No other form of content conveys and captures emotions and allows your audience to engage better than video. When executed properly, video puts your passions, knowledge, expertise and feelings on display in powerful, relatable ways.
Recently, we explored the reasons why video is so important for your business. Now, let’s look at some basic ways to set up your own video shoots and start capturing this powerful form of content on your own.
Video projects are typically divided into three main stages:
Pre-production – Concept/scripting, gathering equipment and securing talent and location(s).
Production – The staging and actual recording of the video.
Post-production – Editing, music, audio mixing, graphics and special effects.
Start with a script. You don’t need to have an elaborate Hollywood-style screenplay – sometimes just notecards or bullet points to build out your concept will work fine. But it’s important to have something at this stage to help with direction. Make sure the on-camera talent and shooting locations are available and secured, and that all your equipment – camera(s), lighting, microphones, etc. is available and functional.
When it’s time for the actual production, have all equipment and essential people at the location. Take a few test shots to double-check that all the equipment is working and that the lighting and audio are at the levels you need (more on those later.) When recording, keep all sources of noise – off-camera voices, phones, fans, music, etc. – turned off or at least as quiet as possible. Review your test footage to check the look and feel before beginning your actual takes.
Location and Lighting
First and foremost, make sure the space you’re shooting in is available, and that you have permission to be there (you can also address this during pre-production). Try to keep the background clear of heavy clutter or other things that may take the viewers’ focus off the subject(s) in front of the camera.
Natural lighting works best, but it’s unpredictable and uncontrollable. Therefore, you should always have other light sources handy so you can light the scene as you want.
Composing your shots is crucial in any type of photography. How you frame your subjects can make or break your video. For interviews, film the subject from the waist-up, but leave enough headroom at the top of the frame so the top of their head isn’t (figuratively) cut off. For live-action shots, keep your subjects framed in the center but not too close or too far (aptly referred to as a “medium shot”) from the camera to create some depth of field.
Remember, if you’re shooting with a smartphone, always keep it locked in the horizontal position.
How your video sounds is just as important as it looks. There is nothing more frustrating than reviewing beautiful video footage only to have it sound muddy, shrill, or too quiet. This is where investing in a microphone is so valuable. There are various types of affordable microphones available for different cameras and smartphones, depending on the type of video you’re creating.
In addition to the mic, you’ll want to eliminate as much background noise as possible during the shoot. Make sure everyone on the set is quiet except for those talking on-camera, and turn off all cell phones and other devices, fans, and even the heat or air conditioning if possible. Ambient noise and lighting generate more noise than you may realize – and it can be jarringly obvious in your footage – so keeping all sound sources to a minimum is crucial.
Editing and Assembling
Post-production begins once you have all the footage you need.
At this stage, you’ll assemble it all into the finished product. You don’t need a massive editing program like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro (though it’s great if you do), as there is a lot of simple and inexpensive (sometimes free) editing software to find online. Even using the native editing apps on your phone or computer can suffice if needed.
As you start editing, it’s helpful to go through the shots you want and log them in a sequence. Then you can assemble them in the order you need to tell your story and discard the rest – or hang on to them for funny outtakes or as B-roll footage that you can use elsewhere.
This is also where you’ll add a music track, mix your audio, and add graphics or any special effects to round out your production.
There you have it! With these guidelines, you’ll be prepared to tackle the staging and recording of many types of marketing video content.
If you find you need assistance with producing your videos, contact us today. And stay tuned for our free video production guide, which gives you a much more detailed look at every stage of setting up and shooting videos.