The Curaytor Guide to Video for Small Businesses

Most likely you’ve heard somebody, somewhere, mention that video is king. You’re not sold, though, because what you’ve been doing has been working fine.

If you don’t commit to video, you are ignoring a massive hole in your marketing strategy.

Let’s take a look at some numbers from WebPageFX:

  • By 2019, 80% of online content will be video.
  • Every year, mobile video consumption doubles.
  • Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it on video (10% when they read it - which is exactly why we’re doing a video version of this guide!)

Do you need to go to film school? No.

Do you need to spend thousands of dollars on equipment? No.

Will everybody laugh at you? If Chris could get everybody on Earth to watch his content at the expense of them laughing at him, he would do it.

  1. Equipment

If you are going to be self-sourcing your equipment, here’s an introductory guide. We underlined our recommendations for each category. These recommendations fit our needs: lightweight, fast, good in low light situation. Make sure whatever gear you use, you are comfortable with it.

It’s very easy to spend a LOT of money on this stuff, so we recommend starting with what you have and adding on as your needs adjust.













iOS: iMovie

Android: Adobe Premiere Clips

Apple: iMovie

Windows: Shotcut

DaVinci Resolve

Royalty-free music


Panasonic Lumix G7


Sony Action Cams

Yi Action Cams

Zoom H1

Lapel Mic

Rode Camera Mic

Adobe Premiere Elements (one-time)

DaVinci Resolve

Memory Cards


Joby Tripod

Royalty-free music



Sony a6300/a6500

Panasonic GH5/GH5s

Zoom H1/H1n

Tascam DR-05

Lapel Mics

Rode Camera Mic

Adobe Premiere Creative Cloud

DaVinci Resolve

Final Cut Pro X

Sony Vegas Pro

Additional Lenses

Lens Filters

Memory Cards

Tripod (with built-in monopod)

Joby Tripod



Motion Array

Light Kit


Sony a7iii

Sony a7sii

Zoom H4n

Wireless Lapel Mics

Rode Camera Mic


Adobe Premiere Creative Cloud

Final Cut Pro X

Sony Vegas Pro

Additional Lenses

Lens Filters

Memory Cards


Joby Tripod




Motion Array

Light Kit


  1. Best Practices for Capturing Great Video

Editing video is much easier when it’s well-shot! If the content is good, the edit falls into place.

Plan Your Story

What is the principal subject of your video? When you’re making any kind of video, you’re crafting a story. Who is your protagonist, what is their journey? Thinking in these terms will help you decide what you need to film. If you’re going the “Document, don’t create” route, it’ll help you or your videographer decide what is and isn’t important to film.

Capture Emotion

When people watch video, they are connecting with the subjects on screen. It’s part of what makes video so powerful!

So when it comes to capturing video, look for emotion. People laughing, smiling, having a good time. We will often use a “bad” shot (not framed properly, unstable, bad lighting) if it’s got great emotional content over a “good” shot that’s dull. If we restricted ourselves to “good” shots, we wouldn’t have been able to make this:

And here’s the reality - you’re not always going to be able to make something perfect. If it’s genuine, though, it goes a long way.


The cheapest, easiest way to improve your video quality is to... improve your sound! The microphones on your camera, your webcam, your iPad, and even your fancy $2000 video cameras are terrible.

We recommend grabbing at the very least a Rode camera mic to mount and connect to your camera. This will pick up audio directionally - wherever you point the camera.

The next step would be to get an independent audio recorder, such as a Zoom H1. They’re small, battery life is great, and simple to use. You’ll have to upload the sound from your recorder onto your computer later to synchronize the audio with the video.

Pro tip: once you start recording with your camera and recorder, have your subject look at the camera and clap. That gives a clear point for syncing your video and audio.



Make sure we can see the subject.

In general, we would recommend filming outdoors in the early morning or early evening. These times of day are called “magic hour.” The sun’s light is softer and comes at an angle that just makes everything look… magical.

The worst times to capture video outside are, generally, 11am-3pm. Sometimes you have no choice.

Whatever you do, try to keep the sun behind you. This is an easy thing to remember. It keeps your subject lit and mitigates potential over- and underexposure issues.

Sometimes, you’ll want to catch the sun in frame! Make sure you DO NOT shoot directly into the sun. That’s a quick way to burn out the sensor on your camera or phone, which is irreparable.

Finally, trust your judgment. We’ve all been exposed to video so much in our lifetimes we have a pretty good idea of what “looks right.”

If you have the time and equipment, here’s a fantastic guide on how to properly light a subject in the documentary style with a light kit:

The Rule of Thirds

We tend to place the subject of an image in the center of frame. This is rarely, however, the optimal framing.

It’s easier to demonstrate than explain. Below is an image from the Wikipedia article on the Rule of Thirds. The photo on the left does not follow the rule of thirds: the horizon cuts through the middle of the frame and the rock formation is centered.

On the right, It’s not just the subject that’s moved to follow the rule of thirds: note the “ground” portion on the right image occupies the bottom 33% of the frame.

Most cameras and smartphones will have a settings option to overlay a 3x3 grid on your image. This is a great way to always think about rule of thirds.

When filming subjects, a trick is to try to keep their eyes along the line of the top third of the image.

