10 tips for creating professional videos
Decide what you want to achieve from your video and plan accordingly. Remember, videos should be made to benefit your audience (you should aim to educate, entertain or inspire them). Don’t talk about yourself too much, however tempting, it’s about your audience not you, so keep your purpose in mind. If you’re new to speaking via videos, practice what you’re going to say and film a few tests so that you’re comfortable in front of the camera.
Your setting may depend on the nature of your video, but if you don’t have a simple setting to film in such as a tidy office/kitchen/dressing room, film in front of a neutral wall (or hang a plain sheet if you don’t have one). Stand a few feet away from it to avoid casting shadows and remove any clutter to avoid any distractions. Avoid any sound distractions too, background noises like the wind or birds will be picked up on your recording.
Audiences are overwhelmed with video content on their social feeds and often scroll on from videos. If you want to keep their attention, keep it punchy and let them know at the start how long it’s going to last.
The best performing videos on Instagram usually last around 25 seconds so try and aim for this but if you’re filming a more detailed ‘how to’ video or a tutorial it’s fine to be longer, just use a time lapse feature where relevant and keep it flowing.
Natural light is one of the best light sources to film in, but morning or evening is best as the light is softer then. Midday light coming from directly overhead can cast harsh shadows so if you’re filming outdoors at this time, find a shady spot for softer lighting. If you’re filming indoors, choose a room with lots of natural light or add additional sources such as lamps, but avoid overhead lighting.
If after practising you still feel a bit nervous, start by smiling so you instantly feel and appear relaxed and avoid crossing your arms. If you’re prone to fidgeting hold something in your hands and remember to speak more slowly than usual, as you’ll naturally speed up without realising it. Use flash cards off camera to prompt your wording if needed but don’t focus on them too much as it needs to appear natural and not too scripted.
By using a tripod or by placing your phone/camera on a steady surface. Try not to hold it as you will naturally shake. If you need to switch angles, film separate shots and avoid moving the camera during filming. If your finished film is a little shaky, you can stabilize it when editing.
It’s good to film in short takes as you won’t need to remember long scripts and if you don’t like something, you won’t need to reshoot the whole thing.
Add subtitles so that people viewing in silent mode can still enjoy your video. If using iMovie to edit, ‘Select’ the titles option to add them in.
There are lots of good video editing apps around, with iMovie being particularly popular for iPhone and FilmoraGo for Android. Whichever one you use, ensure you understand and maximise its capabilities. Editing doesn’t have to be complicated, just ensure you use noise cancelling, cut out any awkward pauses, tweak the lighting if needed and add in any background music if relevant.