A short list of reminders for a quality video.

Before you make your own video, here’s a short list to consider so you don’t make any painful mistakes.

Have a Goal – Determine what you want the video to accomplish – do you want to highlight the ease-of-use of your product, the superiority of your process, how you can save the customer time, or explain what it is your business does? Revisit that overarching goal often during planning and production.

Do Your Homework – Investigate how others in similar industries have done it – how have your competitors used video to communicate their messages?

Know Your Advantages – Isolate the key advantages you bring to the table – your competitors probably do a few things better than you do, so your job is to look at where you provide advantages, and highlight those, and why the customer should care about those.

Storyboard and Script – Storyboard and script the video – you need a good solid plan before you start shooting, because planning on paper is easier and more economical than when you have more people and equipment involved.

Prepare the Area – Make sure the area you are going to be shooting in is clear of trash and any other unnecessary visual distractions. You don’t want to shoot into the sun or any other light sources. Avoid shadows if possible. Ambient sound such as HVAC equipment, traffic outside, etc. can destroy a production, so minimize all ambient sound sources.

Don’t Skimp on Audio – one of the easiest mistakes to make is failing to take adequate care when recording audio. I recently reviewed a project that involved a dozen people around conference table, which a colleague was trying to salvage because the original videographer did not properly capture the audio. Unfortunately, the solid video work was worthless because of poor audio. I will address audio more in a later post, but for now, consider lavalier and shotgun microphones for capturing audio, and check audio levels frequently during shooting.

Camera Positioning – Think about where you want your speaker to sit or stand when talking. Frame the shot so it makes sense contextually. If you’re not skilled at camera movement, keep the camera still and on a tripod until the next segment. Don’t zoom in and out. Less movement will make your videos look more professional.

These are just starting points for producing a quality video. In upcoming posts, we’ll cover lighting, compression, call to action, leveraging in YouTube and social media, and other aspects.