Learning how to create great looking videos is a skill that will prove to be insanely useful during your life. Whether you’re creating videos for your business or just shooting a family video, there are a few simple tips that can help you produce videos that you will love to share with people.
I will cover 3 tips that should take you from shooting average videos to shooting beautiful videos, almost overnight. I will give you actions that you can take today and see results right away.
The following tips will also work with your mobile device, whether its an iPhone or an Android phone. You are most likely to be carrying your mobile device than your DSLR so it only makes sense to learn how to effectively shoot video on that. In fact, the iPhone is one of the most popular cameras that Flickr users are using to upload pictures to the site on a daily basis.
1. The Rule of Thirds & Proper Framing
The first tip is a technique called the Rule of Thirds, which is a quick way to make sure your image or video is setup correctly. You start by imagining an image or video broken down into three equal pieces (horizontally and vertically). You should be imagining a grid composed of 9 boxes of equal size.
This grid will allow you place your subject (person, object, etc) in a way that crates a “balanced shot” or basically a shot that is visually appealing to the human eye. In the above picture, you can see the subject (the tree) is placed on the far right vertical line. You always want to place your subjects on the vertical lines. Placing subjects on the vertical lines is a quick way to take balanced shots.
When you’re trying to film someone, you want to try to always keep them on one of the imaginary vertical lines. This can get tricky as the person moves but this will give you reference point to make sure that your final video is set up correctly.
Most camera apps on mobile devices include an option to turn on a grid which will allow you to easily take advantage of this tip.
2. Use a Microphone
Audio is sometimes ignored when talking about creating videos but bad audio can cripple otherwise great videos. The best thing you can do to get great audio is to use a microphone. A wireless microphone is a great option that won’t get in the way or won’t be annoying to hold.
By wearing a wireless microphone, you will be able to capture the voice of your subject and block any unnecessary background noise. Microphones can quickly go from cheap to extremely expensive but you probably don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars in microphones. Options such as the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 are a great way to get started with wireless microphones.
On mobile devices, you will have to get creative to get a good audio. There are options such as Olympus ME-52W but they still won’t work as perfect as wireless microphones. If you’re filming on your mobile device, avoid holding the phone by the microphone (typically found at the bottom of the phone). You would be surprised how many videos you can found online that have a never-ending scratching noise from people who are constantly rubbing against the microphone.
3. Great Lighting is the Final Piece
My last tip will be on lighting and how to use it properly. After audio, proper lighting can be the final thing that makes your videos appear professional and well done.
You basically want to remove any shadows that appear when filming your subject. Setup any lights you may have around 3 feet away from your subject. As an example, if you’re filming an interview, set up 2 lights in front of the subject and placed them in a 45 degree angle directed at your subject. The two lights will balance each other out, creating a nice even light over the subject.
Another common scenario is when you’re filming a subject against a flat wall. The two lights as described above will remove any shadows from your subject but they will create a shadow on the wall itself. You can quickly fix this by placing a light behind the subject, facing the wall.
Hopefully you can start implementing some of these tips today and start creating better looking videos. Also be sure to check out our article How to Shoot, Edit and Publish Online Video: 5 Free Resources to Get You Started for more useful tips. Or check out 5 Online Video Mistakes That Make You Look Like a Rookie.
What other quick tips do you have for creating great looking videos? Let me know in the comments.