Guide to Video Production 7 – File exporting

Getting the video into a format that can be shared is very important.  You want all your hard work to be seen clearly and without stutters and glitches.  The best file to export is an H.264 MP4 file.  This seems to be the best format and plays on PC, Mac, iPad and other tablets.   Try different file formats though, as different applications need different file sizes and qualities.

There is a range of encoding software products on the market if your editing suite doesn’t support the one you need. Search online for one that suits your needs.

File Uploading

The easiest method to get your video shown is via YouTube.  This is free to use.  You can design your own YouTube channel and have your company logo etc. as the background.  To get the best results you should upload the highest quality version of your video.  YouTube has the ability to multiple encode different versions and the clever bit is that it auto detects the bandwidth of your internet connection and then plays the appropriate file.  You can override this option as well.

Websites have never been easier to upload videos to.  You will need your web developers to advise on your particular site, but as long as the site is designed in HTML you should be able to share the code from YouTube and then import this direct into your site.  This means there are no video hosting costs to deal with and the video should play on your page.

Our site looks like this www.tympani.co.uk    HTML should allow you to adjust the size of the video window and even the position of the window on the page.

YouTube also helps with SEO.  YouTube is the second largest search engine and having a video loaded on there with appropriate tags added really does help with SEO.

Facebook, LinkedIn and Vimeo are just a few examples of where you can host your video.  Once there all you need to do is share the link to your audience.  Then sit back and wait for the call for the next one!

 

Want to know more? Then why not attend one of our training workshops. For more information go to:  www.howtofilm.co.uk

 

 

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Guide to Video Production 6 – Graphics

Graphics can add real value to any video.  Often a simple graphic outlining a process or flowchart allows the viewer to clearly see in a way that a vocal explanation can’t.  Graphics can be simple PowerPoint slides, simple on screen text or bespoke animations.   Whichever you chose be sure they are not over-written. Avoid font sizes of less than 32 to limit the number of words that are displayed.  In our experience simple graphics work best.

PowerPoint has an export option for static slides which should be exported as .TIFF files.  These seem to work best for imports into editing software but other export options also exist within PowerPoint.  For PowerPoint slide animations it’s best to do a separate screen recording of the animation and then import this into your project.  There are a number of screen recording software options available, some of which offer a free demo so look around and see which suits you best.

Text captions can usually be added in the sequence without too much hassle. This can be used for name strap captions and other screens where straight text is needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music

Music can add real emotion to any video.  Used as a background it can improve the viewing experience of the video.  Avoid using pop music, in fact you can only use music that you have the clearance to do so.  Copyright infringement breaks the law so our advice is get the proper clearance to avoid getting prosecuted later.  Pop music can be prohibitive, sometimes well over £5,000 for a simple licence and that’s if you can get the group to agree in the first place.  There are dozens of online music libraries around.  These offer huge selections and variety.  In general music without lyrics are best as they can be edited more easily.  The libraries also help with advice on what clearance is needed and how much that costs.  The price varies accordingly.  Music libraries offer a vast selection of copyrighted music that can be bought for use on a one off or lifetime agreement.

Your music choice should enhance the video and not detract from the content.  Avoid brash music and a tempo that doesn’t suit the content.  You can adjust the levels of the audio as speech comes in and out as well.

Edit Amendments

It’s unlikely that your first edit will be the one that gets used unless it is very simple.  Export the video and circulate this with the stakeholders and gather their feedback.  This is where the script comes in as a document for you to fall back on.  Having the script signed off earlier means your video should match the set expectations closely.  That said there is always room for tweaks and amendments but the overall content should be close.  Absorb the comments and make changes if you can.  Then re-circulate to get the final sign off.

 

Next read our blog 7 of 7 – File exporting

Want to know more? Then why not attend one of our training workshops.  For more information go to: www.howtofilm.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Guide to Video Production 5 – Post Production

Editing is a time consuming and creative process.  It’s where the video takes shape.  Modern laptops and basic editing software will allow you to join shots together and build a sequence.

File management is critical.  You will end up with dozens and sometimes hundreds of separate asset files so keep them in one place and label them clearly.  Confusion is easy to create if you don’t have a good asset management folder system in place.  We can’t stress this highly enough.  What we do is to create two sub folders in the main project folder, one for assets and one for exports.  Store anything that is an asset in the asset folder and leave the export folder for later file exports.

The first step is to ingest all the shot material into the system.  Depending on your particular camera, this will vary.  Most cameras these days record to memory cards which tend to be expensive and consequently re-used.  So our advice is to copy the material twice onto two separate hard drives.  This will cover you should one drive be lost, stolen or break.  We have seen them all!  So having two stored versions avoids disaster later.  Once ingested into the computer and the editing software opened, create a project and save it in the project folder.  Next import all the material into the project and create separate bins.  This again makes it easier to navigate around the project.  Perhaps have one bin for interviews, another for cutaways, another for music and another for other assets.

We recommend that transcriptions are created for any interviews.  This is time consuming but it allows you to see on paper what was said.  We break these down into answers and give each one a unique number.  It is easier to talk in reference numbers than describe the contents of each paragraph.

