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Beginner Video Tips and Tools for Marketing your District

Posted Date: 01/13/2021

Beginner Video Tips and Tools for Marketing your District

So, you’re probably wondering how to make high-quality videos for social media. Our hope is that after reading this article you will be able to understand the basics of video composition, lighting, and exposure!


Let’s kick things off with a pre-shoot checklist!

  • Clean Your Camera Lens – Use your shirt. Your phone lens will not scratch because it’s most likely made of Crystal Sapphire. If you’re using a camera, use a microfiber cloth and wipe in circles or use a dust blower.
  • Keep Your Hand Off the Mic – Try to hold your phone with just your fingers.
  • Check Your Audio – Make sure your mic is plugged in all the way. If you’re using a microphone, also check that there is no static in your audio.


Be aware of your surroundings

Now that we have the simple things out of the way, let’s talk about a few universal tips that you can use to make a professional-looking video without a professional video camera.

  • Soft Lighting: Create Contrast (but not too much). You can do this by using windows! Light your subject from the front or side using soft sources of lighting such as large windows that don’t have direct sunlight shining through.

soft lighting illustration

  • Dynamic Backgrounds: Don’t be plain! Make your frame visually interesting. Try to use dynamic backgrounds such as bookshelves or a treeline. This can take a video to the next level.
  • Create DepthPull your subject away from the background. Moving your subject further away from the background will create depth, making your background less distracting. As a result, your viewer will be drawn to watch the subject.
  • Composition RulesLeading Lines “lead” your viewer’s eyes to the subject in the frame. Take a look at the leading lines within this image.

composition rules example


The Rule of Thirds suggests that you place your subject on the top third of the screen. If you have two subjects, split the difference between them like in the image below.

Rule of 3rds example


Let’s talk about audio!

Most people think that video is all about how good the image looks. While it’s important, I would argue that audio plays a greater part in a video than the image does. People are much more likely to deem a grainy video or bad composition as acceptable than they will for bad audio.

  • Get your Audio Right
    There are three “run & gun” ways to get on-location audio that I recommend: shotgun mics, portable audio recorders, and wireless transmitters. In addition, your phone is most likely great at capturing audio and reducing background noise.
  • Minimize Echo
    Film in an area that doesn’t have a lot of echos or lay blankets around your subject to diffuse audio. The closer your mic is to your subject, the better the audio will be.



Now that you know the basics of composition and audio, let’s move on to exposure! I know it may seem SUPER tempting to shoot in auto mode, but I promise that if you learn how to do this the right way, you’ll have a ton of control over your image!

With that said here are the four major settings that make up videography:

  • ISO
    The sensitivity of a camera’s sensor. General rule: Keep it as low as you can. Pro Tip: Find your camera’s native ISO and use that as often as possible.
  • Aperture
    Control how much light is being let onto your sensor. General rule: Keep it as low as it can go in order to reduce how much you have to boost your ISO. Use ND filters to retain a lower aperture outside. A lower aperture creates a greater depth-of-field.
  • Shutter Speed
    How long your sensor is being exposed to light. General Rule: Double your frame rate to find what shutter speed to use. Example: If your frame rate is 30 your shutter speed should be 1/60th.
  • Frame Rate
    How many frames are being captured per second. 24 frames per second emulates a ‘cinema look’ while 30p footage is sharper when used with a higher shutter speed like 1/60.

Mastering each of these things will help give you an incredible look and feel in your videos! Thanks for reading! 


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For a more in-depth look into the skills discussed above, watch the full webinar below.