Learning video production and capturing the stories within your business provides the opportunity to save money, be more authentic, move faster, and have full creative control over your content.
Whether you’re looking to completely replace your external production crew, or simply interested in understanding enough to get the occasional video for your social posts, we’ll dive into how to find and capture great stories, explore the essential aspects of getting cinematic footage, and touch on the intricacies of interviews and the editing process. Let’s get into it!
Story is King
The biggest mistake marketing teams make when trying to shoot content for their business is they start filming without having a story in mind. You should spend most of your time finding a great story that you want to tell before ever picking up a camera.
Before diving into the technical aspects of filmmaking like gear and lighting, it’s important to have a solid grasp of what you’re goals are for the project. These can be direct stories like getting to know a technician’s life or more broad ideas like safety or recruiting.
The goal is to know the message you would like to convey and how you want to convey it. A great way to convey a story is by following the 3 ACT structure.
ACT 1: Setup – In this section, we introduce the main characters, the setting, and the central idea for the story. This is where you pose the question, “Why?”.
ACT 2: Conflict – This is where we learn about the hardships or challenges our main characters had to go through to get to where they are now. We get to move past the surface and learn about our characters more deeply in a way that connects us and humanizes them.
ACT 3: Resolution – In the final act, the story reaches a climax. We learn about our main character’s “why”, challenges are overcome, and any conflicts are resolved.
The Important Areas of Video Production:
Now that you have a grasp on your story let’s talk about the fundamental aspects of learning video production that contribute to creating visually stunning and emotionally engaging films: Lighting, Camera, Audio & Editing
The Best Way to Get Cinematic Shots:
Lighting is a cornerstone of filmmaking. Whether you get it right or not can make or break your footage. Proper lighting sets the mood, directs attention, and adds depth to your shots, making them more cinematic and professional.
The most basic lighting setup you should learn if you are new to filming is 3-Point Lighting. This technique involves using a key light, fill light, and backlight to create a balanced and visually appealing scene.
If you are on a super-tight budget or do not have the flexibility to have three lights, you can usually get away with only having one and using the lighting around you.
Use the sun to your advantage. Natural sunlight can be a fantastic resource when filming. It can create beautiful, dramatic effects, but requires skill to harness effectively, especially in outdoor settings. Ideally, you want to place the sun behind your subject, never facing them and avoid shooting in broad daylight, as this will cause your subject to have super harsh lighting and lead to less desirable shots.
The Golden or Magic Hour, which is the few hours after the sun comes up and the few hours as the sun is setting, is the best time to get exterior footage. The colors will be warmer and the light will be softer on your subjects leading to more cinematic footage.
Getting The Most Out Of Your Camera
The camera is your storytelling tool. Learning to use it effectively is crucial for creating compelling visuals. You do not need a high-end camera to create professional and compelling footage. You just have to know how to use what you have.
Now it is impossible for us to teach you everything there is to know about cameras in this article, but let’s go over some basic information that will help you on your shoots:
By adjusting your frame rates you are able to shoot slow-motion footage. A standard frame rate is 24 frames per second (fps) or 30fps. This will give you footage that is the closest to how our eyes see. In order to get slow-motion footage you need to use 60fps or 120fps. The higher the number the slower the footage will be. Slow-motion footage is a great tool to use to get super smooth B-Roll and cinematic-looking shots.
The Rule of Thirds (Shot composition):
Positioning your subjects and key elements using the Rule of Thirds adds balance and visual interest to your shots. Imagine a tic tac toe board over your image dividing it into 9 equal sections. The points where the lines intersect are where you should place your subjects in the frame for the best shot composition.
Choosing the right aspect ratio can influence how your audience perceives your film. The Horizontal aspect ratio is standard. It looks the most professional and allows for the most information to be conveyed. The square and vertical formats are great for conveying a more personable feeling. It gives the effect that it was shot on a phone and appears more relatable and raw. Use the aspect ratios to your advantage when creating your stories, but be intentional with how you use them.
Tripods and Gimbals:
This is one of the most important pieces of DIY filming. Stabilization tools like tripods and gimbals ensure steady shots and a professional look. If you are going to move the camera make sure it is intentional. Steady footage is a key detail to capturing great footage. This is easily overlooked by amateur filmmakers.
Draw Emotion Out Of Your Characters
Interviews are a powerful way to gather information and capture authentic emotions in your film.
Ask “Why?”. Being interviewed on camera can be intimidating, so you may not get the answer you are looking for straight away. Don’t let them off the hook. Keep asking them “why” until they give you a meaningful answer.
Keep a scoreboard in your head of how many great answers you are getting and do not stop the interview until you have ten great answers. This may take 5 minutes or it may take an hour. Just keep asking good questions and you will get them.
Can I Take Your Picture?
A great way to draw out emotion in your characters is by asking “Can I Take Your Picture?” (CITY P). Instead of taking a picture, you shoot a video and then make yourself the center of a joke. It will make them feel awkward for a minute but then that will always be followed by a genuine laugh and smile that will look great on camera.
Weaving The Story Together
Editing is where the magic happens, where individual shots and scenes come together to form a cohesive narrative.
LUTs: Look-Up Tables (LUTs) are used to apply color-grading and achieve the desired mood and style for your film. Often the footage shot with a mirrorless camera will not be color-graded and appear grey and lacking in contrast. A camera-specific LUT is used to automatically edit the color to be closer to what the eye sees
Learning video production is a never-ending process, but by following the information in this article you will be able to create meaningful content faster, cheaper, and more authentically than ever before. The most important thing to remember throughout the process is to HAVE FUN!
UP NEXT: Learn how to leverage your new videos to their maximum potential, check out this page and see how AdPipe can help you repurpose the content you already have!