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Audio Considerations for Your Video Production

Audio Tips for Videography

audio tips for video production

Imagine a movie without sound effects! Gone are the days when simplified video was appreciated and admired, because there were no sound options. Today, you will not find anyone who can tolerate a video without sound and music. Adding creative sound and music can do wonders for your video. Below are a couple audio tips to consider for your video production.

Audio Considerations

One of the biggest mistakes most people make during video production is to cram dialogue and sound effects on the same microphone simultaneously. Your first audio consideration should be to first record narration, dialogue, and sound separately and then put them together on a mixer so that you get a professional sound.

Room Tone and Ambient Sound

When filming indoors, your camera will easily pick up room noise. This includes, but is not limited to, the buzz of fluorescent lights, hum created by electrical appliances and the echo of sound waves thrashing against the walls. If you seek to deaden harsh sounds, it is important to film in a room with curtains, carpets, curtains, and cushions!

However, in order to capture an event outside, you have to deal with a lot of background noise or ambient sound, including squawking sirens, bird chirping, passing traffic, etc. While filming outside is a challenge, experts are experienced enough to deal with the cacophony of sounds. Alternatively, if you want to leave some space in your video for these sounds of everyday life, make sure there is no effect on vital dialogue or voice over. Of course, you can control the volume levels while editing. However, it is always better to capture the sound effectively at the source. A reliable company, such as Video One Productions, will make things a little easier if you are unhappy with the sound recording done at the source. However, once two sources are on one track of audio it will be impossible to separate them.

Dialogue

Another important audio consideration during video production is to capture the dialogue as is, while making sure it is much louder than the background noise. Some amateurs think that zooming the camera in on a person also zooms the microphone. In reality, this isn’t the case. Though recording human voices might seem like a challenge, working around other sound sources creatively when interviewing people or recording dialogue can still give you good results.

kHz and Bits

A camera with an external mic input will beautifully capture the sound in alignment with the video. However, if your camera lacks this feature the mic on the recorder will play the same role to record high quality audio. In that case, it is important to record audio in an uncompressed format (.wav), which can be easily compressed later, so it will help to start with a high quality source. Regardless of which format you use for audio recording, you cannot ignore the audio sample rate, which must be similar to the sample rate settings of your video. A mismatch between the two would mean your audio and video tracks will start slipping out of sync and gradually come apart over time. Our Chicago Video Production experts will give you audio tips on how you can use the video footage and clap sound to synchronize each other.

If you need a Chicago video production company for video production, video editing or duplication, contact us at (773) 252-3352 or irwin@video1pro.com.

A Guide for Proper Videography Lighting

Top Considerations for Proper Videography Lighting

proper videography lighting

What is the difference between a quality video and the one that lacks a professional touch? One of the major factors is lighting! When you’re shooting, proper videography lighting will improve the quality of your final image. At Video One, our video production experts suggest that you can control the mood of your visual content and ramp up your video creation with the proper lighting.

Control light direction

The three-point lighting system holds the key to creating a visually appealing video. You can experiment with light direction to create different lighting effects. Lighting direction can also be used to imply different meanings. Use side lighting to bring out shadows and reveal texture. A textured surface looks more dramatic with side lighting. With the three-point lighting system, you can use light directly on the main subject, back light to set the person apart from the rest of the setting, and a fill light to replace shadows cast by the other two lights. While front lighting is hided shadows and texture, back lighting creates a more dramatic effect and reveals form. The back light should at least be as bright as the key light, if not brighter.

Decide light quality

The light quality can make a big difference in the image, depending on whether you choose hard or soft light. While you get soft-edged shadows with soft light, hard light, on the other hand, creates hard-edged shadows. If your focus in the video is on a specific person, you would want them to look good. So it will help to use soft lighting, because faces look best in soft light. Top Chicago video production companies suggest that the larger a light source, the softer the lighting!

Get the right light color

Light color adds drama. So if you are looking to create a more dramatic setting, use color gels to change the light color. Color gels are semi-transparent, colored sheets used over the light to change color. The best thing about color gels is that these are heat resistant, so you can keep them for any duration of time over the light and play with color effects. Remember, color can have a dramatic effect that can easily change the mood of your video.

Control light intensity

In order to create high quality videos, you ought to pay attention to light intensity. The amount of light landing on your subject will determine the appearance of the entire video. There must be enough light to illuminate the scene but not too much to burn out the subjects. Extra diffusion on the light will make the lighting look pearly. Contrast ratio – the difference between the lit and shadow area – is also an important element in the creation of a good quality video, suggest our lighting experts.

