One of the most popular workshops for my Meetup group is Easy Web Video where we discuss the basics of creating quality web videos on a shoestring budget. Basically you grab your Flip camera, shoot some video and upload it to YouTube and that's it, right? Well every time I do the workshop I learn a ton about shooting video, lighting, sound and new accessories from our guest speakers and the attendees.
It became very clear to me during the workshop that there are only a few things you need to create a quality web video.
1. The equipment doesn't matter
That is if you're using a Flip camera or a low-end camera. Of course you can spend $1000 to $10,000 on a video camera and you'll get great video and sound with a million settings to figure out. Your basic Flip or Sony handheld camera will give you great video and adequate sound quality. They're easy to use and both contain built-in software that lets you easily upload your videos to YouTube, Facebook and other popular video websites.
2. Choose a simple background
Don't stand in front of a busy, multicolored wall. Find a flat surface with moderate color and some texture to make your web videos stand out. Don't stand in front of a picture or window which will distract the viewer. You're the star of your video so you need to be the center of there focus.
3. The lighting makes a huge difference
A cheap, $5 worklight from Home Depot with the right lightbulb will enhance your video significantly. Depending on the lighting where you're shooting your video, you can test different bulbs to see which look best. Buy a variety of lights including warm white, full spectrum, daylight, and cool white and test to see which look best. Set up a light on one side of the room at eye level and place another light on the opposite side at about waist level. This will balance the light on your subject. Test different locations for your lights to create different effects.
If your budget allows, you can purchase professional lighting that will provide you more lighting options. Professional lighting won't enhance the videos you shoot with a low end camera like the Flip enough to justify the cost. If you have a low-end camera, stick with the low-end lighting solution and you'll be fine.
4. Rich audio makes an average video great
Great video with poor audio will ruin your video. It doesn't matter how compelling the speaker or content is if the viewer can't hear what they're saying on the video.
When the audio on a low-budget video is rich and deep, the viewing experience is significantly better. You're probably confused by that statement but its true. Better audio makes a video better, significantly. The audio on most low-end cameras is average at best. The microphone often picks up background noises so you can't hear the person you're filming. Many low-end cameras now have external microphone jacks so you can use a wireless microphone or a wired microphone that is placed near the person you're filming.
If you have any other video tips or tricks please post them in the comments of this blog post.