When it comes to generating your own video content, it’s easier and cheaper than you might think to get a polished and professional look.
Ideally you want your video content to show you and your brand in the best way it can. Naturally the best way to do that is to hire in an experienced company like Sanctuary 9 Media, but sometimes that option just isn’t practical. Especially if your just starting out and your budget is tight. A time where you need to be making best use of the tools you have available to get the word out about your business.
As we discussed in an earlier post you can achieve a lot with just your mobile phone. With some simple lighting and audio techniques you can get some good results without a Hollywood budget.
Editing is a blog all of its own, which we will address in a future post.
Step 1 – Lights
There are many ways to light a set, but a simple 2 light setup will give great results without breaking your bank.
Have one light on either side of your camera, about 1-2 meters away from it. Adjust the height of the light source to roughly head height or slightly above. Angle your lights to point at the focus of your film.
If your lights are dimable, have one at full brightness. This is known as your key light.
The second light is your fill light. This is used to fill in your shadows and make them less harsh. Your fill light should be set at a lower intensity than your key light. A good guide to identify when the correct levels have been achieved is when the shadows on your subject look soft but not absent. Both lights should be set brightly enough that you can turn off your normal room lights.
Ultra budget option. Use a room, like a conservatory, that has a lot of natural light from a broad range of angles. However, spaces like this risk a lot of reverb or echo on the audio recording, so consider using a lav mic (aka a lapel mic)
Budget option 1
Softboxes diffuse light so this kit is good for softer shadows and smoother light but it will take up a lot of room. It is cheaper than LEDs to buy but not as cheap to run.
Budget option 2
These are more expensive and can create stronger shadows but tend to give a better quality of light. They are instantly on and don’t need to “warm up”. Most wont allow you to fit soft boxes though.
These particular lights are better for closer up work, the further they are from the subject the brighter they need to be. These would work well for head and shoulders framing rather than a full body shot.
Step 2 – Audio
A lav mic, also known as a lapel mic, is a subtle but effective way to get much better audio.
This will help you get clearer, consistent sound. Attach it to your shirt/top about 4 inches below your collar and pointing up at the base of your chin.
Budget option 1
For a good quality budget lav mic compatible with your smart phone, this is a good option. Rode is a name brand at the cheaper end of “Pro” gear market. It should give good, reliable, and distortion free sound.
Budget option 2
Use the headphones that come with your phone if they have a built in mic. It’ll still give better results than the mic on your phone, especially in a room with a lot of echo.
Step 3 – Stable camera platform
Having a stable camera platform can really improve how polished your video looks. Hand-held facebook live type video definitely has its place, but for a presentation, especially a longer one of 20 min or more, you may want to avoid holding your phone.
Aside from a tired arm, being hands free allows you to be more expressive and relaxed, which will come across much better to your audience. This is easy to achieve. A quick search brings up dozens of options. Do remember though, you get what you pay for – buy too cheap and you may need to buy again soon.
Naturally its pretty hard to hit an upper limit on how much you can spend, but this short guide is aimed at giving you good options to dramatically improve your output for under £100. If you have a higher budget for equipment then feel free to contact us, and we can give you some tips on what’s worth investing on and what isn’t, in terms of light and sound.