Making professional-looking videos is a lot easier than you may think. Here are ten tips for making videos that will help you take your content to the next level.
Plan your videos
Your creation process will be a lot easier if you make a clear plan before you start filming. Creating a rough storyboard and some goals can help you achieve great video quality and consistency between shots.
Many viewers will lose interest if a video becomes too rambly, so try to make your videos structured and to the point.
Film in 4K
Most cameras and smartphones today are capable of filming in 4K. The benefit of shooting in 4K and editing as a 1080p video is that it allows you to zoom in without losing pixels in post-production. While 4K videos are slower to edit, it’s well worth the wait for its impeccable quality.
Use the back camera (If using a smartphone)
When using a smartphone it is important to always use the cameras on the back of the device, not the front-facing camera. This is because they have higher megapixels which means better overall quality when shooting.
Avoid Shaky Footage
Shaky footage can make an otherwise great video look amateurish. If you have one lying around, try using a tripod or gimbal to help stabilise your camera. Maintaining a steady frame is very pleasing to the eyes and helps the viewer understand what’s going on within the scene.
If you are unable to maintain a steady shot, video stabilisation software is available to help fix your film.
Lighting is key
Just like photography, lighting is an important factor when it comes to great-looking videos. Lighting can make or break a video so it’s important that lighting is nice and even between shots. When filming outside, it is always best to shoot during the morning or evening when the sunlight is at its softest. Having harsh light can work in some cases if you’re trying to achieve a dramatic look.
Using indoor lighting requires a lot more planning. Knowing where to place your lighting equipment can make all the difference between a flattering image and an unflattering one. Experiment with the equipment you have. Using two light sources on either side of your subject usually creates the perfect balance, making the scene well lit and the subject in focus. To create a more dramatic appearance try using shadows to your advantage. Keep moving lights to see what works for you.
This one is easy to forget but always make sure your background is clean and simple, unless you are going for a certain shabby chic look. Having a messy backdrop can compromise a professional-looking shot so it’s always best to film with a solid coloured wall or in a minimalistic environment. This will help make the subject stand out.
Rule of Thirds
This is something that all filmmakers should know. Understanding the rule of thirds can help you compose structured and interesting shots. With this technique, you mentally break up the image into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. This will give you a 9 section grid.
The idea is to place all points of interest within the 9 intersections of the grid. If you wish to learn more about this technique, please click here for more information.
Don’t film in portrait mode
If you’re using a smartphone to record a video, you might be compelled to film in portrait mode (vertically). After all, smartphones are designed to be held upright. This is fine for most social media platforms but for TVs and desktops, not so much.
TVs, like our eyes, are aligned horizontally, so displaying a portrait video on a horizontal TV is visually unappealing. This is because portrait videos are unable to fill up the whole TV screen, leaving unsightly black borders in the space. You want to make sure your video looks good on a variety of devices, not just phones. Not only does filming in landscape (horizontally) get rid of black borders but it also shows more of the environment within your frame. This also makes it a lot easier to include more than one person in the film.
Shoot from a variety of angles
Shooting in different angles is a great way to seamlessly transition from one shot to the next without the need for panning or zooming. Having one camera positioned on a person’s face and another on their hands adds a lot more context to the scene and is visually more exciting to watch. This same method can be applied to how-to videos, product demos and more.
Choose a Good Video Editing software
Once you have all the raw footage you need to create your video, you will now need to splice it all together. There’s a lot of video editing software to choose from. You can try free editing software such as iMovie, Movie Maker and Openshot that are more than capable of transforming your cuts into a full-fledged video. If you’re willing to invest in software, Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro are good options.
And that’s a wrap!
Making a professional video takes time and practice but it isn’t rocket science. By taking on board just some of these tips for making videos, you can improve your filmmaking skills drastically.
Experiment and have fun with it. Have you found another method that works for you? Let us know in the comments section below!