Rules to Better Video Recording
Since 1990, SSW has supported the developer community by publishing all our best practices and rules for everyone to see.
If you still need help, visit Video Production and book in a consultant.
If writing a technical script where you don't have the knowledge to make the final call, it is important to remember that different developers will sometimes have conflicting opinions.
Getting to the end of a video project only to have to go back to the script to make changes is deeply inefficient and creates unnecessary extra workaround. As such, for a technical script to be approved it should be taken for a 'test please' to both the CEO and at least one other developer. It must be fully approved because changes to the script should not be accepted after the test please has been passed. The developer(s) and the CEO should be made aware that if any changes are requested after the scripting stage it will fall back on them.
Without a call to action prompting viewers to do something at the end of a video, the purpose of the video is lost. As such, make sure you include the call to action at the end.Common objectives are to:
- Obtain the viewer's email address
- Get the viewer to provide info and request a service from the company
- Get them to subscribe to the company's social media pages
A good 'call to action' should:
- Be short (no more than 30 seconds).
- Not have too many options - a visitor is much more likely to do a task if he's not confused by being given dozens of social media options.
- (Optionally) Tell them they get value. E.g. if they comment they will make a difference.
- If you have a paid subscription offering or a free one like YouTube) give incentives to subscribe now, along with the benefits subscribed users get.
- Remember that people have different preferences for social media. You pretty much need to cover your bases. Have a Twitter page, Facebook page, LinkedIn account, YouTube channel, etc. Of course, don't have all these in the 'call to action', but make sure that those options are easily accessible.
- If you are using YouTube or another service that provides the option to have annotations, use annotations that prompt the viewer to comment or subscribe. A 'subscribe' link in the annotation gets more subscribers
Thanks, have a good one!
Figure: Bad example – no call to action
Please leave a comment, and go to our website, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Also please sign up for our newsletter.
Figure: Bad example - too many options breeds choice paralysis
Though each interviewer will have their own style, line of questions etc, there are some basic rules that you should follow when conducting an interview:
- Introduce yourself, then the interviewee, then the topic of the interview.
"Hi guys, today we're talking about J Query with Peter Smith, how's it going Peter?"
Figure: Bad Example - The Interviewer did not introduce him or herself, nor did he/she explain who the interviewee is. Also, the topic is a little too broad, it will be extremely rare to find a video that covers every single aspect of a major subject like that
"Hi Guys, I'm Adam Cogan and I'm here with Peter Smith of 123 Development Solutions Inc. Today we're going to be discussing J Query and how the latest edition will affect your source code. How's it going, Peter?"
Figure: Good Example - correct order, sufficient detail, and straight to the point
- Tell the interviewee not to speak until they are introduced.
- When the interviewee is speaking, remain quiet. This is about the audience receiving the information, not you.
- When the interviewee is finished speaking, simply move straight to the next question (either follow-up or planned) but do not comment or react to what they said, it distracts the audience from their own reaction and comes across as self-centered. If you read the transcript of an interview in a magazine, you will notice that in professional interviews you won't be reading the words "huh that's really interesting" or "ah ok" as this does nothing for the reader, they came to learn from the interviewee.
- Saying something unusual to catch the audience's attention at the beginning can sometimes heighten the value of an interview, but choose carefully. You want to say something that conveys good communication and honesty, both with the interviewee and the audience, even if it is slightly distancing. A good way to do this can be to disclose your bias upfront.
"To start with I should explain that I don't like your company or your personality"
Figure: Bad Example - Don't say something downright offensive with no point to it
Figure: Good Example - This builds trust with the audience, creates a challenge for the interviewee, and creates an interesting sense of contract between the 2 of you
- If you are conducting a webcam interview, look at the camera as much as possible and have your notes close to the camera on your screen.
- Overprepare, don't under prepare. Having a set of questions figured out before-hand can have a large impact on the value of your video, as it slows the pacing to have the people on screen figuring the interview out as they go. It can also be distracting to see the interviewer constantly checking their notes. Keep in mind follow-up questions can stack up and end up making your video last too long, so use them sparingly.
- If you are going to use screencap cutaways at all, figure out beforehand which ones you plan on using and have them ready to go at a moment's notice, the audience does not want to watch you logging in and waiting for load times, etc. They also do not want to see you figuring out a piece of software as you go, this is a major no-no.
"'And that's the SSW Rules site, yes?' 'Yes, I'll just open that up so you can see it............. there you go.' 'And how are the editing features on that?' 'Um, they're pretty good, I'll just show you here.......... let me log in........................ just gotta wait for it to load............ Yeah, so you can see here............ sorry, one sec................. yeah, it's great when it comes to HTML source editing if I open the code here.......................hang on............................ (etc.)'
Figure: Bad Example - This is painful to watch and comes across as very unprofessional. It is also difficult to edit out in post-production
"'And that's the SSW Rules site, yes?' 'Yes, which you can see here on my screen' 'And how are the editing features on that?' 'Well here you can see the editing screen layout and it's quite effective and easy to understand. If we look here at the code you'll notice that it's very clean (etc)'
Figure: Good Example - No messing around and keeps the pace up
- Ask the interviewee to include your question in the start of their answer. This reinforces the question for the audience, gives a strong start to the interviewee’s response, and also makes it possible to create incredibly useful smaller video segments.
"Why do you like the SSW Rules?" "They are very useful"
Figure: Bad Example - Interviewee’s statement is very general and could be referring to anything
"Why do you like the SSW Rules?" "I like the SSW Rules because they are very useful"
Figure: Good Example - establishes an immediate context for the interviewee’s response, and is a powerful statement when heard without the interviewer’s question
Recording live video interviews on location can be difficult. The key to success is to make the process as simple as possible, so you continue to record and release interviews.