Play with high and low key lighting

While high key lighting makes the overall frame look bright to shoot happy, optimistic subjects, low key lighting is used to emphasize shadow effects to create a somber, mysterious, or suspicious setting.

Remember these proper videography lighting techniques suggested by our Chicago video production professionals the next time you plan to take the camera in your hand to create an impressive, convincing video. Experiment with these concepts on what you’re shooting while keeping an eye on your envisioned final image and mood you want to set.

If your are interested in learning more about proper videography lighting or need help with your Chicago video production, contact Video One Productions at (773) 252-3325 or irwin@video1pro.com.

Pre-production Planning Checklist

Shooting a Video: Pre-Production Planning Checklist

pre-production planning checklist

You have a great idea and are almost ready for a video shoot. When you are planning to shoot a video, pre-production is important before you pick up the camera and start shooting. By skipping this step, you will waste time and money and run the risk of not having any sort of backup plan for situations that go wrong.

Pre-Production Planning Basics

Before scheduling your video production shoot, you should consider the following pre-production planning checklist:

  • Have a script: Script is on top of your priority list when it comes to video production planning. What story or message do you want to convey to your audience? How are you going to deliver what you shoot into a clean, concise message? You need a script if you plan to shoot anything from an indie feature to a corporate training video. A well-designed script is a gateway to your story. A script will allow you to have a table read with a narrator reading the action/location descriptions and different people reading the dialogues.
  • Create a storyboard: If your story relies on visual elements, storyboards can help. A storyboard may be as simple as line drawings or detailed illustrated breakdowns of every video shot.
  • Obtain your permits: You cannot take the risk of police arriving at your film shoot location and shutting down production. It’s vital to have a permit for shooting at a public location.
  • Make sure there is constant power supply: Cameras and lights can only work so long on batteries. Therefore, plan for an uninterrupted source of power supply. Know your power supply options at the location you are shooting and be prepared for the worst.
  • Look-book: A look-book is a guide in the form of images, paintings, photos, fabrics, and illustrations that show the desired style of the production. The pre-production director often reviews the look-book. You can still put together a look-book if there is no production designer.
  • Scheduling: A key element in any video production project. Scheduling keeps you organized. The more precise the schedule, the less the room for delays. As a result, you will also be able to avoid common mistakes in production. Scheduling all of your tasks during the pre-production phase of the project and tracking the hours worked will help you stick to your schedule and remain within budget.
  • Develop your message: What are the topics, ideas, or themes you need to communicate to your audience? What do you want them to understand from your video? What solution are you trying to offering for their questions?
  • Length of Video: Our Chicago video editing company suggests keeping your video short. As online attention spans are shrinking, your focus should be on shorter videos. However, in some cases, you need longer videos. This is especially true if you are creating a training video or product demo which need to be more detailed, as your audience needs more information. As far as the length of your video is concerned, it should depend on the viewer’s motivation. All in all, it should be succinct, informative, interesting, and targeted.

If you need a Chicago video production company for video production, video editing or duplication, contact us at (773)252-3352 or at irwin@video1pro.com.

How Much Should I Spend on a Marketing Video?

Business video budget

video budget

Now that you want to jump-start your video marketing efforts by producing a video, it is important to first determine how much you can afford to spend. Video can contribute toward making your business memorable for customers in addition to a host of other benefits. The objective is to leave a positive, lasting impression. Undoubtedly, using video will help improve your conversion rate and increase brand awareness, but it comes for a price. With video being a crucial medium to promote your business, you need to plan a budget for your video production project.

Video production costs

Before you can set a video budget, it is important to be clear about your video production goals and determine the resources available to you. One of the biggest reasons some projects fail to deliver expected results is starting the project without clarifying the goals. Unless you clarify the goals for the video, you won’t get the quality results you’re seeking.

It is important to practice caution when it comes to choosing your video production company. Cost may go up if you fall in inexperienced hands and end up with a failed product. The experience of the video producer is crucial to determining the quality of a product. An experienced producer will have access to quality equipment, resources, and expertise to create a video as per your expectations and your video budget. They will also understand your industry and have good knowledge of how products fare in your marketplace. If a producer doesn’t understand the broader concept and simply shoots the video, your product may miss the point. Money spent on any video production that doesn’t have the goals identified will be wasted. Make sure both of you are on the same page so you get exactly what you are paying for.

Get a detailed plan of action from the video producer so that you are sure they know what you are trying to accomplish. When it comes to video production, the producer may charge you a fixed fee or a la carte rates for their services, starting from planning to pre-production, production (the video shoot), and post-production.

