Tips for Shooting Web Videos

With the easy accessibility of the Web, it's tempting to shoot Web videos to enliven a Web site, emphasize a point you're trying to make or demonstrate how to do something. However, shooting good Web video isn't as easy as it looks. Keep these tips for shooting Web video in mind the next time you head out for a shot:

Web video is small

Web video is small, both in terms of physical size of the shot and the video compression required to deliver video to your viewers. You may have to crop Web video or reduce its size in order to display it on your site. Keep this in mind when composing the shot.

Don't try to show too much

Don't try to show too much in your Web video. Large shots loose impact on small videos, so use smaller shots. Movement may be wobbly, shaky or grainy on Web video, so try to avoid shooting too much movement. Focus on an individual rather than a group, as the group may be too large to effectively display. Avoid shooting complex patterns, such as stripes, wide shots filled with subject matter, trees or anything with a significant amount of detail to capture.

Keep it short

Attention span varies, depending on format. Movie viewers can usually last between 90 to 120 minutes. Television shows work best in 30- to 60-minute formats. Web viewers have a significantly shorter attention span, as they're often checking the Web for a few minutes before going off to do something else, and Web video users are almost always multitasking. If your Web video is too long, your viewers may tune out halfway through and lose the important thread of your topic. Keep your video short and full of interesting content so that your viewers don't wander off.

Use appropriate lighting

Because the compression in Web video often reduces details, it's important to use strong lighting on your subject. Focus the lighting on your subject so that it stands out compared to the background. Strong lighting captures subtle detail that poor light often overlooks, providing clearer, more vivid Web video. Daylight is a great option for shooting, but avoid shooting under midday sun that can cast shadows around the eyes and nose. For indoor shoots, bring along several light wattages so that you can adjust existing fixtures as needed, and consider adding clamp lights from any hardware store to your lighting arsenal.

Control your shot

Compose a shot. Keep in mind your size restrictions, and frame the shot accordingly. Always roll for 5 to 10 seconds at the beginning and end of your shot to avoid losing content on the front or back of your shot. Use manual focus so that if something interrupts your shot, your camera isn't trying to auto-focus to compensate. Use a good-quality tripod to avoid wobbly or fuzzy video.

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