I work a lot with charities producing campaigning videos, filming publicity stunts and training people to make short videos. I also watch a lot of videos made by NGOs, charities and others and see the same mistakes repeated again and again. This list is a few quick tips that will improve the quality of your videos without much effort.
- Background noise – computers, air conditioners, phones, doors etc
- Busy backgrounds – people wandering around, milling about, having conversations. Backgrounds should never hold or take your attention.
- Boring backgrounds – no one wants to look at a plain white wall. Step 2-3 feet away from your background and if you are interviewing stand at an angle. Also be careful of windows as the light is a different colour so can mess up the white balance.
- Lighting. If it is too dark, find somewhere else and remember to white balance.
- Interviewees should look at the interviewer, not into the camera. Only look directly into the camera if you are addressing the person watching, like a presenter.
- Film b-roll. Extra footage that you can use to set the scene, hide edit points and illustrate comments made in interviews.
- Ask people to say their name and caption on camera. You don’t have to use this in the edit but it saves fumbling around for a pen.
- Prepare your questions beforehand but be prepared to respond with followup questions specific to that person.
- Long corridors made from painted brick, stairwells and large halls echo. Find somewhere else.
- If at all possible use an off-camera mic.
- And, because this top 10 list goes to 11, don’t film too much. Prepare a list beforehand and stick to it as much as possible. It can be tempting to film the whole of someone’s speech or talk so you don’t miss a good bit but logging and editing hours and hours of talks afterward is not fun and so probably won’t happen.
Nice meeting you in London. I took video of difficult return journey to Belfast: train/ferry/buses and the people I met.