Affordable In-house Video Production

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Basics of Video Production.

Many requests for a course about how to do affordable in-house Video Production is what led to the Online Video Camera Course being developed. I decided I wanted to help people to achieve success in this area because it is so simple for me but can be so difficult for people without a television background.

The biggest hurdle is for the person who has the task of picking up the camera and shooting the footage, because without any prior experience it is very difficult to find where to learn how to do it.

Photographic Composition

One of the biggest problems for most newcomers to camerawork is Composition, where to put things in the frame to make it look professional. Without learning something about photographic composition, you run the very real risk that your footage will always look amateurish. I will help you overcome this in a minute.

Types of Video Production

Many in-house productions can be as simple as shooting the CEO or Staff Trainer or Sales Manager doing a simple piece to camera to send out on the net or via email. This may just be to get some basic information out to the staff.

As simple as this may sound, for many, the results can look so amateurish that they don't want to repeat the experience. It can be highly embarrassing for someone who may be competent and respected in all other areas of their job, but when they pick up a camera, the results are rubbish.

What is the problem?

Two of the big ones, Composition, and Sound. Many new camera operators will put everything in the middle of the frame. This is simply because they don't have any idea of where else to put things.

If this is you, your problem can be solved instantly. Use the Rule of Thirds. This is a simple concept for beginners to understand and it is a great place to start. You will regularly see this framing in every movie or TV show you watch. Once you start noticing it you will then have a chance to see more advanced framing techniques.

This is how it works, think of the tic,tac,toe grid, or in some countries it is called Naughts and Crosses. It has two horizontal lines and two vertical lines breaking the frame into thirds both ways.

For productions where you are shooting a person doing a piece to camera or someone being interviewed, frame the shot from about waist high or chest high.

Think of the top horizontal line in the grid and have the subjects eyes on that top line. It is that simple.

This is definitely not an unbreakable rule but if your shots look like home movies this will help you improve your shots immediately.

Audio Quality

This is the another big problem area that immediately shouts amateur and drags down the quality of any video production. Audio that sounds hollow and distant is a big no no. You really need to think about buying a lapel microphone and if possible make it a radio microphone.  This will make a huge improvement on your results if you are currently using the camera microphone for all your audio.

A lapel microphone should be mounted around the middle of the chest.

If you are stuck with just using the camera microphone then get the camera as close as is possible to your subject, whilst achieving an acceptable shot.

The further your microphone is away from the voice the worse the sound quality will be.

Some cameras have a small detachable shotgun microphone mounted on the top. If you get an extension lead to suit, you can move that microphone in closer to the talent and get better sound. A shotgun microphone should be no further than arms length from a person's mouth to get good quality audio.

And, always wear headphones so you know exactly how good or bad your sound actually is. When recording sound you also need to be listening for any unwanted background noise that is distracting, so that you can do a retake if necessary.Your ears can filter out a lot of unwanted noise that the microphone is picking up, so listening with your headphones is the only way to know what you are recording.

Most productions will consist of a mixture of the following-

  • Someone doing a piece to camera
  • An interview
  • A discussion
  • A presentation
  • A sequence of shots explaining an activity
  • A music montage with the vision following a theme

Once you improve in the areas of Composition and Audio your projects will look more professional and you will feel a great sense of achievement in all of your Video Productions.

Please leave me a Comment or ask a question so we can start a conversation.

Some of my other posts that may be of interest to you are-

Tips to use your Camera 4 Storytelling

The Four Biggest Mistakes of Inexperienced Video Shooters

How to Stop Panning and Zooming with Your Video Camera

How to Shoot Great Looking Video

So You Want to be a Paid Videographer

Wow! Check out These Camera Angles

If you would like to learn, quickly and easily, how to shoot professional looking video, check out the Online Video Camera Course.

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  1. Justin

    Great information. I’m not all that savvy with camercorders, so I hired a
    video production service to make my company’s videos for me. Worked out great.

  2. Geoff Stock

    Good idea, Justin. Better to pay for a good result then putting out rubbish that reflects badly on your company. Learn and practice to gain confidence and then start with simple projects for your business needs.

  3. Will Badel

    Hi Geoff,

    Thanks for the tips you provide firstly.

    What would you say the bare minimum of gear/camera equipment is required for a shoot? Im looking more at the real estate and sport fields.

    Funds to allocate into the best gear isnt an option at the moment so id be looking for budget equipment to get started then build from there.


  4. Geoff Stock

    Hi Will, that’s a tough question as there are so many options out there now. If you are doing sports you will need a camera that you can get in close with, so a good long lens. With Real Estate you would be better to have a wide lens so you can get shots that make the rooms look bigger. Try to stay with the better Manufacturers and have a bit of a play with any camera at the camera shop to see if you can get closer shots and wider shots. If you are just doing Real Estate you could just use a good smartphone if you have one. I am currently building a Course on how to shoot and edit high Quality videos with an iPhone. What you can do is amazing. Keep in mind if you are shooting sports that you will need a good tripod that can do smooth pans so that it is not jerky when you follow the action.

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