Keeping the camera in manual focus, using a tripod, and considering your background will help you produce a quality video. Following these three tips can save you from producing video with elements that distract the viewer.
Keep the camera in manual focus.
You also want to be sure your camera is in manual focus. If it is in auto focus, you will notice the focus changing constantly during your taping. The auto focus constantly adjusts the focus and can be confused instead of accurate. When you move, it will move. The worst part is that it moves more than you do. This will make your video blurry at times. Instead, put your camera in manual focus, zoom in all the way to where you will be standing, grab the manual focus mechanism and adjust accordingly. Once it is set, you’re ready to go!
Use a tripod.
This almost goes without saying — use a tripod. If you are really concerned with quality but will only shoot one program, rent a good tripod. Like in the music world where speakers make the system, in video the tripod makes the video. A crummy tripod will give you a crummy video. A good tripod will allow for smooth, fluid movement instead of jerky, bumpy movement.
Consider your background.
You never, ever want to shoot your video with your subject against a wall. Your subject should be six to ten feet away from the wall behind them. This will give the video some depth of field. When you shoot video with less than six feet behind the subject, the footage will look flat and you will experience shadows. This will be distracting and unprofessional.
I have a motto in life: it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Borrow (on your time and dime) some plants or other backdrop type of subject matter. Get creative because what you see is what you get! I shot a video for Bob Eubanks (formerly of Newlywed Game fame) in Indianapolis for a video brochure. I introduced myself to the banquet manager and informed him that I needed the stage to look good for the video. We created a beautiful stage using plants, a couple of nice looking chairs and an end table from the lobby. I simply tipped him $20 and he was as happy as a clam.
Now, it won’t always be this easy. Sometimes you will have to work a bit harder but it will be worth the effort. The background is very important when shooting video. It’s just as important as good sound, good lighting and good picture quality.