Having an in-house team of skilled videographers, editors, and sound engineers is ideal, but not always feasible.
The good news is that it doesn’t always take a village to produce great-quality marketing videos. Sometimes, all it takes is one person with foundational skills and resources who knows how to multi-task and adapt to last-minute complications.
While it’s never easy to do, it’s more possible now than ever before for one person to plan, produce, and edit corporate videos on their own. And that’s something that brands and small businesses are realizing.
With today’s technology, there are minimal barriers to entry for video production. This means that brands can work with smaller teams and individual creators without sacrificing video quality or overextending their marketing budget.
It’s even possible for one person to accomplish what once required a full production team if need be.
However, just because it can be done doesn’t mean it’s easy.
In this guide, I’ll share six best practices for producing polished marketing videos on your own. Given some time and continual learning, you’ll become a one-person production powerhouse.
1. Start with a doable video concept
Every project requires detailed planning to ensure success. Scripts, storyboards, pre-production checklists, and shot lists transform your ideas into something tangible.
Without these pre-production documents, the production loses structure. This means that you could waste time that you don’t have figuring out last-minute what shots you need, where to stage the lighting, and how the video will come together.
The first step that you should always take as a one-person production team is to ask yourself if a video concept is actually doable.
Is the entire video hinging on a piece of expensive gear you don’t have (i.e., a dolly track, drone, etc.)? Does your concept require you to film in three locations, but you only have the time and budget to film in one location?
Before you start filming — or even writing the script, planning the shot list, etc. — you have to really consider whether you have the budget, expertise, and time to turn the video concept into a reality.
If you do, by all means, go for it. But if you don’t, you’ll just need to workshop a few other ideas that are more feasible.
2. Cultivate the right message and tone
A successful marketing video is one with a defined message and tone. To get this right, you’ll probably need to write and rewrite your script and then run it by the brand you’re working with.
Storyboards are an asset at this stage in pre-production, especially since they help you and your client visualize how the video will come together long before you pick up a camera.
(Keep in mind that you don’t have to be a modern-day Picasso to create a good storyboard. You just need to make sure that the images work together to reinforce the overall message.)
By showing your script and storyboard to the brand, you’re able to eliminate any confusion or mixed messages sooner than later. This will help to make sure that everyone is in agreement with your production and the brand messaging is spot on.
The last thing you want is to produce a marketing video that the brand doesn’t like.
3. Make better use of the gear you already have
You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to produce quality results.
Oftentimes your phone with the right additional equipment is enough to get good footage — especially if you’re producing marketing videos for social media.
But we won’t beat around the bush: microphones are essential, and so is good lighting.
You could film a marketing video on a Sony A7iii or another high-quality camera, but the overall effect will fall flat if the audio and lighting quality is poor.
That’s why it’s a good idea to research different types of audio gear and invest in equipment like a prosumer-tier lav mic that is A.) visibly discrete, B.) affordable, and C.) easily transportable.
And in terms of lighting, a three-point lighting setup (i.e., a key light, fill light, and backlight) will help you eliminate shadows and unflattering glares while creating a really pleasing visual effect on the subject in the frame.
Using this trio will dramatically increase the quality of your shots, and the good news is that you can also improvise.
For example, if you only have a backlight and fill light, you could use the natural light coming in through a window as your key light.
To see three-point lighting in action, check out the video below by ThinkMedia:
4. Create content that people want to engage with
There’s a reason why brands use marketing videos to increase engagement, drive traffic, and get more customers — it works. Sr Mailing writes that pages with a video receive over 4 minutes of average time spent.
During production and then post-production, it’s important to use multiple angles, b-roll, and still images in your marketing videos. And that’s because these different elements break up the visual narrative, which keeps viewers engaged longer.
Keep in mind that the attention span for 45% of viewers wavers one minute into watching a video, making them more likely to stop watching altogether.
By constantly breaking up the action on-screen, the audience doesn’t know what to expect next. So not only are you able to capture viewers’ attention, you’re able to retain their interest while delivering the message.
5. Streamline your post-production workflow
Once you have all of the footage you need to edit a professional-looking video, the trick is to find video editing resources that make your job easier.
There are a lot of competing products to choose from, ranging from software-specific to cross-platform. When you opt for the latter, you’re able to scale without worrying about compatibility.
Adobe Premiere Pro is one of the most recommended platforms since you can go from phone to desktop and back again thanks to its Creative Cloud. This makes it easier to edit video wherever you are.
Also, this app automates the right aspect ratio and video quality for any social media platform. And you can record live audio and mix in voice-overs, sound bites, and music tracks.
6. Invest in affordable (and easy-to-license) music
Marketing videos without background music are like pancakes without syrup, dry and uninteresting.
Prerecorded royalty-free music tracks are a key ingredient for today’s marketing videos. Your audience expects to hear good and tone-appropriate background music — it’s as simple as that.
Music is also essential for effective brand marketing. It creates and reinforces an emotional bond between the brand and the audience. (Steve Olenski goes into greater detail about this in an article for Forbes.)
But, as you already know, just because music is important doesn’t mean it’s easy to find or license.
As ideal as it might be, you can’t just hear a song on Spotify and add it to your video editing timeline right then and there. Copyright law exists so that the copyright owners of that song have a say in how the music is used.
If you don’t get permission to use copyrighted music, you’ll end up in major legal trouble when your marketing video is shared publicly.
To avoid DMCA notices and Content ID claims altogether, you can find and license music from Soundstripe — and save yourself a lot of time in the process.
It takes less than five minutes on average to filter through our music library and find the quality tracks to underscore your message.
Not to mention, you’re able to do all of this without putting yourself or a brand in legal jeopardy.
It’s a Wrap
Shooting, editing, and incorporating pre-recorded tracks to create polished marketing videos no longer requires a full production team. With some foundational knowledge, you can produce quality marketing videos that are engaging and results-driven.