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From Actor to Online Video Producer

You do not have to be a professional filmmaker or actor in order to create a substantial video for the web; Web videos are primarily basic, therefore simply possessing the write knowledge and enthusiasm to work will give almost anyone that ability to create a substantial web video.

There are several aspects involved in producing an effective video for the web. A camera is, of course, needed to capture the subject on film. Choosing the camera that best suits your needs can be an important aspect in the decision making process. A solid script and the right on camera acting techniques are also important in capturing the audiences’ attention. Camera shots must look clean and professional, and editing must take place in order to pull the whole thing together.

All of these techniques may sound complicated but they are, in fact, quite simple. Learning these basic filming techniques will help any beginner create professional looking videos.

Creating an effective video for the web does not necessarily mean that you have to go out and buy the most expensive camera on the market. There are several affordable devices for sale which are perfectly capable of capturing quality videos.

Although the quality of some cameras may not be very high for some standards, for the internet they will most likely suffice. When placing a video on the web, it is usually recommended that you refrain from using images with high resolution. These images take a long time to upload, causing viewers to become impatient and likely skip over the video.

Digital camcorders are the most effective at providing the highest quality videos. Some digital cameras can cost several thousand dollars, however for creating a web video a basic digital camcorder is all that you need. In order to place your video on your computer, it is important that your camera has a firewire or USB port, so that the footage can be easily transferred onto your computer. If your camera does not have a firewire or USB port, then a dedicated video capture card, or external converter box can be purchased and used to send the video signal to your computer.

Cameras that have miniDV tapes are often the best ones to use when wanting to edit your video on the computer.

The following is a list of some of the best digital video recorders on the market for those whishing to make a web video:

  • The Sony DCR-DVD505 sells for approximately $750 and is considered to be the best camera for low light. This camera is focused on simplicity and has a large 3.5 inch LCD touch screen.
  • Sony Handycam DCR-DVD508 sells for approximately $809.99 and is a simple camera for any beginner looking to produce decent quality videos.
  • The Panasonic PV-GS500 costs $740, and has the most after-shooting editing control. This camera is one of the best options for anyone wanting to edit their videos.
  • The Canon Elura 100 is considered to be the best budget camcorder and sells for $310. This is an excellent camera for beginners as it has many high end features but is simple and easy to use.
  • Sony HDR-HC1 costs $1300 and shoots high definition video. It is relatively inexpensive in comparison to most high definition camcorders.

These are just some of the top rated digital camcorders amongst consumers. There are, however, several other less expensive options. With the right acting, setup and lighting almost any digital camcorder will be effective in capturing your video.

If a single head shot video is being filmed where the subject is being shot in close proximity to the camera, the cameras microphone will work perfectly fine. If subjects are going to be farther away from the camera, and there is a large amount of external noise, an external microphone may be a better option.

A webcam is an excellent choice to use if you are filming a headshot of yourself. They are an easy and effective way to capture a good quality presentation videos to be placed on the web.

Many webcams for sale today are capable of creating high quality streaming videos. When choosing a webcam one of the most important things to put into consideration is its resolution. The higher the resolution, the better quality images it will capture.

There are webcams available with their own built in microphones, and most of them have a manual focus. Therefore, if a webcam is set up properly, it can be the simplest way to film yourself.

The following is a list of some of the best quality webcams to use when creating a video for the web:

  • Logitech QuickCam Communicate STX Webcam. Costs $77.99. It attaches to traditional PC monitors or laptops, has a USB interface, and has a built in microphone.
  • Creative Live Cam NoteBook Pro. Costs $72.99. It is compatible with Windows 98SE, Me, 2000, and XP platforms.
  • Logitech Quickcam messenger. Costs $59.99. It has a built in microphone, and a USB interface.
  • Microsoft LifeCam (VX-3000). Costs $73.99. It features high definition images, and a built in microphone. It has a USB interface and good resolution.
  • Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000. Costs approximately $99.99. It can capture videos in HD format , and has a built in microphone. It also comes with a background noise cancellation called RighSound, aimed at reducing background noise and echo.

