Video remains a sizzling hot medium for storytelling. Organizations of all sizes and industries are using it to tell their brand story.

Some companies produce video in-house; others turn to specialized video production companies for help. But no matter how it gets produced, video benefits from adherence to best practices.

Whether you’re involved in the actual production or are a client for whom a video is being produced, keep these important tips in mind to ensure you make as strong a video as possible.

It All Starts with Pre-Production

Much of a video’s success – or failure – can be traced back to pre-production. Here are tips to keep in mind, before you even pick up a camera or phone.

1. Be clear on the purpose of the video. As PR practitioners, we know first-hand how many stories lend themselves to a video format. But to increase your chances for success, identify a specific goal for the video. What, exactly, do you hope to achieve? Build brand awareness? Generate new business? Do you want the viewer to take a specific action? Apply the same strategic skills you use in developing a PR plan to a plan for your video.

2. Clearly define your audience. The more specific you can be, the better you can craft your video to reach a specific audience.

3. Storyboard your video. A storyboard is a graphic representation of how your video will unfold, shot by shot. It will be your roadmap during filming and production.

4. Identify – in advance – where your video will live. Many organizations shoot a video without thinking through where it will live once it’s produced. Are you producing it for social media only? To kick off an event?

5. Put it all in writing. Create a written plan that lays out budget, purpose, style, what you need from the client, shoot dates and times, editing expectations and the production schedule, as well as any possible or anticipated project constraints. This guarantees that the agency and the client are on the same page, and frees you up to pursue the creative process with a clear vision of expectations.

6. Think about how you will measure your video’s ROI. It can be tough to measure results, because video can’t always be tracked by clicks the way other social media can. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools offered by video hosting companies like Wistia and Vimeo that can offer analytics services.

Production: Don’t Forget the Basics

When it comes to the actual shoot, keep these important tips in mind.

7. Equipment makes a big difference. Sure, you can produce a video on your phone, but for polished, professional-grade videos, consider investing in a good camera, tripod, microphones and lighting kit, along with professionals who know how to use them.

8. Choose the right editing equipment. Options include Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro and Avid, among others.

9. Don’t forget the power of music and effects. A subscription service like Motion Array can help.

10. Shoot in manual mode when possible. You’ll have more control over your video.

11. White balance every time you move the camera.

12. Keep lights and the sun behind you when shooting.

13. Don’t forget to capture a wide variety of shots, including cut-aways, pans, high shots, low shots, and close-ups. It’s the variety of shots, well-edited, that makes for a strong video.

14. Check your audio levels every time you switch subjects or microphones.

15. Once your video is produced, be sure to share it broadly.

Whether you’re using a phone or a sophisticated camera, you’ll have a stronger video if you keep these tips in mind.

4 thoughts on “15 Tips for Making a Good Video

  1. Anne, great tips. At the end of the day, a video should tell a good story. With proper planning and a clear picture of that story, your video will succeed. Cheers, David

  2. I was a current affairs producer/director for ten years here in Cape Town, South Africa, and lucky enough to win a Ted Turner channel (!) award along the way. However, I have to admit to being blown away by how easy it is to shoot a compelling, high quality phone-video. The majority of video is being watched on Youtube, and while there is a limit to what you can do on your phone – the quality and depth of field with 4k cameras is phenomenal, perfect for movies of most genres – you don’t need 4k for shortish informational pieces. All a matter of costs and time I suppose.

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