It is time to think about your upcoming film shoot, but you are not sure what to wear. To keep you focussed on the filming, below are some tips on what someone can do to better prepare for being in front of a camera.
To avoid awkward fidgeting and face touching, make sure hair is kept out of the face. The focus should be on what the interviewee is saying, not on hair adjustments. Bring along your comb or brush to keep it handy for a refresh to settle ‘fly-aways’ but no major changes to the style so there is consistency with all your segments.
Some shots may require close-ups of hands on a keyboard, handling a phone call, etc. Therefore, it is recommended that all interviewees trim their fingernails as a minimum.
Nose or ear hair
Let’s not lie. While this may be a difficult subject to bring up, it is important to make sure that all nose hair is groomed so attention is not on the interviewee for the wrong reasons. The same can be true about ear hair. Before the day of the shoot, its recommended that you remove any unwanted hair.
Have foundation handy to cover any skin shine. Can’t convince your CEO to wear some foundation? At least have some mineral veil or loose powder to eliminate the shine. And if you wear full make up, keep it light and fresh. It’s good to have some lip balm on hand as well as it stops your lips from drying out during the interview.
Clothing – Colours vs patterns
The feeling of not knowing what to wear when appearing on camera can be an overwhelming experience. Additionally, not knowing what colors and clothing appropriate to wear in the video can add further anxiety. This is why a question such as ‘ What color clothing is suitable to wear when being filmed ‘ is a common one.
As a general rule, solid and rich colors look best on video and film. Try and avoid wearing bright white clothing which can dominate the screen. A safer color to wear would be a not-quite-white colors like light beige and light grey. Also, very pale colors may work better. Choose colors that compliment your skin tone and wear colors that make you feel comfortable and confident. For this video series please dress in a smart casual style. Note that we only request you not to wear green if there is green screen filming planned.
When it comes to selecting your on-camera wardrobe you should avoid clothing that has a lot of patterns. Try staying away from clothing that has stripes, plaids, and floral patterns. Unless you are trying to promote another brand avoid wearing clothing that has a logo written all over it. You are your brand, so consider wearing something that brings out your personality.
Businesses and brands are contining to evolve. In the world of online video, there are growing number of video calls taking place over platforms like Zoom and Skype. We are now seeing live broadcasts gain in popularity over LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media platforms. With the power to live broadcast, below are a list of areas that will allow participants to look and sound more professional.
Clothing, hair and makeup tips
The feeling of not knowing what to wear can be an overwhelming experience. As a general rule, solid and rich colors look best on video and film. Try and avoid wearing bright white clothing that can dominate the screen. When it comes to selecting your on-camera wardrobe you should avoid clothing that has a lot of patterns. Try staying away from clothing that has stripes, plaids, and floral patterns. It also does not hurt to have blotting paper handy. Blotting paper can be used to reduce oily skin. You can read more advice on clothing tips by clicking on this link.
Apply the rule of thirds
A mistake often made by those appearing on a video call is not properly applying the rule of thirds. The ‘ rule of thirds ‘ is well known in the photography and videography industry. It is used to help compose balanced shots. The basic principle behind the rule starts with dividing the image into 9 equal parts. The grid is used as a guide to place points of interest. In the example below, those appearing on screen should position themselves so their eyes line up on the top horizontal line. When composing yourself on-camera use the top grid as a guide to align your eyes.
Rule of thirds – screen split into 9 sections
Rule of thirds – presenter eyes positioned correcly on top bar
Correct laptop positioning
When positioning your laptop begin by applying the rule of thirds. Next, it’s important to get the angle of the camera right to ensure the framing is correct. In examples A & B, the computer screen has either been tilted forward or backward. This can result in you appearing in a dominant or submissive position. Also, the balance will not be right. What you need to aim for is a balanced position like in examples C and D. For example D, consider using a few books to level out the laptop so it is composing your face more evenly.
Example A – Screen tilted inwards ( incorrect )
Example B – Screen tilted Outwards ( incorrect )
Example C – Screen centered ( correct )
Example D – Books used to raise laptop ( correct )
Your background is your window shop
When broadcasting live its important to get your background right. First, scan the background and begin by decluttering. It’s important that the audience focuses on you and not something in the background. Secondly, it’s recommended that you remove any items like family photos. Lastly, the background is equivalent to a shop window. Therefore, don’t be afraid to stage the background with any available furniture and plants.