There are numerous high quality webcams on the market that capable of creating excellent web videos. Choosing the right one all depends on your budget and your needs. Before purchasing any webcam it is important to make sure that it is compatible with the operating system your computer is using. Keep in mind that not all webcams come with built in microphones, if they do not you will therefore need to purchase an external microphone that can be attached to your computer.

Tips for Filming
Many promotional videos for the web are very basic and somewhat amateur looking, which makes them easy to film. If you are an actor wishing to be in a web video, you do not necessarily need a filmmaker to film you. You can just as easily create the video yourself, or have a friend to it for you. You simply need to know how to go about doing it.

When shooting a video for the web the camera is not the only important issue. Making sure that the sound is right and that the lighting is good is essential in creating an effective video.

Basic Tips
Once you have the right camera, it is important that you know how to use it to your full advantage. It does not matter how high of quality camera you have, if you do not use it properly, your video will look like it was poorly done. Positioning the camera, as well as the subject, can be an important aspect of how a video is perceived. Making sure the camera
is placed in a stable position will avoid the video looking bumpy and amateur. Making sure the subject is positioned in the right spot can affect the entire image of the video.

In order to ensure the video looks to its best standards, the following tips are important:

  • Keep the camera stable. If you are using a webcam that simply attaches to your computer monitor, the camera will most likely remain stable. If you are using a handheld digital camcorder however, you will want to use a tripod. Using a quality tripod will ensure that your camera is stable, enabling you to have the best quality video possible. When buying a tripod be sure that the head is specifically designed for your camcorder, and is able to adjust to the proper height.
  • Keep the camera close to the subject. If you are filming yourself, make sure the camera is less than four feet away from you. This will make it easier for the cameras microphone to pick up what you are saying, making the audio clearer.
  • Set the camera at eye level to avoid making yourself look too small or large.
  • Your eye level should always be about 1/3 of the way from the top of the screen.
  • Place your subject in front of a background that is free of distractions. Make sure that the background is not too busy and that the colours do not clash with the subject.
  • Avoid backgrounds that reflect light such as white boards.
  • If camcorder has the option to flip around the LCD screen, use that to your advantage when filming yourself. This will help you see whether or not you are positioned properly, and whether or not everything looks good. Just be sure not to glance over at the screen while filming.

Sound is one of the most important parts of your video. Even the highest quality picture can be ruined if the sound is off, and sound can not be fixed in editing. Good sound is rarely noticed, however when a sound is bad it can turn the whole video sour. Clear sound can be was differentiates a good video from a bad one.

In order to avoid bad sound, keep the following in mind when shooting your video:

  • Be sure there is no interference with background noises such as other people talking, phones ringing, or noise from appliances. Any sound in the room can be picked up by the microphone and will affect your video.
  • Make sue your voice is loud enough when speaking.
  • Make sure microphone levels are good so that the audio is not distorted.
  • If the camera does not have a built in microphone, or if the microphone does not seem to be working well enough, be sure to attach an external microphone and place it slightly out of the shot to improve sound quality.

Having the proper lighting in your shot is will make your subject look good and will give your video an overall more professional look. The right quantity of light will make a huge difference in the quality of your video.

To get the best light possible in your video remember some of the following tips:

  • Make sure your subject is always the brightest part of the shot.
  • Whenever possible shoot in a well lit area.
  • Turn on lamps, and open blinds to let natural light in.
  • Use your cameras built in light if it has one. It will help bring out your face when shooting close ups.
  • Avoid setting the lighting too high or too low. If the light is too low it can create shadows, and too high can make eye sockets appear dark.
  • Avoid using high contrast clothes or background. Making them too dark or too light may wash out your subject.

Video Talent
What is being said in your video is one of the most important parts. Your content is what will ultimately inform and persuade your customers. Not only is it important that you have you have a good script, but it is also important that the delivery of that script be excellent. Having a good combination of both is essential in having a great video.

