Last year, Cisco predicted that 80 percent of all traffic will be directed to video. These kinds of predictions have cropped up over the years for sure, but they’re not entirely outlandish. More and more businesses and individuals are making exceptional videos. Paired with many free or cheap resources and tools, it’s easier now to get into making videos without spending a lot of money on them.
But there are other things that you can do to be improving your videos.
Once you start making videos, you start to realize there is more than just filming, editing, publishing and marketing your videos. Here are some other considerations that are cheap, but can seriously improve your video output.
1. Being Realistic
One of the most important things to keep in mind when making great videos is being realistic. While making videos is definitely cheaper, it doesn’t mean that it’s free. You need to be making videos with a sense of realism. For example, if you lack the budget, you can’t make a Hollywood-quality picture.
That being said, there is still a lot you can do with a limited budget. You can make vlogs, non-animated videos, and live streams on a fairly small budget. Through those mediums, you can create all kinds of videos that deliver tonnes of value.
Regardless of what sort of videos you plan to create for your brand, make sure you can deliver them consistently. Much like with any other content, consistency is key.
2. Don’t Be Ashamed To Use Your Smartphone
This tip is directed more to those who use other cameras. Maybe you’ve upgraded to a DSLR, or a higher end point-and-shoot camera. These are some great upgrades to video quality, but don’t be afraid to use the camera on your smartphone. The reason I say this is once you upgrade, some people avoid using their smartphone camera entirely. And there are some big perks with using it:
- Firstly, getting the camera equipment is fairly cheap. For example, tripods for smartphones range from $11 to $27.
- Secondly, the camera is still decent and popular. Billboard magazine used a smartphone to shoot for one of their magazine covers.
- Lastly, a second camera does have it’s advantages. You can do some creative things if you have a small team.
3. Get Lit
Once you’ve got your words down for video, the next thing to build on is lighting. Fortunately we have a free source of lighting in the form of natural sunlight. If you’re not in a basement, then you can use natural lighting to make your videos shine brightly.
Other options for natural lighting is getting outside and recording during the day. You can also purchase a studio light for a few hundred dollars too.
4. Committing To Schedules
Every person who makes great videos does so consistently. Part of that discipline is their ability to commit to a specific schedule and to not deviate from it unless it’s absolutely necessary. Committing to a schedule or having time management tools isn’t that expensive either. Better yet, if your plan is to release specific videos at certain times – similar to channels time slots where specific segments air at specific times in a particular order – you can reveal this schedule to your viewers. This can be a good marketing tool to hype up videos or series, or to inform people of any changes if you run into issues.
5. Make Notes Of The Platforms You Post On
While video is video, each platform that we post videos on is treated and consumed differently. Much like with how people engage with posts on each platform differently, you need to keep In mind your audience’s behaviour. Not to mention you need to know some of the posting rules on each platform. Examples are video limits vary from platform to platform.
Knowing this stuff is absolutely free, but this knowledge can improve your videos overall. If you exceed the limit, this can teach you to be more precise and focused on the message you want to send across. If you’re given more time, you can use that opportunity to go into finer details and elaborate to provide further value.
6. Defining Your Audience
On the note of understanding your audience, being able to define them as well will improve your video quality as well. The catch to this is this is no easy task and you don’t want to presume “customer A wants to see XYZ content.” Being too restrictive will block creativity.
Instead, it might be worth considering building your audience persona. For businesses this can be building a buyer persona. Don’t just settle with one since your audience has many customers with different interests and goals.
If you can narrow it down with data to a specific group of people, you’ll be able to create targeted and effective videos long-term. This will help you in engaging with your audience too.
7. Have An Intro And Outro
Some call it greetings and sign-offs, but the more common term these days is intros and outros. Having these in your videos can add subtleness to your brand and bring people to doing certain actions.
For intros, it’s an opportunity to introduce your brand. It’s either a logo or a small clip montage. It gives people a feel for who you are.
An outro is where you can bring people in to perform a certain action. Actions such as clicking a link, visiting your website, signing up to something, or buying something.
These techniques are solid and if you use them properly, they don’t come off as too subtle or too over-promotional. One strategy you can do to strike a balance between those two is plan out your video like you would with any other. Then, when your content is reaching it’s conclusion, provide a call to action. You can record a line or add that call to action into editing.
8. Get To The Point In The First 8 Seconds
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying of “attention of a goldfish” right? Well that saying defines our attention span these days quite nicely. Our average attention span is about 8.5 seconds, one second less than the attention span of a goldfish.
While it sounds like a bad thing, it’s not exactly a bad thing for video producers and scriptwriters. In eight seconds, we have just enough time to put together a brief greeting and what we’re going to do in the video.
This is what you must cover in the first 8 seconds. But why though? Because by doing this, you allow your viewers to get enough interest to hear your why in the video. For example, if you’re providing a product or service, your audience will hear why you think your product or service will benefit them.
Your why for creating and delivering the video is the most important aspect of the video. So making sure you can hook someone in within those 8 seconds can make your videos better.
9. Making A Shot List
The more prepared you are before recording, the better the video will turn out to be. At least in principle. One such tool that can help is a shot list. Shot lists have specific details and can even document the entire video if you want to structure it that way. You can include certain positions, what points you want to convey, and more.
Having this structure can help as you can use it as a guide for what you want to be doing next. It’s a good tool to have as it’s literally a to-do list. It’ll save you time for what you want to do during the video.
10. Be Generous With How Much Time You Need
While I’ve mentioned a few times videos should be brief, that doesn’t mean that the production and editing should be quick either. Don’t be afraid to overestimate how much time you need to make a video and edit it. Sometimes problems happen and if you’re going too fast, you may skip over crucial parts without realizing it.
Overestimating can play out in your favour as it gives you more wiggle room. Even if you’re someone skilled and proficient, giving yourself an extra day, week or month – project depending – can ensure you have all the details covered and can meet demands.
This makes for a better video as it becomes more polished. You have time to walk away from a project and come back with a pair of fresh eyes and that’s significant in work.
Try These And Improve Your Videos
Each of these techniques improves videos in their own way. To see the full extent of these benefits, I suggest trying these out in your next video and future videos. By raising your standards for video production, you can create better videos for your audience.