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Video Video Advice

The Best Shotgun Mic for Every Price Point

In a world where so many people spend time watching videos, podcasts, shows, highlights, and tutorials for both work and entertainment, the quality of both video and audio is paramount to making this content great. A plethora of DSLR cameras are available to make high-quality videos, yet their built-in microphones are more than lacking, especially when compared to dedicated hardware. The good news is that this comprehensive guide will help you to find the best shotgun mic for your needs.

Shotgun microphones are among the most popular directional microphones out there, cancelling most of the noise and focusing in one to three directions. They are often condenser or dynamic, sporting a long tube that can be anywhere from 8 inches (20 cm) to 24 inches (61 cm).

They are built with holes within the tube, which are meant to phase cancel sounds coming from the back and sides. This means that the sounds from the back will have very low output and will most likely not be heard (depending on the volume). If this tube is longer, the microphone is more directional.

They are often used to pinpoint and capture sound at a distance, while canceling other sounds that may be present, like traffic or sounds from nature. Yet, this type of microphone is not for everyone.

Searching for the Best Shotgun Mic – A Solution for Many Audio Issues

A question one should ask themselves when looking for the best shotgun mic (or any piece of equipment for that matter) is “What do I actually need this piece of equipment for?”

Shotgun microphones are directional in nature and often bulky. They cancel out most of the noise coming from the back and sides, enabling you to focus on a specific area in front. In what scenario is this mic best used?

A business specializing in interviews, like journalism, will benefit from such a microphone. If you hear great audio on videos shot in public, whether vlogs or actual interviews, most of that is due to a very good shotgun microphone. 

Nature shots or any recording where you need your audio to be from a single source while cancelling the rest can all benefit from a shotgun microphone. 

Anyone with a hobby that requires high-quality audio, such as content creation, or businesses that require high-quality audio in environments where there tends to be a lot of noise would do well with a shotgun microphone.

There are also other alternatives, like lavalier microphones, which you might want to consider in specific situations.

Lavalier Versus Shotgun Microphones – The Important Differences and Similarities

When looking for the best shotgun mic it is still important to understand the other types of microphones available on the market. Lavalier microphones are clipped to your shirt or another piece of clothing with the idea of being clipped closer to your mouth while freeing the hands. They are often omnidirectional, which is great if they are to be used in a controlled environment, like a studio. They can also be directional, depending on the model, which would cancel some of the ambient noise.

When compared to shotgun microphones, lavalier microphones are not as directional and noise-cancelling due to the size constraints. Simply put, shotgun microphones are designed to be directional, and with that in mind, their size is often impractical to be used as a clip-on microphone and are often mounted on a stand or camera. 

You should consider lavalier microphones if you have a controlled environment, like a house or studio, where ambient noise is likely to be low. A shotgun microphone can be used in busy environments such as streets, anything outside, including nature, where you are likely to get a lot of noise from birds, wind or traffic. 

The Best Shotgun Mic for Beginners

As someone new to higher quality audio, you might not want to spend a lot of money when looking for the best shotgun mic if you do not know if it is the right product for you. You might want to start with the following product, Comica CVM-VM20 Shotgun Microphone.

Comica CVM-VM20 Shotgun Microphone

To preface this by saying that this microphone is the best in its class is an understatement. At $130 USD, this microphone remains the best shotgun mic that you can purchase at this price point.

Key features:

  • Frequency response: 20Hz ~ 20KHz
  • Sensitivity range: -43dB ~ -23dB
  • Filter: 75/150 Hz two low cut filter modes
  • Output form: 3.5 mm TRRS
  • Polar pattern – Supercardioid

Pros:

  • Solid metal build
  • Phone (android and iOS) compatible
  • 20 dB gain
  • Price to performance king

Cons:

  • Mediocre signal to noise ratio
  • Average dynamic range
  • Side noise rejection could be better

With two low cut filters and a super-cardioid polar pattern, you can expect it to pick up more sound from the front and less from the back. It does a decent job at noise-canceling while recording relatively close distance audio. Although this microphone might struggle with dynamic range and side noise cancellation, this is still the best shotgun mic that you can buy at this specific price.

The Best Shotgun Mic for Professionals

When money is not an object, things get a lot more interesting, technologically speaking. For those seeking the best shotgun mic quality, often found in studio recordings and movies with a high budget, they might want to take a look at the Sennheiser MKH 416 microphone. This microphone is priced at $999 USD and does everything.

Sennheiser MKH 416 Shotgun Microphone

The Sennheiser MKH 416 is a superb microphone that comes at a hefty price. The price is appropriate, however, as the device is aimed at professionals who will use it in studio-grade conditions or while filming outdoors.

Key features:

  • Frequency response: 40Hz ~ 20KHz
  • Sensitivity range: -32 dBV/Pa at 1 kHz 
  • Filter: Switched infra-sonic filter
  • Output form: XLR 3 pin
  • Polar pattern – Supercardioid/Lobar

Pros:

  • High quality audio
  • Superb noise cancellation
  • Does great both inside and outside
  • It is a standard in the industry
  • The quality justifies the price

Cons:

  • None

Unlike the beginner-aimed Comica CVM-VM20, the Sennheiser MKH 416 is a product meant for professionals who want to record high-quality audio indoors, like podcasts or studio interviews. With its foam filter and available windscreens, it can also be used outside, making it a great all around product.

