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Video has now become ubiquitous and the tools to create it are available to everyone – from compact, HD camcorders, to advanced editing software and online distribution channels, making and publishing a video has never been easier.
But having the tools doesn’t mean it’s simple to create a high quality video that your customers (and potential customers) will want to watch. At Rogue Robot we have been making video for 25 years and we know how to create high-impact, watchable content that will engage and entertain.

Should you want to make a video for your company – perhaps to introduce who you are, showcase a new product or service, or just to send a message to your loyal followers – here are a few tips on filming that should help make it a pleasant experience to watch.

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Shooting your Footage

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1. Use the best camera you can get

Don’t expect that video shot on your mobile phone is going to look as good as video shot on a broadcast quality camera. Shoot your video on the best camera you can get your hands on, be that a dedicated HD camcorder, or a good quality DSLR camera. The camera is the start point for your video, so if the camera is low quality, the video will be too. Shooting on iPads or high-end smartphones is fine, but work with the technology and use it to your advantage. This kind of camera is great for ‘reality’ footage of customers’ reactions to a product, or a little video diary, but use something of higher quality for interviews or presentation work.
If your video looks blurred and wobbly, so will your company!

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2. Shoot Landscape

If you must use a ‘phone or pad to record video, please shoot it landscape (on its side). Video shot portrait style will have black bars on either side of it when played on YouTube or Vimeo, and it can end up looking like a hostage video!

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3. Keep it Simple

We can’t all be Roger Deakins or Gregg Toland (look on Wikipedia if you don’t know who they are), so when shooting video with limited means, it is always best to keep it simple.

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Keep the camera still – Use a tripod as much as possible; don’t pan or tilt more than once in a shot (it makes people sick to have too much movement); don’t stick the camera to your head and walk around the call centre floor expecting it to only hoover up great shots. The camera will only capture what you make it capture.

Keep the shots short – We all love the opening of ‘Touch of Evil’, but a ten minute, single take, tracking shot is not appropriate for a widget making company’s web video. Unless it’s essential (an interview, a process with a defined duration), keep shots to between 5 and 10 seconds and your audience won’t get bored.

Let the action do the talking – Let things move in the frame, rather than moving the camera. Have people walking through that establishing shot of the office, forklifts shuttling things around the warehouse, boxes passing by on the conveyer belt. You are not taking photographs – capture movement and keep the viewer interested.

Use daylight as much as possible – Use the daylight to light your subjects. Sit them by a window or go outside to maximise the light.

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4. Keep an ‘ear’ on the sound

You can get away with a bad picture – the brain can fill in the gaps and doesn’t mind too much if the image isn’t great.
Not so sound. If your interviewee’s voice is drowned out by the building site next door, the brain won’t pick up a word. Use headphones to monitor sound and listen carefully. If possible, use an external ‘tie mike’ to record interviews. Listen out for air conditioning in rooms, computer fans, pneumatic drills. We are so used to these sounds we often tune them out, but the mike will pick them all up and magnify them.

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This article is the first DIY tutorial from a series of 3. The story continues in Part #2Part #3. In the next blog entries, we’ll look at editing your footage and getting it online for everyone to marvel at!

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Follow these tips and your next film will be a masterpiece – or at least a nice, watchable video.

If all this seems rather too much hassle, don’t forget that we are always here to help out, and we will never shoot anything on an iPad!

Drop us a line or give us a call if you need our services.
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