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Weekly Video Tip: Back to the Basics

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By Stephen Schweickart

Seldom does a month go by without video technology cranking things up to a new level. But while some things change, others don’t. And that includes some of the basic building blocks for creating an effective video. Here are just a few “old school” reminders:

First, begin with a good script, as well as a story board outlining your shots. Then shoot the video to match your requirements. You’ll save a lot of time and money by planning ahead, instead of shooting first and then trying to figure out what to do with the footage.

Next, know your audience. What are their wants and needs? Will your content hold their attention—or is it all about you? What about using humor, testimonials or perhaps a paid actor? Put yourself in their shoes first, and ask why they would want to see what you’re shooting.

Third, know your equipment. What about a tripod, a wide angle lens, or an external microphone? Will using two cameras save time and expense? Will lighting be needed? How about a green screen? Does it make more sense to rent than to buy?

Next, know who is going to edit your footage, and what level of sophistication will be required. Basic software programs will allow you to string simple clips together, but many desirable functions such a color correction, special effects, graphics and transitions require more ambitious programs. Determine in advance what your needs will be, and plan accordingly.

And last but not least, don’t hesitate to consult a professional. Often their advice will be worth its weight in gold. You may consider hiring a pro to oversee the shoot, or if the budget allows, doing all or part of the shoot for you, as well as the editing.

Remember, creating a great video begins with mastering the basics. Taking the effort to build a solid foundation is time well spent.

Stephen Schweickart is the co-founder of VScreen. For more information on this topic, visit VScreen’s site at http://www.vscreen.com/.

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