It's the medium that people just need to use. It's this the same as if you were a Gutenberg and you wanted to print some copies of the Bible, you used texts as your medium, and that's where consumers are today. Video is the dominant way to reach customers. Just to give you an example of that, marketers that use video, on average, they get 66% more qualified leads per year. That's according to a study by OptinMonster. So that's a good stat, 66% and not only leads, qualified leads that are meeting that. In addition to that, those leads turn into customers more than 64% of the time.

Rod Rodriguez:             Wow.

Jeff Lambert:                So conversion rate is very good when it comes to using video with reaching audiences. Then on top of that, Rod, we're talking about reaching a new market and millennials are well past purchasing age, right? I mean they are the late 20s, 30 year olds now you know, who are in their careers, they have families, they're spending their money. Millennials in particular, because we grew up with video, and I'm saying we because I know we're borderline millennials, but four out of five millennials consider video content when making a decision and researching the product. They want to look at video. So if you're a small business, if you're an entrepreneur, if you are selling a product or a service and you don't have any videos, that's what people want to see when they're researching what you have to offer.

Rod Rodriguez:             Amazing, amazing. Yeah, that's great. So I'm dedicated to making some video to market a product or service. So is it going to require hiring an external company or doing it in house? What's a smart approach?

Jeff Lambert:                I mean, if you own a pizza shop, if you just launched a health food product that you're selling, a cleaning service you started, whatever small business scenario that you're in, you really have two options when it comes to starting to use video marketing. You can hire a publishing house or a firm to do that, where you're bringing someone in to shoot a commercial or do a spot for you or make some social media videos, or you can choose to do it in house. If there's three of you on staff, you find a way to put out some videos on your own with people who are already employees.

Jeff Lambert:                In terms of the smart approach, I really go back to growth driven design. I think that's a great model just across the board. It's usually when we're referring to web design, but basically the idea of growth-driven design is you start small and you do things incrementally and then you build out as you find success and you find out what the customer wants. I think that's a smart way to go when it comes to video. Look at the research as you put things out, see what the customers are interacting with and then you invest more money in what you see is working and not in what you don't.

Jeff Lambert:                I think if you're a large corporation and you've got a marketing team and you already know what the customer wants, what they're looking for in terms of video, then yeah, by all means go for it. If you've got the budget, hire that external video publishing house and have them come in, drop $5,000 on a commercial, get a major celebrity to endorse your product. If you have the funds to do it and you have the research that backs it up, do it. But I think our listener is more in the small business category, in that smaller budget category. So for that I say, start small, grow over time, that's okay. You don't need to drop $1,000 on a commercial when you just launched your business, right? That's irresponsible financially, and honestly, a lot of these companies, these firms, and this is nothing against them, but they're dealing with tens or hundreds of clients and so you're just a number to them. They may not really understand what your company has to offer when you're just starting out, but you do.

Rod Rodriguez:             Sure.

Jeff Lambert:                You're the person that started it. You understand what you're trying to sell more than anybody. So I would say grow over time. Start small and then work your way up as you find success creating videos to market your product or your service.

Rod Rodriguez:             Great, great. I mean, great advice. So I'm dedicated to starting video in-house. Where do I start?

Jeff Lambert:                Okay. So yeah, we're speaking to the people who have decided, we're going to do it with our existing employees. You may not have experience creating videos, again, that's okay. Everything comes with practice and time. There are some great videos, you can look on YouTube and I'll see if I can give you some links to include in the show, but just very simple videos that law firms have put out or products and they're just basic things, but they inject humor, they know how to hit maybe an emotional tone with their audience and they're really effective. They've got tons of views and have brought in tons of leads.

