Assuming the decision has already been made to create videos for your dealership, we’d like to welcome you to the club! Videos are becoming standard for reaching in-market buyers at a higher point in the car buying process; you can rest assured the decision to invest in video marketing will benefit your existing efforts.
The question after how to create dealership videos is typically “what equipment will I need?” We’re here to raise the curtain and shine the spotlight on equipment we recommend to get started. We understand not all dealerships are alike, so we will break it down into low, mid, and high range budgets. For an idea of quality expectations, we would say the normal dealer walk-around review video is low budget, the dealers gaining attention from regional managers are mid range, and those who pursue top quality are akin to our work at the higher end budget.
- Canon VIXIA – $300
- A low end, dedicated video camera that has stood the test of time. Vixia’s have been around for some time and deliver results. Also consider one of Canon’s DSLRs’ or Sony’s Mirrorless cameras priced under $500. Going with mirrorless or DSLR cameras will open up the window to better photographs to share. Can you hear the social media buzz calling?
- Sony A7s II – $2,200
- A camera jam packed with features typically found on high end video cameras such as S-LOG 2 & 3, incredible ISO, and 4K capabilities. Paired with a quality lens, the results will be great. Also consider Canon’s higher end DSLR market including the 5D MIV and the C100 cinema camera.
- Sony FS5 – $5,800
- Stepping into the higher end market, the FS5 takes the technology found in the A7 series and adds on-board ND filters, 4K internal recording with 4:2:0 8-bit XAVC files. Remember to pick up lens for mirrorless, DSLR, or cinema cameras!
- Benro Travel Angel – $200
- Compact, light, and sturdy. Not the best on fluid movements in any direction, but certainly gets the job done. The camera will be steady.
- Manfrotto MT190X3 with MCH500AH Fluid Head – $300
- Stepping up to a fluid head will allow for much smoother pans and tilts while following a subject or motivating a move. Consider a slider from Kenova to get some motion into your shots.
- Manfrotto MT190X3 with MT190CXPRO4 Fluid Head – $525
- Should there be a need for more weight or more drag on the fluid head, step up to this head and sticks combo. A personal preference is the 502HDV head from Manfrotto, however it’s not necessary.
- Rode VideoMic – $100-200
- A reliable shotgun microphone that sits on top of a small camera and plugs in to the 3.5mm jack. Might be tough to record in a showroom or outside, but this is light years ahead of built-in camera mics.
- Shure MX184 – $200
- This mic isn’t all that bad given its price. A little bulky and limited on audio quality, however it’s great for getting the mic closer to your presenter. Remember to get some XLR cables and necessary adapters for your camera.
- Sennheiser ew 112-P G3 – $630
- Making the jump to wireless lavaier mics isn’t cheap, but the results are worth it. As we mentioned in other blog posts, audio is more important than video for audience retention. If there’s a department to spend more on, this is it.
- Genaray LED 7100T 312 LED Variable – $190
- This particular LED light is good for filling in dark shadows under the eyes, nose, and chin. Particularly useful inside the cabin of a car (unless it’s a cabriolet).
- Lowel light kit – $500
- To have control of the lighting situation with more powerful bulbs, try out a tungsten kit such as the ones from Lowel. The drawback is of course needing an outlet, sufficient fuse power, and bulbs at the ready to swap out.
- LED light kit – $2,100
- The future if we could predict it is in LED lighting. Highly mobile, efficient, and variable to match color temperatures. Certainly a great route to go if the budget allows.
- iMovie, MovieMaker – Free
- Commonly (or used to be) included on new Macs and PCs. The free editing tools get the basics done like cutting, adding transitions, and audio.
- Final Cut X – $300
- This Apple product substantially builds on iMovie with advanced features to get more out of your project timeline.
- AVID Media Composer, Adobe Premiere CC – $1,300, $50/month
- Industry standard tools such as those from AVID and the highly popular Adobe Creative Suite bring unparalleled control and editing power. These tools are the same ones cutting together blockbuster feature films…and our videos!
- Low Budget – $790 to $1,000
- Junior videographer 1 year experience – $10-14/hr part time
- Mid Range – $3,500 to $5,500
- Skilled videographer 1-3 years experience – $35-55/hr part time
- High Budget – $10,355 to $10,600
- Highly skilled production team (3) – $60-90+/hr part time each
The ranges are wide and the choices are infinite. The lower end budget is where most dealerships will find themselves if they are pursuing an in-house production route. That is where our first dealership was at when we started working with them. Multinational auto groups may be after the high end budget, but we assume dealers looking to differentiate themselves from the crowd will aim at mid-range or local freelancer rates. We’ve helped outfit companies with in-house equipment before, and we’re happy to do the same for you. Get in touch with us and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
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