Monday, July 20, 2009

Garbage In, Garbage Out.

Getting video on your web site is important, right? Yes we agree. However the video you get on your web site is just as important.

These are the days of the vlogger. Nothing against that form of video entertainment but usually vloggers point a camera at themselves and talk. They pay little attention to lighting and often record in harsh environments with bad sound and unflattering light. I've been known to do it too. They ramble and treat the camera more like a one sided web conference video than anything remotely professional.

This is the way it's done and there is nothing wrong with that presentation if the information is key and the video itself is secondary. You are not trying to show them anything other than yourself as you talk to your audience. It is a simple way to convey yourself to your viewers.

However I have seen business videos recently on marketing, products and such that were done the same way. Someone talking about how great their service, ideas, or product is. Holding the product up and talking. Shooting inside a dark hotel room or on a beach. I found myself watching the seagulls rather than the presenter.

It is important to balance what you are talking about with visuals that convey the idea, concept or product. Don't shoot five minutes of video telling me how great something is, show me! Indeed this is a pet peeve of mine. But all of your viewers have it also to some degree.

If you shoot five minutes of yourself talking, that is good. But if you cut away and show scenes, or footage that conveys what you are talking about, then that is visually entertaining and will hold an audience much longer. I know that speed is important to you. You want to slap that video online as quick as you can.

We all fall into the point, shoot, render & post habit.

But what if you took a few extra minutes to edit your presentation? How much better would it be if you added music, an intro, some cut-aways and visuals to really enhance your presentation? Do you think it would be received better? Might make a few folks stay rather than tune away? Might make a few extra sales?

If you are pointing a camera at yourself and selling a product or idea, you are selling yourself. You are looking your audience in the eye and saying, "Trust me I know what I'm talking about." That alone may capture your audiences attention. But showing them the concept or product in use and being functional will cause them to believe their own eyes.

This works also with videos about concepts. If you are saying you can make more money and live a better lifestyle then show them people living that lifestyle. Not just testimonials, introduce your audience to them. You don't have to show their bank account but you can show their wealth. Their home, car and property will convey their wealth and happiness.

If you have a product take a few moments to shoot the product in flattering light, perhaps at several angles and being used by people who enjoy it. Show what the product can do.

"That's all fine and good Jay but I don't have the time and budget to shoot a real commercial."

Nonsense. No one expects you to shoot a fancy car commercial with a camcorder and twenty minutes. You are not Hollywood and you shouldn't try to be. But you can achieve good looking video with no budget at all. Remember, the video is not in your camcorder or expensive equipment. It's in you.

Take a few minutes to visualize what you want the video to look like. Take a few more minutes to set your scene. Is the background good or should I move five feet around to get a better angle of light? Rotating your camera a few feet will completely change the perspective. Is the light better in my face or to the side?

Having ocean waves crashing against rocks behind you looks great but sounds like, well..., waves crashing against rocks! Can the viewer hear you? Moving just 50 feet away can still have the waves in the background but now it's much less noisy.
Also, are you pointing the camera directly at yourself or offsetting the view to the side? Put yourself to the side of the frame and allow the background to be seen. (see Rule of Thirds)

A few simple techniques can take a boring video and make it brilliant! Take some time to invest in yourself and your video knowledge. Learn some useful techniques and apply them to your video work. You may be surprised how quick and easy it is, and how little effort it requires.
You can still get a quick video up on the net. It will just look better. ;-)

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