How To Make Your Videos Look More Professional – 10 Tips
Are you a new videographer? Or maybe just looking to polish your skills? Producing stunning videos, your clients will love, is immensely satisfying and fulfilling. As videographers we are always trying to hone our craft. Here are 10 tips on how to make your videos look more professional.
Professional Video Making – 10 Tips
Now to my 10 tips to making professional-looking videos:
1. Quality Lighting
Why is quality lighting my number one tip? Because good lighting equates to high-quality footage, and is the foundation of a successful video that is enjoyable to watch. Crappy lighting will be a pain in the neck to edit, and a time-consuming, laborious process. Low-key lighting has its place if you want a dramatic look, but is typically in a controlled environment. That’s not what I’m referring to. Videography is all about capturing images, and that isn’t possible without proper lighting.
Low-quality lighting is grainy, noisy, blurry, and overall very difficult to watch. And unlike photography, bright mid-day sunshine works great for videography. One workaround for low light is to use a video light. When I’m shooting weddings and it starts to get dark, I simply whip out my handy video light that conveniently attaches to the hot shoe of my camera. This affords me at least a couple stops on my camera settings. Click on the image below to check it out. It comes with its own charger, a dimmer switch, and different color filter gels for color correction, along with a bag to carry everything in.
2. Stop The Shake
A shaking video ends the deal right there. No one can watch a destabilized video, it just doesn’t work. As a matter of course, a tripod is a non-optional requirement for every videographer. It’s not wise to attempt video without one. If tripods are too bulky for you, try using a monopod, just make good and sure your camera is stable, assuring a smooth and shake-free video.
This one is handy because it folds up, is easy to toss into your camera bag, and look how bendable it is, making it fun and easy to use. You can use it with your DSLR camera or your iPhone, and it’s especially great for vloggers who want to make quick videos without lugging around cumbersome equipment. It’s funny looking, isn’t it? And the best part – it’s really inexpensive. You can read my review here. Click on the image below to check it:
3. Focus On Composition
Compositions add both depth and interest to a video. Switch up your composition by either by zooming in and out with your camera lens, or changing positions with your body. Also, following the rule of thirds makes your videos more dynamic. Practice placing your subjects somewhere other than smack dab in the middle of your camera frame. Effective storytelling requires both close up, full-length, and panoramic shots. Alternate between these various compositions as it lends a realistic air to your videos, making them much more appealing.
I know I’ve watched videos where the majority of shots are closeups. This doesn’t provide proper perspective, and can be quite annoying to watch as it doesn’t tell the entire story. Basically, composition is choosing what to fill your frame with, placing emphasis on particular subjects or objects, and is one of the most important aspects of video production. With practice, you’ll instinctively get better at this, making your videos more professional looking.
4. Don’t Underestimate Sound Quality
Great audio has the potential to take your video to an entirely new level, or it can totally hijack it. The goal is to have the audio complement your video, making it more than it could be on its own, adding flavor, flair, and emotion. It’s important to get your audio right, because unlike video, you can’t really edit it post production, and poor-quality sound can essentially ruin an otherwise excellent video. Sound breathes life into your moving pictures so take advantage of it.
As an example, when I shoot a wedding ceremony, I mic the person performing the ceremony, along with the groom. Then during the editing process, I can overlay the recorded vows on top of the video, while I have softer music playing in the background. What would a video be without awesome music? Don’t rely on your camera’s microphone, it’s not equipped to perform that well. I like using lavalier mics, they’re easy to clip on to a suit jacket lapel, and they produce good sound. You can use your iPhone to capture the audio or a recording device like this. If using your phone, don’t forget to put in on airplane mode as that could prove disastrous.
Here’s what a lavalier mic looks like:
5. Lens Bokeh
You know that lovely blur you see in videos? That’s called bokeh. When using this technique, the focus is placed on the subject, rather than the background that may be distracting. Plus, it just looks awesome, and is the sign of a professional video. Bokeh, is not only aesthetically pleasing, but forces the viewer to focus their attention on the part of the video that is in focus. “Bokeh” is a Japanese word that literally means “blur.”
Fast lenses, meaning those with a large aperature, are necessary to produce bokeh as it is rendered by the lens, not the camera. I like to shoot with an aperature between 1.8 to 3.2, depending on what I’m shooting, and what needs to be in focus. If you’re not familiar with bokeh, learn more about how you can effectively use it to make your videos look more professional. Notice in the image below how the seagulls are in focus, but the background is blurred, looking soft and dreamy. This works the same way with video.
