If you followed my previous post, 4 Tips to Get Started Creating Video, hopefully you’ve successfully made your first video. Congratulations! Now that you’ve filmed a video (or two), let’s take the next step and start creating engaging video through video production, which will affect the overall quality.
Here are four production techniques that will help take your videos to the next level.
To say lighting is important is an understatement. A camera’s functionality is to pick up and record light. Proper lighting during your production stage will dramatically increase the quality and engagement of your videos. For best results, I recommend three points of lighting: key lights, fill lights, and back lights:
- Key lights: These are the main lights used to capture the subject of the video. Key lights are the brightest lights and cast primary shadows.
- Fill lights: These are supporting lights, typically mirroring the key light at a lower intensity to control or fill in the shadows created,
- Back lights: These lights separate the subject from the background and help define shape while adding depth to the shot. Back lights should be placed behind the subject and should provide light on the head and shoulders.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have a light kit, experiment with different sources of light. Even a little added light can go a long way. Record and view your footage to see how your lighting setup looks and feels before live recording begins.
Deciding how to frame your shot is crucial to having a polished looking and feeling end product. The Rule of Thirds is a basic composition principle to help you properly set up your shot. Here’s how it works: When looking at your subjects through your camera’s viewfinder, imagine a tic-tac-toe grid over the scene. When you shoot your video, according to this rule, the best places for your subjects will be where the lines intersect. When you’re framing your subject, position the camera so the prominent elements fall along one of the third lines, preferably at a point where the lines intersect.
Additionally, I recommend using a variety of shots when shooting. Try shooting using close-up, medium, and long shots and establishing shots to help convey meaning and emotion. Incorporating this technique into your videos will make them feel more engaging by breaking up the frame.
Lastly, don’t forget to leave headroom. Headroom is the amount of space above your subject’s head in the frame. You don’t want to have too much or too little headspace, so be careful. Leave just a small amount of space, making sure your subject’s head isn’t cropped out.
Poor audio quality can mean the difference between a merely adequate video and an engaging, high-quality, and professional piece. It’s important to make sure you have the microphone positioned in the right spot. The environment in which you’re filming should determine the type of microphone you use. For example, a shotgun microphone is versatile, but might not be suited for loud environments. For the most direct audio pickup of an individual subject, I recommend a wired lavaliere.
It’s also important to visit your shooting locations ahead of time, so you can assess the environment and decide on what microphone will be the best option. If you’re filming outside, make sure you have wind and weather protection for your microphones.
When planning for the actual filming of your videos, here are a few production techniques that will help increase viewer engagement and overall video quality:
- Record the same subject with two cameras at different angles. Cutting between the two different angles while editing will engage your audience much more than just having one angled shot throughout the video.
- Be sure to record lots of b-roll while filming. This will help with transition between cuts and give your videos a polished and professional feel.
- Avoid digital zoom on cameras, as they tend to distort and pixelate the image, reducing the overall quality significantly.
Setting Up for Success in Post-Production
We’ve looked at the pre-production and production stages. We’re starting to see how important it is to be thoughtful and prepared for the planning of these first two stages. Next time, we will dive into the post-production stage to learn about the ultimate success when creating videos.
Matt Pierce is Learning & Video ambassador at TechSmith Corp., the go-to company for visual communication. TechSmith empowers people to create remarkable content to share knowledge and information. A graduate of Indiana University’s School of Education’s Department of Instructional Systems Technology, Pierce has more than 10 years of experience working in learning and development with a focus on visual instruction. He has directly managed the training, user assistance, video, and other teams for TechSmith.