In today’s world, we all have the potential to be broadcasters. So how does a professional video stand out so much against our grainy camera phones? How can you achieve that "magic touch"? It may have less to do with what equipment you're using - and more to do with the points outlined below.
If you're also writing a blog about your video, we have written up a checklist that can help you out.
So, let’s take a look at what makes an Engaging Video:
Before you get to planning your video, make sure to outline the purpose and objectives of your message. What is your viewer getting from your work? What does your client have in mind for the job? Considering these factors ensures that you do not spend unnecessary time on planning a sequence that you either don’t end up using or that does not fit with your key objectives.
Remember – it’s all about the message you are delivering to your viewer, so be clear (albeit a little obvious) and be comprehensive.
2. Planning & Location
When you come to the planning stage: break the video down into as many segments as possible – what I like to do is to write out the chapter titles that clearly convey what is happening. This allows you to tackle each segment one at a time and makes the process more concise.
Take into consideration your key objectives for your video and follow a checklist to make sure you don't miss a step.
When you’re planning your video, have a good idea of the location where you will be filming. Ideally, before filming, you should get a chance to scout the location to decide shot composition. Ensure to check with the laws of your country regarding filming permissions in public - and when you are filming in a public location, take care to avoid large crowds. People not involved in production can cause havoc in the sound of the video, and furthermore, may also require the need for more takes, as you may find someone video-bombing your shot.
A great video starts with the great sound and it is often said that the main giveaway in any bad video is poor quality audio. So even if you have a shoestring budget – make sure to place extra attention on getting the best sound possible for your video.
The in-built mic on most cameras is almost exclusively for reference audio only – meaning it is there for the latter editing process to guide you as you match external sound to the video. For creative purposes, you can use this to your advantage for dramatic effect. For example, if your short movie contained found footage that used the inbuilt mic – but mostly, you should stick to lapels, also known as lavallier microphones.
Lapel or Lavallier microphones can be either hidden in the clothing of your actors/presenters, clipped on in plain sight (if it’s an informal interview for example). There are also hand-held microphones – which the presenter can direct towards themselves and fellow speakers. And finally – boom microphones – if you can both afford one and have someone monitoring it for you – make sure you have one of these if you’re planning on making a decent video.
If you’re using an external microphone, you’re going to have to hook it up with a recorder.
What really gives a video the amateur or professional feel is the way that light is used in the video, regardless of the type of equipment you use from IPhone 7 to DSLR to a 6k Red Dragon.
What you’re looking for is an even balance without too many stray shadows or over-exposed bright spots. When doing a portrait shot, try to even out the light by using a reflector as this acts as a mirror for the light, bouncing it and reflecting back on your subject.
Also, try to avoid times like dusk or dawn for shots that may require several takes as this will lead to a change in light from the first part of the sequence to the last and may result in a mix of tones that would be hell for the editor to go through in the post-production process.
Finally, what is the point of making a video if your target audience never gets to see it? Make sure you share with the appropriate audience though – not all clients require their video to be up on YouTube for everyone to see – so make sure to ask permission to make it public. This of course depends on the type of work you are doing and the requirements of your client.
That’s it for our key tips making an Engaging Video!
Do you have something to add? Please feel free to share your own tips and opinions with us.
If somehow you were looking for photography tips this whole time, I've written The Role of Emotion in Photography which you can find by clicking into the link.
About the Author
Eugene is the co-founder of SameRock creative agency with the mission statement: “Beautiful Media for Beautiful Causes” and is currently working on his first short film.
"...we're all standing on the Same Rock."