7 essential tips for better brand videos
Updated: Mar 5
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. While this can be true, a video can also be worth a thousand pictures. The power of brand videos can’t be overstated. However, not every brand video is created equal.
If your brand or business wants to maximize its reach, investing in better video is an avenue you don’t want to ignore.
Video is more prevalent than ever. While more traditional formats such as commercials are still used, the rise of social media and platforms like YouTube and TikTok have made video marketing a huge part of the industry.
This article will walk you through seven essential tips to improve the quality and effectiveness of your videos, no matter what camera you’re using.
How to make your brand videos look better
First up, let’s make it clear that this article will not teach you how to use a camera or other equipment. Every camera and piece of equipment operates differently. We do plan to cover those topics individually, but this is an overview of techniques that can improve your videos instantly.
Below you will find seven tips for making your brand or business videos better.
1 - Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds is a concept and technique for photography and videography that's widely used across all formats.
Imagine you divide your screen or viewfinder into nine equal sections, almost like a game of tic-tac-toe (alternatively, many cameras allow you to enable a grid just like this). This grid allows you to line up your subjects in an interesting and compelling way.
Subjects (people, buildings, whatever you’re filming) should be placed either at the first third or two-thirds of the way across the frame, which correspond to the two vertical lines on the grid.
If you're filming a person, you should then line up their eyes with the top line, or one-third of the way down the frame. Sometimes you may not be able to line up a shot in this way, and that’s totally okay. This is just a guide and not every shot needs to follow it. However, when possible, it's a good idea to follow the rule of thirds until you understand how to break the rule effectively.
2- Choose an appropriate background
One way to make your videos pop is to choose an appropriate background for your video. Choose a background that adds to the message you're trying to convey and doesn’t distract the viewer.
Solid color backgrounds from backdrops are always a good option, especially if you have concerns about the location. No one will ever know where your video was shot or what your environment looks like. If you go the route of a backdrop, try to avoid bright colors like red, orange, or yellow, because it will reflect onto your subject(s). In general, try to pick white, gray, or dark blues, but your branding may dictate a different color or direction.
However, many viewers might find a plain wall or backdrop boring.
If you're going for a more casual feel, you can always use your office or business as a backdrop. This creates a more authentic and natural feel, and it can add a lot of character to your video. With the right lens, you can always blur the background and keep the focus on the subjects.
Additionally, you may want to decorate an area for your videos that shows off your brand’s personality. This could be through the furniture, posters, colors, or even small things like coffee mugs.
If you go the route of a more natural setting, there are a few things to keep in mind. Make sure that nothing in the background is reflecting your lights or shows your camera. Is anything in the frame distracting? If so, consider moving it.
If you plan to shoot outside, know that there are many factors out of your control. Outdoor lighting can be unpredictable, so it's best to wait for an overcast day.
Consider what might be in the background of your shot. Are people walking by? While this can be great for that casual feel, sometimes people will see a camera and try to steal the attention by waving or jumping into the shot (trust us, this comes from personal experience).
You also might get more background noise from other people, airplanes, sirens, etc, even when using a separate microphone. Just keep these things in mind if you decide to shoot outside.
3- Light your videos
When shooting photos or video, you want your setting to have adequate lighting. This doesn’t mean just opening a window or turning on the lights in your office or shop, however. Cameras require a lot of light in indoor spaces. That way, you can lower your ISO to reduce noise in your footage.
Perhaps the best way to make your videos look better is to purchase lighting equipment. There are many different types of lights, and they can range in price from $10 to more than $2,000. The best lights depend on how you plan to use them, and what types of videos you might do in the future.
First, let’s look at hard lighting. Hard light is a light with no filter to diffuse the intensity of it. This means that the subject will be lit most while less light is dispersed to the background, usually in an unflattering way. They can also make it hard for your subject to see. So, while you can find many of these lights, you’ll want to purchase a diffuser like a softbox to create a softer, more manageable light.
You can purchase quality mid-range lighting kits, including a C-stand, for anywhere from $100 to $600. You can then purchase a diffuser or softbox for those lights to create a more flattering image.
If you're looking for professional grade equipment, you're looking to spend a lot more on a single light than you might for an entire mid-range kit. However, these lights include features like dimmers and the ability to change the color and temperature. For most businesses, you likely won’t need professional lighting to achieve your desired look. Mid-range kits are probably the best place to start. You can do a lot with a simple ring light!
Now that you’ve chosen lighting equipment, it's time to set them up. In some videos, you may only need a single light. However, for many professional business shoots you’ll want to have three lights set up. This is called 3 point lighting.