A good example of an effective but easy to record interview is:
Here are a few tips to simplify the process:
- The interviewer should hold the camera and interview the subject at the same time
- Keep a tight frame. Don’t have lots of empty space around the subject
- Use the rule of thirds. See:
- Don't zoom erratically – Ease in and ease out of zooms
- If someone starts speaking off camera, move to them slowly and smoothly without rushing (it is OK for them to talk off camera for a short time)
- To record both voices use a single shotgun microphone for both interviewer and subject
Follow these steps to start recording using Camtasia:
- Set your screen resolution to as high as possible but do not exceed 1920 x 1080 for a 16:9 display, or 1920 x 1200 for a 16:10 display. If your screen resolution is too low then you will either have to expand the footage in post-production (which will result in a loss of quality) or release a low-resolution video (which will become poor quality when watched in full screen).
- Start 'Camtasia Recorder'
- In the Recorder window, select 'Full Screen', then turn on the mic. Choosing which mic input to use depends on the type of recording you are doing. If you are filming the session, you should select the internal mic since you will be using this for syncing purposes. If however you are just recording your screen with audio, then select an external mic since this will be higher quality.
- Select Tools | Options
- In the 'General' tab, uncheck the 'Show tooltips' box and check the 'Disable screensaver during capture'.
- Next step is to select the 'Inputs' tab at the top of the dialog. Set the frame rate to 15. Set the microphone level using the slider. Note: Set the frame rate to 30 if the presentation will contain motion such as video or moving graphics.
- On the ‘Inputs’ tab, select ‘Device Properties’.
- On the ‘Video Proc Amp’ tab, check the Frequency setting is correctly configured – 50Hz if you are located in Australia or China.
This setting ensures that the camera frame rate is in sync with electrical devices (such as fluorescent lights) in order to prevent flickering.Note: If you are located in America, or anywhere that uses a 60Hz electricity supply, you will need to select the 60Hz setting.
- After you have done all these things, click on 'OK', and then hit the big red 'Rec' button to start recording!
Tip: Alternatively, you can use Loom, which works as a Google Chrome extension.
Depending on the type of video you are making, you will need to decide what microphone works best for you.
The most common type of microphone many of us use is the built-in one on your laptop.While some modern ones are a little more advanced than normal, they generally offer the poorest sound quality out of any microphone type. This is because they’re designed for conferencing and web calls, which prioritizes things like ambient noise cancellation. This can sound like a benefit, but in reality, it causes audio to sound ‘tinny’ vs proper microphones.
Headsets are handy because they offer combined audio feedback and microphone in one.This is the recommended setup for most people.
A headset mic offers the advantage of being very close to the source of the audio (your mouth), which is important to consider when recording video.
Some headsets are better than others, we recommend the Audio Technica BPHS1’s like the ‘go-to’ option for really great broadcast-quality audio recordings.
On the lower end, the Logitech H340 USB headset is a good option.
Warning: These look poor on video.
Desktop microphone – portable
Desktop mics can offer better audio quality than headsets mics overall.
There are many models to pick with different characteristics. Our choice is the Blue Yeti X. It connects via USB to your laptop and works without additional drivers.
Desktop microphone – non-portable
You can go beyond a portable desktop mic and get something like the Rode Procaster mic on an arm. These are typically used by professional podcasters.
Lapel mics are a great option for both mobile and PC devices.
The Rode smartLav+ is a lapel that works on devices that support TRRS connectors (phones, tablets and modern laptops).The benefit of this type of mic is that it is placed on your shirt and close to your mouth, which provides cleaner audio and more ambient noise rejection.
Warning: The cable can look poor on video.
Shotgun Microphones are, by definition, built to capture the audio from the source they are directly pointed at. They are designed to cut out audio from other directions. This means that if someone behind the microphone says something, it will likely not be picked up clearly.These are traditionally used on film and TV sets and offer among the highest quality recordings.
Do you know how to record a quick and dirty 'Done Video'?
The ending of your video should contain a call to action, the logo of your company and a sign off from the speaker(s).
In an interview situation the best way to sign off is to try and lead from the subject matter to the end of the video smoothly.
In a lecture the best way is to finish is the same way the speaker would end a normal lecture. Something along the lines of "Well that's it guys, if you want to get a copy of the slides you can download them at  and be sure to subscribe to my posts on Twitter". Then proceed with the standard call to action and the company logo.
"This is Adam Cogan signing off until next time" (grins at camera with a thumbs up)
Figure: Bad example – impersonal, cheesy and uninformative sign off
"Well that’s all great stuff Joe and we're looking forward to seeing your new software soon"
Figure: Good example – personal, the speakers relate to each other well, refers to subject matter in the video
When filming a subject (or subjects) there are numerous ways to frame them.
Basic rules to follow include:
- Avoid positioning them on opposite, far sides of the frame, as this creates a feeling of emotional distance between the two characters. Distances seem bigger in the camera, so position your subjects as close together as they are comfortable with, especially if you are using tight framing and/or filming with one camera.
- By using the rule of thirds, you can create more visually pleasing shots. That is, if you divide the x and y axis's into 3 segments, the lines diving these segments should align with certain lines in the image. The intersection of these lines is a good place to position a focal point such as someone's eye.
- Avoid too much space in the frame, especially if space has nothing in it. This is referred to as Dead Space. This can occur when the subjects are placed in front of a blank wall.
- If you can (such as if you have access to 2 or more cameras) avoid filming directly side on, at 90 degrees to the subjects. Always try to be as a face on with your subject as possible.
- Try and have an interesting background. Patterns, movement, and depth can help to create a more interesting shot.
- For corporate and educational videos, a mid-shot works well to capture the content. This is from the bellybutton up.
- Avoid areas of high contrast - a hot spot (where the light is concentrated into a pure white) or a very dark spot or section of the frame in a predominantly light frame can draw the viewer's eye. If this is not what you want them to focus on, don't include it in the frame.
- If there is only one person in the frame (or if there are two people looking the same direction), place them on the opposite side to the direction they're looking for. That is if they're looking left to right, place them on the left side of the frame. If this is not followed, your subject will be pressed up against the edge of the frame and this can create an uncomfortable feeling for the audience.
