The Ultimate Guide to Remote Video Production: How HubSpot Marketers Create Engaging Content from Home

In the wake of the global pandemic, remote work became the new normal for many companies around the world. This sudden shift posed unique challenges for marketing teams, particularly those responsible for producing high-quality video content. With studios inaccessible and in-person collaboration limited, video marketers had to quickly adapt and find innovative ways to create engaging content from the comfort of their own homes.

One company that successfully navigated this transition is HubSpot. Known for their inbound marketing expertise, HubSpot‘s video teams, including HubSpot Academy and the social media department, developed efficient remote video production processes that allowed them to continue delivering valuable content to their audience. In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll take a deep dive into their strategies, featuring insights from Stephen Fiske, HubSpot Academy‘s video producer, and Thomas Hutchings, associate editor and animator on the social media team.

The Rise of Remote Work and Video Marketing

Before we delve into HubSpot‘s specific strategies, let‘s take a moment to consider the broader context of remote work and video marketing. According to a survey conducted by Buffer in 2022, 99% of respondents said they would like to work remotely at least part of the time for the rest of their careers. This indicates that remote work is here to stay, and companies must adapt their processes accordingly.

At the same time, video has become an increasingly important medium for marketers. A 2023 report by Wyzowl found that 96% of businesses use video as a marketing tool, and 87% of video marketers reported a positive ROI from their video campaigns. As remote work continues to be the norm, video marketers must find ways to produce high-quality content from home to keep up with this demand.

HubSpot Academy‘s Remote Video Production Process

HubSpot Academy, the company‘s educational arm, regularly produces video content to help customers and prospects learn about inbound marketing, sales, and customer service. When the HubSpot offices closed due to the pandemic, the Academy team knew they had to act fast to maintain their content output.

"We put together our plan shortly after the HubSpot offices went remote," says Stephen Fiske. "We‘ve typically always filmed in our studio, but knew that wouldn‘t be an option for the foreseeable future. So we had to pivot quickly, and come up with a solution that allowed us to continue creating content for our customers and prospects."

Remote Filming Care Packages

The cornerstone of HubSpot Academy‘s remote video production strategy was the creation of remote filming care packages. These kits, sent to on-camera presenters, contained essential equipment, including:

  • iPad Mini for recording video
  • Wide-angle lens attachment for the iPad Mini
  • Lighting ring with stand to hold the iPad Mini and provide even lighting
  • Lapel microphone for clear audio

By providing presenters with standardized equipment, the Academy team ensured a consistent baseline of video and audio quality across all remote shoots.

Virtual Location Scouting and Remote Direction

To further optimize video quality, the Academy video editors conducted virtual location scouting with each presenter. "Our video editors would do a ‘virtual location scout‘ of their homes to determine the best location to film in," explains Fiske. "They would also walk the presenters through how to set up the equipment."

During filming, video editors joined the shoots remotely via video call, allowing them to direct the talent and provide real-time guidance on lighting, framing, and audio. This hands-on approach empowered the presenters to film themselves while still benefiting from the expertise of the video production team.

Remote Filming Setup Description
Camera iPad Mini with wide-angle lens attachment
Lighting Lighting ring with stand to hold the iPad Mini
Audio Lapel microphone for clear sound
Location Virtual location scouting to find the best filming spot in the presenter‘s home
Direction Video editors join shoots remotely to guide talent on lighting, framing, and audio

Streamlined Workflows and Collaboration

To ensure smooth collaboration and efficient production, the Academy team relied on a range of tools and platforms, including:

  • Frame.io for video review and feedback
  • Trello for project management and task tracking
  • Slack for real-time communication and updates
  • Google Drive for file sharing and version control

By leveraging these tools, the team was able to maintain clear communication, stay organized, and keep projects moving forward, despite working remotely.

"We‘ve been able to continue creating content efficiently while meeting our high-quality standards," says Fiske. "We know how important our education is for customers and prospects around the world, so we created this process for them."

Adapting Social Media Video Production for Remote Work

HubSpot‘s social media team also faced challenges when transitioning to remote video production. "From equipment to set space, I needed to dig deeper into my creative toolbox to come up with adequate workarounds that would still serve our customers and audience to the best of my ability given the circumstances," says Thomas Hutchings, associate editor and animator on the social team.

