Do's and Don'ts for Making Videos

Do's for video production

  • DO have good lighting.
    Good lighting is probably the single biggest determining factor in the quality of your video image. Well-lit subjects shot with an average camera will produce a better picture than poorly-lit subjects shot with a high-quality camera.
  • DO have good sound.
    Viewers will put up with poor image quality before they will tolerate poor sound quality. If they cannot hear your video, they will click out of it.
  • DO use a tripod. 
    Shaky video has to be controlled to be interesting. Otherwise, it’s just shaky video. Use a tripod or other stabilization techniques.
  • DO plan. 
    Write the narration. Plan the shots. Have a vision for the editing. Plan the shoot. Scout the location. The more you plan ahead (called pre-production), the better the video will turn out.
  • DO keep it organized. 
    As you shoot, create and use a system of organization for the footage. Naming the raw files to identify the project and the shots is helpful for editing.
  • DO backup. 
    Keep multiple copies of raw footage and edits as you go. A dedicated hard drive is recommended.
  • DO emphasize the visuals. 
    If you watch the evening news, you’ll notice that what you’re really paying attention to is the video, not the script. The script does enhance the video, but at the end, you remember what you see more than what you hear.
  • DO keep it short and concise. 
    If your topic is complex, such as explaining the world’s political conditions that lead up to World War II, then two hours would be concise. But most online videos should be simple enough that one or two minutes would be sufficient. Base the length of the video on its ability to keep the audience’s attention.
  • DO keep it simple. 
    Video projects both big and small should start with a clear storyline, if it’s a narrative, or an objective, if it’s a presentation or something similar. Having a clear objective for your video can be very simple and useful and will save time and energy.
  • DO make decisions based on the audience’s needs and/or desires and not yours. 
    The video is really for them, not you. Who will be watching your video? What do you want them to do as a result of viewing your video? Now ask yourself what is the most critical thing you can show them in your video to reach this outcome? That is your objective.
  • DO pay attention to storytelling. 
    Storytelling is the mission of any video. Imparting your message, i.e. story, is the heart and soul of video making.
  • DO vary your shots. 
    Variety keeps your audience awake. Use a variety of shots, including long shots, medium shots and close-ups. Use shots that show motion rather than just a static image of someone talking. Edit with a flow and a pace in mind. Add background music, making sure it's properly balanced to emphasize the narration or voiceover. Watch other videos to get ideas for your own.
  • DO use exteriors and general campus scenes. 
    The UNT campus is a beautiful place, so show it!

Don'ts for video production

  • DON’T rely on your equipment and technology as a substitute for good technique.
    The world’s most fantastic equipment cannot make a good video by itself. Fantastic lighting and quality storytelling will produce a better video than HD resolution with lousy lighting and fancy, but empty, special effects.
  • DON’T take your audience for granted.
    No one (except your mother) will watch your video simply because it exists. Please your audience.
  • DON’T be too static.
    Avoid showing just a single person sitting in front of a camera talking.
  • DON’T be too restless.
    Constant zooming, panning or cutting between moving shots can give your viewer a headache. Mix motion with easy-to-view still shots to keep audience interest and focus
  • DON’T say everything.
    Let the visuals tell some of the story. If you can show it, don’t say it. It makes for more interesting video.
    Example: Denton Jazzfest
  • DON’T shoot from a million miles away.
    Get close up to the subject. Fill the frame. Be aware of every inch of space. Don’t let anything into the frame that distracts from the subject or scene focus.
  • DON’T show other schools' logos, graphics, etc.
    Use UNT branded signs and clothing whenever you can.