When positioning your subjects it is important to remember several factors:
- It is a good idea (if you want to have one of your subjects more face on) to have the interviewee more face-on than the interviewer.
- The interviewer should be on the right side of the frame - you'll notice talk show hosts will always look right to left.
- The interviewer should avoid leaning into the interviewee too much as it might make them feel uncomfortable and seem a little weird in the frame.
- The best way to position your subjects is at 90° to each other and at 45° to the camera:
When doing an over the shoulder shot (OTS) for a corporate video, it is generally best to stay at a level height with the subject. Looking up or down at them can create unnecessary meaning in the shot. It is also a good idea to avoid using the wide-angle setting on your camera as it makes the subject seem distant and small in comparison to the person whose shoulder we can see.
One of the hardest things to deal with when presenting to an audience is the correct way to deal with questions.
Try and give firm guidelines when you start as to the correct way to ask a question.
SPEAKER: "No questions please. Ask your questions at the end"
Figure: Bad Example - this kills the sense of interactivity that is so appealing about live presentations
SPEAKER: "Questionsare fine as long as they are on-topic, something about the current slide"
Figure: Good Example - this allows interactivity but stops the audience from distracting and derailing the speaker
It is quite common for one audience member to derail the speaker with a lot of questions. If this happens, simply respond:
SPEAKER: "OK Bob, I think that is your 10th question and your quota has expired. I want to give everyone a fair go, so you get 1 more question after this. OK?"
Figure: Good Example - this is a firm yet polite way of managing the situation
Nothing is worse or more embarrassing than forgetting a vital piece of equipment in the office when you are set to record a presentation in a few moments, so making sure you use a checklist before going to the shooting location is vital in order to ensure the production goes smoothly.
Remember, it is key to make sure that the speaker is kept happy and willing, so do not keep them waiting for unnecessary periods of time. Running back to the office for the tripod plate will make you look unprofessional, and it affects your company's image.
As part of the checklist, it is also important to test the equipment beforehand. So anything electronic such as the wireless mic needs a quick check to see if everything is working as it should. Also, make sure to check if the camera has enough free space for what you are about to record.
It is vital to have the speaker ready and equipped prior to recording. There are a number of things that need to be done to make sure the speaker is ready for recording.
Here are the steps to follow when preparing the speaker for recording:
- **Attach the mic to the speaker ** Assuming you are using a lapel microphone, make sure that it is attached to the speakers' shirt or jacket. For each speaker you need to adjust the sensitivity of the microphone. Do this according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer. As a general rule, test to see that the mic input level does not peak (the audio meter on the device will reach the top). Adjust the mic sensitivity using the device until the input meter does not go past the 2/3rds point. Doing so will create distortions which are difficult to repair in post and waste time. Look at this video to understand more in-depth the correct way to set up a lapel mic system:
- Tell the speaker that they need to paraphrase any questions During the presentation a number of guests will ask the speaker questions regarding his or her talk. If you do not have a multi-camera setup with multiple mic inputs, you cannot always guarantee that the audio from the people asking questions will be audibly clear when picked up by the speakers mic.
The people who watch your video need to know what the questions were in order to understand the context of the answers. The best way to do this is to ask the speaker to paraphrase the question in his or her answer. A simple example would be:
Audience member: "Why should we do things your way? Speaker: "Because..."
Figure: Wrong way to respond (viewer will not understand what the context of the answer without knowing the question.)
Audience member: "Why should we do things your way?" Speaker: "The reason you should do things this is way is because..."
Figure: Correct way to respond The speaker arrives to the venue with a mindset that they are speaking to a room of about 25 - 30 people. It is important to us and the audience at home who watch this online, that the speakers' mindset changes from presenting to a room of people to an audience of thousands
- Do you enable presentation mode in Visual Studio.
- Tell the speaker to read Rules to Better PowerPoint Presentations.
- Assume the speaker will need to play sound through the speakers, even if they say they won't, and set up to allow for it.
- Explain to the speaker that you will give them a 5-second countdown when you are about to start streaming them and that they should face forward when this happens, instead of looking sideways at you
Unwanted noises such as people walking and talking can ruin a recording. If you have this problem, the best way to avoid it is to use a recording in progress sign that informs people who are passing through the area that they need to be quite and/or leave the area.
Figure: Good Example - this implies a sense of urgency, it implies 'we are recording so don't make noise or ruin the shoot in any way', instead of 'we are shooting and it's really cool so come check it out!'.
Using a 'Shot List', the camera operator can mark down where in the recording an interesting point is and where a cutaway or caption should appear.
The shot list provides the editor with a breakdown of where the interesting parts of the interview are that need cutaways and captions, and what they could be. This is not always necessary but keep it in mind as a useful tool at your disposal. A simpler method (if working with a script) can be to simply write shot types next to lines.
After the interview, review the shot list so that you can see what cutaways are needed, and try to obtain them (See Rule: Do you use cutaways?)
To create more visually pleasing videos consider using a multi camera setup.
The benefit is that you can use the second camera to 'cut away' to (see Rule: https://www.ssw.com.au/rules/production-post-production-do-you-use-cutaways-aka-removing-the-talking-head) in the edit.
If you are recording a long interview use two (identical) cameras, covering both the presenter and the interviewee.
If you are recording an event with multiple people and want to maximize the coverage (and obtain cutaway shots) use a second/third camera, either placed on a tripod somewhere of interest or give to someone else to move around with and obtain interesting shots.
Camera 3 should be identical to Camera 1 if available (it is still possible to use two different cameras but this may cause some quality compromise in the form of different colours for each). An iPhone can provide the necessary shots to make a video more interesting, but only use iPhone 7 or later footage if proper lighting, exposure & composition can be achieved (Please see rule https://rules.ssw.com.au/production-do-you-know-the-correct-way-to-frame-your-subject.)