The Best Shotgun Mic for the Price

This category is rather difficult to measure because there are so many options at different price points. Moving away from the beginner microphones and avoiding some of the more expensive, professional-grade microphones, we can take a look at some of the best mid grade shotgun mic options. A compromise might have to be made, yet it is better than having lower quality audio or an empty bank account. The contenders are the Sennheiser MKE 600 at about $330 USD, the RØDE NTG4+ at $399 USD, and the Audio-Technica AT897 at $250 USD.

Sennheiser MKE 600 Shotgun Microphone

Sennheiser makes great audio products and this microphone comes at a price of $330 USD. The Sennheiser MKE 600 and does great against its competition, namely the RØDE NTG4+ and the Audio-Technica AT897.

What makes the MKE 600 very good, compared to the competition, is the quality of the audio relative to the price. Check out the features below.

Key features:

  • Frequency response: 40Hz ~ 20KHz
  • Sensitivity range: 21 mV/Pa (phantom power) or 19 mV/Pa (battery power) 
  • Filter: 100 Hz high pass filter
  • Output form: XLR 3 pin
  • Polar pattern – Supercardioid/Lobar

Pros:

  • Amazing side rejection/directionality
  • Works great in multiple environments
  • Optional windscreen can make it an outdoor machine
  • Great design – Very user friendly
  • Great tone, transparency and low noise

Cons:

  • None

Some microphones are just good enough on their own. You can do no wrong with the MKE 600, especially for the price. It has the option to be powered by phantom power, or by a single AA battery, which you have to purchase separately.

This microphone does well in almost all conditions but excels at videography. Whether outside or inside, the MKE 600 will not disappoint.

RØDE NTG4+ Shotgun Microphone

RØDE has its own competitor at this price point, albeit a more expensive one. You might not want to pay $399 USD for this microphone. However, given that this microphone comes with its own rechargeable lithium-ion battery, it more than justifies the price with optimal performance.

Key features:

  • Frequency response: 20Hz ~ 20KHz
  • Sensitivity range: -32 dBV/Pa at 1 kHz 
  • Filter: 75 Hz high pass filter
  • Output form: XLR 3 pin
  • Polar pattern – Supercardioid

Pros:

  • Great sound quality – Natural and transparent
  • Does great in noisy environments
  • Has plenty of features
  • Very easy to use
  • Included lithium-ion battery
  • Great price to performance

Cons:

  • None

RØDE, like Sennheiser, knows how to make a competitive product. What Sennheiser does at 330 USD, RØDE does at 399 USD, but with more features and better frequency response. This microphone also includes an additional battery, making it perfect for videographers.

This microphone is very versatile, so do not be fooled into thinking that it is a one-trick pony to be used solely for videography. Studios and podcasters would also benefit from this microphone.

Audio-Technica AT897 Shotgun Microphone

Coming in at $250 USD, the Audio-Technica AT897 is a real competitor, especially if you consider the price compared to the MKE 600 and the NTG4+. It boasts great performance for the price and competes well against even higher priced microphones. Some consider it an entry-level product, yet it is far from it.

Key features:

  • Frequency response: 20Hz ~ 20KHz
  • Sensitivity range: -40 dBV/Pa (phantom power) -41 dBV/Pa (battery power)
  • Filter: 80 Hz high pass filter, 18 dB/Hz Octave
  • Output form: XLR 3 pin
  • Polar pattern – Supercardioid, Lobar

Pros:

  • Best price to performance
  • Very well built
  • Appropriately low noise
  • Rich sound

Cons:

  • Included windscreen is bad
  • Filter switch is hard to access

If you look at the pros and cons of the AT897, you will see a great microphone which you can get used to, and buy a better windscreen for, if you plan on using it in aggressively noisy situations. That being said, it has competitors, which do some things better, but for the price, it absolutely cannot be beaten. 

The Best Shotgun Mic Overall

Some would go for the most expensive microphone as the best overall, but it would not be the best choice for people with a tight budget. The entry-level Comica is a great microphone, but it is definitely an entry-level product. 

The best shotgun mic overall is the RØDE NTG4+ for its superb performance and overall quality for the price. The NTG4+ has a great signal to noise ratio, great dynamic range, and sensitivity. It cancels noise well enough to be used outside and inside, especially if you use the included foam. The lithium-ion battery, which is included, means that you can use the microphone in the field. It has a USB type C charging port, so if you have a power bank, you can charge it on the go. One charge should let you record for about 150 hours.

Super audio quality can be had at just $399 USD, rivaling professional microphones. Many pieces of professional equipment start at around $1000 USD and only go up from there. The RØDE NTG4+ shotgun microphone does a lot for a relatively affordable price if one is in need of high-quality equipment for their audio ventures.

