How to Shoot Professional Looking Videos on a Budget for any Platform

Published on 31 October 2019

Wes Alan and Elize Hattin sitting on a black couch

Professional looking videos, whether you are shooting them for social, email or a text audience, are crucial for capturing quality engagement with your clients and followers. A sloppy edit is likely to cost you bigtime, so it pays to have a few budget-friendly video tricks up your sleeve. In a recent Hub Live, Elize Hattin, SmartHub Business Manager sat down with Wes Alan from Tap-Edit-Go to talk about how to get the best bang-for-buck when it comes to using video to entertain or educate your customers. Wes Alan is a professional filmmaker, and he’s sharing his top tips for making videos that your followers will love!

But first, a few tips on planning your video before we get started …


  1. WHO is your audience?  Who are you talking to, and how do they want you to talk to them?
  2. WHY are you making a video?  To entertain or educate?
  3. WHAT type of video are you making? Product, tutorial, escape (personality), explainer, testimonial or live?  Understanding this, speaks to the connection between your product and your audience.
  4. HOW will you make money from your video? Don’t forget that there is a high level of nurturing that goes into engaging social media customers and 1 HOT TIP:  do not target new people - always target fans and followers,  Your followers and subscribers have the most influence when it comes to expanding your brand as they are the most likely to share your content.
  5. WHERE is your video going to be seen?  Which platform?  Scrutinise your audience and find out what platforms they are spending their time on and don’t forget to utilise your existing leads. 

Now that we’ve briefly covered your video plan, we can move onto the reason for this BLOG – 4 top tips and the basic accessories that go with them, to give your video the edge without costing a bomb…


The stability and movement of your video is the most important factor to consider when filming your video. 

If you are making people sea-sick, then chances are high that they won’t watch your video to the end, they won’t be able to focus on what you are trying to tell them, they’ll give up and go elsewhere, and they’ll be even harder to engage when your next video drops – this is an EPIC FAIL on so many fronts!

However … you can fix this BIG issue for only $100 or less. 

What is this magic tool that can save your viewers from sea sickness hell? 

Why, it’s a TRIPOD of course…

You would already be familiar with a camera tripod used by a photographer in family photos or a video camera tripod that news crews use, but the tripods we’re talking about are specifically for use with your smartphone – so you can be ready anytime, to capture that on-the-go content with a steady hand, delivering gorgeous smooth shots.

For this purpose, you can choose from mini tripods, flexible leg tripods, or fluid head tripods.

Mini fixed leg tripods can start from $100.  With these you won’t get seasickness like the hand-held method, you can be hands free during your shoot, and you won’t need an assistant.  The mini can also be turned into a selfie stick and it’s almost impossible to drop your phone while filming!

Another really cool smartphone tripod is the flexible leg tripod, and these start at around $55, which is totally affordable!  These are great because you can bend the legs to wrap around anything, so you can film anywhere and just use your environment to shoot from.  You can wrap it around the mirror of your car, a tree branch, a pole or anywhere you want to film – how cool is that?

Before we move to the next super important tip - one titbit to remember while shopping for tripods, is the term “fluid head”.  A fluid head is made for tripods to dampen jerky movements and vibrations, so you can get smooth tracking on your video. 

Whatever you end up with, you will need to experiment with what you find, but just know that you can absolutely get professional smooth video shots on a beginners budget!


Now lighting is key, it’s the 2nd top tip for a very good reason and you don’t need the big guns to get started...

Have you ever watched a video where it’s so dark that the person you are watching is a silhouette, or they look like they are filming somewhere completely dull and boring because the quality is so grainy – well firstly, you don’t want to be that person and secondly, it’s the lighting!

It seems obvious, but a lot of people get it wrong and it’s actually super simple and can be free to fix.

Your number one go-to for lighting when filming your kick-ass video content is natural light, and this doesn’t mean you have to be outside, but of course you can be…  It just means that if you are inside and there’s a window, use that light to your advantage.

Or, you can buy $10 desk lamps from KMART, floodlights from Bunnings or $200 LED’s from wherever you like.

