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How to make a good video

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One thing that I learned while hosting the show Factory Floor is that making a good TV show is a lot harder than it looks (see this post for a perspective).

But what if you are not shooting for broadcast quality? What if, for example, you want to create a good YouTube video? In particular, what if you have an issue or story that you would like to show to the world, as a citizen reporter, and you want to create a credible video? If so, you can take many of the techniques used to create a good TV show and inexpensively apply them to your own videos. These techniques make a huge difference in video quality.

Here are five of those techniques:

1) Camera angles and composition (costs nothing but can make a huge difference)

One thing that is done in any TV show is multiple camera angles. This can be done with multiple cameras, or with one camera by shooting multiple times. This might sound nutty but it happens all the time in TV – you ask the interviewee the same question 5 times and let him/her answer, shooting it from different angles each time.

2) Lighting

If you want to take it up a notch, you can use lights. The most common lighting for an interview is called three-point lighting:

Three Point Lighting

3) Audio

On a real TV show, lavaliere microphones and the gear to go with them typically costs thousands of dollars. But if you are shooting indoors you can use a very inexpensive wired lav, like this:

Or you can look for a wireless option, like this:

[Note the difference between those last two videos - watch them again and note how simple things like lighting and composition make a gigantic difference in perceived quality of the videos.]

4) B-roll (also costs nothing and makes a huge difference when edited in)

5) Create a good story

These are all simple things, but they make a huge difference in the quality of your video when they all come together.

See also: How Video Editing Works

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