Its competitors do a great job as well, including the Sennheiser MKE 600 and especially the cheaper Audio-Technica AT897. Consider them if the RØDE feels too pricey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a polar pattern?

Polar patterns are extremely important for microphones and they represent how a microphone picks up sound. They are called pickup or directional patterns, which are a graphic representation of how a microphone picks up sound. They can be omnidirectional, hemispherical, cardioid, subcardioid, supercardioid, hypercardioid and bidirectional. Each has its own pros and cons and should be used appropriately for a specific recording situation.

What is a shotgun microphone?

A shotgun microphone is usually a condenser, a small diaphragm microphone with a tight polar pattern, used to reject sound from the side and often from the back. They are often used in television, outdoors and other situations where power, compactness (relative to large diaphragm condenser microphones), and noise cancellation are valued.

What is phantom power?

Phantom power is what is required to power a condenser microphone. It is +48V DC power, often generated by an interface or mixer. If one is not present, external phantom power supplies are necessary.

Why is the sound of my microphone so quiet?

This could be due to a multitude of reasons and here are the top ones.

  • Phantom power is not delivered properly – not all +48 volts are there.
  • The microphone is turned in the wrong direction, rejecting the sound
  • The wrong input switch is used on the audio interface
  • Preamp gain is set too low (if you set it too high, it might start clipping)
  • Dynamic microphones require preamps to boost the signal
  • Check the cables
  • Finally, turn the levels up if all of these mini-tests are passed

Why is the microphone making noise when plugged in?

If your devices are all grounded properly, avoiding a ground loop, and you are using clean power, your microphone could be making noise because of the following reasons.

  • It was stored in a very humid environment
  • Some of the cables are either poorly connected or damaged
  • You lack a windscreen in a noisy environment, leading to a lot of ambient noise

How can I find the best shotgun mic or mic in general?

The question depends on what you need it for. If you need it for only a specific task, like recording a guitar amp, then you should consider specific dynamic microphones. Voice recordings require different microphones, but then you need to ask yourself in which conditions will you be recording the voice – studio, outdoors, or another environment.

There are general purpose microphones which do almost everything right, but not as good as the specialized versions.

Summary 

A high-quality audio recording will depend on the microphone you use, the cables, interface, and the condition in which you are recording. 

Shotgun microphones can easily be mounted on various stands along with DSLR cameras so that they can be used in multiple situations ranging from videography to studio recordings. Being unidirectional, they offer great noise cancellation and can be used in noise polluted environments.

From the entry-level Comica CVM-VM20 to the Audio-Technica AT897, Sennheiser MKE 600, the RØDE NTG4+, to the professional Sennheiser MKH 416, this selection should cover a wide range of users, from beginners to experienced audiophiles, as well as professionals.

Consider your needs first, your environment, and your budget, and only then make a choice. Not all microphones are equal, but these ones do a great job at their given price points.

Want to learn more about video equipment? Check out this comprehensive iPhone filmmaking equipment review.

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Online Business Video Video Advice

How to Use Premiere Pro – A Comprehensive Guide

A world of content creation that requires video on a weekly, sometimes even daily basis can place a burden on business owners and hobbyists to learn to use new and better software. Free software can only go so far, especially in regards to effects, transitions, and other necessities that can make a good video even better. Even a professional editor with a significant amount of experience would struggle to work with a video editing software that has limited functionality, making it beneficial to learn how to use Premiere Pro.

This is why Adobe Premiere Pro, among other programs, is one of the best video editing tools in the world. To learn how to use Premiere Pro, you should start with the basics – opening a new project.

Starting a New Project – Behold the Interface

Once you open Premiere Pro, you will be greeted by the Home window, allowing you to start a new project or open an existing one. You can also browse through a list of your recent projects if you have any. A single click opens any of your most recent projects.

If you want to open a specific project you can click on the Open Project button. If you are planning on starting a new project, then clicking on the New Project button will prompt another window to open and the Home windows to close. 

How to use Premiere Pro – Starting a New Project & Selecting the Right Settings

The New Project window offers some settings to be chosen at the start of the project. You can select which renderer to use, often having two available, hardware and software. Depending on your hardware you will use a different API, often OpenCL. The hardware renderer is faster, so have that in mind if your computer supports it. 

You can select how the video and audio will be displayed, the options for Video being Timecode, Feet + Frames or just Frames. The options for Audio are Audio Samples or Milliseconds. The default settings are Timecode and Audio Samples and are the easiest to work with.

Scratch Disks is another tab that you can access to the right of the General tab. It has plenty of options for setting up how Premiere Pro saves your files and how it opens them. This is useful if you have more than two drives, especially if you are running multiple drives in Raid0.

Another tab to the right, college Ingest, allows you to import content from connected devices, as well as transcode them using the Adobe Media Encoder. This is useful for larger businesses using a common format.

Once you are done with the details, name your project and choose where it will be saved and press OK.

The Default Interface – Workspace Choice

How to use Premiere Pro – The Editing Workspace

Once you open your project, you should see the Editing Workspace. Workspaces are predetermined ways of displaying the windows that the user would want to see. The default Editing Workspace consists of Media Browser, Source editor, Program (which is where you will see your timeline once you click play) and the Timeline window.

