Top 5 Things to Avoid When Recording Your Own Video
The vast majority of my video clients have shot their own video and just need someone to make it a completed product. This is usually because they don’t have the software to edit it themselves or the time. But what are some things to avoid when shooting your own video?
Doing these five things can lead to reshoots or completely unusable video.
Shooting On a Windy Day
Wind sounds across the microphone is almost impossible to fix in post editing, and the most common issue with video shot outside.
Before you shoot your video, choose your location carefully, and do a test shoot to see if wind interferes. Many newer phones have two mics to diminish noise. You could also use a strategically placed lavelier mic to cut out wind noise.
If you’re using a smartphone, or just want a simple device, I’d recommend (and have used) the Rode smartLav+. It comes with a windscreen to reduce wind noise as well as vocal plosives (hard ‘b’, ‘t’ and ‘p’ sounds).
Also know that even on a non windy day that a sudden gust of wind will often cause the software on a lavelier mic to dampen sound, and make your audio sound muffled. If you hear a gust of wind or loud sound, pause and start again from a safe point in your script.
This is especially so if recording video against a green screen. Shadows will take more time for your editor to remove in post editing, and may involve a higher fee.
For some cameras (particularly smart phones) bad lighting results in grainy footage and there is no fixing that.
Many cameras also adjust for lighting while you’re recording. So, for example, if you’re shooting with a TV or monitor on screen, be aware that varying colors on your slides will affect the lighting of the scene and may cause the camera to act accordingly. The same can happen in shooting out doors if the sun suddenly goes behind a cloud, or emerges from behind one.
If you notice a lighting change while filming, pause to give the camera time to adjust and continue. Or, consider an artificial light source that can be constant in an indoor space.
If you’re shooting on the move or on a budget, a simple LED panel can be attached to your DSLR or used separately. This one by Bemaxy does not come with a battery or a DC-power cable, but can be used with a typical battery pack or DC-power source. It also has an adjustable dimmer.
You could also use a softbox lighting kit like this one by Fovitec. However, this one is really only good if you intend to be stationary in one place (like for a webinar or explainer video).
Finally, if you are serious about recording your own video, you could get a studio kit which costs more. Better lighting means better quality video, so it is worth looking into if you are going to do regular filming.
I’d recommend this StudioPRO bundle kit from Fovitec (which at the time of this posting was being sold for $339 and down from over $800.)
Shooting in an Empty Room or Room With Flat Surfaces
When shooting in an empty room or with lots of flat surfaces (and in particular when you’re not using a lavelier mic attached to the subject) you will get an echo. Echo is nearly impossible to remove in post.
Placing cushions on top of flat surfaces or using a livelier mic can help. If on screen talent is not needed, you could shoot the video and record the audio later separately. Then your video editor can put the two together.
On the other hand, think about noise pollution. In addition, rooms with fans, air conditioners and refrigerators can also cause persistent background noise that be very difficult to remove later – if not impossible.
Recording in Portrait Mode
This is the greatest of all video recording sins! Don’t be tempted! We even have a whole blog on it!
Portrait mode is when you record with your phone up and down (aka the same way you hold it to talk on it). This is a huge no-no. To the camera, this is the equivalent of turning your camera sideways.
During playback, all video players will have black borders on each side of the video that scream DIY or amateur. Always record in landscape!
Not Using a Tripod
If you’re looking to create high quality video for business purposes, consider using a tripod. If you want to go full-standing I’d recommend (believe it or not) the AmazonBasic tripod. It’s a great entry-level tripod, has some great features and is right in the DIY price range.
Or, if you want to go with something more versatile the JOBY Gorillapod can handle a DSLR camera up to 6-lbs and they also have a universal smartphone mount.
Avoid these five things and you’ll be well on your way to shooting great, marketable video and Fake It Til You Make It.