Videos are becoming more and more common on websites. And, video is not just for big
companies – many small businesses and entrepreneurs use video on their
websites. You can promote your business, form more of a connection with your
website visitors, and videotape your speeches and broadcast them. You can even
record and publish videos more quickly than publishing an HTML newsletter or
writing an article in some cases.

One reason that videos are becoming more common is that there is now a very
affordable video camera available called the Flip. The Flip costs under $200,
and allows you to shoot up to 2 hours of HD quality video.

The danger with this is that it now puts the process of making videos in anyone’s
hands – and if you don’t know what you’re doing with your video, you can make a
pretty poor-quality video, even if you’ve got great equipment. There are many,
many poor videos on the internet – everything from people who look like they’ve
just woken up in the morning (bed head and all), to videos that are shaky, to
videos where the speaker’s head is cut off, and more. These all make the
business they’re promoting look amateurish and unprofessional, and can hurt the
business’s brand instead of helping it.

Here are some tips to visually improve the quality of your website video:

1. Dress the part.
If you know you’re going to be making an on-camera appearance, get ready for
it. You may consider wearing your company colors, or a version of those. Or,
wear an outfit that looks good on you – and that looks professional. Solid
colors tend to work better in front of the camera than stripes or busy
patterns. And, be extra-neat with your hair and makeup – the camera shows, and
sometimes amplifies, any mistakes. Even guys might want to consider a bit of
undereye concealer to disguise those dark circles.

2. Stake out a spot for the camera. Arrive to your location early, and bring a friend to help
you select the best angle from which to take the video. Think about not getting
the camera in the audience’s way while still getting your shot framed
correctly. This may not always be possible – so strike the best balance you can
in the space.

3. Think about framing. In most cases, you’ll want either a waist-up shot or a head-and-shoulders shot. If
you use your hands a lot while you speak, or if you are making a longer
presentation, consider the waist-up shot. If you have a very short
presentation, then a head and shoulders shot may make more sense.

4. Watch the background. Make sure there are no clocks acting as halos above your head, and that any
artwork in the background doesn’t distract from your message. Also, protect
your background if you can – make sure no one can walk through during the
presentation, or sneak up to give you “bunny ears.”

5. Be stable. The “Blair Witch Project” can get away with shaky videos and dropping the
camera, but your business video should be as steady as possible to make a
pleasant viewing experience. To do this, use a tripod. It may help to have a miniature
tripod (like this one: http://bit.ly/UVher) and also a taller tripod, so
that you can see which one works best in the space.

6. Keep your place. This is a trick from drama class in high school. If you’re going to be standing
during the speech, or even moving around a bit, bring a piece of painter’s tape
(which won’t wreck the floor) and when you compose your shot in step 2, mark
your position on the floor. Occasionally, glance down to make sure you’re on
the mark, which will mean that you are framed in the best possible way in your
video.

7. Get assistance. Even an amateur videographer can help your video look better. If you’re going
to be moving around, the camera will need to be moved to track you and keep you
in the frame. For this, using a large tripod makes sense because many of them
have a swiveling head, which will allow an assistant to track your movements
smoothly.

8. No disembodied questions! If you’re going to have a question-and-answer period during your talk,
warn the videographer – so that they can be ready to film the audience as they
ask questions. That way, you won’t have disembodied questions being asked from
behind the camera during your video – which looks a little strange. 

9. Inform the audience. Most people don’t like to be surprised with a starring role (or even a supporting
one) in your video. Let attendees know at the beginning of the event (or even
when they sign up) that you will be filming.  And, let them know how they
may appear in the final video. 


Don’t forget to have anyone who’s recognizable in the video sign a Model
Release so that you can use their image legally. Some people who film videos
during seminars pass out Model Releases at the front door, and collect them
almost immediately after the seminar begins, to ensure that they have
everyone’s permission. You can get a sample Model Release
here: http://bit.ly/GLvps .

 

With
these tips, your videos will look more professional. This will help them to
contribute to your brand’s credibility and make you and your business look more
like an expert than an amateur.