You can use the Media Browser to browse your drives, adding a file to Source. The Source window is used to crop and select parts of a video. You can crop the video, audio, or both. Adding them to the timeline will display that content, allowing you to select and modify a sequence. Depending on whether you added video, audio, or both, they will be moved into their respective audio/video track. 

If your files are from a different source and are added to the same sequence, you will be warned, especially if they vary in resolution, bitrate, or quality in general. You should normalize the quality and resolution before proceeding (albeit it can be done when exporting the video).

If you have specific things that need editing, you can choose any of the following workspaces already present when you start a project, including Assembly, Libraries, Color, Effects, Audio, Graphics, and Learning.

The Other Workspaces

Learning is a new tab that allows you to open Adobe-made tutorials.

Assembly is similar to editing, except that it replaces the Source with a very large Media Browser, allowing you to import media with ease, giving you more space to work with.

Color allows you to color grade your images and videos.

Effects help to make your videos more professional. As an example, you could use a transition to make a video more interesting as the video moves from one clip to the next.

Audio allows you to edit the audio in a more professional manner, giving you the option to choose the volume for each track separately, or pan, as an example. 

Libraries give you the option of using Adobe Creative Cloud libraries, including Color themes, various Graphics options, and more.

Graphics gives you the option to add various interesting graphics to your video including charts, graphs, and titles as you would see in the opening credits of a movie, for example.

Have in mind that you can customize the workspace as you prefer, choosing any of the windows these workspaces use.

How to Create a Sequence and Edit Your Video

Importing Files

Creating a sequence is an important part of making your project universal. In the newest version of Premiere Pro, simply adding a video file will make it a sequence with its own settings. Adding videos with different resolutions or bit rates is not ideal. You can, however, still normalize everything when exporting the project.
Your sequence consists of different Audio and Video tracks displayed in the Timeline window. 

Adding and Editing Graphics

The Graphics workspace opens an Essential Graphics window to the right of your Program and Timeline windows. It shrinks the regular Editing workspace but opens up options of adding graphics. From the Essential Graphics window, you can choose a multitude of different premade graphics, which may include editable text. Some of them have animations. You can simply drag and drop them anywhere on your timeline in any video track. 

Clicking on that Graphic allows you to edit it in the right-side window, Essential Graphics. You can edit everything from the font, if the graphic has one, to its shape and color.

Effects Galore

Effects are a part of almost every video and can break up the narrative of a video or spice it up if needed. They are also entertaining and could make or even break a video when used improperly. The Effects workspace adds a window to the right of the Program and Timeline windows, called Effects. From there, you can browse folders with Adobe-made effects, ranging anywhere from audio effects and transitions to video effects and transitions, also including plenty of presets.

Adding an effect can be done the same way as you would add a graphic by dragging and dropping it where you want it on your timeline. 

You can edit the effects by using the window tabs on the Source window, choosing the one named Effects. Each effect has its own properties which you should consider editing if you want to customize an effect.

Audio Editing

Selecting the Audio workspace opens up the Audio Track Mixer and Audio Clip Mixer windows. One of them is visible where the Source window would have initially been, with the Project and Media Browser moving to the left.

The Audio Track Mixer is arguably more useful than the Clip Mixer. This mixer allows you to separately adjust every track, including the master volume. You will see whether your input settings are too high and whether you should lower some of the tracks. 

Another option is to select which track to play Solo, or Mute a track if you prefer it silent. You can mark any of the audio tracks for Recording so that you can add your own audio if needed. Finally, you have the ability to choose the input device for each track from the drop-down menu.

How to use Premiere Pro – Color Grading

From the Color workspace, a window named Lumetri Color opens to the right of the Program and Timeline windows. It allows you to quickly color grade a video. You can select the video you want to color grade from the tab panel at the top of the Color window. The main editing tab is the Creative tab. This tab allows you to select various built-in presets or create your own. You can do this by editing the Vibrance, Saturation, Sharpen, Faded Film effects, as well as Shadow and Highlight tint.

Color grading a clip from a different camera to match that of your main camera is a typical use-case scenario for this workspace/window. Color grading clips from your main camera is also often needed if you forgot to set the white balance.

Exporting a Project – The Export Window

From the File menu, you can select Export, then Media, to open the Export Settings window. This is also doable via the Ctrl+M shortcut.

In this window, you can see your project on the left, as well as plenty of editable settings on the right. Choose your project’s format and preset, for example H.264 and Match Sequence. This is where you can normalize (to an extent) all your videos if they have different sizes and bit rates. 

In the lower part of the window, you can further edit Video, Audio, Effects, Captions, and Multiplexer. Next, you can Publish the video directly after it is rendered to various online platforms. 

You can then Queue the video to the Adobe Media Encoder if you have it installed and continue working on other projects or use Export to immediately start exporting, which will disable Premiere Pro until the export is finished. You can also edit the Metadata of the project prior to exporting it by pressing the eponymous button.

