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7 Tips for Better Internet Video

Long before I became an Internet marketer, I studied filmmaking and worked in the feature film and television industry. With the increasing interest in shooting original video content for the Internet, either for streaming or downloading, I thought it would be beneficial to share a few production pointers.
If you’re planning on shooting video for the Internet, here are seven tips that will help improve the end product.

  1. Start with the best possible image quality.
    Garbage in, garbage out, right? Use the best quality video camera you can get. Ensure your shots are properly lit and avoid low light and high contrast lighting situations.
  2. Capture clean audio.
    Use a good quality microphone. Do not use the one on the camera. Shoot in a environment where you can eliminate or at least minimize background noise (such as traffic).
  3. Minimize movement.
    Any extraneous movement within the frame is problematic as it only makes your footage harder to compress. Keep your subjects fairly static and always use a tripod. Where possible, try to avoid zooms, pans, tilts, and other camera movement. If you must introduce movement into a shot, keep it slow and steady.
  4. Beware of detail.
    Avoid overly detailed or complex shots. Crowd scenes are particularly problematic. Make sure your backgrounds are not cluttered – a solid colour is best – and that the clothing performers wear does not have intricate patterns. Eliminate movement in the background. If you can’t, use a shallow depth of field to minimize the problem.
  5. Think big.
    Your footage will likely be viewed in a tiny display window, not on an IMAX-sized screen. So shoot and use lots of close-ups and make your titles large and simple.
  6. Keep the editing simple.
    In post-production, avoid rapid editing. Quick cuts and shots of less than one second in length may get lost or mangled during compression. Stick to straight cuts. Dissolves and elaborate shot-to-shot transition effects can cause problems during compression. When in doubt, use a good old straight cut, although fade ins and fade outs are OK.
  7. ‘Dumb down’ the audio mix.
    Subtle, densely layered audio tracks don’t respond well to compression. Keep your audio mix simple and clear. In fact, pretend you are mixing the soundtrack so that it will be legible on the world’s crappiest AM radio. (Remember those?) If you can make it sound good on that, it will sound good on the Internet.

Good luck, and happy shooting!