Setting up a video production studio for your business

blog_studioFor ongoing video projects, it makes sense to have a permanent setup to ensure both quality and consistency in your business videos. This could be used for a video blog, for product demonstrations, a knowledge share piece or any other video produced as part of a series. Your own studio can offer numerous benefits and of course will save you money on rental and production costs.

The first thing to consider, is if its really the right thing to do. Setting up a video studio requires investment in equipment and time, and won’t guarantee good results until you are experienced at setting up and operating everything. Conversely, when you do have it working well, you can produce unlimited videos without additional costs and to your own schedule.

The second consideration is the location. A studio will need dedicated space that is free from noise and has controllable light. Road noise, air conditioning systems and other background noise will sound unprofessional and could make editing clips together impossible. A space three meters square should be your minimum choice with easy access to electrical sockets and either blinds or curtains that block out all daylight.

Your equipment requirements may vary depending on the type of video you are making and the budget you have to setup your studio. In most cases you will need additional lighting as relying on daylight or room lighting will not give good results. Using any type of hot lighting is not recommended as it will produce additional heat and may effect the safety of your setup.

A good low cost lighting option is a softbox, these use special daylight bulbs and provide a soft even light, ideal for lighting a single person. You can purchase these from Amazon or eBay for around £70 to £150 depending on size and other included items such as stands and carry bags. You may choose to use additional softboxes or other fluorescent lights (of the studio variety) to further light your setup.

Most studio setups require a background. This can be white, grey, black or green/blue (for chromakey – special process where the background can be replaced during the edit). These backgrounds are available on paper rolls, vinyl rolls or on a muslin/cotton material often stretched with a ‘pop-up’ frame. Often the background will need lighting and must be treated separately from your main subject lighting. Backgrounds can also be supported with stands and a crossbar to ensure perfect placement.

Obviously you will need a video camera and a good tripod to hold it steady, if you need to move things in between shoots, it is a good idea to mark positions with tape on the floor and make a note of any lighting, zoom or other settings. Some cameras will work better than others in a fixed studio setup. The key thing to do is to use manual controls where possible and test out setups until you find the best way to work with your camera.

Finally don’t forget sound! You will most likely need an external microphone to get the best sound quality. A tie clip or desk microphone may work best, before you buy, do check your camera has an external microphone input.

Setting up a video studio to use in your business can provide you with a great opportunity to create video content. This does take time and money to setup correctly and ideally requires the help of someone who has already achieved this. In some cases you may still need a larger studio and a professional production company, especially for more complex setups.

How to look and sound good in your business videos

How to look and sound good in your business videosMost people don’t really like to be in front of a video camera, especially when they know that the final video will be shown online. The stress of the event can lead to an unnatural performance and this can change the impact of the video. Although a professional presenter may be an option, the costs and lack of subject matter may still make you the best choice. The following tips can help you to perform better.

Properly format your script

When writing your script, make sure you write out all numbers as words, don’t use brackets, avoid abbreviations, spell out tricky words phonetically and keep adjusting it all as needed. You need to use many more commas in scripts, add one for every breath you take. Making script changes on the day is very time consuming and adds to the overall stress.

Know and practise your script

Even if you are using a teleprompter you need to know your script, ideally download a teleprompter app to a tablet and practise reading at least 10 times, preferably 20. Record your voice and listen back between each take. Adjust your script, the timing of the teleprompter and your inflection on various words for every practise run.

Add the human elements

There is a tendency to be serious and therefore rather dull when reading a script or pre-learnt lines. Reading is very different from natural conversation as there is concentration needed to convert written words to speech. Film your practise sessions and watch your body language and facial expressions, what can you do to add back the smiles and other human elements that make all the difference. If you need to, add notes in your script in capitals reminding you what to do.

Ask for honest feedback

Before the day, ask for some honest feedback on your practise sessions. Use this information to change your script, delivery and if needed the overall concept. Don’t be put off by any constructive criticism as this could save you time and money and help you to produce a better end product. You need good feedback and you need to be used to presenting in front of people.

On the day

Don’t let all your hard work to waste, try to remember each improvement and work with the production team to get your performance right. The first few takes will probably be as much for technical improvements (camera settings, lighting, sound etc), use these to warm up and prepare for your best take.

These tips should help you get the most out of your video presentations, have you acting naturally and save you time on the day.