Are  you getting ready to film a video for your company? Creating videos that highlight your brand are a great way to boost business. They can be used for training and onboarding, to introduce your team or to explain what your company is all about. Before you press record, there are a few video essentials you need to have. Keep reading to find out what they are.

Lighting Video Essentials

As you prepare to film it’s important you scope out the area to determine what your lighting needs will be. Rarely should you depend on the existing lighting of the area, especially if you’re filming inside with overhead lights. Here are few lighting essentials to consider.

Light Temperature: Don’t ruin your video with mixed temperature colors. Light is measured in Kelvins on a scale of 1,000 – 10,000K. The lower the number of Kelvin, the warmer the light appears. For example, going from cool to warm:

  • Candles emit approximately 1,000K.
  • Incandescent bulbs are 2,700K.
  • Office fluorescents are around 4,200K.
  • Midday sun is 5,600K.
  • A clear blue sky is 10,000K.

Light Placement: Where you place the light sources makes a world of difference. When filming a stationary object or person, place the light sources in front of the camera lens and right above subject's eye-line. You should never place the light source below them shining up.

In a basic lighting setup, there should be three lights: a key light, fill light and backlight. Each one has a purpose and use.

·         Key light: This should be brightest of the three and provide the bulk of light to your subject.

·         Fill light: This light cancels out shadows caused by the key light. It’s important to note that your fill light should be less intense so it eliminates shadows, but doesn’t create a flat looking shot by having it match your key light too closely. 

·         Backlight: With the other two lights, your subject can accidentally blend in with the background. The backlight gives your shot some depth by separating your subject from the background. Your backlight can be hard light with no diffusion since its placement does not create shadows on the face of your subject.  

Light Source: In general, the larger the light source you have, the softer the light will be, which creates a more flattering result. If you don’t have a large bulb, however, there are a few ways you can create a softer light:

  • Use diffusion material in front of your light.
  • Bounce smaller light source off a reflector. Don’t have a reflector? A white poster board will do in a pinch.
  •  Use a fluorescent bulb since they're typically softer than LED.

Sound Video Essentials

Your audience may be able to overlook a shadowy face here and there, but hearing the wind blowing through the microphone, completely drowning out what you’re subject is saying, brings down the quality of your video dramatically. Don’t let this happen to you; here are some ways you can make sure that your sound is crisp and clear.

Headphones are your friend

You may think that there this is no reason to use headphones while recording, but you would be wrong. Using a set of headphones to listen to the audio while recording will let you know exactly what your audience will hear, in the same way that using the viewfinder will let you see exactly what they will see.

Your naked ears may miss the train somewhere in the distance that distracts from the speaker or the ambient noise that we’ve grown accustomed to. With headphones, you can tune out those sounds while being more aware of the noises that have a direct impact on the quality of your video.

Off Camera Mics

Have you ever watched a video that was extremely quiet one moment, to the point where you had to turn up your volume drastically, only to have to quickly turn it down for the next scene in fear your windows would blow out? It’s quite frustrating as a viewer to constantly adjust the volume so you can hear all the dialogue but still enjoy the action. Don’t do this to your audience. If you’re subject will be moving, take the mic off the camera and use a device that will allow you to keep the distance the same between whoever is speaking and the microphone.

Even if you plan on your subject sitting in one spot, it is still a good idea to avoid using the microphone built into the camera. They typically don’t have the best sound quality and can pick up a lot of ambient and outside noise that covers up what your subject is talking about.

Essential Video Equipment

Having the proper equipment is essential to creating a stellar video. Here are few items you need to make sure you have ready before you start filming.

Camera: This is probably the most obvious. You can’t create a video if you have nothing to shoot with. You don’t have to rush out and buy an expensive video camera though. With the latest advances in mobile technology, you can actually use a cell phone and get a decent video from it – provided you have a few other pieces of key equipment.

If you plan to create high-level videos regularly, such as onboarding and training videos, it may be worth the investment in purchasing a camera not attached to a phone. Here are some suggestions for cameras that won’t break the bank and will get the job done.

Tripod: Whether you’re going to use an iPhone or professional camcorder, a tripod is absolutely necessary to film a decent video for your business. Not only will it stabilize your camera, a tripod also allows you to adjust the height to fit the subject of your video in the right spot within the frame.

Microphone: We have already briefly talked about sound and why you need to take the mic off the camera (as in don’t rely on the microphone that’s part of the camera), but what kind of mic should you get? That really depends on the purpose of your video and where you will be shooting. There are a few options you can go with:

  • Lavalier Mic: This is the most common mic used for interviews and reality TV shows. These small microphones clip onto a person’s clothes and are relatively unnoticeable. They are perfect for picking up the person’s voice who is wearing the mic, and they come in wired (attached to the camera) or wireless. 
  • Directional Mic: If you plan on shooting in an area with a lot of noise, consider using a directional mic. As the name implies, the microphone will pick up the sound in the direction you’re pointing it. You can purchase a boom mic (which is a directional mic attached to a large pole) to give you more freedom and ability to move with the subject if required, but it would require that you have someone there with you to hold it. If you don’t have someone who can do that for you, or if you don’t need to worry about being able to move freely, a camera mounted mic will be sufficient.

Even if you’re shooting your video with an iPhone, you still have mic options.

  • Recorder: While not technically a microphone, an audio recorder is another option you can use to record sounds and people talking. The down side is that in the editing process you will have to sync up what you record on the device with what has been filmed.

And since we’re on the topic of sound equipment – make sure you or whoever is responsible for the sound uses headphones! A simple pair of earbuds will do, but full-size, over-ear ones would be better.

Computer: Don’t forget about a computer. You will need it to upload and edit your film as well as to post it on a platform to share with your audience.

Editing Video Essentials         

The last essential for video production is editing. I recently wrote a blog post all about the editing basics. Here are a few key takeaways from the post.

1. Film multiple takes. Before you even begin to start editing, it’s important to the end product that you take multiple shots. Filming multiple takes of your video and in clips will give you options to piece together the perfect video with the right tone, voice and lines you want to use.

2. Go through each clip. After you upload all of the files containing the shots you filmed, go through each one and decide which clips fit your message and video tone the best. One you have the clips you want to use input them into your video timeline.

3. Keep your story in mind. No matter the type of video you’re creating, it’s supposed to convey a message to your viewers. As Caleb Ward says in this Premium Beat article: 

Editing is so much more than simply cutting footage. It’s an opportunity to take your audience on a journey. Whether you’re editing a complex narrative film or simply putting together a corporate video, there is a deeper story being told.

One of the most important video editing tips, keep your story in mind.

4. Know your Cuts. There are many different ways you can put together a video. Understanding the feeling, action or motivation you’re hoping to convey will help you determine which is right for your video. This article from Pond5 has a fantastic break down of the different types of cuts and how to use them to achieve your goals.

5. Add Music. Like cuts, music is a powerful tool to provoke emotion and certain reactions from your audience; it is a must if you want to keep your audience entertained.

Want to read the full post on editing? Check it out here.

Final Thoughts

Before you begin recording you need to make sure that you have the essentials covered: light, sound, equipment and editing. With the proper pieces in place, your video will look professional and will help your brand stand out from the rest.

Don’t have the time or resources to invest in these video essentials? That’s what I’m here for! Contact me today to learn how I can help your business with its video needs.