Nowadays, it may seem like all it takes to create a professional-quality video is a smartphone and a subject to film. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple; professional videography requires training and quality equipment that an amateur with a phone simply can’t match.
But don’t worry—with our tips, you’ll be shooting like a pro in no time. Keep reading to learn more about framing your shots and using new techniques to take your association’s projects to the next level.
What Makes a Professional Video?
Most of us are exposed to homemade viral videos on a daily basis. Although these have a wide reach, professional videos still come with a level of polish that lends credibility to their messages (something that’s certainly important for your association)!
A professional video should be smoothly shot, have seamless and natural transitions, have high image quality, and be clear and consistent in its messaging. Any filters or effects should be integrated naturally into the video, and all of the video’s content should be relevant to its purpose. Even a professionally shot video can miss the mark if its material distracts from its overall message.
Despite the capabilities of our phone cameras, the difference in video quality between phones and professional equipment remains very noticeable. Having the right lens, stabilizing gear, and audio equipment is necessary if you want a professional, finished product to share with your members and industry.
Professional videos should not include:
- – Shaky or difficult-to-follow footage
- – Poor audio quality
- – Grainy image quality
- – Sloppy editing
- – Narrow shots
- – Inadequate or irrelevant subject matter
To effectively communicate your message to your members, it’s necessary to avoid these flaws, as they distract viewers and compromise both your message and credibility.
Tips for Framing and Shooting Video Like A Pro
Plan Your Projects
The cornerstone of any good video project is proper planning. Trying to throw something together at the last minute won’t give you the results that you want. It’s very important that you break your project up into separate sections using either software or handwritten planning tools. This allows you to map out every single section or scene, and make sure that you’re meeting all of your goals.
It also gives you a more comprehensive view of just what’s needed to put your video together. Whether it’s a script, a particular setting, or a specific group of people, you can—and should—prepare all of these things ahead of time. The more prepared you are, the higher the quality of the video you’ll ultimately make.
Most of us have had to struggle through at least one boring training video in our lifetimes. Not only are they painful for members to sit through, but they also actively compromise their message by failing to engage their viewers.
The last thing you want to do is make another one of these. Plan your shots creatively, use the rule of thirds, and don’t be afraid to experiment with professional angles. Shot composition can require serious thought, and a bit of artistic flare.
Start by watching a video that’s similar to the one you want to make. Look for interesting shots, and see if there’s anything that you can emulate. While you will eventually develop your own style, it never hurts to learn from professional videographers that are already getting the results that you want.
It’s also a good idea to make sure that you have proper lighting equipment, and that your editing skills can realistically handle the project you’ve planned. Don’t take every shot from the same distance or angle; switch things up and try something interesting!
Avoid the Home Video Style
As popular as The Blair Witch Project was, you probably don’t want to emulate its filming style. Your viewers won’t get much out of your video if it gives them motion sickness. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple steps you can take to avoid this.
Consider purchasing a professional tripod to hold your camera still. You can find tripods that will pan and adjust smoothly to almost any shot you plan.
If you don’t want to invest in a tripod, it is possible to brace the camera yourself. You can do this by tucking your arms in and holding the camera close to your body. Then, lean up against a wall or another surface that can support your weight, giving you a steady platform. Done correctly, this technique can even out your shots and maintain consistency.
Adapt the Size of Your Shots
Wide screen shots can create a more spacious image. They allow you to capture more material, giving your shots a greater sense of depth. However, it’s never a good idea to rely entirely on wide screen shots for any video. Here again, variety is key.
Before starting your video, plan out the rough dimensions of each shot, making sure that you know how to transition between closeups and other types of shots in a way that feels organic and natural.
Control Your Lighting
We mentioned earlier that lighting can make or break a shot. It’s important to understand the effect that lighting can have on both indoor and outdoor shots.
When outdoors, try to shoot your video with the sun behind you. This can seem counterintuitive because it puts the sun in the eyes of anyone you’re trying to film, but it prevents the frame from being oversaturated with light, creating a more appealing scene.
When shooting indoors, you’ll need to add lighting that targets specific subjects and areas. Overhead lighting doesn’t always have the same look on camera that it does in real life. Try taking a few test shots, and then adjust your light sources as needed. This will ensure that you don’t have to reshoot material later on due to preventable lighting errors.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Professional Help
Framing and shooting professional-quality video isn’t as easy as it sounds. It takes practice and a working knowledge of equipment, editing, and planning. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to contact the professionals at Association Studios for help. We know what it takes to create videos that leave a great impression for your members and industry, and we’d love to help out.