Last week at the BlogWorld & Podcasting Expo, some of the best known travel bloggers in the world gathered for a panel on successful video creation techniques. If you are considering adding some interactivity to your site and recording some video to promote your business or engage your customers, you need to read this post. It turns out that most of us make the same mistakes when it comes to video, and this keeps our videos from looking professional and telling the right story about our businesses.
More than just helping to improve a video that you might create for your own business, this post can also give you an idea of how to transform any video that you create into a better and more polished final product.
Here are a few tips that the participants of that panel shared on how to make your videos more effective:
1. Focus on the audio. There are two major reasons that most self-created videos stink and one of them is related to the audio. The smaller the video camera, generally, the worse audio it will record. The solution is either to get closer or to buy an external mic.
2. Stablize, stabilize, stabilize. The second big mistake is relying on your own steady hand to hold the camera – which typically creates shaky videos (particularly when zooming). A tripod is always the best option (especially a compact one), but other techniques include bracing yourself against a wall or even creating your own makeshift tripod from a bottle cap.
3. Wait four seconds before starting. You always need to have some room at the start of a video, even if you do not plan on editing your shots, just to make sure you don’t cut off any talking. It also helps you to separate clips from one another.
4. Don’t pan, wait for the action. When filming action that is moving, the temptation for most people is to try and follow the action while panning your camera. Unfortunately, this rarely works and is jarring to watch – because the camera cannot see what your eye can. Instead, film one spot, then move the camera, film another spot, and so on. Let the action come into your frame and you shots will be much better as a result.
5. Use closeups. Getting closer to the action, whether you are filming people or objects will make your videos much better because it offers much more context for the viewer. Also, given the fact that most of your videos will be seen on smaller screens online, getting closer is a necessity to make sure that what you are filming comes through.
6. Plan your scenes before you shoot. Though this may seem like complicated advice for a non-filmmaker, the more you can think about what scenes and images you want to show in your video, the better your footage will be. As much as possible, try to think of the scenes you will shoot so you will have the right material to edit later.
7. Shoot in HD as much as you can. With the price difference between HD and non-HD cameras at a minimum, there is no real reason to avoid shooting in HD. Yes, the file sizes will be larger, but when you upload them online and they get compressed anyway, the quality will be much better because you used HD.
8. Be consistent with your format. If you happen to be using multiple cameras, make sure they all have the same format (ie – HD or widescreen versus regular screen, .mov files versus .wmv files). When putting the pieces together, using a consistent format will help make it easier to put those pieces together in a way that can make a good video.
Rohit Bhargava is the author of the best selling marketing book Personality Not Included, a guide to how to use personality as a secret weapon to promote your business.