What To Remember When Producing Your First Video


Producing a video from start to finish is a long process with many steps along the way. There’s plenty of room to make errors, especially when you’re first starting out. Here are some of the many things overlooked and common errors made when producing a video. And yes, we’ve made many of them.


When setting up the camera, please remember to insert a memory card - sorry, make that a memory card with free space. And don’t forget to take it out once you’ve finished filming. Getting interrupted mid-filming because you’ve run out of space is a good way to set your shoot off track.

When setting up a shoot, go in with an idea of what you want the video to look like. One thing to plan out is setting up the camera to have proper framing. For example, when interviewing someone, include their torso and head in the shot without too much extra space around them. Make good use of the space you have available and make sure they don’t have a floating head. Following a simple quadrant system is one way to make your framing more appealing. 

Your shot may look good, but have you checked the camera settings? Don’t assume everything is perfect. Take some time to learn about your camera and how to set it up for different environments; low light, multiple light sources, interviews with 3 or more people, outdoors, events, etc. There are many environments that you may be shooting in so be prepared. Exposure, ISO, shutter speed, and aperture are all very important, but there are other settings that you need to be aware of in order to get the look you really want.


Take full control over the environment you’re in when setting up lighting. The worst thing you can do is not take advantage of the space you’re in. In your set up, don’t have lights competing with each other. Look for shadows, highlights, glares, and reflections. One of the most difficult, painful and time-consuming things when setting up lights is a glare on someone’s glasses. This is a personal opinion of course, but as soon as you think you’ve set up the perfect shot and the actor moves a different way, suddenly creating a glare on their glasses, it’s devastating. Or even worse, not noticing the glare until after you’ve finished the shoot and having to start over from scratch.  


When it comes to acting, always remember that this is your shoot. Don’t be afraid to direct the actors/actresses. Tell them to sit up straight, stand at a different angle, speak louder, or stop playing with the microphone cord. It’s your shoot, so take control. Always make sure your actors/actresses/interviewee are prepared. Give them a heads up on what they’re required to say or send a script ahead of time. Planning on using a green screen? Make sure to let them know that the green shirt that brings out their eyes isn't the best option. We created a Do’s and Don’t’s pamphlet to help our video team and our talent with this problem. It's sent out to them before a shoot, and it really saves time.


Assuming you’re recording sound externally (which you should be), microphone positioning is super important to ensure good quality audio. Position it so the actor(s) are talking into/towards the microphone and not the opposite way, or in a position they are most likely to hit it with their hands while talking. Always consider your surroundings.Is there white noise? Wind? Small noises your microphone can pick up? Be sure to scope out the area ahead of time and be aware of possible sound interruptions during the day of your shoot. An AC system in an empty room can suddenly become very similar to the sound of a hurricane passing through when playing back your audio; therefore, be sure to test your audio ahead of time. Take the time to listen to it before filming, otherwise, you may find yourself revisiting your shoot.  


Do you have a plan or a story for this video? What’s the objective? What do you want people to do? If you’re filming without a clear purpose, it’s difficult to determine what the video should look like or what the overall outcome should be. When planning your video, consider the audience. Who will be watching it? Or better, who do you want to be watching the video?

Where’s this video going to be posted? Depending on the platform, the length of the video will matter. If you’re planning to post the video on Instagram, try to keep it under one minute. Videos that are too long will quickly lose the interest of the viewer. Overall, the story should make logical sense, so make sure it flows.

Of course, these are only a few of the very many things to remember when producing a video. Whether it’s your first video or your 50th video, these can all apply depending on your situation.


Lindsey Hegadorn – Video Production Coordinator


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