Last month I was shooting a cohort of entrepreneurs in Bangalore when some of them came up to me and asked me tips on how they could shoot better quality videos for their projects. They complained about not being able to get good sound and nice visuals on videos shot by their staff. The idea for this article stems from the conversation I had with them.
3 Tips For Shooting Good Quality Videos For Entrepreneurs
I. It’s Worthwhile Investing In Equipment
Most bootstrapped startups have very small teams and thus even creative activities like shooting a video get done internally. If you are one of them I suggest you invest one-time in equipment to produce videos. I am not talking about professional grade. Even serious amateur level equipment will also work. Below is a bare minimum level of equipment you need to make basic web quality videos.
One of the foremost pieces of equipment that comes to mind is camera. You can use your smart phone or a handycam. Most of them have inbuilt cameras which can shoot clean and crisp videos in HD format. You will need a tripod or monopod to hold the phone steady while shooting (Keeping your camera steady is crucial in getting good shots).
Getting good quality audio is supremely important for your final video. It is said that the viewer may not find glitches in your visuals but will instantly notice bad sound. I recommend one set of lapel mic and one shotgun microphone. You will get a variety of models to suit your budget on online marketplaces.
Inexpensive video LED lights (Checkout Digitek models) are a must for shooting at dark places. Lastly, a couple of memory cards (SD or CF cards) are essential for shooting uninterrupted video.
II. Understand Your Shooting Environment
Shooting a video is not merely panning the camera around. It needs understanding the situation and intricacies of the location where you are shooting and adapting accordingly.
Let’s say you are shooting in a school. A school is a noisy place and hence while conducting an interview in such an environment it is highly recommended to isolate the subject from the surroundings by finding a quieter spot or having her turn away from the source of dominant sound. If this is not possible isolating subject’s voice from the ambient sounds by using a unidirectional microphone like a shotgun can be immensely useful. A lapel mic (collar mic) proves to be highly effective in situations where the subject needs to continuously move to demonstrate something. Let’s say a supervisor showing you around a workshop while giving an interview.
One of the cardinal rules of shooting is ‘Always sufficient light on the subject’. Positioning your subject in her environment to face the light source and framing her correctly so that she does not have distractions in the background is a pre-requisite for shooting a good quality video. Locations which are dark need to be artificially lit up through lights. Formal interviews need your camera to be steady and hence the usage of tripod is a must.
It is a good practice to connect headphones to your camera and listen to audio while recording an interview. This will help you identify sharp or jarring high-pitched sounds that coincide with the audio. These sounds cannot be edited out and hence noticing them during the shoot will help you re-shoot if required.
Ideally, every shoot should have at least 2 of your staff members involved in making that video. While one actually shoots with the camera the other can ask questions to subjects during interviews and manage locational constraints.
Lastly, it is highly recommended to shoot your videos in HD if you want to use them for public viewing.
III. Juice Lies In Editing
You may shoot great footage but the real magic happens in the post production phase which is largely video editing. Editing determines the final flow of the story, the look & feel of the video and any other effects that enhance the experience of viewing your video.
A bootstrapped startup may not be able to afford a dedicated video editor. You can use services of freelancers on creative marketplaces like fiverr.com or behance.com. However if you are making videos quite regularly ( at least 3 times a month or regularly running crowdfunding campaigns) it is recommended to have an in-house video editor who has skills in leading editing programs like Adobe Premier Pro.
Bootstrapped startups may not have the resources or skills to produce broadcast quality videos. However by adhering to the 3 tips mentioned here, they can surely take effective steps in that direction.