View Full Version : Requesting advice on creating web videos

07-02-2013, 11:27 AM
I've decided its time to film some short (5-15 min) promotional and instructional videos for my website and maybe for youtube. Sitting at a desk, indoor type of stuff. Any suggestions on a medium quality camera/audio setup and straightforward easy to manage editing software would be appreciated. What are the best formats to work with for a beginner? I am presently running xp pro and use ws_ftp pro to manage the website. Thanks for any ideas.

07-03-2013, 12:49 PM
I'll just say up front that while a did this type of work for many years, I have been out of it for a while so for what its worth...

For editing software your current background, knowledge, and experience in editing would dictate this.
If you are new at it and don't indend to make this skill a primary money maker for you, then check on the ratings of some of the cheaper entry-level packages out there that are based on the established well-known professional packages. Plan on $100 - $400.
I know that Amazon reviews are highly manipulated by all parties, but if there are enough of them you can often glean useful info.
Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, and Sony Vegas come to mind but these could be out dated names for them.
BTW, I never liked any of the AVID brand based systems. Found them to not be at all intuitive.
Sony Vegas is the one I have and love it. It is as easy or as powerful as you need it to be. But I already had 20 years of editing experience when I found it.
More industry-specific web sites also have reviews like www.bhphotovideo.com (http://www.bhphotovideo.com)

Glad you are thinking audio as an independent issue. A lot of people don't. It is often an afterthought.
Same thing happens with tripods. Scrimping on a tripod for a nice camera is like putting a cheap scope on a nice rifle.
It diminishes the usefullness of the entire system. Not to mention can jeopordize the safety of your expensive camera.
If you are to be shooting in the same room all the time then it would be worth it to add some sound proofing material.
Depending on your environmental noises and the amount of control you have over them,
you may want to investigate a stand mounted boom mic or a lapel mic.
Anything other than the built-in camera mic is usually better ;)
Wireless systems add a lot of opportunities for problems and should only be utilized when needed.
This situation does not seem to call for wireless, but if you do occasionally 'go mobile' it may be essential.
Nice ones (Sennheiser) can often be rented locally. In fact, you could rent a few 'wired' mics to try out before you buy too.

I've been out of it too long to suggest any camera models. And of course that would be dictated by budget.
But any CMOS HD cam over 12 megapixel should do it. Again others' reviews on retail sites may be helpful.
Name brands are usually safest as with most things. Sony, Cannon, etc. The SLR style cameras can produce fantastic video.
I have a personal bias against Panasonic. They can often seem to be a good deal.
Just be aware that they push extra gadgets and swithes at the expense of reliability and image quality. Many will disagree with me on this.
Remember lighting! Soft boxes / umbrella lights are often an easy-button solution here.

Poorly produced video will reflect upon your business and your credibility.
It may even be worth it to hire a professional a couple times and get some pointers from them.
It can be difficult and time-consuming to find a good one. Get LOTS of referrals and follow up on them.
Back when I did this regularly, I would have been fine 'training' someone to not need me anymore.
As long as I was getting paid while I did it and the client was up-front about it.
You may even find it is worth it to just hire it out and concentrate on your own specialty instead.
Good luck!

07-03-2013, 04:56 PM
The Frugal Filmmaker on YouTube has great starting out tips:

Windows Movie Maker works fine for free.

Look for a 1080p video camera that you can plug a mic into. There is not much difference between them if it's sitting on a tripod in good light. Bigger sensors and image stabilization would be an unnecessary expense. Stick with a big name brand and don't go too cheap as some of the low end models are quasi-HD.

07-05-2013, 10:47 AM
I recently paid a local film company, who is part of an association I am in, to make a short introductory film for my website I am building. It was quite a learning experience. I have started buying my own equipment to make how to video's and product highlight videos. The camera they used was a Canon DSLR that I first thought couldn't do the job. My shop was so small though any bigger of a camera probably wouldn't have worked and the video's it produced were of a lot higher quality than I thought they would be. For the internet the DSLR is a good bang for your buck. Plus then you have a camera to take product photo's with. I won't be using the company again because of artistic differences. They tried to make the film into something they could use in quite a few directions, and as such it really isn't what I wanted for me. So I am now getting ready to make my own film my way.

Whatever you do never scrimp on sound and lighting. You can make anything look good with quality sound and lighting with a cheaper camera that has the right features. You can have the most expensive, newest, 4K camera like the red camera and ruin a video if you have crappy sound and lighting. My friend made a low budget feature film (3 million is still low budget in the film world) Using a red camera with known actors and after 4 years of post production it can finally be released. It took so long because the audio was horrible and had to be redone. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1460646/

The camera I'll be using is a canon ax10 simply because that is what I have and I don't want to buy a new camera. Even though the camera is already obsolete it still takes really good pictures and has the same sensor as older canon DSLR cameras. It's more than enough for internet videos. I'll be editing with final cut pro 7 on an old power mac. I bought a sound kit from dvestore.com including Sennheiser, Rode, and lavaliere cordless mic's and will add a lighting kit soon. Watching someone get an opportunity to make a feature film and have it fall apart on them from the sound I made sure I had the best sound equipment within my budget. After it's all said and done I will have invested close to 5K of my own money to be able to produce good quality videos for the internet, advertising for my company. That's actually a small amount of money to invest to get the type of returns that a good video can get for you. It's the same amount most companies charge to produce a 3 to 5 minute product video here in Vegas except I can produce as many or as little as I want for the same price of one video.

Since I am new to editing and after sampling the film making classes here in Las Vegas I will be heading to San Diego to pay for classes on how to use final cut pro, and a week long digital film course's in Los Angeles. After that I should be good to go for what I want to do.

07-15-2013, 06:20 AM
Thanks, guys. Very good advice, the options are a little overwhelming but I am working through them. Haven't done much photography since film became obsolete, so have a lot of catching up to do.

07-15-2013, 11:51 AM
I like to use iMovie for Mac. Very easy to use. The key is camera and audio recording device. Don't sound like your in a cave.

07-15-2013, 12:02 PM
I've used other software from Serif.com (PagePlus and WebPlus). They are very good products (especially for the price). In starting out - they have a VideoPlus product that should work very well and should be pretty user friendly at a decent price. This lets you get your foot in the door and try out your setup for a little while before dropping any additional cash into the system.