Let Everyone Think You’re a Professional

Do you know how long it takes to make a Hollywood movie? Usually 45 days of shooting followed by 6 months to a year of editing. And aside from the occasional blockbuster, movies take a very long time to make their investment back, most never managing to do that at all. Now I’m going to show you a way to do your shoot in 3 hours, take one day to edit and get a return in less than a week. Sound like fun? Well, here’s how it’s done. You need to be good at these things:
  1. Exposure/lighting
  2. focus
  3. composition
  4. b-roll
  5. sound
  6. music selection
…not necessarily in that order. We’re going to make a 2.5 minute mini-documentary. Why? These days a commercial on the internet just isn’t necessary or desirable. We’re going to give your audience a little bit of you that we talked about in the previous article. Get Sticky Start with your sticky premise. Remember the dentist who was looking for patients that liked to be valued? If that dentist is you, resolve that you are going to speak to that one person out there who needs to be your patient. Get Personal Sit down and speak to the camera, but not quite directly into the lens. Pull out the viewfinder and aim your eyes at it. Better yet, have a friend sit to the side of the camera and speak directly to them. Get Specific Want to make your shots look professional? You MUST do the following: Get the noseroom right. Here’s a simple chart that shows what proper noseroom looks like at various angles: pic The right amount of noseroom will make your audience more comfortable. Now we need to pay closer attention to the headroom.

pic2 Judge headroom by the eyeline.

Don’t let the top of the frame take over. Make sure it looks right in proportion to the head. As you see above, the talent’s eyes are on the top line. Keep the talent’s eyes there all the time and the headroom will take care of itself. Expose the shot for maximum contrast. That just means that no part of the shot is too light or too dark, but juuust right. Make sure you’re on manual focus. Otherwise, while you’re busy talking away, your camera will spend its time hunting for the right place to focus on but never quite find it. (see the picture below) Backgrounds and Foregrounds Pay close attention to your backgrounds and foregrounds. Backgrounds are supposed to make your audience feel comfortable. It shouldn’t bother you unless you’re a mother with eyes in the back of your head. Foregrounds are quite different and they do a couple of important things. They provide dimensionality to the flat picture plane and they give you something to play with. Let’s look at two contrasting shots for this concept and everything else we’ve discussed so far: pic3 A work-in-progress. Focus is soft, as the misbehaving autofocus is more interested in the sofa than Sean. The color is unbalanced. The exposure is dark. The background, while uncluttered, doesn’t contribute to the message. There is no foreground. Notice how uncomfortably close that makes you feel? Eyeline is low, causing a little too much headroom. Result? Message, while earnest, makes us work hard to receive it. But with some attention to a few basics, how the picture changes! pic4 A huge amount of progress. Let us count the ways: Exposure is correct. Focus is sharp. Eyeline at the right level, making headroom correct. Background clean with a splash of color on the wall to make us feel comfortable. Foreground says New Zealand Props are right at hand. Projects a calm, assured professionalism. Everyone a winner!! B-Roll is good In the mini-documentary, you need lots and lots of b-roll. B-roll is video that isn’t part of the main action, so maybe it’s not really fair to call it b-roll now, because it’s about to be very important to the action. You don’t say! Well, if you don’t have b-roll, you might as well not say. In the interview portion of the mini-doc, you get answers to questions. Those answers form the basis of what you will shoot to support those answers. Let’s look at an example. The Dentist’s Office Looking back at our dentist who seeks patients who want to be valued, b-roll might be him spending time with his patients as he discusses them. It might be a warm and friendly staff making them feel welcome. It might be the building itself exuding its own personality. It might even be the patients themselves speaking about their experiences. Yes, we should stop calling these shots b-roll and start calling them rolled gold, because without them, the video would be much poorer. We’re about to see our dentist in action, but before we do, let’s make sure we get the sound just right. And it isn’t difficult if you know a few things. What few things? Click over to Part 3 right now and find out! Next Step: Read more Video-Excellence based articles. Gain a powerful video strategy using these lessons.
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P.S. If you like this article, feel free to share it with your own list, post it on your site, on your blog, or add it to your autoresponder. Twitter it, Facebook it, translate it. As long as you leave it intact and do not alter it in anyway. All links must remain in the article. No textual amendments permitted. Only exception is Twitter. Any links to your own products or services need to be done separate from the article itself, so that your audience can clearly tell it’s your own link. And include this at the end of the article. ©2011 BrainyVideo. All Rights Reserved. Article written by Steven Washer Wouldn’t you love to stumble upon a secret library of video production and marketing ideas. Find simple, easy-to-implement lessons on shooting, editing, marketing and distibution of great videos that will put your business in the rosy glow of fame and fortune. (There’s a little Hollywood hyperbole for you, and also how we separate the help from the hype!) Head down to http://www.brainyvideo.com today and judge for yourself.

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