Follow these tips and produce great website videos to impress your visitors and put you way ahead of the competition. While it is important to focus on SEO, meta data, and other things to make your video seen online, it is just as important if not more so, to make sure that you create a good quality video in the first place.
With search engines beginning to rely on speech, image, voice, facial, and text recognition, it will become more and more important over time to ensure that your video itself is of good quality and is optimized.
1. Good Lighting. The main difference between amateur and professional videos is the quality of the lighting. With poor lighting comes graininess which results in poor quality video. In film and television studios, you must have seen them on TV, there is always an excess of lights and the cameras can be adjusted down to suit the amount of light. It is not so easy or successful to adjust the camera up when there is not enough light. This will lead to noise and graininess and a low quality video. For your home studio make use of fluorescent light bulbs. These bulbs have several advantages over tungsten and halogen lights, namely no heat output, low energy consumption and a nice soft light with not so harsh shadows. You can buy fluorescent light kits or you can save a lot of money and make your own fluorescent light box as we show you elsewhere in this web site. It is best to use a three point lighting system which is fairly standard in most studios and again we will show you how to do this elsewhere on the website.
2. Tripod. Use a tripod for shake free shooting. Tripods come in all sizes and quality but don't go overboard to start with. The camcorder that we use on this site is only small and weighs in at just over 500 grams (1.1lbs) so there is no need to buy a tripod to suit a heavy professional video camera.
3. Microphone. The built in microphone on your camcorder is not the best to use if you can avoid it. Typically the quality is not good enough and it has a wide pattern picking up lots of other noises, even the running camcorder noises. Don't scrimp on buying a microphone, buy a uni-directional one that preferably can be mounted on the shoe on top of your camcorder. Otherwise mount the microphone on a boom or support just out of view of the camcorder but close to the subject. Another option is to use a lavalier microphone, the sort that clips onto your lapel and as used by newsreaders on television. These are very effective and decent quality ones can be purchased for less than $50. No need to buy a wireless unit, but you need enough cable to run from the camcorder remote microphone, up the inside of your shirt and to your lapel. Bear in mind that you will normally be seated within two metres of the camcorder so the microphone should have plenty of cable.
4. Avoid Zooming and Panning. Another amateurish trait, avoid these actions as much as possible. If you are videoing yourself or a subject in the garden for instance and want to 'set the scene' for your viewers then by all means zoom out, pan a little if necessary and then return to the subject and continue with the recording. This should be as much zooming and panning that you need.
5. Pre Roll and Post Roll. This is the time from starting and stopping the camcorder and the actual start and finish of the action you want to record. This allows for better editing once the shooting is over. Not allowing for the pre and post roll can make editing difficult, resulting in amateurish videos. If you are filming yourself then start the camcorder recording with the remote control, wait six seconds before you start talking and at the end let the camcorder run on six seconds before stopping. This will give you plenty of time to play with when editing.
6. Remember It's A Small Screen. When shooting videos to add to your web site, normally the player will be 320 x 240 so avoid wide scenes, keep it close to see the detail. Typically you will be shooting close or very close shots. If you are filming yourself talking then you will be within two metres of the camera and shown from the waist up. Keep the content simple and uncomplicated, do not have much happening in the video and keep movement to a minimum. Watching action from a football game in a 320 x 240 player is not great. So keep it close, keep it simple and keep it quiet.
7. Think Like a Photographer. When shooting a video see it like a photographer taking individual shots. Compose your shoot, take a few seconds from one position. Stop the camera and reposition yourself then shoot again. Do not have too much camera movement in your video. Using these tips will ensure that you can shoot and produce quality website videos of a better quality than most people. As with many things in life, practice makes perfect and it will not be long before you are getting good results on the first take.
Walls writes about using video on your website to increase traffic. You can read this article and more at WebsiteVideoGuide
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