Save Your Money – Video Tools for Small Budgets

Video content is extremely important within the business world, and has been identified as the “trend to watch” in social media in 2016 (Hootsuite), and will account for 80% of global internet traffic by 2019 (Cisco).  However some high-end production tools are incredibly expensive and can require technical know-how to operate. Here are some video tools for small budgets.

 

Vine

Vine is a free video sharing app that was released in 2012, that allows users to film content that can be linked together to create a short six-second looping video. The length of Vine videos makes them perfect for sharing content across various social media platforms as well as throughout various web pages. All you need is a smartphone to record, piece together the clip and you are well on your way to creating your first Vine.

One major advantage of Vine videos is that while the content is only six seconds long, viewers are generally going to watch the clip in it’s entirety which is exactly what businesses are after. On top of this, as Vine is owned by Twitter, it’s integration within your business’ Twitter profile is seamless, easy and highly rewarding.

The obvious downside to the app is how much can you really say in six seconds, but with a little bit of creativity, this app can create some great video content that is cheap, quick and effective.

 

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Periscope

Periscope is another neat little app that like Vine before it, integrates well with any Twitter profile and can be extremely useful in the business world. It’s much like Skype in a sense that it sends a live video straight from your smartphone, except instead of one-on-one conversations like Skype, it’s more of a one-to-many relationship.

You can broadcast yourself or view others doing absolutely anything, while your followers can tune in and listen or they can comment their thoughts directly to you. It’s all entirely integrated with Twitter which makes it an excellent tool to produce video content while also helping to build your company’s Twitter presence.

The app also allows you to create private chat rooms where you can invite specific members to view your video streams, and it is readily available on both iOS and Android devices at no cost.

 

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Animoto

If you’re looking for a way to create an interesting display for photos and videos, look no further than Animoto! This awesome tool allows users to create video slideshow packages of anything from simple still images, to eye catching video content that jumps off the screen. Video editing can at times be tedious and highly complex, but Animoto removes all of that and presents itself in a simple and easy to format that can be picked up in no time at all. The program allows users to also add text and fully licensed music into the slideshow to add further value to the photos or videos seen on screen.

The software does come at a cost varying from around $13-$40 per month, depending on which package you go for. While the ‘Personal’ pricing plan is the cheapest option it doesn’t allow video quality to be any higher that 720p resolution, while the ‘Professional’ and ‘Business’ pricing plan have full 1080p HD functionality. While these options are more expensive, the difference between 720p video display and 1080p display are glaringly obvious.

 

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Powtoon

Are you sick of the same old boring, non engaging marketing presentation? Or are you tired of delivering a sales pitch in front of a standard looking PowerPoint or Keynote slideshow? If so, then Powtoon is the software for you.

Powtoon is a really creative and cool tool that allows users to create short animated video presentations, ideal for websites, office meetings and much much more. The software is free to use and brings a lighthearted look and feel to any business situation. The Powtoon motto is “If a picture paints a thousand words, an animation conveys an idea.” and it couldn’t be more true when the visual effects of this system play out before your very eyes.

These once highly expensive animations are now at your fingertips and anyone can create them and help set your business apart without major hassle.

Powtoon is a free service, however the user is given the opportunity to upgrade their account to experience extra functionality and effects on offer with these animated presentations. The pricing for a ‘Pro’ membership is $19/month (billed annually) while a ‘Business’ membership offers much more, however a higher price tag is attached ($40/month billed annually).

 

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VideoScribe

This whiteboard style presentation application is in a similar vein to that of Powtoon, in the sense that it creates presentations that are eye catching, engaging and highly effective. VideoScribe works in a similar way to Powerpoint, except rather than spreading content across various amounts of slides, it keeps everything together in an open canvas type set up. It helps portray information in a story telling like form and the opportunities to customisation are seemingly endless.

A VideoScribe hand literally draws whatever you want onto your whiteboard canvas and you have full power over how long the drawn image, text or various other elements are on screen for. This product is highly useful thought various parts of the business world as it adds so much value to web content such as blogs or social media news feeds. A scribe could be used to launch a product in an exciting and visually engaging way that audiences will leave be both interested and impressed by. Another great use for VideoScribe is to help present facts, figures and statistics in a way that is encapsulating and not seen as boring by the viewers.

The software costs $12/month if you purchase a yearly package or alternatively you can pay $29/month for the monthly recurring package.

 

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Prezi

Another great alternative to spice up your presentations and make them far more engaging and interesting is to use Prezi. Much like VideoScribe, Prezi presents the user with a fully customisable canvas that can be used to convey information in a dynamic new way. The options are endless and can turn a seemingly dull presentation into something so interesting that it captures the imagination of your audience. This software is excellent for use in sales or marketing presentations, but also a unique tool that can be used for the training and development of your employees.

The reason Prezi is so effective is because as opposed to being stuck using slide to slide based presentation software, it allows you to zoom throughout the canvas and highlight important information. The added emphasis on important details can make the entire presentation more memorable and leave the viewer intrigued and excited to hear more.

One major downside of Prezi is that as it is a web-based cloud application, there is little to no offline functionality unless you purchase the full subscription. This could become a problem if you are preparing to present to clients and you don’t have an active connection to the internet so you can make any minor or major alterations to the document.

The Prezi software comes at a relatively cheap price compared to some competitors, with prices ranging anywhere from $5-$13/month for a yearly subscription, depending on which package you opt for.

 

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Screencast-o-matic

Basic screenshots are so prominently featured throughout online instructional blog posts and articles, so you can imagine how amazingly effective a video capture of your screen could be. That is exactly what Screencast-o-matic is, it allows you to record what is happening on your computer screen and then allows you to distribute the footage in whatever way you please, whether that be to YouTube or into a Dropbox or other file sharing service.

This type of software is available for free and it is incredibly helpful in the world of virtual training. You can run someone through a particular computer based task, without actually being there to show them but simply capturing your screen, adding in some audio and you are done. It really is that simple and can make things so easy for the trainee on the other end of the video. The videos produced in the free version can be 15 minutes long while in the ‘Pro’ version ($15/year) allows you to record much longer screen casts.

Unfortunately any video created using the free version of Screencast-o-matic will feature a visual watermark which can only be removed by purchasing the Pro edition.

 

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These are just some of the many great, low cost options out there that are readily available to increase the video production and content of your business. Now that is not to say that these options should replace their more expensive counterparts, but they certainly do offer enough for those on a small budget. Learning how to use and subsequently teach others how to use new software can be a daunting task, but for the relatively low cost and the great output provided by these services, they can become a valuable asset and a favourite among your employees.

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Simone Douglas

Simone is co-founder and Senior Principal Solutions Architect of Digital Marketing AOK. Simone offers over 17 years in corporate management roles encompassing generalist HR recruitment and development of small to large teams across multiple sites, industry sectors and states. Experienced in a variety of social media platforms and their complimentary applications, social media strategy, risk management, disaster recovery and associated HR policies and processes.