Use a one or two-point lighting set-up
Get the lighting right before the live broadcast begins and you will look much more professional over the live online call. As a minimum, I would recommend a one or two-point light set up. This will involve the set-up of a single key light or a key light and a fill light. The key light is the stronger of the two lights and will be the main source of illumination. Having a light means participants on the call can better illuminate themselves. For a professional online call, no one will want to see participants in the dark. For example A below, only one light is used. For example B, an additional light called a ‘ fill light ‘ is used to balance any shadows. For any of us appearing on a live call that does not have any portable lights, setting up near a window as shown in example C can provide a good source of a key light is the next best option. If you are using any lights, the general rule is to position them on a 45-degree angle. Afterward, move the lights as desired until your face is lit up enough. When working with any lights keep a special focus on any less desired shadows that may appear on your face.
Example A – One point lighting
Example B – Two point ligthing
Example C – One point lighting with a window
Get your audio right
No one will want to listen to a participant for long if the quality of their audio is not audible. Most modern laptops will have internal microphones, but using an external microphone will vastly improve the audio of any participants. As a general rule, you want to set-up for live recording in a room that is not loud. For starters, avoid any rooms that have to much street noise. Additionally, listen out for humming sounds that may be coming from a heating or air conditioning unit.
There a number of options available for audio equipment to help anyone get started. For example A, a simple lapel microphone can be attached to a laptop and clipped to the participant. Participants can easily clip the microphone around their neck area. If participants wish to hide the lapel there are techniques I will cover in a follow-up post. For example B, participants can attach USB stationary microphones to their desks. Example C demonstrates a more advanced set-up. If you are after a full studio set-up, there is plenty of equipment out there whcih will be followed up in a future post.
Example A – Lapel mircrophone
Example B – Stationary microphone
Example C – Advanced microphone set up
Webcam – Do you need to upgrade?
Most modern laptops will come with a webcam, but not all are created equally. Less expensive laptops will typically have web cameras that have compromised quality. If you will be appearing on many live broadcasts, I would consider upgrading your web camera to something more professional if your existing web camera has a low resolution.
1080p vs 720p webcam? What resolution do you need? If you’re planning on recording and publishing the video afterward, then maxing out the resolution is advisable. For general video conferencing a webcam with a resolution of 720p should be sufficient. The image quality you will gain from purchasing a web camera will easily outway any price tag.
Best of luck with your online video making.Stay tuned for future updates including links to recommended erquipment.
Whether you decide to hire a production company or produce your own content, there are three distinct stages of video production you should be aware of. Each phase will have its own challenges and will vary depending on the size of your project. Large scale productions in the television and film space will have dedicated teams working on each phase. Whether you are creating a short online video or larger sized project, the getting familiar with the three main stages below will enhance any video production.
Video Production Stages
Pre-Production – Scripting & Storyboard
The pre-production phase of a project is where all the planning takes place before the camera rolls. Whether its measured in minutes, hours or days, this planning phase sets the overall vision of the project. Pre-production also includes working out the shoot location and casting. You’re in pre-production mode the moment you start writing down a few points to cover in a video even if it is a short piece made for a blog. As your projects become more ambitious you can start to storyboard the project. Storyboards can really smooth out the post-production process when it’s time for editing. This will really be useful if there are multiple people working on the project.
Production begins once the footage is recorded. This process will capture all the scenes and information captured in the pre-production process. During the production process you apply various the lighting requirements, framing and work on composition. Some projects will also shoot B-Roll during the production process. B-Roll is supplementary footage that can be included in the finished product.
The post production process begins after all the footage has been captured. This is actually one of my favourite parts of the video making process. Graphics can be added along with images, music, colour correction and special effects. If you are producing your own video content there will be a bit of a learning curve at first, but it will be really rewarding.Post-production is like putting the last coat of paint on in a room and it will be well worth the time to learn the basics. This is where your video project will really come to life.
If you are in charge of project editing and not sure where to start I’d recommend that you check out YouTube’s video editor, Movie Maker for the PC or iMovie for the Mac. All editors share some basic principles. If you need more advanced features you can always look at some of the pro-consumer video editors like PowerDirector available on www.cyberlink.com or a pro editor such as Premier Pro or Final CutPro X.
