Video Production… 6 “Back to the Basics” Tips from My Sister

dad.jpgIn my haste making videos in my spare time, I have strayed from the basics of video production that I learned doing grunt work for 7 summers at PBS. Some of my crappy videography is probably a subconscious desire to give my videos a raw, unproduced feel.

Today my sister sent me 6 smart tips. She’s a freelance producer at a major network, and I found this advice valuable. Had it come from my other sister (the one that told me I had a pear-shaped body when I was little) I might have been offended. But there’s some good stuff here. Watch to see if you notice a difference in my next videos.

I hate to be a snobby producer, but… I watch your stuff religiously, and you need to shoot better. Content is great, but its shot like a public access tv station. I can help.

  1. Never shoot yourself head on in an interview..always look from the
    side (very ’60’)
  2. Do an establishing shot of your subjects (make them walk down a
    corridor or have them typing at a desk. If they are athletes/celebs have
    them throwing a football or doing something fun. Humanize your
  3. Put your camera on sticks. Handheld makes viewers nauseated.
    Light them. If you don’t have HMI’s, at least use a desk lamp. They
    are soft.
  4. Get a LAV mic. Or a boom. Camera mics carry white noise such as screaming kids and people breathing
  5. Get a new camera. There are You Tube videographers with insane DVs.
  6. Hire a producer. Me. I can transform your business. At least on a freelance basis. I can be your California ‘stringer.’


13 Replies to “Video Production… 6 “Back to the Basics” Tips from My Sister”

  1. All of those are great ideas for making the videos look polished. But please don’t follow these for your videos such as “Bike Off Roof” or “Computer Falls From Car”

    I’ve had personal experience with the steady-cam stick thing. My friend Samuel was cameraman during that Tom Green thing I filmed, and it really helped. I suggest that if you’re doing “on-the-street” videos, then use one, and have the camera man move it around kind of randomly.

    As with new camera, what kind do we need?

  2. Those are a few nifty tips. If you are doing these videos for fun and not looking for an Emmy, i’d say to bypass all of the technical things that may increase your expenses and just continue doing what you do. If it works for you right now, why make changes? All of those tips are useful, but you should apply them when and where you feel is necessary……maybe when you do that video that you said you will need a script and cast for (i believe it was in your “pay per post” article).

  3. Some of these are easy (better shots and lighting) but others require investment (I really want a $1000-$2000 digital camera, but I don’t need one yet… my stuff will be compressed anyway).

    I was interviewed recently by a newly launching site MediaMoGirl. She used a $200 desktop mike and a $2K Panasonic she swears by. I’ll see if I can the specifics- I drooled looking at it. But that would burn up most of my revenue and I’d probably break it…

  4. On Zack Scott Reports I use what I refer to as a good camera, but bad video quality. It is a JVC hard disk camera. Anyway, I have two big halogen work lights, but they appear too yellow. So I use level adjustments, and I think it really helps out. Also, I do use a $100 condenser mic that I bought a year or two ago for music recording purposes. It works like a charm.

  5. Sally P,

    The emmy statement is irrelevant. all i am saying is this…..are all of those technical tips necessary for online videos? The answer is no. It all depends on the level of content and if the majority of the videos are already getting a wide audience the way it is, why spend more money that you cannot afford (unless you can, in which case this comment doesn’t really apply) on equipment or lighting gadgets to make a video look more appealing to certain people. If online viewers are watching already, what difference does it really make?

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