planning, filming

021: How Much Does Video Cost?


The podcast dedicated to giving you a no-bullshit look at what it takes to build relationships through video. This is for the scared, the overwhelmed, the awkward as fuck, and all those who believe diy doesn't have to mean amateur but don't know where to start ...

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Tors Grantham

Tors is a television professional, who studied all aspects of television production before launching her career spanning almost a decade. She's worked with a BAFTA nominated production team, has her own entry on, and has even walked the red carpet several (terrifying) times.

She's had chips thrown at her by David Tennant (it was an accident, he's got terrible aim), she's interviewed some amazing actresses, and she attended the cast and crew screening of Empire Strikes Back at the grand old age of four. 

Now she lives in south Wales with a large dog and a small cat, where she uses the knowledge she gained in her television years and beyond, to help online biz owners step in front of the camera and connect with their audience.


In This Episode

I thought I’d hit the ground running for all you listening who’re planning to do video as part of your New Years Resolution, because the cost of video may be putting you off. Or at least giving you second, third or maybe fourth thoughts.

So I thought I’d address something I see come up quite a lot: the cost of video.

There’s a few reasons people give me as to why they can’t start making videos. In no particular order, it comes down to lack of time, money, equipment and/or confidence. There is a belief that video is expensive, and it’s persistently sticking around despite there being absolutely no reason for it.

That’s right; video doesn’t have to cost you anything, financially speaking.

All you need in order to make videos is a camera, and the best one for you to use is in the device you’re probably using to listen to this podcast right now. Yep, your phone.

The cameras in modern mobile phones are brilliant, and - in my opinion - are far better than using a DSLR, especially when you’re first starting out in the video making sphere. Don’t believe me? They’ve made movies, shown in theatres, filmed on iPhones. Even Steven Soderbergh has jumped on that particular bandwagon, you know him, he’s the guy that directed Erin Brockovich, was responsible for the Ocean’s movies, and that absolute classic, Magic Mike. I’ll put a link in the shownotes to his full CV so you can really appreciate how important it is that someone with his experience and standing in Hollywood has been converted to the joys of using a smartphone to film on, as well as to an article on some of the films shot on a smartphone that you may have seen in the cinema.

So, your phone. Use it. In fact, you already know how to use it, which makes making videos significantly less overwhelming and/or intimidating. Wanna know why? Because you’re not trying to learn how to make videos and struggling to learn how to use new equipment at the same time. Using a camera you’re already familiar with, probably already comfortable sticking in your face, and carry with you everywhere is going to go a long way towards speeding up your video learning curve.

Focusing on equipment, especially equipment you don’t know how to use and probably don’t even need, is just another form of procrastination. I can’t make videos unless I have the proper lighting, the proper camera, the proper microphone, and the proper backdrop, right? I know I’m not the only one that’s said that to myself. And if perfectionism is a thing you struggle with, go listen to episode 5, why perfectionism is fucking up your videos, you may find it helpful.

But all that stuff - the lights, the microphone, the backdrop - it’s distracting. It shifts your focus away from what you’re trying to achieve and onto fucking around with equipment. That’s not a good shift, in case you were wondering, especially if you’re just starting out or your videos aren’t working for you. Your equipment isn’t going to magically make your videos more engaging, more effective, more entertaining or more educational, because those things have absolutely nothing to do with what equipment you're using.

What video actually costs, is time.

Well that’s a lie, video can cost a lot of money, but that typically kicks in at the point when you have less time, perhaps because you’re making enough money to outsource all the things.

But, regardless of who you are, the most video has to cost you is your time.

Yes, you can buy equipment, but do you really need to?

Spoiler alert: no you do not.

Oh I know you want to look and sound great, and you think lights and microphones will help with that. And, yes, they absolutely will. But are they necessary? Do you really need them in order to be able to create a video that builds a relationship with your audience?

Nope, not at all.

Although there is a caveat to that. There has to be enough light and enough sound that people can see your eyes and clearly understand what you’re saying. Let me say that again, there has to be enough light and enough sound that people can see your eyes and clearly understand what you’re saying. Only enough, not a full lighting kit that would make the BBC look stingy.

Wanna know the number one reason why people stop watching a video part way through?

Because the content isn’t doing it for them.

The content.

Not the production values. Not the amount of light or how wonderful your jawline may look in it.

The content.

And that, right there is why you want to start with minimal equipment and a camera you already know how to use. So you can focus on what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. That’s actually the most important thing. It’s you, on screen, that connects with people, not the camera you were using to film it.

Did you hear that? That was me dropping my mic … although not literally, this thing was expensive!

Spending time focusing on your content and how you show up on camera, is actually really fucking smart. In the beginning, when no one knows you, is probably the best time to give up the belief you have to look like a movie star on camera, because you can build an audience who love your content (and you) rather than produce hit or miss content that probably won’t do much for your business. In the beginning, when you have no one watching (sometimes literally, I’m not gonna lie), is the best time to throw production values to the wind and focus on getting good on camera.

So when can you start spending money on video?

Firstly, I’d start with your learning curve. Put your money towards learning to edit, there’s a reason we edit (and I’ll be covering that in an upcoming episode) and editing may seem like a time consuming and frustrating exercise, but that’s just because you haven’t learned the right way of doing it yet. I’ll put some links to editing courses you may want to check out in the shownotes.

And then, once you’ve got making videos down, then you can start looking at upping your production values. I mean, you may not even want to, and there’s no reason you have to - in fact the higher your production values, the less your audience are able to connect with you as someone they can just hang out with because you get put on a pedestal. So, really, there’s a case for continuing to keep your production values quite low right there.

But, should you decide you need to invest in video equipment, by taking the time to learn to make videos first, you’ll be in a much better position to decide where to invest first, and - hint - it’s highly unlikely to be a new camera. Instead of going out and loading your Amazon cart full of professional backdrops and lighting kits, that you don't know how to use and that overwhelms you so completely that you’re too intimidated to pick up that super expensive DSLR camera you thought you needed. But really don’t. Instead, take a moment (and a deep breath).

Focus on your content, and how to deliver it on camera in a way that’s totally you, supports your brand, and let’s you relax into what you’re making, instead of getting caught up in learning how to use all this new equipment you’ve landed yourself with and, shortly, will realise you didn’t really need.

Save your money, spend your time.


021: How Much Does Video Cost? Surprisingly, it may not be as expensive as you think to create great video content. Click to listen!

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