Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsOne of the things that's most off-putting when watching a video is when the way it's made gets in the way of your message, right? However good your message is, poor planning of your video content can be really distracting, or even off-putting. Different kinds of messages allow for different styles of video as well as different equipment. The most important thing to do before hitting the record button is to plan your message. What do you want to say or show? It's helpful to make a few notes before you start, because understanding the tone or key message behind the content will help you to choose the right setup. Is your message casual or formal? Serious or playful?

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 secondsCan it be explained by one person, or would it work better as a conversation between two? Do you need to show something to the audience? If so, is it a static object, or do they perhaps have to see a process instead? All of these things might influence the way you set up the shots and who or what is in front of the camera. Think about which platform your video is going to be on. If you don't know yet, or if you want to share it in multiple places, you'll need to pick something that works in all relevant formats.

Skip to 1 minute and 21 secondsBut if you know most of your audience is on a particular platform, then do some research and see what's working best there. If the video formats that are doing well on that platform fit the tone of your message, then create it specifically for that platform. For example, Instagram is great for personal storytelling and creating a more intimate connection with your audience. And if you're using Instagram stories, you can even add extra information and graphics to your videos. Keeping your video concise and to-the-point increases the chances that people will watch the whole thing, so don't be afraid to edit. The next thing to do is to choose your backdrop.

Skip to 1 minute and 58 secondsLocation matters and can make the difference between an average video and one that really helps the message land. Shooting inside is generally a good idea, as you have more control over your environment. Choose somewhere that isn't noisy. A quiet room is best. Try to make sure there's nothing too distracting in the background and that you're not in a place where other people could accidentally get into and ruin your shot. However, try to avoid standing in front of a blank wall. It can make the shot quite boring, and if you're wearing the same colour, then there's a chance you're going to blend into the background.

Skip to 2 minutes and 32 secondsGetting the technical stuff right can make your video pop, but that doesn't mean having professional recording and editing equipment. Great video content can be made using a good smartphone as long as you get the planning of your message and location right. There are also some technical distractions to consider. Audio issues, camera stability, and lighting can really affect your video. If you can use a separate audio recorder, like a second mobile phone or a microphone, this can provide great audio. But this does mean that you'll have to synchronise the footage with the audio afterwards in an editing programme.

Skip to 3 minutes and 7 secondsIf you want to keep it simple, just do a test recording at the same distance you want to film at to make sure the audio is at the right level. For stability, use a tripod or another method of steadying the camera to avoid wobble. This can also help you shoot in an interesting way, like showing the presenter's hands doing something. Make sure your video is well lit-- not too bright, and definitely not too dark. Avoid direct lights and anything that casts a shadow, especially on the presenter's face. Above all, get practicing. The best way to develop your video style is to try something and watch it back.

Skip to 3 minutes and 42 secondsYou'll quickly learn what works and what doesn't, and soon you'll be making videos like a pro.

Give it a go!

As we’ve learned in the previous steps this week, there are many factors to consider when selecting the right platform for your content.

It’s equally important to think about making sure your content has the most impact and engages you and other audiences.

In this video, you will hear about some simple tips to help your videos shine online.

Have your say:

Have you experimented with making videos and sharing them online? After watching, share your tips or experience in the Comments section.

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This video is from the free online course:

How to Create Great Online Content

University of Leeds