We’ve all seen videos that should have been professional, but something didn’t quite work right. It can be difficult to pin down just what makes a video stand above the rest. After years of making videos, we’ve figured out five things every professional video should have.
These are the five elements you need to make sure your next video project not only looks professional, but is.
It should go without saying that getting the highest quality video you can is the name of the game here. However, what “high quality” means can be deceiving.
If you’ve just started stepping into the world of video, you’ve probably run into people dismissing every camera that doesn’t record 4k video. 4k represents one of the highest image qualities on the market today, but there’s a trick. Most people watch videos on devices that don’t support 4k. Even major motion picture studios like Warner Bros. use 2k and convert it later. A professional video is more than its technical specs.
High quality video doesn't just mean filming on the most expensive camera out there. To make a truly professional video, you need to incorporate a few more elements.
Unless you’re going for that silent film aesthetic, you’ll probably need to record some audio. People tend to have a higher threshold for poor video quality than for poor audio. Recording great audio to match your video comes down to knowing how to use your gear. You can get great sound from smartphones or camera’s onboard audio if you pair them up with affordable, entry level mics. When you’re recording, listen to the track to make sure it sounds the way you want it and stay aware of things like echo and background noise.
Set your audio up for success by giving yourself time to practice with your gear and get used to your recording conditions.
Great lighting can stop your next video from looking like or a horror movie—or make sure it does if that’s what you’re going for.
There are plenty of tricks for making sure your lighting is exactly where you need it to be. The first is to understand the difference between hard and soft light. Hard light casts deep shadows and gives a sense of drama while soft light casts an even, friendly tone. The sun is a great source of hard light, but if you wait for a nice, overcast day it can become the best soft light around. You can also use a flashlight app on your smartphone to fill in some shadows on your subject.
Just like with audio, you should take the time to test your filming location before hand to see what you are working with.
This is what really sets apart a professional looking video from the crowd. Motion Graphics are an offshoot of traditional animation and are all of those amazing graphics you see on screen in a high quality video.
Basic motion graphics can really change how a video is perceived by an audience. Think about your local TV news programs. They use a variety of motion graphics. Everything from animated titles, logos, to those quick animations that introduce names and locations increase the quality of a video. It’s interesting to think about what a professional news broadcast would look like without motion graphics. It basically becomes a “talking head” YouTube video, just filmed with incredibly expensive gear!
At the end of the day, everything we’ve talked about today has one job: to tell your story.
Your story isn’t just the words you say on a video, but all of these other techniques that put together the final project. In a sense, even a short commercial has everything a full blown movie does, only in miniature.
The quality of your video and audio, lighting, and the use of motion graphics all come together to create something greater than the sum of its parts. When you start your next video project, think about how you can bring these elements together to tell your story.
We’ve all seen videos that should have been professional, but something didn’t quite work right. It can be difficult to pin down just what makes a video stand above the rest.
There's one thing that everyone should know, but almost no one talks about, when it comes to starting a video project. Long before you buy expensive videography equipment...
Are you the greatest [insert your job title here] of all time? Probably not (I’m sure it’s hard to believe, but I’m not the greatest writer of all time). This isn’t a bad thing though, it just means that there’s always something else to learn. By constantly reaching out for new knowledge you can improve, increase your value (for both yourself and your career), and keep your brain active.
Although similar to the process for creating animated videos, creating live-action videos have their own unique process. The basic skeleton of pre-production, production, and post-production is still there, but the inner pieces may be different. Even among live-action video, there is a difference between narrative and interview style (especially in the pre-production stages).
Short-form videos for social media are becoming increasingly important to businesses. One of the best ways to get real, authentic content is to shoot with your phone. But how do you make it look like...well...not garbage? Here are ten easy tips for shooting better videos with your phone, whether it’s a cheap prepaid smartphone or the latest and greatest offering from Apple.
Time is a lot of things. It’s a Pink Floyd song, the fourth dimension (except maybe not), and a finite resource (unlike money, which there are ways to make more of). You are allotted 60 seconds a minute, 60 minutes an hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, for as many years as you’re alive (sorry to be depressing). You can’t buy more time, can’t craft more of it at home, can’t borrow it from someone else. The only way to “make” more time is to better manage the time that you have.
