A Good Video is Like a Sentence: 12 Tips to Un-Suck Your Video (#12)

A Good Video is Like a Sentence” is number 12 in a series of 12 video tips to improve your video instantly.

Videos need to be about someone doing something.

The ideal video follows the classic “noun/verb” or maybe “noun/verb/object” sentence structure Mrs. Zellermyer taught you in third grade (note:  the name of your third grade teacher may vary.  Hopefully it was easier for you to spell when you were 8.)

“Our cute dog” is not a video because nothing happens.  Random shots of your dog lying around the house are what we in the video business call … Read the rest

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Use a Microphone: 12 Tips to Keep Your Video from Sucking (#11)

“Use a Microphone” is number 11 in a series of 12 video tips to improve your video instantly.

The microphones on most video cameras are programmed to adjust their own sound levels: they take whatever they hear and boost it to a constant, listenable level. Unfortunately, if they hear crowd noise around you, they boost that. Traffic noise, sirens—it all gets boosted.

In fact, if the camera mic hears nothing, it boosts that too. In an interview where the subject is too far from the mic, the camera will crank up every hint of sound between you and them, creating … Read the rest

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Keep Your Video Short: 12 Tips to Keep Your Video from Sucking (#10)

“Keep Your Video Short” is number 10 in a series of 12 video tips to improve your video instantly.

When it comes to video, the old show-business expression “Always leave them wanting more” applies. Anything worth saying in video is worth saying shorter. TV commercials tell a complete story, entertain us, and sell us—all in 30 seconds. Benjamin Button lives his entire life on screen, backward, in two hours and 46 minutes (not a long time for an entire life, but still some might suggest it could have been done in 2:20).

The record of your mother’s second birthday party … Read the rest

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Easy on the Graphics: 12 Tips to Keep Your Video from Sucking (#9)

“Easy on the Graphics” is number 9 in a series of 12 video tips to improve your video instantly.

Unless you have a real design sense (you’ll know because everyone in middle school wanted to work with you on group projects involving posters), take it easy on the graphics and titles in your video unless they’re really necessary.  Extraneous graphics and titles are like extraneous anything else in video.  They just confuse the hell out of people, pulling our eye away from the point of the video to focus on zooming, sparkly words.

How do you know if titles are … Read the rest

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Shoot What Interests You: 12 Tips to Keep Your Video from Sucking (#8)

“Shoot What Interests You” is number 8 in a series of 12 video tips to improve your video instantly.

I recently watched a video blog post that featured an orchestra whose only instruments were iPhones. The players—it looked like there were about 20 of them—had special gloves with speakers on their wrists. Pretty cool idea, no? And very visual—a big circle of musicians playing iPhones.

The problem was the video. It started with a very wide shot of the group and then wavered, as if unsure where to look. Occasionally it veered off to one part of the group, then … Read the rest

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Turn Off the Digital Effects In Your Video Camera. 12 Tips to Keep Your Video from Sucking! (#7)

“Turn Off the Digital Effects in Your Video Camera” is number 7 in a series of 12 video tips to improve your video instantly.

There is no digital video effect that your camera can do that you should allow it to do.

Ever.

If you shoot nice clean video, you can always add a dorky effect like posterization later with one of many computer editing programs designed to do it. But if you shoot posterized video, you can never take it off. You’re stuck with it forever. Did I mention it was dorky?

Despite what the box at the store … Read the rest

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Stop Moving the Camera! 12 Tips to Keep Your Video from Sucking! (#5)

“Stop Moving the Camera!” is number five in a series of 12 video tips to improve your video instantly.

One of the fastest ways to make your video suck less:  Stop moving the camara.

Pros get to move the camera. You will too after you become a pro—or even after you’ve practiced enough to reach “skilled amateur” status. (Note, though, that some of the greatest shots in movie history don’t move the camera much at all!)

But if you’re not a pro, treat your video camera like a still camera. You don’t move with a still camera—you just point and … Read the rest

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