Next to having an in person conversation, video is one of the greatest and most effective forms of communication available today.
But video is only effective if somebody actually watches it. Which is why on todays episode we’re talking about 5 of my best tips that I’ve learned after years of being in front of the camera and thousands of hours filmed on how to make way better videos.
Whether you’re shooting for fun, for family, or for business, we all want to create better videos.
Fortunately, there are some proven strategies you can follow to instantly make better videos. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you all the benefits of having better videos so let’s just dive right into the meat and potatoes of today’s lesson with tip #1
Tip #1: Audio
This may come as a bit of a surprise, but when it comes to video the most important part of the video is actually the audio.
That’s right, the image quality comes second.
So what can you do to instantly improve the quality of your audio? For starters, make sure you’re using a dedicated audio channel. This usually means recording into something other than directly to your camera.
You also want to make sure you’re using a decent enough microphone. It’s amazing how far these things have come in the last few years and you don’t need to go crazy and buy a pro model but a decent mic is still going to cost around a hundred bucks. But it’s worth every penny.
So when given the choice between upgrading your lens or upgrading your microphone, you may want to make sure your mic is upgraded first.
Also keep in mind where and when you’re recording. If it’s a big empty room just like this then things are going to sound hollow and echoey.
Same thing goes if you’re filming outside, or even if you’re filming indoors and there is a lot of traffic out your window. The time of day can also affect what sounds are coming through.
But a good workaround for this if you just can’t find a quiet place to film is to make sure you’re using a unidirectional microphone that will only pick up sounds right in front of it, or a lavalier microphone which is great at only picking up the speakers voice.
Tip #2: Lighting
Alright we’re on to Tip #2, Lighting.
If having good audio is the most important thing, good lighting is a close second. Fortunately this one’s pretty easy. Just make sure your subject or whatever it is you’re trying to film is well lit.
If it’s too dark the video is going to come out grainy and be hard to color correct.
There are some workarounds of course like buying a more expensive low light lens or… you could take the budget approach and use natural or artificial lighting.
Artificial lights are great because they allow you to control the lighting to whatever level you feel looks best. You can also move them around, adjust the angles, even the color of them with the use of things like gels.
But when it comes to the quality of light, natural light is hard to beat. So if you can film near a window, or outdoors the light is going to look more natural, and it’s free.
A quick note, if you’re filming outdoors and the sun is out in full force you may need an ND filter for your lens to prevent too much light from getting in. Think of an ND filter as sunglasses for your lens.
Tip #3: Script
And this brings us to Tip #3, the script.
Whether you want to script out each and every single word, frame, and sequence is entirely up to you, but at the very least you need to have a plan.
Both to keep things on track and flowing in a smooth and understandable direction, but also to significantly cut down on editing time later.
After all, if your plan is to just hit record and start rambling on and on stream of consciousness style it’s going to be hard to sort through the noise to get to the point you were actually hoping to make.
Now depending on whether you’re making YouTube videos, an online video ad, or a full length feature film, the script is going to obviously vary.
But if we’re talking about say a YouTube video or an online video ad the script can actually be pretty simple and still be effective at keeping things on track.
Free Script: adamerhart.com/videoadtemplate
Start with an intro, pick 3-5 or so main talking points, wrap it all up with a conclusion. And you’re good to go.
Tip #4: Location
Tip #4 is to remember that the location, backdrop, or setting your shooting in is almost like a character in your video.
It has a personality and conveys a mood, and can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. The obvious example here would be a fitness trainer filming in a gym, a holistic nutritionist filming somewhere outdoors, or a doctor filming in a medical clinic or office.
The setting tells some of the story and helps to immediately let people know that they’re in the right place. It’s also good for brand recognition as over time your backdrop or setting can become one of the things you’re recognized for.
This backdrop for example has become a pillar on the Modern Marketing Show, especially the Streaking Prohibited sign. (Seriously, it’s prohibited)
So make sure to pick the right setting for your next shoot, and script it in.
Tip #5: Extras
And lastly we get to Tip #5, the extras. These are the little things that make a big difference in dressing up your video and taking it from amateur to professional.
One way to do this is with music.
Music is a powerful way to set the overall emotional tone of a video. If it’s upbeat, play something upbeat. If it’s serious, play something serious. Just make sure the music matches the tone and style of the message or you’ll confuse your viewer and lose whatever impact you were hoping to have.
Sound effects are another easy way to keep people engaged and add a little more punch to your message. Not only are they kind of fun, but they also re-engage people by acting as a pattern interrupt.
Graphics are good to in order to provide a visual que that matches the words you’re using. It makes a big impact when someone can both see and hear the words you’re saying. You can combine sound effects with your graphics for an even bigger impact.
Just don’t go overboard, unless that’s your style.
Lastly, we have B-Roll, which is nothing more than some supplemental or alternative footage, other than your main shot. B-Roll is a great way to help tell the story, keep people engaged, and can also be useful to cover up a part of the main shot that didn’t go so well.
The key with B-Roll is to keep it relevant to the shot and use it to add to the story, not take away from it.
Let’s Wrap It Up!
Alright so there you have it, 5 ways to instantly make way better videos. Audio, Lighting, Script, Location, and of course, the Extras. So let me know which one you’re going to use in your videos next.