When filming a scene it is always important to remember production design aspects. Production design is basically all of the things (excluding the people) that we see on screen. This includes wardrobe, set design, location, lights and props.
Overall, one should try and use as little colours as possible when designing a production. That doesn't mean use mainly tones, it means try and limit your colour palette to as few colours as possible. If you are creating corporate work try and include your company's colours. So for example if you were creating a production for SSW, you would use black, white, red and bronze (the bronze refers to the colour of skin - this will almost always be involved in your colour palette). You might end up having to include another colour or two but you will find the less unnecessary colours you use the better. Try and apply this to every aspect of your production design.
Wardrobe refers to what people wear when they're on screen. Keep in mind the tone, genre, character and mood of your production when choosing clothing. Avoid distracting jewelry or accessories unless it adds to the character. Also avoid stripes; most cameras will produce an unnatural, unpleasant effect when filming them, so make sure your actor isn't wearing their favourite striped shirt! Text on clothing is also a bad idea, the viewer will try to read it instead of listening to what your actor's are saying.
Creating a set for a production is a complex and tricky business but there are some basic ideas you can use to create appealing set design. First off try and design your set to reflect the theme of your production. So for example if you were creating a set for a software design talk show, you would probably want lots of metal and technical art, however if you were creating a set for a drama about a youth who's run away from home, you would want something dirty, dark and depressing to reflect the character's grim situation. Again, avoid stripes that are too close together. A general rule of thumb is that the stripes should be at least 5cm in width. Make sure that everything is safe and if there is construction to be done, hire a professional.
Location is similar to set design, only in this instance the aspects are mostly out of your control. You can certainly dress the set (see below) but at the end of the day there are some things that will be there no matter what. As such, choose your location carefully. Things to consider are background, framing, sound and distractions. Is there a loud lecture theatre, highway or skate ramp next door? Is there a window on your set that's going to create a distracting reflection? Is there a boring, featureless wall in your background? Is there a line that appears to be passing straight through someone's head? Also avoid high contrast, such as a very dark wall next to the bright wall your subjects are in front of, or a large white spot on a black wall.
Figure: Good and Bad examples of filming locations
If you are working with a D.O.P. (Director of Photography) and/or your are lighting your scene, its a good idea to include lights as part of the production design (on the set). Don't include a bright light shining directly into the lens or anything, but a lamp can provide a good source of light to work with and create an interesting object in the frame.
Props and set dressing are important; props are defined as objects in the script that we know before-hand that the subjects will interact with, set dressing is things that we add to a set to create content. When choosing what props should(n't) be on set it is important to ask yourself, is there a reason for this to be here? A can of coke for example will be ugly and distracting in most circumstances but a pot of flowers might be just the thing to give your scene that extra bit of life, or convey a caring sensitive side of your character. If your subject needs to drink something while they're on camera, offer them a glass (its more visually pleasing). Look carefully at the frame and ask yourself, is there any camera equipment visible? Does that ugly mess of cables really need to be there? Does this scrap of paper or backpack need to be in the frame? If not, ditch it. If it adds value to the picture and doesn't distract, keep it.
During an interview, looking at a talking head (the subject) can become monotonous. As such it is a good idea to ‘cutaway’ to the topic/product that the speaker is referring to. Not only does it make it more interesting, it improves the understandability of the video for your audience.
As an example, if you are interviewing someone and the topic of unit testing comes up, mid-sentence you can cut to a shot of the unit testing UI.Figure: Bad example – Looking at a talking head for 30 mins is boringFigure: Good example – cutting away to what is being discussed improves the audiences understanding - See 2:08 on this video example
Nowadays there are a variety of online video hosting solutions to choose from and it's important you pick the right service for the right purpose.
YouTube is great for exposure, social media sharing and where user engagement is part of your marketing strategy. The best types of content that work on YouTube are Educational and Entertainment.
However, YouTube might not be the best place to host your more marketing based videos, for example, a homepage video selling a service or product.
Hosting platforms like Wistia and Vimeo is better for professional purposes because they can offer things like higher video quality, embedded player customization, improved analytics, external links and capture forms - great for selling a product or service.
Video thumbnails should entice a visitor to watch the video. We find that images are better than text. If text is used make sure that it is not obstructed by the play button.
For argument's sake, it makes sense to refer to any text pop-up on screen as a 'caption'. It is helpful to the viewers to include still or animated captions (also known as lower thirds) in your videos because they enhance or add extra information that is not fully explained by the speakers. A sub-category of captions is titles**,which is the term given to identifying text, such as the opening film credits, someone's name and job title or "1985 - New York City".
Now you cant really have just one type of caption. Have defined styles for different types of videos
eg. Here are the styles SSW use for their videos:
Remember to put any links that you've mentioned in the captions underneath your video in it's own section (with a heading such as 'Show Notes' or 'Related Content'). You can also use this section to put in links that are related to what was said in the video as evidence (similar to footnotes or a bibliography in a book). That way, you will gain more Google juice and it will make it easier for the Product Owner to review your captions.
For most users, YouTube only allows a maximum length of 15 minutes on their videos. As such, if you have videos that are longer than 15 minutes, they will need to be uploaded to a video site that does allow longer video uploads, such as Wistia or Vimeo. The problem with doing this is that you aren’t harnessing the 2nd biggest search engine in the world to promote your content and without that, your video campaign isn’t reaching its full potential. The best way to solve this problem is to follow these steps:
- Create either a 'highlights' version, split the video into parts or create 'the first [between 3 and 15] minutes' version of all your longer videos, especially the popular ones.
- At the end of these clips include a call to actionthat prompts the viewer to see the full version at your other site(s). If your other site(s) offer free viewings, make sure you mention this.
- Upload these versions to YouTube (preferably around the same time you upload the full versions to other sites).
Figure: Good Example - contains a clear, live action call to action directing the viewer to see the full version.
