Getting Scrappy With Video Creation

Videos are great resources for trainers. But what if you don’t have professional cameras or equipment? Here’s how you can take a DIY approach to video creation—and why it might be the best option.

When you decided to pursue a career in HR and training, you likely didn’t plan on needing the technical chops that are a reality for today’s trainers. From social media and learning management systems (LMS) to training authoring tools and evergreen digital content, technology is a centerpiece for most in the industry. Using technology in the training department has gone from a “nice to have” to a must. 

However, even the most tech-savvy trainers can get stuck in the cycle of perfection when it comes to creating video training content. This is especially true if you’re relatively new to creating videos in a professional setting. Whether it’s a worry about having the right equipment (more on this later) or fear about how the video will be perceived, at the end of the day, we’re all afraid to create something that misses the mark.

In reality, you have to start somewhere. And that practice is how you’ll get better at creating high-quality, engaging content. Think of the progression of your favorite YouTuber, for example. If you scroll back to their early videos, they usually aren’t that great. Maybe the lighting was too dark or they were still figuring out the purpose of their channel. Eventually, with practice—and by putting their first videos out to the world—the quality became crisper and the content more engaging over time.

If you don’t put your first attempts at training videos out there, you won’t get the all-important feedback needed to improve. If your video is boring, or not delivering the proper message, it ends up being a waste of your time and company resources. These feedback cycles are crucial for improving and can help identify problems within videos you’re creating before it’s too late.

Even with feedback, it’s OK to suck at making videos. It’s OK to tell your team you’re still figuring it out. It’s OK to say the next one is going to be better. It might take some time, but you’ll get there eventually.

Start with the Basics

This is why I always recommend starting with the basics of creating videos. If you have a DSLR camera, fancy lights, and professional gear, all the more power to you! But for the rest of us, stop worrying about what you don’t have. Focus on what you do have and become the best at that first, before investing in expensive gear. For most video purposes, you can create quality and compelling content with only a microphone and your smartphone (check out my tips for recording video with your mobile device).

Recently I was chatting about this topic with Jeremy Vest, director of Marketing at vidIQ. He put it perfectly when he said your goal should be to get 1 percent better each day:

“My [advice is]…to get 1 percent better every week. In 100 weeks you’re 100 percent better… Your lighting sucks? Cool. Make it a little better next week… Give yourself a goal and move forward with creating content…The hundreds of creators I know with more than a million subscribers, they all have one thing in common: They are tenacious. They will not give up.”

Your videos may never make you famous on YouTube, but it’s this do-it-yourself ethos that will make your content better over time. It’s about learning the fundamentals of what makes a good video using the tools you already have.

Ready to start creating videos? Check out some of my previous articles on for tips and best practices: 

  • 3 video tips from expert YouTubers
  • 4 tips to get started creating video
  • 3 techniques to transform stale training videos
  • 5 types of videos anyone in your organization can create

Matt Pierce is Learning & Video ambassador at TechSmith Corp., the go-to company for visual communication. TechSmith empowers people to create remarkable content to share knowledge and information. A graduate of Indiana University’s School of Education’s Department of Instructional Systems Technology, Pierce has more than 10 years of experience working in learning and development with a focus on visual instruction. He has directly managed the training, user assistance, video, and other teams for TechSmith.