How to create professional DIY videos
Plan and film your own video content efficiently using our free checklist.
Good video content is a fantastic way of humanising your brand, so it’s no wonder that lots of companies are having a go themselves – practically everyone has a camera on their phone, and most of them can produce surprisingly high quality footage. It’s a medium that has shown constant growth with no signs of slowing down, and next year it’s predicted to account for 82% of all internet traffic. It’s also one of the best ways of reaching your audience on social media where good video content is an essential tool for engagement.
It shouldn’t be overlooked that professionally made videos are really important, and there are instances where only a pro will do, particularly when a more formal style is appropriate. It should never be underestimated how much knowledge professional filmmakers have: understanding composition, sound, and even their awareness of how things can be cut and edited can affect how something is filmed – all highly time-efficient. And that’s without the actual editing process which is half of the work.
That considered, sometimes it’s necessary to do it yourself and there are infinite positives to going the DIY route. One of the main reasons being is the potential to feel cutting edge. Despite this method being very popular for quite some time (thinking Blair Witch Project here!), it can inject and ‘in the moment’ energy into your brand – a key component when reaching young audiences. The ‘gonzo’ nature also has a lot of scope to show your audience that you are a fun brand, giving an honest behind the scenes ‘peek’. It can be silly and humorous if you wish, but don’t force that – as it has to be natural and unstaged.
DIY footage will affirm your authenticity even more if people are comfortable in front of the camera and clearly having fun – this is guaranteed to engage the audience. Even when a brand is more ‘serious’, people want to know who the humans are behind the company and the attached stories with that. There is a narrative waiting to be found in every company, even if business seems very official and serious. Showing this helps to build meaningful connections to help people understand why they should buy in, why they should care.
If you have decided that the DIY route is for you, then the most important thing you can do if your first few goes is keep it simple. Don’t shoot hours of footage, plan properly and keep filming snappy. Whether you are doing a vlog, a ‘how to’ or an ‘about us’ video, there are a few things that you will need to bear in mind to make good quality content.
So, here are our recommendations. And don’t forget to download the checklist at the end which includes a thorough planning process for your video content.
Film in good light. Sometimes filming in nice natural light works really well, and can be very flattering (everyone is a winner, you will feel confident, and your viewer sees you in the best light!). If you’re in doors, by the window where the sun shines in can do very nicely (as long as it’s not blinding you).
Why? A nice well lit person can make a video very watchable and helps the audience to engage better with the person on screen – they can see their face better and connect in a more meaningful way – it’s jarring to the viewer to be obscured from the view, so it’s no different when the main focus is a human face. If there’s a shadow cast on your face, the viewer will be distracted from what you’re saying, and if they can’t see your face, the viewer will have trouble connecting to you.
However, natural light is hard to control, and you may find this an issue. My own experiences of this reviously were an issue when the blinds in my office at home where casting a pattern across my face (so trust me, we’ve trialled and errored for you!) but without the blinds, the sun was too bright. So alternatively, if you want to make videos a regular thing – and you probably ought to – then investing in a good light is essential, and any decent Youtuber will tell you the exact same thing.
2. Background noise
A concern particularly when you’re filming outdoors, but also if you decide to do some filming in a workshop, place of production or even a busy coffee shop. Mobile cameras were not built with advanced microphones that differentiate sound between the subject and the rest of the action. This is why you need a lapel microphone to capture the voices of anyone who needs to speak in the shot. Alternatively, a good work around is to shoot any necessary action for the video without the speaker, and do a separate voiceover later.
3. The quality of your footage
There will be times where a steady camera is a must, so using a tripod will be essential. When filming processes – ie, you need to demonstrate how to do something – consider how close up you should be. Film this at different distances and angles, get as close up as you can – use a light fitting on your camera if you can.
This might seem too fussy, but I guarantee that when you watch the footage back later, you will see that it was worth getting up close. If it’s too difficult to do that, a good alternative is any high quality photos that you have to splice into the film.
4. Set the scene
Authenticity is vital, but that doesn’t mean that a good back drop isn’t important. When filming inside your work space, tidy up! Take a practice shot – look at what’s in the background before you spend time filming the perfect footage, only to spot a mistake later.
Try to make it appealing to the people who are meant to buy in. A little bit of glamour doesn’t go amiss. Whether you have a good piece of art in the back drop, some relevant machinery, or tech that shows your brand to be competitive or professional. Choose wisely.
5. Plan the filming and write a script
Pin down what you want filmed, where you want said about it, and write a script. This will help you to be efficient in time on the day – and later when editing. Remember editing is going to be three quarters of your job, so if you have to trawl through four versions of an interview to get the best bits, it will take you days.
Write your script, read it repeatedly. You can even record it on your phone and listen to it over and again.
6. Practice – lots!
Filming yourself is not easy. Some people think winging it is going to be ok, but on the day in front of the camera, if you get lost for words, you don’t want to be holding a script.
Practice your script on camera when you are alone. But also put some time aside on the day to practice filming bit at first, then you will warm up and reach a natural flow.
If you really have issues remembering what you need to say, you could have someone behind the camera holding up flash cards for each point that can help prompt your memory on what you need to say on the subject.
Alternatively, have someone ask you questions instead which can help lead you into a flow.
Also, test different lighting ahead of time.