Video Production Tips


Here are some basic guidelines to consider before you start shooting your video. Following these tips will improve your video and keep viewers focused on your message.

Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is a compositional technique that makes the subject of your frame more visually dynamic and interesting to watch.

AlmostPerfect!

Horizon Line

Leveling your shot with the horizon line will make it feel more stable and easier to watch.

Not quite levelLevel

Head Room

This is the amount of space separating your subject's head from the top of the frame.

Too muchNot enoughPerfect!

Lead Room

This is the amount of space in front of your subject when they're not looking directly at the camera. It's important for creating a balanced feel to your shot.

Not enough lead roomToo muchPerfect!

Proper Exposure

Again, this is one of the most common problems when shooting video on a mobile device outside. Try to look for the most evenly lit area with the least amount of contrast. Bright mid-day sun can make this challenging.

Under exposedOver exposedProperly exposed

White Balance

Proper white balance is what gives your video the most natural-looking color. White balance is automatic on most mobile devices. Videographers set it manually on more advanced cameras. 

Blue castOrange castProper white balance

Internal vs. External Mic.

Sound quality for an interview is critical and you should use an external mic. whenever possible. External mics (as opposed to the built-in mic on your phone) isolate the sound of your interviewee from all the background sound, which makes it much easier for your viewer to follow the story. Built-in mics record everything evenly, which means your subject's voice won't be distinguished from other sounds. That might work if it's a completely quiet space, but can be very frustrating outside or in a busy inside area.

Three samples of different mics.

Impact of Music

Music can influence the mood and feel of your video more than any other single element, so it's important to choose wisely and use it sparingly. It can be very difficult to be objective in your music choice and end up with an unintended mood in your video.

How music changes the tone of your video.

Transitions and Effects

A general rule of thumb: If a transition or effect calls attention to itself, don't use it. You want your viewers focused on your message and not distracted by anything in the production. Tasteful, "quiet" transitions will help you achieve that. Unless you are being intentionally humorous or tacky as part of your message, skip the flashy transitions and stick to basic fades, dissolves, and cuts.

Distracting transitions that interrupt the story.
Smooth transitions that move the story forward.