Often, bosses will come in with an idea: let’s make a video! And...that’s it. That’s the end of their idea, but there’s so much more to it. Knowing precisely what kind of video you need helps tremendously to actually get it done. Not every video is equal. If you want proof of this, just look at the filmography of John Travolta (sorry Mr. Travolta).
We’ve all been there: staring at the blank sheet of paper with no idea how to start. There’s a massive project, but where do you even begin? Sure, twirling in your chair eating Goldfish crackers for an hour was a nice distraction, but that doesn’t mean you’re any closer to the project being done. I’m going to use writing as my main example, but the concepts can be applied to almost any kind of project.
Videos are made up of two main components: the visuals and the audio. But, in a time where auto-play videos are muted on social media, what’s the best way to effectively use audio in your videos so that your message isn’t lost on mute, but is improved when included? How do you know which options are right for you to use for audio in your video content?
It can be tricky sometimes to navigate the business world and stay completely ethical. Maybe you found out a piece of information no one else knows that you can use to your advantage. Maybe you don’t correct your boss’s incorrect assumption about a co-worker who’s also up for a promotion you’re trying to get. Maybe you stay on the clock after you’re done with work to answer Facebook messages. Keeping a strong sense of personal ethics is more than just not stealing from the company (which is also a no-no), it’s about being honest and doing what’s right in all aspects of business.
What makes video such a powerful medium? Why is it that even small toddlers natively understand videos? Why are “how-to” videos more popular than “how-to” books? Why are movies and television more popular than radio or novels? They’re easy for any human to comprehend, even children that can barely talk seem to just absorb Elmo videos (over and over and over and over again). Every single day, 1 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube.
If there’s one universal truth about marketers, it’s this: we’re all trying to sell something. It might be a shiny new product, a service to a business, or a political candidate, but it’s all about sales, right? Not quite, because marketers need to understand it’s not just about selling something. Understanding what your audiences really want is vital to your success.
Not everyone in the business world studied English in college. In fact, I think it’s safe to assume most didn’t. Unless you’re a writer, editor, or just have a random passion for grammar, it’s likely that once you slogged your way through Macbeth and To Kill a Mockingbird (or at least watched the movie versions or skimmed the Sparknotes), you felt free. Because of this, the professional world is rife with grammatical errors, misspellings, and other things that make English teachers’ brains twitch.
Adding a new employee to a company can be an awesome, exciting event. It can also be an awkward nightmare. There’s a fine line between a good and bad experience for a new hire, and balance is absolutely vital to welcoming the newcomer while not scaring them away either.
Celebrities love to post pictures of their healthy meals and videos of them working out with their personal trainers in the middle of the day on Instagram. It’s easier to stay healthy when you have the time and resources of a celebrity. But what about the rest of us? How do we stay healthy while typing on our computers for hours and sitting through way too long meetings? How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle in an office?
Keeping up with the latest and greatest fashion trends is exhausting (not to mention prohibitively expensive for those of us that don’t have our own line of rocket ships). Luckily, in a workplace setting, we’re not being judged on the same level as if we’re walking a runway in Milan. Still though, you don’t want to be known as the office slob, so here are some super easy, basic tips for dressing professionally and looking good at work.
Usually, when people hear the word “animation,’ they think of cartoons. When we talk about animations, especially for businesses, we mean so much more than just cartoons. Animation can be 2D, 3D, a blend of both 2D/3D, or things like motion graphics. Animations can be used to announce products or services, explain complicated processes, tell stories, or even just to make a fun, lively showcase for whatever message you’re trying to share with the world.
With the increases in identity theft, cyber crime, and hacking these days, it’s best to keep yourself as protected as possible. Although sentences like these are usually followed by ads for expensive anti-virus or online protection services,
You may have heard the oft-quoted statistic that when Google made their doodle a playable version of Pac-Man, the US economy lost an estimated $120 million in productivity (although that number has been criticized). That’s a loss of productivity on a massive scale. How do you address your own productivity, and make it better?
At work we’re surrounded by people we may not have necessarily chosen to be around, which makes it easy to feel like we lose control of our environment. The good news is that we do have control over how we respond to it.