Creative Problem-Solving and DIY Setups

Hutchings had to get inventive with his home setup, using "DIY rigs" and "rearranging [his] whole living space" to create a functional video production environment. This included:

  • Building a makeshift green screen using a green bedsheet and PVC pipes
  • Creating a portable lighting setup with desk lamps and diffusion paper
  • Soundproofing his recording space with blankets and pillows
  • Utilizing his smartphone as a secondary camera for multi-angle shots

Despite the obstacles, Hutchings credits the support of his manager and director in ensuring the team had the resources they needed to succeed.

Enabling Remote Talent

One key aspect of the social media team‘s remote video strategy was enabling talent to film themselves. Hutchings emphasizes the importance of empathy in this process:

"Many folks are going through challenges of filming remotely, and it‘s not just the editors that have hurdles. It‘s also your talent. They have become more involved in the shooting process than before, which can add another level of complexity. Being patient and providing thoughtful practices goes a long way."

To support remote talent, the social media team:

  1. Created detailed filming guides and video tutorials
  2. Provided remote coaching and feedback sessions
  3. Offered technical support and troubleshooting assistance
  4. Fostered open communication and collaboration through regular check-ins

By empowering talent to take ownership of their roles in the production process, the social media team was able to create a more resilient and adaptable remote video workflow.

Essential Equipment for At-Home Video Production

Whether you‘re a seasoned video marketer or just getting started, having the right equipment is crucial for creating professional-looking content from home. Here are the essentials:

Camera

While a DSLR camera is ideal, a high-quality smartphone camera or digital camera can also work well. HubSpot Academy provided their presenters with iPad Minis and attachable wide-angle lenses for ease of use and good video quality.

Camera Type Pros Cons
DSLR – Professional image quality
– Interchangeable lenses
– Manual control over settings
– Higher cost
– Steeper learning curve
– Bulkier and less portable
Smartphone – Highly portable
– User-friendly
– Lower cost
– Limited manual control
– Fixed lens
– Lower image quality compared to DSLRs
Digital Camera – Good balance of image quality and portability
– More affordable than DSLRs
– Some manual control options
– Fixed lens
– Less manual control than DSLRs
– Can be more expensive than smartphones

Lighting

"Lighting can make a video look almost professional, even when it‘s shot on just a phone, but it‘s all about the placement," says Lindsay Daly, a video editor and animator on the social team. If you don‘t have professional lighting equipment, you can use lamps or natural light from windows. Just be sure to position your light source and camera in the same direction, pointing toward your subject.

Some affordable lighting options include:

  • Ring lights
  • Softbox lights
  • LED panel lights
  • Desk lamps with diffusion paper

Microphone

Audio quality is just as important as video quality. While built-in camera microphones can work in a pinch, investing in a lapel microphone or a USB microphone can significantly enhance the clarity of your audio. HubSpot Academy included lapel microphones in their remote filming kits to ensure crisp, clear sound.

Microphone Type Pros Cons
Lapel (Lavalier) – Discreet and easy to hide
– Consistent audio quality
– Allows for free movement
– Requires careful placement to avoid rustle
– Can pick up clothing noise
– Wired models can limit range of motion
USB Microphone – Plug-and-play setup
– Good sound quality
– Affordable options available
– Not as portable as lapel mics
– Requires proximity to computer or recording device
– Can pick up background noise if not in a quiet environment
Shotgun Microphone – Highly directional
– Minimizes background noise
– Professional-grade audio quality
– More expensive than other options
– Requires a boom pole or camera mount
– Less versatile than lapel or USB mics

Choosing the Right Background and Lighting

Your video background can make or break your shot. When scouting locations in your home, look for visually interesting but not distracting backdrops, such as bookshelves, plants, or brick walls. Avoid filming in front of windows without shades, as this can cause lighting issues, and steer clear of plain white walls, which can appear dull on camera.