In order to begin shooting, the basic ideas of the video must be put together in the form of a script. The script is the entire basis of your video; it is the information that is going to be given to your viewers. A good script is one that will be able to capture your viewers’ attention and inform them of your business.

If a script is given to you, it is important that you read it thoroughly several times before you begin filming. Knowing your script inside and out will help your words flow better allowing for a better overall delivery. It is also important to understand what you are talking about. This will help you remember and deliver the script more effectively.

If you are asked to come up with your own script, you will either need to write the script yourself, or have someone write it for you. Before writing a script, be sure to get as much information as possible about what the company wants and what message they are trying to get across. Keep the target audience in mind when considering your writing style. Brainstorm and come up with a list of several ideas. It is often helpful to collaborate with someone to help get creative ideas flowing when writing a script.

On camera delivery
Having a good on camera delivery does not mean you need to possess the skills of a high end professional actor; you simply need to possess the willingness to learn and the drive to succeed. Practicing a few simple steps can turn any amateur into a quality video maker:

  1. Be appropriate for the genre. Ask yourself who your audience is. What type of people will be viewing your video? The energy level and the pace of your delivery should reflect the type of video being made, and the type of viewers it will receive.
  2. Have a smooth delivery. Smooth delivery comes with confidence, experience and preparation. Is is important that you keep your words flowing and avoid pausing or repeating words.
  3. Speak at a proper pace. Avoid talking too slow in risk of boring your viewers, and too fast at the risk of being misunderstood.
  4. Keep the viewers interested. Even the most boring of topics can be turned around with the right enthusiasm from an actor. Finding ways to keep viewers interested by simply changing your tone of voice can make a great difference.
  5. Watch your words. Avoid using words that would not normally be used in regular conversation and may confuse your viewers.
  6. Be consistent. Your video will be more effective if your energy level and pace remains consistent throughout the entire thing. Most people do not realize when their delivery level is changing; therefore, it is sometimes good to have a friend judge your delivery.
  7. Pay attention to movements. Avoid looking stiff and lifeless during the video, however keep in mind that too much movement can be distracting.
  8. Have confidence. The best on camera deliveries come from those who possess confidence. Showing a level of confidence on camera makes the viewer feel more comfortable with the actor.

The more time spent on camera, the better an actor will be able to communicate. With the right practice anyone can posses these qualities. Knowing how to initiate a good on camera delivery will help you in creating a successful video for the web.

Editing your video
Editing your video does not have to be a difficult task. Today there are a large number of easy editing software programs available with many computer applications that make it possible for anyone to edit their video in a professional looking manner.

The software you use will depend on many different factors, like your editing goals, how much money you want to lay out, your specific computer configuration and the software’s user interface.

Options include:

  • Windows Movie Maker. This video creating/editing software is included in recent versions of Microsoft Windows. It contains features such as effects, transitions, titles/credits, audio track, timeline narration, and Auto Movie.
  • iMovie is a video editing software application which allows users to edit their own home movies; it is a Mac application and is usually bundled with certain Macintosh models. The software takes the footage from digital camcorders using fire wire and loads it onto a Mac computer allowing you to edit, add titles and music. It also allows you to ad effects such as colour correction and transitions such as fade in and fade out. This program is basic and easy to use.
  • Premiere Elements is available for Windows XP and Windows Vista, and is usually bundled with Adobe Photoshop elements. It contains features allowing you to add transitions and effects, create scene indexes, and personalize your DVD’s.
  • Final Cut Pro is a Mac application. It includes many features such as multi-cam editing, for cutting video from multiple camera sources; as well as standard ripple, roll, slip, slide, scrub, razor blade and time remapping edit functions. It features 3D transitions and a range of video and audio filters.
    Most of the websites for these editing programs provide step by step easy to follow instructions, making it easy for anyone to use this software.
    These programs are all simple and easy to use. They will provide you with all that you need to create a professional looking promotional video
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