Making good online digital video

Effective Digital Video Tips

Many people think it’s easy to make effective digital videos on the web, but there’s a lot more to it than just pointing a camera, adding some titles, and uploading to YouTube or your website.

Truly effective videos share a number of key characteristics:


You need to catch people’s attention and draw them in. As soon as you start to waffle, people will go to another website and you’ve lost them. That doesn’t mean that even when you have a great story well told that people won’t wander away – it just means you have a better chance they’ll keep watching and hear your story. Story-telling is probably the most important element.


People can spot in an instant when you’re faking it. So be real, tell the true story, what you really believe, and consider it from the point of view of your viewers. What attracts people to your site and this page? Is your video adding value to the viewer experience, or is it a distraction? Many companies employ actors to present the values and philosophies of their business – in my opinion, this is not as powerful as having a company employee or the boss do it. Flaws and all, ordinary people are often much more believable. A good video company will facilitate the personalities to show through. Being too flashy can backfire.


Videos on your website should have a purpose, and the language and content should fit with the page that it’s on, in other words the video should be consistent with the rest of the page content. This does NOT mean that you re-iterate what’s on the page word for word or paraphrase it. What it does mean is that the video should add to the meaning of the page  so that viewers’ experiences involve more senses and thinking processes. That way the content as a whole – web page and video – tells a combined story with much more impact. This is especially effective when the design, i.e. the visual communication, is consistent between the page content and the video.


Spend some time thinking about your keywords, description, and tags, when you are planning your video rather than after you’ve made it and already uploaded it. Make sure they are relevant to your video and the rest of the page. For many people the keywords and tags of their digital video content are an afterthought, something that stands in the way of publishing – however they are critical in allowing people to find your videos, and when people view them because the content is relevant to what they searched for, they’ll generally keep watching.


With today’s digital video cameras it’s easy to shoot video that actually lacks seriously in terms of quality. The quality of your digital video can get in the way of viewers ‘getting’ your message. Think carefully about your filming process…
sound: what microphone, room acoustics, background noise
motion: are you using steadyshot when you pan? If so the pan will stutter and look terrible. If your shutter speed is too low, any action will be blurred – this can be desirable or not depending on what you’re trying to achieve
colour: do you know how to set the white balance, and what effect that has? How about exposure?
focus: get familiar with how your camera’s focus works. Many digital video cameras have ‘focus assist’ which makes it easy to recognise problems with the auto-focus and then use manual focus to overcome them.
lighting: there are many resources online that explain the principles of effective lighting, so I’ll invite you to Google them; but do spend some time discovering basic lighting principles and you will be rewarded with much better quality digital video footage.
resolution: this is the number of pixels your camera has, and the resolution of the footage you take depends on settings as well. So swot up on your camera’s settings – more resolution is better.