Although I am not a fan of creating video content for myself, I recognize that we reside in a video-dominated era. And so, I make an effort to adapt! Nonetheless, the process can be arduous. Not only am I camera-shy, but I also find it somewhat daunting to consider the numerous factors involved in creating a video that meets acceptable standards of quality.
I’ve come a long way, though. I am constantly acquiring new knowledge on the topic, which has prompted me to share some of the video tips I have learned. Some of the suggestions you’ll read about here were recently given to me during a review of the videos we are recording for our website's services page. It's worth noting that most of these recommendations are intended for individuals utilizing their mobile devices to capture footage.
Top Tips for Producing High-Quality Videos
- Position your subject facing toward a source of light. Illumination originating from behind or the side of your subject can cause odd shadows and be unflattering.
- Avoid having light sources within the frame of your shot. This can cause unwanted reflections and glare that detract from the quality of your video.
- Consider using a ring light if you are in a poorly lit area. These lights are designed to provide even illumination and can be an excellent addition to your filming equipment collection.
- Minimize background noise as much as possible. Ambient noise can be distracting and detract from the clarity of your audio.
- Use a microphone for optimal sound quality. A good microphone can pick up clear audio and eliminate unwanted noise.
- Speak loudly and enunciate clearly so viewers can understand what you’re saying. This will ensure your message comes across loud and clear to your audience.
- Keep your background distraction-free. Choose a neutral or plain background to keep the focus on the subject.
- Clean your phone's camera lens before you start recording to produce clear and sharp footage.
- Use a tripod to keep the camera steady and minimize shaky footage.
- Orient your camera based on the social media platform where you intend to share your video. For instance, YouTube and most social media feeds require landscape style, while content for Instagram Reels or Stories should be filmed in portrait style.
- Maintain a short distance between the subject and the camera, filling most of the frame. Shots that are too far away can be distracting and difficult to follow.
- Look directly at the camera lens while speaking so your audience feels you are addressing them personally. With the camera grid enabled, your eyes should land on the top horizontal line (see image below).
- If you are using a script, try to memorize it before recording. This will help you deliver your message more effectively and minimize errors.
- Record shorter clips that you can combine to create your final video. This will make the editing process easier and your video more engaging.
- Choose a side to film from and position your camera lens on the opposite side. For longer videos, try using different angles to add variety.
- Incorporate screen captures or examples where possible. If using a desktop computer, use the shortcut Windows + Alt + R to record your screen.
- Consider filming yourself doing routine tasks, such as applying makeup or making coffee. Your viewers will appreciate that added visual interest while listening to you.
- Before speaking, take a deep breath and look directly at the camera lens. When you finish recording, pause briefly before ending to avoid shifting your gaze downwards in the final video.
- Add subtitles to make your video more accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Doing so will also be helpful for those viewing your video without sound (e.g., if they are in a public place and don’t want to disturb others).
- Create jump cuts by editing out dead space or pauses in your video. This technique maintains the viewer's attention and helps to prevent boredom.
- Incorporate stock photos or videos to help break up longer videos or parts of your footage that are less interesting. This keeps your audience engaged and makes your video more visually appealing.
- If you’re going to use music, make sure it is copyright-free. You can easily find such music online or on YouTube. If you prefer not to use music, consider recording a "room tone," a three-minute audio recording of the ambient background noise in the recording location. A room tone can blend with other audio elements in post-production to create a cohesive listening experience.
- In video editing software, such as Premiere, the Gaussian blur effect can be used to fill the space around footage with a different aspect ratio than your sequence, so there are no distracting black bars. This technique can create a more polished and professional look for your video. (See example below.)
The process of creating video content can be challenging, but quality matters. Pay attention to lighting, audio, recording, and editing so your videos turn out clear, focused, and polished. With practice, you'll become more comfortable and confident in front of the camera, and your videos will become more effective at delivering your message and entertaining your audience.