I don’t have to recap the staggering growth of online video. You’ve read the stats about Netflix and YouTube. You’ve seen the adoption rates of video on social media like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, et al.
Online video is exploding.
However, shooting, editing, and publishing online video can be a challenge to do well. I’ve been experimenting with super-efficient ways to produce good online videos for a while and here’s the “Batman utility belt” of tools that work for me.
Shooting Video: The Device
I use my iPhone 99% of the time. The only 1% of the time I’m shooting with a GoPro, but the iPhone is just hands-down the best video device for online video.
Yes, you could drop a couple grand on a nice DSLR to get better depth of field or exposure settings, but the jump in quality isn’t worth the jump in price…not to me, at least. I’ve considered and researched options for DSLR shooting and always land back on my trusty-dusty iPhone.
It shoots 1080p, has decent sound input with plenty of options for extensible audio recording, and it’s always with me. And you know what they say about the best camera, right? It’s the one you have with you.
Shooting Video: The Apps
I use two different apps for shooting video. The one I choose depends on the situation. For stationary videos on a tripod (more on that below), I use the MoviePro app. (Warning: All app links go to the iOS App Store.) It is the full embodiment of bells-and-whistles. It has every single possible feature you might need to record great videos. It takes a little learning to get used to, but it’s worth the ramp up.
For moving videos, like a walk-and-talk or videos of my kids riding a bike, I use Hyperlapse from Instagram. It makes moving videos really smooth with some magical mix of image stabilization and frame-knitting (or whatever it’s called). It also records great audio. Just remember to select the 1x speed before you save your video or else it will save a super-sped-up version of your video, which is fun, but less useful usually.
Editing Video: The Apps
iMovie is great for granular editing. For example, if I need to edit out some crappy parts or splice multiple parts together, iMovie is very efficient. Or if I want decent intros/outros or tight control over coloring and audio, iMovie is good.
Cameo is excellent for more casual videos and is VERY fast at editing and uploading video to Vimeo. It gives you tons of presets for styling and a huge collection of music to choose from. It’s tough splicing multiple videos together or editing out bad parts, but if you have a single long video you want to make awesomer, then Cameo is perfect.
iMovie has several upload options like Vimeo and YouTube and iCloud. You can, of course, also export the video to be uploaded directly to Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat. That’s a given. Uploading from iMovie directly to a service (like Vimeo) feels slow. I don’t know why.
Cameo will upload directly to Vimeo (and it’s very fast) or export your video to your iPhone’s video library. That’s also fairly quick.
The reasons I use Vimeo are that it’s easy to use and manage, their Pro service gives me plenty of space and customization, the uploads are fast, and the player looks nice. It also supports oEmbed, which means I can take my videos other places and they fit nicely (like TrainedUp, for example).
My tools for shooting online video are MY tools. I think you, too, could make great online videos with these tools, but like any tool, the output depends more on the craftsman than the tool. Be authentic and tell stories.