Posted June 6, 2012 12:30 am by with 2 comments

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Web videos can help build trust, educate, inspire or entertain. They can even open up your business to new audiences. In part 2 of the exclusive web video series for Marketing Pilgrim readers, based on his new book, “Videotastic!” Gareth talks about production.


With a script, location, a clear idea of what you want to shoot all in place, its time to think about production. This is when its important to know your kit and avoid the usual pitfalls of filming.

  • Go manual – Cameras that only have automatic settings can limit your options when you shoot. If you’re looking to buy a new camera to shoot web videos, then try and get one that shoots HD and has manual controls for focus, iris, zoom and white balance. Use these settings manually wherever possible, as they will offer more control over the type of footage your camera shoots.

  • Use external mics that sound is usually going to be half of your video and unfortunately built in microphones on cameras usually suck. Even if the camera costs thousands of dollars a built in microphone tends to pick up loads of ambient noise so any sounds you make as you touch the camera can get picked up and if your subject is far away the microphone will struggle to pick up the audio. Go for an external option and make sure any camera you buy has an external mic input.

  • Lighting is key – you want to avoid badly lit shots that can make your subject look like they are on a crime show. Invest time in making sure you have either good natural lighting or use some good quality video lights to make sure your set it well lit.
  • White Balance – Understanding white balance is important. It is a function that is based on a principle that outside light is at the cool end of the spectrum and is bluey, whilst idoor light is at the warmer end and more orangey. To compensate for this cameras have a white balance feature. Typically presets offered are for indoors and outdoors, so ensure you have the correct setting on. If you have a day time setting and shoot indoors things may look very orangey and if you have the indoor setting on and shoot outside things will look very bluey. Learning how to manually white balance your camera is crucial. Having an automatic white balance on in itself can be problematic if you need to pan from a shot of a window with daylight around the room to a darker area with an indoor light. In this example the auto white balance would tend to cause the color temperature of the footage to change mid shot. To avoid this use the manual white balance setting and set this to a light level between the two extremes.
  • Keep your camera on sticks – shaky footage can leave an audience feeling queasy and less you are shooting a fast-paced fight scene or want to show the drama of a camera being carried down the street at pace you will want to shoot with your camera firmly secured to a tripod and keep it there. Try and avoid the temptation to move around with the camera in your hands, as it can produce footage that can look amateur and becomes difficult to edit. By keeping the camera firmly secured to a good tripod will increase your chances of shooting nice steady footage.
  • Compose well – Great art often means a great composition and this applies to videos too. Think about the framing of your shots. If it helps refer to the storyboard and consider using the rule or thirds to help with framing.
  • Shoot a variety of shots – think about establishing shots, then consider shooting a variation of shots for some segments such as close, medium and wide shots. Also donít forget to shoot some cutaways you might need later too. These can be extreme close ups or even more arty shots. As long as the footage is relevant your editor will thank you for it later!
  • The ideas and opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of Marketing Pilgrim.

    You can read a whole lot more about how to produce and market awesome web videos in my 145-page ebook, “Videotastic!”. Click here to find out more

    The ebook usually costs $49, but Marketing Pilgrim readers (that’s you!) can save $20! Just sign up within the next 48 hours using this link to save.

    • Proper lighting is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to shooting video. It can literally make or break the shot.

    • James McAllister

      Great advice – especially about external mics and lighting. People can forgive shaky shots and even ones that are framed incorrectly, but if the audio is off or the lighting is distracting, you’ve lost them. I’m in video production in Boston MA and these are great tips to learn early on. Thanks!