What’s important with lighting is not necessarily your source, but the direction and where it’s hitting.  You don’t need to spend a packet to get your lighting looking professional, you just need to know where to point those babies – and that direction is ... into your face, but behind your smartphone, always.  This way the light, whether it be coming from a window or a lamp, will be coming from behind your camera onto you and not getting in between.  This will prevent dreaded silhouettes or your phone auto-adjusting the background – your eyes might hurt a bit, but this isn’t about you, it’s about your viewer, and they will be absolutely loving the way your video looks!

They might be loving what they see, but will they love what they hear?


We’ve got your video looking great on an absolute pittance, now how do we get this thing to sound awesome?

The biggest issues facing sound for video is muffled hard to hear voices, too-low volume where people can’t hear what you’re saying plus wind or external noises like traffic or passer-by’s when you’re outside.

The solution to this annoying issue is to use a microphone.  There a couple of budget friendly options that are perfect for our purpose.

Firstly, we are talking about lapel microphones.  You secure them on your clothing, close to your mouth and as long as you stick somewhat close to your recording smartphone, you will have a crystal-clear audio for your video or Facebook live.  These gems are cheap as chips, easily coming in under $40 for a good brand, but they can start anywhere as low as 20 bucks if your budget is super tight.

The next cab off the rank for this top tip, is a directional microphone.  These beauties pick up audio in a 360-degree perspective and you can plug them straight into your smartphone and away you go.  To explain that further, a directional microphone will only pick up what is in front of it, so it won’t catch any nasty noises behind you when you are trying to shoot your videos, and you can take one of these home for prices starting at around $30.

Alternatively, you can go with a lightning bolt, with an adaptor and extension lead, so you have your very own smartphone version of a radio talk mic.  These are great for interviews on the street.

Beyond actual mics, when filming outside, you might also need to consider a “windsock” for your mic.  If you’re not sure what that is, a windsock is a piece of foam that goes over your microphone to absorb wind noises and mumbled sounds so that they don’t end up on your awesome video.  A cheap one of these will set you back about $5.

So, here you have some great tips and very cheap options to get your video sound on point, and now there’s just one more basic tip that we need to cover off before your videos are knocking them dead online…


Watching a beautiful video is a great experience, and the look and style of your video can keep your customers coming back to you for more and more content.

It might seem like you have to be overly artsy or creative to get a great look and feel for your video content, but it’s actually surprisingly simple and inexpensive.

All you need are click on lenses for your smartphone, to change the look of your video in an instant, so style wise you are ahead of the social video pack every time.

You can use a fisheye lens to change the look or invest in lens kits that give you up to 5 different style qualities at prices starting from $35 or you can  invest a little more and purchase a 5-in-1 style lens.  Good versions of these start at around $75 and can give you the fresh crisp look and feel of a go-pro.

There so much fun to be had in looking at lens options, but whatever you choose, all you ever have to do is click them on, get them into focus, and you’ll never have to change your location to change your look.  How cool is that?

And we’re not done yet ...


And one final piece of wisdom, from our filmmaker friend Wes, is his favourite secret accessory – your old phone!  You can use your old phone as a second camera, to shoot and edit, it will save you data and battery on your primary phone and you won’t have anyone calling you and interrupting your Facebook live – yes , that nightmare is very real.

So, there you have it, Wes Alan’s top tips to get your video’s and Facebook Live’s looking and sounding professional, and Wes says that if you are really pressed for funds starting out, and can only invest in 2 things – then lighting and sound are the must-must-haves to get you started in this crazy exciting world of visual storytelling. 

Now, go forth and tell your story!


If you would like to learn more about Wes Alan, then just search for his business Tap-Edit-Go on Facebook or via Google.

If you feel you have a vision for your business, but lack the process, and you’d like to learn more about the mentors and support available to help your business grow, you can get in touch with the SmartHub via Facebook, by emailing or by visiting the SmartHub in Customs House at 208 Quay St, Rockhampton. 

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