Thinking of shooting your own promotional video for your business? I applaud you for taking the step into video marketing! You are keeping up with current marketing trends and that’s stellar!
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when video production was a costly, highly specialized process. Today, if you have a cell phone then chances are you own a sophisticated, high-quality video recording/editing/distribution device. It’s the future, after all. So, is video production for business really as easy as all that these days? Can you really get a quality video for your business without experience or putting a lot of work in? Read on…
We know that so many of the videos you see online look off-the-cuff and spontaneous, but trust us if they look good and are getting results, they are well scripted and shot, which takes planning, and….you got it, practice! The more time you spend looking through the lens, the better you’ll be at visualizing your shot before you shoot.
- Create a script.
- Build a storyboard.
- Based on steps 4 and 5 plan a shot list.
It helps to have an outline of what you will be shooting and why. Are you telling a story? Are you trying to convince the world that your dog is the greatest singer of all time? Whatever the goal, if you think it through from beginning to end first, it will help your video be more cohesive and could help avoid annoying or costly roadblocks.
- Hold the camera correctly (with two hands).
People like to actually see what’s going on in the scene, despite what some Hollywood blockbuster movies may lead you to believe. Keep the camera steady by using two hands. Or a steady cam rig. Or a gimbal. Or a stabilizer. Or just two hands. The last thing you want people taking away from your business video is a queasy stomach.
- Set up the shot.
- Keep subject in-frame.
- Expect movement, even when none is necessary.
- Readjust your set up.
Whatever it is you’re capturing for your video, keep it in the picture. If your subject is moving quickly, try to anticipate the movement and match it, rather than rushing to catch up. Also, try zooming out a bit to give yourself some more wiggle room in the frame.
- Keep the shot in focus.
- Keep your eye on the shot, whether on a screen or a viewfinder.
- Keep the end point of your shot in mind.
- Know your audience.
This is big. If you’re panning the camera from point A to point B, have an actual point B to hit. If you’re telling a story, think about how this shot helps tell that story. If you’re making a video for your Facebook followers, or your boss’ birthday, think about your audience. Also, see steps 3-5.
- Set up the lights.
- Turn on the lights.
- Balance the lights.
- Don’t get burned by the lights.
Generally, a camera sensor can’t interpret the difference between light and dark as well as your eyes can. Some can, but if you own one of those, you probably aren’t reading this :). And if you are – can I borrow your camera? So, turn on the lights… unless you’re really going for some kind of moody, noir feeling. Try and keep the intensity and quality of light even. For example, if you’re shooting your weekly vlog at your desk – your head and shoulders should be lit evenly so that there aren’t areas of really bright and really dark. Shooting video your cat in the living room? Try to avoid that spot on the carpet where the sun hits directly; or, turn on the lights in the room to try and balance that spot out… we all know it’s her favorite spot.
- Shoot in landscape, not portrait.
You’ve heard this already, we know. First, in portrait mode, your video will be lacking all the space to the left and the right of the frame if you view it anywhere other than a smart device, which is a waste of resolution. Second, because film and television are the standard, they influence how your video is perceived in any format. Finally, it might just force you to use both hands :).
- Keep it short.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and video consists of a picture every 1/24 (or 1/30, or 1/60, etc.) of a second, depending on your platform and settings. So at 24fps, every second of video is worth 24,000 words. Most social platforms have upper limits – either file size, or length – and people have grown accustomed to absorbing information in quick, short, bite-sized chunks. Something else to consider: video takes up a lot of space. If you keep your videos on the short side, then data-management won’t be as much of an issue. If you’re shooting a lot, then you may need to think about where you’re keeping all that video data.
- Pay attention to the Audio!
Yes, this is about video. However, the difference between a good video and a great video is often the sound. Stand out! If you have a vlog, podcast, or webinar, invest in a microphone. Think about ambient noise, the distance the mic is from your face, acoustics, and movement.
- Review your footage.
- Trim clips to be used
- Edit clips together
- Ensure lighting, sound and other elements match appropriately.
- Don’t put yourself through all of this, contact Hot Dog Marketing to do the heavy lifting for your promotional video or business profile video!
Neil helps our clients tell their brands’ stories with photography and video. He comes from a long career as a multimedia producer working in corporate and high-tech environments. He’s turned his experience in audio and visual media and creativity into a valuable resource for Hot Dog Marketing’s small business clients.