Not all brands can afford an award-winning videographer to shoot their videos, so if you’re just starting out in the world of video marketing, follow these top seven tips for the best possible results!
- Avoid automatic settings – Get to know your DSLR or video cam and its settings and make sure they are exactly where they should be. Your primary focus should be ISO, aperture and shutter speed. ISO controls the brightness of the picture, meaning the higher it is, the brighter the picture. Unfortunately you do get more noise as you increase it, so your videos look grainy once you go very high. Setting it around 1600 ISO is good practice, but if the brightness is satisfying with lower ISO, don’t be afraid to change it. Shutter speed controls the amount of time the shutter is open, which translates into its exposure time. For optimum footage set this to 1/60th of a second and only adjust it when you know what it does to your videos. The aperture controls how much light enters through the lens, and you might end up experimenting with a more open or closed aperture for different situations, but generally speaking this setting should be left open all the way.
- Focusing – A very important thing when shooting videos is to have your subject completely focused with crisp details. Therefore it’s not ideal to use automatic focus but instead to move the dials on your lens in order to get your subject in focus and perhaps everything else blurred. This does take some practice in order to be done correctly though and will take some testing… so get ready for trial and error time.
- Have great lighting – Having at least a semi pro camera will do nothing for you if the scene you’re filming at isn’t optimal. But this doesn’t mean that you have to go out and purchase even more additional equipment that you might not be able to afford. Natural sunlight is your friend and you should use it to your advantage as much as possible. If you need your own lighting, avoid orange lamps that offset the scene and the subject from their natural color. LED panels or lightboxes are the go to choice for an ideal setup.
- Lenses – Even though most of the DSLR cameras come with a lens kit that is ok for starters, you should go a step higher for a better outcome. Every bag should at least have a 50 mm 1.8 lens. It features a wide aperture that lets in a goodly amount of light, making it great for shooting in dark places. Also it has an excellent depth of field which allows you to focus easily, achieving the whited out background effect.
- Get a good microphone – Even though the DSLR cameras have their own built-in microphones, they’re nowhere near the audio quality you need as they are built exclusively for having some very basic way of recording audio with your camera and are almost always set up to capture sound from all around the cam which in most cases is precisely what you don’t want. If you are considering producing quality videos you should probably buy yourself a good quality microphone. (In my next article I’ll get into far more detail on microphones for video production.)
- Write a decent script – Nothing is more frustrating than a script so badly conceived and written that your audience has no idea what’s going on in your video. Refrain from inside jokes and aim for the most horizontal appeal possible so that you don’t turn off your viewers… or they’ll turn you off!
- Get natural actors – A wag reviewing BBC/PBS’s remarkable Downton Abbey series recently opined that watching Maggie Smith in her scenes with Elizabeth McGovern was somewhat tantamount to having Anthony Hopkins act alongside a bored toddler. Your audience will swiftly grow disinterested if your actors are wooden and amateurish, so check local theatrical groups or other acting centers for the best talent you can afford.