Many businesses want to ramp up their company video marketing as they see it becoming a more popular medium amongst companies. Needless to say, it can be intimidating to start creating company video marketing content. Consumers can scrutinize videos more, and it can be much harder to get your content in front of your audience. It can be challenging to start, as there is so much to think about before you even hit the record button. You need to consider the equipment you are going to use, location, topic, props, content – the list goes on. Thankfully, the price of gear and production software has dropped drastically over recent years. Not to mention, most smartphones now can record extremely high-quality content and can save you on buying a camera.
Okay, so you have determined that you are going to start making videos for your business. There are a few things you need to do outside of buying the correct equipment. As you will need to produce high-quality content for your audience, this means more than using an expensive camera. You will need to be prepared, think about your shots beforehand and consider how you’ll edit them correctly. This is why I have developed this list of tips on shooting a corporate video series.
1. Learn From Comic Books
Whoever said comic books were just for pleasure? Before you even think about taking your camera out of the bag, you will need to get a storyboard and script together. A storyboard helps you determine what shots you will need to shoot and allows you to prepare. A script is essentially a screenplay for your video and will help you stay on point.
You don’t need to create a comic book level storyboard; you don’t need to draw it at all if you don’t want to. Also, you can use a series of pictures or stick figures to get the point across of what shots you will need. Whatever works best for you. The important part is understanding what shots you will need before you start filming, so nothing is missed. The more you prepare before a video shoot, the less time you will have to reshoot scenes or come back to shooting something you forgot.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
Ensure that all of your “talent” or on-screen bodies know what is expected of them prior to shooting. There is nothing worse than starting to record and realizing that the presenters do not know what they are to say or do and keep stopping. Granted, regardless of how prepared you are, few of us are one-take wonders. You should have an idea of what the finished product should look like going into recording. This helps you understand the flow of the video and how you should carry yourself.
Also, we are not on a TV show; there is no need to memorize pages and pages of script. Having someone in front of the camera with no help and trying to remember what’s on page 4 will only cause anxiety. Allowing them to make mistakes and using cuts will help the flow of the video look more natural. This is why you use different camera angles, B-Roll, and scenes.
3. Speaking Of B-Roll…
Are you planning on interspersing shots of your business, team, or environment into your video or cut away from the presenter to other footage? This is what the video professionals call B-Roll footage. B-Roll is essentially any footage that is not of your primary subject (hence B-Roll not A-Roll).
This type of footage can be very important as it gives the viewer a break and something else to look at. It also gives your presenter a break and a place to cut audio files together. If you are filming an explainer video, your B-Roll could feature shots of satisfied customers or your team at work.
Whatever footage you determine you need, figure it out in the pre-production stage as it will make your life much easier when you are doing the shooting. Remember, there is no such thing as too much B-Roll, as you can always use it at a later date. And, it is much easier to delete extra footage than to have to revisit scenes and find out you need additional footage.
TIP: If you ever need footage that is difficult or currently impossible to film yourself, don’t be scared to seek out some stock footage of the area or similar areas. The amount of video that will use stock aerial footage would surprise you. Not everyone has access to drones or that type of expensive equipment.
4. The Golden Rule
Whenever you are filming or even taking photos, don’t forget the “Rule of Thirds”. Imagine your shot is divided into nine sectors through the use of two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. Notice how the subject in the image is positioned where two of the four points (known as an anchor points) intersect. The technique is used in order to draw the eye to the main points of interest in the shot. Your viewer’s eye will naturally be drawn to the top-left anchor point and they will spend a long time looking in this area.
This may not seem like a big deal, but doing this makes it much easier for the viewer to “read” the shot. It is also more aesthetically pleasing than having the subject in the center. As soon as you start creating more video content, you will come to appreciate framing the shot in such a way and begin noticing how the vast majority of photos and videos are done in this way.
5. What Comes Before “…Camera, Action”?
A few things will absolutely ruin a video faster than any other element. One is lighting. Having a poorly lit subject can make a video almost unwatchable, especially for a business making a video for its customers. You can fix lots of this in post-production (we will address this part later), but having the subject lit correctly can make your life much easier.
When it comes to lighting your scene and your subject, there are different kinds of light temperatures you need to keep in mind. These color temperatures are measured in degrees Kelvin.
This is a complicated topic and could be an article on its own. In short and easy terms, ensure that where you are shooting has the same even lighting. If you are shooting indoors, stay away from large windows as the light from the overhead lighting, light stands, and the sun is all different temperatures. If it is possible to get multiple light stands, then darken the room and solely light the subject with these stands to keep it consistent.
