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The DIY video process for accountants: Lighting, audio, and editing

The DIY video process for accountants

Recording videos for your accounting firm feels difficult (or even impossible), and facing this task as an accountant feels even harder. You didn’t set out in your accounting business to be a videographer, but you’re starting to realise how powerful video is for your clients, your prospects, and for the future of your firm. You may be thinking you need to hire a professional, and are overwhelmed with how to choose one, how much it might cost, and whether it’s even worth it.

Even if you consider doing it yourself, choosing video and photo equipment feels intimidating, and you know it will take time to learn how to handle it. Or you don’t know what to choose, or you order what someone else tells you to order and then stare at it, sitting there in its shiny new box, and then with a deep sigh set it to the side or the back of the closet or a corner of the office and go back to writing emails and phoning clients.

Doing it yourself, though, does not have to look like a low-budget option. The best camera you can have is the one you have with you always, and you already own a mobile phone which has more capability than any equipment you need at this point. You have instant access to capture content and share it wherever and with whoever you want. As a photographer and videographer, even I’m amazed how great phones have become at taking high quality photos and videos.

There are some small things to know about which will help you get more out of the tools you already have without spending loads of money….but first… why does it matter?

Building connections is core to your marketing. People want to see other people: it’s how they build trust, and ultimately you want prospects to feel it’s possible to trust you, before they get in touch.

Video is the best way to help prospects feel like they are having a real conversation (before they even meet you) and allows for a deeper connection. Without video, all you have is words. With video, you have facial expressions and tone of voice and body language… which represents over 93% of communication! Just think about how much of what you’re trying to get across is lost without video! Putting an effort into video (and thereby your marketing) not only helps them get to know you better and faster, it also gives you the opportunity to show them you care, and are passionate about what you do.

You know yourself and your firm (which is really your brand) better than anyone else. Creating your own video content helps build consistency and trust. When you create your own content, you aren’t needing to rely on someone else’s timeline or schedule. Eventually you will become better and faster and more efficient, saving you time and money.

This doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself, by the way. It’s good to start by getting to know how video works and why it’s so important: but eventually you can quickly record a video with good lighting and audio, upload it to Google Drive, and have PF do everything else for you – the editing, the intro/outro with music or your logo swirling in, captions or subtitles, tags, SEO, uploading to Vimeo and YouTube, embedding into your website, sharing on social…. all that represents a massive amount of time which we can do for you, and do well. What we won’t ever be able to do for you is…be you. Have your enthusiasm or passion or accent or style or words or stories. Those are yours, and you and your team need to be sharing them.

Sharing video and content means you can reach virtually anyone in the world, but you don’t want anyone. You want the right clients, for you. So as you’re creating video, talk about things which relate to your dream clients. Talk to them. Share stories with them. Be inspired by them. Lead with content and inspiration geared towards those dream clients to build trust and relationships.

Then once you’ve created that video, you can share it (and clips from it, words from it, thoughts from it) to social media and other places online, which will draw in those dream clients as new leads, who already know you. Already like you. Already are ready to do business with you and your firm.

If they’re not, that’s good too! Good marketing divides. So when someone watches your videos and decides not to get in touch, your marketing has achieved another one of its goals by dividing out the people who are not right for you. They may be perfect for another firm, so let them go elsewhere. There’s enough business for everyone.

You already have the confidence and creativity you need to be successful: we know that. At PF, we are regularly amazed and impressed by the accountants who talk to us and read our content and watch our videos and join our coaching groups. You’re really good at what you do. When someone asks you a question, you can confidently answer it. When there’s a problem, you creatively figure out how to solve it. So, you ARE confident and creative….what you need is a few tips to be able to express that on video.

A good first step is to decide the purpose of your content. Create content that shares experiences, tells stories, educates and creates personal connections. The goal is to make your clients feel happy, enthusiastic and educated. Allow yourself to be seen and heard. There are people out there that want to know what you know.

Specifically for videos you want to set up a plan which encourages you to be confident. Figure out what overall point you want to make. Summarize your points in a powerful statement to start. This sets the stage for what you’re going to share or talk about, and keeps your audience engaged. Follow up with supporting ideas. When you have a plan, this helps you stay on track and keeps your audience from being overwhelmed.

