12 Video Recording Tips for A Shoestring Budget

In the marketing world, content is queen. And what’s the queen of the content world?


With smartphones making it possible to view and record video at any time, any place, video has become one of the most popular types of content for internet users to enjoy.  In fact, 85% of all internet users in the United States watch online video content. As a result, 87% of marketing professionals are using video to promote their products. And it works.

If a user has a positive experience with a video ad, it increases their likelihood of purchasing by 97%. It’s clear that in order to compete in marketing, you need to incorporate video content into your strategy.

The good news is it’s easier than you think — and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Tips for recording great video on a small budget

If you’re just starting a small business or working with a lean budget, you can still launch a butt-kicking video content plan without spending a ton of money on expensive gear. Read on to learn some great video recording tips on a small budget—all under $100!

1. You don’t need to buy a new camera

man recording himself on his phone

While you might feel like you need a fancy new camera to create high-quality content, the truth is, you can probably achieve the same look using only your smartphone. Most mobile phones today are equipped with high-end cameras already! Check out a few Youtube tutorials online and download some free video editing apps to get started!

A couple free video editing apps include:

If you don’t have access to a smartphone with a great camera, see if you can borrow a video camera from someone in your community. Maybe you have a friend or family member who would be willing to help you out or check out a local library to see if they rent out tech too.

2. Pick up a tripod to hold your camera

man recording video on his iphone with tripod

No one likes a tired arm from holding your phone in “selfie” mode for long periods of time, and it’s definitely not ideal for recording professional-looking videos. Find an affordable tripod online (you can find ones made just for smartphones for around $30 or less) or get creative at home with a stack of books or a shelf.

3. Prioritize great lighting

fitness instructor video recording at home

Lighting can make or break the quality of a photo or video. Luckily, anyone can find access to the cheapest and easiest lighting there is: the sun!

Video recording pro-tip: aim for morning or early evening shoots to get softer light, as midday sun can be too harsh and create shadows. If you’re shooting indoors, set yourself up next to a window that faces the sun to get the best light with the fewest shadows.

4. Don’t have access to good sun? Buy yourself a ring light.

woman talking into a camera with a ring light

Not everyone has a space with large windows that invite a lot of light in. If you’re working out of a basement or office space, you may need a little extra support in the lighting department.

Video recording pro-tip: Most pro Youtubers use a “ring light”, which is a circular light that sits with the camera (or smartphone) in the center. It can be attached to a tripod that supports both the light and the camera, so you can chat away, totally hands-free.

Ring lights create the perfect illumination with natural-looking light, creating a flattering look that—bonus!—also minimizes wrinkles.

Even better? Ring lights are quite affordable. You can get one on Amazon for under $50 — tripod included!

5. Capture clear audio

audio for video recording

One of the most important components of creating a good video is the audio. Investing in a microphone is the best way to get clear audio, but luckily, there are some pretty affordable options online.

There are a number of different types of mics out there. If you have a podcasting or gaming mic at home, that may work well for you, or if you are interviewing guests, you might find that a pair of “lav” lapel mics will work best.

And if you’re really on a budget, you can use the mic that comes along with most earbuds — even those will pick up better audio quality than no mic at all.

Be sure to eliminate as many external noises as possible. Find a quiet space, close all the windows, and even try “treating” your space by setting up bookcases and blankets to minimize other noises.

6. Set up the perfect professional backdrop

Home video recording

Now that you’ve sharpened your video creation skills and learned how to get great audio, it’s time to take a look at your home-studio background.

Depending on your brand’s look and feel, you could easily record some videos in your home office, with something like a bookshelf and a nice plant in the background.

If you would rather set up something more curated, you could invest in a video backdrop kit. This one from Amazon comes with everything you need to set up a killer backdrop, plus three cool options — all for under $100.

7. Rep your brand

Of course, when setting the stage for your video shoot, you’ll want to rep your brand too! How can you incorporate some of your brand elements in your set? Can you add some branded props into the background? Do the colors align with your brand colors? Or maybe you’ll plan to wear a t-shirt with your logo on it?

8. Learn some basic rules of composition

video compositon

Composition is the way you frame your subject in the video for the best possible viewer experience.

Start by following the rule of thirds, visualizing a 3×3 grid in the frame, and placing your subject in one of the boxes of the grid. Allow for space above your subject’s head, so their head isn’t cut out of the frame, but don’t leave too much space either. If you’re recording yourself, this probably means you’ll be front and center in the middle of the grid!

9. Plan your videos and get filming!

notebook and pen

Now that you’re ready to get started, it’s time to plan your content! Think about what you want your video to do. What do you want your video to achieve? Who are you targeting with your video? How will you communicate your message?

Once you’ve laid out a plan, write a script (or even some notes on a cue card) and a rough storyboard. Think about where you can add text on screen or picture-in-picture to make your content really stand out.

Film in short takes. This will allow you to get your shots without having to memorize everything on your script and allows for fewer errors and easier editing. You got this!

Not sure what kind of video is best for your brand? Check out this blog for ideas!

10. Tap into your basic editing skills

woman editing a brand video

Now that you’ve recorded your content, it’s time to put it all together. Using free video editing software, you can clean up background noise, adjust the lighting, cut out awkward pauses or errors, and add background music and text.

Be sure to add subtitles to your finished video too. Not only do subtitles make your videos more accessible to a wider audience, but they are also more likely to capture the attention of users who are scrolling without sound on. Plus, they improve your video’s SEO and engagement.

11. Design your thumbnail graphics

When finalizing your video’s edits, make sure to include elements from your brand identity. You can use some basic graphic design tools, like Canva, to design a cover page for your video or even add some graphic elements right into the video. Don’t forget to add your newly created logo in the video’s graphics so it never gets missed!

5 Minute crafts, a Youtube channel with over 67 million subscribers uses bold colors and abstract images to create eye-catching video thumbnails.

thumbnail graphics for videos

12. Promote your video

Hurray! Your video is done and ready to be shared with the world. Plan out a content marketing strategy and share your video across social media, email, and on your website.

That’s a wrap! Using these video recording tips, you’re sure to create videos that kick butt and send traffic straight to your website. With a lot of creativity and a little investment in your business, you can create fun and compelling marketing videos that will make your brand stand out.

Get started today!

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