WHEN IT COMES TO MAKING VIDEOS, I ALWAYS SAY, “start with what you already have.”
Great videos doesn’t have to be complicated, but I know there are a lot of options out there. So let’s cut through some of the confusion! From video gear, to hosting platforms, to business tools, you can find my absolute favourites here.
Please note there are some affiliate links on this page, but I love each one of these products and wouldn’t recommend something that I don’t personally use in my business.
iPhones and most smartphones have fantastic HD built-in cameras, so there’s no need to invest in a higher end camera until you know that videos will be a part of your long-term marketing goals. Just make sure to always shoot horizontally so you don’t get those black bars on the side and use the full HD camera on the back (and not the selfie low resolution one).
This is the camera that I use to shoot all my blog videos and love it’s manual flexibility. It shoots in full 1920 x 1080 HD resolution and with the 15-85mm zoom lens, I can capture beautiful crisp subjects with a blurry background in virtually all spaces. There is a learning curve to using the manual settings on a DSLR camera, but the payoff is far superior images. If you want to learn more about different lens types, click here for a great run-down.
I’ve converted from Canon to these Sony mirrorless cameras for a couple reasons: they pack a ton of features into it’s small size (including in-body 4K and 120fps slow motion), and it’s much lighter than my bulky Canon. Since I’m often traveling to my shoots, the less gear and weight I can pack, the better! With this camera, I love my 35mm prime for dreamy, blurry backgrounds, and the 24-240mm lens which allows me to get close-up tight shots, while being far away.
I love this tiny but mighty point-n-shoot style camera that’s lightweight on my Zhiyun crane gimbal, but packs a ton of features like 250 fps slow motion (that’s really slow mo!), and has most of the grown-up features of the full sized mirrorless, like the Sony A6500. It also has a full flip LCD monitor that allows the user to see themselves, which makes creating vlog or talking head videos super convenient.
A clip-on lavalier mic will improve your audio without using an external recorder (although you still can). This model plugs directly into your iPhone or smartphone. When purchasing a lavalier, there are different connection sizes, so just make sure that the connector actually fits into your smartphone or camera. When using a lavalier, clip it about 8-12 inches away from your mouth. It’s super sensitive and will pick up your breathing and distort your voice if it’s too close.
If you’re serious about making videos, you should use an external audio recorder. You’ll notice that with an external recorder you’ll actually sound more like yourself, and you won’t have any distracting background noise which results in a much more professional looking video. Zoom makes a fantastic “little brother”: the Zoom H1N which is a less complex version. The only downfall is that you will have to sync your video and audio files together.
I use a Westcott uLight 3 Light Kit for my blog videos and clients shoots. It’s durable, high quality and more than enough for most indoor shooting situations. This light kit come with tungsten (indoor) lights which tends to cast a warmer, yellowish tone to your footage. An easy fix is replacing the bulbs with daylight bulbs. They won’t be as bright, but they will create a nice, “daylight blue” color in your videos.
A ring light is a great option for lighting yourself on videos that doesn’t include the hassle of setting up a complex light system! They come in a range of sizes and prices, but this one wins for quality that doesn’t break the bank.
Manfrotto is a sturdy and reliable professional rated tripod that I trust to not fall apart during my shoots. I love the tilt ball head for full flexibility to position my camera from virtually any angle. The quick release plate also snaps out and fits into the tilt head (purchased separately) of my Manfrotto Monopod, making for quick transitions between shots where I don’t need a full tripod, but don’t want shaky footage from holding the camera too long. Here is a more economical alternative if you’re only shooting indoors.
I love this handy-dandy table-top iPhone holder for doing quick videos where you just need to have your phone propped up without a huge hassle. The flexible legs are perfect for attaching the iPhone to your DSLR camera tripod and using it as a teleprompter too! Just make sure you place the iPhone as close to your camera lens as possible, so no one can tell that you’re reading.
I love this versatile Teleprompter app that syncs with your Dropbox account! Simply upload your scripts in word format into your Dropbox and you can read them in this app.
This is a great alternative to professional teleprompters that are more than triple the price. The only caveat is that this teleprompter does NOT the professional standard 3/8″ screw size of standard tripods, but rather the smaller 1/4″ screw for lightweight video tripods. This means need a smaller tripod than the Manfrotto pictured above, or a drill to make the hole bigger to fit.
I’ve been a long time fan of Active Campaign .. until I discovered Kartra. It’s truly an all-in-one platform that includes your newsletter provider, landing pages, membership site and shopping cart features. You can get started for just $1 and I’m pretty darned sure that you’ll fall in love like I did!
The cloud based software that I use to organize all my invoicing, CRM, projects and bookkeeping. It’s truly one of the most flexible programs that helps to streamline my workflow. I love the templates that you can create for emails, contracts, quotes (anything really!) and put it into a workflow so it’s all automated.
A robust editing program that I use for all my screen recordings. With the multiple layers that you can control, you can create your own animated intros and have virtually all the functions of a professional editing program. If you’re on a PC, Camtasia would be a close equivalent (and it’s available for Macs too). If all you need to screen capturing (and not the editing bells and whistles), the free version of Quicktime can do that for you.
My go-to editing software for all my projects. The workflow is robust, the interface is pretty to look at and there are a ton of new built-in features like 3D titles, advanced effects like masks and color grading, and support for various file formats, editing has never been sexier.
My go-to resource for stock footage clips. They have monthly memberships available starting at $79/month which is a fraction of what you would pay for a single clip. Some other great inexpensive options are Dissolve.com and MotionElements.com. For higher end stock footage, Shutterstock.com simply can’t be beat with their diversity and quality.
High quality stock footage can be expensive, and they often don’t fit the style I’m trying to create. Fortunately, Filmpac creates beautiful, dreamy high quality stock footage that you can purchase in “collections”. They have various packs for different content and styles, so you’re sure to find something for your project!
Purchasing stock music can get expensive, but this is my new favorite source to get high-quality soundtracks for only $199 for a year. They’re always updating their diverse selection so you’re sure to find something for any project!
As an extension of Google searches, this platform has been the leader for video hosting for a long time because (with the right keywords and descriptions) your videos can appear in Google searches. It’s the platform for sharing your videos and vlogs, but never for posting private or paid membership content. Even when your video is listed as unlisted or private, it’s still not as secure as a platform like Wistia or Vimeo.
My choice for hosting paid membership videos because of it’s customizations and very reasonable cost. You can add your brand colors and logo to embedded videos, gather viewership stats and organize your videos into collections so they’re easier to manage. For a free basic membership, you can upload up to 500MB/week, but if you’re hosting videos for a membership site, you’ll want to upgrade to Plus or Pro. You can check out the full run-down on tiers and rates here.