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Video Made the Marketing Star

By: | May, 29 2020

As I said in the video above, paragraphs rarely go viral. Videos do! 

More so than ever before, marketers are looking for a way to help their organizations and companies stand out from the crowd. Everyone's inboxes are flooded right now. We're all overwhelmed and when that happens, we make hard choices about what to prioritize as consumers. Video is an excellent solution for grabbing the attention of those you wish to reach in a creative and engaging way. In fact, the data shows that consumers are watching more videos online versus reading text or looking at images. It is estimated that the average person will spend 100 minutes every day watching online videos in 2021.

So, where to start? Making videos can be intimidating for a lot of folks, especially if your team is remote and expertise, time, and resources are limited. But, incorporating videos into your content marketing strategy doesn't have to be daunting if you keep a few tips and tricks in mind. Assembled below are some best practices for creating quality videos that will help you foster deeper connections with your audience.

Wear your producer's hat.

  • Make a plan. Save time and energy by establishing a clear objective and end audience for your video. Determine key messages and images you want to capture in advance and think through potential problems beforehand to reduce stress during the shoot.
  • Keep it simple. Short and concise is always the way to go. Attention spans are short. Online videos should stick to one or two minutes in length.
  • Stay organized. As you shoot, create a consistent system for logging and storing the files. Denote which footage is good in order to eliminate searching for it later on in the editing room.

Create videos with a professional polish.

  • Film horizontally. Think about it. How many movies have you seen that use a vertical shot? The same thing goes for the small screen. TVs and computer monitors are widescreen, so when you're watching a vertical video it can feel as though you're missing part of the scene. 
  • Use a tripod. A shaky camera can be disorienting. To stabilize your shots, a tripod is the most effective tool for the job. Check out this list of camera tripods for some inexpensive options that provide great value. Here is a list of phone stands that work well if you're shooting with a cell camera. In a pinch, you can place your camera on any stable surface to achieve the same effect, as long as it doesn’t impact your framing (see below).
  • Focus on framing. Make sure the camera is framed at eye level to ensure that everything looks in proper proportion. Don’t give too much or too little space above the subject's head. But, if you do have to shoot close-ups, it is better to cut off the top of the head rather than cutting off the bottom of the chin. Also be aware of distracting objects in the background. For example, a tree branch that appears to be coming out of someone's head.
  • Prioritize good lighting. This element can make or break the quality of your video image. As a rule, well-lit subjects shot with an average camera will always produce a better picture than poorly-lit subjects shot with a high-quality camera. Outdoors, it’s best to shoot with soft, natural light. For example, on a cloudy day, an hour after sunrise, or an hour before sunset. This will help you to avoid silhouetting your subject, creating harsh shadows, or encountering unwelcome bright spots. When filming indoors, pick a room with windows that gets a lot of natural light. Add an additional source of light like a lamp to remove shadows. 

And...Action! Tips for shining in front of and behind the camera.

  • Film short takes. This way, the subject will have fewer things to remember and there will be more opportunities to reshoot something you didn’t like.
  • Dress for success. Subjects should avoid wearing clothing that features text or busy prints. Stick with solid colors. Consider skipping accessories like bracelets or earrings that could create unwanted noise.
  • Keep it candid. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine in the video.
  • Shoot more than you need. You never know exactly how something will turn out once you start cutting footage together. That extra take might just make all the difference in the world.

Putting it all together: Selecting the right tools for the job.

  • Visuals. You don't need to buy a pricey camera to create a video that resonates with audiences. Modern smartphones are capable of capturing clear, crisp images that work perfectly for most online platforms. However, if you'd like to make a longer term investment, here is a list of affordable options for a camera. Keep in mind, many of these products allow for high-quality photography too, if your organization is looking to expand its media assets overall. Zoom Video is also something to explore, providing an easy way to record with others who are remote.
  • Sound. Viewers will put up with poor image quality before they will tolerate poor sound quality. Be aware of wind, voices, traffic, music, and other sounds that might interfere with recording. If possible, invest in a lapel mic or other simple mic set-up. This collection of mics is a good place to start researching.
  • Editing. You don't need expensive software to put together a video that looks clean and professional. For example, Macs already come with an easy-to-use program called iMovie. Here is a list of free editing software for Windows.

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