Image your setup as a clock, with your subject at the center. Your camera should be at 6, while your key light should be placed at 4 o’clock. Then, you should place your fill light at 8 o’clock to get rid of shadows. The final light, the backlight, can be placed somewhere behind your subject, usually near 1 or 2 o’clock.
You’ll also have to consider the color temperature of the lights. Some bulbs at a higher Kelvin rating have a bluer, cooler tone to them, while smaller Kelvin values have a more orange tint. Be sure to pick bulbs that work best for you and your camera’s color balance.
4- Use microphones to improve your audio fidelity
Contrary to what some might think, sound's the single most important aspect of creating an effective video. Viewers are often willing to watch a video with poor visuals. The same can not be said for poor audio.
If the audience can’t hear what your subject's saying or the audio level is uneven it makes for a poor viewing experience.
There are a variety of microphones available for every use.
A Lavalier mic is a small microphone that can be clipped to a person’s shirt. They can be wired or wireless, and work with most cameras. Lavaliers are generally a good way to go, especially with any sort of interviews.
Shotgun microphones are directional and often either sit on top of a camera or are held at the end of a boom pole by a technician. They only capture sound from the direction they are pointed in, which reduces background noise in some cases. These mics can either be connected right into the camera to record audio to the video file, or more expensive ones allow you to record sound directly to an SD card or hard drive, which can be added to the video in editing.
Depending on your setting, you might consider to go with a tabletop or freestanding microphone instead. This is great for podcasts or similar casual settings. There are two types of freestanding mics: dynamic (they don’t pick up surrounding noise) and condenser mics (pick up more sound). You can pick up a cheap but effective condenser mic for under $100, but higher quality condenser and dynamic mics will cost more.
With all of these different styles to choose from, the right one for your brand ultimately comes down to the videos you’ll be making. If you're only doing interviews, you can use any of the above. If you're looking for something portable and easy to use outside, you might want to consider a Lavalier or shotgun mic.
5- Choose either auto or manual focus
This tip has to do with your current camera. When you shoot a video, most cameras have the option to use either auto or manual focus.
For many, manual focus can be confusing to use, but it has the added benefit of getting your focus right the first time and not having to deal with the camera trying to refocus every time the subject moves. Manual focus might be the best option for you in an interview setting when the subject remains stationary. It might be preferable to auto focus if your camera has a hard time focusing or doesn’t track movement.
Some cameras have great auto focus on the other hand. Many newer DSLR and mirrorless camera models allow you to track a subject’s face or eyes, which generally keeps the video in focus for the duration of recording.
A lot of this will depend on your familiarity with cameras and whether or not your previous videos have had any focusing issues. If they have, you might want to consider manual focus.
6- Stabilize your shots
Stabilizing your video will go a long way in making it seem more professional. If you're holding a camera while filming you will naturally get some camera shake. This even occurs when you do your best to remain still.
While there are techniques for better handheld shooting, such as holding the camera closer to your chest or using something like a tree for support, your footage will not look as crisp as it would with stabilization.
There are many different ways to achieve a stabilized shot.
For videos where your subjects won’t be moving outside of the frame, a tripod is the easiest and least expensive solution. This will prevent your camera from moving during the shoot. It also allows you to set up more than one camera to assist with editing and avoiding jump cuts.
There are many tripods to choose from, and not all will work for your needs. If you have a DSLR or mirrorless camera, find a tripod that can handle the weight of it. Many tripods are made for smaller cameras, phones, and camcorders, and they will collapse or break under the weight of a DSLR.
If you plan on getting shots while moving, such as walking around the office or following someone outside, you’ll want to purchase a stabilizer. While many newer cameras include some sort of in-body image stabilization, it comes nowhere near the quality of a gimbal or other external stabilizer. There are many brands and types of camera stabilizers. Expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than one thousand depending on the features that you need.
If your footage was shot without a stabilizer but seems usable, you can always try to stabilize it in editing. Adobe Premiere Pro, for example, has a Warp Stabilizer effect that can be customized to correct your footage.
7- Always shoot more than you need
One of the biggest mistakes when making a video is not shooting enough content. If you don’t have enough footage for the project, you’ll have to do reshoots or find creative ways to present the message you wanted to send.
The best way to avoid this is to shoot more than you need. This will give you enough content to work with in case you find a mistake or discover a new direction to take the video in. If you don’t need the clip later, it can be cut from the final product.
It’s a good idea to get more than one take, too. That way any mistakes can be replaced with the second take.
We hope these tips helped you in your efforts to create better videos for your audience. Whether you own a business or want to embark on a quest to become the next YouTube sensation, these tips will take your videos to the next level.
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At SilverFox, we have a team of creatives and marketing professionals who can build your brand, taking you one step closer to making your dreams a reality. Contact us today for a consultation. Digital marketing is our instinct.