Look, it’s 2021, you know you need to have a video presence online.

There was a time when producing quality content for your company or brand meant you needed to buy airtime from a local tv station. It also meant you needed to hire a production company to shoot a commercial for you – they’d probably rent a studio, bring in some wickedly expensive gear, hire a team, cater a lunch, bring in a teleprompter and a make up artist and wrap production 12 hours and $10,000 later. (On the low end!) The subsequent editing and music licensing processes would run you another few grand or so and within a month, a finished commercial would be running on your local tv station in front of prospective customers.

For better or worse, your prospective customers are no longer watching the local news looking for your ads. Your audience – like you – is online. You know all this already: people find you through your content. Be it blog posts, informational videos, or instagram ad campaigns, today’s marketplace demands we all be content creators. But – despite what you may have heard – that doesn’t mean we need to pour money into creating good content. It also doesn’t mean you should be uploading boring webcam footage… You can do better. In truth, quality content creation has never been easier – or cheaper. 

Enter: the tools of the digital age. You don’t need to dump thousands of dollars into your content. For a couple bucks, you could have every single tool you need to produce high quality, competitive content (and you can literally do it today.)

So what do you need to make high quality content? 

Editing Software

As good a place as any to start. You need some way to actually make this stuff. And look, you could have a long discussion over what kind of software you should use when building content – but in truth that’s a waste of your time. There’s really only one editing suite that deserves your attention. 

Adobe Creative Cloud 

Adobe has a firm grip on the market and for very good reason. Adobe has the tools available to create anything from a Hollywood film to a 10 second instagram story. It also has the tools to match any skill level. You can go from never having touched editing software to confidently creating simple videos for digital platforms in a couple hours. 

The Adobe Creative Suite is the industry standard which has a couple huge benefits for you: 

  1. It has every tool you need and more.
    • Seriously. Adobe Premiere is the best video editing software out there. Adobe Premiere Rush is a stunningly easy to use video editing software that you can master within a week. Adobe Photoshop is the best photo editing software in the world and it’s not even close. It’s literally a verb now. Not to mention After Effects, Audition, Illustrator, InDesign, and more. Adobe is a powerhouse and necessity for any creative.
  2. Several million other people have worked out all the kinks and made about a billion tutorials and scattered them across every corner of the internet.
    • I say this with complete honesty and the experience to back it up… YouTube is better than film school. Adobe is one of the most used software suites in the world and you will find every tutorial you can imagine on YouTube. 
  3. It’s the industry standard!
    • I know, I already said that. But the Adobe suite is used by nearly every major production company and digital content studio. If you can master these editing tools, you’ll have a very practical skill that people will actually pay you to use! I’ve survived off editing gigs many times and plenty of editors regularly bill anywhere from $600 to $1,000 a day.

The Assets 

Ok, so you’ve got your editing software – your construction tools. Now you need something to actually build. Your raw materials: video and audio elements might come from you – maybe you have footage you’ve shot on your phone, or clips you’re pulling from the internet. But creating quality content usually means you’re gonna want something that looks professionally shot – and because it’s 2021, you don’t actually need to spend that much money to do that. 

Envato Elements

Over 50 million creative assets in one place.

One of the hardest challenges I’ve faced as a content creator is keeping things visually interesting while trying to tell the story I want to tell. Envato Elements has completely changed that. Seriously. From creating a web series, to a commercial, to a social post – Envato Elements is the first place I go. It’s not free but it is kind of a shockingly good deal – you pay a small monthly fee and you have access to over 50 million creative assets – not an exaggeration. This subscription has everything from graphic templates to high quality photos to (my favorite) studio grade stock video. And this stuff can seriously upgrade the quality of your project. 

From epic drone shots to explosions to closeups of actors – you can use everything on Envato Elements in your project.

If that’s not enough of a sales pitch, here’s my big three for why you need Envato Elements:

  1. Even if you’re not a pro… you can look like one.
    • Shooting professional grade footage is not easy or cheap – but with this subscription, you can get away with creating a ton of original, quality content without actually needing to pick up a camera.
  2. There’s a lot of room to grow!
    • Outgrowing a tool can be really frustrating, take it from me, you won’t need to upgrade from this anytime soon. This subscription doesn’t just give you a ton of stock video assets – it also gives you a ton of music, sound effects, graphics, fonts, photos, tutorials and special effects assets. You probably won’t use every single one of those things right away. But as you grow as a content creator, you’ll find new ways to put these tools to use and that room to grow is a huge plus. 
  3. Pandemic proof!
    • This was a big one for me and it was ultimately the reason I ended up subscribing. Whether it’s a pandemic or just a bigger reliance on work from home, Zoom footage sucks. Nobody wants to watch people sit still in their bedrooms and a lot of content out there looks exactly like that. Having access to thousands of pieces of footage and millions of photos allows you to create exciting, quality content whether you’re stuck in your bedroom or working from a cubicle. 

Now go be creative!

Look, at the end of the day, these tools can set you up for success but they are just tools. You’re the raw material. So figure out what story you want to tell and get yourself the tools to tell it properly.

Yale Fried is an LA based producer and director. He is the creator of Crooked History – an original video series from Crooked Media.

Heads up: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.