Most of our clients know they should be producing more videos. One reason they don’t is because is it can be expensive to use us every time. Another is that they want to shoot a video ‘now’ and lead times make that impossible. It may seem counterintuitive for us to be saying this, but we are all for our clients producing their own films. And we want them to look as good as possible.
One of the best starting points if you are shooting videos yourself is to create your own production studio. This is a lot easier than it sounds and done well will make a massive difference to the end result. Here are our 4 tips for creating your own video studio and one extra tip for creating a finished product you’ll be proud of.
Unless your video is a parody along the lines of Video Agency Studio Review, don’t sit someone behind their desk or in a meeting room. Hide the bland wooden tables, the swivel chairs and the indoor plants.
Don’t be tempted either to place your subject in front of a stark white wall. Trust us, this will look dull and boring. Instead, set up a paper background that with the right lighting (see below) will give your video depth and texture. Seamless paper is available in all sorts of colours and sizes both online and from photography shops. It’s cheap to buy and its smooth, non-reflective surface makes it the ideal backdrop.
A quick tip to avoid a mistake you’ll only make once: make sure the colour of the background and the clothes your subject is making don’t clash or merge together.
John Malkovich was right when he said: “Movies are all about the lighting.” It’s the main thing that distinguishes videos shot by professionals and those shot by amateurs. You can make huge strides in narrowing that gap by following some easy steps. First off, cut out all outside light. The sun has a nasty habit of changing brightness throughout the day so blocking it out entirely gives you total control over the light.
Next, turn off all overhead lights. These can cast unflattering shadows across the subject’s face. You’ll only need three lights to make a real difference. ‘Three point lighting’ is a standard technique used in photoshoots and videos and its rules are simple to apply.
The ‘key’ light is the main light. It is the strongest light and is placed to one side of the subject so that this side is well lit and the other side has some shadow.
Next is the ‘fill’ light. This secondary light is placed opposite the key light. It is so called Emperor de Affiliates Review because it fills the shadows created by the key light. Both the key and fill lights should ideally be placed slightly higher than the subject’s head. The ‘back’ light is placed behind your subject. It should be aimed at the back wall and light the subject from the rear.
Echo is the big enemy when it comes to audio. Hanging blankets from the walls or bringing sofas into the room will help with sound dampening and limit reverberation. Most cameras have an inbuilt microphone but this should be avoided. It’s better to use a lapel mike clipped to your subject instead. Most important of all, turn off noisy heating or air conditioning systems.
Decent cameras are expensive to buy but can be reasonable to hire. Suppliers such as Genesis Hire in London can advise on the most suitable camera for your purposes. (They supply other equipment such as lighting, too.)
- Post production
This is where things get a bit trickier. Yes, you can edit your video yourself (if you have the right software). Post-production is where everything comes together: visuals, colour and sound unite in one package to create the finished product. Not everyone has the skill set required for this though and if this is the point at which you get stuck, we’d be delighted to help you. You can find out more about our Social eCom Classroom Review production facilities here.
The cost of creating videos continues to decrease. Meanwhile, social video apps like Snapchat and live video tools are changing behaviour by lowering the barriers to entry for shooting video and feeling comfortable on camera.
As a result, more businesses are looking to do more videos in-house. This will likely mean setting up a DIY video production studio and building an in-house team. Sound daunting? It doesn't have to be!
We've got some tips to help you setup an in-house DIY video production studio for your business.
Choosing an Appropriate Location
You don’t necessarily need a dedicated room, and in fact it might be nice to have your office or facilities in the background, provided it's somewhere relatively quiet. If you're able to film outside of office hours, your options are likely much greater.
No matter where you film, it's best if you're able to leave the equipment permanently setup to make it as quick and easy as possible to begin filming. The key to producing videos in-house consistently is to remove as many barriers as possible.
Learn more: How to Prepare for Filming at Your Office
Get the Right Equipment
The first thing you’ll need is a camera, and the best camera is often the one you already own. You can use an iPhone, but consider at a minimum a DSLR like a Canon 5D. There's a good chance that a member of your team already owns one!
If you are going to buy a new camera, we’d typically recommend an HD camcorder which will be easier to use and can record for longer periods of time than a DSLR, making it great for events and longer presentations.
When it comes to audio, no matter what kind of camera you use, you should always use an external microphone. While your camera might be 10 feet or so away from your subject, using any on-camera microphone will pickup too much ambient sound and will make your videos sound really echoey.
We usually recommend a shotgun mic on a stand, with a cable that you’ll run back to your camera.
Now, if you did try to save money by using your DSRL or iPhone, this is where you’ll now have to buy some additional equipment. You’ll need an external audio recording device, since you can’t plug a professional microphone into those smaller consumer devices. This separate audio file is then going to have to be synced up with the video during editing, which again is why a camcorder is usually the easier way to go.
Lighting is something you can build on over time, but it’s a good idea to at least get a small LED panel. You can work with existing lighting from windows, but overhead lights tend to create uneven lighting and racoon eyes.
Unless you are planning on showcasing your office in the background, you should invest in a paper backdrop to be used in place of filming against a wall These come in different colours as well in case you’d like to mix it up a little, for about $100 each.
Start by doing an assessment of what computer equipment you already have at your disposal, whether it be a Mac or a PC. Software like Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere are available for both, starting at around $300.
When you start getting into thing like motion graphics, we recommend working with pre-built templates whenever possible - software that can help you generate these from scratch like Adobe After Effects can get pretty complicated and expensive.
Depending on whether you already have a camera but assuming you have a suitable computer, you’re likely looking at an investment of between $3,000 - $8,000 for equipment.
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Building an In-House Video Team
Now consider who will be filming. Will you be hiring a staff member for this specific purpose, or is there someone with an interest in getting training who perhaps already has some technical skills?
The person who edits your videos may not be the same person who does the filming, as these are very different skill-sets. Consider whether someone on your team might already have some experience or has a willingness to learn some of the editing software, perhaps with the help of a Lynda.com tutorial series.
Don't Forget the Script
The script is the starting-point for any video. It's not just the source material or the words that will be spoken, but should dictate the pace, the tone, and even how and what is being filmed or animated. If the script isn't right to begin with, you're setting yourself up for even more work and problems down the line.
It's also useful to do a 'table read' before filming your video, to ensure that the words written on the page feel natural and still make sense when read aloud. This will ensure that re-writes aren't being done during filming where time may be more critical, and approvals from stakeholders are harder to get. Remember, it takes longer to read a script outloud than it does in your head, so be sure to time your table read in case your script needs to be shortened.
Learn more: Guide to Scriptwriting for Video