The Director’s Cut (or Anyone Can Make a Video)
It's no secret that video is a great format for marketers to use, especially when targeting demographics who commute, and therefore have plenty of time to spend on their phones, or demographics who are known to prefer consuming visual content instead of written or pictorial material. Despite this, some companies are reluctant to dip a toe into the world of video because they think the technical and creative aspects will be hard to get right.
Anyone can make a video, but what sets a good video apart from a bad one is multi-factorial.It can be boiled down to a lack of planning, but the planning needs to cover many aspects of the video creation process. Our simple checklist covers these main aspects:
- Storyboard: what do you want the video to communicate, and how?A storyboard lays out the narrative of your video as well as the look of each scene. You can go further with the storyboarding process and include cutaway shots, transitions and music, but you need a basic idea of what the end product is going to look like.When composing your shots remember the rule of thirds. This is a simple way to make your videography look professional – imagine a grid that divides the shot into thirds, and ensure that vertical and horizontal features run along these lines.
- Lighting and sound: will you be using audio? Will this be music or people speaking, or a combination of the two? Will you shoot indoors or outdoors? Ensure subjects are not backlit, and avoid heavy shadows. When shooting indoors ensure that lighting is bounced off white or reflective surfaces to soften and diffuse the light.Never light with direct light from any angle unless you're specifically looking for strong shadows.
- Shooting angles: If possible, shoot the same scene from different angles so you can cut the shots in post-production for a professional finish. Film multiple takes of each scene too, so that you have a choice when editing the video together. This can help remove bungled lines, unclear audio or awkward facial expressions from the end product.
- Keep the camera steady.It's possible to shoot high quality video on your phone, but don't be fooled into thinking you can hand-hold your phone. You may have a steady hand, but even the slightest wobble can cheapen the look of the final video. Use a tripod or phone stand to keep it still while shooting. If you need to film a moving shot, rig up a “dolly” with an office chair, trolley or other item on wheels for a smooth panning shot.
- Use decent video editing software, but don't be taken in by lots of flashy effects, as this can make your video look dated. Simplicity is often the best route so you keep your audience focused on the message and not the fades, screen wipes or other post-production effects.
If this is still a bit daunting then there are plenty of freelancers out there who can provide some or all of the services you need. You may be able to shoot some footage and have it edited by a professional, or you may work with them on a project from storyboarding to the final product. If you have the time and inclination it is worth giving this a go yourself, you may find it's easier than you thought and before long you'll be shouting “ACTION!” and getting the clapperboards out!
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