Tips for shooting better video

If a picture speaks a thousand words, then how powerful is video? The answer is very.

The fact is that there has never been a time in human existence that this many people have access to videoing devices. Not just any video device either, but smartphones that in a lot of cases are capable of creating stunning cinematic features that were not possible just 5 years ago. Two videos that really hammer home my point:

No matter what device you decide to use whether that be a dedicated camera, or your smartphone, the following tips will help you lift your game.

1. Shoot horizontally where possible

Not only does horizontal video match the eye’s natural field of view, it also allows for better viewing on laptops, desktops, TVs and most other screens. By filling up the whole screen with video, the person watching is allowed to feel like they are within what they are watching, and really connect with what is on the screen.

2. Use a tripod

Shaky video can give people headaches, or in some cases even make them feel nauseous. While nicer tripods can cost a lot of money, any tripod or stabilisation is better than nothing. They can be picked up on eBay for even a few dollars – they don’t have to be tall tripods, something to hold the device steady on a desk is a good start.

3. Balance audio levels between interviewer and interviewee

A common method to use video within a business setting is when getting testimonials or interviewing someone of interest. Depending on how much you want to edit the video, you might include both the interviewer and the interviewee. Its common to then have the interviewer (who is also often shooting the video) much closer to the phone, and the interviewee further away. This naturally gives you an imbalance in the sound levels that can make a video unwatchable. It’s best to hit record, and then use a tripod to position the video device between the interviewer and the interviewee. Try to use as quiet a location as possible, this will help too.

4. Use natural lighting where possible or use a very bright light source

No matter what device you are using to shoot your videos, more light is a sure way to increase the quality of the image. Using natural light is the most balanced and cheapest way to accomplish good lighting but that may not always be possible. It can be complex getting a pro level lighting set up, but any well lit room should also be fine. Try to use lights that are closer to perfect white rather than yellowish. Most devices also let you correct the white balance to account for yellowy light, if this is the case you should change through the options and work out what looks best for you.

If you decide to use an artificial light source, make sure it doesn’t blind anyone in the video and that it also does not cast dark, obvious shadows. This can happen when using natural light as well but the sun’s light is usually nicely softened by the time it gets to us.