Feb 5, 2019

Tips for Video Production

If there’s anything that makes Pixl cringe, it’s poorly produced video. So in an attempt to save the world from cringe-worthy videos, we’re offering a few invaluable tips on professional production.

Because that’s what we do.

For us, the advice starts well before the video shoot. Pre-planning saves time and effort. For instance, you don’t need five hours of footage for a sixty-second clip. So that’s why we storyboard with our clients, we get a good grip on the video’s goals and themes, and we narrow down our script and shot list before we ever arrive on location.

Even our equipment choice is a product of preplanning. Shooting with multiple cameras makes the editing process easier. A second camera angle allows you to cover up countless onscreen mistakes. In the absence of that option, shooting in 4K gives you the ability to add tight shots without a loss in resolution, and these changes in scale are invaluable when finishing off a project.

During the shoot, errors in lighting and sound can devalue an otherwise perfect production. Sound tip: there’s no such thing as a boom mic being too close to the talent (so long as it isn’t in the shot). Dealing with lavaliers? Make sure it’s centered and close to the chin; a lapel hookup is convenient, but often times can affect sound when the talent turns their head. And of course, there’s the old standby: try to keep it quiet on the set.

Now on to lighting. You can get by with one good key light that’s well placed, but it starts getting fun when you have more. With two lights, we like to use the second as a filler to add dimension. If we’ve got three lights – boy howdy! – then we add a hair light to separate the talent from the background. And speaking of backgrounds, if you’re working with a backdrop that’s not black or naturally lit, you’d better make sure it’s evenly lit or else every bubble and crease will show.

So we’ve planned. We’ve shot. Now what? Well, actually, this next part isn’t sexy, but it’s necessary. We import and back our footage up. If you forget this step, everything else might be for not.

On to editing. If we’ve shot with multiple cameras, we like creating a mutli-cam clip synced together using the audio. It’s easier and more cohesive than splicing separate footage and audio from each camera. Once we’ve done a rough cut to match the plan, we watch through the footage for cutting flubs and unnecessary pauses. We pick camera angles, still footage and other addons to enhance the story we’re telling. (Make sure to pay for the rights to music and images if it’s not royalty free.) During this process, it helps to keep multiple versions of your edit. It’s also important to make sure your timeline settings match the resolution, and the frame rate matches the footage.

Once complete, our producers and editors have seen the video so many times that it’s memorized. It’d be a shame, after all that work, not to broadcast it properly. So, when exporting the final product, know exactly how it’s being shared. Facebook, television, and websites all require a different kind of love. What’s the client need? 1080i vs. 30frame/sec? Does the audio need to be stereo or mono or split track? A well-produced video delivered poorly to an audience is a tragedy.

So there you go. We’ve now done our part to improve video production across the land. And if you don’t want to try this at home, don’t hesitate to call us.

The name’s Pixl, and production is what we do.