A few months ago, Mark Zuckerberg said he would not be surprised if, in five years, most the content shared on Facebook was videos. This month Nicola Mendelsohn, who heads up Facebook’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa one-upped that prediction and said that the content on Facebook would be all video in five years.
If the leading social media company is telling you it is going to happen, then it is time to learn how to create compelling videos. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Pre-Production and Planning
1. Don’t Wing It
To create a successful video, you must plan it out. Those in the industry call this process storyboarding, as in a graphic representation of how you are going to tell your story shot by shot. If drawing isn’t your forte, create an outline that defines the message you wish to get across, how you will hook people in the first 30 seconds of your video, how you will tell your story and how your story will end.
2. Choose the Right People
Select the people who will be part of your video by their ability to tell a good story succinctly. Include people who naturally captivate an audience. Keep in mind that sometimes that person is not your CEO. It is better to use someone who is brimming with enthusiasm for the subject over someone who has a dry delivery.
3. Choose a Setting
Think about where you want to shoot your video related to the story you are telling. The location is going to have an impact on the equipment you will need. If you plan on shooting video on a busy show floor, you’re going to need a boom or shotgun mic, so the ambient noise doesn’t drown the speaker out. If the story is more important than the action, opt to shoot in a setting where the background does not distract the viewer.
Shooting the Video
4. Improve the Lighting
There is a saying that a viewer will forgive poor lighting, but they will not tolerate poor quality audio. That said, you should still put some thought into your lighting. Most videographers use a three point lighting system. That system includes a main light to illuminate the subject, a secondary light to eliminate shadows, and a light that makes the subject pop from the background.
One inexpensive way to improve how your subject looks without carting around the lighting equipment is to use a sheet of white poster board to bounce the light onto your subject eliminating unflattering shadows.
5. Optimize the Audio
A good shotgun microphone is a worthy investment if you plan on doing any interviews. A shotgun mic captures the sound directly in front of the microphone and rejects sounds from the side or the rear. Another option, when interviewing people in noisy locations is a lavalier mic.
Pro Tip: When buying your microphone take your camera or smartphone with you and test it out to make sure it is compatible and of sufficient quality.
6. Get Your Subject Comfortable
Recently I had to video a friend of mine for an audition submission. She is an incredibly vibrant woman, but once the camera was rolling she froze, and her body was stiff as a board. I decided the best thing to do was force her to move, so I had her walk and talk, and she loosened up a bit. Finally, I asked her to tell a story. Presto, she found her comfort zone.
If you interview someone and ask the question “what was your favorite moment of the event,” and they reply, “the opening night party,” don’t stop there. Follow up by asking, “can you tell me about that?” or, “what was it about the party that you enjoyed so much?”
7. Use Extra Footage and Bloopers
You will usually capture video that does not fit into the story you want to tell in the time you want to say it. (Remember, attention spans are short!) Don’t throw those bits onto the cutting room floor. Instead, edit them into the end of the video once you have delivered the call to action. Of course, if you’ve got some fun bloopers, include those if the subject doesn’t mind.
8. Add Text
Even if you are not using video editing software, YouTube’s limited editing capabilities allow you to add text to your video. A video shot on your smartphone can look professional when you add a lower-third (text identifying the speaker), a title screen, and a closing screen that includes credits.
9. Include a Call To Action
Whatever you do, do not forget to include a Call To Action. Do not leave your viewer hanging. Tell them exactly what you want them to do as a result of watching the video. Do you want them to register for your event, fill out an online poll, or share the video with their social network? Then tell them to do just that. Embed clickable links onto your video to make it easy for them to comply.
When all is said and done, the best advice I can give you is to pull out your camera or smartphone and press that record button. Just have fun and experiment. Once you see how easy it is, you will be chomping at the bit to add video to your marketing mix. Get over your initial fear by stumbling your way through, then start incorporating the best practices above when it counts.