How to use Premiere Pro – Other Useful Links and Tutorials

No tutorial is complete on its own, so you should look up other interesting tutorials to master specific parts of a software. Learning how to use Premiere Pro is difficult enough with a single guide, so multiple ones should be consulted for the best results.

Taran from Linus Tech Tips has a tutorial on how to edit in Premiere Pro. Kick back, it lasts as much as a third Lord of the Rings Movie, 4 hours and 19 minutes.

This playlist from expert editor Justin Odisho contains 291 different Premiere Pro tutorials.

How to use Premiere Pro – Summary

Learning how to use Premiere Pro can be daunting at first. If you go through the various windows and panels to familiarize yourself with the interface, learn the shortcuts and edit multiple videos, short or long, you should be well on your way to mastering the software. With this tutorial, your professional editing journey should be a lot easier.

Other Resources

Check out this guide on how to export video using Adobe Premiere Pro.

Check out these Adobe Premiere Pro tutorials.

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Online Business Social Media Video

How to Upload iMovie to YouTube: Tutorial

In today’s world, many people use the internet, and specifically YouTube, to share their experiences with the world. People have gone from uploading from their computers to uploading videos directly from their phones. Many people use Apple products, like Mac computers and laptops, not to mention iPhones. Apple includes a video editor called iMovie, which is an essential tool for editing and sharing videos on Apple devices. This article will show you how to upload imovie to youtube. With this tutorial, everyone should have all the necessary knowledge about video sharing with iMovie.

Step 1: How to Upload iMovie to YouTube Using a Smartphone

If you do not have a project open, you should choose a movie from the Projects browser. If you are editing a project, you should tap the button Done, thus returning to the project details screen. From there, you can select a video of your choosing, and then tap the Share button.

It is worth noting that you can customize the video’s size output, format, quality and description, including tags, within the app itself.

How to Upload iMovie to YouTube Using Desktop Computers

The software has marginal differences between mobile and desktop versions, the main one being that on the desktop, you have a larger workspace which can make things simpler from a practical standpoint, when it comes to editing.

The sharing process is similar to the mobile version, starting from choosing a project from the browser or finishing a project which you are editing, then clicking the Share button.

Step 2: Select the Video Output Options

You should choose from the various output options in order to create the perfect video for uploading. Many things can influence this, such as resolution, quality, framerate, compression and whether you are exporting only video or audio or both.

The first option you can choose is the Format, which gives you options of audio, video or both. In most cases, you will want both.

Under the Resolution option, which is the next in line, you can choose your video’s desired resolution and framerate. Both are important and influence the quality and size of the video. If more than half of your project’s timeline is in 60fps, you can choose that framerate for the entire project. Depending on who your audience is, you should choose your resolution accordingly (mobile versus desktop users, the latter often having better hardware and higher resolution monitors).

The next option is named Quality, where you can choose the following qualities: Low, Medium, High and Best (ProRes) and Custom. The lower two qualities are not the best if you want your video to look good. Either High or Best will do well on most devices, but will increase the file size. Custom gives you the option to move a slider left or right, giving you anywhere between Medium and a bit above High. The ProRes variant produces much larger file sizes, up to 5 times, though the quality does not match the size.

Choosing Custom and sliding all the way to the right produces the best quality videos for the size.

The last option is Compress, giving you two options, the default Faster and the other, Better Quality. There is little to no difference in file sizes between the two, the difference being in export/rendering time.

Step 3: Importing the Video to YouTube

One of the easiest parts of the tutorial is this one, where you learn how to upload iMovie to YouTube. Depending on which device you are using, mobile or desktop, select the desired video from the Projects browser or click/tap Done to finish your project, then proceed to select Share from the File drop down menu.

Share gives you many options like Email, Facebook, Vimeo, Theater, iTunes, Image, File and YouTube, the one you want to click/tap.

Step 4: Customizing Titles and Tags

Once you click on YouTube, you will get a very similar window as you would if you click File. They are mostly the same, except that the YouTube window has a Sign In… button in the lower left. You should sign in with your preferred Google account, the one linked to your YouTube channel (it goes without saying that you need to have a Google account for this to work).

The first two options on the main window are Title and Description. The title is displayed in a large font while Description is the same size as the other options in the window.

Choose the appropriate title and description for your video.

The next option, a very important one, is Tags. Tags are used to link to your video when someone searches for something. You can enter tags as you like, but make sure to separate them with commas, lest you end up with a chain of words that would be an unusable, extremely large word. Your chosen tags should be related to the audience and category of your video, as well as the topic.

Step 5: Selecting a Category

The next step on your journey learning how to upload iMovie to YouTube is to click/tap on the Category drop down menu. There are different categories to choose from and what you need to do, is select the right one, matching your video’s topic the best you can. Have no fear, however, because you can edit this afterwards, from either the YouTube application, or the website, depending on whether you are using an iPhone or a Mac.

Step 6: Video Size & Privacy

From the main window, you also have the option to once again adjust the video’s resolution and framerate, once again influencing the size of the video. This is discouraged, unless you are on a data connection and want to upload the video wasing as little data as possible.

When you are first exporting your video, you should consider the file size and resolution then, changing only in dire circumstances. Changing the resolution will affect the video’s quality, especially if you lower it.

