Camera Buying Guide 2019

"How do I make my videos look like the movies?" 

In high school, I was part of K-AHS -- a school TV program where we announced the news daily. This where I fell in love with video, specifically short form content. 

Every day, we would open the show with a fun 1-2 minute creative video. We made skits, music videos, etc.

Each time I went to record, I pictured producing this high-quality piece of content that looked like the movies, but in the end -- it never looked like that! I was confused and frustrated as to why. 

In film school, I found out why...

It wasn't me, it was the camera.

In film school, I had access to high-quality production gear and very quickly realized that the major difference is truly the camera. The answer seemed so simple, yet it took me years to discover!

Capture Top Quality

Ready to upgrade beyond the iPhone? This week's video walks you through every you need to know before buying a camera. Stop watching hundreds of video reviews online, eliminate choices and click buy. 


How To Do SXSW For Free | Shot on iPhone XS

SXSW is upon us. 

Is it worth getting caught up in the mix or staying away entirely? Each year this question arises as thousands of people flock to our city. 

As locals, we often discount the value of the festival and feel we deserve some sort of local pat on the back and free entrance. This ego stops many of us from truly experiencing the value of the festival.

This year, I decided to explore if the hype was truly worth it. 

My ultimate conclusion? Next year, I’m buying a badge. 

Yes, there’s tons of free events to attend IF you’re looking to day drink and meet other locals. You might even catch a few great one off panels. 

But if next level conversations thrill you - getting inside the convention center is worth the cost. Even a quick scroll through the list of talks and panels was enough to fill me with jealousy. 

Don’t get me wrong ... I really enjoyed my weekend of free events - amazing weather, great people, free drinks. There’s no reason we shouldn’t ALL attend! 

So whether you’re like me and ready for a badge, or just curious ... this week’s video will offer insight into what a weekend of SXSW looks like and how YOU too can attend the free events: 

Life Coach For Millennials | Brand Video Example

Virtual business + Video = Challenge

The reality of your day to day activities may consist of working from home in your pjs, or potentially putting on a top that looks presentable for your video conference calls.

Your services may not be visual in anyway -- in fact, you're literally selling the knowledge in your mind via consulting or coaching.

This is very much the case for Taylor Dixon who runs Dreamcatcher Immersion. Her 6-month program is an immersive life, brand, and business accelerator. It is designed to help the busy millennial woman cultivate an intimate relationship with self, master the art of lifestyle design, create and launch an authentic personal brand, and launch/re-launch their creative project or business.

Upon completing the 6 month program, Taylor invites all her students to a retreat to meet one another in person and celebrate their graduation.

THIS was the moment to capture and she knew it.

As a personal brand guru, Taylor planned ahead and rented a beautiful Airbnb that was filled with natural light. She prepped each of her students for the video shoot and scheduled time during her retreat to capture their testimonials, along with other visual representations of who they were.

The video turned out beautiful.

If you're needing to capture visuals for your business, how might you be able to create visual moments? I'd love to hear your thoughts or struggles on this topic in the comment section of this video!

Are Digital Cameras Still Worth Buying?

My jaw dropped.

"I run all of Topo Chico's social content," says Giovanni, "and for the first three years, I only used iPhone footage."

I met Giovanni this last week at Social Media Week after hearing about him for over a year. He is the man behind Topo Chico's social content.

He explained to me that when he first started, he mounted an iPhone atop a DSLR camera, and made it look like he was using it as a monitor. Meanwhile, he never hit record on the DSLR.

He did this for a while and his clients never caught or cared about the iPhone quality video. Eventually, he clued them in and ditched the DSLR entirely.

Going Beyond iPhone

Having said this, there are brands that need higher quality footage than a smartphone can offer.

I believe that this decision all comes down to audience preference combined with the right time, place and budget.

In this week's video, we dive deeper into last week's analysis of iPhone vs. Mirrorless camera footage and chat about the pros and cons of upgrading.

Should you upgrade? Watch the video to find out.

How to Take Better Videos With Your iPhone

I Don’t Know Where To Start

Video is a black box that you may not understand -- and that's okay! When I first entered into the world of online marketing, I knew NOTHING. I started listening to a few podcasts and over time, I began to get familiar with the terms.

Each podcast I listened to gave me insight into specific "how-tos", but the cumulation of all those episodes eventually led me to see the bigger picture.

One Tutorial At a Time

If you're overwhelmed by the idea of video then I want to re-assure you ... you're doing exactly what you need to be doing by reading this email and watching the video.

It doesn't take big action to get started, just focus on learning to start. Then when you're ready to test, pick up your iPhone and do a few test shots. Follow the steps in this video to grab your shots. Edit a short sequence together in iMovie. You don't have to release the video, just practice.

When you're ready for the next step, record and talk to the camera when no one else is around. Watch it back -- you're going to recognize all the terrible things you do (ums, ahs, not knowing what to say, looking dorky, etc.) We are certainly our worst critiques! But keep trying and watching and over time you'll start to like what you see.

I'm giving you permission to just watch and wait for inspiration to strike.

One day you'll hit record and realize "Wow, I know a lot more than I thought! This isn't so bad!"

Travel Video Budapest | Shot on iPhone XS

Vacation is your time to relax.

