Whether you are going to pick up a camera yourself or put the camera in someone else’s hands, professional or amateur, here are some tips to help you keep your message front and center.
- Narrow your focus. Don’t talk about all of your services in one video; create many videos that each demonstrates one service. More choices = more inviting.
- Have a plan! Try your best to script and map out everything. To get a more natural performance in a longer video, I suggest using discussion points instead of cue cards that have the whole script written out word for word. Shorter projects should be memorized whenever possible because it’s both obvious and distracting when someone is reading directly off cue cards.
- Schedule extra time! You’ll be surprised at how quickly time flies, if you have plenty you won’t have to worry about how many takes… it takes. You may even be able to accommodate new ideas that strike you in the moment. The less rushed, the more natural the performance and the more you have to repeat lines, the more comfortable they’ll be read.
- Do a trial run! Television shows often shoot pilot episodes, you should too. This will reveal obstacles and give you a good idea of how much time and resources your project will actually take. You may find yourself scaling back or gearing up to ensure success!
- Keep it simple! Keep the area that will be on camera clutter free, well lit and reasonably quiet if possible. Be sure that everything shown on camera actually needs to be there. Conditions will vary greatly from project to project but think about this… Lighting can take a project from good to great, clutter can kill your message and background sounds can be added later, where adding dialog later may be much more difficult.
- Shoot tight. Make sure everything you’re showing and demonstrating is clearly visible. If you’re showing me how to roll sushi, tighten in on the working area… in this scenario, if your face is on camera the shot is probably too wide for me to really see the demonstration. Web videos are often small when viewed and because the quality is fairly low you need to make sure viewers can see what you’re showing.
- Virtually every video camera has an input for headphones. Get an inexpensive pair of “over the ear” headphones. Make sure the videographer is wearing the headphones during the shoot. This is the best way to identify audio problems allowing you to reshoot if need be.
- Keep segments short! Break up videos into multiple parts making sure individual segments can “stand alone” then also upload the entire video as a single clip (if possible), this will give the user the choice that works best for them. Clearly mark each video with details such as “Large file” or “Part 1, length 3 minutes” so viewers know exactly what to expect.
- If there is editing involved, keep transitions and other effects to a minimum. A good transition is one you don’t notice.
- If someone else shoots the video for you, professional or amateur, make sure you will receive all of the footage. Be sure to include this requirement in your upfront negotiations. There may come a time when you need that footage, you could be in a bind if videographer is unavailable.
Remember, video projects can be as complicated as you make them. If you focus on keeping your message clear and concise, you should have a winner every time. This is in no way meant to be a comprehensive list, just general tips on producing better “how to” videos for the web for folks who have little or no experience putting together projects like these. Please share this article by clicking the + button below my name.