Web Video Production: Basics You Can’t Ignore

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According to a study by market researcher, ComScore, a staggering 83.5 percent of Internet users in the US watched at least one web video in January 2011. That percentage is attributed to at least 171 million individuals.

With a ready audience for web video out there, you can use this medium to gain the necessary viewership your video is targeting. But then once something is cheap and readily available, there’s going to be stiff competition. Professionals with HD video cameras and even kids who shoot video with their mobile telephones upload thousands of videos to the Internet daily.

The sheer volume of web video uploaded makes it extremely difficult for any single web video to be noticed unless it can stand apart from the rest. One way to get your video noticed over the Internet is by employing sound web video production techniques as explained below.

Web Video Planning

What do the majority of the web videos out there have in common? They are amateurish and don’t generate much interest among web video viewers. They are passed over for better quality videos on the same subject.

The main reason for the amateurish quality is lack of planning. Obviously most of the videos don’t have a script behind them. That is the main reason why their content lacks depth. Shot sequence leaves much to be desired, as the videomakers had not taken the trouble to visualize the video content they were going deliver over the Internet.

If you want to deliver worthwhile video content over the Internet, you should write a script and storyboard your video before shooting it. Just because everyone else is delivering below-par web video is no excuse for you to follow suit.

Imagine you are delivering video to the National Geographic channel or your favorite TV channel. Wouldn’t you write a script and the storyboard the video? In short, even if you are an amateur with entry-level equipment, you have to think like a pro and adopt the planning techniques of the professionals.

Web Video Shooting

While the planning stages may be similar when it comes to different types of video production, it is a different ball game when it comes to shooting video for the web. Chances are you will need to compress video for the web and if you want to come out with video that translates well for the web, you would want to take heed of the following tips.

Firstly, try to keep camera movement to a minimum. Camera movement is important for appealing videos. However, delivering your message clearly is more important than camera angles.

Don’t use a busy background or foreground especially those with patterns. They do not translate well when it comes to web video. If you are shooting a talking head video, put your subjects against a dark of black background. White background and those with lighter colors are not compression-friendly and your video may end up with artifacts.

There was a general rule that you should not use wide shots for web video. This is because web videos are viewed over small screens and thus details in a wide shot may not be visible to viewers. Nowadays you can watch videos in full screen on most video sharing sites and you get to watch most of the details in a wide shot.

But thenViewing a web video in full screen mode requires a fast Internet connection. Since not everyone has a fast internet connection, you should stick to the rule if you want your video to do justice to the message you are trying to deliver.

Editing Web Video

Video editing programs have dozens of transitions and special effects that you could apply to your videos. When producing a web video, keep in mind that the safe bet is to use cuts and dissolves when it comes to transitions. Ignore the special effects if they are not going to enhance the message of your video.

In addition, do not try to be fancy when creating titles. You surely would have watched good web videos, which have nothing more than white titles on a black background. Your aim is to deliver your message simply, not to be pretty. Avoid superimposing titles on the subject of your web video. Just use a separate black frame and enter your titles in white or any lighter color. This will not be pretty but it delivers your message without distracting the viewers.

Outputting Web Video

When outputting video, the best bet is to use the preset that comes with your video editing program. Usually it would be output to YouTube or output for web. Video buffs never agree on the best output formats for web video. If you care to explore this aspect of web video production further, check out this article on web video compression.


Article information based on writer’s experience of producing web videos. Additional ideas gleaned from Professional Web Video: Plan, Produce, Distribute, Promote, and Monetize Quality Video by Richard Harrington and Mark Weiser.