Five Tips/Tricks for Shooting Videos

Videos are one piece of marketing content that are not going anywhere anytime soon. With TikTok and other social media platforms promoting the use of videos, it’s important to understand how to produce the best video. The advances in technology have made it easy to whip out your phone and shoot a video for your own business without relying on professional gear. Obviously, having a clean, professional looking video is great sometimes, but authentic phone videos can help to make the video feel organic. In this blog post, we will cover the five best tips and tricks for shooting videos that you can use for your phone or camera.

  1. Plan for Your Video

Occasionally, some videos might be filmed on quick notice, but if you know that you’re filming well ahead of time, make sure to plan. When creating a video, you’re not just pressing record, but many other factors come into play like location, script, objectives and video type.

Before filming, ask yourself what the goal of the video is going to be. Are you making an educational video, behind-the-scenes or testimonial? Knowing the type of video you’re making ensures that you know what kind of videos and b-roll you’re shooting, what questions need to be answered and who needs to be filmed. Also, know where this video is primarily going to be used as that will dictate if you’re filming vertically or horizontally.

2. Lighting

Lighting is essential for your video quality when producing a high or low budget video. When it comes to lighting, there are two different kinds that you can use.

  • Natural lighting
  • Professional lighting

Natural lighting is a great cost-effective option for users—but make certain you know the risks. If you don’t have enough natural light, then your video may look dark and grainy, making it hard to see what’s happening in the video. Too much light will lead to harsh lighting on your subject or cause the video to be “blown” out, making the video not usable. When using natural light, work with the sun and overhead lights to make your video look the best.

Professional lighting is something you can invest in to help boost the quality of your video. Using a lighting kit can help to light your subject and make your phone video look like it was taken on a professional camera. When using a lighting kit, ensure you use the three-point lighting system to illuminate the scene. Three-point lighting is when you’re using light sources from three distinct positions. The three types of lights are key light, fill light and backlight.

Key light is the primary and brightest light source in the three-point lighting setup.

Fill light literally fills in the shadows that the key light creates on a subject, bringing out details in the darkness.

Backlight is the third source in this lighting technique; the backlight shines on a subject from behind, completing the light setup.

3. Audio

Audio can make or break your video. If the audio isn’t usable and it’s necessary for the video, then the video is going into the trash. The best and ideal way to capture audio from your subject is to use any microphone other than your camera’s built-in mic. No matter how good your camera’s built-in mic is, it’s still not enough to replace a dedicated external audio recorder. Although, remember to listen to the noise around you before filming to guarantee you get a good quality video. Are you in a loud area? Is there a noisy HVAC system? Are there overhead announcements every five minutes? Take notice the noise around you as that audio, whether you have a microphone or not, will be picked up in the video. If you’re in a loud environment, and it’s possible, move to a quiet or secluded area to film your video.

4. Avoid Shaky Footage

Shaky footage can strain the eyes of your viewership and may cause them to stop watching. We suggest either purchasing a tripod or using the built-in stabilization on your camera to see if you’re holding the phone at an angle. Tripods obviously only work if the subject is still, so looking into external stabilizers might be the best option if you have a shaky hand.

Many video editing software programs also have a built-in feature to stabilize shaky footage, but the results may not be perfect each time.

5. Video Composition

Video composition is how you frame your subject in your video. The ideal way to frame your subject is to follow the “rule of thirds,” which divides the frame into a three-by-three grid, creating intersections that are areas to place your focus.

The rule of thirds is where you mentally divide the frame or screen of your camera/phone into thirds, both vertically and horizontally. This grid overlaying on your screen will help you to place your key subject where the lines intersect. This means that placing your subject into the center of the screen will create a less interesting composition.

One important thing to keep in mind when filming is where the head of your subject is. Make sure they have ample head space, but not too much, as this causes negative space. Also, don’t provide too little head space as you may cut the person’s head out of frame. Framing is an important component of video production that helps tell the story of your video.


