Video in online marketing is increasing at an exponential rate. Did you know that in a 2016 HubSpot survey, 43% of consumers wanted to see more video content in 2016? More than that, Facebook users watch 8 billion videos per day.
So this poses the question, does all this video really help marketers succeed? Yes! Social media posts with videos in them boost views by 48%, and visual content on Facebook specifically increases engagement by 65%. This means more people seeing your dynamic content, more people going to your website, and more people buying, just by adding in a video! Talk about a lot of value.
Not sure where to start with video for your social media account? Don't worry, you aren't alone.
Shooting a video in the middle of an office can be pretty tricky… that's why we recommend filming in a conference room.
Shooting in a conference room will not only give you control over lighting and ambient noise, but it will keep you from distracting the entire office (and keep the entire office from distracting you).
Use studio lights.
Filming with the overhead lights from your office tends to create nasty shadows on the face. And since sunlight changes throughout the day, it can be tough to maintain a consistent look. Turn off the overhead lights, block out as much outside light as you can, and bring in your own video lighting.
You don't need fancy lights to get a good image. Three well-placed lights should get you just the amount of light that you need.
Control the sound.
Shooting in an empty room can create echo and reverb. This is not only distracting, but it sounds like you're filming in a bathroom! To fix this, you need to deaden up the room.
Sound-dampening panels do the trick, but if you're in a pinch, bring in a couch or hang up blankets. The goal is to stop sound waves from bouncing off of the walls.
Watch out for distracting, noisy heating vents. Make sure you can turn off the ventilation system in the room where you're filming.
Leave your setup set up!
If at all possible, leave your studio set up all the time. If you're planning on filming multiple videos, and if you can sell it to your team, having a dedicated space can save you a ton of time.
Set up a backdrop.
Shooting your CEO sitting in a chair with some fake plants in the background doesn't look cool. We prefer to shoot in front of a solid colored background.
Filming against an off-white wall looks pretty boring, and can lead to nasty glare and reflections. Instead, use a roll of seamless paper from a photography supply store. If budget allows, consider 'branded wallpaper' like you see at red carpet events, you can either tape it to the wall or hang it from a support frame.
Shooting High-Quality Videos With Your iPhone Camera
You can shoot high quality video that's ready to edit and upload to your website using the ever-improving iPhone camera, but if you just pull it out of your pocket and click record, chances are the end result will not look up to snuff.
Here are some quick tips for getting the most out of your iPhone's camera. While some of these suggestions are iPhone-specific, many can be applied to other smartphones, too!
Don't shoot vertical video.
We're living in a widescreen world! Laptops, televisions, your Twitter, Facebook or YouTube feed, and your website are all examples of places where a vertical video probably won't look great. So make sure you shoot horizontally!
Use a tripod.
No matter how steady your hands are, your iPhone is going to have to work pretty hard to stabilize a handheld shot. If you're editing multiple takes, slight movements can be really distracting, so it's definitely worth the extra effort to stabilize your shots with a tripod.
Our favorite iPhone tripod adapter is the Joby GripTight, which is around $20.
Don't use the iPhone's zoom.
Avoid the temptation to use the iPhone's built-in camera zoom. Since the lens isn't zooming optically, you're just enlarging the picture digitally, which means you will quickly enter the world of unsightly pixels.
If you want to get a closer shot of your subject, just move your feet closer until you find the perfect shot!
Light your video.
The built-in camera flash on the new iPhone will never compare to using off-camera lights. There are a ton of professional lights that you can buy, like a ring light or Westcott's Ice Lights. If you're on a budget, you can also hack together a decent lighting kit from Home Depot for under $100!
If you can't get your hands on any studio lights, the iPhone looks great in natural light, so position yourself facing a window and use the sun.
Use the exposure lock.
The iPhone will automatically focus and expose your shot. This can be a great function for quick photos, but when you're shooting a video of one person talking to the camera, it can really complicate things. The iPhone tends to keep adjusting and refocusing, which can lead to jittery-looking footage. That's why we recommend using the exposure focus lock. This will help to keep the focus and exposure constant throughout your shot.
Get your microphone close to your subject.
A general rule for clear audio is to get your microphone as close to your subject as possible.
When shooting video with an iPhone, it's best to position a second iPhone directly above the subject's head to record the audio. Creating a simple voice memo should do the trick!
Another option is to use an external microphone. You can plug a powered mic, like the Sennheiser ME66, into a KV microphone adapter, and it'll send the audio from the microphone directly into your iPhone.
Pro Tip: Clap once at the beginning of each take to create a reference point for syncing the good sound from the voice memo with the bad sound from the video recording.
Use a clip-on lens adapter for wider shots.
Sometimes, you just need a wider shot, and the iPhone's fixed lens will limit how wide your shots can be. Being able to capture a wider shot is especially handy when you're shooting indoors or in small spaces.
A great workaround is to get a clip-on lens adapter. I'd only recommend using something like the Olloclip when you need to get a wider shot, but in those moments, it sure is handy!
