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Avoiding the Top Five Amateur Video Production Mistakes

Avoiding the Top Five Amateur Video Production Mistakes

By Lou Amico

Videos are a popular and effective way to promote your business, brand and offer instructions to your customers. With the proliferation of mobile electronics in this digital age, it’s never been easier to capture quality video and share with the world. However, the right equipment is not enough to ensure a high impact video result. Based on the most common mistakes novice video producers often make, here are five things to pay attention to when creating a professional video.

Capture sound effectively. Cameras come with an audio microphone to capture sound. However, the subject is often not standing close to the camera. Using only the camera’s microphone often leaves you with video that sounds like the speaker is speaking into a tin can. To improve your video’s audio, purchase a simple wired mic to run from your video camera to clip on the speaker. It is also important to use headphones when you record so you can hear what the camera is recording. This will provide you with much clearer, professional sound.

Pay attention to your lighting. Lighting sets the mood and can help focus attention on your subject. While really good lighting is an art and requires a talented lighting director and expensive equipment, there are simple steps that can be taken to greatly improve lighting in your own production. Always front light the subject because backlighting will darken the subject and overwhelm the lens. One way to improve your lighting is to place a transparent sheet over a window and have the subject face the window. This will diffuse the light and soften the subject. You can also use a reflective white piece of cardboard to bounce light onto the subject to eliminate heavy shadow, especially outdoors. Add some depth behind the subject by using a lamp to lighten the background and remove hard shadows.

Properly frame your subject. The zoom function on a lens is one of the most incorrectly used tools on the camera. While it’s nice to zoom in and see your subject closer, the motion can be distracting and knock off your focus. It is better to simply have the subject move closer to the camera (or the camera closer to the subject). If you need to change the frame, stop the camera, readjust the focus and then continue taping.

Minimize camera movement. While The Blair Witch Project movie mastered the art of jumpy camera shots, it is not an art form that belongs in most professional videos. Be sure to use a tripod to steady the camera. If your scene requires the camera to have to move, one tip for a more steady shot is to first pause, count to three and then move slowly to your end point. Then wait three more seconds before stopping the camera. This will help minimize the movement of the camera and give you clean breaks when you edit.

Take into consideration what style and backgrounds will best work for your video. Keeping the goal of the video in mind, what style and backgrounds will work best? If your video includes interviews, don’t put the subject up against the wall like a police line-up. Try and always get as much depth as possible. You may consider an outdoor setting, or with a background wall with the company logo behind the subject. This wall should be as far away as possible so it is not directly on the subjects back. Consider the environment that will best represent the goal of your video and then compliment it with a background that the subject looks most natural.

You will also want to avoid having the subject sit in a chair with wheels or a chair that rocks. Without meaning to, the subject will naturally swivel or rock while talking on camera. A chair that forces the subject to sit up and place both feet on the floor will work best and allow for the best posture that will look more professional on camera.

These five tips go hand in hand to ensure a more professional looking video. While hiring a video production company is optimal for creating the most effective video to meet your goals, it is not always something a budget allows. Using these five tips will allow you to create an impressive video on your own that looks great, is easy to watch, and easily gets your message across to the viewers.


L.A. Management Company is an award winning marketing and communications firm that has been recognized for both the quality of our work and the successful strategic growth of our company. Our objective is to be the one stop shop for the implementation of your marketing and communication initiatives.


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