Whether you’re taking endless videos of your grandkids or trying to become a social media influencer, it takes practice to create appealing video content. If you’re just starting out or looking to improve your videos, a few simple steps can go a long way to making them more polished and engaging.
Plan your lighting
Cameras need light to capture images, so don’t forget this step. In general, more light is better as it keeps your subjects clear. However, be wary of overhead lights or harsh noontime sun, which can wash out your star or add unflattering shadows to their face. Instead, softer morning and evening light are often best. For indoor images, try experimenting with a few different lamps or lights together to see what setup you like the most. If you’re outside, have the sun at your back. Although your subjects may be facing the sun, it will be worth it once they see the results.
How you frame the images in your video matters. Use the tried-and-true rule of thirds to help draw the eye and create interest. Think of your screen as divided into thirds using a grid pattern with two vertical lines and two horizontal ones, then hold your camera so the object or person of focus is where two of the lines intersect. It’s okay if you cut off the top of their head in the frame, that’s more natural than leaving their chin out of view. If you’ll be moving the camera around, hold your first shot for about 10 seconds first to let your audience get oriented, and look ahead to where you’ll stop moving.
Don’t forget about sound
Whether you’re used to taking photographs or you’re just caught up in the moment, it can be easy to forget about the audio side of the video. Audio recorded directly by the camera is often not great quality – your camera is far away from the subject and there’s other competing noise. While this might not matter for random home movies, it helps for special occasions. Think about how much better a video of your grandkid’s birthday party would be if you could hear their joy and laughter crisp and clear. It’s usually worth it to buy an external microphone for video recording. If you think you’ll be doing any interviews, a mic that clips on to the speaker’s shirt is also handy.
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