Lighting is another crucial factor in creating a polished, professional look. Conduct lighting tests in different areas of your home at various times of day to determine the best setup. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Is my background distracting?
  • Do I look like a dark shadow due to insufficient lighting?
  • Am I overexposed because of too much light?

Adjusting your lighting setup based on these factors can dramatically improve the quality of your videos.

The Power of Production Guides and Documentation

Creating detailed production guides and documentation is essential for streamlining your remote video creation process, especially as your team grows or new members join. Both Fiske and Hutchings developed internal guides for their teams, talent, and other HubSpot employees.

"I created a short guide and an in-depth video to help our talent navigate the process of filming themselves and how to submit their footage," says Hutchings. "This will save you time, so instead of repeating yourself to new talent you can send along a guide and get back to what you do best, creating. Also, in the future if remote work does in-fact become more prevalent, these guides will come in handy."

Fiske‘s guide for HubSpot Academy goes into even greater detail, outlining every step of their production process from start to finish. By sharing this resource with the wider company, employees outside the Academy team can reference and apply these best practices to their own video projects.

Some key elements to include in your production guide:

  1. Equipment setup and troubleshooting instructions
  2. Video and audio recording best practices
  3. Lighting and background recommendations
  4. File naming and organization conventions
  5. Review and feedback processes
  6. Publishing and distribution guidelines

By documenting your remote video production workflow, you create a valuable resource that ensures consistency, saves time, and empowers your team to create high-quality content independently.

Empathy, Patience, and Clear Communication

When working with remote talent, empathy, patience, and clear communication are more important than ever. Hutchings recalls directing videos via Zoom and troubleshooting unexpected issues like background noise or poor camera angles.

"One thing that keeps me on a positive note is empathy. I know that I‘m not the only person going through this. I know that we are all in this together. So if a dog barks in the background and a viewer on YouTube notices it, maybe they can relate and appreciate the authenticity behind it."

To foster a supportive and collaborative remote video production environment:

  1. Set clear expectations and deadlines
  2. Provide regular updates and feedback
  3. Be open to questions and concerns
  4. Celebrate successes and learn from failures together
  5. Prioritize mental health and work-life balance

By approaching remote video production with understanding and flexibility, you can create a positive, collaborative atmosphere that brings out the best in your team and talent.

Content is King

At the end of the day, the most important aspect of your video marketing strategy is the content itself. "No matter how fancy or basic your set-up is, content is still king," emphasizes Hutchings. "If you still forge great content that provides exceptional value to your customer and audience, viewers won‘t mind some lighting issues or audio that‘s of lower quality. Equipment is important, but there‘s a bit of wiggle room to be creative and find solutions that will still get the job done."

Focus on creating videos that educate, entertain, and inspire your audience. Whether you‘re sharing industry insights, demonstrating product features, or telling compelling brand stories, prioritize substance over style. With a bit of creativity and resourcefulness, you can produce engaging, high-quality videos that resonate with your target audience, even from the comfort of your own home.

Embracing the Future of Remote Video Production

As remote work continues to evolve and shape the way we collaborate, video marketers must remain adaptable and open to new ideas. The strategies and insights shared by HubSpot‘s video teams serve as a valuable roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of remote video production.

By investing in the right equipment, fostering a supportive and empathetic team environment, and focusing on creating truly valuable content, you can continue to produce engaging videos that drive results for your business. Embrace the future of remote video production, and let your creativity shine, no matter where you are.

Key Takeaways

  1. Develop a standardized remote production kit for consistency and quality
  2. Conduct virtual location scouting and provide remote direction to talent
  3. Leverage tools like Frame.io, Trello, and Slack for seamless collaboration
  4. Encourage creative problem-solving and DIY solutions for home studio setups
  5. Enable and empower remote talent with guides, support, and open communication
  6. Invest in essential equipment like cameras, lighting, and microphones
  7. Choose visually interesting backgrounds and optimize lighting for a professional look
  8. Create detailed production guides and documentation to streamline workflows
  9. Lead with empathy, patience, and clear communication to foster a positive team dynamic
  10. Prioritize content quality and value above all else

By implementing these strategies and staying open to new ideas, video marketers can thrive in the era of remote work and continue to create engaging, impactful content that resonates with their audience.