If you run your own business or are responsible for managing the online presence of one, we wanted to give you some ideas for creating your own original video content for free. That’s it. No email sign-up. No credit cards.
Ok, so maybe there is one tiny little catch — you will need to have access to a smartphone with the ability to shoot things like slow-motion or time-lapse. An iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy S6 will be more than sufficient, but as a rule of thumb the newer the phone the better the results will be. If you’re in the market for an upgrade, now might be the right time.
Time-lapse content is an incredibly effective way to condense time or scale. If you have a process which takes place over several stages such as manufacturing with materials moving in/out of the buidling, or maybe a kitchen food preparation area with staff coming and going — time-lapse allows you to show the whole process from start to finish without forcing your viewer to sit for hours on end. As well as condensing time, you can highlight the scale of your product or service. Building a structure? Packing a kit bag and taking tonnes of equipment on a photography shoot with you? Organising an event where lighting and staging is being erected?
The great thing about using a smartphone for time-lapse capture is that it automatically works out how many frames are needed to create your content, and then it automatically creates the video file for you.
The three keys to successfully capturing great time-lapse content, are:
1) Movement — Once you’ve started capturing your timelapse, do not move your phone. Any movements will ruin your time-lapse, making it unwatchable. If you’re out in the open try balancing your phone on rocks, a branch, a tool box, a rucksack, anything you can find to steady your phone while completing your work. If you’re indoors then a shelf, table, chair or any other furniture will suffice. Basically anywhere it won’t get knocked or moved.
2) Screen direction — Think about where the action will be taking place within your frame. Where will people, vehicles or materials enter and exit your shot? From left to right? Top to bottom? Is your shot going to be blocked by people or vehicles for significant amounts of time? Chance favours the prepared so spend a little bit of time considering your options.
3) Battery life—Probably the least sexy talking point ever but if you’re capturing a one-off event, how annoyed will you be to find your phone has died half way through capturing your time-lapse? If your action is taking place for much more than 2 hours, maybe consider using a power-bank to keep your phone charged for long enough.
Slow-mo capture can transform even the most mundane of activities into something compelling. If you work with any form of water or fire, see what results you get from filming sizzling food over blazing flames or machinery performing a repetitive task at high speed. People running or dancing might seem like a strange subject for slow-motion but if it lends itself to your product or service, you might be surprised by the results.
Boomerang (free app)
Boomerang is a free app created by Instagram, which essentially captures a burst of images and then creates a short looping video. Facebook statistics indicate that a post with a moving image (such as a Boomerang video) receives up to 20% more interaction, so instead of scrolling past a static image (or worse still, a text-only post!) your customers are more likely to stop, take notice and interact with your content. Although this type of video is incredibly short, it’s a great way to produce content in seconds.
One of the most overlooked features of Instagram (added to the app in 2013) is the ability to capture video up to 60 seconds in length with jump-cuts. You can literally edit on-the-fly. Jump-cuts add a little bit of production value and keep your viewer engaged (in comparison to an un-edited video). Once you’ve recorded your content, you can style up your video with the filters we all know and love. Hit ‘share’ and Instagram saves the video to your device. From there you can publish the video to Facebook, LinkedIn, Vimeo or any of your other social streams.
“Perfection is the enemy of progress”
We’ve been guilty of sitting round, wasting hours pondering “how do we create the most perfect content for our social streams?!”… we got absolutely nothing done that day. Paralysed by ideas and waiting for the right moment to strike, we spent too long debating and not enough time actually executing. The key to these four methods of creating content is using your imagination, and then actually going and doing something. Your first attempts might not be perfect but at least you’ll have work to improve on, data to guide your next move and content to share with you followers.
You have the technology in your pocket and you’ve had some ideas whilst reading this article. The next step is simple: Go do stuff!