Simple Tips for Better Videos
Today’s phones, tablets and small compact video cameras are really great for making videos. They mainly shoot video in high quality, usually HD and look really sharp – especially if you’re uploading them to your website or onto something like Facebook, Google+ and YouTube.
But here are just a few quick tips on how to make your video look as ‘professional’ as possible.
If you’re filming on your mobile phone – please make sure you’re holding the camera in ‘landscape’ – so it looks like a wide screen TV, long sides facing up and down
Film at the same eye level as the person/animal you’re filming or lower, if you can, when filming children and pets. Bend down, get down on your knees, sit on the floor or lie on the floor to get yourself at the same eye level. Looking up at a child whilst he or she is playing is a view we don’t normally get when we watch our kids playing – it looks so charming.
Even with the ‘image stabilisation’ features on most cameras nowadays, if you’re shaking about when you’re holding your camera, the end result will suffer. So, if you’ve got a tripod, use it. If you don’t have a tripod lean against a wall or a tree, rest on top of a bag on a table, rest on your knee if you’re sat on the floor – lean against something and it will make a difference.
Do NOT use your digital zoom feature on your camera – you can usually turn it off in your camera’s settings. All it does is make your digital image larger and therefore lose quality. Just walk closer to the thing you’re filming.
If you are using the zoom, try not to zoom in too much all the time. The more you zoom in the more difficult it is to keep the image steady when you are recording – as the slightest of wobbles or shake is magnified if you’re zoomed in.
Having a well-lit subject is a key to better looking videos. Whenever you can, get the subject to stand facing a window or near a window. You then stand in between your subject and the window with your back to the window – getting full light on your subject and film away.
This is the same if you’re outside – film with your back to the sun.
The only rider to both of these is if it is a bright sunny day with direct sunlight. In this case your subject is likely to squint and the light will be so harsh, that it will look a bit too flat. In this case, move so 3/4 to 2/3rds of your subject is in the sun. Create a slight shadow on your subject.
Just experiment. You can create some fabulous effects – even when the light is not too bright.
Auto exposure is great when you’re filming something quickly and\or lots of action is going on around you. But if you’re filming someone talking to camera or a talking head talking to someone else, set your exposure on the brightest part of the person – usually the face. This will keep your exposure constant throughout your filming and won’t keep searching for the correct exposure – this makes your image keep going lighter and darker.
Quite simply – get as close as you can to the sound source. The better the quality of sound, the more it will enhance what you’ve filmed. Even if the visual part of what you’ve filmed isn’t great, that can be ‘forgiven’ if you’ve got great sound quality.
Also, don’t be afraid to move close in to your subject and fill the screen with a child’s face or a pet or a birthday cake. Don’t let the subject get lost in the picture. You’ll then also be closer to your subject to help your microphone record good quality sound.
Slow-motion & time-lapse
If something happens quickly (a dog jumping and catching a ball, someone riding past on a bike, children throwing water) it can look great in slow motion. Just make sure you are filming at 120 or 240 frames per second.
If you’re filming an event or a venue filling up or a busy railway station – things can look great as a time-lapsed shot. Put your camera on a tripod, set the shot, lock the focus and exposure and record away – for as long as possible. You may have to put your phone in Airplane mode.
Make the most of the great editing apps that are available but, if you can, edit on a computer. Transfer your footage to your software and edit away. Don’t go too mad with special affects or use too many wacky dissolves between shots – keep it simple and stylish.
Just one additional tip for editing. If you know that you’re going to edit your footage – if you can, set up your shot and film for 3 to 4 seconds before the ‘action’ starts. And then keep filming 3 to 4 seconds after the ‘action’ finishes – don’t be too quick to move the camera away and stop recording. This gives you more to play with when editing. Also film away as much as possible – it doesn’t have to be in the finished video but if you haven’t filmed it – you won’t have that choice.
Got a camera, use it
Whichever camera you’ve got – use it and make the most of it. Don’t go and buy an ‘upgrade’ to the camera you use before you’ve tried all of these tips – these might make all the difference you’re looking for.
Keystone: Video Production, Photography & Digital Marketing