How to Create Awesome Remote Video Content (With Less Stress)

There’s no denying that video is one of the best types of content for any brand to create. Whether it’s a simple explainer video or a behind-the-scenes look at your business, video helps you humanize your brand, communicate information easily and effectively, and create strong emotional connections with viewers. (Learn more about why video is so powerful.

Most importantly, video is what people want. According to Wyzowl’s State of Video Marketing 2020 survey, 86% of people would like to see more brand video in 2020.

However, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2020 B2B Content Marketing Report, 29% of marketers have yet to hop on the video train. This is a huge shame, as video has only become more accessible in recent years. But it’s also understandable. If you’re a marketer working remotely (with limited knowledge or resources), video can feel intimidating. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be. 

Having created videos for brands of all sizes (and all budgets), we know you can create simple, quality videos—and we’re here to help you do it. This simple guide will walk you through the different types of videos you can produce with minimal effort (even when your team is remote), along with the tools and tips you need to create and promote them.

If you’ve been wanting to experiment with video or looking for creative inspiration to do it, we hope this will be the jumpstart you need. 

First, Let’s Talk Remote Video Tools

Sure, in a dream world you’d have a pro video team at your disposal, but that may not be the case. The good news is you can absolutely DIY your videos with success. Depending on what type of video you’re creating, you may find the following tools and resources helpful: 

  • Stock Footage Sites: There are plenty of sites to find free or affordable stock footage, including:
    • Pond5 for historic/archival footage.
    • Dissolve to find footage by theme. 
    • Filmsupply for precision search by camera angle, frame, and speed. 
    • RocketStock for a variety of AfterEffects templates to level up your graphics.
    • Artgrid to download LOG options to color grade yourself.
    • Story & Heart for great cinematic, mood-based footage. 
    • Adobe Stock, which synchs with Adobe Premiere editing software. 
    • iStock for a modern selection with a credit-based system.
    • Shutterstock for the budget filmmaker. 
    • Distill to choose from talented videographer portfolios.
  • Editing Software: Apple’s Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere are both great beginner tools with robust editing capabilities. They’re also available on a monthly subscription basis so you can use them when you need to.
  • Smartphone Video Capturing Software: Filmic Pro is a great resource for capturing footage on your smartphone, as it allows you to manually change quality and frame rate. (Check out this Frame.io guide for more tech info on at-home video equipment.)
  • Camera: DSLRs and modern smartphones can capture high-quality footage. Use a smartphone tripod or a clip-on lens to boost your at-home setup. 
  • Mics: There are a few great USB condenser mic brands to capture studio-quality sound at home. (We like Blue options.) For a cheaper option that will still improve your production, try a USB clip-on lavalier mic (also available online). 
  • Lighting: Portable donut desk lights that can switch light temperatures will help glam up a scene. But for a low-cost option, set up a collapsible bounce board near a natural light source to bounce light toward your subject while filming. 
  • Desk setup: If you’re recording talking heads or other simple content, make sure your at-home setup is optimized to give you the best video possible.
How to set up remote video

Remote Video Tip

In addition to the tools and tips here, you can also check out the Content Marketers’ Guide to Brand Video, a free interactive e-book with helpful info on everything from scripting to shooting. 

6 Types of Remote Video You Can Produce At Home

The following video ideas vary in skill level, but they are relatively easy to produce if you have a basic understanding of video (pressing record, exporting, editing). Some may require more time than others, but all can be adjusted to your unique needs. 

1) Kinetic Text + Photography

This approach uses words and photography on screen to tell your story. It’s a great option for two reasons.

  1. The visuals allow the viewer to get the message even if they have the mute button on.
  2. Your viewer has to pay more attention when they read. 

This makes it a tried-and-true method for educating people in an entertaining and engaging way.

Tips to make it work: 

  • Choose compelling imagery. 
  • Use your brand’s typography/colors.
  • Add filters or visual treatments to stock imagery to enhance quality.
  • Ensure images are high-res.
  • Add music to enhance emotion.

Remote Video Tip

A strong script will help you craft a cohesive narrative for these types of videos. For more tips, see our guide to write a script like a video agency.  

Example: Created for Veterans Appreciation Month 2019, this simple video by Dropbox allows veterans to share how their military experience serves their day-to-day work at Dropbox. It isn’t particularly complicated, but it is compelling. 

2) High-End Stock + Archival Footage

This approach allows you to craft scenes using found footage from high-end stock sites, archives, or public sources. When you aren’t able to film your own live-action footage, this approach makes it possible to source and fit a wide range of visuals to any narrative. 

Example: This simple video by Convicts uses simple text and a variety of footage to share a simple, heartfelt message of support during the COVID-19 quarantine. 

Tips to make it work: 

  • Customize footage by adding color grading. This makes it feel more high-quality than standard stock footage.
  • Mix of variety of shots (e.g., wides, mediums, and close-ups). 
  • Use a variety of video styles (e.g., drone footage, time-lapse, people, social media, etc.) to give it a high-quality feel.
  • Use voiceover and music to tell the story. 

