Video content has quickly made its mark on every online platform that we interact with. In 2015, online video accounted for 50% of all mobile traffic. One of our focuses on the Marketing team for 2016 has been increasing our video efforts and supporting the 52% of marketing professionals who credit video as the type of content with the best ROI. We released a new video to show our culture, captured some great customer testimonials, launched our new Friday 5 video series and there’s more to come!
Between working for my university's news station and interning for a local independent TV series, video production has certainly been an interest of mine for a while. I was thrilled to take the reigns with revamping our video content and have already learned so much. With that being said, putting down the iPhone and picking up a professional camcorder is no joke. Here are a few “do’s” and “don’ts” from one beginner to another.
“Auto” isn’t automatically the best choice
When filming interviews at our company retreat last fall, I quickly learned that autofocus + swinging tree branches = a fatal combination. Unfamiliar with focus or lighting techniques, I assumed applying the “auto” setting for everything was a safe bet. That was my first mistake. If you know there will be a good amount of motion or competing objects in the frame, I’d recommend manual focus. A good medium would be the AF/MF button. MF will keep your camera from searching for your target while leaving your other settings on auto (so you’re not completely diving in head first).
Don’t drop the mic
If you’ll be filming interviews, mic’ing up your subject is a must. Although your camcorder has an external mic, there are so many other factors that can interfere with your interviewee's voice being the central audio source. Lavalier mic’s can be purchased for as little as $25. Also, don’t forget to mic ALL of your subjects. I know, obvious right? Well, another “don’t” I learned the hard way was mic’ing up all but one person. No amount of editing could attempt to mask the difference. A good habit to get into is having your previous interviewee place the mic somewhere obvious for your next one. Another thing to be mindful of is making sure that your audio input channels match and are no longer set to the internal mic. Yet another lesson learned when I replayed muted footage.
B-roll and beyond
It’s easy to feel like you’ve got enough b-roll (supplemental footage) at the end of a shoot. The real answer is that you can never have too much of it. Establishing variety with your shots is crucial. Mix it up and shoot in different angles. Your viewers don’t want to see the same left-to-right pan through the entirety of your video. Although there are ways to correct shaky footage in post-production, don’t try to be a hero. The tripod takes a little extra time to set up, but it’s more than worth it. And thanks to the trusty bubble level, you’ll be able to gauge whether or not it needs any realignment. Once the bubble rests inside the circle, you’re ready to go.
Finally, don’t hesitate to take advantage of the talent around you. Thanks to Mediacurrent, I’m surrounded by helping hands and a team full of people who take time out of their busy schedules to share their knowledge with me every day. I have to give a shoutout to our Senior Drupal Developer Cameron Prince and Senior Digital Strategist Beth Davenport who have been invaluable resources along the way. Thanks for letting me constantly pick your brain!