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7 Video Shooting Tips For Digital Marketers

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ideo shooting for digital marketing content can be a daunting task, even for the most seasoned videographer. I am here to point you in the right direction and offer a few key steps that will improve your videos tenfold. Let’s dive into the video tips.

Preproduction: The “Pre” is for Pretty Darn Important

Preproduction is listed three times in this piece because it is the most important thing you can do for video marketing. If we don’t prepare ourselves we cannot be set up for success. This approach could be applied to life in general, but in this instance, it is going to turn you into a seasoned filmmaker. Take the time when you have it, consider all your options - you will not have the time on the day when you are shooting. 

It doesn’t matter what size your shoot maybe, doing thorough preproduction will save your skin. A preproduction checklist is a great tool to ensure you have dotted all your i’s and crossed all your t’s. I have found a great one that you can use to plan your shoot. Studio Binder has put together a detailed, according to them “the ultimate preproduction checklist.”

Preproduction: Shoot on paper first

Shooting professional, engaging content requires a lot of planning. The better your content becomes, the more effortless it will appear - only you will know the truth. Stressing the importance of taking your time during preproduction will save you time and money in the long run. One of the best things you can do is plan your shoot on paper through storyboards, and shot lists. 

Storyboards are great for finding creativity and visualizing your content before you actually shoot it. Many times as you walk through your mind you will realize what works best. For those who can’t draw, worry not - Hubspot provides a list of amazing storyboard apps.

Shot Lists are great, they are essentially the business side of storyboards. Once you have storyboarded every shot, we can break them down into manageable portions based on the frame, location, and actors. I refer back to Studio Binder if you are looking for a great shot list template.

Preproduction: Choose the right equipment for the job

Coordinating a shoot, and getting everyone involved can be a Herculean feat. When the day comes to shoot you don’t want to be left holding the bag. Like an experienced camper, you prepare for any situation. For any shoot you undertake, you will need equipment. You should get together with your crew and generate an equipment list. Most of the time you will likely not have everything you need, so you will need to rent gear from an equipment house in your area. 

Once you have the gear, it has to be checked, batteries need to be charged and lenses cleaned. Especially if you are renting equipment, it is important that you check that it is working before a shoot. If you take anything away, always carry more batteries than you will need, you can never have enough. Vide maker offers an equipment checklist you can build yours off of.

Get the coverage you need. B-Roll will save your life again and again

Once you have gone through all that preproduction, you’ve made it to shoot day - hooray! Welcome to the production part of your shoot. All your hard work planning and prepping should make this day run smoothly. There will always be unforeseen issues, but you are prepared to take on the world - especially if you are dealing with live events.

So you have your script, your storyboards, and your shot list which is fantastic, but it is not enough. There is still more to be done. Don’t worry I’ve got your back.

  • Shoot with your editor’s cap on -  Remember the end result, shooting with the final edit in mind will help you not overshoot - you really don’t have all day.
  • Coverage, Coverage, Coverage - Coverage really means different camera angles and framing of the same action caught on camera. Using one camera angle can be boring and your audience will lose interest. You can use it to effectively accentuate your point or emotion.
  • B-Roll and Insert Shots, the true life-savers -  B-roll is extra footage that is captured to enrich the story your telling. Remember we are creating a narrative that connects with your audience. Insert shots or Cutaways are a great way to add details to your narrative. One aspect that is crucially important is that they will help you edit. They offer a way to cut on the action that isn’t jarring to your audience.
  • Heads or Tails? No, you need both. -  This is a little secret to capture those special moments you can’t possibly plan for. When shooting action, or dialogue it isn’t like turning a light switch on - you want to feel natural and effortless. When you’re ready to hit the record button, push it 3-5 seconds early (don’t tell your talent) and when ready to yell cut wait 3-5 seconds. Some of the best moments are captured when everyone least expects them. 

Don’t Forget The Audio: A message is easily lost when you can’t hear it

This is a lot of information, but we need to tackle one more aspect of video - sound. From past experience, I can tell you an audio issue on the day or problems with sound in the edit will kill a video faster than anything else. I’m sure you have watched a documentary or news where the video quality wasn’t the best. But can you tell me if you have ever watched something with horrible sound? 

You may have the most amazing visuals, but if you don’t have the sound to go with it you have nothing. Now the ins and outs of audio are a topic for another discussion here is a link to help put you in the right direction. B&H Photo is a professional online camera store, they literally carry everything you can think of. They offer useful advice for recording great audio.

Establish your tone and stick with it

Tone is not really a tangible thing we can hold in our hands but it can change the way your audience views and more importantly feels about your video. The tone is the emotion you create with your video - it’s the part that customers notice immediately. Understanding tone will help form an emotional bond. As digital marketers, we know that most purchasing decisions are made based on emotions. This is a valuable tool to utilize. So how do you achieve this? 

A great exercise during preproduction is to create what is called a “Mood Board.” Essentially it is a series of images, colour, design, texture, and wardrobe. As an audience, they will pick up on the smallest details in your video. Jason Boone offers suggestions on how to set the tone of your video and create your own Mood Board.

The right piece of music or sounds can help amplify the tone and emotion in your video. Don’t forget about it, your customers won’t.

Create a Story: it is how you connect with your audience that they will remember

It doesn’t matter how short your video is, without a story your audience can relate to you - your message will be lost. We are social creatures, and how we communicate, how we learn something new, and how we remember something is strongly connected to the narrative. 

As digital marketers, you must harness every tool at your disposal. Creating a narrative allows you to be creative, inspirational, personal and will be welcomed by your audience. Brands that effectively tap into nostalgia are able to connect with their customers on a deeper level - This translates directly to higher user engagement and increased sales. Kayla Matthews from Outbrain offers some fantastic insights into storytelling through video.

My final note would be to collaborate with others and have fun - the best things sometimes happen organically. No one person will be able to tackle everything, having others there to help and offer their perspective is an invaluable part of making engaging content. Happy shooting! 

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