The last thing you want to do is lug around a big camera to capture the moment.

Shooting on my iPhone during a trip is one of my most favorite things to do. It isn't about the cinematic shots, it's about capturing the moments that you want to remember.

Years later, you click play and can relive those moments once more.

On my recent trip to Budapest... I came up with one simple template that anyone can replicate:

  • Swipe in / out on every shot

  • Record people (you, friends or locals) pointing out a few monuments or something cultural.

  • Choose a song and then edit it together sequentially

That's it! Go check out this week's video to see an example.

How to Edit iPhone Video in Premiere (How to Vlog - Part 2)

Your Biggest Obstacle

The hardest part of creating videos is getting over the internal dialogue that what you shot (or are shooting) won't come together in editing. 

Yesterday, I was at Keller Williams International, filming a video with The One Thing team. A business consultant and I were using my annual goals as a coaching opportunity for their membership site. 

As we filmed the video, I could tell that morale in the room was declining. Things weren't going as planned and everything seemed to be crumbling to pieces. The immediate instinct was to call it quits ... despite all the content that had already been captured. 

I encouraged the group to salvage the shoot by pivoting and adding an alternative intro / outro rather than officially quitting. That way they could edit the video and still have hope that it might come together. More likely than not, the video will turn out far better than anyone anticipated. 

Believe it or not, this is a common occurrence on shoots. 

With almost every video I shoot for my channel, I'm never totally sure if it will work or fall flat. Yet, when I get to editing, it always comes together. 

iPhone Vlog Challenge

It all starts by hitting record.  Last week's video outlined How to Vlog on Your iPhone and this week's vlog takes you STEP by STEP for how to edit it. From importing the photos, organizing them, all the way to exporting. In this lengthy video, I hold your hand throughout the full process of editing so you don't get stuck in the weeds. 

I've put out an unofficial challenge where I'm encouraging YOU to hit record, edit and post your results on social media. It doesn't have to be long, it doesn't have to be perfect (in fact, it won't be!). But everyone starts somewhere. 

Choose ONE person in your organization to do a vlog about something that is happening this month and post it by February 15th on social and I will promote your video on my channel (with your permission, of course). 

NOTE: If you’re reading this blog after the deadline has past, I challenge you anyway!

Rules of the Game

- Must shoot on your phone (evens the playing field)
- Must be loosely business related
- Post on social with the hashtag #JanVlogContest (yes, I choose the wrong name for the hashtag)
- Tag me in it!

Just remember: Push through obstacles and aim for an exported video

How To Make a Vlog with Your iPhone (Part 1)

Vlogging was a stretch

When I first started vlogging, I had no idea how or where to start. I researched the best tactics for shooting and editing, but there was little info that was valuable... (other than everyone trying to be Casey Neistat)

So I had to learn by trial and error. 7 months later, I quite enjoy the freedom of vlogging. It's been liberating to step out from the "promo" style filming and switch up the tactics. I've picked up several tricks along the way that I'd like to share...

Story above tech

A vlog without story is just a crappy video. The trick to vlogging is to keep it fast, engaging and constantly moving forward in the narrative. The second the video slows, you loose your audience. NOTE: This has NOTHING to do with what camera you use. 


So I decided to test my own theory and challenge myself to vlog using my iPhone X... I used only my phone -- no external accessories added, except for a tripod (no extra lenses, mics, lights, etc.). This lightweight set up allowed me to capture shots that I couldn't do with my regular rig ... capturing unique angles, discreetly filming in public, etc. 

But how much quality do you lose?

I was super impressed with the output. The audio continually amazes me, specifically it's levels and how much it cuts out background noise. I could have shot this video in 4k (super HD), but I kept the resolution at 1920 x 1080 to prove that 4k isn't even necessary.

You can too

The main difference between me and you at this stage is my ability to craft the story and edit it together. In this video, I give tips for crafting your story and next week, I'll walk you through how to edit it. The more and more you practice (and watch examples), the better you'll become. 

So with that ...

My 2019 Business Plan

At the end of last year, I was buuuuurned out... Can you relate?

I've been creating business videos for the past four years and while my skills and knowledge of the industry have improved significantly, the nature of my work has remained relatively the same. 

I'm continuously viewed as a "video technician" rather than the "video marketer" that I've become. 

What the difference? For starters, video marketers can see the bigger picture of how your video fits into the overall marketing strategy. Unlike video technicians, we're not trying to selfishly make the badass video we want to make (yes, this is very much a thing).

We want to impact your sales and 
actually, make a change in your business.

Grave Mistakes

Over and over again, businesses have ignored my advice and repeated the same mistakes I've seen so many others make. Often, this includes creating the wrong video and spending waaaay too much money on it. In an effort to please customers, we've said yes to any video that businesses want to make.

TIP: If you don't want to make these mistakes, be sure to download my "Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid" freebie.

So how do I fix this issue that so many businesses face? We focus our efforts...

We're no longer creating any video that a business wants, but instead creating the #1 video that every business needs. From there, we analyze your specific marketing and sales funnel to see which videos you need to make to increase your conversions.

Say goodbye to videos that waste money
and say hello to Video with ROI.

What is the #1 video all businesses should make? Check out the video...