How to Improve Video Quality – 6 Tips

Vydia is a video submission platform, while we don’t get involved in the production of the videos sent to us, we know the components that make a difference when creating a quality video that yields higher chances of being accepted by programmers. We love helping our video creators succeed so here are six tips that influence video quality and will take your production to the next level:

Tip #1: Plan, Plan, Plan!

Pre-production is your time to fine tune the creative idea for the video. It’s the behind the scenes planning that happens for every film, TV production, and high quality YouTube video goes through, before cameras turn on. Most people can recognize a quality video, making it seem easy to replicate. For this reason, novice video creators tend to jump right into recording without much thought and often their video doesn’t come out as they imagined.

video-quality-storyboard

Before starting, be sure to storyboard your whole video. A storyboard is a shot by shot depiction of the project that helps clarify the video’s creative direction. Creating one forces creators to think about their production realistically, testing if the concept they have in their head works on paper. It can point out potential issues with spacing and transitions before they occur during recording. Most importantly, it gives you a definitive guideline to follow during the video shoot that will streamline the process and give everyone involved a visual of the final project.

To prepare properly, here is pre-production checklist to consider before diving into recording:

  1. Find a locations that yields the most interesting shots but also meeting the requirements for the production.
  2. Settle on characters needed for the video and who will play their roles.
  3. Test all equipment you’ll need for the shoot, including cameras, speakers, lights, and other things that are more specific to your project before the shoot.

Taking these steps early will prevent issues later on that could derail your recording.

 

Tip #2: Focus and White Balance

Focus and white balance are two of those details that are small and often forgotten, but significant enough to make-or-break a video. Vydia’s production associate, Leann Burns says, “Focus and white balance are 2 out of 3 of the biggest differentiators between amateur and professional video.“ We’ve all seen an out of focus or over-exposed shot that makes a video unwatchable.

Proper focus is achieved by zooming as close as your equipment allows into your subject or the most important part of the scene, and adjusting to sharpen focus until the image is clear, then zoom out to your desired shot. If your subject is a person, the rule of thumb is to zoom into one of their eyes to truly see the details when adjusting focus. Focusing should be done before every shot and each time the camera is moved.

White balance adjusts the amount of light the camera captures, making the colors in the image appear as accurate as possible. Setting this up is a bit more straightforward. Most cameras have different white balance options for different lighting like fluorescent light bulbs or sunlight.  Fill the entire shot from corner to corner with a white surface like a piece of printer paper, then white balance.  All modern cameras have a white balance feature that will auto balance the shot in a few seconds, but tuning it is unique to each camera. Video cameras usually have button somewhere on the device, while DSLR normally have the function in their settings. Most cameras have the default white balance set to auto, but it’s worth balancing the image yourself to see your different options. White balancing should be redone every time the lighting changes during your recording. We mentioned 2 of the 3 qualities with high-level importance that attribute to professional videos, so what is the last and most important one you ask?  Lighting!

Here are some white balance comparisons.

Here are some white balance comparisons.

Tip #3: Lighting

It’s often purposely overlooked because creators assume that with the room’s light bulbs and natural light, there will be enough light for the shot, but lighting significantly affects the quality of your scenes and should be taken into stronger consideration. Bad lighting means more time editing to get the video to a better, more viewable quality. Good lighting improves the image quality, making the shots look more crisp and professional. Lastly, lighting has a big effect on the mood of a scene by making contrast and shadows that provide viewers with information on important features of actors and settings. Take a look at these two headshots with different lighting:

video quality lighting comparison
Notice how the shot is the same but the picture on the left looks ominous and eerie while the one on the right seems more approachable and amiable.

Three point lighting is used for pretty much every professional production ever made. The first is key light, which is the main light source used to light up the subject in the video from one angle. Second are fill lights, varying from one to multiple lights placed on the opposite side of the key light. They are used to fill in shadows, reduce contrast, and add detail to the subject. Lastly, back lights are used behind the subject to distinguish the subject from the background.

video-quality-three-point-lighting
These 3 types of lights, or any combination of them, will improve your lighting and overall quality of your videos.

 

Tip #4: Avoid using brands

This tip is about practicality rather than quality. While it might be prestigious to show off a Rolex watch or Versace shades in your next video, it could be a legal hassle for you and Vydia. Brands are very particular about where and how their products are shown because it affects public opinion on their products, also known as their brand image. To control the usage of their logos, companies can call upon their trademark and copyright laws to protect them. It can result in a legal case that could lead to scenes being removed from your video or editing blurs to cover logos, greatly affecting the artistic value of your final product. Save yourself the difficulties and avoid using brands.

 

Tip #5: Use a tripod

While the Shaky-Cam technique of filming is great for action movies and documentaries, it will most likely diminish your videos. Even with the steadiest of hands, handheld camera shots can make movements look choppy and unsteady. Constant camera movements can unfocus shots and make them difficult to watch. A tripod holds your camera at a fixed place, allowing for smooth movements and steady recording, making it one of the most valuable tools in a production. Use a tripod and prevent shots like this one:

via GIPHY

 

Tip #6: Find the right people for the job

This is by far the most important tip we can offer our video creators. Beyond having good shots and equipment, having passionate, knowledgeable people on your production team will boost your video’s quality exponentially. The director must know the project’s goals and be able to guide the rest of the team in a constructive, productive way. Camera operators should know the equipment in and out in order to take full advantage of the technology. Editors should be experienced and skilled to make the edits required to bring the project to life. Probably the most significant members are those who will be on screen and talented actors will increase viewability, entertain viewers, and will bring the video to life. There’s a lot of moving parts in a video production and quality teammates will make pre-production, recording, and post-production easy, fast, and enjoyable.

 

Following these recommendations will increase the production value of your videos, making it more appealing to your audiences and potentially getting accepted on networks. These may be the basics of video recording, but they’re all factors that the pros think about before turning on the camera. Better video quality will boost your content’s performance with viewers and distributors, making your experience with Vydia more successful.