7 Elements of A Great Social Media Video

Working With Green Screen

Using videos on your social media channels to promote your brand is vital to getting them to grow and be seen. And although it may seem simple to just fire off a tweet or post an Instagram story without much thought, the most successful social media users are doing a lot more than improvising or uploading raw files to the web. They’re actually working hard behind the scenes to create and edit quality video content that enhances their brand, using any and all tools at their disposal.

Basically what we’re trying to say is that there’s a lot more that goes into a successful social media video than it seems, and it’s important to be aware of things from how often you post, to the video’s message, to the aspect ratio that makes a big difference.
Here are the 7 elements of a great social media video.
 

1. Interesting and Stunning Visuals

Since you’re making content for a visual medium, the visuals need to entice people! Use your most captivating shot, text, or graphic to hook people upfront, and keep them around by using the best content you have throughout the rest of the video. Remember that the thumbnail is just as, if not more important for your audience. Either select the best frame from your video when uploading or do some basic editing in photoshop or by using a photo editing app on your thumbnail file that you can then upload. Also, don‘t forget to check out our download section for additional material, such as badges or overlays for your thumbnails – let everyone know that you‘re a Pond5 artist!
 

2. A Great Story

Users are going to connect with your content more if there’s an intriguing story. A collection of interesting and stunning shots is great but can be limiting if that’s all the video is. They should have some sort of relationship with each other or to you as a creator. Be clear, simple, and concise with your messaging, because people have limited time and are easily swayed to move on to other content.

A good test to see if you have a good story is to watch the video without sound or text, (or without footage or sound if your video is text-heavy). You should actually plan for people to watch without sound, in fact. If you can convey exactly what you want to without them, then your story is good to go.
The last way to make your story more engaging is to give it authenticity. People can spot a fake pretty easily, so use genuine imagery and audio to convey your message.
 

3. Efficient Use Of Text

It’s hard to understand and engage with a video if the text is way too long, has spelling or grammar errors, or isn’t on screen long enough. The general rule of thumb is to let the words on the screen be long enough to be read through twice, so build your presentation around that duration. Don’t hesitate to add funny, unexpected, or provocative copy that makes the viewer want to see more.
The other thing you can do is subtitle the video yourself. A lot of platforms will do it for you, but they’re not perfect, and therefore typos may occur. You can instead create the subtitles yourself and get full control over what the viewer needs to read.
 

4. Technical Proficiency

Most great social posts follow the basic rules for making a great video, including legible, coherent audio, stable footage, and interesting/unique angles. They have the proper aspect ratio, compression settings, duration, and fit within the specs of the social media outlet that’s being used.
Familiarize yourself with each platform’s upload requirements and create shortcut workflows either in your editing software or in the app that allow you to replicate the best settings for each one, saving you time and headaches later.

RELATED POST:  Quick guide to Social Media
 

5. Quality Over Quantity

Only you can determine your posting schedule and what works best with your workflow. You should post as frequently as you feel comfortable posting, as long as your video quality doesn’t suffer. Create deadlines for work, but be careful not to burn yourself out by trying to constantly “feed the beast.” Always keep in mind that consistency is key.
Less is more in many cases, so if you’ve got a project that’s taking a long time, think about breaking it up into a few shorter sections. You can then devote more time to the project as a whole, and spread out the videos over more time.
 

6. Cool Visual Effects

One of the easiest ways to set your video apart from others is to add some basic visual effects. Whether it’s adding a simple lower third, logo reveal, or using motion tracking for a text layer, putting in a little something extra makes a big difference.

Slide shows, credit sequences, infographics, animations, and 2D flash elements are all dynamic and increase the production quality of your videos, and are relatively easy to work with.
 

7. A Call To Action/Branding

Branding is a huge part of the process, and it should be. Rarely do you see a great social media video without some way to follow up with the company or artist who posted it. Let the viewers know exactly where to go to see more of your work, or where they can go to view the subject of the video.

Include your other social media handles and a custom referral link to your Pond5 storefront – anyone accessing Pond5 with your custom link will get 20% off and you’ll get 20% of their purchase plus you’ll keep earning anytime they buy something for a full year.

Also, this is a good opportunity for you to add a watermark to your footage and photos posted on social networks as well. It serves two functions: to protect your work from piracy and to use it as an opportunity to have your logo visible throughout the video.

When adding watermarks, branding, and tagging your content, make sure that you don’t make it an overwhelming viewing experience. Having a giant watermark can be distracting; a full 15-second credit intro stinger can drive people away, and having multiple calls-to-action pop up on the screen can just be too much. Keep it simple, and make sure people know how to get in touch with you.

