Make Beautiful Brand Videos Yourself Using This Handy Guide
As a business owner, video content can be an integral part in your mission to expand your reach. And with 819,417,600 hours of video on YouTube alone, you can be sure that if your video content is lacking in quality, whether of image or sound, you’ll have your viewers clicking “next” immediately.
If you’re considering shooting a video in order to better tell your story, there are several things to think about first:
- What message are you trying to convey?
- What location will you be shooting in?
- What equipment will you use?
- What lighting source(s) do you have?
- How will you frame the video?
- How do you get the best sound?
- What are your editing options?
- How or where will you upload your video once it’s done?
First thing’s first, of course – what are you going to shoot your video with? Every smartphone less than three years old will have a camera capable of shooting a professional video. As long as you enhance the lighting and built-in microphone, you’re already ahead of the game!
If you want to invest a little more money into a digital, single lens reflex camera (DSLR) we’d recommend the Canon EOS 50D for under $400.
When it comes to lighting, natural soft light will serve you best. If you have a plain wall next to a large window you’re already set! Below are a few examples of lighting sources in relation to their “temperature.” The cooler the temperature, the softer the light. Hint: You always want soft light for shooting.
- Incandescent bulbs are 2700K. That’s warm.
- Office fluorescents are around 4200K. That’s a bit cooler.
- Daylight is 5600K. That’s cool.
If you don’t have access to natural lighting (and even if you do), adding an additional light source can help. You can purchase a small “Diva Light” attachment for your iPhone (or Android) for very cheap. This will add a soft light source that will cover your subject(s) evenly.
You should also think about spending $10-30 on a light reflector to ensure you get even light and avoid shadows on the face. As I suggested before regarding DIY product photos, an alternative for reflectors is a simple $2 piece of white bristol board from your local art supply store.
Now that you’ve got your equipment figured out, it’s time to move on to the actual shooting process. Four major points to keep in mind when shooting a creative or lifestyle video are:
- Keep any faces out of the shadows
- Use ambient lighting only
- Soften your light source by using diffusion or reflectors (no overhead lights)
- The larger the light source, the softer the light. The softer the light, the more flattering the result
Aside from focusing on lighting, stability and focus has to be the main areas to consider. Nothing is less professional than a shaky video or an out of focus video. You will immediately lose all credibility and will give viewers (aka potential customers) a reason to ignore your video and move on if you give them shaky and out of focus.
If you can, set up a level place to rest you phone on. Use a level to ensure the ledge is actually balanced. You may even want to invest a little more and buy a tripod. They cost anywhere from $20-$100 and many come with a remote capable of working with your phone. You can also use the tricks explained in this video by StoryGuide to learn how to stabilize your camera with a rubber band, or how to focus on using industry standard tools for stabilization. If you want to take things to next level and shoot while in motion, you’ll need to invest in a gimbal – a stability mechanism which allows the pivoting of your camera device around a single axis.
Keep in mind, if shooting using a smartphone that built-in microphones are omnidirectional. This means they’ll record everything around them, making the sound quality less-than-stellar when it comes to high-quality digital content. You should look at spending a little (or a lot if you can) money on an external mobile microphone. However, one easy trick is to mute the sound on your device then record your voiceover with soft music playing in the background, using you video editing software. If you want to go a step further and keep the sound as you record, a lavalier microphone will do the trick.
Once you’ve recorded your sound, make sure that there is no ambient or white noise. Many video editing software programs offer filters that can help with this. You can also hire someone on UpWork to remove the noise for you.
Software and Exporting
When editing and exporting your video, you can use the the built-in iMovie on (Mac), or spend $19.99 and get Adobe Premier Pro CC (PC). Both of these programs contain the necessary tools to make simple edits and allow you to easily (and properly) export.
When exporting, these are the specifications you should adhere to depending on where you’re hosting the video. You should be hosting and releasing the video across all of your social media platforms and, of course, your website at the same time, so you may have to learn the different specifications for different mediums and export multiple versions of your video to meet different hosts expectations. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate these tricky waters. Follow these specs or your video will become low quality when uploading!
Image via Ezra Productions
As a business owner, you want to put your best foot forward. This extends to any digital content tied to your or your company’s name. While producing video content and digital ads yourself is certainly possible, if you fail to inform yourself, or have the right equipment and tech, you may end up creating a less-than-desirable video.
Our advice? Don’t:
- Shoot a subpar video and post it
- Shoot a video without any focus on framing, stability, style, or script
- Ignore host site specifications for size, length, and copyright
- Roll out the video without a cohesive strategy
We’ve given you the tools you need to produce video content yourself, and if you feel like you can do it, you should give it a try. That said, you may find that investing in a proper videographer is in your best interest in order to ensure that your video is top notch and there aren’t any wrinkles in your execution plan and that’s OK, too!
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