The Privacy settings are next in line and from the menu, you can select the three settings YouTube offers, Public, Private and Unlisted, Private being the default one and the recommended one.

If you need to make more adjustments to your video, you can do it later from the YouTube app or site, which is why Private is recommended. This concludes the guide on how to upload iMovie to YouTube, leaving only potential difficulties and frequently asked questions.

Potential Problems When UPloading iMovie to YouTube

What can happen, will happen, meaning that from time to time, you may run into problems on your journey learning how to upload iMovie to YouTube.

  • The process can fail at multiple stages, the first being no storage for your project/video. In that case, adjust the video’s size or consider freeing up some space on your device. Note that this is unlikely to happen on desktop Macs.
  • Secondly, you may lose your connection, failing the upload. Find a stable internet connection or check with your ISP if you are having problems. If you are using data, find a better location where you have faster data speeds.
  • Not signing in can be a problem, or rather, an inconvenience, especially if you forgot your address or password.
  • If your video is not live, then that might be due to YouTube still processing it, which can take lots of time if it is a high quality video with a large file size and bitrate.

F.A.Q. When Uploading iMovie to YouTube

How to Upload iMovie to YouTube

If your project is incomplete, first you must press Done and export it to a File for the best quality settings. Then, clicking Share and YouTube, and afterwards filling in all the necessary details about the video, as well as signing in, and finally, sharing, completes the process.

Is There a Choice of File Formats

There is a choice of file formats, but it is under another option, Save File As, rather than Share/File, which you would normally use if you simply want to prepare your project for YouTube.

Is iMovie Limited to Apple Devices Only?

Yes, iMovie is only available for Apple products, desktop, laptop and mobile phones/tablets.

Can This Application be Used by Professionals?

While a professional could make a relatively decent video in iMovie, other professional tools would give them far more options. iMovie is a hassle-free way of making videos and trailers meant for entry level to lower intermediate editors, mostly on the go.

Can You Share Directly to Other Platforms?

After learning how to upload iMovie to YouTube, you can apply the same principles for other video sharing services, with some exceptions like having an account for the said services, plus or minus a couple options for each service.

Conclusion and Closing Thoughts:

In the end, all that is left for you to do, if you have been closely following this simple guide on how to upload iMovie to YouTube is to try it for yourself with a sample project.

While using iMovie is not a huge challenge, honing your skills prior to travel is recommended. If you happen to need them later, you can simply edit and upload a video to YouTube, hopefully while on an adventure somewhere.

If you are interested in learning more about YouTube, check out this review of the Morning Fame YouTube tool.

Categories
Business Video

Starting a Video Production Company: The Official Guide

Video production is an industry that is quickly on the rise! Video content is everywhere and it is not going away anytime soon. This is a great thing and ultimately creates the need for expert videographers to create stunning and effective content. With that being said, this article is all about starting a video production company. If you’d like to learn more about the process of starting a video production company and my lessons learned, then this is the article for you!

Before we get started, I first want to define what is a production company. This definition is coming straight from my head and personal experience 🙂

A production company is an organization that produces video for a client. More specifically, this organization facilitates the video production process with the end client, including the use of equipment, planning the concept, filming and editing the end video. 

How’d I do? Ultimately, video production is all about creating an effective video for the end client, whether this is for a business, wedding, event, or really anything else. It is up to us, the videographers, to effectively facilitate and execute on this process for a high-quality product. Ok, let’s move on to more of the specifics when it comes to starting a video production company!

Naming your business

Your business plan

Let’s start with your business plan. There are so many things to consider when starting a video production company and I think that a business plan can help you to get your thoughts together. Because launching and growing a business is complex, it is always a good idea to create a plan before you get started.

For example, imagine starting a business with no plan at all. You don’t have a clue how you will scale your business past your first couple of customers and you also don’t even have a rough timeline in place. Outside of that, if you plan to eventually rent space for your business, you aren’t entirely sure when or how you will get to that point. Sounds like a recipe for failure, am I right?

Alternatively, the exciting thing about creating a business plan is that it helps you to stay on track so that you can actually meet your business goals. Even if you don’t meet that exact goal, having a plan and process in place to follow can help you to get extremely close to that goal (which is the goal, haha).

Video niche focus areas

Ok, let’s get real for a minute. When we are new and learning how to start a video production company, we are likely to accept work from anyone and everyone. As we grow our business over time we are likely to raise our prices and get more selective. With that being said, I totally get that niching down in the beginning might not be completely do-able, but I think it is still a really, really good idea to know what direction you’d like to go with your business.

This is important for a number of reasons when it comes to starting a video production company. First, when you know and understand your target audience, you understand how to market to them. More specifically this means where to reach them (which social media platforms, websites, magazines, events, etc.) and also how to talk to your audience and what resonates with them (does this industry use specific jargon? Are they more casual? More formal?).

When you hone in on this messaging over time, this helps to create a strong brand for your business. Your past clients, friends and family will also understand how to refer you to potential clients, which is absolutely critical!

