Brands on film: Rookie tips for smartphone video production

Today is a momentous day!

Well, for me it is! I have joined the YouTube generation after many years of using the site for watching the usual cat clip and music video – If it’s a musical cat video then I’m sold!

As part of the ‘PR for the digital era’ module we were asked to create a short and simple introduction to our blogs, make any necessary edits or enhancements then post it online – the focus being on the thought process of deciding on the right shot, backgrounds and angles to ensure clarity and full understanding for the viewer (of which there will be millions I know) but in a busy university at lunch time, this is easier said than done but after 3 years at Hallam I like to think that I’ve become a bit of a pro at finding the quiet spots to relax. 

smartphone videoBefore I post the intro, I must say just say that I will not be bothering Daniel Craig for an Oscar nor does Stephen Spielberg have anything to fear but It has opened my eyes to the importance of video for PR, especially for social media. With the majority of society owning a smartphone, this technology is available to us all. It doesn’t need to be big budget, nor does it need to have as much CGI as a scene from Star Wars but by following a few simple guidelines, video could provide a business with more than just a few extra likes or retweets.

  1. Think about your objectives

What do you want to achieve by creating this video? A video for a business should have a purpose. that might be an obvious statement but a video without direction or aim is a waste of your business’s time and money. Fit the video in with your business objectives, whether this is introduce a new product, increase sales or  give customers a look behind the scenes.

2. Tell the world a story

Telling a story throughout your video will keep your audience’s attention from start to finish. A video that people don’t finish is worse than no video at all.

3. Lights, camera, action!

Finding the right location can be hard when you have to consider factors such as light, sound, backdrop etc but smartphone vids don’t have to be difficult feature films.

The upside to a smartphone is that it is always at hand so the world really is your oyster when it comes to filming. No need to worry about not having the steadiest hand or not having a tripod. Hold the phone landscape with your upper arms tucked in to your side, this steadies the phone as much as possible. Selfie sticks are also useful too.

On a budget and have no access to fancy lighting rigs? No problem. Use natural light to illuminate the subject but avoid direct exposure to the source, an example of this being filming in to the sun or with a window as a backdrop, this will automatically darken the shot. A way to work with direct light is to experiment with different angles.

When it comes to sound, you don’t always need a mic. It can be just as easy to move closer to the subject. It is important to add here that we are all guilty of this when it comes to photography but zooming or panning will reduce quality of the shot. Just move a bit closer and you can save your quality.

I’m sure there are plenty more tips but as a first timer these are the key factors that got me through. I’ll definitely be using video more often from now on so stay tuned for more tips as I learn as I go.

Anyway, I can’t delay the moment further (unfortunately) but here is my very brief, extremely basic blog intro.

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