Ask John Branch: Can I Get Away With Using My Phone to Start Making Videos?

This month, YouTuber, photographer and HoneyBook member John Branch is answering your most pressing video marketing questions in our new Ask An Expert series. Have a question? Ask John here.

Your Video Marketing Questions Answered

What’s up? This is John from John Branch IV Photography, and I’m super excited to be hanging out with the HoneyBook community, my favorite community, and answer y’alls questions about video marketing and video creation.

So, for a little bit about me, I’m a wedding photographer and have been for five years now. I also am a HoneyBook educator and use YouTube to train on HoneyBook, creative entrepreneurship and photography and technology. In the past I had a YouTube channel on music production, and I’ve also produced videos for other companies on music production as well.

So, let’s go ahead and jump into your questions.

Should I wait to get started on YouTube until I hire someone to edit my videos and add fancy effects to make them more entertaining or should I just start and put them up there, simple, plain Jane style for now? How important are graphics, music and all that stuff for YouTube?

So, in my personal opinion, that stuff is not important at all. Quality helps, but your personality, what you’re speaking on and just how you communicate to your clients or customers is what makes the biggest difference on YouTube. There’s a lot of people on there now and there’s a lot of people talking about stuff, but who are you and what are you talking about, and how likable are you? Those are the things that are going to make the hugest difference on YouTube.

Also, at this point, most everyone’s iPhones can shoot in 4K if you have a X or up, or maybe even an eight or up. Double check on apple.com, but since everyone has a phone that can shoot in 4K, get a nice microphone and you’re pretty much set. Quality is going to be pretty decent. Changes in effects and stuff, you don’t need that stuff. For simple effects and things, you can learn that stuff pretty easily.

So start, start now. Do not give yourself any excuses.

So I say start, start now and continually do it, because you’ll just keep getting better at what you do and your stuff will get better and more quality, and then maybe you can hire people to help you with editing and also recording B-roll and other things like that.

So start, start now. Do not give yourself any excuses. Just go ahead, shoot a video like this and upload it to IGTV or YouTube and get it out there.

Can I get away with just using a phone and a video app to start? Best beginner’s mic?

Definitely yes. Use your phones. If you don’t have a professional camera that you feel like you can use, iPhones shoot in 4K at this point; they are absolutely amazing. Also, there are a bunch of accessories that you can add to your phone to take it even to the next level.

One thing I love, love, love are the Moment lenses. These are lenses that you can attach to your phone and basically it turns your phone into a more professional camera. I’ve actually even done photoshoots just with my phone and the Moment lens and it’s kind of ridiculous how good it can look. Their app gives you a lot of video control as well, so throw a lens on there, use their apps and now you have fully professional 4K video just with your iPhone.

As far as mics, RODE Mic has a bunch of really cool ones. I actually am using one right now, just a nice little cheap, $100 mic, and it sounds really good. They even have one that’s cheaper, that’s like 60 bucks and super small.

Start out with that and a Moment lens and you’re talking 200 bucks max, plus the iPhone that you already have in use. So yeah, you can definitely use your iPhone to make videos for YouTube or IGTV.

I have a Canon 5D Mark III, and I understand the fundamentals of photography, but I’m a total newbie to video. I have two main questions. Are there any free or cheap resources for learning the technical side of shooting video and what other equipment do I need?

So, as far as training that you can find, one thing I absolutely love is Skillshare. There is so much information on Skillshare, it’s just ridiculous. Get on there. It’s a couple bucks a month, but it’s totally worth it.

Also, YouTube is a great resource. There are a lot of people up there sharing how they have their set-up for YouTube recording and how to record things.

And I can tell you personally, being a photographer myself, getting into the video recording side is not as hard as you think. If you understand the typical exposure triangle, it’s pretty much the same for video. Then after that you just have to start understanding frame rates and stuff. Once you get to that stage, then it’s really just learning the programs that help you edit your video and you’re good to go.

As far as additional things, you’ll need a microphone like the RODE Mics I talked about earlier. The nice cheap ones are a good place to start.

You’ll need a decent tripod. Just something to stand it up. I’ve been personally using the MeFOTO brand, because they’re pretty cheap. It’s like a nice little 200 buck tripod that helps it stand up. If you want to get a little fancy, you can get a slider. I have that for any type of reviews I do on products. I can have a nice little smooth slide in, some cool B-roll and stuff like that.

And depending on your camera, you might need to get an additional monitor, but this depends on your camera. The 5D Mark III does not have a flip out screen at all, but if you get a camera that has one that will flip out and you can see yourself, then you’re pretty much set there. I have a really cheap little Lilliput screen and it helps me see myself and it’s good.

So that’s really it. A mic, a screen, a tripod and you’re good, because you have the camera. Obviously you’ll need a program to edit your videos, but that’s outside of that stuff.

Remember, start and start now.

So, I hope that helped answer your questions. We’re definitely going to go through some more questions, too, because I know you all dropped a whole bunch of questions for me, and I’m super excited to go through them all.

Remember, start and start now. Do not be afraid that your gear’s not good enough or you’re not able to do whatever you want.

You are enough for your videos. You have something to say and people want to hear about it, but it’s not going to happen if you don’t do it.

You are enough for your videos. Get a lens, get a microphone, and just use your phone to record it and get yourself out there. You have something to say and people want to hear about it, but it’s not going to happen if you don’t do it.

Thanks again for having me and I’ll be back with more answers to your questions.

Have a question?

Ask John here.

And be sure to tune in every Friday this month for more.

Additional Video Marketing Resources

For more answers to your most pressing video marketing questions, check out other posts from our Ask John Branch series.

Want to learn more about getting started with video marketing and transforming your business leads? Get our Ultimate Guide to Video Marketing here.

Sobrina Pies

I’m a HoneyBooker—writing about small businesses, the people who run them, and tips and tricks to help them grow—and a lifestyle blogger at Quiet Like Horses, sharing stories, not small talk. HoneyBook helps you manage your business all in one place, from sending proposals, invoices and contracts to managing your projects and getting paid. Want to give it a try? Start a free HoneyBook trial here.  

2 comments

  1. Video is one thing I really want to get into but I am so very shy. Plus it’s more to learn and do on top of my blog, shop and social media. But I know how important it is to get into this day and age. Thank you for all your helpful information. I just had one question, probably a dumb one but……was the tripod you mentioned we should get needed for the phone or microphone? Thanks in advance for your help!

    Sincerely

    Melissa

    Reply
    1. Sobrina Pies

      Hi Melissa, the tripod is for your phone. Hope that helps!

      Reply

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