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10 tips for better video

It’s time to up your video game.

We all know that to market our businesses we need to stand out. And video is one of the best ways to grab people’s attention online.

But many videos posted by businesses online are poor. So here are a few quick tips from someone who makes videos for a living. Me.

  1. Preparation is key

A video is a story – so write a few bullet points about what you want to say. How will your video help people? Is it interesting to potential clients? Have a clear message – an intro to tell people what the video is about, the main course which is the content, then a call to action at the end.

  1. Location, Location, Location 

No, I don’t mean Kirsty and Phil… I mean where are you going to film? Choose somewhere preferably light and quiet with few audible or visual distractions. Where you film tells part of the story. In an office, outdoors, at home, in a factory. How can you use the location to tell your story?

  1. Let There Be Light…

The cheapest and best light is that whopping great ball of nuclear fusion in the sky.

Film outside if that works for you, preferably in some shade so you’re not squinting.

If you’re filming indoors, try facing a window with indirect sunlight. Video lights are now quite cheap, if you want to film at all hours, or in a dark room.

  1. What Camera?

I’ve got 7 cameras – including the easiest to use, most portable camera ever invented – the smartphone. Most modern smartphones take good enough video quality for vlogger type videos. If you want to invest in better gear then a mirrorless camera like the Canon M50 is ideal.

  1. Keep It Clean

I mean your camera lens, of course. Aside from poor lighting, a dirty camera lens is the biggest cause of poor quality video. Always give it a wipe before filming. Opticians’ lens cloths for your specs are ideal, or the hem of a clean top.

  1. Positions Everyone! 

Unless you’re going for a particular funky look keep yourself nice and upright, no slouching at the back, yes, you, sit up straight. And make sure your camera is straight too – preferably invest in some kind of a tripod, whether it’s a desktop one or a floor-standing one.

  1. Sweet Sounds

People will switch off if your audio is terrible. Recording outdoors on a windy day can result in a horrid roaring sound. So don’t. Just try to find a quiet place to film.  If there’s air conditioning, try to switch it off.

  1. It’s A Set Up

If using your phone, make sure you’ve got airplane mode switched on so you’re not interrupted by calls or notifications.

Fix the focus and the exposure. On most phones this is done by pressing & holding on the screen where you want the focus and exposure fixed, and you can adjust exposure by sliding your finger up and down the screen.

  1. Aaaaaand ACTION! 

For recording a ‘talking head’ type video it’s useful to remember to: pause, breathe, smile, speak, smile, stop. This allows you to edit your video if you need to at the beginning and end, with a smile. Once finished, breathe a sigh of relief and have a gin and tonic. If you review it and you want to improve it, you can always do another take.

  1. Editing

Editing can really help tell the story. You can add captions, opening slides, ending slides, logos, music… whatever you want… depending on how involved and professional you want your video to be.

On a given project, I spent about 80% of project time editing. It’s that important.

For simple videos you can edit on your phone. But for anything more involved it’s easier to do it on a tablet or computer.

Let’s Round It Up

Video is a great way to really engage with your audience, and a bit of preparation can make all the difference.

Either do it yourself, with my 10 tips, or if you want a professional video producer then contact me to have a chat, preferably over a piece of cake.


Written by Charlie Budd, The Tall Photographer