The following 10 video tips will help you make professional-looking videos and take your content to the next level.
1. Outline the Purpose and Identify Your Target Audience
When you make a video, you need to start by defining its purpose or the why behind it. Are you making a video to showcase your team or explain your product? Determine what goals you want to accomplish. Are you trying to increase conversions, visitors, or brand awareness?
Before you grab the camera, you need to select your goals and identify your target audience. As with any other piece of content and product offering, your target audience influences your decisions. Your target viewers will impact the types of videos you create and where you will distribute them.
Keeping your viewers in mind for every step of the video production process ensures the video will resonate with them and hopefully be one they want to share.
2. Make a Plan
A lack of planning can cause more headaches for you in the long run and potentially result in the audience not connecting to the video’s message
To shoot like the pros, create your own storyboard with drawings or descriptions of each scene, segment, and B-roll shots. This allows you to visualize the footage you need to capture and serve as a guide during the shoot and editing process.
Creating a plan or storyboard can include:
3. Don’t Forget B-Roll
Depending on the type of video you are producing, you may need to shoot what’s known as “B-roll footage.” B-roll is secondary footage that’s filmed to complement your primary footage. It’s spliced together with the main, or A-roll, footage to create a more dynamic video.
So, if you’re filming a brand video to showcase your company, B-roll film might include shots of your team working together and internal and external footage of your offices. B-roll can elevate the look of your video, making it seem more professional to your viewers.
As with your primary footage, you should plan your B-roll before you start filming since it can require new locations, specific product shots, and asking employees to be featured. Also, there's no such thing as too much B-roll; you can always repurpose extra footage for other video projects.
4. Gather Your Equipment
Fortunately for beginners and small businesses, high-quality digital cameras are more affordable and accessible now. If you don’t want to buy a camera for your videos, there are other options. You probably know someone with a camera that you could borrow. Also, some companies rent out cameras for a lesser fee.
The majority of phones can capture good video footage for most purposes. If you’re going to film with your phone, be sure to record in landscape mode and if your phone allows a grid on your screen for photos and videos, use it. The grid will help you avoid tilted footage and assist with the composition.
5. Use a Tripod
Whether you use a digital camera or your phone, you’ll want to use a tripod or set your camera on a stable surface. The audience can tell if you shot the video without a tripod, and the shaky footage can upset viewers, causing them to click off quickly.
Tripods help avoid shaky footage that immediately makes a video feel low-quality. Investing in a tripod is a simple way to enhance your videos.
6. Consider Your Background
With videos, you need to be aware of everything that will be inside the frame. A messy or busy background looks unprofessional and distracts the viewers from your video.
An easy option to getting that professional look is to select a solid-colored background. You can use a wall or large sheet of backdrop paper to achieve a clean look. If you don’t have a blank backdrop, a decorative background works. For example, in a Q&A video, you can have your subject sitting in an office with styled bookshelves.
Another issue to avoid is having a window or reflective surface in the background. Reflective surfaces, like mirrors, can catch the camera and other objects in the reflection. No matter your options, choose a background that won’t take away from the subject and content of your video.
7. Record Crisp Audio
The audio can make or break your video. Most viewers tolerate videos that aren’t HD, but few can put up with poor audio. Any auditory disruptions, such as traffic noises, buzzing, or static, are enough to make your audience exit the video within seconds.
High-end cameras generally have built-in mics that can do the job. However, since audio is critical to a video’s success, using an external audio recorder is the most reliable way to record audio.
With or without an external recorder, test the audio and listen for any disturbances before you begin to film. Checking the acoustics of your location before you start can save you a lot of work reducing sounds in post-production as well.
8. Understand Composition and Capture Different Angles
Similar to background, where everything in the forefront is placed matters. Composition is the way you decide to frame and position your subject within the shot.
The best way to arrange the object or individual you're filming is to follow the rule of thirds, which separates the frame into a three-by-three grid. The grid creates intersections that are the ideal spots to place your subject. Composition and framing make the scene look more aesthetically pleasing and help prevent you from cutting off the subject's head or body by accident.
In addition to composition, to add interest and variety into your video shoot from different angles. Filming everything from a single shot can make your video appear intense and potentially boring. Incorporate wide shots, close-ups, mid shots, side shots, and any other ones that are relevant to your video.
9. Use the Right Lighting
If there's one element to focus on to heighten the quality, it's lighting. For beginners, use natural light. The sun is the best to work with and is easier and cheaper than getting lighting equipment. With natural light, you should shoot during the morning and evening because the light is much softer than the harsh midday sun. Cloudy days and shady areas are good alternatives if you have to film in the middle of the day.
When filming indoors, you need to be aware of the types of lights, where to place them, and the kinds of shadows they can cast on your subject's face. Using soft or flat light creates fewer shadows and gives off an open, approachable vibe that suits business videos.
Before you start shooting, play with the lighting with your subject in the frame to see what will work for your video.
10. Work on Post-Production
Post-production also enhances the overall effect of your video. Seamless editing and transitions can make your video seem more professional. Post-production is where you can edit out or adjust minor imperfections, such as background noise, lighting issues, and awkward pauses and silences. Editing isn’t a cure-all but can significantly improve your video.
Post-production work allows you to add features like background music, transitions, and text to personalize it to your brand. With editing, you can include call-to-actions and your company's information to help convert viewers.
It’s no secret that video helps companies stand out from the competition and see better results. Now you can add video to your marketing strategy by applying the techniques listed above. With these tips, you can create professional videos in-house or use them as a guide when hiring a videographer.