10 Tips That Will Improve Your Videos INSTANTLY
Do you make videos? Who doesn’t nowadays! But do you want to make better videos? Almost anyone can grab a camera and start shooting away, but if you want your videos to do something for you- gain you a social media following, make you some money, that kind of thing - you need to do a lot more than that.
The good news? You don't have to be a Hollywood director, and you don't need a room full of fancy equipment. You just need to know what you're doing. That's why, right here, I will share with you 10 tips that will instantly improve the quality of your videos.
One of the biggest keys to getting a great looking video is to record it at the right resolution. Basically, the higher the resolution, the better it will look, especially if you decide to blow it up to fill a big screen. At the very minimum, aim for 1280 x 720. Personally though I always use 1920 x 1080.
#2 Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds is a filmmaking technique designed to help build drama and make the shot more interesting. Imagine that your viewfinder is divided into 9 equal segments by 2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines. The rule of thirds says that you should position the most important elements in your scene along these lines, or at the points where they intersect. It’s a sutil rule but the impact is huge!
#3 The Eye-Level Angle
Eye-level shots are very common because they are neutral and do not communicate any feeling. Low angles are captured when a camera is placed below the actor’s eyes and it's looking up at them. Low angles make the character look dominant and aggressive. At a high angle, the camera is above the subject, looking down. It makes the character look submissive, scared and weak. By making use of the eye level angle you'll be offering your viewers a “personal angle”, so that they can see just the way they would in real life. Play around with angles when you want to emphasize an emotion.
Can't afford a lighting kit yet? That's OK, simply sit facing towards the window. Sunlight works perfectly. If you decide to shoot outdoors though it’s much better if you do so when it is overcast. All those clouds will serve as a natural diffuser and you'll look softer and more attractive on camera. One big no-no? Never, ever stand directly under a source of light. This will give you raccoon eyes, as the light above you will cast shadows under your eyes. And, hello?! That's not a look that suits anyone.
#5 Belly Breathing
If you are doing handheld recording, learn to belly breathe to avoid moving your camera along with your breathing. Belly, or abdominal breathing, is when you fully saturate your lungs with oxygen, expanding your diaphragm and pushing the belly outward. If you’re engaging your diaphragm, your upper chest should remain relatively still. And it helps calm the nerves as well!
#6 Practice Blink Control
Have you ever noticed that when people are nervous they tend to blink fast? To convey more confidence on camera be aware of that fact and blink slowly. Do remember to blink though, otherwise you'll look REALLY strange to your audience.
If you can find yourself a light gray or blue backdrop, you’ll give yourself the chance to explore the widest range of wardrobe color options possible without clashing with anything around you.
Speaking of outfit choices, choose something that will not show sweat stains. It sounds kind of gross but the fact is that you will have a lot of light on you, you might get nervous and it might get toasty in there!
#8 Makeup (for girls AND guys)
No matter what else you plan to put on your face before going on camera make sure you start with a great foundation. When shopping for just the right one try to find a light diffusing foundation, and test it on your jawline to make sure it’s a perfect match. Never use foundations that have SPF protection as they tend to look ghostly white on camera. And BTW, this tip isn't just for the girls.
#9 Remembering Your Words
If you struggle to remember what you need to say, try having someone hold up a poster with bullet points. If you do go off script, keep going instead of making it obvious you forgot and the chances are that the audience will never know! You can also place a paper right below the lens or use a teleprompter app. My favorites are Prompt Smart and another called, surprise surprise, Teleprompter.
Every great video needs at least a few good graphics. There are a number of ways to add them to your video, but the very first step is actually sourcing and/or creating them. There are plenty of royalty-free options out there but you can also try creating your own graphics using one of the many graphic design programs and apps available online like Canva.
If you are new to the video making world, when you’re recording it will feel awkward. It will feel uncomfortable. And that's perfectly normal and natural. Been there, done that! These are just feelings you have to work through. Record something, even if it’s very short, at least once a week and you'll find your confidence -and your camera presence- getting better and better far more quickly than you might think.