Video production doesn’t have to be costly. This article will give you a few options of free or inexpensive video production tools that will help you achieve professional results by a fraction of the cost you are probably expecting.
An interesting trend to note — before we jump into real examples of which tool you can use for video production — is that the cost of video equipment is dropping, while the number of skilled professional video freelancers and production companies are rising. Meanwhile, more consumers and B2B decision-makers are watching video content, increasing video consumption overall. We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: it’s an exciting time for video!
Let’s look at the different phases of video production and highlight a few handy tools you can use for each.
Without the right tool, storyboarding can be quite a painful process. Luckily, there are plenty of tools to choose from to create your storyboard.
Storyboarder is an open source application which can help you visualise your story and create animations. On top of being completely free, Storyboarder includes an impressive list of features: a beautiful interface, the ability to import hand-drawn boards, a shot generator and PDF export capabilities, just to name a few.
A similar solution for the drag-and-drop aficionados is Boords, an online storyboarding app that checks most of the critics’ must-haves. The editor is very simple to use, while exporting, sharing and versioning are particularly robust.
Another free tool is Make Storyboard, an app that can be used across all devices, including tablets and mobile phones. Make Storyboard allows you to move existing images, sketch new ideas and leave visual feedback on existing content. Differing to Boords, which offers sharing options via a link and as a PDF, you can leave comments directly within someone else’s digital storyboard. The only downside might be that it is still in beta, so updates are frequent and not everything is set in stone yet.
Canva is another free storyboard app for iOS and Android. Although it is more targeted at video production, it still provides everything you need to successfully create a storyboard.
Finally — and if your own some version of the Microsoft Office suite — PowerPoint is also a suitable alternative to create your storyboard.
Let’s now look at screen casting tools.
Loom is an easy to use platform that allows you to capture your screen and at the same time record your with your front-facing camera while you narrate. In the free version you will need to wait a little bit for the download button to be available but, in the meantime, you can use the link to share the video you created.
Screenr is a web-based screen recorder that works as a browser extension and that is very useful when you want to create demos, make tutorials or capture live streaming video. The only downside is that videos will be public if you use the free version and you might encounter Java compatibility issues in more modern browser versions.
OBS Studio is a robust alternative: it is also a free online screen recorder that is equipped with a powerful API, enabling plugins and scripts to provide further customisation and functionality specific to your needs.
Apowersoft also offers a good screen recording tool for free. This application does not require Java Applet, but you will need to install a launcher.
And what about teleprompters? Surely there are a few tools you can use!
If you’re a Mac user, you can find iPrompt Pro and Teleprompter Pro Lite in the App store. They’re both fairly simple to use and will cover your teleprompting needs for free. Android users will find Simple Teleprompter very useful and easy to navigate.
When it comes to animations, we can recommend PowToon and Renderforest. PowToon is good for creating how-to videos and slideshows. Renderforest is another online video and animation platform which helps users create explainer and promotional videos, logo animations and kinetic typography, the technical name for “moving text”. Although not free, Renderforest will not break the bank.
Video styles cheat sheet – download infographic
As for video editing, here is our top 10 recommended tools: Blender; Lightworks; Shotcut; Avidemux; HitFilm Express; Openshot; WeVideo; Adobe Premiere Clip; PicPlayPost and Google Web Designer. These are all worth exploring… you are sure to find one that fits your video editing needs.
In addition to the tools you will pick, remember to stick to the video best practices we’ve highlighted in previous articles: short videos work best; remember to use a microphone to ensure high quality audio; interactive elements such as quizzes and surveys are fundamental. And if you are looking for a reliable and affordable platform to host all of your training content, you should learn more about bugle, or check out this article to help you select the best training platform for your needs.
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