At Gravity Group we have a lot of great video production equipment – but pulling off a great shoot goes far beyond the fancy camera.
Here are some basics that anyone working on a video should consider:
1. Master Your Audio
The democratization of video is here: DSLRs and even your iPhone can shoot great video footage, if you know what you’re doing. One thing, however, that will separate your video from the local used car commercial is properly mastered audio. Spend money (when you can), time, and plenty of effort on the audio side of your production. A quality condenser microphone is essential, as well as a solid field recorder. Also, stay away from windy situations and noisy rooms. A door slam in the middle of your video or an unexpected wind gust could ruin all of your hard work!
2. Keep That Camera Steady
Tripods. I’ll say it again: Tripods! A good tripod can save a video. There is a lot of high-tech gear out there for your camera, but the tripod is the mainstay of any good video. All of the true video professionals I’ve met have made a significant investment in their tripod. Often, a good tripod will outlast 2 or 3 cameras, and you should expect to pay a bare minimum of $500 for a quality product, but you get what you pay for. Investing over $1,000 in a professional grade tripod is definitely the way to go.
3. Do Your Research
Find out what others in your field are doing! I spend hours watching videos online of clever commercials, creative short films, and pouring through any kind of video that I find intriguing. Why? There are so many new ideas out there and, if I’m not keeping up and always looking for new ways to tell a story, I’m going to get left behind…and most of the best information out there is free!
4. Practice, Preparation, and more Practice
Once you’ve spent hours researching a new kind of shot, practice it for just as much time. When I first picked up a steadicam (a great piece of video gear that is quite tricky to master) I spent hours practicing before I ever ventured outside and shot my first video with it. Also, when preparing for a day of shooting, take time to develop and review a shot list. Knowing your plans, your story, and every detail of your day will ensure you don’t miss a shot, and will help everyone involved with your video production do their best work.
5. Know Your Story
…and we save the most important point for last. Not only should you know your video gear inside and out – you should fully understand the story you are trying to tell. Only then you can create the best video possible. The best production is always a result of careful consideration and planning regarding story. Who is your audience? What story are you trying to tell to them? How long should the video be to suit your audience? By doing the legwork ahead of time, you are laying the foundation for your video to succeed.
Remember – there is always new gear out there – but the story you are telling doesn’t rely on a $40,000 camera or a $20,000 lens. The best productions come from planning and intense attention to your brand and your story.