A client asked me if we could do some ‘how-to’ videos for installing and troubleshooting his tech product range, based on a re-usable  repeated ‘template’ for the whole product range.  Since his company’s video budget, like so many, has been slashed due to the pandemic, I thought I’d share my advice to him, as you might be in the same ‘budget’ predicament, for any sort of promos or explainers you were planning this year.

1) VIDEO CREATOR SOFTWARE

 

If you want full control and flexibility, you can skip this section,  BUT with little to no editing experience required,  there are affordable programs out there that can save you a tone of time and money…

– great for animations like Powtoon (pictured above), Animaker or vyond

– great for whiteboard scribble like videos like VideoScribe

– great for simple explainer or punchy testimonial videos Magisto or Biteable ,

to name a few, all allow you to select pre-made templates and have professional looking titles and texts and come up with a short video.

With Powtoon pictured above, I managed within about 30 mins to create a VERY draft animation, it took me about a day to get the hang of the software, and I’d say that if I had to produce a finished product it would only be a matter of days, to think up the idea, look at the stock footage or animation characters, find the music, load up all the company logos, fonts etc. and publish.

 

THE GOOD NEWS …
 
1) Cheaper than hiring a freelancer – they all entice you for annual vs monthly payment and offer packages based on video-duration limits, usage licence, stock library access etc.
eg. PowToon  €228/yr or €348/yr depending on the stock library access
Magisto – (includes Vimeo Pro where you can show your videos without ads) $120-$408/yr for vids  up to 10mins long  and includes a huge Getty images istock library and has a reasonable monthly payment option
Biteable  – €348/yr for 3 videos per month  or $180/yr 1 video per month –  good stock library of videos but upload one file at a time.
 
2) Saves time – assuming you have fairly simple clear storyboard of photos, video clips all running along a single music track
 
3) Easy to create a ‘template’ title animation and endings etc. and re-use it eg. for different products eg. Biteable has some nice title animations if you buy the top package, but then lacks in other areas.
 
ARE ANY OF THESE SHOWSTOPPERS FOR YOU?
 
1)  Audio in most case is restricted to one music piece, with no ability to pick only certain parts of it, no ability for additional audio tracks and in some cases not even for narration alongside music. Tricky also to do precise audio cutting eg. if you are editing an interview, or removing hums and errhs.. and you can’t fade the music at different places
 
3) You can’t have multiple layers of video so it’s hard to work with multiple camera angles, or lots of cuts. Some packages eg. Magisto, allow a main video eg. an interview and a ‘b-roll’ where images will appear over the narration which is ample for simple interviews. But you can’t easily tell it when to come in and out of the b-roll.  You can’t film on green screens and then replace the background
 

4) Depending on the price plan, restrictions on duration of videos and number of videos you can export.

5) Most packages won’t even allow you to change the duration of the ‘slide’ to exactly what you want either than for the whole video pace (fast, med, slow)
 
 6) Some packages eg. biteable won’t let you upload all your media in one go, you have to do it one at a time, and when you edit you can’t move multiple clips together
 
7) You won’t be able to manipulate the audio you choose inside the software, eg. if you choose a piece that’s longer than your video sometimes you want to pick certain parts of it.. you’ll need to do this externally, and import the final version.

 

8) Not much flexibility with texts other than font. If you choose something where a box of text comes in, you may be restricted on how many letters it can fit, and won’t allow you to have eg. the lower line smaller font, or fancy lower thirds (interview names) depending on the package. 
 
  

2) BEGINNER VIDEO EDITORS

Professional editing software like Adobe Premier Pro & After Effects, or Final Cut Pro are very powerful but require a highly skilled editor and take time, hence expensive.
 
‘Beginner’ editors Eg. Camtasia, Filmora, NeroPremier Elements, and many more are cheaper, and easier to learn, with the limited functionality and templates (eg. for titles and lower thirds) that can often prove plenty for your company video needs. There’s also the ‘freebies’ with Apple imovie, and Windows MovieMaker
 
Can your computer handle it?… Like with all video editors, before you buy, make sure your laptop/PC/Mac satisfies the minimum SYSTEM requirements, as video editing can be a nightmare on entry level or old hardware.  Eg. mostly you’d be fine with 8Gb Ram, decent i5 or i7 processor and a decent Graphics card. Enough hard drive free memory eg. 4Gb or an external drive would also be advised for the footage.
 
Factor in some DIY training These programs still aren’t entirely intuitive, and your in-house ‘editor’ will have to spend some days getting the hang of it.  However, there’s usually plenty of youtube training out there for a DIY training solution if your staff have the motivation and are fast-learners.
 
THE GOOD NEWS…
1)  cheaper than pro software, Eg. Filmora business is $150/yr or $300/yr including some decent stock videos and images.
2) Mostly they have multiple video tracks (eg. multiple audio and video files, the ability eg. to start with music, then fade it when voice is speaking and use multiple tracks and cuts and camera angles. though free packages like imovie just have one video track but allow you to do greenscreen and split screen.
 
 
ARE ANY OF THESE SHOWSTOPPERS FOR YOU?
 
1)  will need a fast-learner-type staff member to DIY train, with a powerful enough computer
2)  will not easily sketch or do character animations
 

3) READY-MADE SOFTWARE WITH PRO HELP

 
If you just ‘want it done’! as cheaply as possible, but don’t have the in-house creativity,  your best bet is to hire a freelancer (eg. me!) to
– ask the right questions to help you decide audience, style, duration, call to action, media
– come up with the creative treatment/the story
– find decent music, stylish title animations that you guys can re-use
 
Especially if you want to create a sort of ’template’ for a series of videos eg. product how-to videos, where you want the titles, music and flow to look professional, but your guys can replicate it for future stuff …
 

SUMMARY…

If you just have a simple story board, with one music track and some voice clips or images and animation, then I can produce a video for as little as £600+ depending on the spec or you can install for £200-£600 /yr your own video editing solution, assuming you have a creative  in-house staff member than can do some DIY training.   If you don’t have time to ‘try before you buy’,  then I can only speak for the ones I’ve tried and recommend for cheap animation PowToon or GoAnimate, or for a simple explainer video something like Magisto which offers great stock library and more flexible editing. ..If you’re looking to film something eg. a product or scene from multiple camera angles or want music coming in and out of voice for promos or explainers I would go with option 2 packages, I can personally vouch for Filmora being decent enough, assuming you have someone in-house that’s willing to learn.
 
But either way,  I would invest in help to ‘scope’ your future budget-videos with creative ideas from a professional freelancer or agency and invest in a re-useable logo title sequence if your package doesn’t do a decent one.
 

NEXT STEPS…

1. Have a think of videos you can post on a budget  
– Some customers talking about your service via zoom
– a quick animation explaining something you do or sell
– online staff training
– how-to videos etc. etc.
 
2. ‘Give us a call’ or email info@florentia.co.uk, no obligation, and we’ll discuss your needs.
 
 
PS. This is by no means an exhaustive list, nor am I an expert in any one of these packages, though I have used PowToon, Filmora, Magisto, imovie and regularly use the professional Adobe suite (Premier Pro & After Effects).  Each software discussed earlier has its little intricate pros and cons and you’d have to a bit of research and a little trial to see which one to press ‘buy’ on.