Use slow motion wisely.
You can get some amazing shots with the iPhone's built-in slowmo, but make sure the choice is motivated and fits your story. A shot of someone skiing will probably be great in slowmo. A shot of someone typing on their computer, on the other hand, might not be so interesting.
Edit on your computer.
There are some pretty cool editing apps available for the iPhone, but they still don't beat editing on your computer. When you finish shooting, plug your phone in, offload your footage, and import your videos into your editor of choice.
If you've never edited a video before, there's never been a better time to start! The iPhone's camera combined with some minor editing can unlock some serious potential. Free tools like iMovie have made editing easier for everyone.
Use the camera you have.
If you thought you needed to go out and buy a DSLR or to make a video, think again! Sometimes, the best camera is the one you have with you.
Creating Your Lighting Kit
You don't need to have a top-of-the-line lighting kit to make people look great on camera. Obviously it would be super sweet to have a 10-ton grip truck with a crew of gaffers at your disposal, but we don't all have Lucasfilm budgets. And we don't all have hours to throw at elaborate lighting setups! But not to fear, because if you're making your own video, you can still look dapper without breaking the bank.
We went to Home Depot and spent less than $100 buying the essential ingredients for a basic DIY lighting kit for shooting an interview. While this is not the be-all, end-all lighting technique, it is an attainable and repeatable way to keep people on camera looking like humans.
Sure, you can go crazy with intricate lighting setups, or even use the fabled "3-point lighting" to create some shadows and modeling on your subject's face. But for business video, it's the easiest way to shoot interviews with flat and even lighting.
Light, camera, and subject placement
The goal is to eliminate shadows and create soft, flat lighting on your subject's face. Here's a diagram to help you set up your shot.
Be sure to keep the 2 key lights slightly above your subject's eyeline. The light facing the background will help to create contrast and hide the subject's shadow.
The equipment list
If there's one thing to splurge on, it's bulbs. Look for daylight balanced bulbs with a high CRI (color render index). This will help to produce the highest quality and most flattering light possible.
- (x3) Clip Lights - $9 ea
- (x3) Daylight Color CFL Bulbs (buy different wattage options for flexibility) - $2.75 ea
- (x3) Spring Clips - $2 ea
- (x3) 12ft Extension Cords - $2.50 ea
- (x1) Package of Clothespins - $2.50 ea
If you want to save a trip to Home Depot, here are Amazon alternatives:
- (x3) Light Stands - $15 ea
- (x2) Rosco Diffusion Material - $7 ea
- (x3) Scoop Lights
- (x3) CFL Bulbs (note: look for daylight balanced "High-CRI" or "Full Spectrum" bulbs)
- (x3) Spring Clips
- (x3) 12ft Extension Cords
- (x1) Package of Clothespins
If you follow basic lighting principles, you can get pretty good results from going lo-fi.
Choosing a Microphone
Bad audio can ruin even the best video marketing. Consumers of online video recognize subpar sound almost instantly. Like a typo in an article, loud background noise and fuzzy voices suggest inexperience and distract from your message.
Getting better audio
The good news is, there are many ways to improve the audio in your videos. Optimizing your shooting environment and using quality recording devices can go a long way.
Improving your shooting environment
The area you shoot in can make a huge difference! The saying "fix it in the mix" doesn't really apply to audio. It's extremely tough to remove ambient noise from a recording after the fact. Save yourself the aggravation and capture the best possible sounding audio during production.
When you're setting up for your shoot:
- Pick a space without loud ambient noises.
- Steer clear of air conditioning units, generators, traffic noise, and anything else that creates a hum.
- Try to find a shoot location that allows you to control ambient noise.
- If you're shooting in your office, make sure you warn the folks in the background that you may need to "pull a Spielberg" and ask them firmly to be quiet!
- Deaden room reverberation by taping blankets to the walls. You could also invest in acoustic panels that help remove room reverberation.
Using a lavaliere microphone
A lavalier is a small microphone that clips onto your speaker's shirt. Lavaliers are a great option if your talent is going to be moving around, and there are both wired and wireless versions.
However, lavalier microphones are particularly finicky. Whether or not they'll capture good audio depends on getting the perfect placement. Start by placing the lav about six inches below your talent's chin. Your goal is to make sure that the microphone has a clear path to the mouth.
We prefer the shotgun microphone
We are constantly trying to make our production process more simple and less intimidating. That's why we prefer to keep a shotgun mic positioned and ready for action. With this setup, subjects can jump in and out of the space to shoot videos on the fly.
We love the shotgun mic because it can be hidden outside of the shot (and the talent's field of view), and it makes subjects' voices sound close and clear. It also picks up a bit of ambient noise to provide a nicely balanced soundtrack.
Go forth and explore!
We recognize that there are all sorts of sound solutions out there, and we are excited to keep discovering new ways to record clean, crisp audio tracks.
Need some help creating video marketing content? Contact me and we can discuss how we can help you use many different forms of dynamic video content for email marketing, social media marketing and PR.