Simple Rules for Web Video
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Online video is rapidly becoming the most effective way for a company to create a lasting online presence. Not only is video engaging for the viewer it is also becoming an expected component to any website. Most sites without video are considered to be out of touch and lacking in content. Coming up with great web videos can seem like a daunting task when you begin to work on a project, but when simplified it is a fairly simple process .
1. Make it short and sweet.
Long-winded half hour videos are usually stopped before the message gets across to the viewer. Unlike broadcast videos, web video is best viewed in small increments. Videos between the two-minute and four-minute mark are usually the most watched. In this shortened time you need to make your message concise and to the point. Pre-production is needed to create an accurate message. Write out what the audience will see and hear as well as any graphics you may need to show on-screen. This will help you keep the video at a manageable and viewable time. If you are working on a much larger project and you feel the need to create a longer documentary for the subject; try to create a series of smaller, shorter videos dedicated to a singular point of the larger subject.
2. It has to look good!
A clean video will always work better for a professional site; it is just plain common sense. YouTube.com has plenty of examples of bad videos, but these videos are rarely ever seen on the front page of a professional website (unless that site is about bad YouTube videos). You don’t need a Hollywood budget, large studio lights, or massive cinematic rigs; all you really need is a clean background with good light. Proper lighting can be achieved with lamps, as well as flash lights, and the better your lighting is, the less your camera has to work to create a great shot. Most cameras can create a decent shot out of a bad lighting situation, but it will also create higher amounts of gain noise. This will leave your video grainy and fuzzy. Another key element to creating good video is a stable camera, so if you have a tripod use it, if not, try the old string to a washer technique to create a still shot. Jumpy, jiggling footage is nauseating to watch and comes across as unprofessional.
3. Make it sound as good as it looks.
The eye is much more tolerant of errors than the ear is, so make sure you are capturing the best possible audio. You can pick up microphones for a small chunk of change that work well and help continue to create an excellent video. If possible try to close your eyes while recording the audio. This helps pick up small line flubs as well as any crackles and noise. It is always a better idea to catch the audio flubs in the production process as opposed to trying to fix them in post. Bad audio captured will almost always remain bad. If working with talent, have them practice in front of you before they get on camera. You may catch a word or two that doesn’t sound right when spoken aloud by your actor and rehearsing ahead of time is much more time efficient than fixing it in post.
The old saying of Keep It Simple, Stupid works in almost every aspect of life, but it works best when working with web videos.
Most videos are played in a small player that measures out to equal a 2-inch TV screen. This is important to remember when creating the video graphics. Make sure your graphics are simple and clean. Try to do the same for the rest of the video as well. Fancy effects are cool, but sometimes extremely unnecessary. Between shots try to use straight cuts or quick dissolves. Keeping the video graphics and transitions simple will make the video compression a simpler task for your computer as well. If your talent has to move within the video, try to have them move to and from the camera, not sideways. Rocking back and forth is disconcerting and the simple in and out movements also help simplify the video compression.
Your project may seem like a daunting task but just remember to follow these four steps for a simple, yet professional web video. With online video being seen on almost every site just remember to keep your video simple with good audio, a clear picture and a concise message. Following these steps will keep your web videos playing on the front page. You can always learn more by checking out our website.
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