Q: How do I make videos for my business when I've never shot anything before?
A: Look at you, stepping out of your comfort zone. It's a smart move: Studies show that online shoppers who view video are nearly twice as likely to make a purchase as nonviewers. On Facebook, videos are shared 12 times more than links and text-based posts combined.
But videos can be expensive to produce, in both equipment and time, especially for neophytes who don't know analog from aperture or packet from pixel.
For help, we asked Clark Winegar, founder of Mustache Power Productions, a video-production company in Pleasant Grove, Utah.
What camera do I need?
Actually, today's smartphones will shoot a pretty good video if you pay attention to lighting and framing. But don't overlook the importance of good audio. A great-looking video will be instantly undone by poor sound quality. We've seen amazing videos shot entirely on iPhones, but almost all of them captured the audio with something other than the phone's mic.
If you're hesitant to use your smartphone, most digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras will shoot HD video. You'll get better quality with a DSLR, and with their interchangeable lenses, you have more flexibility.
How do I edit the video?
Mac users should start with iMovie. It's user-friendly and just under $15 (or free for qualifying iOS 7-compatible devices). The Windows equivalent, Movie Maker, comes free and is also easy to use. Adobe Premiere Elements 12 is compatible with both the Mac and Windows platform, while WeVideo.com is a cloud-based video-editing tool that's simple to master.
For putting together an animated cartoon, PowToon.com offers tons of templates and clip art that you can combine into a professional-looking video. For a video slideshow, consider Animoto.com: Just upload your images, pick some music, and the service will create a slideshow with great transitions and effects.
Still seems complicated. Can I just hire someone?
It's true, there's a lot to learn about making video (think of all the people listed in the credits for the last movie you saw). When you make your own video, you have to do most of those tasks yourself, or find someone else to do it.
To find a professional at the best price, consider using sites where videographers compete for your job. We regularly look for jobs around the nation and hire subcontractors from Wooshii.com and Elance.com. If you want someone from your own neighborhood to shoot and edit your video, use Thumbtack.com or SmartShoot.com. Finally, if you're near a college with a film school, hire a student. They have access to great equipment and software and are hungry for experience.