Do a paper edit first.  By that we mean cut and paste the best interview answers or voice over script in a word document and assemble this in the right order.  This is the best way to start the edit process.  It’s clear to see at a glance which bit goes where to tell the story.  Once this is done assemble the shots in this order.

If you are using a voice over commentary it is normal practice for one of the edit team to record a scratch commentary which can be finalised in time and then replaced with a professional voice when needed later.

Once the narrative element of the video is laid down you can then set to work on the pictures.

Choose the shots that best illustrate the point. 

Depending on the pace of your video, this will dictate the length each shot appears for.

You should cut the speed of the pictures sympathetically with the story, and avoid unnecessary and fancy editing transitions that detract from the story.  If you have shot it right you will have lots of editing choices.

Avoid what are called jump cuts which is where two equally sized shots appear one after the other.  The picture jars.  Try to blend in wide shots and close shots together.  This makes the video more engaging.

If your software allows you, build up the sequence in a series of layers with voice-over on one layer, interviews on another and cutaways and graphics on another.  This makes things easier and clearer to see as the project gains complexity.  The edit timeline becomes a complicated jigsaw puzzle but keeping things clearly laid out makes it easier to keep on top of the project.

Save the project at 10 minute intervals.  From experience having a computer crash and losing hours of work is frustrating to say the least!

 

Next read our blog 6 of 7 – Graphics

Want to know more? Then why not attend one of our training workshops.   For more information go to:  http://www.howtofilm.co.uk

 

Guide to Video Production 1 – Planning

Video is a powerful business communication tool.  YouTube is now the second largest search engine on the planet, and with social media utilising the power of video there has never been an easier way to show off your products or services, or deliver important messages across your organisation.

If you are using video and shooting yourself, are your videos turning out the way you expect them to be?  Are you able to shoot and edit the right material allowing you to use the video as you intended?  Are you able to show your customers the true face of your company and reflect your company values?

If you’re not already using video as a sales, marketing, training or general communication tool then you could be losing out.  Camera and editing equipment has become more affordable over recent years.  It is now possible to film on a domestic grade camera and edit using a standard laptop computer, and have the same flexibility that complex edit suites used to have just a few years ago.

We’ve created a guide to take you through the key steps and highlight how a professional video production company would approach the project.   The aim is to help you avoid some of the main traps that people often fall into, and if you follow what we suggest then you will achieve better results.

A professional video company will always create better results than home produced material, but there are many applications where home produced material is adequate.

Just like most things, the key to a successful project is being organised and well planned.  Having a proper plan allows for deviations to take place on the day, but being organised ensures you keep the final video in mind at all times.  Video production can be a complex process and without the proper planning and execution may yield poor results, which not only use up a lot of your time, but also may have the opposite effect of what you are trying to create.

You must establish what and where you are to film, and what the messaging will be.  What do you want the viewers to do once they have viewed the video, and what is the assumed knowledge of the viewer to start with.  All of this has a bearing on how the video is created.

 Programme style

In your planning phase you should consider the visual style that is best suited to your message.  The most common basic choices are as follows:

  1. Presenter talking to camera
  2. Interviewee talking to an invisible interviewer
  3. Voice over narration
  4. Captions and text

If you opt for an in vision presenter you should choose carefully who is to appear in front of the camera.  Presenting to camera is a good way to get lots of information across but is a hard skill to acquire.

An alternative is the interview technique.  Here the on screen interviewee answers questions which are best asked by an interviewer sitting by the side of the camera.  If you choose this option ensure one question tackles just one point as there will be no interaction between the interviewer and interviewee.

You should also consider where the video is going to be used.  For example if it’s mainly for an office reception or exhibition playback, then it’s likely that the sound will be turned down.  In this case you must plan to ensure the message is still relayed some other way.  This could be floating captions and other graphics.  If the video is going to be seen by individuals online via your website, social media or YouTube, or in presentations, then the narrative can be shared by voice.

You must think about how and where all the filming is to be done.  You should think of the practicalities of the filming and whether any special permissions or authorisations are needed to allow you to film.  In some circumstances it’s a good idea to get participants to sign a release form stating they are happy for their material to be used.  Filming on the street often calls for Police permissions to be granted and some councils demand an extra payment.  So check out the implications of where you want to film.

During the planning phase, face to face meetings with interested parties are vital.  This allows the goals to be set, and expectations managed.  It’s vital that everyone who is involved in the process understands their involvement and what is expected of them.

Duration

This is a big consideration for the whole project.  The internet has changed the way that videos are viewed.  In days gone by, it was common for a corporate video to be 15 minutes or longer, taking the viewer on a journey through the company and delivering a large amount of content.  Now the viewers don’t often stay to watch anything much over 3 minutes and if the video doesn’t grab their attention straight away people switch off.  It’s better to create several short videos and allow the viewer to browse and choose what they want to watch.

You should plan your video accordingly.  From a scripting point of view 3 minutes is about 600 words or so.  As this is such a low number it’s vital that every word counts and there is no waffle or repetition.

 

Next read our Blog 2 of 7 – Storyboard/Scripting

Want to know more? Then why not attend one of our training workshops.  For more information go to:  www.howtofilm.co.uk