Last month I spent three straight days filming my new Kickstarter video from within my own condo on a shoestring budget, completely by myself. I thought I’d outline some of the process as well as tips and tricks I used along the way.
My campaign launched a week ago and it is currently already 185% Funded!
See the campaign video here: Cascade Cables Kickstarter Campaign
Most people probably think they can’t create a good video because they don’t have the right equipment. It can be thousands of dollars just to get an entry level set up. However renting equipment is a very economical way to get great equipment for a fraction of the price.
I used LensRentals.com for my video and rented what I needed for three full days. They ship it to you in very heavy duty enclosure and include all the labels to simply pack it up and ship it back at the end of the three days.
Here’s a breakdown of what I used on the video:
Canon 77D Camera Body– $34.00
Canon 24–70mm f/2.8 Lens — $44.00
Canon 50mm f/1.4 Lens — $19.00
DJI Ronin S Gimbal Stabilizer — $53.00
Total — $150 (I did forgo insurance and found a deal on free shipping)
This set up allowed for a bit of diversity with a fixed 50mm lens with the zoom lens of the 24–70mm. As well the reviews of the new Canon 77D were great, especially on the auto-focus for video. I dive a bit more into the gimbal below.
Obviously if your video is more involved it might take longer than 3 days so the cost may be higher, but that gets into my next point…
Planning The Script
I reviewed other Kickstarter videos for inspiration on the vibe I want to portray for the video. You don’t have a lot of time to capture their attention, so I wanted to get to the point without too much fluff.
I created a word document with two columns — Voice Over & Visuals. I had a rough idea for some parts on what I wanted to say but maybe not the visuals and vice versa. Slowly I pecked away matching voice overs with video shots on paper. Reading the script out loud enabled me to understand the timing for myself to have a rough idea of how long the video might be before I even started shooting. Then I trimmed redundant sections as needed.
This planning process can help save money in the long run when renting equipment. If you know what you are going to shoot — you can easily book the time with the equipment without any wasted days.
Using Shallow Depth of Field
As I mentioned, I shot 90% of the video within my own condo. This may sound like a boring backdrop but leveraging the technology within your camera equipment you can create diverse shots within a small area.
The Canon 50mm lens I used had a low aperture of f/1.4 which is what creates an a focused foreground and a blurred background. Using a low aperture, I was able to mask my surroundings with enough going on in the background to create a scene but a sharper focus on the product in the foreground.
One of my favorite shots at 1:02 was filmed by hanging the phones from the ceiling and flipping it in post production so they appear to be standing upright. The low depth of field helps hide the fact that my kitchen is completely upside down in the background.
Doing this meant I didn’t need to spend money on renting a location. Not all products you might be making a video for will work in this similar setting but places like a public park or your town’s library could be free spaces you could utilize as settings while making them look for visually entertaining then they are.
The Motorized Gimbal was a Lifesaver
The DJI Ronin S Gimbal had a slight learning curve but once I had it set up it was crucial to my production for a few reasons.
First it allowed me to get much more cinematically smooth shots when filming. The gimbal counteracts any small movements so the camera is also level. This gave things a more professional look than typical handheld filming.
However most importantly, you can program set paths for the camera travel from your phone. So you can set point A and have it move and travel to point B, up to 10 points. So shots that I needed to be in using the product, I could set a slight movement to the camera to pan alongside what I was doing to create the illusion of someone else filming the video when I couldn’t physically create the motion myself.
Similarly it is how I achieved the intro shot of the video. I set the motion path across the coffee table, place one phone down — press go. Place the second phone down and press go again re-filming the exact same motion over and over, then edited the shots to match up as one solid motion with the phone’s appearing across the photo.
Therefore I didn’t need to hire an additional hands to help film the video!
Editing the Video (Youtube is your friend)
Before I started editing the video, I needed to find a song as the background music to the video. Finding the song first would help set the pace for the video and where you might cut shots to match the beat of the song. AudioJungle.net is a great resource for royalty free music with prices around $9–39 for the use of a song.
To edit the video I used Adobe’s Creative Cloud software (~$50 a month for all apps). I used After Effects and Premiere Pro to edit the video. While this can also be a daunting task, there is a plethora of content and tutorials on Youtube on how to achieve anything you need to.
Similarly VideoHive.net (Sister site to AudioJungle) had all of overlaps assets I needed for the video. For $29, I purchased 152 “Call Out Titles” to add motion graphics to the video. Then I searched, How to motion track video titles in After Effects, in Youtube and within 20 minutes I had the process down relatively comfortably to repeat it across different sections of the video.
The same goes for color correcting, voice over audio editing, and so on. Once you get down the rabbit hole one topic on YouTube you’ll be surprised at how much you can learn in a short period of time.
When sending feedback to your friends or family, you are going to hear — wow awesome, great job! — a lot (hopefully!). They are probably bias to knowing you spent a lot of time and energy into the project so they want to be supportive.
What’s important is to ask objective questions where they can give their honest opinion without feeling like they are shutting you down. “Do you think I’m talking to fast in this part of the video” “Is that pace from topic to topic ok to understand the features” “In this shot was it distracting that ____ was happening” That way you can get a better of an idea if what’s working and what isn’t
Overall I am really happy how things turned out for the video. I was a bit apprehensive before starting the process if I should ask a video friend of mine for help, but I decided to just jump into it for the first go around.
TL;DR I created my Kickstarter video solo in 3 days and spent $333 by renting camera equipment from LensRentals.com, pre-planning my shots with This Word Document, used camera tricks like shallow depth of field and using automated paths on a motorized gimbal, used AudioJungle.net and VideoHive.net for music and motion graphics, and learned how to implement them using free Youtube tutorials.
Feel free to AMA!