by Guest Blogger Damian Dayton
CLICK BELOW TO HEAR WEEKLY VOIR DIRE CONFERENCE CALL WITH DAMIAN
People spend a lifetime perfecting video techniques, but there are a few simple things that you can do to make you web video look and sound better.
People always want to know what camera to use. Our company was in business for a year before we bought our first cameras. A WHOLE YEAR! but we did have lights, and while we’ve bought and sold a few cameras and are about to buy a few more. We still have, and use the same lights, but we keep adding more. You don’t have to, and probably shouldn’t buy a complex light set up unless you want to get into production full time. But you want to ask this: Is there enough light? and is it flattering?
If I am watching a dark video it makes me feel claustrophobic. Most importantly it makes it hard to see the eyes. When you are meeting with someone in person you want to see their eyes, and if you are using web video you want to connect with people. If the light source is too strong, you will create harsh shadows , usually behind your head, or under your nose.
For beginners, I recommend using natural indirect light. Sit next to a window so the light comes in from the side. Natural light is usually the most flattering (fluorescent light is usually the least). If that is not an option, you can use the lights you already have, but consider buying something like a cheap Chinese lantern and use it off of camera, to the side. It should give you a softer diffused light.
Without professional lighting and cameras your video will probably trend towards “too dark” but using some of these tips will help people see you better and feel more comfortable. What you are trying to do here is not look too slick, but making them feel more like they are listening to you talk, and not a grainy video.
I know you want to cover a lot of stuff. but on the web, keep it short. it’s better to have a bunch of short video that one long one.
I recommend that clients keep their videos between 30 seconds and 2 minutes at the maximum. Any more and people lose interest. Working in Children’s television we learned that people tune out quickly and there is no place this is more true than the internet. The plus side of keeping it short is that it makes you edit, and focus on key points. Then if you need to create more videos, you have more content on the web that all points back to each other.
Everyone wants a video that will “go viral”, unless you are willing to do something ridiculous, painful, embarrassing, or a combination, this probably won’t happen. If you are really interested in this, we can talk, but it’s not as easy as those Chronicles of Narnia guys make it look.
If you are not a professional comedian you will probably not make people laugh. Even if you are a professional comedian you will probably not make people laugh, at least not enough to make people want to pass along your video. However, that doesn’t mean don’t joke around. Since your video is not professional, don’t try to act to stuffy. Be yourself. Be willing to laugh at yourself this will make you approachable. Even a failed joke reveals humanity and accessibility.
(To hear the other two L’s join us this Friday morning at 10:00 AM EST for a free conference call, “How to Make Your Video Look Professional, Even if You Can’t Afford to Hire One.”Â CLICK HERE to sign up for this Friday’s call.)
Think about where you want to host your video. You can use a flash player on your website (if you do, I recommend an H.264 compression for the best results) or you can embed video from an existing video site. For me I think it is the difference between putting a billboard in a suburban neighborhood versus along an interstate. Sites like Youtube and Vimeo have great compression options and people sometimes forget that they are great social media sites as well. That is where people go first when they are looking for video, so I recommend hosting your video there in addition to wherever else you have it, both sites also offer privacy options if you DON’T want everyone to see it.
Remember, what goes on the internet, STAYS on the internet.
Damian Dayton is a founding member of Kineto Pictures which has produced video for companies all over the world including Microsoft, Chevron, and Z-Line Design.Â In addition Damian was writer and director of the Emmy nominated children’s series “Signing Times.”Â You can learn more about Kineto Pictures at http://kinetopictures.com or find him on Twitter @damiandayton.Â Damian will be joining his younger brother Adrian on this Friday’s conference call to answer any questions you might have about creating your own video.Â Feel free to email questions in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org