I know this might sound like I’m giving away all the wonderful secrets to what we do here over at SkipperFilms, but we stand firmly on the notion that nobody is better or worse at producing art, only different. Video production companies around the world all have the tools available to produce fantastic quality videos, but where we all differ is our creative minds, and how those minds process ideas into storytelling visual compositions. I’m not sure if I can even begin to explain how a creative mind works, or how to ultimately become passionate about Video Storytelling, but what I CAN hand down to you for the low, low price of $Free.99, are the physical aspects and tools it takes to bring your video skills up to the big leagues!
What? How can the first thing about video be audio? Well, I didn’t say these were in order, settle down. But, audio is absolutely vital to telling any story. Whether you use the perfect musical score in the background to siphon every drop of emotion from the imagery, or the clear, crisp voice of your CEO talking about the very moment he or she mustered up the motivation to build the company from the ground up, your audio track can and will make-or-break your video project.
Check out this video we did for the Tom Dolan Swim School, which has several layers of audio that really help tell the story and evoke emotion:
So what’s the best way to capture your audio? Listen closely… are you listening? Ok good: NEVER use on-camera audio for capturing vocal tracks. Shotgun Microphones, Lavaliere Microphones, Handheld Microphones… an external microphone plugged into your camera will almost always improve your video by using clean and audible voices!
2) Resolution. It’s not the pixels that you put in, it’s what you put into the pixels!
Any video camera built in the last few years will almost definitely have the power of High-Definition video. And yes, I’m including the all-powerful iPhone or Android camera. Meaning, anyone can reach into their pockets, and potentially produce wonderful-quality in their videos. With that said, when you hire a high-end production company, you’re not paying for more resolution (unless you’re interested in our 4K Ultra HD resolution offerings), your paying for how they use the resolution. Things like shooting in properly lit areas (see #3), understanding the different frame rates, and using the proper camera support. Additionally, you want to make sure your video file doesn’t get too compressed in the process of downloading, uploading, exporting, and sending. Pro Tip: Services like Facebook and YouTube will sometimes have severe compression, leaving all that wonderful work you did to keep the quality high in the dust.
3) Lights, Camera, Action!
People want the latest and greatest camera, because they think the purchase will directly result in huge leaps and bounds as far as image quality goes. The truth? You can get that level of a quality boost for a MUCH smaller investment. You can do it with proper lighting. There are plenty of lighting kits out there that are inexpensive, but will separate your subject from the background, even out shadows in a room, and allow you to keep your camera’s sensitivity lower. You know how when you shoot in a dark room with your phone, and the image looks rigid, and nowhere near as smooth as a daytime video? That’s your camera sensitivity working really hard, but as you can guess, falls short of feeling professional enough for your high-end company.
4) Your camera wants what any good relationship wants: Stability!
One of the biggest things I notice when judging a video’s quality (I can’t help my judgmental nature, it’s my job to figure out what makes a better video!), is the ever-nauseating shaky-cam. It’s amazing how much technology they are shoving into such small packages, but one thing that is overlooked often is some good ol’ high-school physics. The smaller and lighter the camera, the harder it is to keep it steady while simply holding it in your hands. If shooting a video on your phone that you intend on posting it to all of your company’s followers on social media, constant shaking can distract your viewers from your desired message. Invest in a simple tripod, which they even make phone mounts for. If you intend on capturing some sweet moving shots, there are several styles of stabilizers on the market that can completely transform your camera movements, eliminating most, if not all of your film jitters. Camera sliders or dollies can give you excellent lateral movement for those creative shots, and handheld stabilizers such as a Steadicam or Glidecam, or 3-axis gimbals such as the DJI Ronin or Movi M5 are great for walking shots.
5) We’ll fix it in post! Editing isn’t everything, but your project is nothing without it.
Once the film is in the can… or I guess, once the digital files are on your tiny memory card, you can begin the meticulous process or editing those random clips into something beautiful. The whole point to editing these clips down is to turn them into a compelling story, something that people want to see, and something that captivates them. Your video should tell your story in the shortest time possible. Of course, there are exceptions to that rule, but one major flaw in a lot of DIY videos is length. The individual shots might be too long, or the dialog could drag on just a little bit, but you want people to want to watch the whole video. Once someone gets bored, they move on, so don’t wait too long to get to your punch line.
So there you go! 5 insightful tips to help you put people like me out of business! Kidding, we take great pride in our efficiency, and the experience our clients have while working with us. Again, we can’t put into text how our creative minds work, just the tools that allow the visions to come to life. But if you do so possess the drive and motivation to DIY a video that will represent your company, take our advice on these 5 items, and you won’t regret it. For your more complicated projects and marketing strategies, we of course recommend allowing a trained professional video production company to help you build your story. If you want to chat about your next project and how SkipperFilms can help with your company video, please don’t hesitate to Contact us today!