Tips For Producing Your Own Films
The stats highlighting explosive growth in online video are undoubtedly impressive, but what makes a good video and what factors should you consider before embarking on producing your own film?
Your video will undoubtedly be judged on its content, but there are other factors that will heavily influence the quality of your production and therefore reflect on your brand.
By giving consideration to the following steps below you can be sure that your production will keep you one step ahead of your competitors.
Preparation, planning and practice prevents poor performance. This adage is especially relevant for video production and cannot be underestimated.
Be highly organised with your video and pre-plan every element to ensure you don’t leave anything to chance.
Consider your target audience and spend time planning the content being mindful of your audience. Consider keeping the film more engaging by introducing interesting cut-away shots and ensuring that the length of the film is appropriate. The film should whet the viewer’s appetite rather than becoming a feature length film that few people will actually watch right through.
Decide on the format of your film and its end use – for example on your website, on YouTube, trade shows, as a sales tool or as a training tool.
Once you’ve decided on your idea its time to create and plan a script so you know precisely what content will be included. Make use of a storyboard to help you visualise how it will look and what shots choices and voice-over or audio you will use. This will help you when it comes to the filming, ensuring you capture your exact requirements.
You don’t have to spend tens of thousands to achieve great quality, but you do have to get the basics right to ensure you don’t post a film that damages your brand:
Often overlooked, audio is one of the most important aspects of any successful video. Poor audio will mean that your viewers will turn off quickly even if your content is interesting and insightful.
It might be fine to capture a holiday film using your camera’s internal microphone but this is not acceptable for any external corporate film. Using professional audio means your film sounds professional and crisp, making a significant difference.
Filming your video using a high quality camera doesn’t mean breaking the bank. Recent advances in camera technology means you can film your video on a DSLR such as Canon or Nikon models. Not only do these cameras film in high definition (HD) they also convey a very filmic appearance and, when paired with the right lenses, are extremely impressive in low light situations due to their large sensors.
Effective lighting creates a professional look to your film, and although you may not notice it, almost every professional interview or television show uses extensive lighting.
The point of adopting a basic lighting technique, such as a three-point lighting setup is to help your subject look less flat and gives the footage a three-dimensional appearance from a two-dimensional output image. It will also significantly enhance the appearance of your subject by using soft light sources.
Three-point lighting setups consist of Key, Fill and Back lights. The Key light is the main light used on your subject, the Fill light performs the role of filling in the shadows created by the key light, preventing them from becoming too dark and finally the backlight is used to separate the subject from the background. Of course you can use a more basic setup using a single light and a range of diffusers and reflectors and we’ll cover lighting in more detail in a separate Blog entry.
You should always use a tripod when you are filming static shots, for example interviews or presenter films. Tripods are inexpensive and will ensure your video appears professional and avoids common pitfalls of hand-held shots such as camera shake. If you decide to film on the move, then it’s worth considering a Steadicam or shoulder mount device, which will help stabilise your shots.
If you’re speaking in front of the camera, do so with passion, energy and enthusiasm – if you’re not excited about your product or service, how can you hope to inspire others to be passionate?
Relax and smile, as this will come across on your film and viewers will relate to you and form a degree of trust.
Opt for wearing solid colours if you’re on camera and avoid stripes, checks or neon colours where possible.
If you’re unsure of your lines, use an auto-cue. The auto-cue will give you the appearance of looking straight at the camera whilst delivering your lines rather than stumbling or feeling the pressure of having to remember all your lines. You can even get an auto-cue App for the iPad, which makes an inexpensive companion for your films.
After following the tips above, it is essential that you use the appropriate editing software to get the best from your footage. Software packages range in price from the more basic packages such as iMovie and Final Cut X to the more expensive and ancillary editing software such as Final Cut Pro, Cinema 4D, Motion and many more. Once you have your raw footage, don’t be afraid to ask a video company to do the editing on your behalf. You may find that the rate they charge for a day’s editing might be less than the amount for you to buy and learn the software.
There really is no reason for you to feel intimidated by filming your own videos. Just follow the basic principles and your video will get the desired results – good luck!