Adding video content to your inbound marketing in the form of testimonials, training videos, video blogs or product demonstrations, can be extremely valuable. With the advent of YouTube, expectations for Hollywood-quality video have lessened dramatically but getting the basics right differentiates your work from the grainy, unintelligible video content often shot on a cell phone and posted directly to a blog or website. Starting with quality video content saves a lot of production time and hassle since poor quality video or audio sticks out like a sore thumb. Here are 6 simple best practices to help your web videos look professional, whether you are using a Sony HVR-Z7U or an iPhone cam. Even Steven Spielberg does point and shoot! You can too!
- Steady as She Goes. Have you seen The Blair Witch Project? If it wasn’t scary, it’d give you vertigo for sure. No one appreciates a shaky video, and it doesn’t take much for a little nudge to create a localized seismic event on today’s phone cams. Using a tripod helps you smoothly pan across a shot. You can pick a decent tripod for about $35. If you have to improvise, try leaning against something to steady yourself or using a stool, ladder or table.
- Composition. Asymmetrical shots – those with the subject off-center - look better. Use the artists’ rule of thirds: Imagine a tic-tac-toe pattern across your lens. When filming a person, you want the subject’s eyes lined up with the top line of the tic-tac-toe pattern and then off to either side. You should shoot closer to your subject for the web; think about people watching your video on a phone or tablet.
- Lighting. Use natural light when you can by shooting outdoors in the morning or early afternoon. When shooting video indoors, set up your subject near a window. Try to stay away from fluorescent lighting – it gives a greenish cast to your video. Use white light and experiment with multiple sources from different angles. Some light shadow is good as it gives a sense of depth. Avoid backlighting unless you want your subject to look like a person in the witness protection program.
- Sound. Get close to your subject when using the internal microphone on a camera. Try picking up a clip-on microphone to help isolate the sound source to just your subject. Be aware of the noises around you; air conditioning/heating, trains, airplanes, lawn mowers, chatting co-workers or even a refrigerator whir can ruin your audio.
- Zoom. Zoom. It’s fun to zoom in! But zooming degrades the pixel quality of your video and too much zooming can give viewers that vertigo effect. If you must zoom, “Zoom with your feet” and you will match a close up with audio volume and focus that complements the shot.
- Avoid using special effects while shooting. Once you add an effect while shooting, you can’t take it away. Instead, add effects when you are editing and have more control over them.
Video content can really enhance the attractive power of your inbound marketing. These best practices can make a huge difference when you are creating video content, especially if you only have one chance to get your footage. Don’t forget spare batteries and memory. Lights, camera, action!
Read: Optimize Video Content for Lead Generation
Read: 7 Great Video Content Ideas to Build Your Brand and Generate Leads
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