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10 Top Tips For Better Business Video
From blog posts to direct adverts, no medium has inspired people to stop scrolling on social media more than business video.
Did you know that YouTube has a billion users? It is commonly considered the second biggest search engine in the world! As for Facebook, it has prioritised video, so as the platform reduces the reach of normal business posts, it has increased it for business video.
"People do stop scrolling down their feeds
when a video plays!"
This means that a video has a couple of seconds of watch time and that's an opportunity to make an impact with the viewer. On the flip side, if you add videos to your website, then Google will see people spend more time on your homepage, which improves your bounce rate and helps your search engine ranking.
So, there are a lot of benefits to creating business videos and lots of small businesses try, but many get it wrong. A Facebook Live from your car with some random thoughts is ok for your own timeline or a closed group, but it's not something you want to use as an advert.
So, what kind of videos should you be considering?
Quick Ads: Square format and no longer than 15-seconds, simply to get one single message across to the viewer.
Facebook page header: Can also be used on your website, and it gets across who you are and what you do with specific messages. Doesn't need to be a cinematic masterpiece as most people won't listen to the audio.
Slide-based video: for your website and social media. If you don't like being in front of the camera, then let images and words tell your story.
Talking head video: Film an extended version of your networking pitch for your website homepage so people get to know who you are. Key staff can do it too.
Hints & Tips: Give people an idea of your knowledge by talking about a single concept in a short video. Give them something useful to take away.
Testimonials: Get others to tell the viewer how good you are! If you've got happy customers then they'll be pleased to tell others how much you've helped them.
Events: If you host them regularly, a video can summarise the day and you can use it to help promote future events too. Include an introduction and conclusion clips as well as some testimonials from attendees.
All of these videos work just as well on your website as they do on social media!
So, if you're all fired up to create a business video, remember that although your smartphone is a great tool to use to shoot it, you need to make it look as professional as possible. I've included 10 top tips for better business video below:
Shaky, wobbly video is really offputting
If you just hold out your arm and shoot your video that way, your smartphone is going to move around. The longer you hold it, the more it'll roam! And it's natural to hold it vertically whereas a business video is better shot in landscape format.
At a bare minimum, get a mini-tripod and a smartphone mount for your desk or something bigger and more robust if you're shooting in different locations.
A 3-axis gimbal is a great way to lock the camera on you and let it move around smoothly. These can even be mounted onto a tripod if you want to improve things further. However, if you can afford it, and you're committing to lots of regular videos, consider a mirrorless camera or a dSLR and shoot in high-quality 4K to improve video quality.
Dodgy audio is just as bad
Although smartphone microphones are pretty good, they do tend to pick up all the sound around you. Even noises like someone shutting a door, or a room fan or traffic outside is going to be picked up to some degree. Investing in a microphone is really going to help.
If you're shooting with your smartphone then you have a number of different options. You can use a Bluetooth lapel mic so you can stand back from your smartphone to better frame yourself, or use a wired mic for a more of an interview style of video.
Shooting with a mirrorless camera or dSLR reduces the options you have so you can either get a lapel mic with a long lead or use a wireless system of a transmitter and receiver for convenience. Of course, you can get an interview mic and even have it on a boom, but that means you're putting together a film crew rather than doing it yourself!
Keep an eye on your horizon
Nothing to do with Pirates, this is about ensuring your video isn't off on a wonky angle. Even a couple of degrees can be offputting so making sure everything is level. This can be corrected in high-end video editing software, but with more common editing can't be so you'll have to reshoot again.
Most cameras (smartphones, mirrorless and dSLR) all have something called 'thirds lines' which overlay the screen, so you can check your camera is level and so you appear vertically in the frame. Some even have an electronic spirit level built in!
Position yourself in the frame correctly
Most photographers learn to use thirds lines to position subjects. It makes for more interesting images when their subject sits on one of the four sweet spots. But with business videos, this rule doesn't apply.
If you're talking in the clip, you want to be in the centre of the image with a little bit of space above you to the top of the frame. This rule can be broken if you're having bullet points come up on the screen to showcase features of a product or service, as the words will need space, but that can be done in the video editing software afterwards.
