Video production - planning, filming, editing - can be surprisingly time-consuming, even when the video is short. Before embarking on a video project, determine whether video is the most efficient and effective way to send a message or solve a problem. Will photography work just as well? Can written information get the message across faster? Do you have the time, the staff, the equipment and the software you need to film, edit and produce a video?
If video is the best medium for your purposes, review these tips to create the best project you can.
Reasons to use video
- Document an event.
- Provide a visual demonstration or tutorial.
- Show your program in action.
- Connect with your viewers in an emotional way, using a mix of music, still photography, narration and video communication.
What you need
- Camera: You can easily spend thousands of dollars for a video camera, but less expensive flip cams - and even smart phones - are now capable of recording high-definition (HD) video.
- Tripod: Essential for steady shots. A tripod with a "fluid head" will be necessary for panning the camera across a scene.
- Microphone: Your sound quality is likely to improve markedly with the use of an external microphone.
- Lights: For shooting indoors, adequate video lighting is essential.
- Avoid having the interviewee look into the lens - especially for the entire duration of the filming.
- Avoid cutting off the top of someone's head when framing a wider shot.
- Do not angle the interviewee too far into profile.
- Avoid low and high angle shots.
- Avoid using too much headroom- tight shot but don't cut off the top.
Outdoor interview guidelines
- Keep the sky blue.
- Position camera and subject with the sun facing the subject.
- Avoid using the sun as a harsh backlight.
- When possible, use a reflector to enhance outdoor lighting.
Indoor interview guidelines
- Avoid plain white walls. Relocate interview to a more-compelling location if possible.
- Avoid mixed light situations where possible. (EX: tungsten interview light w/sunlight in background)
- Always seek a good composition in relation to your background. (nothing appearing from behind the subject's head)
- Prioritize gathering footage that relates to the story.
- Avoid staying in the same camera position or sight line for too long. Move around the space and present the subject from a variety of vantage points.
- Vary shot types, camera angle, focal lengths and compositions.
- Bracket for static shots/camera movement, speed of camera moves, and exposures.
- Match camera movement and shooting style appropriately to the story's tone.
- Much of what will make your video compelling happens through the video and audio editing process. What software you choose will depend on your particular production. The options include:
- Free programs, such as Movie Maker (from Microsoft) or iMovie (from Apple)
- Professional programs, such as Final Cut Pro
- The desired length of a video depends on its purpose. For web-based video, the accepted industry standard length is 2-3 minutes.
- Lehigh University videos should close with a Lehigh branded bumper that includes the Lehigh logo, a title, credits and copyright information. Download Lehigh branded video assets >
- If you plan to post your video online, be sure to provide captions and a transcript to make your video more accessible to all viewers. There are both free and paid services available for creating caption and transcript files for your videos.
- Transcript/caption resources:
Publishing and Sharing