Nothing makes a video look more amateurish than poor videography. Follow these tips to record the best video possible:
1) Plan your Video in Advance
Many students think that the quickest way to create a media project is to pick up a camera and start shooting, but a lack of planning can leave your viewers underwhelmed and result in a poor grade. This is why it is extremely important to take the time to plan your video thoroughly before you start production. When making a video, you should always start by defining your project and thinking about what ideas you want to communicate and how. Be sure to brainstorm unique ways of presenting your topic; make sure to think outside the box. Once you’ve defined your project, write a brief script and perhaps create a simple storyboard.
2) Use Plenty of Light
Poorly lit videos strain the eyes of your viewers and reflect poorly on your project, so it is important to consider lighting when you are filming (whether that be indoors or outdoors). Before you set up your light sources, consider the effect you want to create in your finished video. Do you want your subject’s face entirely lit up (“soft” or “flat” light), or do you want some shadows (“hard” light)? Softer light is also more flattering. If you’re filming indoors, avoid overhead lighting where possible and instead look for natural light from windows. You can also use lamps to get the exact type of light you want.
3) Choose your Background Wisely
When planning a shot for your video you want to make sure that the audience focuses on your subject and not the background behind them. There are many things to consider when choosing a background but the key is to minimize elements that will make the scene look cluttered and draw attention away from your subject. Make an effort to use simple backgrounds when possible (a wall, a solid color backdrop, etc.) or to carefully reduce the clutter behind your subject. It's also important to avoid too much action in the background that can become distracting (traffic, students walking by, interfering bystanders, etc.). Finally, make sure to place your subject a few feet away from whatever background you choose in order to add depth to the shot and avoid casting a harsh shadow.
4) Avoid Shaky Footage
Unless you are planning a moving shot, you'll almost always want your camera on a tripod. Shaky footage can disorient your viewers and make your videos look amateurish. Once your camera and tripod are set up, try not to move them. If you do need to pan, zoom, or tilt the camera, do so carefully and with smooth hand movements - like you're holding a full cup of hot coffee.
If your footage still turns out shaky despite your best efforts, video stabilization software can help to fix it in post-production (available in programs like Adobe Premiere Pro). Some cameras also have built-in stabilization that you can use while you’re filming. Slowing down the speed your footage in post-production can also help to make shakiness less obvious.
5) Shoot to Edit
Most importantly of all, when recording a scene, be sure to always record more footage than you'll actually need. Shoot multiple takes to get different sound or lighting conditions and shoot the same take from a number of different angels. The idea here is to collect as much video as possible in order to give yourself plenty of options while editing. While this may seem like a waste of time, it will actually save you time in post-production, especially if you find a clip that has poor lighting or audio quality.