Jeff Lambert:                Don't be scared of using video just because you don't have the degree from NYU, or the filmography degree from UCLA, that's okay. You'd be surprised what you can accomplish just with your smartphone, your iPhone or your Android phone. So, that's the angle I'm going with here. We're assuming that we're going to start on a shoestring budget. You're going to use the smartphone that you already have and we're going to use equipment that you could probably buy with the petty cash you already have in your store or with your product. There's four areas I want people to focus on when they're thinking about equipment, because your phone can take video and it can record sound and it's good for basics, but you can do little things to improve the quality of your video.

Jeff Lambert:                The four areas you really want to focus on, you want to focus on stabilization, making sure that you have steady shots. You want to focus on sound quality. No one likes a video with bad sound. You want to make sure lighting is paid attention to. Again, there's nothing worse than watching a video where you can't see the subject or something's not lit properly. Look at that Game of Thrones episode there. Remember the lighting was just more dark for the battle at Winterfell there?

Rod Rodriguez:             Yeah.

Jeff Lambert:                Everybody went nuts over it and the company came out with a reason why it was like that, but it was still an issue. They spent, oh God, I didn't even know how much money they probably spent shooting that and I think I took a month doing it, but all of that and poor lighting brought the whole thing down, this is my point. Then you want to look at software, what app are you going to use on your phone to record the footage, and so I have some recommendations on that too.

Rod Rodriguez:             Okay, great. Let's start with the number one, camera stabilization. Why is it important and what equipment do you recommend?

Jeff Lambert:                Yeah, so like I said, if you have shaky, unfocused footage, that's going to sink your video right out of the gate. So it's important to find a way to stabilize your phone. If you're standing in one place and you're holding the phone in your hand, your hand's going to start to shake, or you're following your subject as they're walking down the street and talking, you could run into something. Again, you're going to have this kind of uneven footage filming and there's a term for that actually, when you're just constantly moving your phone around and not keeping it focused and steady. It's called fire hosing.

Rod Rodriguez:             Fire hosing?

Jeff Lambert:                Yeah.

Rod Rodriguez:             Okay, that makes sense.

Jeff Lambert:                So that's not a good thing to do, and there's little steps you can take to just make your videos better in terms of stabilization. So I would invest immediately in a smartphone rig, which is basically like a harness for your phone. You pop it in and you can hold it with your hands and it keeps it steady, and then I would recommend investing in a tripod. I think everyone's familiar with the tripod, the three legged device you can set something on and then it's steady, it's not going to shake. So when you're looking for a smart phone rig, and there's tons on Amazon because filming with your smartphone has become very popular nowadays, you want to make sure that you get a smartphone rig that allows you to attach it to a tripod that's going to hold your phone really securely. A lot of these rigs come with little mounts so you can attach an external microphone or an external light. So you can add little attachments to your rig to just improve the quality of your video.

Rod Rodriguez:             Great. I mean that's great. And for our audience, we're going to have links to our recommendations of what to start with for both the iPhone rig or the smartphone rig and the tripod as well. We'll leave the links in the show notes so that you can take a look at those and potentially buy them.

Jeff Lambert:                Yeah, yeah. When it comes to the smart phone rig, if you're listening now and you have your phone out ULANZI is a brand that makes a really good smart phone rig. It's called the U-Rig Pro. The ULANZI U-Rig Pro, it's like 16 bucks. I think it was $15.98, super cheap. It's plastic, but it's very sturdy, fits pretty much any modern smartphone. Make sure you check the specs on Amazon or wherever you get it just to make sure, but pretty much any smartphone it fits and it has all the slots you need to add attachments. Then for a tripod, Amazon Basics, you know their brand where they just make like basic products, they make a really good tripod and I think it's $24, $25.

Rod Rodriguez:             Great, that's great.

Jeff Lambert:                So that's my recommendations for stabilization. Invest in smart phone rig and get a tripod.

Rod Rodriguez:             All right, thanks. So what should I do to make sure my video has quality sound?

