How to Make YouTube Product Videos Really, Really Fast
I’m a YouTuber, and I’ve written before about how I earn $53+ per hour creating videos for my channel. A lot of the content on my channel relates to products, and one of my core strategies is to produce product videos very, very fast. In a previous example, I showed how I can produce 9+ videos in about an hour — including all the research time, shooting time, editing time, etc.
With certain products, though, I can go even faster. In 2021, I’m planning to share more about my content creation process across the board — for Youtube, here on Medium, on News Break, for my photographic work, etc. So to demonstrate my YouTube video creation process, I fired up my computer, started a livestream, went to my patio, and shot 5 YouTube product videos, live on camera.
The whole thing took 18 minutes, for an average of 3.6 minutes per video, including the research time.
You can watch the whole livestream to see exactly how I did it. But there are some key points I can share here, too, about the best strategies for shooting product videos really, really fast. Why does speed matter? The faster you can shoot videos, the more content you can produce. Overall, more content tends to lead to more engagement, more subscribers, more views, and more revenue.
Here are some of my top strategies for shooting YouTube product videos quickly.
Amazon is Your Friend
As I show in the livestream, my core strategy for product videos is to go to the physical space where I use the product (in this case, my patio). I then pull up Amazon on my phone (where I buy most of my products), look at my order history, and click Search Orders. I then search for the product, and pull up the exact item that I’m reviewing.
I take about 30 seconds to scroll through the product page, noting the brand name and product name (it’s important to mention the exact brand so that people can find the product later). I also note any key features that are important to include and to get right, like what the product is made from (stainless steel, aluminum, etc) and how much it weighs.
I then pull up the camera on my phone and start shooting. I like to mention the product name right off the bat. I then go into the rest of my review, making sure to note any of the key features that I saw on the product page. I find that it’s helpful to remind myself of these features right before shooting a video, so they’re fresh in my brain. In the livestream, you can even hear me repeating some of this data to myself before I hit record, to make sure I’ve got it memorized.
It’s easy enough to remember how you use a product, and what you like about it. But it’s harder to remember if it’s corrugated stainless steel or hot-dipped stainless steel, or whether it’s BPA free or not. Amazon keeps all these details for you in one place, so it’s helpful to use your Amazon order history to find the exact product you bought and the most important details about it right before you make a product video.
Wait At Least a Month to Review Products
Sometimes I review products as soon as I receive them. If I get something really cool on Kickstarter, I try to review it right away, before it goes mainstream. And if I get a really new product — like when I got the Fitbit Sense several days early — I make a ton of content right away. I sometimes make unboxing videos, too, or videos sharing my initial impressions of a product I just received.
In many cases, though, I wait at least a month to review a product, and sometimes up to five years. Why? Because I actually use all the stuff that I review on my channel. And I find that if I take some time to use the product, I get a better understanding of what I like about it, and what aspects of it aren’t so great.
I can say, for example, that my outdoor kids’ table holds up well to weather, because I’ve been using it outdoors for 2+ years. If I just got it, I couldn’t say that credibly.
But there’s another benefit, too. If you use a product for a longer time, you have more time to develop opinions about it. Maybe you have a great experience using it — or a really negative one — that’s memorable and stands out. Or maybe you just develop a better understanding of what features are important and which features aren’t.
All of that is valuable to share with your audience when you shoot your video. And all of it is an easy addition to the content you’re creating. You don’t have to do a ton of research (which takes time) in order to share your experiences using a product. You can just dive in and talk about what you’ve liked in using it, or any issues you’ve discovered.
Tell Us What You Think
Which brings us to the next point. Many YouTubers assume that they need to produce professionally-crafted, carefully researched, comprehensive overviews of all the products they cover. Surely, there’s a place for channels which do this. But the reality is that audiences mostly want to hear what you think about a product, not a long list of product specs and features.
Why? Audiences are totally capable of learning about a product’s basic specs by Googling it, or reading its Amazon page. When they come to YouTube, they’re often looking for personal experiences, information about how well the product’s features actually perform in the real world, etc.
It’s easy for a product’s manufacturer to say that it’s “Durable and well made” on its product page. But the only way to know for sure if that’s true is to use the product for a while in a real world environment. If you’ve used the product and can vouch for its durability (or you’ve found that it’s not durable) and you share that info in a YouTube video, that brings a lot of value to your customers.
Videos based on your own experiences are also a lot faster and easier to shoot. Again, I like to remind myself of basic specs and brand names. But otherwise I mostly shoot videos sharing my own opinions and experiences.
Remember, you’re a person, not a product page. Don’t waste time reading a long list of specs. Tell us what you think about a product.
Don’t Obsess About Technical Perfection
I have a professional broadcast setup at my desk, with a Sony AX53 camera, an ATEM Mini Pro video mixer, an Elgato video light, etc. I use it along with Open Broadcast Studio to do pro-quality videos, livestreams, presentations, interviews, etc. when I’m seated at my desk and talking about a product there. When I did a long livesteam about my Leica Q, for example, I used this setup. Ditto when I appear on TWiT or CNN.
But when I’m walking around making videos about products I use on a daily basis, I shoot my YouTube videos on my phone. I also don’t use a tripod, don’t add fancy graphics, don’t use a mic, and overall worry very little about technical quality.
Why? Again, when it comes to seeing products in use, people on YouTube want to see content shot in the real world. You’re bringing them into your space, and helping them see how a product looks in real life. For that, professional production values aren’t only unnecessary — they’re a liability. A slick, professionally-shot video about a product in a person’s actual space is a dead giveaway that the video was probably produced by a brand, not a real person.
Again, there’s value in some slick, brand-produced product videos. And some YouTubers do set up professional broadcast systems in different spaces in their house, much as I’ve done at my desk. I see people who set up pro-quality studios in their kitchens, for example, and then share real-world content and product reviews about kitchen gadgets. But for the most part, if you’re showing a product in real life, it pays to shoot the video on your phone or with another simple setup, and to avoid a polished, pro look.
And want to know a big secret? Even brands these days love video that looks raw and authentic. Many big brands pay tens of thousands of dollars to produce video content that looks like it was shot on someone’s cellphone. It’s also why brands will pay influencers a ton of money to shoot authentic, low-budget sponsored videos about their products. In a world saturated with slick advertising, these personal, casual videos make a big impact on audiences (and help companies make sales).
The great news is that you can produce these raw, authentic videos just by being, you know, a real person taking videos on your cellphone. Don’t be afraid of this dynamic or visual style. Your shaky, casual, low-res video is actually a huge asset that big brands would love to have, but struggle to duplicate. Embrace it.
Maybe you can’t shoot 5 videos in 18 minutes. But if you take this advice, you can almost certainly produce valuable product videos faster and more efficiently.