Creative video techniques part 4Jul 19, 2022
Get creative with location, set dressing and wardrobe
Can you believe I’ve reached the fourth and final instalment in my mini series on creative video techniques. Time flies when you’re making movies, right!?
While I’ve already considered performance, lighting, graphics, camera angles and a variety of other techniques in parts one, two and three, there’s actually a few more creative tactics that you can utilise to push your video story forward. Things like location, set dressing and wardrobe.
I promise that all three can really enhance the overall production value of your video.
Let me show you what I mean.
Location, location, location
If you’re creating a video on a tight budget, you might not be able to afford the most outstanding filming location. Sure, in an ideal world we could all jet off to Capri or Saint-Tropez to shoot our next passion project and call it ‘work’. But, well we don’t live in an ideal world - do we?
Plus (and I’m sorry to burst your dream) but unless your video story is specifically tied to the Italian or French experience, these locations probably wouldn’t make that much sense….
That being said, as an impact filmmaker I’ve been fortunate to film right around the world for some of my projects. From remote communities in the Top End of Australia, to apartments in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and the bustling streets of New Delhi.
It’s a big part of the reason why I love my job so much. For Conquering Cancer, we actually filmed across six continents (we didn’t quite get all the way to Antarctica – another time!), which makes for an incredibly diverse visual journey for the audience. By the way, if you’ve not seen Conquering Cancer, you can watch it via Vimeo on Demand.
Now, while I definitely encourage you to play around with your filming location to make your videos more visually stimulating and exciting, the right location will usually come back to what your video is actually about.
If your video calls for a hospital setting for example, wheeling a bed into your boardroom probably won’t cut it. And if you can’t film in the location that you originally planned for? Be sure to tweak your story accordingly.
Have fun with set dressing
Believe me when I say that you don’t have to get all that fancy with your filming location. In fact, we shoot every episode of the Moonshine Moonshot series on the same set at our HQ in Melbourne. If you’re a regular viewer, you’ll probably have noticed this. But there are some subtle ways that you can play with your set dressing to keep things that little bit more interesting for your viewers.
If you film a regular video series like we do, simply switching out your props can make a big difference. We change up our background poster art every week, but you could also use books or plants to add some extra visual creativity. Spinning the camera angle by 180 degrees to show an alternate perspective of your set is another easy but effective approach.
Even if you’re only making a one-off video, the same points apply. And learning to set dress is an important skill to develop if you plan on making more videos in the future.
Here are a few things to consider when dressing your set:
- Utilise props that add depth and texture like pieces of art, plants, knick-knacks and books
- You want your set to give your viewer a clear understanding of what the scene is about
- Ensure your set reflects your video’s story
Ok, on to tip three….
Looking good on camera
And no – I don’t mean you need to spend hours in hair and make up or get a spray tan two days before shoot day (but if that’s your style, by all means). But paying some attention to your wardrobe – or your on-screen talent’s wardrobe – really is worth your time.
As much as I hate to say it, image is everything when it comes to videos. The wrong wardrobe can distract your audience and steer their focus from your key messages to that chunky piece of jewellery you threw on at the last minute.
I mean imagine if I filmed Moonshine Moonshot wearing a ball gown from Valentino? You’d probably just end up wondering how on earth a documentary filmmaker can afford to wear haute couture while she’s doing her day job. You probably wouldn’t take anything I actually said on board.
Your choice of wardrobe should reflect the mood of the scene (and its environment) but not completely blend in or clash with the backdrop. You might consider multiple options on shoot day so you can trial a few looks and decide what works best.
For Moonshine Moonshot, Mike and I (usually) both change outfits for every episode – but throughout this four part mini series I tossed the rule book out the window and wore the SAME clothes
Yes really. Go back and watch all four episodes now and tell me if you noticed.
Are you ready to get more creative with your camera?
These are the secrets my team at Moonshine Agency and I turn to pretty frequently to keep our videos fresh, engaging and creative. So I hope you’ve found this mini series helpful and maybe even a little inspiring.
Here’s what we’ve covered in all four parts:
- Camera angles
- Camera movements
- Speciality shots
- Narration and voice over
- Sound effects
- Set dressing
Before I sign off, I do want to reiterate that incorporating any of the techniques mentioned throughout this series into your next video project will only pay off if it makes sense to your story. There’s no point filming in a trendy underground warehouse if your video is about primary school education.
But if those eery wind chime sound effects or that sweeping drone footage relates to your story? Go for it. And please, share your creations with me!
Up for more learning? Sensational. Join me in the Define Your Ideal Audience and figure out who your video is talking to before you even pick up a camera or engage a production crew. You can learn more and enrol over here.
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