Working from home has become much more acceptable in the age of digital communication, and has become a necessity for many as we are in a period of social distancing. But if you are somebody whose job typically involves putting in face time with clients, customers, or employees, working from home can feel extremely restrictive. Creating videos can be a great way to provide important messaging and strategy updates while still offering the familiar face-to-face feel youare used to.
Here are a few tips to ensure your videos will communicate your message clearly and effectively with a level of quality that will inspire confidence during these uncertain times.
Framing is a vital aspect of making any video. Fortunately, whether using your cellphone or a DSLR camera, most recording devices today already have a grid feature to help you get started.
First, if you plan on recording with a mobile device, you'll need to decide if you want to shoot in portrait or landscape mode. Portrait mode is great for videos that will be watched exclusively on mobile devices, but landscape is ideal for TV and desktop monitors. DSLR cameras work a little differently since the default mode is landscape for shooting video. Consider which platform your audience is most likely to use, and then be consistent in each subsequent video you produce from home.
Next, you will want to think about your background. It should be distraction-free and not overly busy, so your audience stays focused on you and your message. A simple, unadorned wall, empty room, or a bookshelf behind you will do the trick!
Finally, make sure you are centered on the screen, which is where the grid feature comes in handy. Activating the grid setting on your recording device divides your screen into six boxes. All you need to do is position yourself in the centre grid. If your camera doesn't have this feature, try to position yourself in the centre of the frame with the camera at or slightly below eye-level, and align your eyes one-third of the way down from the top of the frame.
Shaky handheld videos are the biggest giveaway of an amateur production. Whether filming with a mobile phone, tablet, webcam, or DSLR camera, try to ensure that your camera is steady.
To steady your camera, you can invest in a small tripod designed for your recording device. These are inexpensive, but if you are pressed for time - you can also place your device on a solid location such as a table, countertop, or windowsill. When using a phone to record, you can even use a piece of furniture, or lean it against a coffee mug if need be. Just about anything is better than having a shaky video when trying to make a good impression.
To help with consistency for future videos you might film, a good tip is to mark the spot where you placed your recording device or tripod.
Lighting is everything! Your lighting can make or break your video, which is why you need to be conscious of your background and lighting conditions before you begin filming.
Placing your camera in front of a window is a great way to leverage the beautiful, natural, and 100% free light source we all have available called the sun. If you don’t have access to natural light in your home or in the room where you are filming, placing a table lamp or reading lamp behind your camera can also do the trick.
In a pinch, you can also use your computer monitor as a light source by simply opening a blank white page and turning your brightness up. While you don't want your background to be too dark, make sure that the brightest source of light in the room is in front of you, so you don’t get lost in a blinding glow.
Having good audio is just as important as capturing good video. If you are going the extra mile and recording using an external microphone - always test your sound before you record! The last thing you want is to have recorded an entire video you love, only to find out your audio wasn’t working or was too low.
Before you start recording, you need to be conscious of any background noise that may obscure your spoken sound, such as whining fans, humming refrigerators, pets, nearby traffic, construction, etc. Take whatever steps you can to remove or reduce these sources of ambient noise.
Try to position your recording device or microphone no more than 3-4 feet away, and be sure to speak loudly and clearly, projecting your voice towards your recording device. By following these steps, you’ll be sure to sound just as good as you look!
5. Post-Production & Filters
While it can be tempting to use your camera’s built-in or app-based filters to soften up your features or add some creativity to your video, it's easy to go overboard. Remember, the goal is to make this look professional, so the best approach is to avoid filters, keeping the bells and whistles to a minimum, and focusing more on crafting a concise and effective message.
That said, a simple “auto adjustment” filter within your phone’s photo setting is probably adequate to balance out the colours and brightness. If you’re using a DSLR camera, you can set your focus, ISO, and white balance to “auto,” which should provide the same effect. If you are comfortable using iMovie or other external editing software, adding a lower-third title or additional text to emphasize specific points in the video can be a nice touch.
Also, consider adding subtitles to your video. These are a great idea if you are worried about your audio, and especially beneficial if you are planning to post your video on social media sites where viewers tend to scroll past if they can’t understand the message without sound. Adding subtitles can sometimes be a time-consuming task, but there are a few convenient online tools such as Rev.com, Camtasia, Filmora, and others that can do a good chunk of the work for you!
Spending even a few minutes in front of a camera causes major stress for most people and may cause you to sweat. That, coupled with naturally occurring skin oils and possibly a light source (such as a lamp) pointing at you, will make your face appear shiny on camera. This makes things uncomfortable for the person making the video and can be distracting for those watching it.
The best way to control this is by using makeup - particularly, translucent powder. Translucent powder is a colorless, sheer facial powder that is usually used to set makeup. However, even if you do not wear makeup, applying a bit of translucent powder on your face can go a long way in helping you control shine, reduce glare and give your complexion a matte finish. Aparichi TV and Pull My Focus have uploaded some very helpful tutorials of how you can incorporate makeup in your video-making process.
Videos are playing an increasingly important role in helping us weather the storms of social distancing and stay-at-home work in our business lives. Hopefully, these tips will help you hone your DIY video production skills and provide more professional, engaging, and persuasive results . For more tips and recommendations, like and follow Think2Grow on any of our social media platforms.
Please share any ideas or thoughts you may have on this topic and contact us if we can assist in any way. To get notified when new articles are published, please hit the button! Until then, stay safe and happy video making!
Travis Pulchinski, Creative Director, Think2Grow Marketing
A lifelong love of film and video has drawn Travis towards the production of digital multimedia, where he can engage with both the practical and theoretical aspects that contribute to the creation of unique and engaging audiovisual content.