How to Set the Stage for your Videos

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We live in the world of video now.  Video dominates on virtually every platform around.

YouTube, Facebook, Instagram…and lots of other Social Media we use everyday LOVE video.  In fact…many of them prioritize who sees it or not, based on whether it is video, images or text.

But…do people LOVE your videos?  Do they like what you say?  Your background?  How you sound?

A lot goes into making a quality video.

Sometimes raw, bouncy, in-the-moment video is good…but I'd recommend knowing how to set the stage for your videos for more appealing shots that your audience will like and want to come back to for more.

How to Set the Stage for your Videos

#1:  Prepare your Content. 

Before you shoot a video, know what you're going to say before you start recording.  Don't just “wing it”.  Even having some bullet points in front of you may be good enough.  There's nothing wrong with having some visual aids.  If I'm shooting a video that is 5-minutes or less, I have some talking points and I go.  If it's a longer video, I will have bullet points written out right in front of me…or taped next to the camera on a homemade tele-prompter that I made out of piece of cardboard.

If you do Facebook Lives at all, I did a post a while back called Tips for High-Quality Facebook Lives that you might find helpful.

Bottom line…know what you're going to say, before you say it.

#2:  Understand Basic Video Composition. 

If you're going to shoot quality video, you must have an understanding of Basic Video Composition before you go live with your shot.  It boggles my mind surfing around the Internet and looking at people doing videos who have no idea or understanding about simple composition.

Understanding how to frame a shot using the Rule of Thirds is one of the most fundamentally important things you need to do in order to get the quality you are looking for in your videos.

Framing your shot, having good lighting and quality sound…they're all very important pieces of the puzzle in knowing how to stage your videos properly.

#3:  Create or Find a Great Location with an Appealing Background.

It's no fun staring at your shadow moving against that white wall behind you.  It's bland and not attractive.

The background for my shot in this video is in my home.  I didn't really have to do any set up for it.  I may have moved my kid's backpack off the floor or turned on a couple more lights…but that's about it.

Look around your house and see if you can find a few spots that look good.  Make sure the background isn't too busy.

Something as simple as a flower pot, a framed piece of art…or something that just looks cool can be just what the doctor ordered.

If you shoot a LOT of video, I might even suggest creating your own “video stage”.  It may be a corner in your office that you've set up specifically for shooting video.  That way, you keep it in the same spot…and you don't constantly have to assemble and disassemble it.

When I shoot at my home…I have three places that I regularly use for video production.  My back deck overlooking the golf course with trees is a beautiful place to shoot, as is the living room that I shot this video in.

#4:  How to Create a Bit More Depth to your Videos (more advanced)

I was asked recently, “how do you go about creating that richness in your videos where you are in focus and everything behind you is blurred out?  My camera won't do that!”

Well…I shoot most of my video with a Nikon DSLR camera.  And…I have attached a 1.8 lens to it.  Even if you don't know the terminology, it doesn't matter.  What I do with many of my shots is shoot in Aperture Priority Mode set at 1.8.

What that does is makes the object (me) in crisp focus, and everything in front of me or behind me all blurred out.  Be careful when you choose to do this, because the range of you staying in focus is only about one foot.  That means if I lean too far forward or backward in the video, I may go out of focus.  So…you can't really do this for moving shots.  But…for shots like you see in this post, it works perfectly.

Newer Smartphones have two cameras that allow you to shoot this way.  Check your Smartphone and see if it's got two cameras on the same side.  If it does, you can probably create this same look with your mobile phone!

Again…you want to produce not only quality content, but a good looking video to keep your audience engaged.

Happy shooting!

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