Jeff Lambert:                Yeah, sound is just really important. If you can't hear what the subject's saying and you're trying to explain your product or service. If people can't understand what you're saying, they're going to just stop the video and they're going to move on. So in a pinch, your smartphone microphone can work like the onboard microphone, but the problem with an onboard microphone, it picks up everything. It's an omnidirectional mic. If the wind's blowing behind your subject it's going to pick it up, if you pass a little gas behind you while you're filming, you're going to hear that.

Rod Rodriguez:             Breathing.

Jeff Lambert:                Breathing, yeah. If you listen to our past couple episodes, Rod was behind the camera and...

Rod Rodriguez:             I don't know how it got picked up, but it got picked up, my reading was there.

Jeff Lambert:                Yeah, so those little things, they take down the quality of the audio overall. An onboard mic, I mean, if you have to, use it but there's better options, I would recommend getting a shotgun mic.

Rod Rodriguez:             Shotgun mic.

Jeff Lambert:                That is not a microphone shape like a firearm. It's basically a microphone that's designed so you point it at something and it only picks up the sound in front of you.

Rod Rodriguez:             In that direction, okay.

Jeff Lambert:                And it's usually shaped like a stick, so it's going to pick up what's in front of you as opposed to what's all around you. So that way if there's construction behind you, you put your subject the other way and you point the microphone away from it and it minimizes or eliminates the sound from other areas around you. I would recommend MOVO, it's a company that makes really good smartphone microphones. They have the VXR10 Universal Cardioid Condenser Video Microphone. It's a mouthful, but again, we'll put the link. This microphone is really good and microphones tend to be really expensive. So this one's only about 40 bucks, which may sound like a lot, but again, that's probably where you're going to spend the bulk of your money, to get basic equipment to start filming video. So yeah, it's about 40 bucks, it's a good quality microphone and it attaches to any smart phone rig. It comes with a windscreen or what's called a dead cat. Basically it's like a a floppy thing that you put over your microphone and it helps minimize air flow around the microphone.

Rod Rodriguez:             Got it.

Jeff Lambert:                You ever listen to a video, you can hear that from the wind, that helps eliminate that. So you get that for free with the microphone. It also uses Phantom power, which I love. So basically when you plug it into your smartphone, it draws power from the phone. You don't have to have a battery in the microphone or you don't have to run a cord to a wall outlet to power the microphone. It powers itself once you plug it into your phone. So just nice and easy. I mean, it will drain your battery a little faster on your phone, but at the same time, you're not dealing with another thing you have to charge.

Rod Rodriguez:             Got it. Makes sense. It makes it easy.

Jeff Lambert:                So that's what I would recommend for someone getting an external mic, get a shotgun mic.

Rod Rodriguez:             All right, what about quality lighting?

Jeff Lambert:                Okay. Yeah, lighting is super important. I would just make sure that when you're filming that you're focusing on making sure that the subject of the video is well lit, but they can see what you want them to see. If you're showing a picture of your product packaging, make sure you're paying attention to shining light on it so that they can see every aspect of that you want them to see. Don't have too much light where something gets washed out where they can't see what you're seeing. It's just important to make sure that your subject is well lit, whatever that is, if it's a product or a person. Sure. It's such a small thing, but it makes such a big difference.

Rod Rodriguez:             Right.

Jeff Lambert:                There's a product that you can buy, it's cheap and it works great. I'm going with ULANZI again, the same company that made the smart phone rig, they sell a little led video light and it's up to 800 lumens. So it's really good, and it's about the size, a little bit bigger, than a deck of cards. It's very small. It attaches to the top of the rig that you bought for your smart phone and you can shine a good amount of light right on your subject. And it has that little...

Rod Rodriguez:             Dimmer?

Jeff Lambert:                Yeah, dimmer. I couldn't think of the word. So you can add as much light or as little light as you need to kind of brighten up your subject. So I would recommend that, it's a great little tool. I believe it's $13 and I didn't even mention the coolest thing about them too is they snap together, so you can buy one light and if you want to buy more to shine more light on the subject, you can snap them together like little blocks. You can add, I think, up to four lights together. Snap them all together and they go on one attachment on your smartphone rig.

