Contrary to what you might believe, creating an interesting and engaging video does not require expensive equipment and technology. Some of the most appealing videos on YouTube and Instagram have been shot on a smartphone.
There are certain tricks that you can use to make appealing videos – videos that your audience will click, watch and engage with, and they have nothing to do with using expensive gear or buying expensive editing software. We cover 11 such tricks and tips in this article.
1 Shoot in a well lit space
Lighting plays a huge role in videography. You can get away with cheap equipment but not with poor lighting. Shooting with ample lighting and with the light source at the right angle, you can easily get a professional-looking video.
You don’t need to invest in spot lamps or other professional gear. A room that is well lit by regular electric light will do just fine. Shooting outdoors is also a great idea, you will get natural light that works great for videography. Shoot during early mornings when the sun is bright but not too harsh and you’ll get good footage.
2 Check your surroundings
People often dress up well for videos but fail to clean up their surroundings. If you’re shooting on a budget, chances are you’re shooting at home or at a cafe – basically a place that is not polished for a professional video.
Setup the camera and then check the frame to see what parts of the surrounding area are in the video. Then clean up the surroundings – remove any unwanted items, arrange furniture in a visually pleasing manner, add items that will be in context, etc. As a rule of thumb – the background should be appealing but not distracting.
3 Shoot at stretch and edit later
Instead of trying to adjust clips when recording, record everything in one go and then clip the video with editing software like an online video editor. This will save you a lot of time when shooting.
Again, you do not need to invest in expensive tools like Adobe Premiere (if you can, then go for it). You can use free tools available online or use tools that come in-built with your computer. You’re only looking to clip unwanted parts and stitch the rest together, not for fancy effects.
4 Ensure the audio is clear and crisp
If you’re recording audio on the same device as video (a camera or your phone), the quality will depend on the positioning and audio quality of the camera. If you’re using a separate mic, the quality will depend on the mic. Either way, listen to the audio after editing the video and make sure it is clear and crisp. The audio should not be fuzzy.
A great tip you can use is to shoot the video and then re-record audio separately and then overlap the two.
5 Avoid shaky footage
Shaky footage looks extremely unprofessional. A video with shaky footage will look like a home movie rather than a corporate video. Maintaining stability is easy, all you have to do is set the camera on a stand (either a proper camera stand or a make-shift one) and you’re good to go.
If you’re shooting a moving video, you can invest in a stabilizer. You can also adjust the video in editing software that generally comes with prebuilt stabilization effects, even with some online video editors.
6 Use the rule of thirds
Split your frame into a 3×3 grid with two horizontal lines and two vertical lines (like an X and O game). Then, place your primary subject on the left-third or right-third of the frame. This is the rule of thirds and this creates a pleasing composition.
This isn’t an absolute rule, it completely depends on the context of your video, but you can apply this rule to see how it affects your video.
7 Use what you have
A lot of brands get carried away when it comes to videography and invest huge sums of money on equipment and software when it is absolutely not necessary. Always start out by using the tools you have and upgrade later if required. This will also free up budgets to invest in other areas of the video, like in marketing.
Phone cameras are good enough for professional videos nowadays and free editing software has all the basic tools needed. You can use existing lamps and bulbs to light a room and your phone’s mic for audio.
8 Be camera ready
Have your subject practice speaking in front of a camera. It’s not as simple as it looks. A subject who is nervous or unprepared will appear rigid and fake. On the other hand, an overly eager subject will appear bouncy and overzealous.
You want your subject to behave in a natural way as if they were speaking to a person and not a camera. They shouldn’t distract the audience, they should captivate them. After a few practice rounds, they should be set.
9 Shoot from different angles
A great cinematic trick is switching angles throughout the video. Instead of shooting from one still angle, shoot a video from different angles and then switch between them as the video progresses.
This is relatively easy. Set up cameras or phones at different angles, all focusing on the subject. Make sure that the cameras are not visible in any frame. Shoot the same scene from all cameras and then clip different angles in editing. You can even have the subject turn to different cameras as the video progresses.
10 Plan your content
Prepare a script for the video. If you expect your subject to improvise, you will end up wasting time on different takes. You’ll also be putting pressure on your subject and that will be seen in the video.
Prepare the content of the video beforehand and give your actor enough time to prepare for it – what to say, what to emote, etc. You can hold up large clips which will act as a prompter for your subject.
11 Plan the video direction
Lastly, visualize how you want the video to look before you start shooting. Plan the different angles, movements, and positions. Select the space and subject and visualize how you want the end product to look.
When you have that idea in mind, you can direct the video to go as per your vision and get a really good, professional-looking video.
And there you have it, 11 tricks to shoot amazing videos with everyday gear like a smartphone and an online video
editor. Once you have a great video, invest the money you saved by using these tricks on marketing the video. With some practice, you’ll be making engaging videos in no time.