Videos have become the gold standard in engaging content. People love them because they’re so easy to consume…but they may not always be so easy to make.
The good news is that you don’t have to be a video professional to produce compelling video content. In fact, you can produce great videos even if you know nothing about making them! Here are 3 super simple ways to get started making video content for Instagram.
1. Talk to the camera (vlog-style)
Believe it or not, some of the most engaging, viral videos were made simply by setting up a camera, hitting “record,” and talking to it directly for a few minutes. This type of video is engaging because it’s direct, candid and personal — almost like having a one-on-one video chat with your audience.
All you need is a concept and a video camera. You can make the video yourself using a smartphone with a tripod or a webcam, or you can have someone else take the video.
A few pointers:
- Make sure the lighting is good: Lighting can make a huge difference to the atmosphere of the video, and bad lighting can be unflattering. The ideal set-up is a bright room, preferably near a window with soft natural light coming in — not direct sunlight, which is harsh and will make you squint.
- Reduce background noise as much as possible: Pick a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted, and turn off any machines in the background that might interfere with your audio quality.
- Prepare ahead of time: Even if you’re going to use a video editor to remove outtakes, the whole process will be a lot smoother if you’ve prepared and practiced what you’re going to say ahead of time. You can also keep a cheat sheet with notes somewhere near the camera, so you can glance at it if you lose your thread.
- Keep it short: Remember that Instagram only allows videos that are up to a minute long in the feed! There are ways to post longer videos, but attention spans are short. Keep your videos brief and to the point. Instagram has a built-in video trimmer you can use to cut your video down to a minute or less. Most native video editors and video apps like VideoBoost have a trimming function, too.
2. Make a video with still images
Guess what? You don’t even need to have video footage to create a beautiful video! You can make a video using still images.
Of course, you don’t want it to look like a PowerPoint presentation. The secret to making a slideshow-type video that will wow your followers is using smooth animation and well-designed visual elements.
Sounds complicated? It really doesn’t have to be. You can take existing photos and clips and put them together to create a compelling video with pre-designed templates, animations, stickers, and cool fonts.
Some tips for making a great video with still images:
- Keep it short: This is especially important with slideshows, since they need to keep moving to stay interesting, and too many slides gets monotonous no matter how cool they look.
- Add music to match the mood: Music accesses emotion more directly than any other type of art, so adding a soundtrack to your slideshow helps create the atmosphere you want. Just be sure you’re not infringing copyright law: up to 30 seconds of licensed music is considered fair use, but if you need a longer clip, you’ll need to find copyright-free music or get permission.
- Add just a few words of text in strategic locations: Think of text not as a description or explanation, but a visual element in its own right.
- Templates make this super easy: Using templates on an app like VideoBoost, you really don’t need to have any technical or design expertise to make your slideshow video look great. All you need to do is select a template, choose your images or clips to place in the templates, and voilà.
Though it may seem a little daunting to broadcast yourself live, live streaming can actually be a great option for people who are intimidated by the idea of editing videos, because this type of video is supposed to be “raw” and unpolished. You don’t need to know how to do anything fancy to make them. All you have to do is access your Instagram camera, swipe over to “Live” mode, and hit the broadcast button.
A few ideas for broadcasting livestream:
- Take your followers on a tour of your workspace or surroundings
- Introduce your followers to a colleague or partner who is working with you
- Interview a client (with their consent, of course) about their experience with your service or product
- Check in from an event or conference
- Talk about something related to your product or give a demo of your product
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Your videos will get better the more experience you have, so play around, experiment, and have fun!
1. Try out a vlog style video sometime this week: Even if you don’t end up sharing it, making this type of video is great practice and can give you some footage to work with for when you want to try your hand at video.
2. Set a date to try and go live: If you’re nervous that you’ll fumble on camera, practice what you’re going to do and say ahead of time and have notes on hand.