Creative video techniques part 3Jul 12, 2022
Lights! Graphics! Music!
Ok, so that’s not exactly the cue you or anyone in the business of filmmaking is used to. Lights! Camera! Action! Is what most of us in the industry screech at the beginning of a take.
But lately I’ve been challenging myself – and you! – to think outside the film canister.
If you’ve been playing along at home, you’ll know that I’m getting to the pointy end of this capsule series, which is all about helping you produce creative and engaging videos that will leave your audience wanting more, more, more.
In post one, I looked at camera angles, movements and speciality shots. While in post two, I turned my eye to on screen performance, voice over and narration, and sound effects.
Now it’s time for instalment three – and this week I’m covering off three techniques that will ensure you create next level videos stories.
There’s no time like the present, so let’s get straight into it.
Add flair to your video with lighting
Thanks to social media and our enduring need to look camera ready all the time (it’s exhausting, right?), lighting tools have become far more accessible and affordable.
Ring lights and flash guns that can be affixed to your smartphone can be bought online or at most department stores for a few hundred bucks, if that!
But if you want your video to look a bit more professional (but still super creative), you might need to dial things up a touch.
If you watch the Moonshine Moonshot YouTube series , which I host with Mike Hill, you might have noticed that we tend to stick to traditional TV lighting. And while it’s effective… it’s also not al that creative.
So what are some other lighting techniques you can try out?
Noir style lighting is something that many emerging filmmakers gravitate towards. It’s a technique that uses light and shadow to indicate mood. It can add real depth and drama to your video story, to make it feel almost dream-like (or nightmarish perhaps).
Another option is putting your on-screen talent under a spotlight. This is great if you’re doing an interview-style video where the heat is on and the questions are intense, maybe even accusatory. You can up the ante further by having the interviewer backlit, to create a real separation between interviewee and interviewer.
You might also consider including a background colour wash, which helps to weave unexpected shadows or shapes into your set. Colours help to symbolise mood or feeling – yellow is often considered a warming shade, while blues usually cool things down.
If you were making a documentary about a true crime, a blue colour wash might help to elevate your storytelling. And the story is the key to finding the right lighting for your video. So make sure you give some considered thought to the story you’re telling before picking your lighting technique.
If you’re struggling to visualise what I’m on about here, be sure to check out episode 22 of Moonshine Moonshot. Mike and I play around with our show lighting to give you the full visual experience.
Why you need to incorporate graphics
Graphics are a very simple way to make your videos far more creative and impactful. They can add a huge amount of value without costing a bomb or sucking too much time out of your packed schedule. They’re also great for brand identity and awareness – not to mention they’re an excellent means to enhance your video’s key messages.
Plus, the options are almost endless! From lower thirds to name titles and animated logos, there’s a lot of ways to have fun with graphics and turn your video into a visual feast.
If you’re producing an information video with lots of pieces to camera, graphics are a powerful way to keep things a bit more dynamic and visually stimulating for your audience. You might want to introduce a full screen slide with bullet points or a quote to clarify the points you or your talent is speaking to.
Graphics also add visual structure to your storytelling – you can use on screen title cards as ‘breakers’ to add tempo and texture to your video’s narrative.
You don’t need to start from scratch either. You probably have a whole suite of branded assets on file that you can incorporate – or even animate – to make your video pop. Tools like Canva enable you to twist static images into moving masterpieces in just a few clicks – but you can also turn to a professional graphic designer for a little extra assistance.
Lean into music
One of the secrets to amazing videos is the music. It will help to elicit emotion in your viewers, set the scene and just make your video more interesting overall.
But there are millions upon millions of tracks out there – how do you decide on the right sound for your video?
For one, you can engage a composer to craft a completely original and unique piece. Of course, composers don’t come cheap. So if you’re on a strict budget, there are also a stack of stock libraries that let you license low cost and even free tracks.
I’ve used all of these options and I promise that they can all inject some much needed creativity into your videos
For my bigger film projects, like Conquering Cancer and Deadly Heart, the team at Moonshine Agency and I have had music composed. But for shorter videos that are less likely to be seen on a cinema screen, we’re more likely to use something like Premium Beat to source the sound.
My top tip? If your video is more than 90 seconds long, consider using more than one music track. It will help to give a dynamic range to your story.
Also! Watch your sound mix. Because if the music is too loud, your audience will struggle to actually hear what your on-camera talent is saying, which can be super irritating.
So go on, use these techniques to get more creative with your videos
To recap, these are the techniques I recommended in this post:
- Playing with your lighting
- Utilising graphics
- Incorporating music
Try out some or all of these ideas and let me know what worked, what didn’t and what you haven’t been brave enough to try yet. Better still, send me a link to your video. I’d love to see it!
And if you’d like to keep learning with me, please join me in the Define Your Ideal Audience online course. I’ll show you how to find the right audience for your next film project so you have the best chance of making major impact when you share it with the world.
Movie making magic emails*
Emails that make you a better filmmaker. From us to you each week.
*anecdotal only, magic has not been scientifically proven
We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason. Not even in exchange for a unicorn.