Three primary factors that drive cost of video production include:

  • Time: The more time spent in the different stages of video production, the greater the cost.
  • Talent: The greater the talent and experience of the producer, the better it will be for your video production project. While some talented producers tend to charge more, you can still get a better price by researching the market and requesting quotes from different producers. If your video requires performers or presenters, this will raise your production cost.
  • Tools: The better the video production equipment, the higher the cost. Sophisticated video production tools may cost more but the end product will more than make up for the initial investment.

Depending upon the scale of the video production project, you may also have to consider other costs such as set design, studio rental, special effects, motion graphics, makeup person and wardrobe among others. At the end, if you shop around and learn the market, you’ll get what you pay for. Take the time to do your research.

If you need a Chicago video production company for video production, video editing or duplication, contact us at (773) 252-3352 or irwin@video1pro.com.

Grooming, Dressing & Preparing to be Filmed

Getting camera-ready

getting camera-ready

When it comes to producing a video, you cannot ignore the importance of grooming and presentation. Choosing the right clothing, make-up, colors and other elements shouldn’t be ignored. Here are some things to consider when getting camera-ready:

Getting ready for the video shoot

Ideally, wear an outfit that reflects your personality in the video. Remember, you must feel comfortable in the attire you choose to wear. Being in front of a camera is stressful enough, so you want to have as many things working to relax you as is possible. Since an audience can sniff out inauthenticity, you should look your normal self so that the audience relates to you for who you are . As a CEO, you’ll want to wear formal attire to create a statement. Wear your normal clothing if you work in an office, factory or profession and are being filmed at the location of your employment.

Color choice

Avoid wearing white or black because these colors glow on the camera and stand out. Cameras find the brightest object in the picture and make your face look brighter. Black color needs more light to reflect on camera. If you wear black, the camera will let in more light, which will probably wash out everything else in the picture, including your face.

White is bright. With white as a base, it will force neutral colors to be underexposed. When black is the predominate value, the camera will need more light to compensate for the black values, thus overexposing brighter hues.

  • Try to avoid highly saturated colors that tend to bleed into other parts of the picture. Your red tie might be creating a lasting impression in person, but it might bleed into other colors on the camera, thus making your face look flushed.
  • Neutral hues and cool blues are easy on the camera, which means the sensor has an easy time exposing the color exposure values it sees. Blue is a calming color and reflects well on the camera with subdued color tones.
  • Earth tones are another good choice. Brown, tan, and green are always camera-safe choices.

Design patterns

Avoid wearing small intricate designs, such as checks, pin stripes, hounds-tooth, or herringbone patterns when you are preparing to appear in your video. These designs interact with the camera’s scanning pattern and can swim or vibrate on screen generating new patterns. The viewer might find it distracting when your clothes appear vibrating or buzzing on screen, which is a common problem with such patterns.

Preparing for camera lights

Think of soft solid hues and avoid flashy jewelry or other metallic accessories that tend to reflect light and shine too much because these will distract the viewer’s attention. Also, if you plan frequent camera appearances and wear prescription eye-wear, it will help to make sure that the lenses and frames are glare-proof.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that you have to dress appropriately for the camera because the colors and patterns you see in reality are distorted in the camera. Thus, the importance of proper clothing color selection for your video production project cannot be stressed enough. Make sure that your clothing matches well with the occasion you’re being filmed for.

If you need a Chicago video production company for video production, video editing or duplication, call us at (773) 252-3352 or email irwin@video1pro.com

Learning with Video

The Future of Education is With Video

learning through video

Lifelong Learning

Opportunities for advanced knowledge, upgrading or refreshing skills and pursuing interests have opened up through the use of video. Where appropriate, licenses can be purchased by businesses for a host of training programs for their employees.

Video is opening up educational opportunities for everyone through non-traditional sources as well. For instance, I just paid $10 for an English as a second language (ESL) course in conversational English. I want to volunteer to teach ESL but only at a conversational level. So for $10 I can develop a curriculum, learn teaching methods and be confident in my ability to teach.

The same concept can be applied to many other fields of study whether it be for profit or not. Udemy.com, videolearning.com, edutopia.org, and howcast.com are just some of the many sources of online learning through video. YouTube in particular offers a wide array of educational opportunities because it allows users to quickly and easily add their videos. Additionally, because anyone can post on YouTube, the user is given access to millions of YouTubers who can possibly each have something unique to teach or share.

Now, all you need is a computer or smartphone and you too can become an instant expert, or at least knowledgeable enough to move the ball forward on your new venture.