6. Why Are Angles Important
The angle is the placement of the camera in relation to the subject. Different angles give the viewers a unique view of the scene, making the video more interesting. Examples of various angles include: shots that are straight on to the subject, ones where the subject is viewed from above, and shots that frame the subject from below. It’s all about framing the subject and composing the scene.
A variety of angles are a hallmark of a professional video so be cognizant of your angles while shooting. It also makes the video more pleasant to watch. And what’s interesting, is the same person can look totally different viewed from a contrasting angle, with lighting also making a huge difference as well. You’ve most likely noticed this when viewing photographs of yourself. When you’re shooting, experiment with various angles to see which one you like the best, and is most flattering of the subject.
Fluid video heads allow easy angle manipulation by giving you the ability to pan and tilt. If you’re not familiar with the terms “pan” and “tilt,” panning come from the term “panorama,” and is the rotation around a vertical axis, causing the field-of-view to move horizontally. Juxtapose this to tilting, which is the rotation around a horizontal axis, moving the field-of-view up and down, perpendicular to the lens. They’re both great techniques to create professional videos. Below is the one I use, and you can never go wrong with Manfrotto.
7. Don’t Forget About White Balance
Never underestimate the importance of white balance. Different light sources vary in color frequencies. Our eyes will naturally adjust for these frequencies, but the lens on your camera isn’t smart enough to adjust to the changes in color temperature, leading to inaccurate color rendering.
There’s nothing worse than having a weird color cast to your video. Color temperature is importance as you want the colors in your video to be crisp, clean, and realistic looking. Natural-looking skin tones are so very important to make your creation be the absolute best it can be. Before shooting, always adjust your white balance, and although you can fiddle with it while editing, save yourself time and headache by doing it beforehand. Here’s a video tutorial on how to white balance your camera:
8. Why Is Branding So Important?
Branding is essential if you want to grow your business. A strong, memorable brand will help you establish your business, your reputation, and keep customers coming back for more. Branding begins with a powerful logo that is easily recognizable so when people see it, they immediately know its yours. Your logo should be on your website, and all promotional materials, including business cards, flyers, letterhead, products, and on all social media accounts. Even your fonts should be consistent.
Think of your brand as the face of your business, or its essence or personality. Every single element of your business serves to establish your brand, and is how potential clients and followers will form their initial impressions of you, and what you represent. Branding is imperative so put some creative thought into it. Design a logo you love, or have one designed for you. Choose branding colors that are pleasing, and stick with them, then have fun branding all your marketing materials.
9. Good Editing Software
Now that you have your raw footage, you’ll need to edit your hard work. This is where a good editing software comes in. It takes all that noisy and confaluted footage, transforming it into something wonderful. Add appropriate music to fit your clips, while adding transitions for smooth viewing. I use Final Cut X and iMovie. They’re both user-friendly, and iMovie is free for Mac users. To underscore the importance of a good editing software, just imagine showing your raw footage to your client. Shudder!
Editing is key to creating a video that moves people, evoking a whole spectrum of emotions, and fostering connection with others. Blend your images with highly-complementary audio, and see if your viewers don’t feel an emotional connection of some sort. I think it’s safe to say that editing is the most important part of the whole process because it brings everything together. And with the variety of editing software out there today, it’s easy to find a program that suits your needs, and some, like iMovie, won’t cost you a dime!
Now that you’ve created an awesome masterpiece you’re proud of, don’t forget to share it with the world. Share it on your blog, your website, and all your social media channels. Your followers will love it, and will then share it with their friends. This ripple effect is the perfect way to gain exposure, and let others enjoy your special talent.
Never underestimate the importance of connection. After all, that’s what social media is all about. Increase your brand recognition, grow your following, build relationships, and increase conversions. You Tube and Vimeo make is super simple to share, do don’t forget to hit that “Send” button!
Watch the video below for more tips and tricks:
Let’s Wrap This Up
Creating videos is both fun and fulfilling, especially once your know the tricks of the trade. Make sure you have good lighting, always carry a tripod, white balance your camera, brand your videos, and don’t forget to share so others can enjoy and appreciate your talent.
Are your a new videographer? What are you main concerns? Please leave a question or comment below. It helps all those reading this post!