7 TIPS FOR PRODUCING VIDEOS YOU'LL BE PROUD TO WATCH
Who should produce your video, you or a pro? My answer is, of course, going to be a pro. But, I know that not everyone is going to listen to me ( or have the budget to secure professional services), so in the interest of not having to come across another video that has been painfully produced, I am more than happy to share some tips with you.
These tips will not make you a pro. They cannot replace the skill and ingenuity the comes from devoting your very existence to video production. What they can do is help you make videos that you won’t be ashamed of. Good enough? Then let’s get into it.
1. KNOW YOUR GOAL
Know precisely why it is that you are creating your video, don’t just simply roll the camera. If you don’t heed this advice you are going to end up with a ton of footage that cannot be edited into anything even remotely useful.
Video production is fun, and therefore will tempt you to hit record before you do the boring work of planning and plotting. But, as with most things in life, you need to do the boring stuff before you can begin having fun.
2. USE A TRIPOD
Seriously, just do it.
Unless you are filming a hardcore crime drama, there is no reason that your camera should be spazzing around. The only thing that this movement will translate into is a sense of unprofessionalism, and a nauseous audience. The pros always use some sort of camera stabilization, unless there is a damn good reason not to.
A cheap tripod is easy to find, and will keep your camera steady. Take a look on Amazon and you can easily pick up a tripod for $25 or less. This isn’t going to be the pick of the litter, but it is going to keep your audience from vomiting.
3. PLUG A MICROPHONE IN
The microphone built into your camera isn’t good for much other than providing you with subpar sound. Remember, a microphone performs best when it is closest to the subject it is recording. The microphone on your camera is closest to you, not what you are filming. This means that it is going to pick up the sounds of you shifting, your camera operating, and the person next to you whispering in your ear, better than it will pick up what you are filming.
Small lavalier microphones, the kind that clips onto your speaker’s clothing, can be picked up for less than $20; again, check out Amazon. These are not going to give you the sound quality of a $1,000+ model, but they are going to provide you with audio 10 times better than your camera will.
4. ADHERE TO THE RULE OF THIRDS
The rule of thirds is an ancient rule of composition that can rarely lead you astray.
Simply imagine your screen split by two equidistant lines vertically, and 2 equidistant lines horizontally. The most pleasing place to frame your subject is at the intersection of two of these lines (when you are framing people, place them at the top intersections). Why does this look good? I don’t know; maybe because this is how subjects have been framed in the visual arts for as long as anyone can remember--it is now a vital part of our visual vocabulary.
Regardless of the origin and reason, use the rule of thirds: you will notice a difference in the quality of your composition.
5. KEEP IT SHORT
Any filmmaker worth their salt knows how to cut the fat. Anything that isn’t absolutely necessary to the message of your video should be shaved away. Remember, unless you have a captivated audience, online viewers generally cannot be bothered to devote more than 2 minutes of their precious time to your masterpiece.
Always shoot more than you need, and cut more than you think you should. Your audience will thank you.
6. KEEP IT SIMPLE
Yes I know that the free editing software that came with your computer has some fancy titles and neat effects built in. These little flourishes often seduce amatuer videographers, only to alienate audiences.
You see, the thing is that there are thousands of other videos employing these free effects as well. And, most of these effects are exceptionally corney, trust me. Simplicity is beautiful, just look at Apple. Keep it simple and keep it from looking like your Uncle’s awful vacation video.
7. KEEP IT UP
The more that you shoot and edit, the better you will get. You can’t expect your first video to be Scorsese quality. As with anything else in life, you need to put the time in to see the results.
Regardless of following these tips, there is a good chance that you first foray into video is going to be terrible. But, if you pay attention to what you are doing, you are going to learn. The knowledge you pick up during your first shoot will enhance the second, which will inform the third, and so on and so forth.
Keep at it and you will succeed.
GIVE IT A SHOT
Now that you are armed with some entry level knowledge, get out there and shoot. See what you come up with, learn from your mistakes, and turn out a product that you will not be ashamed of. You other option is to hire a professional, and we are always here for you:)