Storytelling in the digital age means learning video production

Business owners shouldn't master everything, but you should know enough to be able to ask the right questions and direct your team on what you want. Derek Sivers believes you shouldn't have to build your own website, but you're a better boss and leader if you know how. 

These days, if you've got your hands in your marketing, this means being directly involved in the storytelling. And storytelling in a digital age means knowing a thing or two about video production. I've put learning video production and studio work into my own job description for the last 10 years. Having produced commercials, directed subjects on camera, written campaigns and the whole deal, it's fun to flex that muscle from to time to time. 

My own storytelling took a two-year hiatus while I pretended that I was still working for a chamber of commerce. I had gone out on my own, but hadn't found my new story yet. My story... my story... what is my story? I had to treat myself like a client to answer that. Then I had to produce something that reflected my personable, social and accessible brand attributes. 

Sometimes answering the "how" question gets in the way of "why" and "when." I get it. If you can relate, let's talk about how to tell your story through video from a technical perspective. I wasted a lot of money on equipment for my studio, and I don't want you to do the same. When you have the right tools, you have fewer excuses. 

I use a Kodak Zi8 for all my video in 1080p, allowing for HD zooming during editing. Kodak doesn't make them anymore, but you can get them used. I have 2 of them to shoot the same scene from different angles on these lightweight tripods. I choose this camera for its simplicity and it's audio port, a feature usually found only on $700 cameras. If you're getting this camera, you have to also get the remote control.

I plug in my Audio-Technica lav mic if it's just me in the shot, but this lav mic is mono (not stereo) which means it records sound only in one channel (left). If I want to wander the studio without being tethered to the camera via lav mic, I use my Sony voice recorder with a stereo clip mic. For two or more subjects, I use my Sony voice recorder without the clip mic. This device provides outstanding sound quality. Match the audio to your video using software like Camtasia Studio

Although I started with a halogen shop light from the hardware store, I wish I had started with compact florescent soft boxes. These are essential to any studio. Don't go without them. If you're trying to save money, shoot with your iPhone instead of a video camera, but don't cut corners on lighting. 

I have a great studio backdrop and muslin clamps that I've just never used. I prefer my simple living room set-up that I learned from James Wedmore. He's a certified bad-ass in video traffic. His 48-Hour Film School is the best training I've had on the topic, and I've paid for lots of others.

Here's a sample of what I do with all of this stuff...

A few months ago, I met Chris West from Alight Studios. He's a pro at studio setup, and he gives away his presentation on the topic. Use the links on his website to buy from Amazon.