Filming videos can sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! By following these tips, you can increase your video production quality and know the basics when it comes to shooting. Remember, whipping your phone out to film is easy and shouldn’t be stressful. So, what are you waiting for? Get out and start filming your videos!

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Shorter is Not Always Better…At Least When it Comes to Video Lengths in 2020.

by Kylie Stanley, Public Relations Technician

With being stuck inside for the past year, 2020 became the year of videos, making some businesses embrace a digital approach and adopt new methods of marketing. From this, we can look at the key shifts for video that happened last year.

The latest report from Vidyard looks at 2020 video completion rates and other benchmarks.

Here are the key findings:

Vidyard Business Video Completion Rates by Length May2021

The average length of business-related videos increased from 4 minutes in 2019 to just over 6 minutes in 2020. That said, the majority (60%) of videos produced for business purposes (such as to support sales, marketing and communication efforts) are 2 minutes or less, with 37.3% being up to one minute long and another 23% being 1-2 minutes long.

Vidyard reports that with the cancellations of a majority of in-person events, videos over 20 minutes long saw an increase of 66% over 2019. It also pointed out that videos between 2 and 10 minutes have also increased, presumably “leaning on the trend of frictionless, self-service buying experiences to provide educational content to prospective customers upfront.”

With video content increasing, we need to keep in mind people’s attention spans. If you’re producing long-form videos, consider making simple cuts to keep your audience engaged or trim the video down.

Video is a powerful medium and adds value to your business.

Did video length for your company’s videos increase last year?

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Making the Most of YouTube

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent

YouTube has become the prime research tool on the web. With a staggering breadth of content and connected communities for almost every niche, it’s definitely earned a place in your marketing efforts. If you don’t have a video program yet, check out articles herehere and here  on how to incorporate video. In the meantime, if video is already a part of your efforts, here are a few simple guidelines to making the most of the content you post:

No Channel is an Island

  • You can’t make your channel a one-sided affair. Make sure you get into as many “networks” as possible by subscribing to other channels, i.e. trade organizations, publications, online reviewers, people already using your products, etc.

Engage Frequently

  • Don’t be a passive subscriber. Like videos and comment, even if it’s just “great video.”  The more you put your channel out there, the more likely people are to find it.

Forget Who You Are

  • When it comes to video tags and descriptions, think like a potential customer, rather than as a salesperson. Don’t use product numbers or use common terms, instead, put yourself in the shoes of someone just starting a search, with no prior brand loyalty or knowledge of the industry, and then tag accordingly.


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6 Tips For Using Video to Tell Your Story

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer

Producing and using video content effectively has been a popular conversation topic around the Sonnhalter office. I had the opportunity to attend a presentation on storytelling with video by Chris Miller, director of the Akron Digital Media Center and editor of the

I asked Chris if he would be willing to share some ways that video helps tell a story or some tips on using video, here’s what he said:

  1. Because we live in such a visual culture, video has become a crucial means to communicate a message.
  2. Make sure your video is short and to the point – under three minutes is ideal – and be sure to focus on your audience and your message.
  3. The more personal you can make your video, the more effectively it will reach your audience. We relate to personal stories about everyday people. Profile a client or end customer – tell their story in their own words.
  4. Keep mobile on your mind when creating your video. Many people may watch it using mobile devices. So, again, shorter is better. Also consider posting Vine and Instagram videos with succinct messages.
  5. A compelling story is much more important than technical aspects (like special effects). A well-told story will transcend a lack of resources.
  6. Use B-roll (supplementary footage that helps alleviate the “talking head” interviews) and plan out your video by listing shots and locations ahead of time. A little planning will save you a lot of time in the editing process.

About Chris:

Chris Miller is the director of the Akron Digital Media Center and, as well as a community investment officer at Akron Community Foundation. Chris has more than a decade of digital and print journalism experience

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