Video marketing has certainly seen growth in recent years and for good reasons. Besides being a cost-effective marketing tool, it is also a great method to keep the user engaged.
Videos have now become a major part of social media marketing strategies. In fact, it is an indispensable ‘Do’ in the list of social media do’s and don’ts.
But one thing that must be kept in mind is that the videos that truly gain traction are shot professionally. Amateur-looking, poor-quality videos don’t have a similar impact. Yet, this does not mean that you need high-end equipment to make your videos look more professional.
There are several ways that you can use to make an average homemade video look like it was created with the latest equipment. Find those ways below.
Plan it beforehand
It might be really basic, but you must plan your videos beforehand if you want them to turn out successful once you are done with all the below-mentioned steps.
When you are planning, you should create illustrations of your storyboards that will help put your idea on paper. You will have a much clear idea of what scene should come after another. It will basically help you create an outline of the shot that you desire to record.
Planning is a great step to save time, determine the best time of the day to shoot, and finding the venue. It also acts as a guide that can be your base for your shooting and editing processes.
Only use the back camera
Now, we know that you don’t really need high-end equipment, but you will definitely need an above-average mobile phone to capture good quality videos.
Using a good phone does not mean that you can use just either side of the camera to shoot. You must always use a clean back camera. This is an obvious yet most overlooked practice. The rear camera of every phone will always have much better resolution, quality, and features as opposed to the front camera.
You can place the camera against some books or a table and use it. But the best way is to place it is on a tripod.
If you prefer the handheld approach because you will be speaking to the camera in the frame and you absolutely need to use the front camera, you must keep in mind to look into the lens and not the screen. It will ensure a proper angle.
Use the landscape mode
If you are creating videos for different platforms, you should keep your phone on the landscape mode i.e. turn it on the side. This is because if you capture a video while in portrait (vertical) mode, watching your video on a different device can get troublesome.
However, if you are the subject and you are going to be looking at your phone the entire time you’re shooting, then keeping it in the portrait is not a bad strategy. Otherwise, the ill-fitting of the frame across devices can easily showcase you are an amateur.
Also, you can fit more in the frame when you use a landscape mode. This can help make your video seem classy once it’s ready to launch.
Use the right lighting
Lighting plays a huge role in determining the quality of your video. It is an element with which you must be really careful. When you click an underexposed or a dark photo, it is not as challenging to make it brighter.
However, if you shoot a video with poor or dark lighting, it will be really tricky to brighten the video and avoid noise.
Moreover, keeping your camera focused will also be a challenge if the lighting is not right. It will keep drifting in and out.
So, what should you be using?
You must use a bright source of light to illuminate your subject. This source should ideally be behind you (when you are not the subject).
Avoid using your phone’s flashlight as much as you can. It is a recipe for disaster.
Move and not zoom
If you want to capture a close-up of your subject, it’s indeed very tempting to just pinch out into the screen and zoom in. But this will leave you with a video that has degraded quality. Your shot will pixelate. It will also be a video with jerky motions and unstabilized frames.
As a result, you will not be able to turn a homemade video into a professional one, at any cost.
The solution is pretty simple. Instead of zooming with your camera, zoom with your feet. This just means that whenever you need to get a close-up of a particular subject, pause, move closer to the subject, and start filming again. It’s not as tricky.
Add a grid
Angles play a huge role in making a video not only look professional but appealing as well. A lopsided video will obviously be a huge fail. That’s where adding a grid is pretty relevant.
When you add a grid, you can use elements in the background as your reference points to ensure that your camera is kept straight and is not toppling on one side.
Also, if your subjects are people, grids can help with composition too. You can align the eyes of the people with the top line of the grid.
Keep the device stable
Stability plays an important role in making your videos look more professional and sophisticated. If you don’t hold your camera straight and it wobbles, it will immediately give away that you are a beginner.
That’s why, it’s always suggested to use additional tools like a tripod to record your videos, especially if you are trying to capture something while walking.
However, if you don’t own a tripod yet, you must use both of your hands to hold your camera still. Or, if you don’t have to move around and you only need to place your camera in one spot, you can use books or even a bag of rice as a stand. It’s an ideal DIY stabilization tool.
Don’t go overboard with the background
One of the biggest mistakes that beginners make is that they just start shooting a video anywhere. You shouldn’t do that.
Make an effort to declutter your background. The more simple it is, the better will be your result. The best thing to do is to get a solid-colored background. You can use a bedsheet, plain wall, or maybe a curtain.
Keep your subject at a distance to avoid casting shadows on the background.
You need a clean background because you want all the attention of the viewers to be on your subject and not otherwise. Of course, once you get better, you can experiment with backgrounds. But start from simple and then, take it up a level.
Work on your composition
Composition plays a huge role in making your video look better or worse. You must understand that videography is a lot more than just hitting a play button on the camera and shooting the scene.
If you are trying to portray your videos as professional, framing and composition are what will help you go a long way. One wrong frame and you will easily fall into the amateur category.
So, what is composition? It’s the arrangement and placement of certain visual elements in your frame. You must let these elements tell your story. A-frame that’s composed well will be aesthetically appealing and easy to understand.
This is where the Rule of Thirds comes into the picture. This is a rule where you deliberately place your subject towards a more left or right third of the frame. This opens up two-third of the frame, making the entire frame look well-composed to the viewer.
Set the white balance
This is mainly a step for those who are using different cameras to record the same scene.
Temperatures and color correction of a camera can often be challenging elements, especially when it comes to editing. Just imagine trying to incorporate different angles of the same scene but one is more bluish and the other is warmer. It will take away the entire appeal of the video.
That’s why you must set the white balance in all the cameras you are planning to use to record a scene. It will ensure consistency and help you save time on editing your clips.
Maintain a time balance
This is a tip that many videographers don’t give away. It’s very minimal but very useful, especially when you are editing your videos.
The main objective of your video would be to keep the audience hooked; to hold their attention. This can be done when your shots vary between five to ten seconds. Also, you must keep your shots steady for a minimum of 10 seconds before you plan on zooming or panning your camera.
This will help reduce camera movements and make the process of shooting a video less tedious for you.
Learn basic video editing
It is pretty obvious but it still needs to be put out there. Learning the basics of video editing will help you go a long way in making your videos look more professional.
The best thing is that there are now hundreds and thousands of video editors that are available at your disposal. A lot of them have interfaces that are not as tricky to understand.
You can learn how to get rid of unwanted shots, add music, merge different clips or photos, or even trim your clips professionally.
Learning these video editing apps will not only be helpful for the videos that you shoot, but also for other video types like guides and tutorial videos. Suppose you wish to create an explainer video on Google cache or another similar educational topic. You can use your basics of video editing tool to make professional-looking videos on such topics as well. It helps expand your horizon.
Creating a professional video does not need highly expensive equipment or a team of art directors. Of course, you need to be creative in deciding on a clear background and while composing the shot, but you can still create a high-quality video using the back camera of your phone. Just make sure that your phone is always stable and the frame is always focused on your subject.
Before you start shooting, set the white balance, add a grid, and ensure proper lighting. This will also help save a lot of time when you finally sit to edit your videos.