Chances are you’re already posting video content to social media, but having a more focused and professional approach to it can really make a world of difference. Be sure to always keep an eye on your statistics and see what’s working and what’s not. Use visual and storytelling trends to your advantage by either creating with them in mind or by finding your own niche outside of them and doing something differently intentionally. Remember to also have fun, because when you’re having fun as a creator, it shows in your work!

Top Image: Pleasant Happy European Female With Red Hair Ask To Follow Blog In Internet by ufabizphoto .

7 Ways To Leave Your Filmmaking Comfort Zone And Create Something Different

Filmmaking Out Of Comfort Zone

When you hit a rut in your content creation, as you most likely will do, there’s only one thing you can do: quit. You’re done. Tapped out. Creatively bankrupt. Give it up, because you’re throwing in the towel.

We‘re kidding, of course! The best thing to do is to try something new and get out of your routine. Switching up your editing style, your gear, or even your workspace can be great for hitting the reset button and getting you moving in a new, exciting direction. Here are some tips for getting out of your filmmaking comfort zone.
 

Create/Implement Restrictions

Right out of the gate, one of the best things you can do is to force yourself to work within parameters that you’re not used to having. This means if you’re used to open-ended videos, give yourself a 3 or 5-minute time limit. Bring along just a single memory/storage card on your shoot. Allow yourself to only shoot with natural lighting. Set an earlier publishing deadline than you’re used to. Only use b-roll shots that are 5 seconds or longer.

And you don’t actually have to see them as restrictions. You can just see them as another puzzle in which you need to fit all of your pieces. Whatever the restriction/limitation is, use it to your advantage during your project. You may end up feeling inspired and empowered as opposed to inconvenienced and embattled.
 

Improvise More

“I love you…I know,” “I’m walking here,” and “You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” were all famously improvised. Even the iconic match cut from Lawrence of Arabia was called an accident by the editor, Anne V. Coates. Now, you may not be making “The Empire Strikes Back,” but the lesson is just that for all the planning you can do, some things can just happen that you can’t plan for.

This means that you can allow your actors time to improvise takes. You can write bullet points for your voiceover instead of reading a script to make it feel more loose. The camera can be attached to a gimbal to give a more fluid look to the footage; the same goes for going completely handheld.

In post-production, improvisation can be as simple as experimenting with jump cuts, match cuts, or other atypical transitions instead of standard cuts. Music can also be added or removed to see which makes a better impact. You may never know what will work until you try it, so be open-minded to going with the flow.
 

Improvise Less

If you’re already making videos without much planning, then it could work to really hash out as many details as you can before you start. Writing a script, storyboarding, scheduling, creating a shot list, using motion graphics templates, and picking out the music and sound effects tracks can all be done before a single frame of footage gets shot.

Much in the way that adding restrictions can spark some new creative fire, planning for certain compositions, shooting locations, and VFX can help you to set up some really creative shots. Techniques like deep focus, match/invisible cuts, and forced perspective can all turn out better if they’re thought out ahead of time. The same goes for location scouting–with a basic walkthrough of your shooting location you can pick out unique places to mount your camera, see which angles look best, and even look for objects or openings through which you can shoot.
 

Experiment With Different Gear

We are not advocating for buying a new camera, because the best camera is usually the one you have with you. Also, you may end up spending way too much time trying to learn a new interface or menu that could instead be spent shooting or editing. That said, renting is always a cheaper option than buying, and there are sites like kitsplit, sharegrid, and lensprotogo that make it pretty painless to get everything from cameras and lenses to stabilizers and accessories.

What we mean really is to try something you haven’t used before. If you’re always on a gimbal, try staying locked down on a tripod. If you typically shoot with telephoto lenses, try a prime lens and move closer and/or further away from your subject. You may actually prefer the sound of a lavalier microphone over a shotgun or on-camera mic. Instead of shooting and editing in high speed (50/60 FPS or above, typically) for every shot, try mixing up the frame rates to get different clips that complement each other.

Switching up your gear can help you produce shots or videos you never could before, and it can even literally change the look of your footage, which is a great way to break your habits and routines.
 

Change Your Scene

Altering the location of your shoot is a sure-fire way to make something new. Taking your camera outside and going on a hike or to a park can add some color and scenery to your videos. If you’re always outside, try setting up a very basic studio setup with an on-camera light or 3-point lighting kit inside a garage or empty room.

When it comes to post-production, you’re pretty much limited to where your editing machine is, but you can always try doing some aspects of the edit at a new location. If you’re a shreditor, coffee shops are the obvious choice here, but public libraries can be surprisingly great, not to mention quiet spaces to get some work done. And who knows, a new editing space could free up your brain from all the distractions you may have at your usual editing space.
 

Change What You Can Control

Some of the earlier points may work for you, but if you’re creating videos where it makes sense to have the same tone, look, and style throughout, (like, say, a tutorial series) then you may not be able to change much.

