Shooting great videos for your business is no longer prohibitively expensive. With a smartphone and less than $50 in equipment, you can be adding great videos to your marketing content. In this blog we are going to share with you:
- Top 10 tips to help you avoid the most common mistakes, and shoot good quality video from the outset.
- A list of equipment to get you started for under USD$50
Select Your Video Shoot Location
The biggest decision is indoors vs. outdoors. In either case, you will face the same challenges of choosing an appropriate background, getting adequate light, making sure there is minimal ambient noise, and avoiding interruptions.
Here are the pros and cons of both options:
Choosing a Background
For indoor shoots: try a blank neutral wall or consciously select a background such as a bookshelf or a picture. My personal preference is a blank wall behind me and, for seated poses, a clean desk with carefully selected props.
For outdoor shots: trees and other neutral backgrounds can work well.
Do check the background and foreground to make sure there is nothing personal, inappropriate, or distracting within the viewfinder.
Using natural light where possible is typically the best approach.
- Do NOT have a window with bright light behind you. This will either cause your face to appear dark or the background to be very bright—depending on how you adjust the camera settings.
- DO have a window in front of you, ideally allowing natural light to illuminate your face.
- Avoid a single-point source of light as is tends to cast shadows.
- Do NOT shoot video in harsh/bright light. Early morning and evening, or overcast days are best for outdoor shots.
- These challenges can be overcome with special lighting equipment but why make life hard? Simply pick a decent location and time of day to shoot your video!
Sound is by far and away the most important aspect of your video—make sure you invest some time and money to get this part right. The addition of an external microphone will transform your final product.
- For outdoor videos or standing pose videos, a clip-on microphone works well. These are called lavalier microphones (also known as a lav, lapel mic, clip mic, body mic, collar mic, neck mic or personal mic) and should be placed close to the voice box for best results.
- Unidirectional microphones have the benefit of targeting sound from one location, which helps to filter out background noise.
- For indoor seated videos, the same lavalier microphone can work well or you may choose to upgrade further to a desktop microphone.
Do a soundcheck! Test your sound by shooting a short soundcheck video and play it back to make sure your microphone working properly before you shoot your main event.
What to Wear
Choose something that is in line with your brand—whether it is casual or formal. If you are going for a more formal look, make sure your clothes are well pressed and wrinkle-free.
- Solid colors typically work better—avoid busy patterns or narrow stripes.
- Blues, grays, magenta, pastels, and browns work well—chose colors that work with your skin tone. Avoid bright whites and reds.
- Shoot with your phone in landscape (phone turned sideways)—your final output will automatically be ready for use with most social media and hosting platforms.
- Shoot in the highest definition possible—HD or 4K. You can always downgrade the video later if you need to reduce file sizes.
No one likes shaky videos (unless you are going for a Blair Witch Project look) so use a tripod to stabilize your camera/phone. If you do need to move around, there are a number of hand-held devices that can help stabilize the camera.
Keep Video Editing to a Minimum
For most videos in this category, you should be thinking in terms of 60 – 90 seconds or less. Keep it short, punchy, and get to the point. Start with a script, or some bullet points, but try not to read directly from the script—be fluid and inject some of your own personality. If you mess up no problem, just start over.
If you can get your video a single take there will be minimal editing required. However, it’s useful to know that trimming the beginning and end of the video is quite simple, so start and end with a smile, looking directly into the camera and plan to trim a few seconds on either end.
If you want to get fancy you can use software like Final Cut Pro (see 90-day free trial) to stitch video clips and images together, add sound, add a logo, and all kinds of other enhancements. But be aware there is a significant learning curve to using the software whereas a simple trim can be done on almost any computer using free software, for example, QuickTime on a Mac.
There are plenty of options for equipment. You can take the time to research the best one(s) for your purposes. Or, if you just want to invest a small amount of money and get started, here are our recommendations.
SoLID (TM) Lavalier Lapel Microphone 2-Pack
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Why we like it
It comes with 2 microphones so you can have 2 people recording in the same video. It has extension cords. It is NOT wireless (fewer things to go wrong).
It has the universal 3.5mm plug so if you have a newer iPhone you will need an adapter.
Microphone Adaptors for iPhone
Apple Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter
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Why We Like It
You have to have one to make the microphone work with a newer iPhone. They are not expensive (USD$8) so go for the Apple original.
Aureday Portable Tripod
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Why we like it
It can be set at varying heights. It comes with a universal phone holder (check the sizes for your phone before you buy). Doubles as a selfie-stick. Comes with an auto-shoot remote.
It is 18” tall in its smallest configuration. So if you want something smaller, consider the:
UBeesize Tripod S
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Shooting Video with Your Phone—Top 10 Tips Checklist
- Shoot video in landscape (turn the phone sideways)
- Use a microphone
- Use a tripod
- Make sure the primary source of light is coming from behind the camera
- Shoot using high resolution
- Check your surroundings to make sure there’s nothing unwanted in the viewfinder
- Background noise
- Very bright light
- Busy patterns and stripy clothing
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Simon Turner is co-founder of Ocean 5 Strategies, providing continuous improvement of sales and marketing performance. The company implements programs built on proven strategies that deliver results and has a track record of helping customers grow their businesses.
You can connect with Simon on LinkedIn. Or send a message below.