This post provides you with some tips on how to quickly improve the quality of any video you are creating to present you in the best light!
Tip #1: Planning
Plan out your presentation. If you are going to be using different resources or artefacts plan how and when you intend to bring these into your video. Work out timings for each part of your video and run through it a few times to check timings and practice.
Tip #2: Audio
The sound quality of video recordings can often be more important than the visual quality. If you are delivering a spoken message but the viewer cannot hear or understand your words the message will be lost. You might be capturing your sound from a microphone built into your laptop or from a webcam, but try to carry out your recording in a quiet location. If needed close windows and doors to keep out unwanted noise and distraction. Position your microphone/ computer near to where you are sitting or standing. Try out a draft recording to check that everything is audible. There may be some hiss and background noise, but as long as your words are decipherable this will be enough.
Tip #3: Framing your shots
Videos (or photographs) look good if they follow the ‘rule of thirds’. If you look at the image from your camera on the viewfinder or live preview, the eyes of your subject should be roughly two-thirds of the way up the image. Angle or elevate your webcam to achieve this, such as on a stack of books.
Very often, such as for interviews, or to add some extra ‘paz-zazz’ to shots, the subject of the photography also position themself to two thirds of the screen and leave a third of the frame empty to feature some other aspect as in the image below.
Try to be quite close to the camera to produce a video that looks good on the web, where frame sizes on-screen are often smaller, with greater potential to create an emotional connection with the audience. When you watch TV, particularly the news, look out how people are framed and you will see that they follow the same rules.
Tip #4: Lighting (a big one but worth doing)
If you are planning to capture the video feed from a camera, even if you are using a very low-fi setup such as a basic webcam a couple of simple measures can dramatically increase the quality of the video.
Think about how you can lay out your recording setup so that the subject of the video is positioned in such a way that the main light source falls onto the subject and then back into the camera lens. The main strongest light source is often natural light, and have your subject (or yourself) face towards this light source. Now position the camera in between the subject and the light source, so the light re-bounds off the light source and back into the camera. Often it’s a case of sitting at a table looking towards the light with a webcam at the opposite side of the table facing you.
In professional photography the main light is called a ‘Key’ light, and ideally there would be two further light sources: the ‘Fill’ light, and the ‘Back’ light. If you take a look around your recording room, you may be able to provide these additional light sources with little extra effort, often just turning on all available electric lighting is enough.
(Originally written by Will Moindrot)