#SciFund Challenge Class

Video storytelling made easy for scientists

Part 18: I've made my video - now what?

Great! You have completed your first video. Congratulations! We know just how much work goes into getting videos into reasonable shape, so give yourself a big pat on the back.

But you now have a new problem - getting people to actually watch your video. This is not an insignificant challenge, to say the least. There is a lot that could be said about the subject of successfully marketing your content to potential audiences, but it sadly lies outside the bounds of this tutorial (this guide has to stop sometime, after all).  All is not lost though, as both our Audience First, Instagram, and Twitter guides have a lot to say about successfully engaging with audiences. So, check them out!

Buying equipment

If you want to invest in more equipment and software to make more videos in the future, here are some general recommendations:

Camera. While you can achieve a lot with your smartphone, the camera on it is limited. You can adapt the lens on it with various little lenses to get close-ups, macro shots, fisheye looks, plus more. If you really want to push the boat out and get more serious about making videos, then a SLR or mirrorless camera that takes video, from either Canon or Sony, will put you in good stead (there are loads of great interchangeable lens cameras to choose from). On the cheaper end, some point and shoots are also making some really good looking video. A YouTuber favorite is the Canon G7X, just replaced with the improved G7X Mk2.

Microphone. The reason why we recommended the Giant Squid lapel mic is because it will work in any camera that has a 3.5mm jack mic input, without needing the adapter cable. In short, you’re already covered for audio if you want to upgrade your camera at a later point! Just make sure the camera has a 3.5mm jack mic input. The Giant Squid is really good, which is why it was the most expensive thing you needed for this class.

Just with the setup we recommend for this class, you can record great sound. However! There is a next step to improving sound quality, which is to record audio separately from your video. That’s actually how they do it in professional video shoots: there always is a separate person or team that is dedicated to only sound recording. The way this works is that, while shooting your video, your microphone is plugged into a dedicated audio recorder (you put the audio and video back together again while editing). There are several benefits of taking this approach. First, your sound quality will be much better. Second, not being tied to your camera with an audio cable means that you have a lot more flexibility for your video shoots. Third, dedicated audio recorders contain their own stereo microphones (at least the two that we recommend do), meaning that you will be able to record your own ambient and atmospheric sound. Here are our two recommendations:

  • Zoom H1. This is an entry-level digital audio recorder that records really high-quality sound, either from a plugged-in microphone or the onboard microphone. The device is also simple, making it easy to use.
  • Zoom H4n. This is a step up from the H1 in cost, but it is a major increase in functionality. This device is a Swiss army knife, capable of doing almost anything you would want to do with audio recording. The downside of all of this functionality is that the H4n is not easy to use – there is something of learning curve here.

Software. HitFilm Express is a great piece of software with far greater room to grow than iMovie. However, if you're looking to level up beyond this we would recommend either Adobe Premiere Elements ($100 Mac & PC), or Final Cut Pro X ($300, Mac only). The advantage to spending the extra $200 on Final Cut is that you have top of the line editing software (whereas Elements is a trimmed down version of professional software) for a one-off price, and it feels a lot like iMovie without the limitations. For the equivalent on Windows, you could use Premiere Pro but, with the new creative cloud system, it requires a monthly subscription of at least $19. You could always look for an older non-monthly-subscription version (CS6 goes for around $450 on Ebay).

The End

Well, you have now reached the end of this guide - thanks for reading through it! What now? Well, we have other guides for you (here) that you might want to poke around. Let us also humbly remind you that you should consider taking one of our online communication classes. We offer them several times a year and, by signing up for our mailing list, you can be the first in your neighborhood to be notified about what's coming up. Our classes are extremely collaborative - which is a really essential part of the process of working through this stuff. It is not so easy to come up with the answers all on your own.

Also, give us a buzz if you have any questions on anything! We're always happy to chat about this stuff.