Market Analysis

The next thing that I want you to focus on when learning how to start a video production company is your market analysis. More specifically, the market analysis consists of researching the market value of the videography industry as a whole, the specific clients that you will serve, as well as potentially the types of services that you plan to sell.

A few good metrics to capture for these areas include:

  • Market size
  • Industry trends (like growth, as an example)
  • The biggest players in the market
  • Any context/history on the industry

This information is important because larger industry trends can inform how profitable the market will be as well as how you should approach this market. You might also consider completing a Porter’s Five Forces diagram, which analyzes the different potential threats and advantages when entering a new market.

Competitive Analysis

The next area of focus for your business plan is a competitive analysis. When creating your competitive analysis, I’d recommend including the following:

  • Name of competitor
  • Length of time in business
  • Areas the competitor serves
  • Website
  • Services / pricing
  • Target audience
  • Social media presence
  • Revenue

This information should provide a good, solid foundation around who the competitor serves and how effective they are in doing so. Create a list of at least 10 competitors (I know, I know, this is tedious!). This is important because this will start to provide you with an understanding of what needs are being served as well as potential gaps. For example, you may find that most of the videographers in your area do strictly video production and little to no video marketing strategy. This could be a great opportunity for your business to come in and serve that need in the market (if there is one, of course!). Check out this article to learn more about creating a rich competitive analysis.

Services and Prices

Next, it is important to identify your complete set of services as well as your pricing. When learning how to start a video production company, you should know specifically what you offer as a business because trust me, you will have people ask you on the spot. You want to know off the top of your head everything that your business can provide. This will also be helpful when it comes to getting referrals because people will know how to refer you to others!

When it comes to pricing, what I will say is to do your research and strive to charge what you are worth. Starting extremely low will make it that much more difficult to raise your prices in the future. Pricing in and of itself when it comes to business is very complex – expect a more in-depth blog post on this topic in the near future!

Marketing and sales plan

Ahh, marketing and sales! One of my passions in life. These topics are so complex, fascinating, and absolutely critical for any business. Having a solid marketing and sales plan in place is absolutely critical. There is so much that I could say about this topic – I honestly could probably write a book! Between working in marketing and sales enablement previously to getting my masters in marketing, this is one of my passions. But I digress…

Here is how you should start your marketing plan for your video production company:

  • Determine where your audience hangs out! Are they online? What platforms? Do they read certain websites and blogs? Do they go to networking events? 
  • Go where your ideal clients are likely to hang out! This is so important. You need to make yourself visible to the types of clients that you want to get.
  • Everything that you do when it comes to marketing should center around those top to bullet points above. I am going to do a more in-depth article around how to market your video business, but a few other ways to reach your target audience include:
    • Aligning and creating partnerships with businesses that serve similar clients
    • Creating testimonials and pitching them to websites/magazines that your customers read
    • Develop an active social media presence – post content that your target audience wants to see and engage with them regularly!

Financial plan

So we all know that finances are crazy important, especially when it comes to running a business! Finances could be make or break for your business, yet so many people overlook this section of a business plan or even purposely skip it because…numbers. Still, as a business owner, it is your responsibility to plan for the financial health of your business.

Here’s what I’d recommend (but also, do your own research). Create some sort of excel spreadsheet or table to keep track of all of your business expenses (this is separate from what you’d turn into your tax person). This is a very important aspect of learning how to start a video production company and should also include expenses like your business overhead. You also want to project your planned revenue for the next year. Not only is it important to have a plan, but visually seeing how your business can grow is motivating. Check out this article to learn more about writing the financial portion of your business plan.

Planning your business goals

Ok, so now that we have all of these details mapped out, let’s walk through planning your business goals.

I think it is important to have both short term and long-term business goals when learning how to start a video production company. The short term goals give you something to reach for immediately, and the long-term business goals keep the vision of your business in check. These goals can also be used as a checkpoint to determine if the short-term goals actually make sense for your business.

With that being said, it would be good to create 5 long-term business goals and 3 short-term business goals. The long-term business goals could be anywhere from 1-3 years from now. The short-term business goals should be within 6 months from now.

Setting up your business

When it comes to setting up the legal framework for your business, I’d recommend consulting your local government. It is very important to be compliant for both legal and tax purposes. I started off as a sole proprietor but quickly moved to an LLC.

Preparing to launch your business

Outside of creating your business plan, there are a number of tasks that must be completed prior to launching your business. These are critical when it comes to successfully starting a video production company!

The first of these tasks is to create promotional materials for your business. No, this doesn’t mean create a bunch of flyers (however, this may work depending on your location and niche!).

More specifically, I’m referring to creating some sort of website for your business. When you are just starting out, I do not think that it is important to spend a ton of time or money on your website. Of course you want it to look good, but it does not need to be super advanced. A lot of times when someone is just starting their business, the website will become a bottleneck and take up a ton of time. This is not ideal when you are starting out because you want to keep the momentum going and spending extra time on your website isn’t the best use of time.