As you conclude your video wrap it up to support your initial idea. Use your videos to grow your audience and your business. Take full advantage of your opportunity to share valuable content and create real relationships.

 

Before you start: Lighting, audio, and editing

 

Now you’ve understood why video is so important and you’re ready to give it a try, it’s time to talk about what you actually need.

1. Lighting: Choose natural or artificial light

Plan ahead and find a spot that works best for you, especially a place to allow for good lighting.

There are two types of lighting that you can use: Natural lighting and artificial lighting.

Each has pros and cons. Natural lighting is always your first choice. It offers the best light and it’s free, but it isn’t always available. Whether you are in a space with no natural light or shooting after the sun goes down, natural light may not be an option.

Your second choice is artificial light. There are lots of options for artificial light. Some are more expensive than others, but an inexpensive light can get great results. A ring light does a good job of adding light to space that you are shooting in. Positioned correctly you can capture well lit material for your marketing needs.

You can see the difference in the two lighting types in this tutorial video.

2. Audio: Shotgun or lavalier microphone

When it comes to audio, be aware of your surroundings. I wouldn’t suggest recording your video outside of a train station or in a bar on a Friday night. No one wants to listen to a video with a bunch of background noises or muffled voices. In fact, audio is even more important than visuals when it comes to video: because you can watch a slightly blurry video or one with low light (and people often do) and still find it interesting or funny or fascinating because of what is being said. But you have to hear what is said. Plan ahead to find a quiet space with little background noise.

Buying an inexpensive microphone is one easy step to avoid bad audio. This doesn’t have to be complicated. There are many easy solutions to help you get professional quality sound, all from your own phone. You could try a shotgun microphone or a lavalier microphone. A shotgun microphone is a directional microphone that reduces distracting sounds and focuses on the audio in front of the camera. A shotgun microphone can also be plugged straight into a camera if you are using one. Another great option is a lavalier microphone, but maybe a bit more advances for beginners. A lavalier microphone is a discreet wearable microphone used to capture high quality sound, also called a lapel mic. The complicated part of this microphone is that you are not able to record the audio and visual from the same phone at the same time. You will need a separate recording device for the audio and the visual, which will also require a bit of editing to put the audio and video together. Depending on your level of experience this may or may not be the best option for you. Regardless, one of these two options will make a significant difference for your videos.

You can see the difference in the two audio types in this tutorial video.

3. Editing: using Canva or Lightroom Mobile

Sometimes after using the right lighting and audio your photos and videos can still feel a bit dull. Getting your videos properly and professionally edited is a good idea (especially if they’re the kind of videos you’re sharing on your website for some time, rather than just a quick video people will watch for a day or two and not come back to). But even before you move to asking PF for help with video editing, you can still do a little yourself.

The internet is overwhelmed with tons of photo and video editing softwares and apps. Some options are expensive and challenging to use, but there are a lot of inexpensive user friendly choices as well. Lightroom mobile and Canva are two of those easy to use options, plus they are free. Canva has both photo and video editing capabilities whereas lightroom mobile is based solely on photos.

Some of us can record a video and get it right the first time. Some of us re record for hours and never feel satisfied. Having good lighting and good audio are two steps in the right direction, but even then sometimes you still feel defeated. Let editing help you.

Learn a little about the two editing options on your phone in this tutorial video.

How to do it:
Tutorial showing video with different lighting
Tutorial showing video with different audio
Tutorial showing editing options.

It took me a while after starting to work at PF to realize not all marketing is designed to speak to everyone. Each accountant has a specific niche and a specific audience you are speaking to, and it’s not the same as someone else’s.

It’s not just anyone you are talking to. You are talking to your dream clients, the right clients. Make your marketing about them. Start taking photos that they will want to see. Start recording videos that answer questions they’ve been asking. Let them get to know you on a deeper level. Let your clients join you on your journey.

The hardest part is getting started and we’re here to help!

To learn more detail about all these video options (and more), join the 4 week Video Breakthrough training course – or better yet, join the PF Lab which gives you free access to the video course AND every other course we’re running this year! (At least one per month exclusive to Lab members only.)