It’s easier than ever to make a video these days. Grab a mobile phone and voila it’s done.
If however, you want the video to be something you can use to promote your business then here are a few tips to ensure you don’t look like an amateur operation.
The trick to making an amateur video look professional isn’t only about how it looks. It’s about how it sounds. If it sounds bad, it looks bad. If you use the camera microphone and are standing too far away it will immediately look like an amateur video. Unconsciously people will feel there is something dodgy about the quality and immediately the credibility of the message falls through the floor.
So make sure you use a microphone that can capture clear audio. And if possible monitor the audio while recording. That means to plug in some headphones so that you can hear exactly what is being captured. There may be buzzing or other noises that you’d prefer to find out about before you get into the edit suite.
Beware of wooden floorboards they can make the voice “bounce” around the room. It has a disconcerting echoing effect. Ideally use carpeted rooms away from traffic and other noises. Even air conditioning can be disturbing if it is loud. So listen through the headphones and check what other noises are being recorded and either eliminate them or move to another location.
When you set your shot to have a look through the viewfinder at the entire image. What is in the background? How is the subject positioned in the picture?
The background in part of the story in an image. How can it add information or value to your message? Can it distract from your message? The more depth you can put in the background the more interesting and impressive the visual. Avoid shooting people standing against a wall. It looks like they are getting their mug shot taken – it’s not great for credibility. If possible use the background to add color to the picture.
When framing someone talking make sure their head is at the top of the frame. Amateurs put the face in the middle of the frame because that’s what they are looking at. They are not using the entire frame. Move in or zoom in if you have to and as you look through the viewfinder make sure the entire frame is filled with the subject.
There are times when creative movement in the camera can be artful, but if you are starting out please use a tripod. It’s a sure sign of a dodgy operation if the camera is moving in a distracting way. A tripod allows the subject in the frame to provide the movement and we can watch.
Geoff Anderson is the Managing Director at Sonic Sight and author of Shoot Me Now. He has been working in TV and Events production for over 21 years. He is producers corporate videos that enhance the profile of his clients and cut through the noise in a busy marketplace. His creative concepts shine in the hundreds and hundreds of scripts he has written. Geoff has also been the stage manager for conferences, award nights and a live recording of events.
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