Rod Rodriguez:             Very cool.

Jeff Lambert:                Then you've got like, 2,400 lumens shining, right?

Rod Rodriguez:             Yeah, that's pretty bright, that's great.

Jeff Lambert:                So it's a great little thing and like I said, it's a little bigger than a deck of cards. So it comes with a little carry bag, you can throw it in your backpack and go. All of this stuff you can just throw it in your backpack and go film on location as you need.

Rod Rodriguez:             Yeah, your phone in your pocket. So it brings me to shooting the video. Is there an app that's better than the ones that come with the phones?

Jeff Lambert:                You know, I guess it depends on your comfort level. If you are used to filming and you want more control over the manual settings, like you want to adjust the white balance, you want to control exactly the decibels coming out with the microphone, anything like that, sure. There are pro apps you can use. I use an app called Filmic Pro, F-I-L-M-I-C. I think it's a Chinese company, but they make a really good app that gives you total control over the picture and the audio that you're taking from your phone, and I think it's a onetime purchase. I think it's $15, but to me it's worth it. I use it all the time because I like having that extra control.

Jeff Lambert:                But I mean, let's be honest, the Android flagship phones, anything from Samsung, anything Google's making, LG, they make some amazing smart phone cameras now and the apps that come with them are usually very good. You can control basic things like setting the brightness level on a certain area of the screen, controlling a little bit of the white balance, doing an exposure lock. You can do most of that in the stock app. Same thing with the iPhone camera. So if you just starting off, just don't waste your money. Use the stock app until you feel like you want more of those control features, then I recommend Filmic Pro. They're very good.

Rod Rodriguez:             Awesome. Thanks for that. Any final tips on shooting video?

Jeff Lambert:                Yeah, I would just advise businesses, I think we established that video should be a part of your marketing plan and you should be taking video. I mean if you're a pizza place, start recording the food you're putting out, show the atmosphere of your restaurant, give people a way to experience your product or service using video. It's really important. Just keep in mind the equipment doesn't make the video. You can call in an external firm that has a $15,000 camera and all of the latest equipment and they could turn out just a really poor video, and you can do a lot with basic equipment.

Jeff Lambert:                So just remember you can start small and improve over time and you can still have marketing success with those videos. So just take the journey, start off with these basic options I gave you and then when you've got a huge running business and revenues is just coming through in every inlet that you have, then you can invest in either an external company or a better...

Rod Rodriguez:             A $20,000 camera?

Jeff Lambert:                Yeah. [crosstalk 00:18:23] . Yeah. I think the base of the red camera, just like the actual CPU is like $15,000.

Rod Rodriguez:             Ooh.

Jeff Lambert:                Yeah. So just get there slowly, started off small and I think, Rod, the whole package I gave here, it's under a hundred bucks.

Rod Rodriguez:             Nice.

Jeff Lambert:                Everything you need to start filming under a hundred dollars, I think anybody can swing that.

Rod Rodriguez:             Yeah, I mean that sounds like a social media post we could use.

Jeff Lambert:                I think it is.

Rod Rodriguez:             Everything you need for under a hundred bucks.

Jeff Lambert:                Note to self. Yeah, we'll cover that. But yeah, people, start the journey, you should be doing video and just start small.

Rod Rodriguez:             Awesome. Thank you so much for joining us today, Jeff. Thank you everybody for joining us as well. You can expect a new episode every week. I always go with advice to help you grow your business. Remember, if you're looking for an experienced team who is also friendly and results driven, we're here to help. You can check us out by going to or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn just by searching the username Rizen Inbound, and remember, you can also help us reach new people by leaving us a review on your podcast app of choice. Thank you for your support and we'll see you on the next episode.


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