What Makes A Good Video? (Part 2)

November 19th, 2020

Avery simple question, with some surprisingly simple answers. Video production can become very complicated, however, if you know what you want from a video, then many benefits can be gained in an easier way then you may think. This three-part blog gives you the transcript of a LinkedIn Live conversation between Glacé Media’s Managing Director, Marcus Johnson and Camera Operator/Video Technician, James Froment.

They broke down the process of making a good video into its most simple form. Their discussion covered three main areas; planning the video, shooting the video and then editing and distributing the content. For anyone wanting to gain more from video content, this conversation contained lots of great insights.

Marcus:

What would you say are very useful technical bits of advice just to make sure straight away a video is stepped up. It’s a professional look, whether that be simple bits of lighting our camera equipment.

James:

So I would always say content trumps quality at any stage. And I know it’s gonna sound weird. You know, I live as a camera guy, but audio is more important than the camera, like 80% of the time. For sure. And then lighting, you need to be lit obviously. So if you have a big sort of soft light hitting you, that’s always, the ideal point. And you can do that literally by standing next to a window on an overcast day or next to a window with a white curtain just that will diffuse the light nicely. Audio wise, I would get like a little, you can get these like lapel mics that plugs straight into your phone. And I would just do that, just clip it on and you’ll get 90% better audio than just from your iPhone or whatever.

Marcus:

Yeah. And I think that’s a good point with the audio that I’ll just jump on. That is because that’s something that we’d learned very early on is when you get more clients kind of saying, okay, we want a visually attractive video. I want it to look nice, but we want a bit of audio in there, but don’t worry about that too much. But when you don’t pay attention to the audio and you just put something together, it stands out so much. And this even applies to the smaller level, even if you’re just running a personal brand, for example, and you want to put some YouTube videos out there where it’s you just talking to the camera explaining something about yourself, something very simple. Like you said, it doesn’t even have to be a high-end microphone, but just something, a lapel mic, you can clip on, that’s got a bit more quality than would be directly coming through your camera makes so much difference. And it’s those little things, it’s working in those margins. You don’t need to go and think the massive step up to the camera will add more quality unless that is directly what’s linked to it. So yeah, I think that’s a really good point there. And also with the lighting, what were you gonna add to that? Sorry, James.

James:

No, it’s just, it’s that whole package together. And when that sort of happens, then it comes into the editing, but it’s also knowing where you’re delivering again. You know, people say, Oh, I have to film it horizontal or vertical. Which one should I do? That’s like, what if you’re delivering on social, then you’re probably actually fine with vertical, but if you’re delivering on YouTube or anywhere like that, I wouldn’t go for that vertical look.

Marcus:

Yeah, absolutely. And again, that all ties into what we said before about planning, how important that is. And the more we go through this, you’ll understand everyone who’s watching this, just how important the planning is, because then it doesn’t just seep into the delivery and also the concept, but it actually seeps into this direct technical aspects of what you film in and what you’re producing on the day.

James:

A little example of where you can see that pretty well. So I was on a shoot and we were delivering for both, the end goal was to deliver both horizontal videos in 1920 by 1080 and vertical video at the same time. So that affected the camera we chose because we obviously needed more resolution to be able to do the vertical by shooting horizontal. And on top of that, you’re looking at framing. You know, you have to frame everyone to work both in horizontal and look good, but also you have to film them in a way that when you crop it, they’ll still work in a vertical way. But by knowing that you can put the plans in place.

Marcus:

Of course, because then you’re in a position if afterwards whoever wants the video producing is like, Oh, can you do it in this form? Well, it’s not going to be optimized in terms of how it’s shot. Okay. You might be able to do it technically, but it’s not going to be as effective as a video. Now that’s a really good point. And that is something again to bear in mind when you’re having to think about, if you’re delivering on social, how are you delivering it? Are you doing it square? Are you doing it portrait? Is it landscape? Because that will affect how it is shot. It’s just not a matter of cropping it down like that. Something I would like to add as well is, and this kind of ties in with planning, but it’s more in line with preparation and that comes down to so many different elements.

Marcus:

Yes. The planning helps whoever’s making the video in terms of what technical aspects that are needed. But preparation is so important when it comes to spoken parts, for example, pieces to camera or interviews because yes, it’s a great technique sometimes just to have a few bullet points and riff off that. But if the style of video, which many corporate videos are, and is still and will be an effective video where, someone is speaking into the camera or someone is speaking to just off camera, where they want to deliver a very specific message. If you’ve not prepared that message before the day, there’s two issues. You’re going to have the obvious one is it’s going to take longer. If you’re willing to take the time, that’s fine. And you understand that some people are happy to spend a day doing one interview. No worries. But I think the more important thing is how it’s going to come across on camera. It’s not just a matter of sitting there and reading the script as a lot of people may want to just read it from the script fine, but you want to get the, feel the point of doing the video is to get the emotion.

James:

You need to know the message because you can film so many interviews and if the person filming, myself or the director, whoever isn’t aware of the message that you’re trying to get across, it can just not happen because if the message doesn’t come across in the interview, then you walk away and you get to the edit and you put it together and the client goes well, where’s our message? Well, you didn’t have it. It didn’t come across in conversation.

Marcus:

Yeah. And that completely makes sense. So that is a very important thing to do in preparation. It’s not just planning it’s knowing the message yourself. It’s ensuring that the crew or whoever’s filming know that but, the person on camera knows that as well. And it is tricky in many scenarios because a lot of videos like that are involving just staff members, team members, who work somewhere. They’re not actors, they’re not used to being in front of camera, but that makes so much difference. Just a little bit of preparation, knowing what you want to say and what you want to convey going into it. Because like I said before, video is about mood and emotion. And the reason that you doing a video is to communicate a message with more emotion than it would in a document, for example, or just an audio piece.

So to make sure you get the most out of that, that’s definitely one big tip I’d say is make sure that you prepare whoever’s on camera. Whether it be a spoken part or whether it just people who are appearing in it, know what is the message you want to get across something that was as simple as it, if it’s B roll, just general footage that’s in there. If you want your team members or your staff on there, make sure they know the message of this is a positive, happy message that you’re sharing, because it could just be a matter of, and I’ve seen this happen on many occasions, we just want to get shots of the staff working, great. But if they’re just sat at the desk typing away, but the message of the video is, Oh, look at us. We have a great time at work and everybody’s really happy. Those things don’t go together. So you’re actually countering your own message there. So little things like that, make sure everyone who’s involved with the video is prepared.

James:

Yeah. Just let them know that they’re going to be in the video as well. Yeah, absolutely.