Everyone is a content producer in 2020, especially videos. Do you know that 300 hours of video content is uploaded to Youtube every minute? And the number of people who consume videos is also ever increasing, right now at a whopping 85 percent of the 7 billion internet users in the world.
Making and editing a video has already become an essential skill in people’s resume after Word, Excel and Photoshop. But if you are a beginner in making videos, you’d have wondered how to make my video look neat and professional like some of the popular videos we watch online. I did too!
In the beginning of my journey as a professional video producer, I realized fixing some of the simplest mistakes we all tend to make increases the quality of our videos and make them look professional.
Most of us will eventually learn how to fix the mistakes and correct them in an year or two. But let me make it easier for you. Let me share 10 simple steps using which we can instantly improve the videos we create (without having to spend a penny on expensive video equipment).
1. Get the Headroom right
Headroom is the space between the top of your head to where the video frame ends.
If the headroom too much or too little it will distract the user and take their attention away to another video or another tab in their browser. Because it doesn’t feel right for the audience. Humans are visual creatures (that’s why we watch so many videos than reading!). We are always clued in to these simple compositional mistakes. Even if people don’t realize what the mistake is, they tend to feel weird or just simply categorize the video as amateurish.
Imagine if this was a business video you could lose sales or drive away potential customers just because you got the headroom wrong. If you have a YouTube Channel, it means you are reducing your video’s watchtime and driving away your subscribers.
But how to figure out what is the right headroom? Let me tell you simple trick!
The distance between your forehead to hairline is just about the right Headroom.
2. Remove the Distractions
Remove the distracting objects in background.
No need to explain this, I guess. The image speaks for itself.
3. Increase the Contrast
Without contrast you cannot stand out. Remember that the contrast between the subject and background is important. Because it creates a visual separation from the background, makes the subject stand out and brings all the attention on the subject. Make sure the subject is well lit compared to the background.
4. Light the Face. Particularly make the white of your eyes visible.
Eyes are the center of attention of a face. The face and the eyes are where the emphasis should be. Not the background, not the body of the subject. The face should be lit properly and the whites of the eyes should be made prominent with the lighting.
Professionals use big lights to achieve the same. But we can at least open the windows or use a thermocol or a white board to reflect some light on our faces. For talking head videos, the lighting improves the production quality instantly.
5. Steady Camera
Shaky video distracts and annoys a viewer. Simply put your camera on a desk or a stack of books, to have a steady video.
If there is room for a little budget, buy a Tripod or at least a Gorilla Pod. See it as an investment.
6. Camera at Eye Height
Most of the talking head videos require the camera to be at an eye-level height. Camera at other heights are distracting. The lenses on our cameras may make us look distorted when we place the camera above or below the eye-level of the subject – make us too small or too big.
Having your camera at eye-level also creates an intimate feeling with person in the video. This is how we create a connection between our viewers and our subjects.
7. Shoot like you are editing
“A goal without a plan is just a wish”.
Plan your shots well before the shoot. Have the complete script in hand or at least a script sheet with list of things to shoot.
Video shoots can be hectic and tend to get very chaotic. We get lost in one moment or another and lose track of the objectivity. If we are not prepared with script or a shot list, we might even miss shooting some important parts of the video. We’ll feel like want to punch ourselves when we are in the editing table and one vital shot is missing because we forgot to shoot it!
Planning and getting organized before your shoot will reduce a lot of pressure and anxiety during your shoot. That will help you to actually focus all your energy on the video and the content, which will in turn increase the quality of your video.
8. Make the shots dynamic
Show the key portions and move on. Don’t ramble or don’t cut all the onions.
As an internet user yourself you know how much patience an average viewer has. So make and edit your video accordingly. Convey your message precisely and clearly. Of course, you can all creative and attention-grabbing, but not at the cost of brevity.
9. NO ZERO budget in Audio
Audio is more important than Lights and Camera. Invest a little and get a lapel mic. Do not use your in-camera mic or phone mic, that’s a recipe for disaster.
Use in-equipment audio, only if you want your audience to click away from your video.
10. Be prepared for contingencies, but always keep calm
Murphy’s Law applies to video production as well.
Anything that can go wrong will go wrong, like bad mood of you or your collaborators, power cuts, low battery, forgetting to press Record, Mic not working and hundred other things might act against you.
- Always keep smiling and stay positive whether you stand before or behind the camera. Nothing like a calm smile that eases the tensions or pressures of a shoot, for everyone involved (yourself included!).
- Make sure you check & review the audio and video of each one of your shots right away. If there is any problem, you can always shoot it again right away.
- Don’t get your ego get in the way ever! Remember that the output of the video you are making is more important than anyone in the set. Always be polite, but don’t hesitate to ask for what you want for your video.
Like I said in the beginning, very simple mistakes and even simpler fixes!
Just make a note of these steps and apply these fixes in your next video wherever applicable, and see the difference in quality of your output for yourself!
It doesn’t matter where you are today if you are willing to learn and improvise every single day, you’ll definitely get good at what you are doing. Especially with video production, there is always something to learn in the simplest of the details, with every new video we make.
Thank you for reading. Begin your video production journey confidently, armed with a smile and some sincerity. The rest of the learning will follow 🙂