Anyone who has ever watched a YouTube video and sent around the link to friends knows how effective a video can be. A video catches attention and gets people talking — especially a video that is well written and produced.
After two years in broadcast news, I began to see the value of video, and what an amazing tool it can be for storytelling. It can be an incredible tool for your business, too. Video allows you to not only share your story, but show your customers how it translates to them; it brings your story to life in an engaging way that is less likely to get overlooked or quickly skimmed.
If you’ve never made a video for your business, you might not be sure where to start. Here’s a few different kinds of videos you can make:
- A short web promo that’s a general overview of your business and what you offer
- A short promotion that explains how a product is used
- A collection of customer testimonials
- An overview of your value proposition, for internal or external use
- A message from your president or founder (this could be a thank you or an appeal to customers)
As a freelance videographer and documentarian, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t when it comes to producing videos yourself. Here’s a few tips for those of you who might want to create some short videos in-house, but don’t have much video experience:
- Invest in a good consumer camera. You don’t have to buy a pro’s camera that costs $3,000+ to make a decent video, but you do need something better than an iPhone. I recommend the Canon HF G10, which is a smaller but full HD camera that I use. Canon also has several cameras in a lower price point that don’t have quite as many advanced features as the HF G10, and those are also a good option for newbies. The cameras all have touch screen menus that are simple to operate if you take time to read the manual.
- Invest in a tripod. Some people think they won’t need the tripod. Wrong. You will need it if you want your video to look professional and polished.
- Learn your computer’s free editing system with online tutorials. All Macs come with iMovie, which is a great, free video editor. Windows computers also have a free editor available. There are plenty of tutorials for these programs online, and it’s worth taking the time to search and watch. The Mac store also offers tutorials with their experts.
- When shooting videos, follow the Rule of Thirds. When you’re watching the news, do you notice that interviewees are never centered in the frame, only the reporters are? When you’re interviewing someone, the interviewee should never be looking directly at the camera, but at the interviewer. If you are standing to the left of the camera, the interviewee should be on the right third of the frame, forming a diagonal line from their eyes to yours. If you are standing to the right, the interviewee should be in the left third of the frame.
- Always, always, have good lighting. Don’t use a big window as your background — the background will be brighter than your subject, and that’s distracting. Also, don’t shoot in a dark room. Move lights around in your office if you have to in order to get the best look.
- Check your audio. There’s no point in shooting a video if you can’t hear or understand what anyone is saying. Audio recorded on a camera can sometimes be of poor quality, and it’s better to have a microphone. If you can’t invest in a good microphone to plug into your camera (or don’t have the patience to use a separate digital recorder and sync the audio later in editing), then make sure you are shooting in a quiet room. Even the sound of a heater or an air conditioner can cause audio to sound grainy or noisy.
These are just some simple steps you can take to make short videos on your own. Videos have many components, and you certainly have every right to feel overwhelmed by the process. But the more you practice at shooting and editing, the better you get. And one last tip: If you’re the subject of your video and you want to avoid too much editing, memorize what you’re going to say. The fewer cuts you have to make, the easier it will be to edit.
Feel free to ask me any questions you have about shooting or editing video!