{Challenge} Great Videos with your Smartphone Day 4: Visuals - Prue Madden
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DAY 4

DAY 5

CREATE GREAT VIDEO WITH YOUR SMARTPHONE

DAY 4

Welcome to Day 4!

Now it’s time make some decisions about your “set”, otherwise known as your video background.

The Background

Your production quality goes a long way to establishing trust.

In movies and journalistic productions, a lot of effort goes into creating, or finding the perfect location to shoot. Why? Because it sets the scene, and is part of the story.

But we are not creating a Hollywood film here. It is important to ensure your background fits with your brand, and is pleasant to look at, but this does not mean that it needs to be fancy. You do not want your background to be the focus. You are the focus.

The most import thing to remember about choosing a background when shooting with an iPhone is keep it as simple and distraction free as possible. When you are shooting with a DSLR camera, you have the option to blur your background out to minimize distractions and let the viewer focus solely on you. This is not the case with the standard smartphone camera app.

With a bit of in app trickery, however, some smartphones can now apply a fake background blur effect to photos and videos. For example, this feature is available in the Instagram app. It is a post-filming effect and is not perfect so you may not always like the effect.

For this reason, when shooting with a smartphone, I recommend you cheap your background as simple an distraction free as possible. You don’t want to be competing for attention with a bookshelf backed with coloured books and trinkets.

For inspiration take a look at the videos produced by the Alpha M YouTube channel. Entrepreneur Aaron Marino has created thousands of videos in the Men’s Personal Care niche with a background of a simple wall and a background light, and it looks great.

You can make millions of dollars without fancy sets and equipment. It’s definitely ok to keep it super simple.

If you do want more than a plain wall behind you, here are a few ideas to help you decide on the background for your video, as well as some pros and cons for each.

Collapsible background on a stand – This is compact and easy to store, and quick to set up. But it can also require the use of studio lights to ensure it is evenly lit.

Paper background on a stand – You have a huge colour range to choose from. But it can also require the use of studio lights to ensure it is evenly lit

Natural indoor setting – Like I am using here. It ads authenticity and is interesting, but it requires a nice aesthetic, and helps to use colors that suit your brand, and, if it’s a room you use daily in your house, it can be difficult to keep clean and tidy every time you want to shoot video. It can also be distracting if the background is not blurred.

Natural outdoor setting – It can be inspiring and interesting, but it can be distracting due to noise, and you can’t control the elements like harsh sun, wind and rain.

Green screen – this gives you a huge range of background options and can be very effective, but there is considerable learning curve to get it right, and you need to have a space to keep it permanently set up to be able to produce videos regularly and efficiently.

The trusty plant – putting plant behind you on a simple narrow table, against a wall, can give a bit of interest, but not ben to distracting. It’s a simple set up. I can’t think of and cons for this.

The most import thing is you want to remove as much friction from the process as possible. You want simple and easy. To get videos out there quickly, just shoot from a place that you can use often, that take no or next to no time to set up, that has great lighting, and has a very simple background because you want people focused on what you’re saying.

Framing

Something else to consider the “rule of thirds”, when you are framing yourself in your video. For talking head shots, which is what I am doing now – you can see my head and my shoulders and chest. If you are any closer than that to the camera, it can get uncomfortable for the viewer.  It feels like that creepy guy or girl at the party who invades your personal space by standing way too close.

Close-ups, talking head shots, and even half body shots which are a bit further out, give the most meaningful viewer experience, because they highlight facial your expressions and body language.

The Rule of Thirds

Something that many people get really wrong, when they are just starting out, is their positioning in the shot. Here is a little trick that can help you overcome positioning issues.  Just divide your frame into thirds by imagining two horizontal and two vertical lines that divide the frame equally. You should be placed at, or near, one of the intersecting points. You can also position yourself in the centre of the shot, but always remember to keep your head around the 1/3 mark.

The mistake many people make is to position their head at the center point of the shot, leaving ½ the frame empty above their head. Do this and it can look like you are sinking in quicksand!

YOUR TASKS FOR DAY 4

  • Watch the Alpha M YouTube channel to see that simple can work well.
  • Find a location which has good natural light and minimal distractions in the background
  • Do a short practice video (just talk about something random), and watch it on your computer
  • Make adjustments as necessary.

That’s it for day 4.

Don’t let indecision kill your progress. Make a decisions, work with what you have as best you can… and most importantly, keep it simple.

See you tomorrow!

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