Film Slate

Top 5 tips for Short Video Production

Let’s say you were commissioned for a commercial (or shooting an original short video); it may seem a whole lot easier than shooting a feature film or TV series. However, what goes over many videographers’ heads are the principles that belong exclusively to the short form narrative. It would be wise to familiarizing yourself with these rules before going off and shooting. Here are 5 tips on making a short video.

Open Strong

There is no room for dillydallying in short content. Time is limited and you need to be able to grab an audience member immediately in order for them to pay attention and not scroll away. What is often called a ‘hook’ (a strong opener) is anything that grabs the audience’s attention in the beginning of a film. This not only pertains to original shorts, but also commercials and corporate videos too.

Keep it simple

The size of the production depends a lot on the size of the budget. But whether it has a low budget or a large budget, a short is still a short. There doesn’t need to be an ensemble of characters, subplots, or over-the-top exposition. The story needs to be short and to the point. Explain the essentials of the message clearly and quickly. It could be a story of a space alien on a date, or a grandma telling a story to her kids. But no matter the size of the budget, you’re telling a story that needs to be wrapped up in a few minutes.

Only hire the right people

Video productions often have either too many or too little people working on it. The best way to solve this problem is to hire multi-talented people who not only know what they are doing, but can also take on different jobs. Hiring these people will often save you time coordinating jobs. This will also be easier for the crew since they will already know how the person works rather than having to get comfortable with somebody new.

Be economic

Video production has this magical ability to make money and circumstances disappear overnight. Whether you’re working with a large budget or a small one, being as conserving and economic as possible is always a plus. To be clear, that does not mean one has to cheap out. You can still have quality while being careful with your budget. These are essentially small things like shooting with the 4 same extras but changing their clothes and their make-up to make them seem like different people. Or another idea would be negotiating with restaurants to let you shoot there if you pay them for lunch. Make no mistake; the little favors you do now build up to big profits later on.

Be visually appealing

Video is a visual medium. So with short films and commercials, the visuals need to be the foundation of the story. Even dialogue driven commercials portray the subjects in appealing environments. It’s fine if all you’re doing is showing a guy talking about a past event, but what are they wearing? Are they energetic and funny or calm and dour? What is the mood of the scene? What is the location? This is not radio; people expect the visuals to be appealing as they communicate the message to them. Make the story memorable, and the people will remember your video long after its past.

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