Video Content Marketing: Quality Control

For the last few years, "content marketing", and specifically video content, has been all the rage. Brands have jumped on the bandwagon and have been piling heaps of content onto YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and any other place they can put it. 

This post could go down the path of discussing how they should have had a better plan to make more impact, figured out their goals before producing something and throwing it out there, etc etc…but that's for another day. 

What I'm here to talk about is the quality of the video content. At one time, it was okay for content to look less than spectacular. Then along came Red Bull…and subsequently, Red Bull Media House…producing amazing quality content that was light years better than everyone else. They had the budget to produce it, and nailed it on every level. But, what that did to the consumer was raise their expectation of how video content should look online. If it didn't look decent, often times people would click out of it. I know I was one of those people. 

All of that being said, I have always been an advocate for producing quality-looking content. In the last few years, I have worked on many projects for clients that required video content, and have always found myself with the task of justifying the cost of high-quality production. It has become increasingly challenging. 

This Summer, I was faced with an impossible situation to produce some video content, and all funding had fallen through to do it. After discussing with a professional photographer friend of mine, he convinced me that the iPhone 5S had pretty amazing video capability. I was skeptical, but wasn't left with much room or time to argue. So off to the store I went! With my new iPhone 5S, a case that had a tripod mount, and a little steadicam rig, we set off on a cross-country adventure. 

I shot a fair amount of footage that week (some of it that looked pretty damn good), edited on my iPad and posted to YouTube. It was quick and easy. And for quick social media updates and posts, it actually LOOKED pretty good. 

Not long after, my iPhone video skills were sought after again. I went on the road for another event, producing a daily video to post an update during the course of a 3 day event. There was also a professional videographer there shooting with much higher quality equipment. Even he found it hard to distinguish much of a difference between what I shot and what he was shooting when we were looking at it on my iPad screen. 

More recently, another client sought this sort of option for quick (day-of) social media updates. With the tight budgets, companies have to find resourceful ways to keep feeding their content machine efficiently. 

The bottom line: For quick social media video content, using an iPhone (or similar device) does have a perfect fit in content marketing. I still believe in the need for producing higher quality content in many contexts, but technology has advanced to the point where the quality level that is recognizable when viewing on most mobile devices allows producing content in a more cost efficient manner. That's not to say there isn't an art to it, tools that can make it better (steadicam, lenses, a few different apps, external mic to name a few), and tricks to improve it overall, but it is feasible and more than acceptable quality level in many instances.