Posts Tagged ‘video quality’

Make Decent Videos 2

Video is exploding on the Internet, and companies that incorporate video into their social marketing strategies have a decided advantage over companies that don’t. While web surfers accept—even prefer—amateur video productions over slick, professional recordings, don’t let this lead to sloppiness. Your videography shouldn’t distract from your message. If a video is bad enough, even very interested viewers may click away to something a bit more polished.

This is the second installment in a three-part series about creating decent video for your social marketing effort. My point isn’t to turn you into a master videographer. Rather, I hope to encourage you to improve your product. If your viewers aren’t thinking about the production quality of your video messages, they’re more likely to focus on the messages in your videos.

While Recording Video

In part one of this series, I posted seven things to fix before you start shooting video. In this post, we look at seven things to do—or not to do—while you’re recording:

Fill the frame. The subject of your video should be front-and-center. If you’re teaching about planting herbs in pots, make sure your viewers can see the herbs and the pots. I’ve seen video demonstrations in which the presenter filled the frame, but the items the presenter was demonstrating were too small to discern clearly. If you are the most important thing in your video, then place the camera appropriately. However, if you’re demonstrating something, arrange the camera so your demonstration is easy to see in the video. If your video camera won’t focus at close range, use a digital camera to capture detail and include the digital stills within your finished video.

Record multiple takes from several angles. For videos that feature a person talking, a single take from one camera angle works well. And, for many demonstrations, a single camera angle is adequate. Doing multiple takes from multiple camera angles increases the chance of capturing detail that’s relevant to your demonstration. Sometimes your hands interfere with a shot as you demonstrate a procedure simply because you didn’t anticipate the full range of motion you’d employ. Do the demo twice and move the camera between takes; this will probably result in sequences you can edit together to tell your story well.

Put the camera down. This may be the most important point in my discussion about making good video: Don’t hold the camera while you’re recording. Get a tripod and learn to use it. Even if you’re following a moving subject, mount the camera on a tripod and limit the camera’s movement to horizontal or vertical pans. Please, please, please don’t hold the camera and walk while you’re recording unless there is no other way to get the shot you need.

An amateur videographer once asked me what equipment I used to make videos—we had created videos at the same venue. Before answering, I watched his recording; it was very shaky and hard to follow… though the image quality seemed quite good. I could see that his video camera would have made a great video if he’d mounted the camera on a tripod.

Pan slowly and rarely. Panning means moving the camera across a scene. There’s a lot of crummy panning in Youtube videos: people swing this way and that to follow action, and they leave viewers feeling dizzy. Try to record videos from a stationary camera. If you must pan, pan slowly… and if you think you’re panning slowly enough, pan a little slower still. If you really must pan quickly, it should be to follow a moving subject… and keep the subject in the frame so viewers have a decent place to focus while the rest of the scene is a blur.

Don’t one-hand the camera at your face. Seriously. This is so cheesy. Get a tripod or a friend.

Zoom in and out only if you must. If a scene requires a long shot followed by a tight shot or vice-versa, do viewers a favor and cut the two views together. Watching a scene zoom rarely increases understanding of the subject matter the scene presents.

Pause often and long if you’re narrating as your record a scene. Why would I suggest this? When you play back a recording, it’s likely you’ll spot bits that you ought to leave out of the finished video. But, if the original recording contains an endless stream of narration, it’s tricky to cut without creating awkward transitions. If stream-of-concsiousness is the best delivery mechanism for your massage, go for it. If you want to present a clear, understandable message, pace yourself and pause often so your video will be easier to edit.


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