Video Creation Basics: Gathering Images and Video on a Budget

Moira West


Last week we launched a new blog series designed to help you create your own marketing videos. Today, we’re starting off with the first step in making videos—getting the images and video clips you’ll need to create them.

The good news is, you don’t have to have fancy equipment or a big budget to get what you need to create standout marketing videos. In fact, you probably already have everything you you need to get started. In the post below, we’ll offer simple, budget-friendly methods for getting the images and video clips you need, along with challenges to help you build your skills and put your new knowledge into practice.

What to look for

Before we begin, let’s quickly go over what to look for in your images, so you can select material that’ll work well in your videos. These guidelines work whether you’re shooting your own photos and video clips, or finding them on a stock image site.

Get permission

If you’re planning to use photos that include other people, or if the images you want to use aren’t yours, make sure you have the necessary permissions to use them.

Make it text friendly

When you’re searching, look for photos or video clips with blank space above, below, or to the side. These blank spaces give you room to add in what you want to say, as the video from Rescue Chocolate does below. Check out our post on shooting photos and video clips that are text friendly for more detail.

Find clear, visually interesting material

Your photos and video clips are selling your business, and you want that content to be as interesting as your business is. So look for assets that stand out with a strong central point of interest. Skip any images that are a bit blurry or have muddy composition with nothing specific to focus on.

Consider the visual look you want

Just like when you get dressed in the morning, when you put together materials for your video, try to consider how they match up together. Not sure how to do that? Look for assets with colors and tones that match or complement the other images and video clips you’ve already chosen. For instance, Pure Barre Red Bank developed a limited color palette in their video below that helps their brand’s signature red color stand out.

Go for high resolution

If you want customers to watch your video in HD, you’ll need high-definition images and video clips. Try for photos that are 2000 pixels on the longest side, and download video clips at 1080p to ensure high-quality output.

Finding assets you already have

If you’ve been in business for even a little while, you’ve probably already built up a set of images you can use in your next marketing video. Don’t dismiss those existing assets—check out this blog post to see how even big companies with big marketing budgets, like Crate & Barrel and Mighty Leaf Tea, still use photos and video clips they already have in their video marketing.

Here are a few of the places you can go to find your own materials to use in your next marketing video:

1. Social media: Does your business regularly share with fans on Facebook and Instagram? Raid your old posts for images and video clips and repurpose them in a video. You can learn how to do this in the video below:

2. Your website: Sometimes your best images are already on your website. At the very least, you’ll find your logo. But if your website also has photos of your place of business or images of employees or customers, remember to save those for marketing video projects, too.

3. Ad campaigns and catalogues: Print campaigns, static online ads, and catalogues are full of images that show off your business. Take them and turn them into your next marketing video.

4. Company events or promotions: Ever hosted an event, fundraiser, or special promotion for your business? Grab the video clips and photos you took and put them to use.

Stock assets

Even if you can’t find enough material to promote your business, there are millions of free stock photos and videos out there to help you make a video without making a dent in your wallet. For inspiration, check out our case study for We Are Wildness, a company that found incredible success with a series of videos created entirely with stock assets.

And if you don’t know where to find free photos and video clips, we can help you there, too. Animoto offers a free download with more than 170 images and video clips to help you build your stock collection. We also have a blog post linking out to more than 30 sites featuring free stock images and video clips.

Shoot your own

Want to create your own content? We’ll delve into the nitty gritty of shooting video later in this series, but for now, take a look at a few ideas for short video clips you can use to add polish to your next marketing video, along with ways to adjust them to your resources and comfort level.

Spotlight on owner

Get the owner of the business in front of the camera and help customers put a face to the name of your business. You don’t need an elaborate interview, but the video clip should clearly communicate why your business matters.

SIMPLE: Feature a brief interview with the owner of your business, where she or he explains what makes your company unique.

SIMPLER: Use a 5- or 10-second clip that introduces the owner — something like “Hi, I’m so-and-so, the owner of X company.”

SIMPLEST: Use an image with a caption identifying the owner.

Customer testimonials

Your customers are the best ambassadors for your business. So find some of your biggest fans, and ask them what they like most about your company. Just remember that authenticity matters—don’t script their answers.

SIMPLE: Meet with customers and record them answering a few questions you’ve prepared about their experience with your business.

SIMPLER: Grab a quick sound bite in your store with your customers. Start off by asking them what they like about your company.

SIMPLEST: Can’t get ahold of a live interviewee? Pull some testimonials from Yelp, Amazon, Twitter, or other sites to show how much customers love your business.

Behind the scenes footage

Invite viewers into your store, factory, or studio and give them an enticing glimpse at how your business works. Video viewers love a glimpse behind the scenes, and this type of video can inspire potential customers to find out more about your business.

SIMPLE: Record video clips of you or other employees engaged in your work.

SIMPLER: Do a slow pan across a room, showing tools of the trade.

SIMPLEST: Take photos showing what customers don’t get to see—employees at work, tools used to make your products, or anything else that might spark their interest.

Product shots

Video is particularly effective at showing how products work, especially if there’s more to your product than meets the eye.

SIMPLE: Describe a product, including how it works and feels.

SIMPLER: Feature short video clips showing a product from multiple angles.

SIMPLEST: Show off the product with still images. Mix up close-up shots with wider shots and other products or surroundings.

Build your skills

Ready to put your asset-gathering skills to the test? Try our 3-asset challenge. Your mission is to create a marketing video with no more than 3 images or video clips. You can take your images from wherever you like—use photos and video clips from social media, visit stock image sites, or go out and create your own assets.

However you get your content, video templates, like our Bite-sized Product Intro or Content Offer storyboards, can let you upload images and produce a video in just a few minutes.

And after your video’s completed, head over to our Facebook group, The Animoto Social Video Marketing Community. You can share your videos there for feedback and support, or just get inspiration for next week’s video challenge—shooting your own video clips.