Tips For Making Your First Video

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in skmurphy

We help clients with videos that have production and editing budgets in the hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Here are some suggestions for making your first video.

Planning, Shooting, and Producing Your First Video

  1. Have a script that’s been reviewed by all relevant parties. Often bullet points are better than a detailed script so that small variations between takes (or refinements) keep each take fresh. Use vocabulary and phrasing that each person is comfortable saying, in particular the way that we write is often very different from the way that we talk. Simpler is better.
  2. Sound quality is much more important than video quality for building trust and explaining things. If you are trying to reach non-native English speakers this is especially true, you should also consider interspersing slides with key phrases or descriptions to help folks stay oriented.
  3. Interview style or voice over is normally much easier and cheaper:
    • Most people find it hard to use teleprompters without significant training and experience.The initial results can be completely unsatisfactory. Unless the person has used a teleprompter before I would not set one up.
    • Most people find it very hard to look at the camera when speaking. Shoot over the shoulder of the interviewer and the speaker can look at the interviewer without looking shifty.
    • voice over slides or simple animation or a short take followed by voiceover often gets you 70-80% of the value of “talking heads.” It’s cheaper and much easier to edit.
  4. Studio is normally cheaper because setup should be familiar to video crew and much faster (same for tear down) and there are normally fewer surprises.
  5. It’s better to do several takes back to back with a pause in between (to allow for cut/edit) to increase people’s comfort.
  6. It’s often more effective to setup a monitor and replay the take than to try and give people direction as to how improve their presentation (or at least wait until they have watched a replay of the take to make suggestions). Most people can only improve one thing at a time so do more takes and iterate until it’s good enough.
  7. Normally an hour to two hours is the most you can do unless folks have a lot of experience being video recorded.
  8. Sometimes the first take is the best, be prepared to accept good enough and get something up in preference to scrapping the shoot and doing a second one to make it “really good.”
  9. 90-120 seconds is a long video, even a 20-30 second one can be effective. It can take an hour or more  to get 30 seconds of video from speaker with little video experience.  Script preparation and rehearsals without a camera just to test the script  are the keys to an effective shoot low cost shoot.

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