Whether we are judging books by their covers, preparing ourselves for potential romantic encounters or searching for the most appropriate outfit for an interview, we know that how we present ourselves can leave a lasting impression. It’s a powerful way of demonstrating to others how we want to be understood.
I’m not here to assess your style or your bookshelf, but I am here to judge your video! With more and more places using video for promotions or to connect their organization with others, I’m always amazed at how we have forgotten – or at least, how we fail to channel – the first date jitters.
It’s really about your reception: If you haven’t attempted to impress others and to show them your efforts, the chances are you won’t. Whether it’s for a promo video or a webinar, having the quality of your footage match the quality of your content makes such a difference to the message you send out.
To help you with creating a slicker and more polished video, I have shot my own. I’ve demonstrated some quick concepts that can easily be applied to give your video content a professional sheen. You don’t need particularly fancy equipment, and you don’t need an advanced film or design education to see the very real benefits of these simple tips.
Below is a transcript of the video for reference.
If you have no light, you have no image. This is why it is the most important concept to grasp. The more light you have, the better your image will also look: I can change the setting on the camera to make it more sensitive to light, but it changes how the image looks … or I can change the setting so it allows light in for longer, but then I will get too much motion blur.
COMPOSITION AND FRAMING (THE RULE OF THIRDS).
You know that weird little grid you can see on your phone camera? That grid is setting up the rule of thirds. The easiest composition in the rule of thirds is to align things on the lines of the grid, or at the intersecting points on the grid. It might be an interesting thing to look at the photos you enjoy, and see where they would lie on the grid — and see how many actually fall into the rule of thirds.
MANUALLY LOCK YOUR CAMERA, IF YOU CAN
By manually locking, you avoid any of the weird little changes that will happen when you use auto functions. If you are forced to use auto functions on your camera, the more light you have and the less contrast in that light, the fewer auto functions you will see fluctuate in your image.
180 DEGREE RULE
If I were to draw an imaginary line from the nose of the hockey player to the nose of the wolf, the 180 degree rule would state that I would never cross that line while shooting- so I can shoot within 180 degrees of that straight line:
What this does is present the same special relationship so that my hockey player always appears on the right side of my frame, and the wolf always appears on the left side of the frame. If I were to cross that axis, you can see the spatial relationship has changed: This makes it harder to cut between, and for the viewer to make sense of where the hockey player is in the scene in relationship to the wolf.
The very basic of montage theory is a + b = c. In other words, by adding two things together, you get something else that is neither those two things at the end. The easiest montage is to think of a sequential montage. By using a linear action sequence, and a shooting sequence that uses a wide shot, a medium shot and a close up, you can accomplish montages that make sense and still capture the emotional space that connects a viewer to the intricacies of a larger picture.
DEPTH OF FIELD
There’s a whole lot of science to this, but all you really need to know is that if you want that background to go out of focus, take a step back with the camera, use your zoom, zoom in and voila: That background is out of focus.
So there you have it. Those are my quick and dirty tricks. Always remember, Google things, learn things, search things, do things. The more you actually get your hands dirty and do stuff, the more you are going to learn about what each of those things actually does and how you can use it.