It's best to conduct an internal and external test procedure for videos. This ensures that you meet your internal standards and follow the necessary rules that relate to video content creation.
You can also identify errors and inconsistencies that can be addressed for a second edit, before going live.
- Complete the video editing (Version 1) Produce your first edit of your video. If necessary follow the Post Production rules i.e. 'Do you use cutaways?', 'Do you add a Call to Action?'.
Upload your first edit to YouTube
- Send test please to Marlon or Uly and Adam
- Feedback must be done within 48 hours
- Need two out of the three to move ahead
- If response isn’t submitted within designated time, the process moves to the next step
- Make changes to video from feedback
- Re-upload to YouTube
- Respond to each email with dones and not dones
Send test please to your managers, any people on the video and one of the test groups
- 48 hours to test
- 6 people on the test
- Need 3 responses to move ahead
- If response isn’t submitted within designated time, the process moves to the next step
- Make changes to video from feedback
- Respond to each email with Done’s and reasons for Not Done’s
- Make post on tv.ssw.com for video – embed the YouTube upload
Send final test please – not for major changes (spelling mistakes, glaring faults etc.)
- If there is no response within 48 hours, we go live
The text swing in can be a great way to make a title gain attention, but if the angles are wrong, the unnatural nature of it will be jarring. The idea is to simulate gravity. The best tool to create this type of effect is Adobe After Effects.
- Each keyframe should be half the angle of the previous keyframe from 90 degrees
- Each keyframe should be half the distance on the timeline from the previous keyframe
![Swing-In.jpg](Swing-In.jpg) Figure: Good example – A well designed 'swing-in' effect can bring your titles to life - See 0:07 in this video example
There are two types of approval processes. One is quick and the other takes longer.
Scenario 1 - Editing in Post
The first scenario assumes that you are filming something that requires later post production work (i.e. promo video, corporate videos, studio etc.). This scenario requires - depending on the type of video - a significant amount of time in post-production and therefore the approval process will take longer. These are the steps to follow:
- After you have post-produced a first version of the video, you must get feedback from the product owner and the stakeholders
- Make appropriate changes
- Get a second round of feedback
- Make appropriate changes
- Get final sign off from Product owner
- Upload and go live once all changes have been made
Scenario 2 - Editing Live
The second assumes you are going ‘as live’. This is where you edit the video while recording just like live television.
This scenario requires very little post production as this was completed during the filming
- Create all the assets needed (i.e. intro/outro slides) before the stream and insert them into XSplit so that you can do a minimum amount of work in post as possible
- Add intro and outro and make any quick edits if required in Premiere Pro
- Get final approval from Product owner
- Upload and go live
By following this rule you can best assess what type of method you should use when creating a video. For example, if the video is an interview (basic two shot), use the Live option as you can do all the editing as you record/stream live.If however you are creating a creative video such as a corporate video or promo, then follow the traditional method in scenario 1 as these types of videos benefit from extensive post-production work.
To ensure your videos gain maximum exposure, you need to promote them in various ways. The following are the steps to do this.
Add to social Media accounts
Add link to the new video to all social media accounts including:
Email all staff
The second step is to email all the staff with the links to the posts you have made. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to be able to re-post the original messages. Use a tool like http://clicktotweet.com/. Example email:
Hi All, A new interview is now live on SSW TV. You can see it at [urls of video] Can you all promote the video in the following ways: 1. Can you tweet [url generate by ClicktoTweet] 2. Optionally, comment, like and share the post on Facebook [url of Facebook post] I appreciate the efforts from everyone :) Cheers,
Email the interviewee
The person(s) featured or interviewed in the video should be encouraged to share and promote your video. If they have an audience that follows them on social media you should leverage it to your advantage. Ask them to:
- Email the video to their list
- Write a blog post on their blog
- Update their social media accounts with a link and description of the video
**Hi John,** Thank you for taking part in this video. You can find it here: [url of video] We have worked very hard on this video and are very proud of the final product. We hope you are also proud of it. We are promoting the video through our blog and social media networks and would appreciate if you could do the same to get the word out there. Could you do the following: 1. Write a blog post on it 2. Tweet it by clicking >>here<< [clicktotweet url] 3. Sharing this Facebook Post [post url] 4. Adding to LinkedIn 5. Emailing your marketing list with the interview (if you have one) 6. Emailing any friends and associates who could spread the word Thanks for taking the time to do this interview and promote it. Raj
Contact strategic partners
The best way to extend your reach and promote a video is through strategic partners. These are people, companies or websites which don’t compete with you but service the same audience. Examples of these types of partners are:
- Blogger in your industry
- Industry websites
- If you are an accountant, partner with a financial planner, business coach, insurance salesman or prestige car dealer
- Industry experts
You should ask the partner to:
- Email the video to their list
- Write a blog post on their blog
- Update their social media accounts with a link and description of the video
You should have a list of these partners in a database with all their contact details to automate the process of promoting your videos.
AVCHD is a highly compressed ‘HD’ format used by many modern consumer and professional cameras.
Because of the limitation FAT32, AVCHD cameras record to their memory in 4GB chunks. These split files need to be combined using software into one file that is usable in editing programs, such as Adobe Premiere Pro (Premiere Pro will read the split files directly from the camera, however, if you try and manually combine all the files in the timeline you will have problems with the audio at the beginning and ends of each split clip).
We will go through the process of using Sony Content Management Utility software to correctly and safely convert and transfer the raw footage from your camera to your computer.
Transferring and converting the footage automatically
- Install the ‘Content Management Utility’ software. (http://www.sony-asia.com/support/download/401976)
The utility works by creating a database of all files that are transferred to your computer. You have to select folders that the software will ‘register’ as its destination folder. Before launching the program, you need to create a destination folder.
- Create a folder in your data drive called ‘Capture_Dump’. This should be the default place you transfer all raw footage to (you will move the footage from here to your project folder as described in a later step).
