Making Casual Business Videos on a Dime
By Christine H.
It might seem like a contradiction in terms to talk about a DIY corporate video. After all, shouldn’t we listen to the adage “you have to spend money to make money” on some things? Of course! When it comes to making a polished, sleek video about your business, you should hire a pro–someone to make the production value big and beautiful.
However, with the rise of YouTube, social media, and video marketing, not every single video that you put it out needs to be worthy of screening during the Super Bowl. Video is a great way to get more eyes on your content. It could be a way to expand your social media marketing on Facebook and Instagram. It might be a casual series that you set up in your office to help your followers better utilize your service or product. For example, if you sold crafting supplies, you might have a series where you show how to make something new each month. You might use video content as a fun way to introduce the team in a dental office, or as a temporary effort to promote an upcoming event.
In any case, it’s easier than ever to make worthwhile video content for your business. Here are some tips to elevate it from a home video into something more hip and snappy:
Pick a Consistent Place
The background for your video can make or break the attempt. This is especially important to think through thoroughly if you plan on making regular video content. Having a consistent backdrop will bring everything together. So, what should you choose for your background? Well, the simplest and safest answer is a blank wall. Avoid pictures in the background, or any awkward variances. But remember that a textured or colored background can work to your advantage. Just remember if you use a blank wall to manage the shadow.
If you have a camera with good depth of field control, you might want to get adventurous with your background. Depth of field will ensure that the foreground is in sharp focus while everything in the background is blurred into an indistinguishable scene. All the same, you’ll want to carefully choose your background, like selecting a good-looking lobby or a good view of your busy beehive of workers.
One more note: it’s great to have that place be a consistent area, especially if you’re doing a series. That’s why it can be really nice to have an out-of-the-way place. (That’s also great for managing sound, by the way.) So, think about having, say, a garage or warehouse corner where you can be alone, and which you’ve set up to be a multi-purpose area.
Easy Lighting Tweaks
The first thing that any professional photographer or videographer does is ensure good lighting… and there’s a reason for that. Most of the time, effective lighting can be immediately achieved by balancing lighting from two or more sources. This prevents harsh shadows. Diffused light will reduce shadows and give you consistent illumination. In order to achieve this, you can get a reflector, or a softbox, neither of which is very expensive. Don’t forget about magic hour (twilight), or the blessing of a cloudy day. Both grant nicely diffused natural light, if you can get the timing right. However, again, if you’re planning a series, you might be better off with lighting that you can control easier than the weather in order to get a consistent look.
Prioritize Sound Quality
Did you know that in almost every study that’s been done, audiences are more picky about their sound quality than they are about the image? If the sound is tinny, patchy, or echoing, it can be wildly distracting. However, it’s a commonly neglected aspect of casual videography. Invest in a good-quality mic, like this one, instead of just utilizing the one on your phone.
Find a Comfortable Spokesperson
When you’re looking for your spokesperson, you’ll probably find that it’s harder than you’d initially thought. Some of us freeze up in front of a camera. Others can’t stay focused. So, if you were thinking that it’d be great to get the boss’ face on there, but they’re woefully stiff on-camera, be flexible! Find someone in your office who can be at ease in front of the camera.
You can help with this, too. Flatter them, joke with them, and laugh at your mistakes. When you’re having fun in front of the lens, it will be a much more fun video to watch!
Post-Production on a Dime
Post production is an area where you’re going to have to find a happy medium. You can spend days cutting and re-cutting the video. You can also pay tons of money for programs with features that you don’t even know how to utilize. However, in order to have a casual feel to your videos, you really don’t want to do all that much processing. Cut just enough to keep it clean. Balance the sound, and give a proper amount of time for intro and outro. Often, you can find software that’ll cover the basics within your normal Windows or Apple operating software. You might also look into Adobe’s amateur options or Corel VideoStudio.
Keep it Brief
Speaking of your intro and outro time, remember to keep any video that you plan to put online brief. It’s amazingly difficult to hold people’s attention for more than a minute. Do a few dry runs, and you’ll learn that you can’t get through all that much text in a minute or less, and you don’t want to sound rushed. Use visual aids when possible, and re-write the script as needed in order to stay concise.
Let’s Chat, do you have any tips for creating business videos?