Video is king. Make. More. Video.
Video is king for the foreseeable future. A Forbes article states, after watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online. This is a trend you do not want to miss. A question then for a lot of content creators, influencers and entrepreneurs is how to make great videos and if they need to spend hundreds of thousands or even millions on equipment and editing softwares!
Here’s the good news. You do not need to spend a lot of money on new cameras and accessories. In fact, this thinking is way off, it’s rarely ever been about the tools, it’s about what can be done with them. In 2011, I started a video company called MCTV and throughout the years I’ve seen numerous videos sent to me from very high-end £100,000 cameras that has looked horrible and I’ve seen videos from very cheap £150 cameras and even older phones with great footage, simply changing the lighting, angles and background can drastically change your video.
Now if you’re reading this right now, you’re probably looking to be a client of ours or need a quick fix in what you can do right now, so instead of delving deep with things like white balance, ISO and frame rates, I’m going to speak on what you can do right now to change your video for the better and with the phone in your pocket! If you’re shooting with just your phone the first thing you need to think about is lighting. A common mistake I see is when the subject (you) records in front of a window with the light behind them making you appear dark (if indoors) or in front of sunlight (if outdoors)
The best solution is to shoot with a light facing you to separate yourself from the background. Another great alternative would be to shoot facing the window and the phone/camera pointing towards you to get natural light, you might miss out on killer window views but at least people will be able to see you! Also try to avoid recording vertically, unless you need to do so for a social media platform but the default should be to record horizontally, this gives the viewer more space to see you and what’s around you.
Try to record using the highest quality offered to you on your phone and use the ‘Grid’. Accessing this on an i-phone is usually Settings > Scroll down to Camera > Turn on ‘Grid’ and tap ‘Record Video’ the current highest quality on my i-phone is 4K at 30 fps (frames per second) that would be my selection – yours may be even higher.
The higher the video quality, the more space it will take on your phone so that’s something to keep in mind!
Once this ‘Grid’ is on, position yourself inside of it symmetrically. This will help your videos look aesthetically pleasing. For more on this search up ‘The rule of thirds’. Simply learning this will take your videos and pictures to the next level.
The two images below show the benefit of understanding this ‘Grid’ and using it well. The first image shows an asymmetrical alining of the subject (you) in the video and the red line shows ‘dead’ space’ This is space unnecessarily shown that adds no benefit to your video (unless used as an artistic decision)
The second is much better aligned and symmetrical, an easier way to consume your video content.
When indoors, avoid recording next to a plain wall and empty space or an overly cluttered background, this tends to make things pretty boring to watch or too much to take in. Take a look at the pictures below, how long did it take you to see what’s in the second picture? Probably a few more seconds than the first one? Well if you had two videos to watch, both delivering the same mind-bending content, which one would you stick around for? Probably the one on the right, it’s more human, more welcoming, more familiar to your life. A simple change of backgrounds and angles could bring the production value up 5x.
Lastly, (to not take too much time) is what I’d say is very important, the audio! Do not record your videos in environments that are too loud, too windy etc. Try to find a quiet spot in which you don’t hear loud noises and record there.
Do a simple test, test record the space, going through your lines/topic for a few seconds, stop it and play it back to see if you can hear yourself loud and clear! These tips should help you increase your production value entirely – if you weren’t doing these simple fixes already. I’ll also post more techniques/tutorials and accessories to buy to further improve your quality below