Have you been struggling to make your videos look smart and professional?
Maybe all the tech sends you into overwhelm and you’d rather not make videos at all?
I’ve received so many questions and comments from people who are trying to achieve a look that they’ve seen, but are feeling disappointed because they feel that their videos are falling flat.
Well guess what Shooting Smarties, have I got info for you! The pros are using specific tools to create the results that they want, and I’m going to share some tips for going Pro on video.
The truth is, the sky is the limit when it comes to the tools that we can use, or the money that that we could spend on creating videos that look and speak a certain way. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on equipment, but you like all things in life, you should invest in things that will support your long term goals.
If video is going to be an integral part of your business, it might be worth while looking at different cameras and lenses that provide you with more flexibility in creating the images you want, and the look that you desire.
Before we move on, I just wanted to point out that I’m in no way bragging about the equipment I use, but just wanted to show you what I use in order to achieve the look that I need for my projects. Please use this information and appropriate it for what would be useful within your business and goals.
I use a Canon 7D DSLR for all my professional and vlog shooting. It’s in no way light and portable, but it’s smaller than a full sized professional recorder, and packs much better images than an iPhone or point and shoot.I can shoot in full 720 or 1080 HD resolution depending on which format I will be exporting my projects.One of the reasons why I chose this camera, and essentially what you are PAYING for when you purchase a more high end camera, is the sensor size.
The 7D has an 18 megapixel CMOS sensor that captures much more color information than its cheaper counterparts.What the heck does that mean and why is it useful you say? Well, because the footage is so much information, when I start editing, I have a lot of leverage to create stylized images that are suitable for the project.Think of your CMOS sensor as a deck of cards. If you have a lot of cards, chances are, you can create a lot of different hands from it. If you only have 4 cards, the chances of a full house are pretty slim … or impossible.
I also love that it has a wide range of ISO selections which are essentially how “sensitive” your digital “film“ is to light. If I’m shooting in a really dark indoor situation, I crank my ISO from my usual 300 to 1600, and the viewers would think it’s a bright sunny day. This feature is SUPER useful if you’re going to be shooting in varying conditions and locations.
There are a lot of great pro-sumer level cameras that offer great flexibility as well at a lower price. Here are a couple of my recommendations: EOS Rebel T3 18-55mm IS II Lens Kit Black | PowerShot SX50 HS
For a lot of my shooting, I use a multi-purpose Canon EFS 15-85mm zoom lens. This lens is great for walking around and capturing a lot of different footage from close ups to longer distance shots.A lot of people get caught up in which camera they should use, but they should actually be more focused on which lenses they want to use. Lenses are what translate world around you into your video images.
For interviews, you might try a Prime lens. These lenses are different from the zooms, because, well, you can’t zoom but they offer a gorgeous depth of field that zooms just don’t give. If your subject will remain more or less stationary, like in an interview, a Prime lens will make their face crystal clear while creating a dreamy, blurred background that really draws your focus into their face.T
here are also macro lenses, telescopic lenses, wide zoom, panoramic, fish eye, the list goes on and I don’t imagine that you would need such lenses for your everyday shooting, but just know that they each provide a very stylized look that can greatly enhance the visual value of your video. Canon Lenses Line Up
You must get a tripod. It reduces any kind of shaking that occurs when you shoot handheld, and steady images just look more professional. A tripod also allows you to be in your own shot instead of holding the camera, and gives you the flexibility to tilt and pan your movements in a much more fluid manner.Here’s the one that I love: Manfrotto 294 Aluminum Tripod with QR Ball Head
An audio recorder.
I use a Zoom H4N for all my audio recording. Yes, even when I’m recording video like this. Even though DSLR’s have taken over the market for DIY videos, a lot of them still have little built-in mics that just don’t sound professional.For example, on my 7D, my mic is four little holes drilled in the top and the mic picks up a lot of echo is most rooms. I set my audio recorder close to me, and when I start rolling, I record my audio on the Zoom as well, then overlay it from my camera’s built in audio as my first step in editing.
The results are so seamless that you can’t tell that the audio source came from a different place, but trust me, if I used my camera’s audio, you might be wondering why my audio quality just doesn’t match my video quality.My setup changes slightly depending on what I’m shooting and the shooting conditions, but these are the four on-site pieces of gear that are crucial for a professional looking shoot. Zoom H4N Portable Recorder RELATED POST: How to Find the Right Mic For Your Video Shoot
I use Final Cut Pro X and Screenflow which is just what I’ve used and grown comfortable with, but there’s also Adobe Premiere Pro, iMovie, Camtasia, Movie Maker and a TON of other web-based editors.Now I just want to put a caveat here because while editing is not an easy skill to learn, if you really want to create super personalized video content, it’s worth the time investment to learn the software.Sites like Lynda.com charge $25/month for unlimited learning videos that will teach you step by step all the essentials of software like this. You can check out Lynda right here: Lynda.com – Online software education database
Also, I have to add, that you simply cannot create super stylized videos in Screenflow or Camtasia. You can do basic editing, but it just doesn’t offer the features like complex transitions, title elements and color correction to make your projects truly personalized. So you’ll just have to decide on how much you really need to maximize your video footage to achieve the look you want.