Lockdown has spearheaded something of a content explosion, with everybody from bored, furloughed bar staff to temporarily unemployed musicians creating videos and livestreams. Though this has undoubtedly showcased some genuinely engaging material, it has also filled many people’s timelines with decidedly average or poor-quality content. Unfortunately, as the novelty of livestreaming is still quite new to many people, the actual content they plan to offer comes as something of an afterthought. For professional broadcasters and those with experience of audio content creation, this can lead to some insightful, humorous, and genuinely entertaining improvisation, for many others, it leads to a lot of awkward silences and meaningless chatter. Probella have come up with ten ways to elevate your video content beyond the mundane.
Backgrounds and Settings
The current situation obviously means that most people are severely limited when it comes to the backdrop, they have available to them, but there are things you can do to combat this. A simple tidy up and a test shot to make sure things like your laundry basket or untidy bookshelf are not in shot can take minutes, but you would be surprised how many people forget to do this. If you have no choice but to film from a messy space, consider digitally altering the background your viewers see using software or a low-cost projection screen.
Structure and Flow
Though many of the most successful podcasts and livestreams sound as if they are totally improvised, like many TV shows and stand up routines, they are often rehearsed or at least planned to a certain extent. A simple bullet point list that serves as a running order will help you to avoid stumbling over what to discuss next and spending some time working in neat segues is usually a worthwhile way to spend some of your preparation time. Though the free and easy, stream of consciousness style of delivery is becoming more popular, if you ramble too much, you will lose people very quickly.
When we say quality equipment, we aren’t talking about expensive, studio quality microphones or cameras that cost more than your laptop, but if you want to create something that people want to watch, you will need to pick up some specific tools to help you. Your phone headset may well pick up your voice clearly enough for it to be heard but investing in a basic condenser mic and a screen will mean you can avoid any uncomfortable rustling, crackling or distortion that may deter your listeners. Similarly, basic studio lighting can make a real difference to the way your video looks when it is recorded or broadcast. Even if you can’t afford to pay for this kind of thing just yet, there are a range of low cost apps available that will help you to create something far more professional than simply hitting record and sitting in front of your propped up phone.
Jingles, idents, and beds
Audio is a key component of any video content and the background or incidental sounds you use can matter just as much as the main content itself. Simple radio style idents can help to break up long sections and keep your audience paying attention and a well-mixed bed of background music can help to add an extra dimension to conversations. Using this technique also allows you to promote your brand or any sponsors that you may be working with. Providing you use them sparingly and do not let them dominate too much, audio motifs, short quotes from sponsors or songs you have permission to use can change a bland piece of video into something that has a genuinely professional edge.
Editing and After Effects
This can be more difficult to do when livestreaming, but it is still possible, especially with things like tiktok. After effects can provide an element of fun and colour to otherwise decidedly ordinary video content. Even simple techniques such as deleting silences between parts of conversations or adding replays to emphasise certain points can help to make your videos feel more professional. Though you might not need to add animations or play around with filters, adding a company logo in one corner of the screen to act as a watermark means you can promote your brand constantly whenever you upload or stream. In 2020, content that looks as if it has simply been filmed and uploaded with no thought or care will most likely be ignored.
Avoid Following Trends
Reaction videos, unboxing and ask me anything are now such common themes, they have begun to lose their impact. Though recording some of this content is fine, too much of it will make you seem like just another video maker who is hungry for views. Originality is key and you need to be providing something that people have not seen anywhere else. Although YouTube, Switch and Instagram have their own conventions that should be observed, do not feel as if you have to start speaking like an influencer or putting on a fake accent to fit in. The most successful video content never feels forced and comes across as organic and genuine.
Props, costumes, and sets
Details like this demonstrate that you have genuinely tried to create something of value. One positive about the current situation is that people are a generally more forgiving of content that feels a little rough and ready, providing the basics are still sound. A quick trawl of eBay and some imagination can be all you need to turn a weekly, bedroom-based diary on working from home into something with real personality and charm. Similarly, paying attention to what you are wearing means you can choose between a casual, very personal approach or something with a touch of novelty and fun.
In video content creation, details matter. It is no longer enough to simply film yourself talking or stream yourself working out. Viewers demand quality and a good reason to engage with what you have produced, so take the time to consider everything you film from the perspective of a viewer as well as a creator.