Videos are a must for websites and social media, but most businesses don’t have the resources for a full video shoot. The following are tools that I’ve personally relied on when working with shoestring budgets to produce professional-quality videos.
ScreenFlow has been a favorite of mine for years. If you’re creating screencasts of your website or mobile app, ScreenFlow is a fantastic way to capture video or create animated GIFs. You can magnify the cursor in order to call attention to what you’re doing. It’s also an intuitive video editor, especially for those of us who remember the early days of iMovie (I can’t use it anymore because as it’s trying to pull all my computer’s media, it’s really, REALLY slow. I also don’t find it as simple to use as it used to be).
ScreenFlow is a useful tool to record webinars. This way, students who couldn’t attend the live session can access an archive, or students who attended the live session can refer back to what they heard.
ScreenFlow offers a free trial, but you’ll pay $129 to output video without a watermark.
As much as I love the sound of my own voice, professional voiceover helps give videos an extra polish. As a copywriter, I’m extremely picky about the intonation and delivery of any words in a video.
Voices.com is a solid solution to find VO talent. There is a self-service platform and for higher-budget jobs, you can also work with an account manager on the Voices.com team. I’ve used both. The benefit of having an account manager is he or she helps you cull through talent, which saves time in finding the perfect voice. The self-service platform is just as easy; you’ll just need to dedicate more time to listening to auditions. In either case, writing detailed specs that articulate the age range, gender, and feeling you want to cultivate will go a long way in finding the right talent.
Voice talents set their own bids, but the minimum threshold for any job is $100.
Storyblocks encompasses different sites for stock video, stock music, and stock imagery. However, the service recently rebranded as the one-stop-shop Storyblocks.
Videoblocks is a subscription service that gives you access to royalty-free video and After Effects templates. The royalty-free library enables you to download unlimited content for the duration of your membership. You also have access to a marketplace of videos that are offered directly by the artists and creators for purchase. Membership is $149/year.
Audioblocks works much the same way for stock music, sound effects, and audio loops. I couldn’t find updated information about membership rates, but I was grandfathered in at a cost of $99/year.
Storyblocks offers stock photos, vector art, and illustrations, but I haven’t personally used this service yet. The stock photo market is likely the most competitive of the three offerings, so I can’t say definitively whether this service is better or worse than others.
In 2016, I worked on this project for my client American College of Education. We had the budget for a professional video shoot, so the footage we worked with is brilliantly shot and lit, with fantastic sound quality. This (of course) does wonders for the final product because no matter what your budget, if you start with poor footage, nothing much will save it.
I used ScreenFlow for the edit, Voices.com for the voiceover, and Audioblocks for the music. The logo treatment was downloaded from a template on Envato, and I created some of the animated slides in Keynote.
… and a fourth tool for good measure, on the animated side of things…
GoAnimate is an online tool to create animated videos. It takes a little getting used to, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s easy and fun to make animations. With GoAnimate, you can create custom characters by choosing their body shape, facial features, and clothing. GoAnimate also includes several templates you can use as a starting point.
GoAnimate offers a 14-day free trial, and then is a subscription service that starts at $39/month.
I used GoAnimate to create this video explaining the Charles Ave AdWords Account Audit. The music came from Audioblocks.
Also published on Medium.