Tips for Great Videos

Use the Right Equipment for the Job

  • Do you need an external mic to capture the audio?
  • Do you need an HDR camera?
  • Do you need a video camera that also takes great still shots?

Most videographers have an arsenal of equipment at their disposal. If you’re a complete beginner, you might not have the options of a professional, but still work with what you’ve got. Use the right camera and microphone for the project.

Pay Attention to Your Audio

Bad audio can completely ruin a great video. Pay attention to the audio that you’re capturing. If you’re using an action camera, you may want to invest in an external mic. Either way, you need to be aware of any background noise that’s being captured, such as wind or people nearby.

If you’ll be using music in post-production, keep this in mind when capturing audio. How will it sound against the backdrop of music?

Abide By the Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is one of the most talked about videography rules for a reason: it makes shots look better. It draws the eye to a focal point and helps show more of the surrounding action.

The Rule of Thirds calls for drawing two lines horizontally and two lines vertically, all lines equally spaced apart. The subject or focal point of your shot is then placed along the intersections of these lines. Keep this rule in mind as you shoot.  

Frame Your Shot Like a Picture

The aforementioned Rule of Thirds will help you frame your shots like a picture, but take it to the next level by using the environment itself to frame the focal point. If you’re shooting outdoors in nature, use the bushes and trees to create a frame around your subject.

It takes practice to consistently keep a frame around your subject, but it’s possible. Keep practicing framing to take your shots to the next level.

Keep the Subject Well Lit

Everything you see, and everything you record, is actually reflected light. Depending on what you’re recording, consider carrying a lighting kit with you that contains at least three light bulbs. Good lighting can make even a cheap camera look passable.

If you’re shooting outdoors, keep the sun at your back so that it’s lighting up your subject.

Keep the Camera Steady

One of the biggest things that will make your video look amateur is a shaky cam. Even in GoPro videos with a head mount, shakiness should be minimized as much as possible. Invest in a tripod to minimize the camera shaking.

Depending on the type of video you’re shooting, a little bit of shaking may be acceptable. If you’re shooting a whitewater rafting video, some unstable action is expected. However, too much will make the viewer stop watching.

Get Close-Up, Medium and Wide Shots

These three types of shots add variety to your video. Open up with a close-up shot, switch to a medium shot and then move to a wide shot. Every scene or event that you film should consist of multiple angles. This is especially true for action camera videos – people are starting to tire of point-of-view-only shots. Instead, mix it up by capturing different angles.

As a related tip, don’t use the zoom feature to capture close-up shots. Actually move closer to the subject. The act of zooming can be tiring for viewers, and using the zoom feature usually means a decrease in quality.

Study The Work of Other Videographers

Whether you’re watching a YouTube video, a movie or a TV show – you’re watching videography at work. Watch everything you can with a studious mind. Are they following the Rule of Thirds? Are they abiding by sequence shooting? How are they sequencing their shots?

Go out of your way to watch videos that are similar to what you’ll be shooting. Ask yourself what the videographer is doing well and what could be done better.