Creating Videos for Business On A Shoestring Budget

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Think it’s too expensive to start marketing your business using online video? Think it’s too complicated to start marketing your business using online video? Nope and nope.  Use the powerful one-two punch of the Flip camcorder and Animoto to make stunning video on a shoestring budget.

The Flip Ultra HD

Flip Ultra HDThe Flip Ultra HD is a video camcorder with the capability of shooting 2 hours of HD video. It is slightly larger than a pack of cigarettes and is amazingly simple to use.  There is a big red button on the back of the Flip that you use to record or stop recording.  The device itself can:

  • Record Video
  • Play back video
  • Delete video

It is the simplicity of the device that makes it so powerful.  But the real brilliance of this device is that after you have shot some video you “flip” out the USB plug and stick it in your computer. This launches the simple to use FlipShare software. From FlipShare you can:

  • Trim the video
  • Email a link to the video
  • Upload it straight to YouTube or MySpace
  • Export still images
  • Burn it to DVD
  • Or export it to your computer

It is very, very easy. The Flip retails for around $200.00.

Enter Animoto

animoto_logo_lg_blackbkgdThe second part of the formula is a simple but powerful service called Animoto.  Animoto creates WICKED video using a combination of still photographs, video, text and music.  For a moderate price ($99.00 for three months or $249 for a year) you can create unlimited, full-length, DVD quality videos.  Before purchasing I would suggest using the free version of the software to create some test videos to ensure that it will meet your needs.

The one down side to Animoto is that while you have control over the order in which your video and images will appear in your video, the effects are all generated automatically based on the music you have selected and the length of your video clips.  But don’t worry — the lack of control may feel like a hindrance at times but it is precisely this automation that makes Animoto so powerful and easy to use — it does all the work for you.

Combining the Flip and Animoto – My Story

Here is the sequence of events that led up to the video below:

  • I brought my Flip Ultra HD to a meet-up group for authors and shot about 10 mins of video.
  • I took the video home and plugged the Flip into my computer.
  • The video content “popped up” in the FlipShare software.
  • I clipped out a few 3 to 4 second pieces of video using FlipShare.
  • I exported the pieces of video to my computer.
  • I picked some “snap shots” or still photographs out of the video I shot. I exported those to my computer.
  • I uploaded all of the still photographs and video clips into Animoto.
  • I picked some music from the Animoto music library.
  • I clicked on “Create Video”

Here is the result:

Total Time1 1/2 hours

Total Cost: $200.00 Flip Cam + $100.00 3 month Animoto Membership = $300.00

If you are looking for an easy and inexpensive way to begin taking advantage of the power of online video — this is your answer.  And yes… I know… I’m no Steven Spielberg but I would venture to say that Stevie invested a bit more than $300.00 and 1 1/2 hours into Jurassic Park. :)

About our guest author:

russ_headshot (1)Russ Henneberry writes and speaks about how tiny businesses can make mighty profits using a personal computer, a little imagination and a few well-placed dollars. You can get his posts over at or via your feed reader here.


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