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The Five Elements You Need to Make a Professional Video

We’ve all seen videos that should have been professional, but something didn’t quite work right. It can be difficult to pin down just what makes a video stand above the rest. After years of making videos, we’ve figured out five things every professional video should have.

These are the five elements you need to make sure your next video project not only looks professional, but is.

High Quality Video

It should go without saying that getting the highest quality video you can is the name of the game here. However, what “high quality” means can be deceiving. 

If you’ve just started stepping into the world of video, you’ve probably run into people dismissing every camera that doesn’t record 4k video. 4k represents one of the highest image qualities on the market today, but there’s a trick. Most people watch videos on devices that don’t support 4k. Even major motion picture studios like Warner Bros. use 2k and convert it later. A professional video is more than its technical specs. 

High quality video doesn't just mean filming on the most expensive camera out there. To make a truly professional video, you need to incorporate a few more elements

Recording Audio

Unless you’re going for that silent film aesthetic, you’ll probably need to record some audio. People tend to have a higher threshold for poor video quality than for poor audio. Recording great audio to match your video comes down to knowing how to use your gear. You can get great sound from smartphones or camera’s onboard audio if you pair them up with affordable, entry level mics. When you’re recording, listen to the track to make sure it sounds the way you want it and stay aware of things like echo and background noise. 

Set your audio up for success by giving yourself time to practice with your gear and get used to your recording conditions. 


Lighting

Great lighting can stop your next video from looking like or a horror movie—or make sure it does if that’s what you’re going for.

There are plenty of tricks for making sure your lighting is exactly where you need it to be. The first is to understand the difference between hard and soft light. Hard light casts deep shadows and gives a sense of drama while soft light casts an even, friendly tone. The sun is a great source of hard light, but if you wait for a nice, overcast day it can become the best soft light around. You can also use a flashlight app on your smartphone to fill in some shadows on your subject. 

Just like with audio, you should take the time to test your filming location before hand to see what you are working with. 

Motion Graphics

This is what really sets apart a professional looking video from the crowd. Motion Graphics are an offshoot of traditional animation and are all of those amazing graphics you see on screen in a high quality video. 

Basic motion graphics can really change how a video is perceived by an audience. Think about your local TV news programs. They use a variety of motion graphics. Everything from animated titles, logos, to those quick animations that introduce names and locations increase the quality of a video. It’s interesting to think about what a professional news broadcast would look like without motion graphics. It basically becomes a “talking head” YouTube video, just filmed with incredibly expensive gear! 

Telling Your Story

At the end of the day, everything we’ve talked about today has one job: to tell your story. 

Your story isn’t just the words you say on a video, but all of these other techniques that put together the final project. In a sense, even a short commercial has everything a full blown movie does, only in miniature. 

The quality of your video and audio, lighting, and the use of motion graphics all come together to create something greater than the sum of its parts. When you start your next video project, think about how you can bring these elements together to tell your story.

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