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Five Tips for Video

When it comes to making a good video, there are several things to keep in mind.  Hopefully the next few points will help you to better prepare, shoot and deliver your next Fine Arts video presentation.

There are 4 main factors that everyone faces when they decide to make a video.  They are: Equipment, Ability, Time and Finances.  It is a good idea to know which of these you have the most of and which of these you have the least of.  Once you have that, you can play to your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

For example, maybe you or someone you know has a nice camera and some lighting and audio equipment you can use and you or someone else you know is talented with using that equipment…also, you have some time before the deadline of your video.  However, you don’t have a lot of money…leverage your time and ability to help overcome your lack of finances.  Use some of that extra time to pick the best locations you can find to shoot.  Use some of that extra time to preplan and write your script.  I hope you get the idea.  Every video and every idea is unique, so it’s up to you to decide where your strengths are and where your weaknesses are as well.

When it comes to shooting your video, there are some basic steps that need to be taken.

1.   Pre-Planning

            It is critical to preplan your video.  What is your concept?  Do you have a script?  How many people are you going to have to coordinate to get it all done?  The more you pre-plan, the better off you will be when it’s time to hit record. 

Make sure to storyboard your idea.  Even if you just use stick figures, make a shot list and draw out what you see in your mind.  This will help you pick locations and give your mind something to reference back to when you start shooting

A big part of pre-planning is location.  Where you are going to shoot.  What time of day are you going to shoot there?  If you can go to the location, at the time of day you are planning to shoot there, before the day of shooting, you should definitely try to do that.  Take note of any noise or distractions that may interfere with your shoot.  Noise from roads or train tracks near by.  Schools or other businesses that may have more traffic at certain times of the day.  All of this will help you pick the best location and the best time of day to shoot.

2.   Shooting

            Once you have your locations picked and scouted and your talent selected, it’s time to hit record.  Make sure you have your camera and all of your support gear ready, i.e. tripods, lighting, audio, etc.  You can use anything for lighting.  If you are shooting inside, you can take lampshades off to add some light to the scene (as long as they are out of the shot). Maybe your parents or a friend has some work lights you can use.  Be resourceful, especially when it comes to lighting.

Audio is a huge part of your shoot.  PLEASE do not forget to think about audio.  If you can find a good Boom Mic and a friend who is willing to be an audio guy for you, it will greatly increase the quality of your video over all.  If you do not have audio equipment, you may need to modify your script to minimize talking and use emotion and natural sounds to get the most from your idea.

3.   Editing

            Editing is extremely important.  This is where a lot of decisions have to be made.  It may be that when you get back and start editing, you realize you need to shoot some additional scenes to make the video flow correctly.  Or you shot too much and you have to cut something.  Don’t be afraid to make changes to some of your scenes if you have the time to do so.  Even with all of the pre-planning in the world, it is impossible to consider every variable.  And, let’s face it, sometimes what you have in your mind doesn’t always translate to video in the way you think it might.

If you know some people who you can trust to give you their honest opinions and give you productive criticism…then screen your video with them.  See if they can help you improve on what you have done.  Just make sure you don’t get your feelings hurt if they have any negative critiques.  Take what the say into consideration and see if you can use that to improve your production.

These are some very basic tips on planning and executing your next video production.  One of the great things about video is that the rules are often flexible.  Be resourceful, think out of the box, go McGyver and use whatever you can get your hands on to make your production happen.  You can get some more tips and tricks at Vimeo’s Video School:

Also, take the time to watch some videos that have the same basic concept as yours.  Maybe you can find some good ideas and modify them to make your idea even better.  Best of luck to you on your next video production! 

Photo Credits: Discipleship Ministries

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