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The Ultimate Guide to Shooting Your Own Video Content

Small Business Edition

So, you want to shoot a video, but you’re wondering ‘where do I even start?’ When shooting a video for your business–whether it’s for social media or just to add your personal voice to your website–there are a lot of things to take into consideration. What’s the video about? Who is my audience? Where will this video be posted? What kind of equipment and crew do I need?

We can answer that last one–NO, in most cases you don’t need a crew, and many of the smartphones we have today are perfectly well equipped tools to use not only for filming, but for editing as well.

Keeping it simple is a good way to go if this is your first step into shooting video. Here are Seven Steps that will help you hit the ground running.

Tidy Up

As a visual medium, video first needs to be pleasing to the eye. Ensure everything in your shot is clean and tidy–this includes the background. Crumbs, fingerprints, water rings or even a messy desk in the background are just a few things that can really distract the viewer.

Stage the Shot

Select the “star” of your video–is it a product or a person?  Either way, make this your central focus to build the rest of your shot around. Then, add any relevant props and small pops of color for visual interest. 

Lighting

One of the most crucial aspects of a good video is adequate lighting. Bad lighting is one thing that can easily make your video un-usable. Use natural lighting and minimize shadows when possible. We suggest utilizing a simple ring light–they even make mini ring lights that clip onto your smartphone!

Stabilize the shot

We strongly recommend investing in a smartphone tripod–a MUST for steady shots. Unnecessary camera movement is distracting and will take away from your content. No need for a large investment here, you can find a variety of smartphone tripods for around $20 each.

Frame the shot

After dozens and dozens of videos shot, one of the biggest lessons our team learned the hard way is the importance of framing your shot. Remember to leave space at top & bottom for text & logos to avoid having to re-shoot to fit critical elements of your video.

And always record more than you think you’ll need–it’s easier to trim excess video than re-shoot an entire new one!

Cuts

This is where things get fun. Use your creativity here and mix up your shots! A combination of close shots, wide shots and still images adds visual interest and helps with the pacing of your video. And don’t forget about your B-roll (secondary footage that visually supports the main focus in a film or video project.) Quick, 2-5 second panned shots of your building, warehouse, popular local landmark, customers or office staff are great and help with transitions and add depth to your video.

Audio

When ranking importance, right behind adequate lighting is audio quality. Excessive background noise or muffled audio can render a video unusable. Avoid background noise like fans, cars passing or conversations. If others are present, place signage notifying co-workers and staff there is a video shoot in progress.

On the other hand, let good audio shine! For example, if you are selling an ice maker–users want to hear the “clanking” of the ice when dispensed into a glass. Satisfying sounds that evoke emotion are always helpful with making the sale.

Putting it All Together

Now that we’ve covered the main areas of shooting a DIY video, let’s put it all together to see how the proper lighting, framing and audio create a clear, engaging video:

While this is a very basic package for any video shoot, there are other “essentials” that will take your video to the next level. Gimbals, sliders, bounce cards, light diffusion, support staff…the list goes on and on. However, with a good smartphone, camera, a tripod, good lighting and a  controlled set, you’ll be on track to shooting your own video with a professional look and feel in no time. If you feel like you still may need more guidance in this area, contact us! The Arnold Marketing Team would love to help guide you in the right direction.

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