This guest post is from Peter Gavin of GigMasters, who advises: If your dream is to be the next Spielberg, this post is NOT for you. This is for anyone who has no clue on how to make a video.

by nolene


You should shoot in the best quality possible, but you don’t want blow your entire budget on one camera. When you upload your video to the web it’s going to get compressed anyway, so top-of-the-line gear isn’t necessary. But DON’T use your iPhone! Sure, many viral videos have been shot on cell phones. But unless you’re going for some wacky high-concept video, please use a real video camera.

1. It takes 2 (cameras) to make a thing go right

If you’re low on cash, you have to make a decision between video quality and quantity of cameras. I’d recommend going with 2 cheaper cameras over 1 that’s higher quality. Multiple angles will make for a more compelling video, plus you’ll want a backup recording in case you screw up your main camera.

Best Buy is everywhere and good place to start looking at prices.

2. Lighting is the more important than your camera

Make sure that your location is very WELL-LIT! Video always comes out darker than it looks in real life. Grab some lamps from your house if you have to — just make sure it’s bright enough. If you record during an event where you can’t control the lighting, save the shoot for another gig. But if no one minds, turn the lights up higher than normal.

Softbox lights are cheap and they make you look very professional.

3. Audio quality can make or break your video

If you only use your built-in camera mics, your audio will sound noisy and echo-y. Mics can get pricey, but a great audio recording can really make you stand out from the rest — especially if you’re a musician. If you can’t afford studio time, borrow or rent some mics and piece it together on Garageband or ProTools. For interviews, I recommend a lavalier mic (the one that clips onto your shirt) or at least a handheld Shure mic.

Guitar Center is a good place to compare a variety of mics.

4. You already own editing software

Most computers come with basic video editing applications such as iMovie for Mac, and Movie Maker for PC. And these days you don’t have to go back to school to learn the basics. Online video tutorials such as Apple’s “Find out how” series show you all you need to know for basic editing.

Final Cut Pro is now only $300! (It used to be $1000).

5. Resize your videos without losing quality

You may have noticed that your video’s file size is very large. When you’re finished editing your video, you can custom export your files in your editing software, so that they’re at the image size and quality you need. The two image editors mentioned above even guide you on what quality to use for the web vs. a DVD, and so on. But if you have any older videos weighing down your hard drive, there are easy and free ways to compress them to a manageable size in order to free up space for more projects.

MPEG Streamclip (Mac or PC) is an excellent freeware editor/converter.

This article originally appeared on

About GigMasters
Launched in 1997, GigMasters has provided live entertainment for 170,000 special events — weddings, corporate events, kids’ parties, festivals and more. Today, GigMasters counts over 10,000 entertainers as active members with everything from musicians and DJs to impersonators and balloon twisters. To find entertainment or to become a member (to get more gigs) go to