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the 5 L’s to make your onLine videos LIVE LONGER

20th Apr 2010Posted in: Blog 0

Whether you are using a professional video service like Kineto Pictures or producing your own web videos out of your office. Use these 5 tips to get more out of your videos. Specifically, web videos where you will be directly addressing your audience on camera.

People spend a lifetime perfecting video techniques, but there are a few simple things that you can do to make you web video look and sound better.

LIGHT

Nobody wants to watch a video that looks like it was filmed in a cave. You want soft, filtered light, preferably natural light

People always want to know what camera to use. Our company was in business for a year before we bought our first cameras. A WHOLE YEAR! but we did have lights, and while we’ve bought and sold a few cameras and are about to buy a few more. We still have, and use the same lights, but we keep adding more. You don’t have to, and probably shouldn’t buy a complex light set up unless you want to get into production full time. But you want to ask this: Is there enough light? and is it flattering?

If I am watching a dark video it makes me feel claustrophobic. Most importantly it makes it hard to see the eyes. When you are meeting with someone in person you want to see their eyes, and if you are using web video you want to connect with people. If the light source is too strong, you will create harsh shadows , usually behind your head, or under your nose.

For beginners, I recommend using natural  indirect light. Sit next to a window so the light comes in from the side. Natural light is usually the most flattering (fluorescent light is usually the least). If that is not an option, you can use the lights you already have, but consider buying something like a cheap Chinese lantern and use it off of camera, to the side. It should give you a softer diffused light.

Without professional lighting and cameras your video will probably trend towards “too dark” but using some of these tips will help people see you better and feel more comfortable. What you are trying to do here is not look too slick, but making them feel more like they are listening to you talk, and not a grainy video.

Michelle Phan does a great job of letting you see her eyes.

LENS

The lens is the eye of your audience. If you are using a web cam, look your audience in the eye, not in the monitor (it will look like you are staring at their chest). If you can possibly afford it, use a higher end camera with interchangeable lenses. The more light you can get in the lens, the closer it will approximate the human eye, and you want to make your video feel like your audience is meeting you, not watching your amateur video.

Your lens is going to dictate how much of that light actually makes it into the camera, but it will also allow you to control what is (and what isn’t) in focus. You should be the focus of the video.

Right now Canon has a suite of digital SLR cameras that shoot high quality HD video. you can spend anywhere from $700 – $5000 on one of these and they will improve your production immensely. With the right lens on one of these,you can focus the video on you, and not whatever is behind you. It will also help with the lighting issues.

LOCATION

Think about where you are. It should be a space that feels like you. and it should be well lit, but have less light than you have on your face.

Where are you shooting this video? My number one rule of any interview: ABAWW! (anything but a white wall), don’t decorate, don’t hang a sheet, but put yourself, or your subject in context. Bookshelf and windows are fine (if the window doesn’t produce more light than whatever is bouncing off your face). If you want the video to be casual, look at a room in your house, if it needs to be professional, your office is fine, but I recommend, in either case having a few personal touches behind you. Things that are uniquely you.

The second part of location is where you exist on the camera. Better known as Composition. My partner and I just spoke to a University class on this subject and I can spend a few hours here, but four our purposes, I would suggest this. Divide the screen into three equal portions horizontally. I recommend trying to get your eyeliner between the top two divisions. Most web video have WAY too much headroom. It makes watching the video a little uncomfortable. If you don’t have a lot going on, center yourself, but if you want to bring up graphics or anything else, set yourself of to one side a little. In future blog posts Kineto is going to cover more about composition.

How important is it that the video below takes place in a lab?

LENGTH

I know you want to cover a lot of stuff. but on the web, keep it short. it’s better to have a bunch of short video that one long one.

I recommend that clients keep their videos between 30 seconds and 2 minutes at the maximum. Any more and people lose interest. Working in Children’s television we learned that people tune out quickly and there is no place this is more true than the internet. The plus side of keeping it short is that it makes you edit, and focus on key points. Then if you need to create more videos, you have more content on the web that all points back to each other.

This video may be a little long, but it feels short, and it gets to the point quickly

LOLS

You don’t have to be hilarious, but be yourself. Most of all, be willing to laugh at yourself. it gives everyone else permission to laugh along. You probably won’t “go viral” but you will make your audience feel like they are getting to know YOU and make them a little more comfortable.

Everyone wants a video that will “go viral”, unless you are willing to do something ridiculous, painful, embarrassing, or a combination, this probably won’t happen. If you are really interested in this, we can talk, but it’s not as easy as those Chronicles of Narnia guys make it look.

If you are not a professional comedian you will probably not make people laugh. Even if you are a professional comedian you will probably not make people laugh, at least not enough to make people want to pass along your video.  However, that doesn’t mean don’t joke around. Since your video is not professional, don’t try to act to stuffy. Be yourself. Be willing to laugh at yourself this will make you approachable. Even a failed joke reveals humanity and accessibility.

Sure, Gini could use some more light here and even lose the hat, but her personality shines through. She is having a conversation with her audience. I even like that it is in her office and you can see her red wall.

LASTLY

Think about where you want to your video to live. I recommend the most popular video sites, youtube and vimeo. Both allow embedding into your website. If you only host the video on your website, then you have just created an expensive billboard that can only go up next to your office. Youtube and Vimeo are social media sites as well as places to host video. both have privacy settings, but remember this:

“what goes on the internet, STAYS on the internet.” And that can be your biggest blessing as well as your biggest curse.

P.S.
Here is our demoreel if you want to see some of the stuff we have been doing.

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