In these cases, you can try your best to experiment with your subjects. If you make nature videos primarily, try exploring an urban setting. If you make cooking tutorials, try another subject that utilizes relatively small spaces and hands, like sewing, weaving, blacksmithing, or building. Nothing about your workflow or video style has to change, yet you can open up whole new topics to cover and keep your videos fresh.
 

Get a Fresh Set Of Eyes On Your Video

If all else fails, you can get some outside perspective from a friend or coworker, or just take a 30-minute break and come back to your project. The outsider could catch a plot hole or they could pick up on any habits that seem repetitive. Taking a short break from your edit can actually work wonders to reset your thought process and see your footage in a new way.

Change can be scary, and doing something new or different can be intimidating. However, shaking things up can not only get you out of a creative rut, it can challenge you to find new ways to tell stories and even establish your storytelling and brand as versatile as you are as a filmmaker.

Top Image: Photographer On Cliff. Nature Takes Photos With Mirror Camera Peak Of Rock. by Standret .

New to Shooting? 5 Basic Camera Functions You Need to Know

5 Basic Camera Functions

Understanding your camera and being able to adjust it to get the look you want is the first step in capturing great visuals. The number of presets, automatic settings, and extra features vary from camera to camera, but these fundamentals hold the key to having supreme executive power over your recording device. (All of these principles also apply to still photography, but this post is more video-focused in some sections.)
 

1. Understanding the ISO

ISO is your camera sensor’s sensitivity to light. The more your ISO increases, the more your camera’s sensor will boost the brightness of the image. At a certain point, visible “noise” or “grain” will be added to compensate for the lack of light, so try to keep your ISO as low as possible to reduce the amount of distortion, while going high enough to actually see your subject.
 

2. Shutter Speed

This is the amount of time that your camera’s shutter is open (or “on,” depending on your camera model), exposing light on each frame. For instance, a shutter set to 1/60 is letting in light at 1/60th of a second during each frame. The higher the shutter speed, the more crisp and “jittery” your footage will look, and the sharper your photos will be. In video, your shutter speed is typically set to double your frame rate (30 fps = 1/60 shutter), but you can experiment with slower and faster shutter speeds to produce different looks. One common mistake is confusing shutter speed with frame rate — they have vastly different effects on the image.
 

3. Aperture

The aperture is the size of your lens’ opening, and is usually a set of blades or a diaphragm that allows light to pass through to your sensor. This is similar to the iris of a human eye, constricting and opening to control the amount of light that goes through the lens. The smaller the number, called “f-stop” or “t-stop,” the larger the opening of the aperture, and vice versa.

With a larger aperture (but smaller f number — yes, it’s confusing), your depth of field is more shallow, which means less of your frame will be in focus when shooting. Keep more of your image in focus by closing your aperture, especially if you’re shooting landscapes.


 

4. White Balance

The white balance is how your camera registers light and gives your image/video a color temperature. It’s measured in Kelvin, with each light source’s hue having its own corresponding temperature. Mid-day light is usually around 5600 Kelvin (K), with a candle down on the “warm” end at 2000K, and dark shade on the “cool” end at 9000K. Most cameras are pretty good at automatically setting your white balance, so don’t be afraid to use the auto setting — but if you want more control, you can use the in-camera presets or manually set the white balance yourself.

 

5. Frame Rate

Your frame rate is how many frames are recorded during each second of video, commonly abbreviated FPS. Technically, unless you’re using a film camera, it’s FIELDS per second, since you’re not actually capturing frames of images.

As far as frame rates go in media today, most feature films are shot at 24 fps, web video is commonly shot at 29.97 or 30 fps, and things like broadcast news, live sports, and multi-camera sitcoms are typically shot at 59.94 or 60 fps (unless you’re in a country that uses PAL instead of NTSC, which is shot at 25 and 50 fps). However, many consumer cameras today are capable of recording 60, 90, 120, 240, or even up to 1,000 or more frames per second!

You can choose any frame rate you want for your footage, but you are going to get vastly different results with each setting. A lower frame rate like 24 fps will give you a more cinematic or “film” look, adding much more blurred motion to your video. Shooting at 29.97 or 30 fps will give you a more digital or “video” look, and 59.94 or 60 fps will give you a more “soap-opera” or “live/broadcast” look with less motion blur.

Video: Fire Performer, Slow Motion by soraphotography

If you want to shoot slow-motion or high-speed footage, you need to shoot at least 60 fps and slow it down in post-production. Any less, and the image will stutter and look a little off. The higher the frame rate is, the slower your footage will be when played back at regular speed.

Once you’ve mastered these five basic camera functions, you’ll be able to work in any environment with any camera.

Top Image: Detail Picture Of Camera Lens Aperture And Anti Reflective Coating by petrsvoboda91 .