In this series we’ve been discussing the importance of quality design and having an authentic visual representation of your business. Today we conclude by talking about simple videography tips you can use to create higher quality marketing videos, on your OWN, for your website, YouTube or other platform.
The need for quality video content has exploded in the last few years. Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg has even predicted that the content on his social network will be almost entirely video within the next 5 years.
And if your customers want more of it and industries are trending more and more towards video marketing in general, it makes sense to dive in now and learn a few tips to help separate your company’s video content efforts from the rest of the field!
Though learning these basic filming techniques may seem intimidating, the core priciple to keep in mind is the same as we’ve been talking about this whole series…
A good video; be it a Facebook Live broadcast, a whiteboard video for your website, or a YouTube ad promoting your business, conveys a feeling and a message. It helps your company better tell your “story” and share your values with customers.
Remember, as a general rule of thumb, keep things simple and don’t bite off more than you can chew. For every ultra creative and artistic shot or technique, there’s a simple version that will often get the job done just as well with much less hassle.
Also, don’t feel obligated to purchase, or even rent, a high-end video camera, complicated piece of software, or the like. For most small business’ needs, the smartphone in your pocket and a free piece of video editing software will work just fine.
Basic Lighting Techniques
Good lighting is essential to the professionalism and ultimate success of your video. Your audience needs to be able to see what you’re trying to show them and different lighting techniques can invoke different moods or emotions.
A basic set of studio lights from Amazon can do wonders without breaking the bank, but the creative use of flashlights and house lamps can do the trick too. The biggest questions to ask yourself regarding lighting are:
- Does the light flatter the subject?
- Are there any shadows on the subject’s face?
- Can the subject look where they’re supposed to without squinting?
If the light doesn’t flatter the subject, casts shadows on their face, or makes them squint when looking in the proper direction, you should probably adjust your lighting.
There are many basic lighting techniques filmmakers use, but the 3-point technique, composed of a key light, a fill light and a backlight, is a great place to start.
The key light is your brightest and most important light and should be positioned off to the side of your subject. The fill light should be placed off center of your subject as well, but on the opposite side of the key light and kept a bit dimmer. Finally, the backlight should be positioned behind and preferably above the subject, pointing at the back of their neck.
“The size of an object in the frame should equal it’s importance in the story at that moment”
– Alfred Hitchcock
This means that the most important element in the scene your shooting, whether it’s a customer talking about their experience with your company or a shot of your new line of products, should fill the majority of the frame.
Simply put, make sure your audience sees and understands what’s most important by making it the biggest thing on the screen.
Keep It Steady
We’re not trying to give our viewers motion sickness… A video that bumps and jerks all over the place is hard to watch and very unprofessional. You’ll want to keep the camera as steady as possible, which can be easily done by using a tripod.
Also, keep in mind that while the zoom and pan features on your smartphone or camera are fun, overusing of them gets old fast and tends to look cheesy. Images typically lose quality when the zoom is used. Instead, try manually moving the camera closer to the subject/scene (preferably on a tripod with wheels to avoid the dreaded bumps and jerks mentioned previously).
Pictures With Sound
Always consider the audio quality of whatever you’re shooting… There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve captured the perfect shot only to watch it back and realize the speaker’s voice is muffled and almost inaudible.
Attempt to film in quiet areas and if possible, consider using an external mic, positioned closer to the subject. If neither of these tips are possible, you can often get better results by cupping your hands around the microphone of your camera or smart phone and pointing it directly at the subject/scene.
If necessary, consider adjusting your shot to get the camera closer to the subject and capture higher quality audio.
Basic Video Editing Tips
This section really could be an entire post on its own, but we’ll keep it brief…
Always remember that when you’re editing video, you’re smack-dab in the middle of the storytelling process. What you decide to keep and cut affects the flow of the story and the feelings your viewer leaves with. Keep in mind the narrative and goal you’re trying to achieve while editing.
Have you ever tried watching a movie without sound? Not great, right? The truth is, the right music makes the imagery work together much better. There are plenty of sites that offer music, some free, some paid, but plan to use music that’s fits the mood and message you’re trying to convey. Also, look for instrumental music as lyrics can be distracting.
Finally, when choosing between different camera angles, err on the side of close ups and medium shots rather than wide shots as these tend to be more engaging.