Web Videos for Dummies

I’m going to be completely honest here: Creating web videos is not my area of expertise. Outside of the videos my cousins and I made as kids, I have very little experience. But, there’s always room for growth right?

With that being said, planning, shooting and editing videos has become an area of interest for me over the past year or so. While I interned with Eli Lilly, I shadowed one of their professionals on a video shoot for a simple internal message. It’s safe to say that it was a learning experience.

Be the (wo)man with a plan.

Planning is everything when it comes to shooting and producing a web video. Every little detail, from what type of camera and microphones will be used to what angle will provide the best lighting. But don’t get too far ahead of yourself. You haven’t even decided what your video is going to be about yet. I’m not going to tell you exactly what your topic should be. That’s not my job. However, I suggest that you spend a good amount of time brainstorming your topic and an angle for it. If at all possible, make your angle unique. Make sure its not something that’s been done a thousand times over.

Now, beginners, like myself, will usually stick to either a phone camera or a DSLR. Depending on the intent of the video, that may be just fine. DSLR camera shoot decent video, as long as you are comfortable with setting the aperture and ISO. Honestly, though, a lot of phone cameras are really high quality. During another shoot I tagged along on, the professional I worked with recorded every take on her iPhone.

Now, you have your camera selected. So, what’s next? Well, you need to think through what’s going on in your video. Will the subjects be in close proximity to the camera, or far away? Will there be a lot of background noise at your shoot’s location? These, and many more, questions should come to mind when your thinking about your video’s audio. If you’re like me and you’re just scratching the surface of web video, I recommend taking a look at this lavalier lapel microphone. While it is wired, this specific microphone comes with a longer wire than your typical somewhat cheap microphone. (If you have an iPhone 7 or newer, you will need an adapter.)

Oh, shoot.

Let’s assume you’ve picked out your camera, microphone and any other equipment you may need. If your video requires a script, you writtened it, proofed it and reviewed it with your subjects. Before you do anything else, and I mean anything, you need to double check all of your equipment to make sure it’s working. If I had it my way, you’d do this at least a day before your shoot. Finally, you’re ready to take a shot at recording your video.

When looking for the right location or angle, keep in mind the background. You want it to be pleasant, but not distracting. For example, I probably wouldn’t shoot a video in front of a busy playground. There are too many small children that will one, ask you question about what you’re doing and why, and two, they will clutter your background. Sorry, kids. No video shoot for you. Instead, maybe go for the open field with a few trees. Open areas allow for greater depth of field and more manageable lighting.

Now, for the moment of truth. You finally hit the record button.

Editing? You’re talking about editing? You’re kidding me!

Actually, I’m not kidding you, Jim Mora. Believe it or not, editing can make or break your video. I’m sorry to say it, but you should have shot the best video of your life, but if you don’t know how to edit, it will not go over well. The best thing you can do is experiment with various editing programs, like iMovie or Adobe Premiere. In my opinion, Premiere is the better editing tool, but iMovie is more user-friendly, especially for beginners.

I’ve personally spent more time working with Premiere, and well, Adobe software in general. Premiere allows you to manipulate your video and audio. You can seperate the two, increase audio sound, cut out video, add effects. Anything, really. But, the main thing you want to focus on is your audio. Using premiere, you can increase, decrease and level out the volume of your video. It’s also easier to clean up background noise in case you ignored my advice about shooting your video in front of the playground.

Just remember, Premiere is a more advanced program. So, you can’t figure it out, do what I do. Google it.

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