Video - To DIY or Not To DIY

By Sam Houghton, Drew Davis and Robert Dawes from Future Proof Films

During our talk at Mainframe, we noticed that lots of people had questions about shooting video themselves and whether or not they should self-shoot or hire a professional for particular projects. So we thought we'd write a short post on when to self-shoot and top tips for shooting video yourself.

Battalion-Page-6.jpgWhilst you'll undoubtedly get better quality video through a professional video production company, sometimes it's easier to film video content yourselves. 

With online learning through YouTube and tutorial websites and the advancement in videorecording on smartphones, it’s easier than ever for anyone to pick up their phone and shoot some video. But when should you do this and when should you hire a professional?

It all depends on the aims of your video and the message or tone you want to convey. For        instance, at our talk, the Mainframe team filmed us using a tablet and live-streamed the talk to Periscope. This is a  great example of when self-shooting works great as the video was intended for a mobile platform and recorded within a relaxed, creative setting for an audience used to digesting video in that style. 

A second example could be a short conversational piece for social media, possibly just sharing interesting facts about yourself or your company, where your sole intention is to be more approachable and simply bridge that customer/company divide.

Another example of when it’s great to self-shoot could be if your company creates informative vlogs. Whilst these vlogs may not have the same production values of a video created by a professional outfit, they’ll still serve their purpose by sharing information.

Essentially, if you’re aiming to deliver a short, relaxed, conversational video, primarily for    social media, self-shooting the video is more than often a great route. However, you still need to maintain a decent level of quality with your videos so take a look below and boost your next video with our top five tips.   


1.    Always Landscape!  (Mostly)

Filming landscape looks better because we’re all used to TVs, monitors and cinema        screens being landscape. The only time you should film portrait is if you’re shooting for Snapchat, Periscope or Instagram and it’s a stylish choice.

2.    Invest in Audio

Without great audio, you'll fail to fully engage your audience. So don't settle for your phone’s microphone, invest in a better one.  Rode and Zoom are great brands to look at and their mics start from around £40.

3.    Keep it Steady

A steady shot will look much better and more professional than a handheld, jerky shot (unless the video calls for it of course). So buy a tripod, stick your phone to a wall with sellotape or Blu-tac or simply prop it up with something sturdy. 

4.    Lord of Light

Filming in an evenly, well lit room will always give you the best results. If you want to take your lighting to the next level, look into three-point lighting and buy some cheap LEDs or use lights and lamps from around your office to create a three-point lighting look. 

5.    Edit, Edit, Edit       

Always edit your videos when you can. This will help refine your video content by allowing you to trimming excess fat, removing mistakes, inserting titles and also adding a colour grade or  ‘look’ to your footage.  iMovie and Adobe Premiere Clip are great and free! (Use two phones to fully upgrade your videos when editing them so you can cut tob alternate angles).      

Our final bonus tips are to have fun and keep learning. Creating video content is hugely     rewarding so definitely give  it a try if you can, even if it’s just a small video you put online to see how it all works. Don’t feel discouraged if the video doesn’t look how you wanted it to look either, just keep trying and learning from any mistakes you make along the way (which is most of the fun!).

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