Now that we know there are multiple different light sources and each source has a different temperature, we need to ensure we are prepared for this. This is done by manually setting the camera’s white balance, which tells the camera what true white looks like in an environment. Many cameras have an auto white balance feature, but it is recommended to set this manually. That way, you do not have to rely on your camera to correctly color balance your shot.
6. Spotlights On Me
If you are able to have a professional lighting rig or a few box lights, don’t just point them all at your subject. Ensure that your subject is evenly lit and use multiple lights or a reflector/diffuser to minimize harsh shadows. In a typical company video marketing effort with a single subject, you will want your “key” light at approximately 4 o’clock, your fill light at approximately 8 o’clock, and your backlight at approximately 2 o’clock. This is given that your subject is in the dead center and your camera(s) is/are at approximately 6 o’clock.
7. Going Acoustic
I’m sure everyone has heard either in videos, songs, or movies; someone saying, “the acoustics are great in here!”. This is tested by making noise in the room and listening for an echo. Any echo you hear will be very noticeable in your video. Although you can get a lot of noise out of your video in post-production. A faint echo can be almost impossible to remove completely. If possible, try and find somewhere to shoot with minimal to no echo. Or, you can try placing objects around the room. This includes furniture, decorations on the walls, or even hanging up blankets. All of this will help the sound not come straight back to your mic.
8. Take 43
Even the most experienced video makers and actors have been in situations where they need multiple takes. There will be very few times that only one take is needed, and you nail it first try. On the day of the shoot, make sure you go through enough takes. This will ensure that you have a safety net in case the gear malfunctions on one take, there was a stutter you want to be edited out, or one take is just smoother than another. This will allow you to combine multiple takes (audio and visual) and make the best video you can. Even if you are a one-take wonder and nail it on the first go, take another just in case.
9. Move With The Action
You might not have to worry about this in any of your company’s video marketing efforts, but if you do, it is important to know. If you are filming something with movement, (for example: someone opening a door) be sure to cut to the next shot when the subject turns the door handle and not when the door is opening. This will distract the video and can be jarring. If you cut while the subject is turning the handle to the next shot of them opening the door, it seems much more natural and fluid. Something important to keep in mind if you are more ambitious in your videos.
10. Timing Means Everything
Once you have all the clips you plan on working on within your editing software; it is finally time to start creating the shape you want your company’s video marketing to have. However, before you start going through your footage frame by frame and going over every detail, be sure to place your clips roughly in place. This will give you a better overall idea of how your video will flow. Even though at this moment, it doesn’t look pretty.
11. Enough Transitions!
Unless you are creating the next box hit sci-fi ’80s movie, don’t use star wipes or crazy transitions. The more attention you draw to your transitions, the cheaper your video can come out looking. We have all been in high school class presentations where a group used a transition on every PowerPoint slide. It is distracting and takes away from the content itself. If needed, a simple crossfade from one shot to the next will suffice. Let your content do your heavy lifting.
12. Make The Beat Drop
Not all of your company’s video marketing needs background music, but if this video does, ensure you are selecting the correct music and that you are allowed to use it. Not all music fits all videos; for example, you won’t necessarily need a gangster rap song for B-Roll over a soft sunset. When you do select the right genre for your scene, ensure that you are using music with the correct licensing requirements. Unless you use royalty-free music or compose your own, most music is subject to strict copyright restrictions.
There are plenty of royalty-free music sites on the market; it just might take some time and searching to find the right one. One thing you could do to save your time. If you come across any music on these sites you like but don’t necessarily need immediately, save them and label them for a theme. This way, in the future, if you make another video and you need music, you might have some saved.
13. Software Can’t Do It All
One mistake we have all thought of at one time or another when making a video is “I can fix it in the editor”. If you are still on location and notice a mistake, fix it there. There is a chance that you are unable to fix it in post-production, and it could cause you to reshoot. These editing software tools are powerful, but they are not magic. Sometimes you won’t be able to correct the lighting to the extent you were hoping for. Or eliminate that hum or echo in the audio. Yes, it could be possible, given enough time and skill, but the odds are you don’t have the time needed to completely remove it.
Post-production should be thought of as a tool to create a finished product and to polish all of your hard work. Not an opportunity to go back and fix all of the mistakes you made on shooting day.
That’s A Wrap!
Hopefully, this post has helped answer some questions you had about starting to create your own company video marketing. As you can see, it isn’t rocket science to start creating your own content. You just need to be prepared and take it slow. If you rush through it, you will be able to see that. Make sure you prepare every step beforehand, follow your script, and take your time putting it together. You will be shocked by the results. Good luck. I look forward to seeing your videos in the future!