Producing Better Web Videos


If you are really serious about marketing your business, you can no longer ignore the world of video production.  Look around YouTube for a while and you will notice that almost every major company has videos posted.  

You will probably also notice that there are some very professional looking videos being posted.  Not too long ago, you could get away with grainy visuals and muddled sounds for your YouTube clip, but today even the average phone camera can make a good looking video.  Because of this, most viewers have higher expectations, but if you didn't go to film school, how do you pull off a professional quality video?

There is a lot of software out there that can make your mini-movie look polished.  But unless you pay attention to the basics of film making, all the computers in the world will make your business look good. 

Here are five basic points to consider before you point your camera.

1) Orientation

What happens when you shoot your video in the wrong orientation?  You end up having big black bars along the sides.  This is because by shooting vertically instead of horizontally, you limit the amount you can fit into your shot and create a horrible visual effect. Neither is this a mistake that you can correct in your software.  So, point your camera the right direction.

2) Lights, Action, Camera

Poor lighting can ruin the best of productions, which makes it one of the most important aspects of your video. Start with using as much natural light as possible, which makes outdoor shooting ideal. If that is not possible and you have to shoot inside, halogen lamps are the next best thing. You need to keep all your people and products well lit throughout the video to avoid awkward shadows that might obscure the shot.

3) Choose Your Spokesperson Carefully

You have seen those television commercials with the CEO of a corporation or local commercials made by the owners.  Some are very professional and some you just have to laugh at.  While that may work on your home flatscreen, it doesn't usually translate well online.

Web videos are short, so find someone in your company that is absolutely enthusiastic about your product or service.  They will grab people's short attention spans a lot better than choosing someone based on their position in the company.

Although they should also be well spoken and professional, the best test is to turn the sound off and watch the video.  Are they still interesting to watch?  Or what if they were speaking in a language you didn't understand?  Would their enthusiasm still carry across?

Take a look at Slava Ilyayev's 'In The Artist's Studio' is a demonstration of how star quality can cross the language barrier. The artist, speaking Russian, is the focal point, regardless of language.

4) Don't 'Wing' Your Video

A professional video may look conversational, but still should be scripted. It should contain the particular key product and sales terms your company uses sprinkled throughout the video. You should also script the movements of all the people you are going to be in the video.  That way you can properly set up the camera angles and backdrops you plan to use.

You should frame your subject matter taking into account of where heads and shoulders will appear,  considering the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds divides the screen into quadrants via 2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines. The idea is that you would want to frame vertical subject matter, a person sitting upright for example, in the right or left third of the shot, not directly in the center. Horizontal subject matter, say someone in the distance on the horizon you would position in the lower or upper third of the shot.  You will find this principle in any study of photography. 

5) Timing is Everything

Good Web videos are brief. You should keep your videos between 30 seconds and three minutes, depending on the purpose of the clip. You can use longer videos in the  how-to genres - videos that teach the viewer something - than in generic brand videos. Remember that if your content is enjoyable, it's better to have the audience begging for more than lose them by dragging on endlessly.

Video content has proven to keep an audiences attention longer than text or pictures alone. So, you need to learn how to format it correctly and consider how it will be shared on social media or its chances of getting website visitors to act. Study your script well and realize it may take a few takes before it looks like it just came naturally.