5 Tips to Instantly Improve Your Videos

Whether you are an actor, a vlogger, or just getting ready to star in your first marketing video, there are several things you can do and/or shouldn’t do, to make yourself, and your video look great. (Transcript below).



1. Use a tripod

You can use just about anything for a camera these days, your iPhone or Android are no exception. But whatever you choose, for the love of god, use a tripod! You can even buy one for your phone from the dollar store. But if you are really in a bind, just put your camera on a table or flat surface and build your frame around that. This has got to be one of the most simple ways to instantly increase the quality of your video.

2. Lighting

It’s important to make sure you are well lit, filmmaking, after all, is a visual medium, so make sure your audience can easily see you or your subject. There are tons cheap kits you can buy online, but an easy and effective alternative is to use reflective window light, aka, natural light, this is better than direct sunlight because the shadows won't be as harsh. Try taking out your phone and walking around your place in selfie mode, if you suddenly see a spot where you look great, that’s the sweet spot, build your set there

3. Set

A good set can be anything, your kitchen, your living room, or even your backyard. Whatever you choose just make sure it’s clean. There should be nothing in your frame that you didn’t intend to have there. If you choose to go with the one colour or “Studio” look like we did, there are plenty of affordable backdrops available online, or you can always just use a blank wall, failing that or a paper or cardstock taped to the wall can do the trick. A blank background can be a little boring but at least lets us focus on what’s important, YOU.

4. Sound

We can't all have professional audio equipment, but there are some simple things you can do to greatly improve your sound. The most important is getting rid of any unwanted noise. Unplug your fridge or freezer; turn off any extra lights, monitors, computers, YOUR PHONE, essentially anything that buzzes, whirrs, or hums. Hanging Blankets over doors and windows can also help mute unwanted noise or blot out unwanted light. If you are unplugging your fridge or freezer, take out your keys and put them inside. Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but you can’t leave your house with your fridge still unplugged if the keys are locked safely inside.

5. Framing

For anything artistic or dramatic the rule of thirds works well. This means visualizing an imaginary box one-third of the way in on all sides of your camera frame, placing your eyes or face where these lines meet will look dynamic and give the frame space, like our alternate shot. If you are doing a vlog or anything that you are speaking right to your audience, you can still use the rule of thirds or can just plant yourself smack dab in the middle as it squares you off with your audience.

Well, that's it for now; I hope you learned a thing or two about the technical side of filmmaking. In the next session, I will have a few more tips and tricks that focus more on memorization and performance.

Ryan McdonaldThe Incubator