- Open ‘Content Management Utility’
- A dialogue will prompt you to navigate to your destination folder. Navigate to the ‘Capture_Dump’ folder you created in step ‘1’ and select it. If you do not get this prompt, select the ‘Register Folders to View’ button on the top left of the window:
- Connect the camera to your computer, and using the LCD, press 'USB Connect
- Open the ‘Content Management Utility’. Click on the camera icon on the top left of the window to open a new transfer window:
In the new import window:
- Select the camera in the left column (or select the folder icon if you’re transferring from a memory card). Video thumbnails will appear in the central part of the screen.
- Select the clips you would like to transfer to your computer.
- At the bottom of the window, click the ‘Change’ button and rename the folder to: ‘[date]_[Project-Name]’
- Finally, select the ‘Import’ button on the bottom right of the screen:
- After the import is complete, navigate to the folder using Explorer. Check each of your videos to make sure they play. You want to check for any corrupted videos or videos containing artefacts. Skip through the video so you can thoroughly check its content for issues. Tip: Use VLC media player as your default player for .mts and .mt2s files. (http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html)
- After you have checked all the videos, delete the clips from the camera directly (you cannot delete them via the software). Tip: Only do this if you are sure the transferred videos contain no issues.
- Move the footage from the Capture_Dump folder to their relevant project folders located on your hard drive.
Transferring and combining the footage manually
If you are unable to use the Content Management Utility for some reason - maybe because you are on site and don’t have access to it, and you need to transfer files off the camera to make room - there is a manual process to combining the files later.
- To find your recordings, navigate to G*:\AVCHD\BDMV\STREAM
- Note: Replace ‘*’ with the appropriate drive letter of your camera Follow the steps outlined here: http://avchdvideos.blogspot.com.au/p/joining-my-avchd-videos.html
When updating a version of a video (especially in a corporate environment), it's wise to let the rest of your team know where you're up to. It can detract from your amount of hits if you include the version details in the title, so it's best to find a subtle way to incorporate it into the video itself.
Figure: Bad example - the version number is too large, too dark and too obvious
The best way to label the version is as follows:
When a team member creates a new version, they should change the minor (i.e. the number after the decimal point)
When the product owner affirms a new version, the major changes (i.e. the number before the decimal point)
There is a myriad of video formats and codecs that exist for all project types. It’s important for your project to use the correct format depending on what it is you are doing and what you want to achieve with your video.
Most, if not all, modern video cameras sold today record at 4k resolution. Also, modern compression types allow you to 'squeeze' the large amounts of data that would normally take up gigabytes of storage right down to something that can be streamed over the web, without too much loss of fidelity.
Because of the ease of recording and compressing down 4K video, it seems like a no brainer that videos should be produced in 4K rather than HD 1080p.
Where possible, do your camera work in 4K, and then when you edit your project do it in 1080p so you can use the extra resolution to 'fake zoom-in'. If the client specifically requests the highest possible video quality, stick to editing the project in 4K.
After your videos recorded and edited using your editor of choice, you need to choose an appropriate export setting. Assuming you're making the video for web streaming (e.g. YouTube), here are the best export settings:
Export Settings for Adobe Premiere Pro:
- Select H.265 as your format
In the Video tab, the Bitrate settings will be pre-selected depending on the resolution selected.
- For 1080p we recommend 5-10Mbps (smaller number smaller file size, less quality)
- For 4k we recommend 20-30Mbps
- In the Audio tab| Bitrate Settings | Bitrate [kbps] | 320kbps
Export Settings for Camtasia
A lot of your audience will not always be looking at your video. A sweet sound to make you look at the video is a great idea.
Timestamps are simple captions added to the description of a video. You can add the timestamps for each section (or chapter) in a video. This is especially useful in training sessions, presentations, or any long length video. The user can even use the YouTube slider at the bottom to easily navigate through these video sections.
Note: You can go extra and add Chapter Markers (table of contents) on the video screen. This is done in video editing tools.
Steps to do this:
- Go to YouTube in your browser
- Play the video through the timeline until you reach the moment you want a link to
- Make a note of the time
- Type in the timestamp (E.g. 04:41) on the video description. This also works on comments
- Save and YouTube will automatically add a link to that exact time of the video
A digital on-screen graphic (or DOG) is a watermark logo image that broadcasters place in the corner of the screen area to create a brand identity for their program or broadcast.
Why is brand identity important during a video broadcast?
Having a DOG is essential for a video to create instant professional brand recognition. It creates consistent branding that is visible no matter when or where the broadcast is played or replayed.
A video is often embedded in external pages and having the DOG asserts ownership of the broadcast and maintains a point of contact for the producer of the video.
You can also use a DOG to create interest and audience anticipation of future broadcasts.
A Good DOG must:
- Be instantly recognizable
- Not obstruct the content
- Be in a semi-transparent format - usually 50 % transparent white
- Remain consistently placed throughout the broadcast
It is important to frame a product presentation with solid introduction and closing statements.
Intro: “Hi, I’m Steve here to show you what I just did” Closing: “Thanks for watching”
Figure: Bad example - This closing statement ends the video abruptly, and doesn’t leave the viewer satisfied
Intro: “Hi, I’m Steve from SSW and I’m going to show you how our latest feature – the project breakdown report – can give you an overview of where your employees are spending their time. Closing: “I’ve just demonstrated the usefulness of a project breakdown report to understand what it is your employees are working on”
Figure: Good example - The opening and closing statements back each other up, and give the demonstration a sense of purpose
You should never use any copyrighted work without permission. When it comes to videos, if you have licensed music or songs on your YouTube video, it might be entirely removed from the site. To avoid this, use royalty free music.
Royalty Free Music
There are many options available for purchasing high-quality royalty free music.
Audio Jungle is great for finding sound effects and Foley sounds. You can also find many great full-length songs that suit corporate video. However, the music style is typically geared towards online ads and marketing videos and doesn't quite have that 'professional' sound you get from bands and mainstream artists.