More Teachers Through Video

When instructors can impart their knowledge with video, it becomes institutionalized or otherwise a permanent legacy. How many students can one instructor reach through live lectures? Not many compared to producing a video that will live on past the instructors physical life and be disseminated to thousands of students.

Teacher shortage? Not when people can learn through video. Of course there is much to be said about the human interaction and dynamics of a live classroom. There are questions that need to be answered regarding the question of replacing the classroom. What about discipline among younger students? Who will keep order? What about the socialization aspect that is lacking in this increasingly technical world?

But in today’s increasingly expensive world, video has the potential to radically bring down costs while reaching more and more students. Today, efficiency and economy trumps other considerations. Hopefully we’ll be able to bridge the technical advances and the loss of our humanity – which is a real issue.

Costs for Education Lessen

Video is bringing down the costs for education in a variety of ways. When there is competition and the technology is available to everyone to disseminate their knowledge, the costs inevitably fall. Brick and mortar centers of education may go the way of brick and mortar retail stores. Universities filled with hundreds of students in a large auditorium may be replaced by one professor and many students interacting on a Skype-like video network where students can raise their hand to talk by clicking on a mouse or pushing a button.

However the ultimate university shapes up to look like, video will play an increasing role in improving and disseminating education to more and more people. Even now, you can take free or low cost online and video courses through many universities. Often these classes are less expensive than attending in person, with the benefit of getting the same degree!

Quality versus Quantity

Yes, there are many new sources for learning through video. But all sources of knowledge are not equal. Though universities and other educational institutions will be changing, one thing won’t. And that something is accreditation and standards.

I just watched a few free videos on line and they were good, but not great. But they were free, so what should I expect? Exactly my point. Universities may keep their hold on the educational system because of the high standards that they insist upon for their courses. Well, someone has to set and keep educational standards! Otherwise, it becomes the ‘wild west’.

So my advice is to consider the source when doing online video learning. Anyone can post a video on YouTube. And there are no truth police out there to vet the information people are disseminating. So as with any other aspect of life, buyer beware. Even if the product is free!

Questions about video production or video editing? Contact us!

How to Hire a Video Editing Company in Chicago (Pt. 2)

Choosing the Perfect Video Editor (2/2)

In part 1, we gave you some advice to take into consideration when hiring a video editing company such as the speed of the editor and their motion graphic capabilities. Below you’ll find a couple more tips we think are important to consider.

(See part 1 here.)

video editing company

Attitude

Make sure that you and your video editor are able to communicate well and that he or she has a positive and cooperative attitude. You don’t want to get locked into an edit with a ‘sensitive artist’ that insists on doing it his or her way or has a negative attitude. Your editor should be able to supply you with options rather than shutting down your ideas or insist on doing it his or her way .

Samples

Make sure that you see samples of their work. The work doesn’t have to be exactly the same as your video, but it should be similar or at least in the same genre. If you need a great marketing video produced for a trade show for instance, make sure that the company you are considering for the job has something along those lines. The closer to what you want/expect, the better, but don’t overlook someone who shows that they have the skills you need, even though they don’t have exact samples.

Versatility

You may want to hire a video editing company that has varied experience in editing. Even though you may want an interesting training video, see if the editor also has experience in editing other types of videos. Their well rounded expertise in other genres can only be a plus for your project.

Show them an example

It’s helpful for you to send the editor an example of what you have in mind for your edit to make sure that you both share the same vision. Communication will be greatly facilitated if you can both agree that the final edit will look like the YouTube example you present to the editor before the edit. This assures that everyone is on the same page, and that expectations are realistic and shared by you and the editor. With video production or video editing, no one likes surprises. Over deliver on expectations, yes. But deliver a less than expected result, never!

References

Ask for references and check them out!

 

Feel free to check out samples on our editing page and other places at video1pro.com or contact us if you need a great edit for your video!

How to Hire a Video Editing Company in Chicago (Pt. 1)

Choosing the Perfect Video Editing Company

hiring a video editing company

Hiring a video editing company in Chicago is like hiring one anywhere, except that you have a huge number of choices in a large city. But whether you have many or few choices, your digital video editor needs to be chosen wisely.

The major criteria that people think about are asking for examples of the editors work and the price they will pay. However there are more criteria you should consider. Here are some things you may also want to throw into the mix:

Time

How quickly can this project be completed? Get a timeline from the editor to determine when the various stages of the edit will be completed.

