Five Things to Avoid When Producing Web Video

There are a million guides out there that will tell you what frame rate, bit rate, codec, and editing software to use. These tips are excellent and should be followed to create as professional a broadcast or podcast as possible. Unfortunately, there are some common traits among amateur web video that find their way in to otherwise perfect productions. Here are five things to avoid when producing web video:

If you’ve got a camera on you, it’s also on everything behind you. As a rule of thumb, everything the camera is or might be pointed at should be treated like a movie or television set. If you film out of your bedroom, take five minutes prior to hitting the record button to make the bed and arrange things around the room to look as open and uncluttered as possible. What may be a typical room to you will look like a terrible mess on camera. Viewers have a tendency to imagine the whole room based on the little section they see. If that little piece isn’t right, the whole space may as well be a cluttered mess.

Constant Movement
Video made for the web is compressed and compression does funny things to video. If you have a habit of holding the video camera with your hand and pointing it at yourself or your subject, break it. Invest in a tripod or mount that keeps the background as still as possible. This will not only improve the way your video looks after compression, but it will also improve your subject’s appearance. Each frame is given a certain allotment in terms of bits to generate the image. If little has changed from the frame before it, those bits can be used to make what is moving in the shot look smoother.

Bad Lighting
Lighting is essential to good web video. If you use a low-watt table lamp that looks alright in person, you can bet the video will prove otherwise. It’s better to have lighting that is a bit too bright than a bit too dark. Artifacts, which appear as colored specks or scattered snow, show up much more in a dark shooting environment. Give your subject some light, and if you want to make things look dark and dreary, you can do it in post using a video editing program.

Low or Inconsistent Audio
Most decent video editing programs out there will include audio controls. If you can’t actually affix a virtual audio processor and/or compressor to the audio track, take the time to normalize the audio to a reasonable volume. Audio normalization is one of the fastest and most effective ways to turn mediocre video in to something more professional. If you have the means, work out a system to mic your subject to get the best audio possible. Built-in microphones on smartphones and camcorders can work, but you are far more likely to get good results with an external mic. Because many viewers actually listen more than watch web programs, poor audio may be one of the most important things to avoid when producing web video.

Bad Camera Placement
The subject you are filming should be front and center on screen. If your web video has someone’s head at the bottom of the frame with a large space between the top of their head and the ceiling of the video, you should consider repositioning either the subject or the camera. As a rule of thumb, allow no more than 10% of the total height of the video to show space over the head of your host. If you film at a wide angle from across the room, make sure that it’s clear the person doing the majority of the speaking is the focus of the shot. No mater how cool your set is, your production will suffer if it doesn’t revolve around the subject.

Halo 3 Slayer

Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes – You’ve seen me review the new Halo 3, and play the Oddballs custom game. This time, GamerAndy and I are going to try Slayer.

I received an advance copy of Halo 3 hanks to my friends at Edelman PR. I’ve already done a review on the game, and played Oddball .

I asked Andy if he’s tried Forge yet… he indicated he hadn’t, but thought it would be boring. Dude! Hardly! How cool is it when you blow things up, record it, play it back and freeze frame it… then take screenshots!?

Again in Slayer… just like with everything else on Halo 3 thus far… the graphics are just WOW. I keep using the word “astounding” over and over, but it truly is.

At least with Slayer, I died in vibrant color and detail! Who says I can’t be a true gamer? For those of you asking if you should get a PS3 or an XBOX360… just watch these videos, and decide for yourself.

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Halo 3 Oddball

Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes – Watch as I play the custom game “Oddball” on my pre-release copy of Halo 3. I’m playing with my friend GamerAndy, and I got one point!

I received an advance copy of Halo 3 hanks to my friends at Edelman PR. I’ve already done a review on the game. Now I’m going to try out a couple of the custom games.

The active Camo is amazing. I continue to be astounded by the sheer beauty of the graphics in this game. Absolutely… amazing.

Oh yeah… and I didn’t lose!

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Halo 3 Sneak Peek

Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes – I was lucky to receive an advance copy of the new Halo 3 that is due out in a few days. I played it last night with some friends to test it out, and decided to do a short review today. In a nutshell, if you’re waiting for Halo 3, you won’t be disappointed.

Thanks to my friends at Edelman PR, I was able to get my hands on a perfectly legal advance copy of Halo 3. I know many people are anxious for the release, and will be standing in line for this game.

First, let me warn you that your disc may have a slight scratch on it like mine does. The little plastic thingie in the case doesn’t hold the disc in there very well. However, I am able to play the game with no problems at all.

Now… on to the good stuff! The graphics in this game are absolutely astounding!!! The detailing is amazing, and the “trash talk” on both sides is excellent. I have a feeling this will be the most popular Halo version yet.

I know, some of you want my gamertag. It’s Lockergnome. However… don’t waste your time. I’m more of a Tetris kind of guy. I enjoy playing this, I’m having a great time with the demo… but you can see me getting my rear kicked while I’m at it.

UPDATE ON SCRATCHED HALO 3 DISCS If you purchased a copy of Halo 3 and your disc is scratched, Microsoft will send you a free replacement .

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The Politics of Security

Online Security is important. Flickr users in China, Iran, and Iraq feel the same way I do – though Microsoft employees in Lebanon and Israel don’t (since they’re all on the Mac). An Online Search for the keyword yeilds few results, so perhaps we’re in need of more Education – or more Firefox Advertising from the Bush Administration?