3) Mixed Media

Mixed media combines a variety of formats into one cohesive narrative. This allows you to tell a compelling visual story through a truly unique piece of content. Animation, photography, stock footage, and dynamic audio are just some of the elements you can blend to create something engaging and intuitive for your brand. 

Tips to make it work:

  • Scan images or magazine cut outs to overlay on top of video for a collage effect.
  • Combine different types of content, such as iPhone photos and historical archival footage, to give a sense of mixed media.
  • Experiment with split-screen editing to show multiple animations, photos, or videos at once. This gives your video an art board aesthetic.

Example: Through mixed media, motion graphics, paper craft, stop motion, and a variety of other techniques, Visa turns a simple explainer video into colorful, creative video that is informative and engaging. 

4) At-Home Talking Head

Video is an excellent tool to deliver valuable information simply and succinctly, even without the bells and whistles of a larger big-budget shoot. Whether you want to create a simple tutorial, explain a new initiative, answer questions, or—well, whatever—you can do it easily with a simple filmed talking head. 

Tips to make it work:

  • Wipe your smartphone camera or webcam clean to make sure the image is clear. 
  • Make sure you’re in focus. 
  • Sit in natural light or warm physical light sources, which tend to be more flattering, and avoid being back lit (meaning the key light source is behind you). 
  • Avoid wearing stripes, busy patterns, or solid colors that will blend into your background (e.g., don’t wear a white shirt in front of a white wall—you’ll be a floating head). Important reminder: Do not wear a branded shirt with a big logo, as that may cause trademark issues down the road.
  • If you’re filming a selfie scene, hold your camera or phone slightly above your eye line. 

Remote Video Tip

If you’re creating a talking head explainer video, find out about the keys to a good explainer video, and get inspired by these awesome explainer video examples

Example: Bon Appetit created excellent #stayhome content by inviting top chefs to show us how they make the perfect cup of coffee.  

5) Remote Interview 

Remote interviews, recorded through Zoom or other video-conferencing software, are a great way to connect with thought leaders, share useful information, and let people sit in on interesting conversations. Luckily, this type of content takes little effort to produce but can be highly valuable.

Tips to make it work:

  • Use a USB standing or clip-on lavelier mic. 
  • Prepare questions ahead of time (or ask people to submit questions). 
  • Throw up some homemade cue cards on your laptop screen, or use this free cue prompter site. (It’s low-fi, but it works like a dream.)
  • Ensure everything is working before you “dive in” to the interview. 
  • Set a specific amount of time (15, 30, 45 minutes), and stick to it.  

Example: The New York Times “Diary of a Song” series captures simple Q&As with different musicians. It’s a low-fi way to provide quality content. 

6) User-Generated Content Video 

Home footage allows your viewers to feel connected to your story and can be a great way to increase engagement. This approach is particularly effective to humanize your brand, promote your culture, and create relatable, moving, humorous, inspiring, or entertaining content.

Tips to make it work:

  • Ask your larger community (think employees, followers, friends, family) to contribute videos.
  • Choose a specific theme or idea (e.g., dance videos or answers to a specific question). 

Remote Video Tip

For more content ideas to humanize your brand, see our guide to culture marketing

Example: We asked our team to send us footage of their day-to-day lives during the quarantine. From the exciting to the mundane, the video was a simple way to capture this unique time in our lives and maintain a sense of community. 

C5 Home Video from Column Five on Vimeo.

How to Promote Your Brand Video

Once you’ve gone to the work of creating a great video, you want people to see it. To ensure you reach the most people, try these tips to promote it effectively.

  • Optimize your video. Every channel has different video requirements, so make sure your video is formatted correctly for the platform. Consider ratio, time, size, etc. Title it correctly, add a compelling description, use the right keywords, etc. 
  • Use a high-quality thumbnail. Create a static thumbnail that is visually interesting. Remember: If you can grab a person’s attention in the first 3 seconds, they are more likely to stick around for the whole thing.
  • Add subtitles. According to Animoto, 39% of consumers are more likely to finish videos with subtitles.
  • Include calls to action. Make sure all CTAs work for mobile users, as about 78% of videos are consumed on mobile, according to eMarketer
  • Post your video natively on social platforms. Don’t just link to a YouTube or Vimeo. The video will look and perform better within the social platform.

Remote Video Tip

For more ways to promote your video, see our guide to promote content like a content agency

Remember: Experimentation Is Everything

You may get frustrated with your first foray into video, but don’t get too disheartened. When resources are limited, you have a unique opportunity to exercise your creativity within constraints. Remember: The more you experiment, the better your results will be, and the more confident you’ll become in creating unique brand video. 

That said, we know it can be challenging to go it alone. Even if your team is remote, you can still call on some expert help to guide you through the process. Whether you need help setting up your filming gear or guidance on crafting interesting video stories, follow our tips to choose a video agency, or hit us up. We’d love to help bring your videos to life.