5 Basic Tips to Make a Professional-Looking Video

If you're looking to expand your business's customer base, you've probably heard the same advice a million times: create a Facebook page and
Business Insider
August 04, 2010

If you're looking to expand your business's customer base, you've probably heard the same advice a million times: create a Facebook page and open a Twitter account. While it is important to create and maintain a strong presence in social media, it is also important to find a way to stand out from the rest.

One way to do this is by creating a video and uploading it onto another social media site, like YouTube, or adding it to your blog to make things more interesting.

For someone who’s never held a camera, figuring out how to get started can be daunting. But, once you understand a few basics, you can produce a great-looking video on your own.

Here are five basic tips for beginners looking to make a professional-quality video:

1. Shoot with the right equipment

First, plan out what kind of video you want to make. If you’re going for the classic home-video look, something as simple as a Flip camera (which, given it’s size and price, the result should suffice) will work. If you want to upgrade your audience’s viewing experience, the person behind the camera should have steady hands, or you should use a tripod.

2. Pay attention to the audio!

Anyone who watched the World Cup certainly knows how annoying the vuvuzelas were as they buzzed through every match. Your video could sound like a World Cup broadcast, too, if you don't pay attention to the audio. Whether it's wind blowing into the microphone or too much background noise, bad audio can ruin a good video. If your camera has a headphone jack, plug in and do some sound checks. Make sure you can clearly hear what you want your audience to hear.

3. Watch what you're filming

Beginner videographers should never shoot with a window in the background. The camera, other people and objects could reflect off the glass, making for an awkward video. Light may also come through the window causing your subject to be backlit – meaning that the object or person you're shooting will look like they have a shadow cast over them. Lighting is important, but it doesn't have to be perfect. Just make sure your subject isn't backlit or so bright that they're reflecting light back to the camera.

4. Edit to your audience

There's a reason why YouTube gets over 2 billion views a day. People want to watch videos, but they have short attention spans; so, they skip from video to video until they find something interesting. If you're not shooting a one-take video, be ready to take some time out of your day to edit. Rarely will someone watch a 5-minute plus video all the way through if they don't know what it's about. Keep it short and find ways to engage your audience so they understand the message you're trying to get across right away.

As for video editing software, beginners should stick with simple programs like iMovie. If you're just cutting some fat from your video, YouTube's cloud-based video editor should meet your needs. You can find an in-depth tutorial on YouTube's video editor, click here.

5. Upload and distribute through social networks

Once you're satisfied with your piece, export the video and upload it onto YouTube. You can't expect the world to fall in love with your video if you just let it sit there; so, tweet out the link to all your Twitter followers, post the video on your Facebook page, and email it out to anyone who you know would be interested (no spamming!). 

Even if your video doesn't sweep the nation and go "viral," it's almost a guarantee that through social media distribution, people outside your current customer base will hear about your business. Plus, your current customers will appreciate you switching things up (and, hopefully, entertaining them!)