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3 Videos You Can Make (Without Being On Camera)


Some people really hate the idea of being on camera. For people who don't crave the limelight, appearing on video can feel more like a prison spotlight.

Believe me, I hear you! I, too, don’t enjoy being on camera very much. Despite that, I’ll grin and bear it, hopping on Periscope (@SarahRedohl) most weeks for mini webinars and being a “face” for StoryLab when I need to be.

But for a lot of video newbies, the idea of appearing on camera is enough to make them never try video at all. And I think this is the wrong way to approach things.

Yes, it’s super easy to shoot a Twitter video reply, hop on Periscope or shoot a “talking head” expert video. But there are other ways to create video content without the need to put your face in it. Here are a few options.

'Hand-imated' videos

I don’t literally hand puppet videos, necessarily. I just mean a video in which your hands are the only cast members. These are just as easy—if not easier—as hoping on Periscope! All you need to do is have a concept. One brand that uses these types of videos a lot is Google.

Want to go behind the scenes at Google? Follow the adventures of #NatandLo →

Posted by Google on Thursday, July 23, 2015

Paper cut-out videos

They print out images (that of course they have the rights to use) and basically use them to illustrate a story, like this one above.

Other times, they’ll just write out a story on a white board or a piece of paper:

White board videos

To shoot a video like this, all you need is to write out your storyboard and decide the best way to tell the story. Prepare your materials, set up your camera facing directly down on your “stage” and record your story and voiceover on your Smartphone. Of course I suggest using a microphone if you have one available (even if its just the mic on your earbuds).

Since you want to keep your videos short anyway (about a minute or so), it will be really easy for you to repeat your video a handful of times and choose the best take.

The act of just doing the video a few times and choosing the best option will save you loads of time trying to edit everything together from bits and pieces of video clips.

Estimated time, from story concept to clicking ‘Share’: 30 minutes

Animated videos

These videos require NO filming. None. You can create one with nothing more than a story to tell.

There are also all sorts of resources that make production super easy for people who’ve never created an animated video before in their lives.


(Or PowToon, Moovly, or Animaker)

Probably the most well known video animation option is GoAnimate. Using the service is exceptionally easy.

You can add text, icons and charts to illustrate your point without ever picking up a camera and clicking ‘record.’ The GoAnimate library comes with a handful of pre-built templates, customization options, and thousands of icons, so you can really make each video your own.

They offer a 14-day free trial to the service to see if it works for the types of videos you want to create. After the two-week trial, GoAnimate costs $39 per month, but if that’s too steep for you, there are a ton of other options.

PowToon is a free option, but there’s also cheaper options like Animaker and Moovly. I’ve used GoAnimate and PowToon, and while I like GoAnimate’s interface better, I do think $39 for the benefit of a prettier interface is a little much.

The best option? Create one animated video in each before you decide which star to hitch your wagon to. If, after it all, you don’t choose a favorite, you’ll still end up with four animated videos to start sharing!

Adobe Voice

This is a super sweet app you can use to create animated videos on the go. Although the amount of information you can put on one video slide is limited, the interface is so easy to use it’s perfect for beginners. It’s so easy most people may not even need to write a storyboard before getting started on production.

Simply choose the type of story you want to tell and narrate your story sentence by sentence, choosing one or two of hundreds of available icons (or your own original photography from your phone) to illustrate your points.

In just a few short minutes, you’ll be able to explain abstract ideas quickly and directly, using just your phone (and hopefully a microphone if you're narrating)!

Estimated time, from story concept to clicking ‘Share’: 20 minutes

Photo slideshows

Another option to add some motion to your social feeds without appearing on camera is to turn your photos into a photo slideshow. This is a great media type to show off an event or other photos that may not necessarily tell a story on their own.

Often, you may not even need to narrate the slideshow; you might just be able to add some music and you’re done!

With more than 100 photo slideshow apps, you’re sure to find one that has themes you like and a simple workflow.


I’ve used Flipagram, Animoto and PicFlow, but Flipagram is probably my favorite for the control the app gives you over changing layouts, timing, music and narration (and it’s free).

Estimated time, from story concept to clicking ‘Share’: 10 minutes


Even if you hate being on camera, hopefully these three ideas will give you enough of a push to get started with video. If you do, I think the benefits you’ll see will make you see how worth it video can be!


About The Author

Hey, I'm Sarah!

I love teaching online business bosses to create better content and incorporate cool tech and tools into their content marketing machine so they can get better results (more traffic, more customers, more money) in less time. After all, isn't that what content marketing is for?

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.


StoryLab at Roots'N'Blues Music Festival

thinglink, fyuse, steller, vine, 360 panorama, pick play post, smartphone, content marketing, mobile storytelling, storytelling, apps, applications

I love seeing people try out mobile tools for the first time and realize how easy it is to make really slick stories in just a few minutes. So, I jumped at the chance to teach some Vox Magazine student reporters a few apps to use at the Roots'N'Blues'N'Barbecue music festival.

Check out some of the stories they told.

(All linked to original content--credit where credit is due ;)



A profile of the Astral Galley Gypsies Giant Puppet Troupe:

And a little bit o' barbecue:


360 Panorama

Shelter Insurance stage



Dwight Yoakum

Phil Kunto of Tuscon has traveled the states all summer sharing his artwork.

The lights of Roots'N'Blues

"It's Hard to Write Funny."

video, smartphone, video smartphone, content marketing, mobile storytelling, videography, storytelling, audio

"It's hard to write funny." I can't remember the first person to tell me that during my time in publishing, but it's something I've heard over and over again since. People--even funny people--have a hard time conveying their sense of humor on paper. But because humor entertains and engages, many people have tried...and failed.

That's why we're really proud of this video we put together (using mobile tech) for our friends at Ideagroove, which secured a very lucrative endorsement from prolific "thought leader" Tad Overstreet. Watch the video to see the awkward indie humor in action and start thinking about how you can add humor to your videos and engage your audience.

See More Examples of Mobile Storytelling:

Mobile Video in Action

Get Your Dual Cam MoJo On!


video, smartphone, video smartphone, content marketing, mobile storytelling, videography

The purpose of mobile storytelling is to make multimedia storytelling accessible to anyone and everyone, regardless of skill level. Here are some examples of one StoryLab client's first take on mobile video.

With an iPad, mic (on 2 out of the 3), tripod, and proper training, these direct-to-social videos are 100 percent possible for any small business, and resulted in a 400 percent increase in Facebook reach for the client. 

Get Your Dual Cam MoJo On!

video, smartphone, smartphone video, videography, audience engagement

Check out the videos we helped create for PureFit Meals, a healthy meal delivery service. These videos, shared on social media, tripled engagement among the PureFit audience. Here's the kit we used:

  • iPad (primary camera for wide shot and audio)
  • Filmic Pro app
  • iRig Pre
  • Lavalier Microphone
  • Canon G12 (secondary camera for close-up shot)
  • Pinnacle Studio app