Adding video content to you website, whether it be testimonials, training videos, video blogs or product demonstrations, can be extremely valuable. Starting with quality video elements can save you a lot of time and hassle since inadequate video or audio sticks out like a sore thumb. And let’s face it, it can drive people away from your website. Here are a few easy tips to help your web videos look professional, whether you are using a Hasselblad H3DII-50 or a Flip Cam. Unleash your inner Scorsese. ACTION!
- Get a Tripod. Remember The Blair Witch Project? No one wants to watch a shaky video, and it doesn’t take much for a little nudge to look like an earthquake on today’s small video cameras. Using a tripod helps you smoothly pan across a shot. Don’t have a tripod? You can pick one up for about $30. Otherwise, you can try leaning against something to steady yourself or using a table or ladder.
- Composition. Asymmetrical shots look better, so don’t center your subject. Use the rule of thirds: Imagine a tic-tac-toe pattern across your lens. When filming a person, you want the subject’s eyes to line up with the top line of the tic-tac-toe pattern and then off to either side. You should shoot closer to your subject for the web; people will be viewing this video at a small size, and you need to keep those limitations in mind.
- Lighting. Use natural light when you can by shooting outside in the morning or early afternoon. When filming indoors, set up your shot by a window. Try to stay away from fluorescent lighting. Use white light and experiment with multiple sources from different angles. Avoid backlighting unless you want your video to look like an interview with someone in the witness protection program.
- Audio. Get close to your subject when using your camera’s internal microphone. Try picking up a lavaliere (or clip-on) microphone to help you isolate the audio to just your subject. Be aware of the noises around you; air conditioning/heating, a fan, airplanes, lawn mowers, annoying co-workers or even a refrigerator can ruin your audio.
- Get your finger off that digital zoom button. I know, I know – it’s fun to zoom in! But it degrades the pixel quality of your video. “Zoom with your feet” instead and you will also get better audio by being closer to your subject.
- Avoid using special effects. Sepia, do you really need sepia? Those buttons are fun to play with, too, but you can’t reverse their results. Instead, add effects when you are editing and have more control over them.
These small things can make a huge difference when you are editing your video, especially if you only had one chance to get your footage. Lastly, don’t forget spare batteries or memory. Now get out there and get shooting. CUT!
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