Thanks to the many major production companies and professional studios hopping on the YouTube train, viewers have come to expect a level of production value that many growing vloggers can’t afford to maintain. However, with these tips and tricks, you can up your production value for little to no cost.
1. Use your smartphone camera.
If your DSLR is older, it may not be able to shoot in 4K. However, if you’ve recently upgraded your phone, check your settings to see if it’s able to film at higher resolution than your camera. If so, switch over to filming on your phone while you save up for a better camera.
You can also use your phone as a secondary camera to help you film from multiple angles. While your main camera films you head-on, position your phone camera off to the side. This will give you options as you edit to provide more visual interest.
The setup will be the same as if you were a documentarian shooting an interview, only the subject is yourself. Follow the tutorial below to get your cameras set up properly.
2. Capture a wider variety of shots.
The best way to increase your videos’ production value is to increase the amount of time you spend on each one. The more time and effort you invest into each production, the more high-quality the end result will be.
Think about different ways you can capture a wider variety of shots. Instead of just sitting in front of the camera for one take, move around. Take your camera into the real world if you can.
For example, the Try Guys create highly engaging videos by incorporating interviews, vlogging, and in-studio shots.
3. Use natural light to your advantage.
Good lighting can make any video look a lot better. Instead of buying expensive ring lights or studio lights, you can use the natural light around you to your advantage.
Stage your videos with a window or other source of natural light acting as the key light. Then, use a white poster board to bounce the light as a fill light. You can block out any light you don’t need with black fabric or poster board.
4. Record your audio with an external mic.
Audio quality can also make or break your video. Rather than rely on the audio your camera or phone captures, use an affordable external mic to record your voice.
If your video will be filmed sitting down, then you can use a unidirectional mic. Alternatively, if you plan to move around, use a lapel mic.
You don’t have to coordinate hitting record on both devices at the same time. Simply clap loudly to cause a spike in the audio. Then, when you edit, you can line up your video and audio by the spike.
5. Focus on the final edit as much as the filming.
Finally, your video is only as good as the final edit. No matter how much time and effort you put into filming, a hasty edit can make for a sub-par video.
Put as much focus on editing as you do filming. Give yourself at least a few days to make the video the best it can be, incorporating music, graphics, and other effects if you can.
If you have room in your budget, you may even consider hiring an assistant editor. For example, Shane Dawson works with an assistant videographer and editor, Andrew Siwicki.
Making better videos requires more time and effort, not necessarily more money. Focus on your final edit, record your audio externally, and use natural lighting to your advantage.
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Kristen Harris enjoys listening to a wide range of music, from Taylor Swift to, on occasion, Celtic instrumental. She also spends her time writing, reading, and baking.