It’s dizzying, really. You know what kind of content you want to create. You can see it in your mind’s eye. You want a sleek and professional-looking promotional video. Or maybe you want several of them, for external and internal usage. But you keep running into that metaphorical wall of uncertainty. “Where do I even start?”
It’s natural to feel that way about subjects you don’t have intimate knowledge of. You can’t go to school for everything.
But lucky for you, teaching easy and affordable ways to create video content is part of what we do! And here’s our first tip: Don’t freak out. This is going to be easier than you think.
Tip nr: 1
Plan what you’re going to film before you start filming!
It all starts with an idea, right? You want to film a video of your CEO explaining the great value of your product to your website visitors. So you think “let’s just start filming – and we’ll figure out what you’re going to say as we go along!”. 9 times out of 10, that ends up being a bad idea.
Do yourself a favour and write down exactly what you want to say in the video. You don’t have to film everything in one go, so don’t worry about having to memorise the whole script (we bring up some editing tips further down in the post). It could also be good to decide where you want to film before-hand. That way you can prepare the background, place a comfortable chair in the right position, check how the light hits your subject, etc.
If you want to be really prepared you could create a quick “Storyboard” on your computer, or on a piece of paper. What is a storyboard? Well, it’s basically like a visual script. You draw or write down what scenes you want to film, and it what order. That way, you kind of see what your video will look like before you make it – and have the opportunity to change things around before you get started with production.
So to summarize: Definitely write a script! And create some kind of storyboard. A list of scenes on a scrap of paper is better than nothing.
You and your co-workers will be happy you made the decision to plan, plan, plan!
Tip nr: 2
Use your phone
Today’s phones are truly remarkable when it comes to camera quality (and a lot of other things as well of course). The video below was captured using an iPhone XR yesterday in our purple studio. It took me a minute to film – and then I uploaded it straight to the Qbrick Video Editor (using our companion app) for some final polishing.
Here are a few things to think about when using your phone as your primary video camera:
1. Set your focus on your target.
On most phones you do this by pressing on the screen with your finger until a square marker appears. If you’re filming a person you should set the focus on that person’s head. That way, you don’t have to worry about the focus or light shifting because of disturbances during filming. Just make sure the person doesn’t move, because then you have to re-set the focus.
2. Adjust the overall lighting (exposure).
When you’ve locked the focus on your target, you can usually adjust the exposure by dragging up/down on your screen. This allows you to make quick lighting fixes if the shot looks too bright or too dark. Of course, you should always give yourself the best possible lighting conditions to begin with (more on this later), but sometimes you just need a quick adjustment before you start filming.
Tip nr: 3
Use natural light
Lighting is one of the hardest things to get right. You have to have light on your subject, and your subject’s shadows and the shadows that those lights cause. It CAN be a nightmare. But usually you can get away with finding a room with lots of natural light from the sun. Position your target FACING the window(s), so that the sun’s magnificent rays falls on his/her face. You want to avoid light coming towards your camera lens, as that can cause over-exposure.
And voilà, you have perfect lighting. Thank you sun.
Tip nr: 4
Buy a microphone
This is one of the few “physical filming gear” type things that you probably should invest in. It’s SO important to have good audio, because most people can forgive less-than-perfect visuals, but if they can’t hear what you’re saying or their ears start bleeding; they will exit the video in no time.
Our best tip for audio is to buy a “lavalier” (swedish: mygga) microphone that you can plug directly into your phone. (iPhone users: remember to get a “lightning to 3.5 mm” adapter). It could be wise to also get an extension cord, so you have the opportunity to be farther away from your interview subject.
Lavalier mics are easy, because you just pin them to your subjects shirt, plug the other end into your phone and start filming. And the audio sounds great.
Tip nr: 5
Edit your video using fill footage
To explain what this means, we should go into the Qbrick editor (video below) and set up a quick project. Our editor is great for business individuals who want to a quick and easy way to edit videos. And because it’s a part of our End2end Video Platform, you have many options for storing, sharing and embedding your videos when you’re done. (Check out our website for more information).
As you can see in this video below, we’ve placed the “interview” or “talking” clips on the first video layer in the timeline. This is the base material that will make up your video. But if you were to save this video as is, there would be jarring jump cuts between every scene (because we decided to film in segments). The best way to solve this is to place “Fill footage” over every cut in the video.
Fill footage is basically filler clips that you use to clarify and exemplify what you’re talking about in the video. For example: if your subject is talking about how your new office is wonderful and spacious, take a few shots of the office he/she is talking about to show during that segment. It will give the viewer more context, thereby making the video more interesting to watch.
Place your fill footage on the second video layer over the related talking segments, and make sure they’re covering the cuts in the talking clips!
Remember: make the fill footage clips silent.
Those are our 5 tips on how to make a professional looking promotional video in no time at all. We hope you found them helpful – and that you feel inspired to get started a.s.a.p!