Videos are a great way to share stories and experiences, and creating videos is more accessible than ever because most people have a camera on their phone.
We’ve included some links to sample products to help give a sense of what you need to create a higher quality video. However, there’s a great saying from videographers that you’re a pro when you’re using homemade solutions – aluminum foil, gaffa tape, cardboard, etc. So get creative!
If you want to create a video that is of good quality to share on social media, please think about and do these five things:
Getting the lighting right can make or break the video. The aim here is to light the person’s face or torso, with limited shadows. Often you can work with natural light, and lamps can be used as well.
- The person should be facing the light source. If their back is to the light it creates shadows.
- If it is a gray and rainy day, you’re in luck! That’s perfect for filming because it diffuses light evenly.
- If filming outdoors, be aware of the sun and aim to film within three hours of sun rise or sun set so that the person you’re filming doesn’t squint or glare.
Sun and squinty eyes:
Good lighting, facing the light source, with no shadows:
Even bad lighting can be managed in post production, but, the one thing that cannot be fixed easily is audio quality. The main way to fix audio and get a cleaner recording is to get an external microphone.
A small lavier microphone plugs into your phone jack and then attaches to the collar of the person you are interviewing. When attaching the microphone, try to hide it inside the shirt or behind the shoulder of the person – having a cord hanging across the person can be distracting to the viewer.
Lastly, always do an audio test. Record a bit of the person and then play it back so you can make any necessary adjustments before capturing the wonderful content.
Here are some sample microphones:
- Lavier omnidirectional microphone
- BOYA lavier microphone
- And an extension if you’re interviewing at a distance.
3. FRAMING First off, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, for social media posts a horizontal video is best. It fits across the Facebook newsfeed much better and doesn’t have the distracting gray bars on either side. Have you ever heard of the photographer’s rule of three? Basically, it says that if you divide your screen into a 9-box grid, the item of focus should be along the lines. Same principle here:
Another note, if the recording is planned ahead please ask your interviewee to wear solid colors as patterns don’t record as well.
Next, we need to make your phone camera as stable as possible. There are a few ways to do that:
- Tripod: There are a variety of tripods from the more traditional to fun and flexible models. Ensure it has an adapter if needed to hold a phone.
- Gimbal: If you want to have stability while moving, a gimbal will help minimize the movement and create a smooth video. There are expensive and less expensive options.
- Books, shelves, tape, etc: Build your own stability! My go-to is a stack of books with a bit of tape to hold the camera upright. Remember that you’ll want to see the video to check the framing!
- Braced arm: If you don’t have any equipment and you’re on the go, another option is to lock your elbow into your hip or chest, or perhaps lock it steady with your other hand. Beware of breathing movement with this one, but at least it will prevent a tired arm and random dipping of the video.
5. SCRIPT OR QUESTIONS
Now into the content. In advance, prepare a list of questions or a short script that you would like to record.
As the interviewer, ask the questions and then make it a leading statement so you get the interviewee saying a complete sentence. For example, instead of “Why did you join the Town Team?” ask “Can you restate and then complete this sentence – I joined my Town Team because…” That way you get complete thoughts from the interviewee and in the microphone.
If you’re recording a Town Teamer testimonial, we recommend starting with some of these prompts:
● Why did you get involved in the first place?
○ I got involved with my local Town Team because….
● What is the best part of #doership/makeithappen? ○ The best part of getting things done is…
● How has being in a Town Team affected how you feel about your area? ○ Being in a Town Team has affected how I feel…
● What impact has the Town Team had on [PLACE]?
○ The impact our Town Team has had on [PLACE] is…
● If you could wave a magic wand and create anything in your community, what would it be? If I could do anything, I would create…
BONUS POINT! Remember to Smile
As a bonus, a reminder to smile! Videos of happy smiling people are the best. If you want to help your interviewee smile, smile at them. Humans act simply sometimes – monkey see, monkey do.