8 musts to avoid creating awful videos

Common mistakes can doom your video long before it goes to the editing process. Head off these miscues to ensure the best video possible, regardless of the equipment you’re using.

Are you finally embracing video marketing? Or has someone asked you to take part in a video because you’re smart or influential or you just have a face that the camera loves?

This is your big moment. Don’t mess it up.

You’re freaking out, aren’t you? Well, fret not. Here are eight tips for shooting video that doesn’t suck:

1. Shoot during the day.

Natural lighting is your friend, especially if you don’t have a professional lighting setup, which most people don’t. Natural lighting will complement your skin and typically won’t make you look washed out or grainy.

Test different angles and different amounts of light from a window until you get a look you like.

2. Don’t shoot backlit or with a window behind you.

People want to see your beautiful face, and relying on a light source behind you will leave your face dark. The camera has a tough time figuring out what light source to focus on, and it will make the video hard to watch.

Simply turn the camera around so you’re facing the light source—and your lighting will probably be pretty good.

3. Be wary of shooting outside.

There will invariably be a plane, train, car alarm, that person who just can’t seem to decide whether they’re staying inside or outside. Background noise is an editing nightmare, so save your editor and yourself the headache.

Encourage your staff to appear in and shoot their own videos. Learn how in this free guide.

Along that same line, don’t shoot in a public place or in a crowd. You’re bound to pick up lots of ambient sounds, and you might even record an awkward piece of collateral conversation. Nobody wants that.

4. Don’t shoot in a car—even if you’re busy.

Shooting in a moving vehicle adds another layer of sounds to deal with. Besides, no road is perfectly smooth, so your video is bound to be bouncy, which is no fun for your viewer.

5. Know that your hands are not as steady as you think they are.

There, I said it. Please put your phone or camera on something stable.

You can buy an inexpensive tripod on Amazon. They make universal phone adapters for them. Your video might not look bad to you, but once it is cut between two stable videos, it will look as though you’re filming on a roller coaster. I like roller coasters, but they make some people throw up. Please don’t make people throw up because of your video.

6. Silence your devices while shooting.

No one wants to try to edit out the fact that your phone is blowing up, and no one wants to hear your phone blowing up while watching your video. (Unless you’re actually blowing it up.) It’s best to turn off your devices; otherwise the audio of your phone vibrating will get picked up by the microphone.

7. Be aware of where the camera lens is.

If you’re looking at your face on the screen, you’re not looking at the camera—and not looking at your audience. It just feels awkward to watch a video in which someone looks like he or she is peering behind you. (“What do you see? What are you looking at?”)

8. Pre-edit before your video goes to the editing process.

Watch for any weird lighting changes as your phone tried to decide on a light source. Listen to it with headphones on—did you capture a lot of background noise, people talking, your phone buzzing?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, just reshoot. Make your life and the video editor’s life easier by creating a video free of editing nightmares.

These tips will help you shoot video that’s easier to edit, especially if your video is being put together with other video clips.

A version of this article originally appeared on Marketing Profs.

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