If you're talking to someone else on screen, then position yourselves equally from each edge of the frame and leave a little space between you rather than getting up close and personal. You can always take a step back from the camera to give yourself more room..
Background, background, background!
There is nothing worse than having a distracting background. If you're shooting your business video outside then make sure you find somewhere that is going to be quiet and as static as possible! Anything that moves like cars, birds, bushes and children are going to catch the attention of the viewer and you won't get your message across.
The bottom video on my homepage has my cat Gimley in the background, but as it was a more personal video I was creating and I'm well known as a lover of cats, I felt it was ok to leave him in. In the first take, he had his leg in the air preening himself so was too distracting.
The best sort of background is one that you control. Paint an office wall white or even consider using a chroma green screen and choose a background in your video editor. Or, if you have a clever webcam driver, you could even blur out your background as I do.
Lighting can be a real curse
In the professional world, I use something called three-point lighting; you'll have seen it on sit-down interviews with politicians and celebrities This gives us one primary light, then two other lights to do other things with. I can light the background, I can light hair, I can fill in from below, I can put in those nice catchlights in the eyes.
But for most, using natural light is a must. If you're shooting outside, be aware of where the sun is so you're not getting harsh shadows. An overcast day is perfect for shooting video as the light is diffuse.
Don't video yourself in front of an open window unless you have a light on or near your camera that is powerful enough to overcome the light coming in the window. Your smartphone flash/torch won't be strong enough, so you may need to invest in something more powerful ... but try not to blind yourself!
Know what you want to say and be concise
I've always believed that a talking heads video such as an introduction should be off the cuff rather than scripted. Yes, you can use a teleprompter in front of the camera to read from, but it can appear staggered and forced if you're not brilliant at it.
It's better to talk about something you really know about in intros and tips videos. Consider doing a slightly extended version of your 60-second networking pitch, but do remember to practice it if you are making any changes.
I was doing an intro video for steffilewis.com recently and just sat on the lawn in my garden with some interesting plants behind me and did a piece to camera. It took me a number of goes, but it comes over as very natural and sometimes that's all you need.
If people always meet you in a shirt and tie, then wear a shirt and tie on camera. If you're a jeans and boots kind of girl who works in the creative industries, then that's also fine, but wear what you normally wear to meet people.
Remember that business video is about promoting your business so you want to show people who you are. First impressions are very difficult to change, so if you're using video to promote your business, looking the part on screen is just as important as looking the part in real life.
It takes as many takes as it takes
If you stumble while filming yourself, don't worry, just shoot it again! Remember, you're putting yourself out there so ums and ahhs and coughs and splutters and looking away to think or remember things are a big no-no.
You have to be happy with the final clip and want to use it to promote your business. If there's something in there you don't like, just shoot it again!
Learn how to edit your videos
There are many different video editing packages out there. Some are simple, some are complicated, some are expensive, some are cheap, some are designed for desktops and laptops and some work on your mobile phone.
But don't go overboard with effects and music and transitions and filters! Simple and straightforward is best when editing ... we're not creating a cinematic masterpiece here! Any music you add should be playing quietly in the background and not overpower any speech.
Whichever one you choose, learn everything you need to finish and polish your videos so that when you publish them on your website and social media, you'll be happy to use them to promote your business.
If there is one final piece of knowledge I want to share with you in this blog post it would be this: buy the best possible equipment you can afford to create your business videos.
For example, an iPhone with 128Gb of memory, although a lot more expensive than the 16Gb version will give you a lot more flexibility. A £2,000 Pro CamCorder will always give you better video quality than a smartphone, but you'll be spending a huge amount more on accessories for it ... so it's all swings and roundabouts and it all depends on your budget, what you want to achieve and how committed you are to creating business videos.
"Would you like to know more?"
If you'd like to find out more about how business video can work for you, either as part of a monthly subscription or as one-off projects, then do give me a call on 0333 335 0420 or fill out and send the form at the bottom of this page and let's see how I can help you.
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