11 tips to properly make a marketing video...and more

1. Create a storyboard and / or a shooting script

The best marketing videos result from both scrupulous planning and preparation.
First, you must put together a storyboard and a script.
The storyboard helps you to understand exactly what are the necessary scenes before starting the shooting while a shooting script is like a screenplay for your video.

You don’t have to design a masterpiece for your storyboard.
Actually, it is not necessary at all. You can use different still images, raw sketches or even stick figures as storyboard.
Be sure to know what scenes are necessary before starting the shooting.
And remember: the more time you spend on the making of your marketing video, the less likely you are to miss the video later on.

Marketing video: production

Whether you are shooting a video or taking a picture, composition is essential to get a proper final product.
Composition is how an image is framed and staged, or “composed”. This refers to how the subject is placed in the photo, whatever you are shooting.

2. The Rule of Thirds

Every time you shoot something (or you take photos) remember to apply the “Rule of thirds”.
Imagine that two horizontal and two vertical lines divide your frame into nine equal sections like this:

Note how the primary subject in the photo is placed where two of the four points (that are commonly known as “anchor points")) intersect. This technique is used to draw the attention to the main points of interest in the photo. The observer’s eye will naturally turn to the anchor point in the top left side and many persons will spend more time staying on this area rather than on other areas of the photo, turning it into a logical point where to place the main area of interest in your picture - in this example the face of the subject.
This is a rather standard composition which uses the rule of thirds even if it might seem to be not so worth of notice, the composition of your photo in this way makes it easier for the eyes to “read” and results into a more pleasant picture.
 Your public might not notice the composition of the photo at all, simply because it “works"

The rule of thirds can be applied to almost every type of framing, including landscapes.
The use of horizontal lines is a perfect guide to set where the horizon line in photos along with the subject should be placed: 

In the example here above, the upper side of both horizontal lines corresponds to the logical point of the horizon in this picture, since the use of one of the lowest points would turn into an image with too much empty sky.
Of course, this could be exactly the effect that you are trying to get therefore take this as a guideline rather than a “rule”.

Marketing video: lighting

Few things will ruin a marketing video more rapidly than a too much clear or a too much dark scene.
It is possible to correct both brightness and contrast of the scene during the post-production stage to a certain extent (we will discuss about this later on), but it is better to adjust the photo the same day of the shooting rather than to confide in a “later adjustment”.

3. Avoid conflicts between natural and artificial light

When we talk about video lighting, different types of light have different colour temperatures.
These temperatures are measured in Kelvin degrees (° K):

Once again, this is a complex topic but everything you need to know is that the mixing of two sources of light with different colour temperatures will produce a scene which will be lighted in a non-uniform way.

4. Manual white balance of the camera

Now we know that different sources of light have different temperatures; we must take these temperature ranges into consideration by manually setting the white balancing of the camera - a process which indicates the camera what is the “true white”.

In the image above, the photo on the left has a prevailing blue colour due to the natural daily colour temperature in the photo. The white balancing in the picture on the right was correctly set and he true colours of the image were caught.

5. Avoid to “put under a light” your subject

Unless you are not shooting a Broadway musical, avoid tu put your subject under beams of direct lightings.
Intensive sources of primary lights might decrease both brightness and contrast of your images and produce unflattering reflexes on the subject. There are many techniques of different lightings, each of them can be used to get a specific effect.

If your are lucky enough to have a professional lighting system, don’t just shine a light on the subject - be sure that the scene is lighted uniformly and use a spotlight and / or a diffuser to minimize an intense lighting or possible shades.

6. Check the acoustic of the shooting place

Before starting to shoot, check the acoustic of the place where you are operating. Is there an echo?
If yes, then try to move and shoot somewhere else. You can correct many audio problems during the post-production stage however even a faint echoing might turn into a nightmare.
You don’t have to soundproof a meeting room in your office, just be sure that you have the acoustic of your place in mind when you look for possible places to shoot.
This could avoid lots of problems later on.

7. Shoot the scenes several times

On the shooting day be sure that you take several shots. This will provide you with a “safety net” in case you notice that something went wrong in one of the takes and will allow you to change the final sequence using different clips of the same sequence instead of basing yourself on one single clip.
Even if the first ciak goes perfectly, it is always better to take another one, just in case.

8. Composition of the images

After having imported all the necessary clips into your editing program, it is now time to cut the video.

However, before starting the scrupulous editing process frame by frame, place the clips approximately.
There is no reason to insist on specific problems of timing until your video hasn’t started to take shape yet.
It won’t look nice but it will give you a concrete idea of what parts of the video need further processing.

9. Do not use too much transitions and effects

The higher it is the attention that you draw on transitions, the more likely you are to arouse in your public the sensation of being in front of an amateur video.
If you really have to, just use simple cross-fades to transit from a scene to the next.
Let your content do the narration, not your editing software.

10. Choose carefully your music

Be sure that the music fits to your project.

Be very careful about the license requirements of the music you want to use.
Unless you are using music without author rights or that you wrote, most of the music is subject to rigorous copyright restrictions which could lead to severe legal complaints if you don’t respect the norms.

11. Do not think to adjust everything during the post-production stage

There are many powerful editing softwares available which allow you get the best results from your videos, however they are not magical.
Do not assume that whatever problem you might have with your video, it will be solved during the post-production stage. Sometimes it might happen that you will not be able to correct the brightness or the contrast of a scene to the necessary extent; or you might not be able to isolate the voice of a single person in a room crowded with hundreds of persons.
O course you can have enough time and skills but the post-production stage should be seen as a phase during which you add brightness and refinement to your video, not as an opportunity to turn back and correct mistakes that could have been easily avoided during a proper planning of the shooting.

Daniele Donati



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