by Craig Kotilinek
HD Video Cameras
We can’t stress enough how important it is to have a veteran videographer who knows how to use professional-grade, high-definition cameras, and there’s a big difference between simply owning the equipment and actually knowing how to properly use it. Modern cameras don’t always look like clunky, old-fashioned beta cams that news crews run around using, instead, they’re generally based off some sort of a digital single lens reflex camera body (like professional still cameras), and as a general rule, the more cameras you get, the more dynamic your production will be.
Video pro tip: Stick to solid colors (earth tones work especially well) for your wardrobe on shoot days. Complex patterns and stripes can produce a crawling effect from the camera’s sensor that distract from the speaker’s message.
Professional Audio Equipment
Without professional audio equipment and a capable audio engineer monitoring the equipment, your production is dead in the water. Great video with mediocre audio brings down the quality level and makes the whole video look amateurish to the audience, so make sure ahead of time that your videographer is a capable audio engineer.
Audio pro tip: If you can hear external noise in the space you’ll be recording audio, chances are the microphone will pick it up too. There are times that it can’t be helped (like busy convention centers) but if you can eliminate ancillary noise by turning off air conditioning units or people talking, your audio is going to sound cleaner.
After you’ve finished the principle shooting, it’s time to shoot some B roll, which is the video that layers over the top of the principle shots to cover cuts, or breaks in the video when the subject needed to start over or content was omitted. Quality B roll with some sort of motion is just as important as the principle videography and can create an exciting, dynamic feel that will engage viewers from start to finish.
Motion pro tip: Panning is when camera movement occurs on the horizontal axis and tilting is when movement occurs on the vertical axis.
A staple in the video production industry, fluid-head tripods for videographers are like a calculator to the accounting world; if you don’t have one, chances are you’re not going to be able to get the job done. A fluid-head tripod is different from a normal tripod in that the fluid acts as a dampener for movement and produces extremely smooth panning and tilting movements so the videographer can track the subject.
Some of the most basic movement you can get with a camera is with a shoulder mount or steadicam. The positives are that the camera is nimble and can maneuver just about anywhere, and the negatives are that the handheld camera shot is only as good as the operator, and movement can quickly become unsteady and erratic is the wrong hands.
A slider is the next level beyond a fluid-head tripod and it provides lateral movement to give a more cinematic feel to the production. While sliders have their limitations, they are more portable than some other movement devices, which makes them more viable on traveling shoots where baggage can be a huge expense.
A jib provides some of the most impressive camera moves available, and it’s small enough to be portable on most local shoots. Our jib (nicknamed The Giraffe) has an 8-foot reach and is small enough to fit through doorways or in elevators, but big enough to get epic shots with smooth movement from angles that aren’t reachable with a tripod.
Motion Time Lapse Video
Time lapse is the process of taking a frame of video at a preset interval that’s longer than the normal 24-30 frames per second of video. The result is that motion is sped up and long processes can be condensed down to a few seconds. This technique, especially when combined with motion, can produce some of the most attention-grabbing shots of the video.
Aerial Drone Video
Drones are essentially remote-controlled helicopters that have a camera mounted to the bottom. Instead of hiring a full-size helicopter for upwards of $900/hour, a drone can be had for far less and they can fly in smaller spaces. These are great for huge subjects like buildings that need a sense of scale.
Lighting isn’t necessary on every shoot, but in certain cases, it’s absolutely essential. Video cameras don’t work very well in low light, so lighting can be a necessity, and your videographer should have a professional video light kit at his disposal when needed.
Commonly referred to as post production, editing is the process of cutting down the raw footage to a usable length with only the most compelling content in the final product. This is an essential part in the process because a good editor can help tell the video’s story, while an amateur editor can quickly ruin the hard work of the video capturing and produce a garish final product that the client won’t want to use for their marketing video.
Non-linear Editing Equipment
The majority of the editing is done in this first program, and the editor should be closely linked with the client during this phase to ensure the final product is exactly what they want. Two rounds of client-specified revisions are common in the industry.
Your videographer should be able to compress and transcode your video to suit your end purpose. Do you want your video on your website? Or a DVD? Maybe you want to optimize it for YouTube? All of these should be provided by the vendor.
A quality graphics package that incorporates the look and feel of the client’s current marketing materials will give the video a cohesive look and feel that matches their brand. This is the finishing touch on the video that gives it a professional look, engages viewers, illustrates intangible points, and lets your viewers know you’re serious about marketing.
Lower thirds are the graphics bars at the bottom of the screen (the lower third of the screen) that list the subject’s name, where they work or what they represent, and sometimes a website. Lower thirds help to solidify the subject’s message by putting a name to a face.
3D graphics are the next level of graphics presentation that can amaze viewers and help illustrate intangible ideas. For example, it’s possible to model a product that doesn’t even exist yet in a 3D program so the audience can see how it works. Other applications include logo animation and integration in live action footage.
Motion photos take a regular photo, divide up the layers, then move them in digital space to give a larger-than-life, documentary feel that can’t be matched with simple panning and zooming on static images. Not all photos will be great candidates for this process, but high-resolution photos will generally work to stunning effect.
With all these moving parts, a video production can feel daunting, but with CSK Creative, we walk you through the entire process and involve you in every step of the process so you know your final video will be exactly what you wanted. A huge part of the whole process is the pre-production meeting, where we consult with you to find out your goals for the video project and how we can best meet them.
Contact CSK Creative today so we can start the process of establishing your goals and building the relationship that will lead to the best possible marketing video for your company.