The use of video as a tool for educating prospects, launching products, engaging customers and converting sales has exploded. A recent Heinzeroth blogpost noted that 74% of all online content will be video in just 2 short years. With this monumental growth in video content, agencies and in-house marketing departments are scripting, shooting and editing more video than ever before.
As the chief video editor at HMG, I handle hours of raw video footage on a regular basis. And as the final cog in the video production machine, I can tell you from experience that editors are greatly limited by the quality and volume of video input. Sure, most skilled editors have a few tricks up their sleeves, but we can only go so far. An out-of-focus shot is still an out-of-focus shot no matter what knobs we turn or buttons we push.
So from a guy who has to mold a visually appealing and coherent video from whatever components are dropped onto my hard drive, here are a few things that will improve your outcome… and make your trusty video editor a whole lot happier!
1) Shoot multiple takes. You think you might have it on the first or second take. You probably don’t. Reshoot it again and again. Try different angles and different lighting. This will give you options and ensure that you have the shots you need to make your video complete. You will not regret this.
2) Be aware of your surroundings when shooting. Scour the set for objects that are out of place or distracting. That empty pop can in the background or that pile of oily rags… get rid of it. Make sure the set is as quiet as possible. Even a still photographer “quietly” clicking off shots can irreparably harm the audio that you are recording. (Tip: almost all cameras are digital now; ask them to shut off the “snapshot” sound – it’s optional.)
3) Shoot B-roll. This is huge. When piecing together a video, quality B-roll provides necessary “cover” for sometimes awkward transitions. It also adds a beautiful flavor and ambiance to the video that will improve the entertainment value. Nobody wants to watch a talking head yammer on for 3 minutes without some other visual “entertainment” to stimulate one’s senses. Get up close and personal with the subjects you are filming, whether they are the hands of your talent or the moving parts of a machine. The details will add interest to your final product.
4) Add “space” to each scene. Try to start rolling before you call “action” and then continue to roll briefly after you say “cut.” Having an extra second or two at the beginning and end will help when adding transitions and prevent scenes from feeling too abrupt. Additionally, if you are using interviewed subjects, it may be smart to coach them to pause between subjects to give the editor more room to find natural breaks.
5) Use natural lighting whenever possible. Lighting kits are often necessary, but it takes some skill to light a video scene correctly. If available, outdoor lighting or sunlight beaming in through a window feels warmer, is more inviting and provides more natural shadows, depth and color.
6) Understand your camera. Autofocus alone won’t cut it if you want superior results. Practice using manual focus for interesting depth-of-field shots. Understand the aperture and shutter speed to maximize the lighting.
Heinzeroth offers full in-house video production capabilities – from scripting and scouting to shooting and editing – for business-to-business and consumer-based clients. Video types include: instructional, product, launch, interview and video news releases, as well as TV commercials. Contact us today to discuss how we can assist with your next video project.
Please check out this case study featuring three web videos developed on the subject of residential irrigation: