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How To Make Business Videos For Less Than $200

Video Wall

Business videos are typically expensive and time consuming to produce. However for small businesses this just isn’t the case. In this post I’ll show you step-by-step how you can easily and quickly create videos with less than $200 that take only minutes to complete.

Listed below you’ll find an equipment list for both Mac and PC, however the “how to” part of this post will show how to do it on a Mac.

Alrighty then let’s dig in!

All The Equipment You Need

The equipment I’m about to list will help you create a few types of videos:

  1. Interviews
  2. Talking head videos (you talking into the camera)
  3. Online ads (think commercials)

If you aren’t planning on doing interviews you’ll need even fewer items. In this post we’ll be looking specifically at creating interview videos, however the “editing” steps can apply to any video that you have.

Here’s the equipment list for a Mac:

  1. Skype – free
  2. iSight – built in, so free!
  3. Skype Call Recorder – for recording Skype calls: $19.95
  4. ScreenFlow – for editing: $99
  5. YouTube Account – free

Total cost: $118.95

A quick note here – you could use iMovie on the Mac, however I’ve found the export options, ease of use, and support provided by the makers of ScreenFlow to be top-notch.

If you’re on a PC it’s going to be a bit more expensive:

  1. Skype – free
  2. Webcam – typically between $30-$50 on Amazon.com
  3. Pamela Call Recorder – for recording Skype calls: $25.91
  4. Camtasia – for editing: $299
  5. YouTube Account – free

Total cost: $374.91

Both ScreenFlow and Camtasia come with 30-day free trials so give your choice a trial run before making a final purchase.

Once you have your equipment it’s time to record an interview. Let’s see how to do that.

Recording Interviews With The Skype Call Recorder

When I was doing Life Of The Freelancer I recorded a few hundred videos. The settings I ultimately landed on for the Call Recorder plugin are:

Call Recorder Settings

Call Recorder Settings - click for a full view

The result is that you’re recording the audio at the best quality possible and the video at fairly high quality. Also these settings allow you to create an HD video (1280×720) in ScreenFlow, and give you the largest view of you and the person you’re interviewing.

Note: if you have a fast internet connection on both sides of the call as well as a fast computer you can crank the “video frame rate” setting up to “Maximum.”

With the call recorder set up recording the interview is pretty easy.

When you launch Skype you’ll see the Call Recorder Box floating on your screen. Once a call is in progress you can click the middle button to begin recording.

Call Recorder Box

Call Recorder Box

Once the recording begins the “recording indicator” on the right side of the call recorder box will start blinking, and you’ll see lights flashing on the input and output areas on the bottom half of the call recorder box.

Once you’re finished recording it’s time to edit.

Editing Your Interview Using ScreenFlow

I’ve used a number of movie editing applications including ScreenFlow, Camtasia, iMovie, and higher end stuff including Final Cut Pro. When it comes to creating these interview videos however ScreenFlow makes it super simple and the editing step takes literally a few minutes.

On my videos you’ll see that I have what’s called a “splash screen” at the beginning and end of the video. I use Adobe Photoshop to create those, however you can add text and other elements directly in ScreenFlow – no additional software or money required.

To edit your video in ScreenFlow do the following:

  1. Open ScreenFlow (sorry to insult your intelligence there but I had to add it as a step)
  2. Create a New Empty Document
  3. Add your media to the project: video, beginning and end graphics, music
  4. Resize the canvas area to 1280×720 – this is an HD size and works well with the recording settings above
  5. Align everything on the project timeline using drag-and-drop
  6. If you have beginning and end graphics add some transitions – I like fade ins and outs
  7. Adjust the brightness of the video
  8. Adjust the audio

And that’s it! Once you have this system down it takes about 10 minutes or so to put together a video. If you’re interested in seeing detailed instructions on editing with ScreenFlow check out their tutorial videos.

Get That Video On YouTube

Once your video is edited you need to get it in front of your community. YouTube is the place for online video, and no matter where in the world I am I can always get a YouTube video streamed to my computer. Other services don’t work as well.

To get the video ready for export use the following settings:

ScreenFlow Video Export Settings

ScreenFlow Video Export Settings

The result of these settings is a .mov file that is ready for fast internet streaming and has high-quality audio. Once that’s configured you click the export button and wait.

Depending on how long your video and how fast your computer is it can take between 20-50 minutes to render the video. As an example, on my Mac Book Pro a 15-minute video takes about 20 minutes to render.

Some tips on rendering:

  1. Turn off your screensaver. Screensavers use the processor on your computer and that’s needed for rendering your video. Turn it off for the time being.
  2. If you’re using a laptop I’ve noticed something odd with ScreenFlow – if I have an external USB drive plugged it it gets to the very end of the rending and causes an error. I wasted more than a few hours finding that out.

Once your video is rendered log in to your YouTube account and upload that puppy! Once YouTube has it you can embed it in a blog post, a page on your website, and share it on your social networks.

And That’s All Folks

Creating videos for your business doesn’t have to be expensive, time consuming, or rocket science. Using a few pieces of software and the power of a fantastic conversation you can provide a metric ton of value to your business’ community.

Get started with a free trial of ScreenFlow or Camtasia. Don’t worry about being perfect either. Be personal and be yourself.

Are You Creating Videos?

If you’re creating videos for your business let us know in the comments. What software and equipment are you using? Any tips?

Comments

  1. This is good stuff, Robert.

    I just uploaded my first screencast to YouTube yesterday, so I’m diving into video more and more.

    I’m using MP3 Skype Call Recorder (Google it to find it) for recording Skype calls. It’s free and works great. Oh wait, it only records audio. It’s great for just audio though :)

  2. Thanks so much Robert, videos are a valuable tool for marketing. This post spells it all out and makes it simple for anyone to take the leap.

    What do you think is the best background to use? Should it be light or dark, plain or a design? I’m always wondering what is best? Thank you.

    • It depends on the type of video you’re creating. I’ve see lighter backgrounds work better to brighten up a video, but if it’s you an office or other space that ties into the message in the video can work really well.

  3. It’s time to get busy with videos!

    Thanks for sharing these resources Robert : )

  4. Might try Screencast-o-Matic, free and the pro version is $9 a year. Records screencast and I have used with pictures of my cooling projects to explain details etc. Has done decent for me, and is very easy which is a big LARGE plus for me. Good post Robert.

    • Are there any limitations in terms of time or being able to add text and things to the videos?

      • I’m not totally sure but I can usually edit or change videos audio etc. for as long as I like. One thing that bugs me, if I add music my narration goes away.

        One other software I’m trying in the near future is ProShow Gold..sort of souped up Microsoft Photostory.

        • Hi Joe and Robert. I use Screencast-o-matic and to answer Robert’s questions – yes. You can add text, images, overlays and more. It’s one of the best deals around – even though the price has gone up to $12 a year – it’s totally worth every penny. You can even export the audio, do some edits and import it back into your video. Joe – you can use that feature to add music in the background of your narration with an audio editor like Audacity which is free. Let me know if you need help with doing that, I can share some tips.

  5. Now divide those totals by the number of business videos you produce and the costs keep dropping like a rock…as the quality of your videos hopefully improves with experience. And of course, iPhone video is pretty decent for impromptu stuff, too. Good primer, Robert. Well done.

    • Great point Randy on the costs going down. I know Patrick Allmond is doing a lot of iPhone video and it’s working for him. I still have the 3GS though so no iPhone video love for me :(

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