Video Production Tips for Auto Retailers – Equipment & Lighting


Over the last several months, we have talked about video marketing from a strategic viewpoint, covering subjects like how to fail in video marketing and different types of videos retailers can produce. But in order to have a video marketing strategy to execute on, you of course need to record and produce the actual videos. And to record your videos you are going to need certain equipment, and you will need to think about lighting.

Lights. Camera. Action.

You have your vision, you know your audience, and you’ve decided on a persona – now it’s time to get that camera rolling.

Starting out in video marketing can be as frugal or as extravagant as you want – it all depends on what and where you are willing to invest. A good camera is essential, but what about tripods, stabilizers, microphones, and other accessories?

In this edition of our Video Marketing Series for Auto Retailers, Flick Fusion COO Tim James and I talk about the various  equipment considerations you will face, and the importance of lighting.


Lighting

If you think of lighting as an afterthought when it comes to producing video content, you’re clearly not a Game of Thrones fan. As the Long Night (aka Battle Of Winterfell aka What the Heck Did I Just Watch?) episode of GoT taught us, lighting is critical.  Too much and everything is washed out, too little and people are left squinting.  Either way, lighting can make or break a video.


Getting the lighting right can take a few practice tries when starting out with video.  Filming outside vs. inside, for example, can make a huge difference. The same is true for how much natural light is available inside as well as the color of the interior decoration and your presenter’s clothes.

Other tips when it comes to lighting include:

  • Have light behind you, so that it sheds light on the subject of your video.
  • Watch out for reflections!
  • Check lighting first to look for shadows or areas of under-exposure.
  • Invest in quality studio lights for interior shots.

Selfie Sticks and Stabilizers

When filming, keeping the camera steady in your hand is pretty much impossible.  Everything from shifting your weight to simply breathing can result in a shaky video which is difficult to watch.

Stabilizers give the greatest amount of control both in terms of fluidity of movement and the camera itself.  Stabilizer hooks are an increasingly common part of many modern tripods. These tools can do more than reduce shakiness, they can also improve pan shots across inventory or any other landscape.

Additional features to consider when checking out tripods and stabilizers are:

  • Legs – All tripods have – spoiler alert! – three legs.  But not all legs are made the same. Check out their feet to assess how stable they will be on different surfaces you may use, including asphalt, gravel and dirt.
  • Latches – Do the legs lock into place?  Ensure that you’ll have the stability and ease of use you need.
  • Head – Does the head of the tripod swivel easily and fluidly?  Even if your videos begin as static shots, you’ll likely want to incorporate panning shots at some point.  A good head will also include a bubble level, which makes it easy to center your camera both vertically and horizontally.
  • DSLR Rigs – Ensure the tripod either has a standard DSLR Rig that works with your camera make and model.  Some rigs work across many models while others are more specific.

Selfie Sticks may seem like the less stable choice – and they are – but sometimes that’s exactly what you want.  Using a selfie stick is a great option for live videos where you might be walking through your store or showing viewers behind the scenes shots of service and administrative areas.

Cameras and Smartphone

Many modern Smartphones rival and far surpass the equipment used to record any of your favorite shows from the 80s, 90s and even the early 2000s.  So if you’re just starting out and finding your comfort zones with videos, you can use a good Smartphone in place of a camera.

Once you’re ready to take the next big step, you can invest in a high-quality camera that can be used to create clear videos as well as amazing still shots for your blog, website or social media.

When working with cameras, it’s important to fully understand the functions and options available.  That includes understanding everything from simple settings to knowing the exposure triangle. There are often paid classes locally and online.  There are also many free videos for various makes and models of cameras on websites like YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook.

Accessories

While you don’t need much to get started with video marketing, there are plenty of accessories that will help as you grow.

  • Gimbal – Using pivots and weights, a gimbal improves stability in all of your shots.  The price of gimbals increases as the hardware becomes lighter – so the more you pay, the less it weighs.
  • External Microphone – Having an extra mic will improve the sound quality of videos as well as making it easier to record crisp, clean voice overs as needed.
  • Lavalier Mic – Planning on doing customer testimonials or interviewing people?  A lavalier mic is a simple, wireless microphone that can be clipped onto someone’s lapel.
  • Lighting Reflector – Reflectors work with lighting to create indirect light and improve picture quality.

Finally, we come to the software and hosting you’ll need to consider.  There’s a fair bit to cover with that, so we’ve broken it down in part 2 of this video.  You can check out the full post and video here.

List of Products Referenced


About This Series

This video and post are part of a series titled Video Marketing for Auto Retailers which also includes a Free Online Video Course.  The series and course are brought to you exclusively by Flick Fusion – the auto industry’s most robust video marketing platform. Previously published titles in the series include:

In addition to the videos and posts in the series, we also provide periodic webinars for automotive professionals interested in video marketing. Recent best practices webinars include:

For a complete list of all material brought to you by Flick Fusion, follow this link.


About the Author

Ryan Gerardi
Creative, resourceful, and resilient B2B sales and marketing technologist who works with people and businesses on a variety of levels to help elevate their game, their brand, and their businesses.