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Essential Video Tips for Beginners

Whether you’re building your company’s digital brand or just want to learn more about video production, here is a breakdown of the three main steps of the video process and some easy but essential video tips for beginners. If you’re in digital marketing, you already know that video is the king of content right now, and that doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon. If you’re not in marketing, think about what you see and consume on social media. TikTok is the “tok” of the town with 1 billion monthly users, Instagram reels leave you reeling with an average reach rate of over 20%, YouTube shorts… Well, we’ve run out of puns, but you get the idea. It’s all about the video. Keep reading to learn more.

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Candid Videos vs. Produced Videos

First, there are quite a few different types of videos out there. Content creators on TikTok tend to make more candid videos with a lower production value. What does that mean? Production value refers to the quality of the technical aspects of media production, such as the camera used or the edits made. For TikTok consumers, these tend not to matter as much as the actual content of the video. The content focuses on the creators as people. However, this certainly is not the case for all platforms or situations, and production value still carries weight to viewers, whether conscious or not. The video tips in this article are aimed toward videos with a higher production value, but as long as you can still give the content a down-to-earth and personal feel, having a higher production value should be a benefit regardless of which platform you post on. 

Pre-Production

Pre-production is by far the most under-acknowledged part of the video process. At its core, this is the planning stage. Skipping pre-production, especially if your video is longer (say, more than 30 seconds), can lead to complications both day of and in the editing room. The steps of pre-production are all about answering the questions: 

  • Who? 
  • What? 
  • When? 
  • Where? 
  • Why? 

And, last but most definitely not least:

  • How?

Every video starts with a concept. Your concept is your what, and sometimes your why as well. The logical next steps are figuring out who will be in your video, who will film it, and when and where you’ll film. 

Pre-Production Video Tips for Beginners

  1. Location scout. If you’re filming somewhere other than your house or a location you know really well and have complete control of, go ahead of time and check it out. Try to go on the same day of the week you plan to film. Check for any potential interruptions, audio issues, outlet placements, parking, accessibility, and, of course, make sure you have permission to film there.
  2. Make a storyboard, shot sheet, and shot schedule. A storyboard is a drawn or computer-generated visual representation of the shots you need and the story’s progression. The shot sheet is a list of each shot you need to get and a description not only of the shot but also of the location and any piece of equipment you need to get it. You can also use this to keep track of your best takes. Finally, a shot schedule takes the information from the shot sheet and plans out how much time each shot should take, meal breaks, and location changes to make sure your production goes smoothly and finishes on time.
  3. Make sure everyone knows what they’re responsible for. This seems obvious, but if you have other people working on the project with you, either get together and figure out what everyone needs to bring/do on the day of production or send out an email with your expectations and get confirmation.

Production

Lights, camera, action! People often consider production the predominant and glamorous step of video making. There’s a good reason for that, too. You can plan all you want, but without production, it’s just an idea. And while you may have heard the expression “Fix it in post” (referring to post-production, which is discussed later in this blog), you can only do so much in the editing room; there are some things that just can’t be fixed if the production wasn’t done correctly. So, always do things right during production to the best of your abilities. These video tips for beginners will help smooth out the most common wrinkles.

The production steps are straightforward: 

  • Set up your location
  • Coordinate with talent and crew 
  • Record video and audio 
  • Get all the necessary shots

Video Production Tips for Beginners

  1. Use a tripod. Or, depending on the level of equipment you have access to, a stabilizer of some sort. There are some ways to stabilize shots in post, but they can only do so much. And if you’re trying to do any kind of effect or transition, a stable shot is vital.
  2. Focus on audio. Whether you’re shooting on a phone camera or a RED Komodo 6K, audio quality comes first. People won’t watch a video with bad audio. A simple external mic on your camera will go a long way, or a boom pole or a lavalier mic. Recording these simultaneously with your video and syncing them in post-production will increase your production value immensely.
  3. Don’t be afraid to get another take. This one may sound simple, but it is crucial. More takes mean more options in the editing room, options which are worth their weight in gold.

Post-Production

Post-production is the editing stage of video making; this is where movie magic is born, and your project truly comes to life. While you may not be able to fix everything in post, you’ll be surprised what a difference a good edit can make. Post-production steps include: 

  • Gathering and organizing your footage
  • Cutting the clips into usable pieces
  • Working out the timing of each cut
  • Adding music, transitions, text graphics, and anything else you need to finish your video

Post-Production Video Tips for Beginners

  1. Stay organized. Depending on the scope of your project, how long your video is, how many shots you planned, and how many takes you got, you could end up with a lot of files. The key to any project is to start by labeling and sorting these files into folders so that nothing gets lost or overlooked.
  2. Learn your software’s keyboard shortcuts. There are many video editing software available for various budgets. It doesn’t matter which one you choose, but your process will feel much smoother when you can use these shortcuts rather than the on-screen buttons every time.
  3. Keep it snappy. With attention spans of people under 40 at 8-12 seconds, it’s no wonder short form video has taken over. While people can focus on longer content of interest to them, not every video will have that benefit. Keeping videos short and to the point, especially if the cuts are well-placed with the music and content, will keep viewers engaged.

Contact Online Optimism to Learn More

Video production and video marketing are both fun, creative processes and pivotal to building your online presence. But getting started on your own can be overwhelming. Online Optimism is a digital marketing agency based in New Orleans that understands how to produce video as well as promote and sell it.

Want some help getting started with your video marketing? Reach out to Online Optimism today!

 

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