Top Quick Tips for Better Video

Feb 12, 2018

Here’s a recent Snap Synapse mailbox question from an author/educator wanting to make better videos content with his remote business partner:

What tips might you have for doing a video when we are separated by 1,000 miles?

Skype, Zoom, GoogleHangouts, and other video conference platforms all work great for these kinds of low-tech video productions. It doesn’t matter much which one you pick, as long as you can store the recording too. The most important thing is that the content is relevant to the viewer. 

In fact, I’d be surprised if the technical quality of your existing videos are really getting in anyone’s way. That’s an excuse people sometimes give, but it’s your energy/offering/relevance that really counts most of the time.

Still, here are some tips for making your videos & online meetings look more professional:

  • Don’t hold the camera. Use a tripod or something to hold the device steady and just above your eyeline (unless you want an extra chin). 
  • Good audio or bust. No handling noise, no background noise, no garble or crackle or weirdly accented frequencies. This usually means using an external mic that plugs into your computer/phone/camera. Links to some suggestions are here:
  • Light it well. Use a ring light, as these just make everyone look better — unless they’re wearing glasses. And watch out for backlighting or strong reflections behind you. If you can lock the exposure and focus (simply tap & hold on an iOS device), do that to keep them consistent for the duration of the shot. 
  • Never zoom or filter. Okay, maybe “never” is a little strong. But most devices are doing a digital zoom, and that’s troublesome for a lotta reasons. Filters are to be applied in post-production, if at all. Place the camera where it should be to see what you want it to see without any additional finagling. 
  • Set the scene. Be intentional about your on-screen surroundings. Keep it clean or litter credibility markers as you please. Anything you think your target audience is likely to have in common with you (or better yet to be envious of) is probably good to put in frame.
  • Go off center. If there’s two of you in one shot, this isn’t a concern. But if it’s just one of you on screen, going just to the right or to the left of center is almost always subtly better. Pick opposite sides if you’re toggling back and forth in the same video for a more intuitively conversational feel. 

Hope this helps! When it’s time to upscale your video production, we can talk about that too. 

Do you have any questions about video or audio for learning? If so, please reach out!

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