Unless you are reporting from a warzone or bungee-jumping, people expect a modest amount of quality to any marketing, social media, or streaming productions. Follow these tips to improve the production values of your videos and grow your audience.
Video is fast replacing the written word for the online audience. How-to’s, interviews, talking heads, on-demand webinars, and live event streaming all create a greater impact than some bland after-action report across Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social media, especially for gated business or marketing content. Whatever you use your video for, making it look good is a large part of capturing the audience and keeping them watching.
So here are some tips to get them right the first time…
Use the best capture equipment you can afford
Smartphones do an amazing job of capturing video, but a decent quality prosumer video camera actually costs less than a phone and has many advantages with strong zoom, stability, and better light handling. Buying some lights and a good tripod or base won’t put a dent in most marketing budgets but will improve the quality of your video substantially.
The stand will help avoid shaky camera issues, which are often off-putting for an audience or enable you to do smooth transitions and pans or zooms. An extra microphone will improve the audio quality and reduce the amount of work you have to do in editing.
Work in the best light
LED lights have reduced the weight, increasing the portability and ease of storage for video lighting, making them more practical for all users. A pair of lights can help improve the look of your subjects and the quality of the video.
Natural light, of course, often remains the best source, especially outdoors. But always take the time to position subjects in the best place to ensure they are well-lit or that the camera is in a good spot to create an interesting angle for the viewing audience.
Choose a good plain background
Where possible, a neutral background is best for interviews or focusing on a particular object to stop the audience from getting distracted. A good plain white background has served camera and video creators for many decades and is ideal in most corporate or high-quality use cases.
But, if you want, you can use a unique style, a subtle color, logo, or texture in the background that will help mark a series of content as your own and make it easier to identify if there’s a strong risk of people copying it. Wherever you shoot, avoid reflective surfaces and backgrounds, and always have some plain material on hand to cover them up if there’s no avoiding them.
You don’t have to always choose an environment with a good background as you can use a video background remover to remove unpleasant backgrounds and then replace them.
Plan your video content and shots
Whatever the event or your content plan, think ahead about where you want to be positioned, who you will be talking to, or where the subject matter is. Most large events have media pens for the mainstream press, but smaller outlets can sneak in unusual perspectives. Or, if you are interviewing live in your office or from your home streaming setup, keep the running order with keynotes close to hand to keep on track and avoid waffling or going off-topic.
As a best practice, any interview should see the subject prepped beforehand with the topic or questions, and always take the time to grab a few soundbites and links separately that can be used to create social media clips to promote each video or event.
Create an editing style and stick to it
All brands have a house style that immediately identifies their content. Whatever your audience, you can build your own using a logo or intro clip that stands out. This idea extends into editing, using a few familiar editing techniques like fades or transitions that can become a hallmark of your productions.
You can be as brave or conservative in the edit as your audience will accept, so look for feedback when trying new ideas, and try and take inspiration from some well-known content producers if your videos are feeling rather restrained or boring.
Use the best talent you have
You might want to be the voice of your brand or company, but if you have “a face for radio and a voice for mime” or a confidence problem, then find someone who can do a better job. Most businesses have a natural presenter or showperson on the team, while local media professionals are often available for hire to add a quality touch.
And while you can’t always choose the quality of your subject or event, take the time to find the people who look or sound interesting and have something to say beyond cookie-cutter quotes. You can smooth out a tough interview in the edit, but someone with a gift for being in front of the camera will instantly add that feeling of engagement with the audience.