This has to be one of the hottest topics out there when it comes to producing any type of video. I really think this has a lot to do with the type of online video you wish to produce. For example, people may be more ready to sit through an interview on an interesting topic. Likewise, people may watch a longer tutorial video explaining how to use a product or service. On the downside, all too often I have seen promotional videos created by businesses which are too long and do not have a tight script. Oftentimes a business that has hired and paid good money to a production company to produce a promotional video may think they are getting more value for money if the video is longer. Unfortunately, this will often have the opposite effect. A short and snappy promotional video pitching a story in 90 seconds will most often be more effective than a 5 minutes production.
Monitoring your own videos will ultimately give you all the evidence you need to see who, and for how long, your target audience is watching your videos. You will be able to work out if visitors are at least watching 75% of your video content. If it turns out that a visitors video attention span is a small percentage, it’s time to check your online video strategy. Below are some tips which will help make your videos more engaging.
Advice on improving video viewing rates
Mix up your videos ASL (Average Shot Length)
One thing to consider when creating any online video should be the average shot length (ASL). ASL is the time spent on a single shot appearing in a video and is effectively used in film and television to create pace. For example, your video may be 2 minutes in length, but made up of 8 different shots averaging 15 seconds each. I would recommend experimenting with different shot lengths to help keep your audience interested. If your online video’s focus only has one subject, remember that you can break up the video using visual aids such as charts, pictures and graphs so the camera isn’t always focused on the subject. Understanding how ASL effects video attention span is key to the success of any online content.
Video 1– Presenter discusses global warming. We only see different shots of the presenter with a mix of close up and wide shots.
Video 2 – Presenter discusses global warming. Actual shots of melting icebergs along with pictures are shown rather than the focus solely on the presenter.
Feedback is a must – Get familiar with your video’s analytics
Ultimately, you will need an accurate analytical tool to measure video attention span. It will provide the best feedback on how much of your online video is being watched. YouTube and Vimeo both have a set of very powerful analytics which should not be ignored. Pay particular attention to the ‘ Average View Duration ‘ of your video which is the estimated average of minutes watched per view for the selected content, date range and region.
YouTube provides loads of useful analytics to further understand the popularity of your video. If you go to your YouTube accounts dashboard you will find an option to view your videos analytics. Alternatively, you can click on this YouTube analytics link (you’ll see information on your account once logged in).
Recommended duration lengths for video lengths
Below are some guidelines to follow based on 5 common video types on the web. Ultimately keeping a close an analytics tool will give you the best guidance on what’s working for you.
If you were to meet a potential customer face to face, how would you convince them that your business is better than the competition? A pitch is first about your business and why people should buy into it. The video should explain what makes your business unique. Also, the pitch video should explain how your business intends on solving the key problems that exist in the marketplace.
Recommendation – Keep it around 90 seconds or less. If you think that’s short, check out the hugely successful ‘ Dollar Shave Club ‘ video on YouTube which is around 94 seconds. While this video came out many years ago, it went viral shortly after launch.
Video tutorials are a great way of explaining how a product or service is used. For example, many software companies use tutorials to explain complicated functionality. Just type in ‘ How to … ‘ followed by your subject of interest into YouTube and and you will find many videos.
Recommendation – Take as long as it takes to do the tutorial, but try not to repeat yourself. This is one video type which I feel can defy normal rules. If someone generally wants an answer to something they will be more inclined to watch the content until they find the answer. If you are worried that your video is long, consider breaking it up into video chapters.
Testimonial videos showing how others perceive your business can be very effective marketing tools adding substantial credibility. If a new customer is thinking of purchasing a product or service from your business, seeing a video testimonial on your website could be key to sales.
Recommendation – Similar to a testimonial video I would recommend keeping the video less than 45 seconds. This will force you to get straight to the point in explaining why the visitor will benefit from the free product or service.
Video interviews can be powerful tools if your business is trying to spread an idea or generate interest in a product. They can also be useful in explaining more complex topics. Interview videos are also great at generating credibility if a KPI (Key Person of Influence) is involved in the filming.
Recommendation – Similar to a tutorials, these videos can be longer in length. The subject material and types of questions will all be factors. If you’ve recorded a long interview and are worried about the length, remove the other content using an editing program to make it more snappy.
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