Motion Graphics

Your edit may require motion graphics or some form of animation to make it ‘come alive’. Make sure that your editor can provide attractive ‘eye candy’ to attract the viewer, keep his or her attention and illustrate complex concepts. Our motion graphics page gives you an idea of what you should expect your editor to be able to do.

Environment

If you will be at the editing session, make sure that you’ll have a comfortable environment in which to edit. Is it private, relatively noise free, professional, etc.?

Speed of the Editor

Different from the deadline issue, it does no good if the editor promises you a low hourly rate if it takes him or her forever to do the edit. This is especially true if you’re going to attend the editing session. Aside from the edit going longer than anticipated and having the cost increase accordingly, consider your time, which is also valuable.

Price

If the price point is too low, it may mean that the editor is backed up with lots of projects or is discounting their services because they don’t have any work. There’s nothing wrong with them discounting their price, as it could be your lucky day to get a deal on a great editor. However, it could also be a possible red flag that there might be a problem with this person. Just be cautious if the price is too low.

Test and Verify

If you have the luxury of time, it might be a good idea to hire the editor for a small project and see how that goes before using them for a larger project.

…Come back next week for part II!

Video Editing 30-Second Commercials

How to Edit Short Video Commercials

In previous blog posts, I discussed the different approaches to editing a marketing video, event video or training video. However, even when it comes to editing the same genre or type of video, differences have to be considered based on the audience and by the type of product, service or event that the commercial is promoting.

We recently edited two commercials for two theatrical events. However, our approach was very different for both spots. “We Gotta Bingo“, opening at Chicago Theater Works is a fun, energetic dinner theater experience in the same vein as “Tony and Tina’s Wedding”.

video editing commercial photo 1

We also edited a commercial for “Kunlun”, opening at the Auditorium Theatre. “Kunlun” is a large-scale Chinese musical performed by the Musical China Theatre Troupe. It’s a serious, ‘Broadway theater’ type of production.

Video editing commercial photo Kunlun

The two commercials were similar, in that they are both 30 second spots promoting a theatrical production. However, differences in our approaches include the pacing, tenor, music, voice over, duration of edits and other elements.

For the fun, gaudy production of “We Gotta Bingo“, we used quick cuts, quirky camera positions, various special effects, lively and fun music, and a more enthusiastic voice over narrator.

For the “Kunlun” spot, we went with locked down shots, slower pacing, fewer special effects, and more sophisticated music and voiceover.

Always keep your audience in mind when video editing a commercial or any other video for that matter. Always ask yourself what it’s going to take to speak to the audience that would naturally be attracted to this type of performance (or product or service). Then everything will flow from those answers.

If you would like to discuss video editing in any genre,  feel free to contact irwin@video1pro.com or call (773) 252-3352.

Using Motion Graphics Successfully (Pt. II)

chicago motion graphics(See part I here.)

Consistency of your motion graphics

Keep the look similar. You can somewhat mix it up and probably should, but the font and colors you use should probably be consistent. I say probably, because there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to style. The ultimate decisions that will be made about your video production will be by your audience, because if it works for them, you can throw the rule book out the window. However, generally speaking, unless you’re a really skilled video editor, you should follow the rules and make things relatively consistent without being redundant. There’s a fine line between the two and it generally takes an experienced motion graphics artist to know how to tread that line.

For instance, you might want to keep the same font and color, but change how the text comes up on the screen. The first segment of text or letters may appear by coming in from the left of the screen, then the next may come down from the top, and another might pop up with a series of dissolves. It’s totally situational and when you see it, you should know if it works well or not. But a tasteful mix of consistency and variety are the winning combination.

Simple is better

No doubt, motion graphics encompass many elements, but that does not mean you should include each one of these features in your video production. You ought to be creative and choosy about elements when it comes to creating your motion design. Decide whether or not a particular element is necessary for the video and ask yourself if it is necessary and will make your message more attractive to the audience.

More advanced techniques are hard to learn and take time to master. As a video editor, you ought to be proficient at using these techniques to prevent any chance of your efforts becoming counter productive. So why not leave it simple? After all, simple techniques flawlessly executed are generally better than going over the top with your animation. The content of your video should always come before the bells and whistles. So make sure that your graphics don’t become the message. Rather, they should support and reinforce the message.

Remember, your purpose behind adding motion graphics to your video production is to add a bit of depth and shape and improve aesthetics in order to make it interesting enough to attract and retain the viewer’s attention.

So when in doubt, keep it simple.

For more information or to discuss your motion graphics project, contact us at (773) 252-3352 or irwin@video1pro.com and we’ll be happy to guide you in the right direction.