Video Production Tips

4 Workarounds for common video production problems

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Whether you’re creating videos for a business, personal brand, or just for fun, it’s never been easier to start producing videos. High-quality equipment is increasingly accessible (most new phones shoot in 4K), and the internet provides you with an instant platform. Nevertheless, there are still many hiccups you can encounter along the way. 

Let’s explore how to tackle four of the most common hurdles in video production and provide creative workarounds for each. 

1. Camera or gear issues

Sometimes gear that works for another creator just doesn’t work for you. 

This could be for a variety of reasons, like physical limitations, steep learning curves, and mobility.

For example, you might be looking to use a camera stabilizer to get smooth motion shots. A vest stabilizer with a heavier camera might be too physically demanding if you’re shooting for long periods. If you’re a wedding videographer, you might not want that kind of bulk. Complex camera rigs might also require more time to master than you can invest before shooting. In these cases, a gimbal or glidecam is a better alternative.

A heavier camera might also not give you enough mobility on set. In this case, something like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema would be a better fit. 

if you’re on a very tight shooting schedule, you might need a two-camera setup, but not be able to afford two expensive cameras. Consider Steven Soderbergh’s method on his 2019 Netflix feature, High Flying Bird, shot entirely on the iPhone, using the FiLMiC Pro App. He filmed many scenes with two iPhones at different angles, which saved a lot of time.

Ultimately, you want gear that simplifies your process, instead of complicating it. Before you invest in renting or buying equipment, see if you can get access to the gear you’re interested in through friends and test it out first. 

Gear that works well for others just might not suit you, and it’s better to find that out before you start creating videos.

2. Budget constraints 

If you’re a solopreneur or run a small business, you can relate that finding the proper funds to fulfill your vision can be a struggle—but that’s where creativity comes in. 

As Orson Welles said, “The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.” 

There are many ways to get high-quality visuals at an affordable price, such as using royalty-free stock videos

However, if you’re shooting video and looking to pull off some smooth tracking shots, but can’t afford to rent or buy a dolly setup, consider using a gimbal instead. On High Flying Bird, Soderbergh used an iPhone connected to a DJI Osmo and a wheelchair to pull off tracking shots through the crowded streets of New York City. 

Professional lighting equipment can also be very expensive, but you can get great-looking footage with only natural light. Again Soderbergh relied entirely on natural light and one 12x12 LED panel.

Schedule shots for the best times of day to take advantage of the natural light you’re looking for. You can also find a camera that performs well in low-light settings like one of these. Not having to deal with lighting setups also saves a lot of time when shooting on a tight schedule. And as Soderbergh did, consider investing in one all-purpose light like one of these

Good quality sound is also essential, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. An inexpensive pair of lavalier mics and an on-camera mic might be all you need. 

Props and costumes can also be expensive, but consider trying the “Robert Rodriguez method” of seeing what cool props, locations, cars or even people you have in your circle and build your idea around that. 

Finally, if you can’t get access to a drone, you can use stock footage of aerial city shots, like those found in Clipchamp’s library

3. Music licensing challenges

High-quality music can take your video content to the next level, but clearing songs from your favorite artists is often tricky. 

If you’re planning to distribute your content, you must make sure you have the appropriate copyright licenses. If you post something without the rights, things can get ugly fast.

Youtube has had its Content ID algorithm in 2014, which scans for copyrighted material on Youtube and alerts the copyright holder immediately. The rights holder can then have your video removed or place ads in your video that they make money from. You can get permission to use a song on YouTube with a little effort though.  

Youtube also has a strike policy: three strikes and they take your channel down. In some cases, this could mean getting sued as well. Facebook has a similar algorithm, and Twitch is developing one too. 

Historically, music licensing was a complicated process that involved getting permission from multiple copyright holders. But with stock music libraries like Soundstripe, you can access a portfolio of high-quality music and never have to worry about legal issues.

So why risk it when you get access to music from great artists at an affordable price? 

4. Color Temperature 

If you review your footage and notice that some shots have a blue-ish tint (usually indoor shots) while some have a red-ish tint (usually outdoor shots), you might not have set up the right white balance on your camera before recording. 

This is a very common problem and can be corrected! 

If you shot in RAW format, you can simply change the white balance setting retroactively. 

In a compressed format like H.264 or ProRes, you can use an easy video editor like Clipchamp and color correct your footage. See ClipChamp’s guide for color correction here.

As with any creative endeavor, video production has its challenges. But with the solutions we’ve discussed, and your creative spirit as your guide, you’ll be prepared to tackle them head-on.

Good luck!

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