Video Basics for an Advanced Camera World


As digital video technology advances farther and into the hands of novice videographers, and many capable ones, it’s important to recall certain “rudiments” of production effectiveness. Cincinnati video production in support of advertising, marketing and social networking is not exactly Hollywood, yet there should be some similarities.

Our beliefs, experience and street-level perspective:

Tell your story.
The greatest opportunity with video is that it allows one to make their point more memorably. Having a point, therefore, is advised. More on this below.

Go for quality.
Video capability is more available and automated than ever, but don’t expect it to be all that simple. Some believe that the Internet viewing experience and the pervasiveness of video have lowered viewing audience expectations. If lower production values are now more common, we say this is an opportunity to stand out on the basis of your video’s high quality. Why utilize advancing video technology just to fit a lower standard? Fast, convenient quality is possible. Put it to work for your message and audience. People will notice.

Plan the shoot. Shoot the plan.
There is a grab-and-go benefit to today’s smaller, less restrictive cameras and video technology. That’s great, and sometimes beneficial, but it’s best to begin with a story in mind and a list of specific shots that will ensure that the story needed in the video will be told. The classic discipline of “storyboarding,” whether as a detailed shot description or shot list, is still needed. (Warning: odd analogy ahead) It’s kind of like grocery shopping (told you), buying what you need for the situation or meals you want to prepare vs. filling the cart with things that might seem appealing or eye catching at the time.

Light properly.
The emerging camera of choice right now (and this could change tomorrow), the digital single-lens reflex (DSLR), is impressively adaptable and user-friendly, with a result often described as “filmic.” While that term might cause seasoned film professionals to scoff, DSLRs do offer some camera artistry related to depth-of-field focusing capability and shot diversity through easy interchangeability of different lenses. That said, visual quality is largely dependent on having the right lighting for whatever camera is being used. So we believe in spending the necessary time and effort on lighting. Often it involves scheduling shoots for best use of available sunlight at a given location. Other times it means bringing in the proper lighting equipment and allowing time to set it for optimal effect. The result is obvious, and well worth the effort.

Get the audio right.
Whether recording ambient location sound or the voice of an on-camera spokesperson, audio is half of your video. It deserves due consideration up front and throughout the production. Most digital cameras have built-in microphones and can be effective in supporting an informal one-on-one interview. Most other situations, such as a more formal on-camera interview, dialogue or situation, will require at least one additional microphone and an audio technician to ensure proper sound recording, levels, picture sync and more. The audio tech is also able, and usually willing, to help carry the aforementioned lighting equipment.

Work the edit.
One can imagine the “look” of a video prior to the shoot, the progression of the message, the order of things, maybe even the sound and type of music needed. Even the editing “style” can be predetermined. But the edit itself, the complex assembly of the whole from a long list of video and audio clips, is a process of discovery and refinement. While editing can be a well-organized and efficient process, it shouldn’t be rushed. This is where all of the elements of the production come together, often in ways that could not be predicted. Our opinion and approach is to allow the editing process freedom to create impact, interest and, in the end, a video people enjoy watching. It is the reward for all of the planning, care and work — now evident in a well-produced video.

While perhaps exhausting, this blog post is not intended as an exhaustive discussion of video production. We didn’t even touch on talent selection, shot composition or what to wear to the shoot. Hopefully, the points offered about the “basics” of video production will help to make your next project more effective and your results more admirable.

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