Guidelines to follow when using Zoom to shoot a marketing video.
Sometimes you have to make a video using Zoom or other video conferencing platform. It’s not ideal but it may be the only option when there are budgetary or logistical constraints, or other issues like a world-closing epidemic.
Especially in 2020, we’ve seen a ton of these videos made. From celebrities crooning classics to religious events to entire tech conferences, Zoom videos have become the uncouth pauper trying to fill in.
Nothing beats a professionally shot video. The quality of the cameras, lights and audio, and the professionals who know how to use them, can’t be easily duplicated. I’m not just saying that because I’m with a video production company who has produced and shot hundreds of productions. I’m saying that because we have edited and tried to salvage numerous homemade Zoom and iPhone videos.
So, whenever possible, get professionals to shoot them, especially if the purpose is marketing your brand or sharing a customer’s testimonial. But in those times when it’s not possible, take heed of these following guidelines.
The easy answer is to get the best equipment you can get. But usually our client is asking their client or guest to do these videos. So, unless there are significant technical issues, we don’t ask our clients to ask their guests to buy new equipment. These days most people have the devices and webcams that work just fine. We can work with what people already have.
For additional information on equipment for Zoom, go here.
Positioning and Composition
Everyone has their own Zoom style. Some people chill out on the couch. Others are straight up on their ergonomic chairs. We have some looking down, looking up, looking off at something in the distance. To get a good looking and sounding video, positioning is very important. Keep in mind the following:
- Never place yourself further than four feet from the microphone. Ideal positioning is two to three feet away.
- Keep your full head in frame. Make sure there’s a little distance between the top of the frame and the top of your head.
- Ideal composition is to frame yourself from just above the top of your head to just below your shoulders.
- Keep eyes focused on the camera/phone (not on the screen). Alternatively, if you want to create an interview look, find a point to look at slightly off camera. You may even want to have someone sit there to make eye contact with you as you speak.
- You don’t want to be a silhouette, so have a strong light source in front of you rather than behind.
When we do a live action shoot, we’re constantly thinking about how we’re going to edit the video. So the way in which we conduct the interviews reflects our understanding of the post production workflow. You or your guests most likely won’t, so it’s good to keep in mind the following so that editing will be much easier, which will result in a better finished product.
- Record in the highest resolution quality of your device.
- Shoot in landscape mode (horizontal), not portrait mode (vertical).
- Record in a quiet space with little background noise.
- Keep the takes relatively short. Nothing over 1 minute.
- If you feel you need to redo a take, stop recording then start a new one.
- Record as many takes as you need but only share your favorite.
- If you stumble mid-sentence, take a breath and then start again from the beginning.
- At the end of your testimonial, you can add any comments to the editor.
If we had it our way, there would never again be a Zoom-recorded footage that we’d have to edit. But, as long as we’ve got ‘em, let’s make the most out of them.