What equipment, editing software and skills will I need?


  • A professional camera or high-end smartphone/tablet.
  • A professional microphone for narrated videos such as a quality lapel mic, shotgun mic or external recorder. You can typically rent a lapel mic, XLR conversion jack and transponder for about $15/day, but test the equipment before renting.
  • Additional lighting if necessary. You can often get around this, by having a large bright window at your back during the narration shoot.
  • A fluid-head tripod, or at least a stable stool to set the camera and manually pan.


  • Apple computers come with iMovie.
  • For PC users, in our experience, we had sound splicing flaws using Movie Maker. Therefore, we recommend buying Adobe Premier Elements for under $100.
  • Or hire a videographer to do the editing portion for you.


  • You'll need to know how to operate your equipment (camera, microphone).
  • You may need to watch a 1-2 hour editing software tutorial on YouTube.
  • You'll need to have a good marketing eye for pulling out the best footage.

What level of camera skill should I have?

Customers want unbiased, authentic footage. However, if your business sells ambiance/entertainment, your video should convey this. How much of your service fills a want versus a need? Some restaurants need convey a mood through special camera effects, background music and other features whereas a real estate agent will want to keep it more serious and professional. Your video should convey ambiance to the same degree your business does. Conveying ambiance in video does require more camera skill. Some examples:

When we hire an auto mechanic, we aren't doing it to have a good time. We're doing it to have a problem removed from our lives. An informative video that focuses on building trust and demonstrating expertise can be more effective than one that tries to sell the fun factor. Any opportunity to omit background music should be taken advantage of as music makes us think we are watching a commercial, and to "change the channel".

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When we shop at a retail store like Walgreens, it's usually more out of necessity than for recreation. Videos for similar convenience stores should focus more on informative facts than customer's emotions. There is still some value in conveying that shopping experience will be enjoyable however, by showing things like unique products, atmosphere-setting decor, and cheerful staff.

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Going to a beauty salon can be both out of need and want. For example, a customer might be visiting a salon for a hair cut, but part of what they are paying for is a friendly, relaxing atmosphere. To a degree, your video should convey ambiance, perhaps with background music that fits the theme of the salon and shots of stylists smiling and chatting with clients.

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Most restaurants value a fun experience and enjoyable environment over just providing a meal. Strong ambiance building shots are required for higher-priced restaurants. The amount of ambiance you build in the video should fit the restaurant. For example, a slow-motion, closeup of wine pouring is an effective ambiance-building shot for a nice dinner restaurant, but a slow-motion, closeup of soda pouring into a paper cup will not score points with a lunchtime deli customer.

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Videos for entertainers for hire, such as musicians and performers, are trying to sell fun or other emotions. Your video should be all about building ambiance, excitement and fun. Typically these videos will require the most skill in shooting and editing.

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Some Ways to Build Ambiance

  • Close ups, slow motion, rapid scene changes, focus-shifting shots
  • Fitting background music
  • A concise message that connects
  • Narration that is delivered well
  • Professional lighting
  • Higher (cinematic) picture quality
  • Higher audio quality

So if your business sells ambiance, be aware of the additional level of difficulty. You should be open to evolving your video over more than one revision. Or if you are considering hiring a pro, know that not all videographers specialize in building ambiance, so review their portfolio and choose one that fits your business.

In marketing, your first impression is everything. A poorly made video can potentially hurt your business. It is worth it to take the additional time to get your video right. When you do get it right, your video will win new customers for you for years. So if you're ready let's get started by choosing you business category!