Pro Talk: DIY Crafting with Karley Hall & SlingStudio

6 minute read

Karley Hall is a self-proclaimed YouTuber and blogger, teaching all things crafting. After working for several crafting-related companies, she wanted to get out from behind her desk and back into her studio to teach others everything she had learned in the industry. With the addition of SlingStudio to her workflow, Karley started producing top-notch video tutorials and guides and rapidly growing her audience and followers.

We interviewed Karley to discuss how SlingStudio has allowed her to expand her video production capabilities and connect with her followers. Read our interview with her below.

New to SlingStudio? Check out these short videos for a quick intro.

SlingStudio: Are you a one-person production crew or are there others on your team?

I am a one person crew. I wear a lot of hats… script writer, producer, videographer, editor, but it has been fun to learn as I go. I work on my YouTube channel and blog full time now.

SlingStudio: Can you describe any pain points of video production BEFORE you discovered SlingStudio?

I was just overwhelmed. The idea of filming, having to edit clips, sync audio… I didn’t think I’d be able to figure it out. I was my own roadblock until I discovered SlingStudio.

SlingStudio: Can you tell us about your target audience?

I make videos for the craft community, specifically Cricut crafters (Cricut is a brand of electronic cutting machine). If you haven’t seen one before, check out a few of my videos because you may not even know you need one! My audience is primarily 25-34-year-old women watching videos on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

SlingStudio: Are there any challenges or special preparations needed when filming your unique content?

I approach videography like I do crafting — I don’t expect perfection. I expect to learn things I like and don’t like. I am still in the crawling stage right now with video creation. I struggle a lot, but I am moving forward.

Cutting machines tend to be super reflective, so when I set up the perfect lighting and get ready to shoot, I usually end up with pretty bad hot spots on my machines. Sound and lighting continue to be a challenge, but like all good content creators, I spend a lot of time learning about ways to overcome those issues by watching YouTube videos.

SlingStudio: How do you think SlingStudio gives you an advantage over other content creators?

SlingStudio helps me look like I know what I am doing. Being able to seamlessly switch from my computer screen, to my overhead camera, back to my front facing angle allows my viewers to see what I am doing so they can replicate it in the future.

SlingStudio: What has been your favorite production, client or subject matter to produce using SlingStudio to date?

My favorite project has been working with Michaels Craft Store. I think I landed a contract with Michaels largely because of the content on my YouTube channel. For the videos I produced for them, we had a 2-man crew, so it is a lot more buttoned up than my normal YouTube videos, but I was super excited how they turned out. You can view the work I have done with them here.

SlingStudio: What is your favorite part of filming your productions?

I love being in front of the camera. Oddly enough, I am extremely introverted, but something inside of me turns on when a camera is on me. While I love videography, one day I dream of having an entire production team so that I can focus on script writing and content.

SlingStudio: What are your typical gigs and how do you find them?

I make how-to videos for a handful of craft brands. Most of the content I create is then posted on my social channels or blog as sponsored content. Bigger brands, of course, pay more, but I find that it is crucial to know your own worth. I am lucky enough to be a part of a mastermind group where we openly share our rates for different projects. Some of the group members are making 6-figure salaries, while some are even making 7! It’s amazing the power our online businesses have.

SlingStudio: How do you prepare for a production?

Unlike most SlingStudio users, my gigs are all shot from the comfort of my own craft studio. If I am working with a brand, I typically prep each video a few weeks before I shoot it. This way I can send over a shot list and get their buy-off before moving on. More often than not, if I am shooting for myself, I will not script it and just ad lib as I film.

SlingStudio: What equipment do you use in your productions?

My kit is pretty much just the essentials and I anticipate it will continue to grow as I learn more. I use a Sony A6400 for my main camera and I use an iPhone 8 for my overhead camera. I use a very affordable Boya Lavalier mic, a few Fovitech softboxes, and LED panels for extra light if I am feeling fancy.

SlingStudio: Your recently started a YouTube channel and you’ve having great success and growth there. Can you tell us about that?

I started my YouTube channel a while back, but up until August 2019, I only had 100 subscribers. I just recently crossed 10K subscribers and am still shocked with the amount of growth my channel has seen recently. I did a comparison video between 2 different cutting machines over the holidays and the timing could not have been better. There are over 160K views on just that video.

My advice for those just beginning is that we care more about quality than our viewers do. There are things that make me cringe in every single one of my videos. So much so that I almost don’t want to post videos because I am over critical. Turns out my audience doesn’t care nearly as much as I do when it comes to production value. So long as they can see what I am doing and hear me clearly, they are happy! Just post the video–you will be glad you did… even if watching it back makes you cringe.

SlingStudio: Do you have any tips or best practices for other entrepreneurs new to video production?

I would just recommend starting! It is terrifying in the beginning but it gets easier. Do not compare yourself to the “professionals.” We will get there one day. Your audience will expect to see your work improve as you go on, but it won’t improve if you just don’t start. Using SlingStudio gave me the confidence to start. You are seeing me at the beginning of my journey and I already feel like I have come so far!

SlingStudio: What upcoming trends do you see in your line of work?

Stop motion! I see so many adorable stop-motion craft videos and I am excited to try that out. I love the idea of using shorter, teaser videos to drive traffic to my YouTube channel and my blog. I personally focus a lot of my time on YouTube since people go to YouTube to look for something, whereas on social media people may stumble across my content and then check out my blog or YouTube channel from there.

SlingStudio: Where do you see your own video production or DIY business in a couple years?

I will be running a successful 6-figure business… maybe even 7! While money isn’t my only motivation, there is a benefit to making enough to support a team. I would love to hire a small team so that I can create more educational content and eventually launch my own craft supply line! I would have never thought any of this was possible with an online business, but after quitting my job and successfully replacing my income a few months later, I now believe anything is possible!

SlingStudio: What kind of non-SlingStudio upgrades to your entire kit are you looking forward to?

I am looking forward to so many things! I want to continue to increase my production value and my next main focus is my lighting kit. I hate leaving my lights out and I think that is why I struggle with lighting so much. I have toyed around with the idea of building a rig that the lights are mounted to, so that may come in the future.

SlingStudio: Why would you recommend SlingStudio to others?

I recommend SlingStudio because it is so easy to use!!! My turnaround time on creating a 15-minute YouTube tutorial is about 3-4 hours start to finish! That is including my project time and uploading time. Without SlingStudio, my production time would be at least a day… maybe two. If your business could benefit from videos, invest in SlingStudio. You are going to save so much time that it is just a no-brainer!

SlingStudio: Some creators are hesitant about purchasing SlingStudio because of the price. What would you tell them?

If you are hesitating to pull the trigger because of the price tag, rest assured it pays for itself. I have a few streams of revenue but one of my favorites is affiliate income. If people are watching your videos and then clicking and purchasing through your affiliate links, your revenue is going to increase. My affiliate income on my most popular video justifies spending the money on SlingStudio! But the cherry on top has been landing partnerships with some of my favorite brands because they love the videos I am creating… and you can charge a lot more for videos!

We would like to thank Karley Hall for taking the time to speak with us on how SlingStudio can be the perfect tool for creators and crafters. If you are interested in learning more about Karley’s work, visit her website or follow her on social media.

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