The first step to making any good digital media production is to prepare your content. Your message should be clear, concise, and to the point. Once you have prepared your content, you can either hire a professional to help you produce a digital media production or you can do it yourself.
I wouldn’t discount out of hand the option of hiring a professional to help you produce your digital content on the basis of the process being too costly. In many cases, pros are streamlining their services to fit the burgeoning market of producing digital media. Also, a pro can help you organize your overall production and will likely get the technical aspects of the project right the first time.
With that being said many small business owners and amateur enthusiasts are producing their own digital media for their websites, social media, and other online platforms. Hopefully, these 5 tips will help you achieve better results.
1) Stay within the limitations of your equipment.
For example, a smartphone shoots fairly good video if you stay close to the subject being recorded and use plenty of light. Light is the fuel for any camera. Don’t forget, the microphone is inside the phone too. Therefore, the closer you are to the subject the better the video will sound as well. If you design your production around these limitations and invest in a basic editing app you can achieve good results. For goodness sake, edit out your hands reaching toward the lens to turn the camera on and off. Better yet, add a fade out or other transition when the video is over rather than just having the video cut off.
2) Know how to maximize the use of your equipment.
It is one thing to ask too much of your equipment but yet another not to know how to be creative with what you have. This, at times, can be done as easily as reading the instructions. The finer points will come with trial and error. Take some time and experiment with the settings and placement of your equipment. Online instructional videos and usage forums can also be helpful although be aware that there can be false information in many of those places. Instructional online information provided by the manufacturers of your equipment and their reps is often the most reliable.
3) Find simple and efficient production software tools.
The advantages of software in the digital age are related to editing and mixing functions. For example, in the days of analogue studio recording, mixing a recording down was essentially precision copying. Numerous raw audio tracks that were first recorded onto a multi-track recorder were then run through a mixer, and the subsequent mix of those tracks was rerecorded onto a stereo machine. This would be the copy that would generate what end-users would get with all of the sound levels balanced out.
Now, raw audio and video data can be digitally arranged and manipulated by software into a final version without any external steps resulting in signal loss. (Not all digital formats are the same. Be aware of what you are doing when converting file formats.)
Choose software that operates easily and performs the basic production functions and edits that are the most important to you. Software that is loaded with functions and performs all of them well is expensive, complicated, and may require better computers and interfacing for maximum use.
4) Don’t rely on software to create something that isn’t there from the start.
Although software is great for many things but I wouldn’t advise planning on fixing too many problems in post-production.
Let’s use audio as an example. There is an old saying in the recording business. Garbage in, garbage out. Do your research! Know what type of a microphone works best within your budget and in different given situations. Learn how to best set up the microphone with the proper accessories for the results that you are trying to achieve. Record a clean and rich audio signal. Don’t rely too much on signal processing within your software to create something that just isn’t there.
Just as though the truth never changes, your productions will have a greater consistency over time if you stay true to the audio source. The more you tinker with your recordings to make them sound better, the more your results will vary and at times sound artificial.
5) Know when to be satisfied with what you’ve got.
I understand what it is like to be a perfectionist. As you work on one project you will learn better techniques and inevitably feel the urge to go back and redo something. Unless it will clearly make a night and day difference, save that experience for your next production. Otherwise, more often than not you will spend an inordinate amount of time redoing material with only marginally better results.