Online Video Filming Tips

10 Essential online video filming tips

Lots of people are filming their own videos these days, especially to be used on websites. The great thing is that an online video can quickly explain what you do or make, be used to demonstrate how to do something or provide an insight from interview comments.

Whatever you do it’s always best to plan your video and try to make it as professional as possible. It reflects on your business and while a good video can make you look great a poor video can equally make you look bad. With this in mind we’ve put together a basic set of online video filming tips to help you create a killer video.

1. Get close to your subject

A good rule of thumb is to get close to the subject you’re filming. Although you can use the zoom to get closer it’s not the same as actually being close. The visual perspective is not the same when using a zoom, and this also goes for the sound.

Not only this but a zoomed in shot is more likely to wobble and getting the right focus is also harder. Using a telephoto shot will also narrow your depth of field so that only a narrow band is in focus.

With a shot on full zoom your microphone will not be focused on the actual subject. This means you’ll probably pick up lots of noise you don’t want instead of the sound you do want.

2. Film your scenes using multiple shots

If you watch television or professional online video production you’ll see that scenes are generally filmed with more than one shot. This technique is used to make a shot more interesting or show specific details or points of interest.

For example, if you’re filming a machine then you may want to get a wide shot that establishes where it’s located, then a medium shot to show a specific part and a close up to show the real detail. Different shot sizes and angles can be used to good effect. However, you’ll also need to consider if one long shot works better. If in doubt, get a few different shot sizes so you have some options when it comes to the edit.

3. Film more than just the subject

Cutaways are a term that’s used for additional shots help to tell the story. The term is pretty much self-explanatory – the camera ‘cuts away’ to something else. You see the use of cutaways a lot in interviews. For example if you are filming a person talking about their new car then you’ll probably want to get shots of their car to ‘cutaway’ to in the interview. This is a great way to make something more interesting and help illustrate relevant points. From an edit point of view it’s also a handy way to cover over a join in an interview.

4. Filming height

Generally speaking you usually film at the same height as the subject. There are times when you’ll want to change height (say for dramatic effect) but a good practice is to do most at the same height. This gives a more natural look to the shots and puts the viewer in a perspective they are used to.

5. Don’t use the camera mic

Camera mics are good for general ambient sound but that’s about all. If you can afford to it’s worth investing in an external microphone, and if possible a wireless radio mic. This will mean that you get good quality clear sound from your subject and they wont be fighting to be heard against background noise. There are different types of microphones that you can use, such as gun mics that pick up sound from a distance, through to clip mics that are clipped to peoples lapels or clothing.

It’s also worth investing in some decent headphones so that you can hear what’s coming from the mic instead of being distracted by background noise. Getting the sound right is a big thing with online video production and often overlooked. If you get this right from the start then you’ll be well on the way to a good video.

6. Think about lighting

It sounds obvious but lots of people ignore lighting. If you don’t have enough light your shots will be dark and uninteresting. However by simply controlling the light and putting it on the subject you’ll make the video look a lot better. When you’re filming it’s best to have the light source on the subject. Think about where there are other light sources, so you can use these if you don’t have your own lights. For example, if there is a window in the room then don’t place the subject in front of it as you’ll just get a silhouette. If you film with the light from the window behind the camera then you can use the light to light your subject.

7. Use a tripod

This is probably the best investment that you’ll make. Steady shots are the key to making your video look professional. Hand held shots do have their place but if you’re a newbie to video production then always use a tripod.

Wobbly shots are very off putting for a viewer and really distract from the overall message. A good tripod should have a smooth pan and tilt and be appropriate for the weight of your camera. Most camera shops will also sell tripods and it’s worth trying one out that you are comfortable with.

8. Plan everything

Planning your video could mean the difference between success and failure. Plan what you’re going to film and think about the shots and cutaways you want to get at each location. If possible write out a running order and script, and if you’re conducting an interview plan your questions in advance. Make sure the questions are leading (how, why, what) and they don’t just elicit a yes or no answer.

9. What can you do for them?

All an audience want’s to know is “what can you do for me.” It’s that simple. So you need to always have this in your mind during the filming and the editing of your online video. Make sure that the story relates to the viewer and if you’re doing a voice over make sure you use words like you and your. This is particularly true of sales videos.

10. Be ruthless in the edit

When you edit your video you need to be ruthless. Think about the message you want to get across and don’t deviate or sidetrack. Don’t include anything that does not belong and focus on telling the story. Keep your video concise and to the point and if possible 60 to 90 seconds long if you’re making a sales or explainer video.

If you follow these simple online video production tips then you’ll be well on your way to producing a great video for your website. If you’d like any help or advice or would like to commission an online video production then we’d love to help. Contact your friendly experts on 01527 910050 today.