How do your online videos reflect on your business? Do they convey a successful, organized, savvy business that produces quality work? Or are they clips of questionable quality that do little to inspire confidence in your brand? Video technology has become so accessible in recent years that not only is it possible to produce impressive looking content yourself, doing so is actually easier and more affordable than you might think.
Whether you’re producing video content in-house on a regular basis, or you’ve been outsourcing but want to give the DIY approach a shot, here are six ways to ensure you’re getting the best results possible.
1. The Right Space
Find a room – whether it is a spare office, conference room, basement, attic, or even a walk-in closet – where you can set up shop and record video without interruption or outside noise. You should be able to turn off any AC, close the door, and leave your equipment set up permanently so you can head in anytime inspiration strikes and get to work. If appropriate, set up a podium or small table so that you can easily shoot close-ups of your product. A nice uncluttered, pastel background works best. Many companies include an image of their logo on the wall behind the subject.
2. The Right Camera
The camera is important, but does not necessarily have to set you back thousands of dollars. Video technology has become so accessible nowadays that you may be impressed with the results you get from an inexpensive camera like the KodakZi8 Pocket camera. If you have a little more budget, consider a name brand HD camcorder from a company like Canon, Panasonic or Sony. There are many good choices between $500 to $700. The features that you need are an external microphone jack, optical zoom, and image stabilization.
The best thing to do is to rent a few cameras at a local shop first and see what you feel most comfortable working with. Be sure to buy a video tripod that adequately supports the camcorder.
3. The Right Lighting
A basic 3 point lighting setup can go a long way in giving your videos a professional appearance. A 3 point lighting system consists of:
Key Light: This is the most important and strongest light. It will shine on your subject, slightly from the left or right.
Fill Light: This is a second, softer light shining on the opposite side of subject. It eliminates any harsh, unnatural shadows resulting from the key light.
Back Light: Lights up your subject from behind. This helps keep the subject from blending into the background.
The more light you can throw on your subject, the better and sharper your video will be.
4. The Right Microphone
Talk to any pro about DIY video, and the only piece of consistent advice you’ll hear is to get a good mic. The sun can fill in for a 3 point light setup, and your iPhone may even be an acceptable camera in some situations, but good audio is non-negotiable.
You can go the handheld route if you don’t mind having it in the shot and the speaker is staying mostly stationary. A shotgun mic will deliver great audio, but you do need a second person on hand to hold it up during recording. A lavalier, or lapel, microphone’s near invisiblity will give your videos a more natural feel, although good lav mics do tend to be a bit more expensive than your other options.
Also pick up a set of headphones that can plug into your camcorder so that you can monitor the audio quality while you are recording.
5. The Right Software
You don’t need to agonize over getting one perfect take as long as you have at least some basic video editing software at your disposal. Get a simple to master video editing program. Apple’s iMovie is just $15, and Adobe Premiere Elements is under $100. Keep your editing simple. You don’t need a lot of fancy transitions and effects. Superimposed text that reinforces your video’s message and explains technical details can be very useful.
6. The Right Hosting
After spending so much time and effort producing and editing your videos, be sure to get the most out of them online. If you’ve created a video with true mass appeal with the intention of building brand awareness, you stand to benefit from the large built-in audience found on YouTube. But if you’ve created explainer videos, product videos, tutorials, or training videos that you intend to embed on your own site, you could benefit from tools that help you control, customize, market, and secure that video content. A premium video hosting service like vzaar.com (http://vzaar.com) is a worthwhile investment if you need an online video player that complements your brand, improves your site’s SEO, builds engagement, and increases conversions.