If you want audio that sounds more like professional music created by bands and artists but still designed for corporate, then use Art List Music.
Making a video of a responsive website as it appears on a mobile phone takes some extra care. If you do not zoom in correctly or use the right browser tools your video can be too small to see or it may not be clear it is a mobile emulation.
You should use Device Mode & Mobile Emulation in the Chrome browser to make a video an emulated mobile phone view.
Figure: Bad example - Using your browser makes it hard to see the video is a mobile phone demo.
- Use Device Mode & Mobile Emulation in Chromes Dev tools. You can watch or read a great intro to this tool on the Chrome Developer Website
- Choose the mobile phone size you want to emulate.
- Use Camtasia or an alternate video screen capture software of you choice that allows you to zoom in post production. Unfortunately this is not available in Snagit, which we normally suggest to use when making screen casts.
- If using Camtaisa, set the video canvas to be HD for better video quality on YouTube. Figure: How to adjust the video canvas in Camtasia to export HD video to YouTube.
- You can directly upload your video to YouTube from Camtasia by clicking on share in the main menu and entering your credentials.
You can watch an example of a video shot of an emulated mobile view using these toolsdescribed in this article here. ** **
If you don't have Camtasia or ScreenFlow, you can use the built-in QuickTime Player to record the screen on Mac OSX.
Open the QuickTime Player through the Applications folder, or by using search (Ctrl + Space) and typing QuickTime:
From QuickTime Player, you can start a new Screen Recording from the File menu:
In the Screen Recording window, you an select which microphone to use if you want to record audio:
Tip: Alternatively, you can use Loom , which works as a Google Chrome extension.
The goal is to have a presenter give the editor zero cuts. Editors should inform the speaker when they have to clean up their presentation in post-production (and you think they would likely make the same mistake again next time).
When the editor hits an issue, talk to the speaker, show them the problem and make them practice doing it again, the right way until you give them a 'pass'.
Now you can hope they won't do it next time, and you won't need to do an edit.
Most developers like to set up their screen efficiently – often that means small fonts, visible bookmark bars and a huge amount of browser tabs and taskbar items. While this is great for efficiency, it is not very good for recordings or presentations, and the clutter should be removed.
Before recording your screen reduce visual noise by:
Open the tab in its own window
Zoom in to 125% by holding Ctrl and scrolling up on the mouse wheel
Unnecessary bookmark bar
- Windows shortcut: Ctrl + Shift + b
- Mac shortcut: Cmd + Shift + b
Audience shots are great except when you don’t have a full house. In this case you should move people to be next to each other.
TIP: To ensure you get the best shot possible, fill seating from the front back. It's a good idea to use VIP signs and place them on the back row to prevent people sitting there initially. These can be moved later when all seats are filled at the front.
When you've finished a PBI you should record a video to send to your Product Owner and anyone else that is interested. A 'Done' video is much better than a screenshot because you are proving the PBI workflow actually works. Even better, this video can double as documentation or release notes for your users.
When deciding whether a PBI might be a good contender to record a done video for, consider these factors:
- Is it a key piece of functionality that has high business value?
- Would it be difficult to quickly demo in the Sprint Review without a video?
- Is it UI heavy? i.e. would the video be compelling?
- Solo "Done Video" – Camtasia
- Remote person – Zoom or Teams (bitrate is low – the sound is not as good as Camtasia)
- Edit the Video – Camtasia or Adobe Premiere Pro
Here's a quick video describing how to record and edit a quick done video. (Notice how it itself is also in the done video format?)
Figure: How to make a 'Done Video' ** **
**For a great 'Done Video' here are the key things to remember:**
- Start with “Hi everyone, today I would like to show you xxxx”
- Don't just demonstrate your new feature, start by showing the problem you are solving and the pain of why you needed to add the feature
- Record it in one take. It doesn't matter if you stuff up or something goes wrong, treat it like you're having a conversation with them in the room. If it's super bad, just start again.
- It's supposed to be quick and easy to make. If you spend too much time, you will be less likely to want to do it again in the future.
- Be quick and concise, you don't want to waste other peoples' time either!
- In your browser, remember to hide visible bookmark bars, browser tabs, add-in icons, and taskbar items to make it easier to view.
- In your browser, such as Chrome then you should first zoom to 125% ideally.
See Rule: Do you always zoom in when using a projector? (or in this case before the recording a 'Done' video)
- Set your screen resolution to 1080p (1920x1080).
- Use Camtasia to record your screen and webcam (PC and Mac). For Mac you can use Quicktime but it’s not as flexible.
- Don't edit the video, Don't edit the video, just include your face at the beginning and end, using the fading functionality. Tip: If you are using Zoom you do not need to edit the video. Zoom includes your face automatically in the screen capture. Awesome!
- Do not use headphone and mic combo sets as these are not as good as your webcam's microphone
Remember : smile at the beginning and end of the video!
Tip: Some offices have a professional setup. E.g. SSW have the Marantz Turret hardware and desktop recording kit. The Turret is an ideal device to record these videos as it has a professional podcasting microphone, built-in light and good quality High Definition video camera.
Learn more about the Turret:Product Review: The Marantz Turret — Wistia
Camtasia - Let's look at an example by Ben Cull
E.g. SSW TimePRO - Power BI Ad-Hoc Reporting:
Figure: A real example of a 'Done Video' with Fades
Tip: Fix the audio before making any cuts to the video
After recording your video, you need to do some basic sound processing to make the audio awesome. * In the Timeline, select the clip with the audio * On the top left panel, click ‘Audio Effects’ and drag the ‘Levelling’ effect onto your clip * On the timeline, move the new audio meter up just until the audio waveform is about to hit the top * Listen and adjust as necessary
Tip: Camtasia 9 - How to fade-out and fade-in the video track of your face in Camtasia 9
1. With the video track of your face selected, click on **Animations (1)** . Track 3 in the image below. 2. Select the **No Opacity (2)** animation effect for the fade-out. 3. **Drag and drop the No Opacity effect (3)** to the point in the track where you want to fade-out. Adjust the start and end point of the fade using the handles on the animation arrow. 4. Select the **Full Opacity (4)** animation effect for fade-in. 5. **Drag and drop the Full Opacity effect (5)** to the point in the track where you want to fade-in. Adjust the start and end point of the fade using the handles on the animation arrow.
