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5 Steps to Better Video

5 Steps to Taking Better Video: For your viewing pleasureBetter video

Video is my favorite media to put on my websites. I would rather create a video than write a post any day. After taking videos for years, I thought I would share some tips that can help you take better shots with any camera. Even if you don’t have a dedicated video camera, your point-n-shoot likely has a video setting available. Go ahead and try it out. It will add a whole new dimension to your blog or website. It is easier than you think.

1. Stabilize:
Shaky video is annoying to watch. The camera needs to be steady to take good shots. Using a tripod is the best way to go. If you are planning your video ahead, take the time to use a tripod. But If you are like me and on the spur of the moment say “Hey, that would be a good idea for a video”, you won’t have the forethought of lugging a tripod around with you. As most of your videos will be outside you can still create a steady picture with a little effort. Use two hands on the camera at all times. I have made the mistake before of using one hand like a gun slinger on the draw then trying to zoom. It looked like we had an earthquake during the take. You can really tell which videos are taken while using two hands to stabilize the camera. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. This gives you a wider base and prevents swaying. If you walk while recording, take fluid steps. Intentionally put your foot down softly. This is when you notice the jarring in the take.

2. Mic placement:
Bad audio is worse than a shaky picture. If you can’t understand the message, the video is useless. Viewers don’t want to strain to hear what is being said. Since most of your videos will be on your farm, thus outside, wind will be your strongest nemesis for good audio. Wind whipping across your mic, no matter if it is on the camera or lapel, will steal your sound. The best remedy I have found is to keep the wind to the back of the mic blocking it. Just keep in mind where the mic is. Turn the tractor off. (or whatever is running in the background) You don’t want to have to shout over anything that runs on diesel. Take some practice shots on how far away the person speaking can stand from the mic. On my camera I was surprised that the person talking can be up to 20 feet away and still have good sound. This depends on any background noise.

3. Light Placement:
I have seen so many videos where the background is too light and the subject too dark. The easiest way to solve this problem is to put the sun to the cameras back or side. What’s going on is the camera is trying to adjust the exposure to compensate for the bright background. Therefore making the subject dark. Three more ways to solve this is 1. fill the screen with the subject, minimizing the amount of bright background. The camera will then expose for the light on the subject. 2. Add a fill light on the subject, such as a work light, trouble light, or even a lantern type flash light. This might not be practical in every situation but something to keep in mind. 3. Put less of the sky in the frame by bringing the horizon to the top third of the screen. Remember, just because you are outside doesn’t mean you have enough or the right light.

4. Leave head room:
I am sure there is some technical name for this but I don’t know it. When you record leave some video in the intro and the end to give some lead time. If you don’t the beginning or the end will be snipped/cut off during transitions from clip to clip or with the credits. 5 seconds should give you plenty of time to work with.

5. Retake
Remember you get do-overs. Try to plan out what the person it going to say. Practice. Shoot. Review. Retake. I sometimes do a retake knowing that I’ll just pick the best one. Or you can choose parts to put together in the final video. You can cut any slip-ups in editing. But I wouldn’t worry too much about a little stumbling here or there. The most important thing is getting your video posted. Not how many times you stuttered.

Try these tips and tell me how they work for you and leave a link to your video.