If you have a business that’s operating in 2017, chances are you’re either already creating video content, or you’ll soon realize why you should be. The great thing about video content at this moment in time is that the production costs of video have come down, and at the same time, popular culture has embraced the “amateur”, more casual video aesthetic. The result? The barriers to getting started with video are lower than ever.
If you’re a beginner and wondering where to start, here are 8 tips to help you on your way to impressive marketing video content:
1. Always use a tripod.
Most of today’s cameras are light, so it’s easy to think you don’t need a tripod. Trust us, you do. It may look steady enough on the monitor but once you’re looking at the video on a bigger screen, the jumpiness will be obvious.
2. Buy a separate microphone.
If audio is an important part of the experience (which it almost always is), never record audio with the built-in camera mic if you can help it. You can get a lavalier mic fairly cheap for direct recording, and sometimes even recording the audio with an iPhone or other mobile phone will result in better sound quality than the built-in mic. If you’re planning to do many videos, a basic Zoom H1 Handy digital recorder is only about a $100 investment and is perfect for recording voiceovers, general audio dialogue, the output of a lavalier, or any other mic.
Pro tip: When recording audio separately from video, clap near both before beginning a clip. This clap can be used for easy syncing of audio to clips in editing.
3. Set the white balance right.
Having the right white balance setting on your camera means the difference between a natural look and having skin reminiscent of Avatar. Crack open your camera’s manual and learn how to set the white balance correctly.
4. Make use of lighting.
Like white balance, lighting can make or break your videos. Look up the basics of 3-point lighting, which is the industry standard for a reason (and is surprisingly easy to master). You don’t actually need to purchase professional lighting equipment—buying a couple of simple industrial lamps from a store like Home Depot can do wonders for the quality of your videos.
5. Have your subject wear the right clothes.
Avoid dark colors on dark backdrops, and avoid very bright colors which tend to look unnatural on all but the very best camera equipment. In particular, avoid any fabrics with small patterns (lines, dots, checks, etc.) because they tend to create a distracting optical effect on camera called moiré.
6. Film in the quietest space you can.
Unplug any electronics and turn off running fans/air/heat when possible. While you may not hear these noises, your recording device will pick them up and amplify them. Even worse, white noise audio obstructions like these are almost impossible to fix during the editing process.
7. Leave yourself room to cut.
Leaving a little dead space at the start and end of each video clip you record will make editing much easier and will help you avoid having to cut right after someone has spoken, which doesn’t look natural.
8. Create a script.
Storyboard your script and make a list of exactly what shots you need to get. Remember, filming the shots in chronological order isn’t always the most efficient way. Instead, film similar scenes (ones that use the same location, actors, or props) all at the same time and only then move on to others.