3 Ways to Make Your Videos Better (Without Breaking the Bank!)

You can make your videos better by playing around with hundreds of different things. You can work with different camera angles and change the sound settings in your camera, for example. That type of stuff doesn’t involve spending a dime. Which is awesome. But it hits a certain point where you can only do so much.  You honestly have to spend money if you want to get to that “next step.” And when you’re working with video, it can be extremely intimidating when prosumer cameras are selling for 5,000 dollars, lenses can be 12,000 bucks, etc. But today, let’s not worry about money. Because you can dramatically increase the quality of your production by investing in these 3 tools, which are all pretty cheap.

1. A Glidecam

When you’re trying to film handheld with a DSLR camera (or any camera for that matter) you know how shaky the footage can come out. So you’ve probably invested in a tripod, which is good for a lot of instances, but after all, you’re limited to pans and still shots. What happens when you need a quick moving shot that’s running alongside somebody? Or you need a shot that starts on the floor and goes up vertically? You used to have to invest in a dolly, slider, camera crane, etc. And all that good stuff would cost a ton of money. The Glidecam gives you the power to get all different types of shots in one system, and it can often be found for under 250 bucks.

Here’s what the GlideCam looks like in action:

2. Buy a Super 8 Camera

Super 8mm movie cameras were most popular in the 1960’s and 70’s. They were very basic. And they gave you an old, dusty looking picture with basic color. You can usually find a decent one on eBay for as low as $30. Then you just buy the film and get it transferred so you can work with it on your computer. That can get a little bit costly, so just make sure you’re only shooting Super 8 when you really want to use it in a video. And simply put, don’t overuse it. So you might be thinking…how on earth would that make my video better? When used correctly, these cameras bring about an incredible sense of nostalgia to any video. It’s really a feel that’s unmatched.

This video was filmed entirely on Super 8. And it only came out a few years ago.

Toro Y Moi “Still Sound” {Official Video} from Steve Daniels on Vimeo.

The video below is mostly filmed with modern day equipment, but is edited to look and feel similar to an 8mm camera. There are shots in there that could even be filmed with an 8mm camera.

BIGBEAR x 1000 from 1000 on Vimeo.

3. Get a Color Grading Application

Cameras are designed to give you a good image coming straight out of the camera. But if you want a great, unique, and interesting image that gives your video a mood, you need to change your camera settings for a flatter, duller image that’s easier to color grade it in post. Many people prefer to use the color grading tools right in their editing system, but others prefer to use an application like Magic Bullet or VSCO to make the process easier.

Here’s an example of the power of Magic Bullet:

ROME. from Jeremy Janin on Vimeo.

The problem? It’s $399. Which in the grand scheme of things isn’t terrible, but we’re trying not to break the bank here. Let me introduce VSCO for film. It goes for usually $100 or less.


Life in Ventura. VSCO Film 03 from 5 Mile Films on Vimeo.

What are your inexpensive tips and tricks for making your videos better?

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