What I’d recommend is creating a simple website with your portfolio on one page and then specific pages for each industry you are targeting (weddings, real estate, etc.). This way it will be easier for someone to find exactly what they need. Of course, creating a portfolio is extremely important when it comes to video production. I will have an article coming up on this topic soon!

Next, you want to ensure that your social media accounts are active and have content on them. Specifically, I’m referring to Instagram, Facebook and YouTube if possible. You might not think this is important, but if a potential client lands on one of your social media pages and it isn’t active, this could severely hurt your chances of working with that client. People may assume that you aren’t open for business or that you aren’t as good at what you do.

Next, I’d recommend investing in some business cards. You never know who you will meet and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked for a card and didn’t have one on me. Learn from my mistakes, please!

Finally, equipment is a must when it comes to starting a video production company. Of course, we all have to start somewhere!

Check out my kit for recommendations on equipment for new videographers as well as videographers that have been in the game for some time. My kit includes recommendations on cameras, lenses, mics, lighting, stabilizers, laptops and more! Click here to learn more.

Promoting your business: Sales and marketing

We touched on the importance of sales and marketing in an earlier section when it comes to starting a video production company. Essentially, you want to put yourself in front of your ideal client. One big mistake that a lot of people make when it comes to starting a business is waiting for clients to come to them. This may happen eventually, but definitely not in the beginning. 

So, when starting a video production company, be sure to get active in different networking groups, guest write for websites, or even create ads in popular magazines for your niche. I also recommended in an earlier section to establish partnerships with business owners that serve the same clientele. There are a lot of ways that you could create visibility for your business and I will be writing another article on this soon. To start, I’d recommend using the ideas that I’ve provided and start brainstorming different strategies to try!

Working with clients

This section focuses on your process and workflow when it comes to working with clientele. Your workflow and client process is one of the most important things when it comes to starting a video production company. This is important because you want to be organized from the start when you are working with clients. This will ensure that the process goes smooth on your end and results in a stellar customer experience!

Alternatively, if you have a process documented and things are not going so well, this at least gives you a baseline so that you know here you are and can improve upon what already exists.

With that being said, be sure to document your entire process from the moment you begin speaking with a potential client to after the final invoice has been paid and the video has been delivered. Understand the different touch points so that you don’t miss anything. Even the number of check ins with a client can make or break a project.

Here is an example workflow:

  • Initial contact with the customer (this could be your cold outreach or someone contacting you)
  • Set up initial phone call / pitch packages
  • Send invoice for first half of the project
  • Send video concept
  • Follow up for feedback / discuss on phone if needed
  • Revise concept as needed
  • Schedule day to shoot video
  • Send first edit
  • Allow for one round of edits
  • Send final file plus invoice
  • Send feedback form

Of course, how you prefer to engage with a customer may be different, but I wanted to provide an example of what a customer workflow would look like when learning how to start a video production company. It is a good idea to keep this consistent so that the entire process is measurable and repeatable (my inner marketing/business nerd is coming out!).

Since this section covers workflow, I also want to mention the importance of contracts! These documents are so important because they are really the only thing that will enforce whether you get paid and whether the client gets their video. I highly recommend speaking with a legal professional and potentially having them draft a contract for your business. Trust me, there may be loopholes in the ones that you find online and the last thing you want is to work for hours and hours and not get paid. Also, contracts are a great way for the client to protect themselves so that they get their final deliverable.

Now that we’ve covered the general process of interacting with a customer, let’s review the video creation process. I’m not going to run through the specifics of this process in this article (comment if you’d like me to create a separate post for this!), but I’ve listed a few important questions to ask yourself when it comes to the pre-production, production and post-production processes. These questions are critical when it comes to learning how to start a video production company and are based on my own experiences, lessons learned, failures and successes. Of course, I don’t want you to repeat my mistakes, so I hope these help!

  • Understand how long you will need for each step in the process
  • What documents are needed (contracts, releases, etc.)
  • Where do you need the client’s sign off?
  • How many / who needs to be involved on your side?
  • How many checkpoints should you have with the customer along the way?

Show me the moneyyyy!

Ok, but really though. This section is so important because once you’ve spent time and money investing in your business and completing projects, you want to get paid!

I first just want to say that I’m not a legal expert by any means and my recommendations are based on what has worked for me, so I’m not liable for your business decisions (whew! Glad that’s out of the way…). There might be a better way of doing this, but I always ask for 50% of the project fee up front. I always invoice for the final 50% once the project has been delivered.

When it comes to working with wedding clients, I’d recommend 50% to book and 50% two weeks before the wedding. This is because weddings keep couples busy and you never know long long they will be on their honeymoon!

When it comes to getting paid for your work, the payment schedule should be clearly outlined in your contract. You should also be very clear with the customer around when you expect payment. I can’t stress how important these factors are when learning how to start a video production company.

Here are a few of my favorite tools when it comes to running my business, I hope these help! (these may contain links where I earn a commission).

  • Dubsado
  • Everlance
  • Bluehost

I sincerely hope that this article helps you as you start your own production company. This has been one of the most challenging and fulfilling journeys of my life, and I’d love to help you as you embark on this journey! Please comment below with any questions that you may have.

Thanks,

Morgan