They can be used as a marketing tool to introduce a business, to offer tips and advice and to give details about a new service.
But often when I look at them, my heart sinks, because I know that the business owner is not doing themself justice: the videos frankly look amateurish and sloppy.
With just a bit more thought, they could produce a far more polished film, which really enhances their brand and stands out from the crowd.
Here are some tips to help you do that:
1. Brand them
Get your logo in every shot, so that anyone watching can be in no doubt about your company’s name. Position yourself in front of a poster with it on, sit in front of a computer with it on the screen saver, stand in front of your business premises with the name plate in vision.
2. Put it in context
If you’re talking about knitting patterns, make sure you have a ball of wool in shot, if you have a farm shop, film it behind the till, with some lovely produce on view, if you’re a fitness coach, make sure you’re in a gym.
Don’t film yourself in front of a window, as you will be backlit – meaning you’ll look rather dark and sometimes even in silhouette.
4. Shot size
If it’s a ‘piece to camera’, ie someone speaking straight to the camera, try to make sure the size of the shot is what is known as an MCU – a medium close up. Essentially it means the viewer can see your head and shoulders. Watch the TV news and you’ll see what I mean. This size is most comfortable for the viewer to watch – if you’re face is too large in the frame, then it is a bit disconcerting.
5. Double-check the shot
Do you have a plant, or a window frame or a picture sticking out of your head? Is your hair brushed, your clothes tidy, your teeth clean?
Try to shed some light on your face. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated – use a table or anglepoise lamp positioned in front of you, slightly to the side.
Keep it short. People’s attention span watching online is generally short, especially for a film which doesn’t have action, but is simply a piece to camera.