Final Step – Export your video
Follow the steps to export your video:
1. Click the Share button on the top right of the window
2. In the new dialog, select custom production settings
3. In the next window, uncheck the ‘Produce with controller’ option
4. In the ‘Video settings’ tab, copy these settings:
- Frame Rate: 30
- H.264 Profile: High
- Encoding mode: Quality o Increase the quality to 100%
5. In the ‘Audio settings’ tab, make sure the Bit rate is set to 320 kbps
6. Click Next and save your file!
You need to capture a presenters’ laptop, and they’re using PowerPoint. You decide to use a screen capture software like Camtasia or ScreenFlow.
While this may be ok in some scenarios, there are many situations where software capture is not an ideal way to capture screens, instead, you should consider a hardware solution.
Using software like Camtasia or Screenflow, you can't guarantee you'll capture the actual output of the laptop.
Another issue is how long it will take you to process the screen recording for editing later; you will need to convert the screen recording from its native format to something like h.264 mp4, which can take a while.
Using a hardware solution, you are able to capture whatever the output of the laptop is, so it doesn’t matter if the presenter changes from extended to duplicated, you will always capture the image being sent to the projector.
Another benefit of using hardware capture is a direct recording of an editable format, for example, a h.264 MP4 file that can be used in your video editor of choice.
Figuring out how your workflow works is an essential part of the editing process. As such you should make sure to have an effective and consistent file/folder structure.
This is an efficient way for a 2-3 person team to structure their files/folders:
- Cutaways (optional)
- Video (optional)
- Audio (optional)
- Cutaways (optional)
- Video (optional)
- Audio (optional)
- General Cutaways
A branded intro and outro will associate the video with your company. Intros are the visuals at the very beginning of your video, while outros appear in the end.
You can get your own video reusable intros and outros at SSW's Video Production services page.
There are a number of reasons you may want to subtitle your video.
Sometimes, the audio recording is too low, and adding gain to the audio will introduce unwanted noise. In this instance, you want to add subtitles using your editing program.
Use the following:
To maximize reusability and minimize costs, it’s best to avoid including dates as text in graphics for promotional videos.
If there is some particular value/purpose in including dates there may be exceptions to this rule.
When recording a Microsoft Teams or a Zoom call (e.g. an interview) the software will automatically compress the sound, reducing the quality. To give the host the best sound quality, record the audio locally with a good microphone connected to an audio recorder (e.g. A Zoom recorder).
This higher quality audio should be used in post-production eg. When editing in Adobe Premiere Pro.
Figure: Good example – Brian Tyler Cohen and Adam Schiff – the setup is likely Zoom and a good mic
It is important to back up your work regularly to a separate location to prevent any loss of data. Ideally, back-ups are saved to a server or cloud-based file storage for ease of access.
When building projects, ensure that files and folders are labeled clearly. For example, use different folders for different file types - footage, images, exports, and projects, etc. This ensures that another team member (or your future self) can easily find all the assets associated with the project. File structures should be consistent – both among team members and over time.
A good file structure should also include storing finished projects separately from the working files. In a team environment, this system can also incorporate file ownership with different users.
File names are also very important - they are the principal identifier of a file. They need to include information about the content and context of the file.
Always use version numbers when saving – don’t use the word ‘final’. It is much easier to follow the progression of a project with numbers, both to find the latest version or to revert back to a previous one if needed.
Sometimes you have multiple versions of a video as you improve it and you zz’d the title of old versions.
If you need to delete them, then It is important to take a copy of the ‘data’. The data is views and comments and can be simply emailed to the Product Owner prior to deletion.
Aligning expectations with stakeholders is key to success, especially for creative content where the outcome is very variable. Make sure you define what kinds of videos need what quality level.
- Extra equipment needed to film, more filming locations, lots of B-Roll, many rounds of feedback, high level of audio post and colour grading etc.
- Why work at SSW – to go on https://www.ssw.com.au/ssw/Employment/default.aspx
- Home page video – to go on https://www.ssw.com.au/ssw/
- Landing page video – to go on https://www.ssw.com.au/ssw/Consulting/Web-Applications.aspx
- Any high value videos that generate sales that will live on your website rather than just your social media
- Consulting page videos
- Testimonial videos
- Basic equipment used to film, less B-Roll, fewer round of feedback, quick and dirty colour grading and audio post
- All the videos from the latest conference/event
- Brainstorming day video
- All Social Media videos
- All User Group videos
- All Event videos
- All Rules videos
In order to get the best content possible and use up as little company time as possible, it is always recommended to sit down with the speaker/interviewee and come up with 10 questions about the video that was just recorded.
Make sure the questions:
- Are difficult & challenging - as a student you should have to take notes and really absorb the entire video well in order to get 100%
- Are based on the 10 most important points in the video
(if you have time) have 4 multiple choice answers for each question
- Other options include 'fill in the blanks', 'short answer' and 'multiple choice/multiple answer'
- Pay particular attention to important points in the video that might have been easy to miss
When you’re making a cake the things that matter are the ingredients you use.
Likewise, when you’re making a video, the things that matter are the cuts you choose.
A jump cut is a straight cut between the same piece of footage (which helps shorten the video).
For example, if you are doing a piece to camera (single presenter talking to the camera), you can cut out parts in between sentences – and leave it obvious - to quicken the pace of the video. This is a popular editing method used by YouTubers and is great for more casual style of videos.
Good example: SSW Rules Video Opening sting dips to black. Watch the intro - 0:00 - 0:06