For a fantastic (and short) demonstration of the power of the rule of thirds, check out this video:



B-roll is extra footage you’ll want for all projects. It’s great for establishing location and putting your “characters” into a context. It also provides cutaways to mask edit points or create transitions in your videos.

When filming B-roll, steady your camera as much as possible, frame your subject as well as you can, and roll for :15 seconds. This will feel like torture. Do it anyway! B-roll is super useful and, of those 15 seconds, you may find only three are usable.

Here are some B-roll suggestions:

  • Buildings
  • Business signs
  • Logos
  • People walking
  • People talking
  • People laughing!
  • Close ups of writing, typing, texting
  • Hand motions

If you think, “Hmmm, do I need footage of this?” then you probably do. Go ahead and film it (for 15 seconds!).

You may be able to find aerial, drone B-roll on websites like Videoblocks. Make sure you have the rights to use it and, if so, boom! Establishing shots.

  1. Editing Basics

First thing you’re going to do is upload all your footage into properly labeled and dated folders. Something like “2018-05-24 - Orlando Interviews” - that way it’s easy for you to find for this project and in the future.

Then, back the footage up on an external hard drive and/or the cloud (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.).

Organize the footage in your video editor. For Premiere Pro, that means into different Bins. Every project will call for different organization styles. You might want to nest Bins within Bins! Here’s an example of how Jan organized a recent project:

Within each of those bins are corresponding audio and video files. Often, Jan will make a Bin of video files that are purely B-roll. Find whatever works for you. You will save yourself hours of time by organizing at the beginning.

You’re going to have more footage than you’ll use. In fact, a lot of it will be unusable! Here’s a little secret: a lot of footage ends up being BAD. Whoops. That’s okay! As an example, the movie Mad Max: Fury Road had 240 hours of unused footage per hour of the movie.

How Do You Know What’s Good?

Emotion. Look for emotions on screen. Keep track of your own emotional reactions as you watch and react. These are often winning moments.

Where to Start, Where to End

If you planned your shoot, you should know at this point what story you’re telling. What’s the the driving action of your video? Your opening should establish that. From there, everything should relate back, in a way, to that opening. If you can, try to end the video with a conclusion to the “story” you’ve told.

Be Ruthless

You don’t have to use everything you filmed. Yes, even that shot that took forever to get right. If it doesn’t fit your story, cut it out.

If you love a clip that just won’t work for that story, take note. Set it aside. You might have a seed for another video: a Facebook or Instagram story, perhaps.

Bend Time Itself

Don’t be shy about using clips you filmed out of order, as long as it serves your story. As an example, let’s say this is your raw video:

I love bananas. They’re yellow and tropical. I like strawberries and blueberries, too. Antioxidants are great! Fruits are healthy, and I try to be healthy as often as possible.

It may serve you better to rearrange your video so the clips are

Fruits are healthy, and I try to be healthy as often as possible.. I love bananas. I like strawberries and blueberries, too. Antioxidants are great!



If your story moves from one place to another, you’ll need a transition.

A lot of software will offer transition effects between one shot and another. Think: Star Wars wipes across the screen. Unless you’re making a Star Wars, you probably should not use these.

We recommend sticking to the basics: fades, crossfades at most. Often the best transition is simply a cut from one shot to another in a different location. Our minds are easily transported.



A simple way to spruce up a video is to add some graphics. Maybe some on-screen text or a lower third (text indicating the name and title of a person, for example) will help tell your story more clearly. A logo never hurts! Just make sure you don’t go overboard on these, as they can be distracting.



You may find yourself wanting to change the look and feel of your finalized video. A shortcut to this can be changing the color grade of your video. Most editing software has these tools embedded. For beginners, unless there is something terribly wrong with the footage, we recommend you hold off. It’s very easy to do too much.



For dialogue, you want your audio to “peak” at around -6dB but never drop lower than -12db. For music or background noise, a range of -24db to -18db tends to do well. Don’t discount your own ears, though: if something is too loud or quiet, adjust!


Embedding Video Using the Curaytor Platform

There are 3 main Objects you’ll want to use to display video on your website


Hero Object

  1. Go To Object Settings
  2. Choose: Video Setting

From there you have 2 options

  • Video Pop Up 
    • Edit The ‘Video Play’ Icon To Link To: YouTube or Vimeo
  • Background Video
    • Go To Object Settings > Upload Background Video [Size 20 MB or Less - mp4]

Text w/ Image Object

  1. Go To Object Settings
  2. Choose: Side By Side or Features

From there you have 2 options

  • Upload Video
    • [Size 20 MB or Less - mp4]
  • Video Url
    • Copy the Share link to Youtube or Vimeo/Other
    • Paste into URL box

Embed Object

  1. Go To Object Settings
  2. Choose: Video Setting[Youtube Only] or Custom Embed

From there you have 2 options

  • Youtube Video
    • Copy the Share link to Youtube
    • Paste into the Embed Code box
  • Vimeo/ Other
    • Copy the Embed Code to Vimeo/Other 
    • Paste into Embed Code box

CONTEST NOW USE THE TIPS YOU JUST LEARNED AND POST A SHORT CLIP ON IG and TAG @CuraytorSystems. Annette will watch them all and choose the 3 people with the best video 

Here is your script: Did you know that more video content is uploaded online in 30 days than the major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years? My name is X and I work at Y and because video is so powerful for marketing homes I am in a class right now learning how to shoot and edit awesome videos!