Davis Interactive

What’s Wrong with Video on the Web?

By In Social Media, Video Production On February 9, 2010

Poor lighting, ambient sound, bad framing, and shaky shots can make video hard to watch. Web communicators who have valuable information to share, often lose the interest and respect of their viewers because their videos look or sound unprofessional. I’m utterly amazed when I see an otherwise authoritative internet marketing maven weaken their brand and minimize their message by publishing excellent content with low production value and technical distractions.

Aside: I often hear people say “I bet that camera takes good pictures.” I tell them that my camera takes both good and bad pictures, depending on the subject matter and how well I apply my craft.

I’m not recommending investing a lot of money in equipment, crew and studio time. All it takes is a little knowledge, and a bit of equipment to raise the bar to a reasonable level of professionalism. Here’s what you need:

  • A little time: Plan it out, find the right location, and shoot until you get it right.
  • Decent lighting: Make sure the light on the subject is brighter than the background. Try to stay away from overhead lighting. Instead, use a floor or table lamp located on the left or right of the camera. If you can afford it, the Lowel Ego lighting system is both economical and effective.
  • Direct audio: On camera microphones are really good at recording ambient sound, but horrible at recording a person speaking more than a an arm’s length away. If your camera doesn’t have an input for an external mic, position the camera and the subject no more than a couple of feet apart, and try to minimize background noise. If your camera does have an external microphone input, pick up a lapel mic and mic extension cable. Sony’s ECM-CS10 is a nice one for web work.
  • Steady camera: Use a tripod. Table top models are easily portable and sufficient as long as you have something to place it on. My favorite is the Joby Gorillapod because it can be wrapped around just about anything.
  • Edit: Clean it up, add fade-in, fade-out, and quick white flash dissolves to cover edits.

What do I use for quick web videos? I carry these with me everywhere I go:

If you want advice or have anything to add, comment on this blog or send me an email message.

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