Obviously, with stats like this, it is a no-brainer to jump into the video pool. When it comes to digital marketing in 2018 nothing is more powerful than video! Between native video (videos that are recorded then uploaded to a social media platform) and live video (videos that are broadcasted live), there are lots of great options for people and brands to leverage the power of video. Something that I come across quite a bit is the need for people to step up their video game. Perhaps you are wanting to do some Facebook live videos, or start a YouTube video channel where you are the star. Well, there are some things you are going to want to do right now that will instantly improve your video quality.

  1. Improve your sound
  2. Improve your lighting
  3. Stabilize your Camera


Improved Sound

There are a lot of things that viewers will forgive when it comes to video. That is as long as you have good content to consume. But one thing they will not forgive is bad sound. If people have trouble hearing you they will not stick around to see what your content is all about. Luckily this is a problem that is easily fixed! There are a lot of great products that you can buy to help improve your sound without breaking the bank. Let’s break down a couple of them:

Lavalier Lapel Microphone

A good lavalier does not have to cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, you can easily pick up a decent lav mic for under $20. I have quite a few laying around myself and find they are handy when doing close range talking head videos or live broadcast from my phone or computer. I say close range because they are wired and they plug into your recording device so you can’t be too far away from the camera. But they will greatly improve your sound quality.

Rode VideoMicro Compact On-Camera Microphone

If you plan on doing video where you are not able to be close to your camera or if you are doing an interview and you want to improve the sound for everyone in the shot, you may want to consider picking up a Rode Video Mic. I have this one myself and have loved how much the quality of my videos for my clients has improved! You can pick up the basic mic for about $60 which is a steal if you do a lot of videos. This really is a great little mic.

Blue Yeti USB Microphone

Now if you plan on doing video tutorials or even some podcasting I would highly recommend you check out a Blue Yeti Mic. I have had mine since 2011 when I started my first podcast. This thing is a beast and still works great years later! I can totally tell the difference when I record video or podcast audio with and without the Yeti. Although they are a bit more expensive than the other mics on the list (they retail for just under $100) they last forever and the sound quality is top notch.

Headphones from your phone manufacturer.

Even if you are just getting started and have zero funds for a new mic I have a solution for you. Use the headphones that came with your smartphone. The headphones have a built-in mic and are great for doing live videos with other people (like interviews and video chats) because it allows you to also hear what others are saying. Despite the fact that I own all the other mics on this list, I still use my Samsung headphones all the dang time!


Improved Lighting

When you are on video you want to make sure you look your best. Nothing does the job of improving the look of your videos quite as fast as great lighting. There are several options for lighting your videos but the key here is to start with what your budget allows (HA FREE) and try to build up to better quality lighting as you grow your video collection.

Natural Lighting

Nothing screams budget friendly like natural light! Find a place to do your video where you have a lot of natural light coming in towards you. Avoid having light behind you as that will wash you out. The big problem with natural light is it is limited on when you can record and a bit unreliable as weather can really do a number on your planned recording or live broadcasting time. But in the beginning, finding a natural light source is a great way to improve lighting.


2. Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit

If you have a bit more room to work with, investing in a light kit can be a great idea! I picked up a 3 light umbrella kit for under $60 and it greatly improved my videos. It also allows me to do video regardless of the weather or time of day! Perhaps not the best option for on the go video but if you have a space to set up a video studio this could be a great option that won’t cost an arm and a leg.


3. SOCIALITE 12″ LED Dimmable Photo Video Ring Light Kit

If you do video on site but away from your own space you may want to invest in a light kit that travels well. I personally picked up this Socialite 12’ LED ring light kit and use it weekly when I go to help my client with their weekly live broadcast show. The light quality is fantastic, the kit is portable, and it comes with a tripod and a built-in phone holder. I really do love this light and probably prefer it to all my other lighting options. Yes, it was a bigger investment, but once you know you are serious about video this could be a great option.

There are also a plethora of personal clip-on ring lights you can pick up for under $20 that could be great for close up videos.


Improved Angles and Stabilization

Now that you have the sound and lighting down let’s talk a bit about framing your videos and making them more stable. Nothing is more distracting than a shaky video! Don’t shake, stabilize. There are a ton of options for helping you put down the camera and let a tripod do the work so you can focus on delivering your message. Tripods can range in size but basically, they all do about the same job. They hold your camera in place. This allows you to not only stabilize your video but also frame your shot. Before you record or hit that live button, set up your camera or phone on a tripod and test the frame. Does the subject fit in the frame and is the angle flattering. Let’s dive into some great products to help you stabilize your camera:

Square Jellyfish Spring Tripod Mount for Smartphones

I love this little device because it allows you to take any old tripod you have laying around or you pick up for cheap and turn it into a phone holder so you can do video from your smartphone. It easily fits just about any phone out there and screws into just about any tripod made. Plus it is very affordable at only $10 or less. 


Arkon iPhone Tripod Mount

This little tripod mount by Arkon holds your phone and is super portable. It comes with bendable legs so you can attach it to chairs and rails for on the go shots! This one runs you about $20 but you can probably find one for even less if you search Amazon. 


3. Ulanzi Smartphone Video Stabilizer

There are a lot of stabilizing mounts on the market right now that will cost you a small fortune but the Ulanzi gets the job done, and done well for only $15! I picked this piece of equipment up after talking to my friend Eddie Garrison of Clover Media Consulting and have been super impressed ever since. It attaches to my tripod or has hand grips so I can carry it with ease. There are also slots for your Rode Mic and a light if you choose. This is a dream product for anyone who shoots video on the go. 

So there you have it! Some really great tips and tools for immediately improving your video without breaking the bank. Now at this point, you may be wondering, what are my top recommendations if you are getting started but want decent gear for your video. Well here are my recommendations for a starter kit:


Let me know if you have any questions! I am happy to help you improve your video and stand out from a sea of marketers in 2018!