Here at Kahn Media we get sent a lot of photo and video-related content from our clients. We appreciate it, as it’s nearly impossible for us to shoot every event, meet, show, race, shop visit, etc. In an effort to maintain some quality control as well as reduce time burned, I have compiled this list of guidelines. The guidelines are universal and can make a world of difference in the end product and the process leading up to it.
We’ll start with video work since it demands more specific settings and consumes a lot more space.
- Shoot with a tripod whenever possible. This is an effort to reduce the amount of shake and vibrations in our videos. When I’m out filming cars, I always have a tripod with me. For interviews, stationary shots, moving shots, pans, and everything else, these shots look a lot more professional. When the footage is more professional it shows that your company puts a lot of effort and thought into every little detail.
- Shoot everything in the same format. Now with HD cameras especially you are given plenty of options in how the camera will record its footage. Varying formats in the same project not only looks less professional, it also can be entirely incompatible.
- At Kahn Media everything as of right now is shot in 720p and the majority of footage is at 30fps. Why? Because the majority of our video goes online, and YouTube maxes out at 720p, but this format still looks good on a TV screen.
- Use a GoPro Hero HD? The setting R2 for 1080i/p is largely unnecessary for most internet-based projects and will just result in a larger file size.
- If you shoot something with the intent of it being turned into slow-motion footage, keep the 720p and shoot at 60fps. This is double the frame rate so the slowed footage will look much smoother.
- Normal Footage: 720p/30fps
- Slow Motion Footage: 720p/60fps (R3 on the GoPro)
- Import the Footage from the Camcorder. It is important that you import footage from the camera instead of dragging files over like a hard drive. Cameras don’t automatically record to an editable file format. The footage needs to be imported into an editing program. Cameras come with software to properly import footage and many other programs are also capable of doing this. I’ve been receiving a growing number of .MTS files lately as well as many other non-compatible formats. We have ways of making MTS files work eventually but it is very time consuming and just delays videos further. The exception to this being GoPros which record into a .MOV file format which is perfect for editing.
- Import footage – don’t just drag files over (Except for with Gopros)
- Desired files: Uncompressed .MOV Files
- Shoot high-resolution. We don’t need or necessarily want RAW files for event coverage and/or blog posts. However, a high-quality JPEG can go a long way.
- Shoot with the sun to your back. This is for lighting/exposure purposes of course. You can do a lot with ambient (natural) light if you utilize it properly. This tip can help you eliminate a lot of unwanted shadows and will clean up the look of photos significantly.
- Show as much as you can. Take photos of everything going on. A cool car, a race, a funny story, a cool story, anything relevant.
- Avoid busy backgrounds. Nothing kills a shot quicker than having your competitors’ vehicles in the background. Always try to get your company’s car separate from anything that could make the photo unusable.
- Get multiple shots of each car. Get overview shots and specific shots of your product. If possible, get photos that include the vehicle and owner’s info (Ex: A tag at a car show)
- Interview customers. Ask people questions that use your product. Film their reactions (use a microphone if possible). Take some notes, maybe a good write-up or caption could be tied into the photos. People also enjoy feeling like their voice is heard, especially if it’s by the companies that they have given their hard-earned money to.
- Show people having a good time. Get shots of people enjoying events you sponsor, or customers enjoying your products. This can be as valuable, if not more so than a traditional commercial. People like companies that not only have good products but also reinvest in the community and give that community a chance to enjoy themselves (Ex: Muscle car events for the Muscle Car Community). Make a point of showing that you support the community and that people are enjoying events you sponsor.
- Have fun. If you’re having a good time while shooting and experiencing the cars or races it’ll carry over to the footage. Our goal here isn’t just about showing company’s products, we want to show that our clients are into fun. All of our clients have products that are used in fun applications like races. We want people to see footage from events that our clients contribute to and/or participate in. If someone uses a client’s product in the race I will show that person using the product and usually interview him or her as well. It’s better to have more footage and sort through it than coming up short on footage when working on something.
It’s important that you put some effort into the quality of photo and video work for your company. Customers, both current and potential, will notice the quality of this and directly associate it with your product. The cleaner and better shot everything is, the better the company’s image. Follow these steps when possible and have a good time while doing so and it’ll work wonders.
I can’t wait to see what you guys can do.