Three Easy Steps to Make Your Video Look Better

Three Easy Steps to Make Your Video Look Better

This blog was written by the V3 Media Marketing crew while on the road.  Please enjoy responsibly.

We’re driving through Eastern Colorado.  It’s December, and we’re driving through Eastern Colorado.  Now, we’re not sure how familiar you are with eastern Colorado.  But in December, there is nothing growing.  The grass is varying shades brown and dead, peppered with petrified patches of windswept snow.  To break the monotony, a railroad track occasionally zips past, framed by skeletal cottonwoods.  And the entire expanse is flat.  The snow-capped Rockies retreat in the distance, a faint memory of vertically inclined topography. Everything is brown, flat, and dead.

Driving along the open road, we talk about our clients and what they’re doing, and what might be keeping them from diving wholesale into video marketing.  And there are the usual constraints: budget, time, doubts about its effectiveness.  We have statistics and numbers to throw out all day to answer all of those reservations, but sometimes we run into other concerns: most notably, creative and aesthetic concerns.  Sometimes our clients, especially those that work from home or in the virtual realm, worry about the viability of their home or office as a location.  And to that we answer today: you can make anything look good on camera (i.e. Mickey Rourke)

Here are three quick tips on how to make your home office, coworking space, or coffee shop corner look camera ready for that next webinar you’re hosting.

1.  Lighting, lighting, lighting.

This is vital.  Many many times we sit in our office watching webinars and taking notes, trying to avert our eyes from the host’s screen as their camera’s auto exposure struggles with the window behind them as they move in and out of shadowy silhouette like some sort of Mac-savvy vampire.  We cannot stress this enough.  Lighting, even for a simple webinar or video interview, is vital.  There are multiple links on YouTube that walk you through DIY-type lighting set ups, but the easiest quick fix is simply sitting facing the window, not having the window behind you.  Essentially, when you sit with your back to the window, your auto exposure on your camera thinks that tons of light is coming in, so to keep the image from totally blowing out.  The problem is, your face is what it should be exposing off of, not the blindingly bright light source behind you.  So use that light to your advantage, and sit facing the window during your video capture, so that lovely daylight brightens your features.

2. Soft, Gently Detailed Background

Your background is a wonderful canvas to use to push your brand, and impart information to your audience.  Use it as an opportunity to subtly insert information about yourself and your company.  A wall and a plant work, but if you have your logo painted on the wall, consider sitting in front of it so it’s in plain evidence and acts a visual reminder.  If you’re doing a web video series, keep your background consistent, so people know the pieces are part of a larger whole.  And if you have the option, an interesting background with small splashes of light and colors in soft focus always looks fantastic.  Especially with something professionally shot, the soft background really pops out the subject of the frame.  Take this video from the Denver-based recruiting firm, Better with Bacon.  The background is soft, but the bright orange cutouts represent visually how BWBacon brings people and companies together.

3.  Angles and Lines

Experiment with composition beyond the standard head and shoulders.  You can stand and walk around, especially if you have a large product or an expansive facility (see #2)  If you want to make the scale smaller, or if you’re doing a how-to, try an overhead angle onto your desk, and experiment with close-ups to maximize your viewer’s understanding of what you’re doing.  The camera, whether it’s your webcam on your laptop, or a tablet, or your smartphone, can move!  It doesn’t have to just sit there at eye level with its Hal-esque record light throbbing at you and reminding you that people are going to watch whatever you’re filming.

So we ask all of our content marketers, followers, and likers to avoid being Eastern Colorado and Kansas (not that there is anything wrong with either of those places, we’re sure wonderful people live there among the cornfields and cows, although we didn’t see many of them from I-70.)  We know that you look fantastic, so make your video look that much better using our three easy steps for your video marketing.