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Camcorders: 5 Tips For Producing Video For The Web

Feb 18, 2008
If you've just bought a camcorder or are considering a purchase, chances are you'll want to produce some video for the web. Learning to shoot video for the web isn't difficult, but there are a few key points to consider. One of the first things you'll want to understand is how video works on the web.

First, you'll need to compress your video when uploading it to the internet. Compressing video basically means making it smaller so it can be loaded onto the web and users will be able to download your video. And since computers translate video onto the internet, you'll want to shoot your video in a manner that's most compatible for web users. If this sounds complicated ... it really isn't. Here are some general guidelines for producing video for the web like a seasoned pro.

Step One: Use A Standard Simple Background

Since your video will be compressed to fit web standards, the simpler you make your video, the better. The first important tip is the background of your video. Try to keep it as constant as possible. For example, video will translate better to the web if your background is a non moving object like a wall, instead of a constantly moving scene, like a street with passing cars. Your computer will have an easier time compressing your video files if the video doesn't constantly change from frame to frame.

Step Two: The Shorter The Better

Most internet viewers have a relatively short attention span. Be direct and to the point, and edit out any extraneous video. In addition, remember that most web video options like YouTube have a limit on the size and length of your video file. For example, YouTube clips are limited to 10 minutes. A good rule of thumb is keeping your video files 3-4 minutes long. You'll have an easier download and you won't lose the viewer's attention.

Step Three: Keep Things Stable

If you'll be shooting a lot of video for the web, invest in a tripod. Excess movement in a video makes it harder for the computer to compress the file and will affect quality. You'd be surprised how much movement and vibration occurs from just holding a video camera in your hand. Even the steadiest of hands will still have some vibration and movement. A tripod eliminates this problem completely.

Step Four: Buy A Good Microphone

This is probably the biggest mistake most new camcorder owners make. Inexpensive models mount the microphone on top of the camcorder, making it difficult to properly record your subject. If you're doing podcasts, invest in a good microphone. They're sold as an accessory and are really worth the small additional price. You'll find your audio quality will be significantly better.

Step Five: Use Close Up Shots

If you use more close in shots, your video quality will be better. Why? Because close in shots mean less information on the screen and the video will be easier to compress.

A Final Tip

A final tip is being aware of overexposure. Remember that PC's tend to make video a bit darker. When you're recording video for the internet, consider recording your video at a slightly higher light exposure. There's no hard and fast rule, so you'll want to experiment a bit and see what works for you and your end users.
About the Author
Did you find these camcorder tips helpful? If so, you can find more in depth information about camcorders at our new resource site, including recommendations, information about new models, and dozens of camcorder video tips.
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