The simple answer really is yes, you absolutely can make videos yourself. If you have a phone, you probably have a camera, so there’s not much more you need to get started. There is plenty of easy-to-learn software available to edit your video for free too. But the question really is: should you do it yourself?
You’re probably thinking to ‘why shouldn’t I do it myself if there’s free and easy-to-learn tools for me to do it with?’ Well, that and ‘what am I going to have for lunch’ probably.
Free video editing is possible
Doing it yourself is obviously the most cost-effective approach to video creation. You can use apps such as Canva, iMovie, or VideoPad to name a few. Not only will they not cost you a penny, but they’re simple and intuitive if you want to put together a fairly basic video.
But that’s the key word right there: basic. If you are going about this yourself, those free bits of software will be good for simple editing, but that’s it. They’re free because they have such limited functionality. As soon as you want to get a bit more creative, that’s where you’ll start to struggle. And if you’re still adamant about doing it yourself then that’s where you’ll have to start spending money on better software such as Adobe Premiere Pro.
Commercial video creation
So, if you want your video to be more creative and professional, especially if you are limited by free software or if you aren’t as skilled in video editing, then that’s when you might want to consider using the professionals. Most PR and marketing agencies will have the skills and the tools to create your video. But perhaps the biggest difference – apart from the fact you’ll need to pay for it (but we’ll get to that) – is that they can go a lot further than just turning up with a camera and laptop.
Since I’ve worked at Eve Communications, I’ve been involved in every stage of the process. With big-budget, all-singing-and-dancing product launches, you wouldn’t believe the amount of planning and creative effort that goes getting the right concept, location, people and wording into a video. It sometimes starts month before a memory card is inserted into a camera.
Then there’s scripting, autocues, lighting, sound – and much more besides. If you don’t have the experience or the know-how, going professional is definitely your best option.
The costs involved in video creation
How much a video costs to create is really hard to predict. There is usually a rate applied for the day’s filming, but it will be more if you need an extra camera operator or sound engineer. There may be specialist kit like a drone, or licences that need to be purchased for certain locations. Travel is often an overlooked cost in farming – sometimes you need videographers to visit farms that are hundreds of miles away, and this will incur overnight stays to be costed into your budget. Editing is another budget line to factor in. It often takes two days to edit a day’s footage, so the work isn’t done when the camera stops rolling.
Working with animation or moving graphics and special effects all takes more time than keeping it simple, so make sure you know what you want from your end product to ensure you spend your budget accordingly.
Video editing skillset
Now, you may have never edited a video before, or you might have some very basic skills. That doesn’t matter because it is very easy to learn, no matter what software you use. Most of what you need to know about video editing is fairly self-explanatory and for the parts that aren’t as straight-forward, Google will undoubtedly have the answer. After all, that’s what the internet was made for – having all the answers to every question, dog videos, and stupid people saying stupid things on Twitter (sorry, I mean X).
All those points also apply to the actual filming of your video. Most camera phones these days have a fairly-decent to Hollywood-quality lens, depending on your device. The best time to use it is when you’re already out and about and have time to get extra content. It could be at a show, or when you’re on farm carrying out a written interview, for example. You don’t have to go full Stanley Kubrick – just make sure the sound quality is going to be OK (no howling wind) and that you have framed the person you’re filming nicely in the shot, and away you go.
Some iPhones even have an editing app such as iMovie on them as standard so you can film and edit your video all on one device – that’s quite handy especially if you need a quick turnaround.
Adobe Premiere Pro
To give a little bit of insight into how an agency will put your video together, they will most likely use Adobe Premiere Pro, which is, from my own personal experience at least, the most comprehensive video editing software available. While I would recommend it, it’s quite pricey. Premiere Pro can do anything you need it to do when it comes to video editing – as long as you know how to use it, you can be as creative as you want when putting your video together. For more complicated videos where they may need to involve graphics and animation, an agency will also use programmes such as Adobe After Effects. Don’t even get me started on After Effects, that’s a different beast entirely. I shudder every time I need to use that forsaken programme…
I have been using Premiere Pro for over a year now, and while it does have its issues (at times it has been the bane of my existence), I have been able to put together countless videos ranging from 30-second social media clips to 20-minute presentations all with relative simplicity (although sometimes Premiere Pro does love to make things unnecessarily complicated). I had very little video editing experience before I started working with Premiere Pro, but I have been able to learn how to use it proficiently through a number of comprehensive training courses which have greatly advanced my skills, a lot of learning on the job, and the occasional help from good old Google.
Making the best video for your brand
Ultimately, we always advocate doing what works for you. There are videos you can (and should) try shooting and editing yourself. It’s cost-effective and actually quite good fun. But there are going to be times when you need professional support, be it with filming or editing.
Your content needs to be a representation of your brand; there is nothing wrong with a rough and ready farmer interview on a windy day in the Welsh hills – your audience may well love that. But if your video has to be slick, modern, creative and clever, you may need some help with making that happen.