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Shooting Web Video: Mistakes to Avoid

written by: Kumara Velu•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/1/2011

It's much easier to distribute your video through the web and reach thousands of viewers within a short period of time. Despite the convenience, shooting video for the web is a tricky affair and beginners often end up making costly mistakes.

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    When you distribute your video through the web, you save the cost and hassle of burning your video to disc. Secondly, you can reach a wider audience through video sharing sites for no cost at all.

    You thus make your video available anywhere in the world 24/7.

    Despite the convenience, shooting video for the web is a tricky affair.

    Always tell yourself, it’s not how good your video looks on your camera LCD screen that counts. What counts is how good it will look over a web page.

    Here are some mistakes you could avoid when shooting video for the web.

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    Lighting

    If you’re lighting your video for the web, go for soft lighting that’s even. Avoid what is called hot spots – patches of brightness in certain areas. Uneven high-contrast lighting will not compress well for web.

    If you’re shooting outdoors, and the light is harsh, try as much as possible to bounce the light on to your subject.

    When you’re shooting indoors and available light is insufficient to produce good video, avoid using on-camera light.

    They don’t give you balanced lighting and often produce hot spots. Instead, diffuse the light through a flimsy cloth.

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    Wide Shots

    You may want to include wide shots to add more variety or depth to your video. However, wide shots don’t translate well in a web video. Users mostly view web videos in a small window. Even if they switch to the full screen mode, the video, which is usually highly compressed, would show artifacts.

    Keep your shots as tight as possible, especially when your subject is talking.

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    Background

    Avoid backgrounds that distract your main subject. If you can’t avoid a busy background, focus it out of your video.

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    Titles

    If you would like to include captions or titles on the bottom half of the video, shoot in a way to leave ample space in the lower third of the footage. In a web video titles have to be given ample space to be easily read. Make sure the space they take up don’t intrude into your main subject.

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    Motion

    Avoid too much unnecessary motion for your web video. You may have noticed that sports videos don’t compress well for the web and you end up with a quality lower than a talking-head video.

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    Tripod

    To keep your shots as stable as possible use a tripod. When you have a camera on your tripod, avoid zooming or panning. Keep your camera as still as possible. Too many camera movements will result in poor compression and thus lower quality video.