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Videos on a Budget

The Riddle Report 03 25 2021

We’ve all experienced working on a tight budget. It usually isn’t fun. But I’ve come to the conclusion that you can lay a foundation for when the fun begins. And you can achieve goals even though on a budget.

In a sense we are always on a budget. Even when you have a lot of money you are budgeting where that money goes. But our human nature is such that we sometimes get swayed into spending more money than we should on different items.

In today’s blog, I am addressing using videos as a way to augment your business. There are a lot of tempting products out there that are yelling at you and telling you that you MUST have them. They sound attractive and the need seems to be great if you want to compete with the big boys.

Like most authors I have looked at the idea of marketing my books and/or services via videos. I’ve experimented and learned a lot, especially over the last year. I am now investing my time into creating videos that not only market my products but provide information that can help others be better authors and Indie businesspersons.

All in all, the video industry is growing and becoming a needful place to be if you want to see your business grow. What you see on the Internet are very successful people with fancy equipment and studios, but they didn’t start that way. We all, or at least most of us, start small and grow. And that usually means we start with a small or tight budget. Today’s blog is directed at you.

Go High Tech or Basic

One of the most interesting questions is whether to go high tech or Basic. By Basic I mean using the equipment you already own. Let’s take a look.

News Item #1 Overview.

  1. The Budget – For a new or struggling author budgeting is king! And even after you succeed you need to follow a budget. I mentioned that above. The fact is that lack of money is a huge factor controlling what you can and cannot do.
  2. Computer Camera – Not so long-ago computers with built-in cameras were not of very good quality. The picture was not all that sharp, picture stability was not good, and the resulting video was not something you wanted for your business. But times have changed! Nowadays, you can buy a middle of the road computer and it will come with a decent built-in camera. It is certainly not on the level of a camera that costs hundreds of dollars, but it is good enough for advertising clips, instructional videos, and the like.
  3. Cell Phone Cameras – You could almost copy and paste the comments I made above. Cell phone cameras have come a long way. I plan on buying a new phone in the near future and I am already excited about the possibilities I will have with the new camera (or cameras as some phones have multiple camera lenses). When reading someone’s evaluation of a cell phone camera and you see “It’s OK”, don’t let that turn you down. You don’t know the reviewers background or needs. I suspect they often are more demanding than most of us are or need to be.
  4. Award Winning Video – It is important to remember that you are not trying to win an award for your video. You are creating a video for a particular purpose, such as teaching or marketing.
  5. Studio – Many of the videos you watch show the person surrounded by expensive equipment and a large studio. But you don’t need expensive equipment nor a large studio. The studio can be the corner of your living room, a converted bedroom, or some other place in your house.
  6. Presentation – This is what is important and what I address below.

News Item #2 There are 3 basic parts to Presentation.

If budget is the King, then Presentation is the Queen. You can have the best equipment, and the best studio and still stink!

Presentation consists of 3 parts: Visual, You, and Message.

  1. Visual – This includes anything that the eye perceives. However, I am zooming in on office appearance while your appearance will be dealt with separately. As stated earlier, the studio can be anywhere, and it can vary in size. I’ve seen large studios and small studios and they all seem to work. I have found that a small studio can dramatically be changed by simply adding a display of books in the background, a banner on the wall, or anything that adds color and may represent your message.
  2. You – I think this is the second most important part of your video (message being #1).
    1. How does the viewer see you? A long time ago I realized I wasn’t Prince Charming. No matter how I dress I will never be a magnetic person, but I can dress for success and that isn’t as hard as you may imagine. The next time you watch a video that is teaching or selling, note the speaker’s manner of dress. They don’t dress like a slob nor do they dress like they are going to a White House event! Generally, they dress casually. In my case I dress casually, which in my case that means no coat and tie. There was a time I dressed in a tie, but eventually that went. From videos I’ve watched the casual approach is best. I also try to be consistent in style of clothing.
    1. Don’t feel speech must be letter perfect. Your viewer needs to hear and understand your speech, but you are not trying to win a speech award.
    1. Don’t need to be a star. The message is the star!
    1. Be Genuine.
    1. Speak clearly.
    1. Be enthusiastic, but not overbearing.
  3. Message – This is the most important part.
    1. Your message should be short. Usually around 10 minutes or less. Some of my teaching videos have gone over 10 minutes out of necessity, but I recommend you keep it shorter.
    1. Be Direct – Whether selling or teaching you want your message to be clear and less distracting as possible. I have tossed videos simply because of a coughing spasm, a momentary pause in my speech, or other seemingly mild interruptions just because they were distracting.
    1. Be honest – Don’t make claims you can’t back up. I have watched videos where the speaker practically promised the product would do wonders for the viewer. It is better to show or tell them what they need to know and let them connect the dots.
    1. Don’t Brag – This is related to being honest. When you brag about what you have done you can be irritating, but you are suggesting that if the viewer does what you what them to do, they will have the same success. You can’t really prove that. If they think they can do better, that is one thing, but bragging (especially showing bank accounts) could be a can of worms if they buy your product or service and it doesn’t perform as advertised.

News Item #3 Conclusion

I believe I have found the best way: start with what you have and build upon it!

Namely, start with the current equipment you have, yourself, and your message. Yes, you will make mistakes, but you can redo a video. That is one reason for keeping them short. You can also do really short clips and when you have them all done, use an editor to make one complete video.

As you move forward, your message will be refined and stronger, you will be more relaxed and composed, and the equipment will improve.

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld and his Parler page is authorriddle.