40,891 reasons to make an iPhone video for your business this Christmas

Would you like to reach more people with some inexpensive one-off marketing that keeps growing in audience? Read this story of how an iPhone, a microphone and some know-how led to 40,891 video views and a Christmas gift that keeps on giving.

Kathryn, who works for Taleist in London, made this iPhone video in November 2014 for a client, Luxury Family Hotels, Woolley Grange Hotel.

  • By the end of 2014 it had maybe 1,000 views. Not bad.
  • Then it went quiet -- Christmas was over, no one was making wreaths
  • Around this time last year, the video started putting on some serious numbers -- about 20,000 views. It had been on YouTube for a year, people had watched it, it was ranking in the search results
  • At the time of writing, it's at 40,891 and rising
  • It will get more views and more exposure for the hotel next year and the year after

That video must have cost a fortune. Nope, it was shot on an iPhone.

Kathryn shot this video with her iPhone and a Rode SmartLav microphone (c. $65). She edited with iMovie (software included with her Mac).

You don't need fancy equipment to make a video that people will value because the content is what they're looking for and it's well-presented.

If you wanted the full corporate video experience for the video above, you'd be looking at $2,500-$5,000. But pulling off a high-end corporate video requires taking things to a level we're not talking about here.

What we're talking about here is taking the time to make a video that people will watch, because:

  • They want the information you're giving them
  • You've put it together to a good enough standard

Tips for making a video with your iPhone

  1. Plan. Plan. Plan. In your mind, what does the finished version look like? Now you know that, what shots will you need? Kathryn knew she wanted to film Eliza making the wreath, but also she wanted video of her hanging it up and shots of her gathering the material.
  2. Allow lots of time. Just because a finished video will last two minutes doesn't mean it will take you two minutes to film it. That 30-second Toyota commercial didn't just take 30 seconds to film. Make sure your subject knows you need time. Time to think on the job, time to set up, time to shoot more than once. Nothing causes more face-palming during the editing part of the job than realising you forgot to shoot something or something was wrong with the shot you did make. And that happens more when you don't allow yourself time.
  3. Record more than once or on more than one phone. In this video, Kathryn recorded Eliza in a wide shot to get in the whole scene and did some close-ups of her working on the wreath. In the finished video, she can move from wide to close. Your audience doesn't need to know they were from two different recordings.
  4. If your subject is nervous, get them to do the narration while you're shooting something other than their face or record the voiceover separately. Explain that their face is not on camera, so they're not trying to concentrate on speaking clearly while worrying how they look. The style used here is a good example -- Eliza isn't talking in the wide shot of her making the wreath. We hear her as voiceover. It's a perfect answer when someone is nervous speaking to camera.
  5. The microphone in your camera is okay, but you could do better. In this case, Eliza wore a Rode SmartLav microphone plugged into an iPhone in her pocket. Kathryn mixed the voice track with video in the editing. (If you need audio to sync with lips, when you record audio on a separate device, clap at the start of each take. You'll feel stupid, but you'll thank yourself when it's time for editing -- because you'll be able to see a spike in the sound wave in each track.
  6. Shoot B-roll and much, much more of it than you think you might need. ("B-roll" refers to additional shots you can cut away to. In this case, shots of Eliza picking plants, close-ups of tools, establishing shots of the general location etc.) You can use B-roll to cover a multitude of sins when you're editing. Also, having shots to cut to keeps the pace up -- people get bored staring at something for too long.
  7. Whatever you shoot, make each shot is at least 10 seconds long. You won't need the full 10 seconds but you'll find there'll be some handshake or something in part of every shot, so not all of it will be useable. If you only shoot for a second, you could find you end up with nothing usable.
  8. Unless you really, really want panning (left to right) or tilting shots (up and down), don't move the camera. Point it at what you want to see and keep it there. Too much movement in a video will make your audience seasick. If you're sure you've got enough fixed shot, try some panning and tilting so you have some choices in the edit, but you won't need many of them.
  9. Music will affect mood massively and also compensate for audio problems. iStock has a good music library.

A Facebook status message or a tweet is gone in the blink of an eye. A well-crafted video can be a gift that keeps on giving, showing up time and again in Google and YouTube searches.

Do you want to learn to shoot iPhone video?

iPhone videos are great for YouTube, events coverage and internal communications: times when you're looking to shoot something quickly and get it up fast. Or when you don't have the budget for a professional.

If you want someone to run training for you or your team, contact us.