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The reason I’ve been blogging a lot less than usual is because I’ve been working on some exciting side projects here at WordStream, namely shooting and editing a lot of video (stay tuned in the coming weeks for more info). Many marketers want to get into video, but to say it can be intimidating would be an understatement. In today’s post, I’m going to share 15 tips for editing and producing marketing videos, so grab a cup of coffee and get ready for a crash course in marketing video production. The best marketing videos don’t just happen – they’re a result of meticulous planning and preparation. Before you even think about getting your camera equipment ready, consider putting a storyboard and shooting script together. Remember – the more time you spend planning your marketing video, the less likely you are to find yourself missing footage later on. Make sure all your presenters or subjects know what’s expected of them beforehand to minimize mistakes or wasted time on the day of the shoot. Also, try to avoid having your presenters memorize pages upon pages of script – they’re probably not actors, and asking this of them is likely to cause more anxiety (and mistakes) than allowing them a little freedom. Planning to intersperse shots of your team hard at work into your video, or cut away from your presenter to other footage? Whatever footage you need, figure it out during the pre-production phase to avoid situations in which you need footage you don’t have. TIP: If you need a shot of something that would be difficult or impossible to film yourself, such as aerial shots or footage from exotic locales, you can always use stock B-roll footage.
Whether you’re shooting a video or taking a photograph, composition is crucial to the finished product. Composition is the proper term for how a shot is framed and staged, or “composed.” This refers to how your subject – whatever it is you’re filming – is arranged and positioned within the shot. Notice how the primary subject in the image is positioned where two of the four points (which are known as the “anchor points”) intersect? This is a pretty standard composition using the Rule of Thirds, and although it might not seem that remarkable, composing your shot in this way makes it easier for the eye to “read” and results in a much more aesthetically pleasing shot overall. In the example above, the upper of the two horizontal lines is the logical horizon point for this shot, as using the lower of the two would result in the shot containing way too much empty sky. Many cameras enable you to overlay this grid onto your viewfinder, making it easy to compose your shot before and during filming. However you choose to frame your shot, make sure that you keep composition in mind, especially when setting up your camera. Few things will ruin a marketing video faster than a shot that is either too light or too dark.
Again, this is a complex topic and could easily warrant its own post, but for our purposes, all you need to know is that mixing two light sources with different color temperatures will make for an unevenly lit shot. If you position your subject too close to the window, you could run into a potential contrast in light sources – the fluorescent overhead light with a temperature of around 4500° K, and the daylight, which has a temperature of around 5600° K.
Now we know that different light sources have different temperatures, we need to account for these temperature ranges by manually setting the camera’s white balance – a process that basically tells the camera what “true white” looks like in an environment to avoid color casting. In the image above, the shot on the left has a blue color cast caused by the natural temperature of the daylight in the shot.
Many cameras have an auto-white balance feature, but I strongly recommend learning how to set it manually. Even if the color casting in the example above is the effect you’re trying to achieve, film the shot using the correct white balance and adjust the color in post-production – don’t rely on lazy camerawork to achieve a particular effect. Unless you’re filming a Broadway musical, you should probably avoid placing your subject in bright pools of direct light. To learn more about lighting for video, check out the awesome videos at the Vimeo Video School. You don’t need to soundproof a conference room in your office (but hey, if you can, go for it), but be sure to bear the acoustics of your location in mind when you’re scouting for possible places to film. Even experienced presenters make mistakes, and the last thing you want is a situation in which you only have a single take of a crucial part of your marketing video.
Before we dive into my post-production tips, you need to choose and familiarize yourself with your editing software. I strongly recommend using Adobe Premiere Pro, which has been my go-to editing package for almost a decade. Despite being a comprehensive professional editing suite, Adobe Premiere Pro is also surprisingly user-friendly, and the learning resources and user community at the Adobe website are amazing. When importing your footage into your editing program, clean up your clips as you import them. Editing the final sequence together using trimmed clips is a lot easier than adjusting each individual clip on the fly.
When editing a shot of someone doing something, make sure to cut to the next shot during the action that your subject is performing. For example, if you’re editing together a sequence of someone opening a door before walking through it, cut to the shot of the subject opening the door at the precise moment the person turns the door handle. Once you’ve got all the clips you need imported into your editing program, it’s time to start actually putting the rough cut of your marketing video together. However, before you begin the painstaking process of frame-by-frame editing, get your clips roughly into place.
Unless you’re making a Star Wars parody video (which would be kind of awesome in a marketing context), don’t use radial wipe transitions – or star wipes, or any of the other “zany” effect presets that come with your editing software. Not every video needs background music, but if you’ve decided that yours does, be careful about your choices. Remember – a record company won’t care if you’re “only” using copyrighted songs in a short marketing video.
You can also use certain songs and orchestral pieces if they are considered to be within the public domain.
Editing packages such as Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro are extraordinarily powerful and enable you to accomplish a great deal with your videos, but they’re not magic. Hopefully, this post has given you some ideas of pitfalls you can avoid when the time comes to start producing your own marketing videos. If you have questions about any of the points raised or anything else video-related, let me know in the comments – I’ll do my best to answer them. Professional video production can be a fiendishly complicated topic, and while the lowered barrier to entry is generally a good thing for marketers, small businesses, and even enthusiasts and hobbyists, there's definitely an element of expectation management involved. I agree that "few things will ruin a marketing video faster than a shot that is either too light or too dark." I think that it is definitely best to perfect the lighting in-camera if possible so that you don't have to fix it in post-production. I have been considering doing videos for my blog but I am very intimated by the idea of it. This article is extremely helpful for me because my husband and I are just starting a new company and need to make a few videos. Okay, you want to spend your time improving your images, not organising your hard disk, but following these four tips will take you just a few minutes but potentially save you hours of wasted effort and frustration later on. Enable both Convert to DNG and Save Copies To, set the locations and options for both, and click Get Photos. After importing your images into Bridge or Elements’ Organizer, take a few moments to tag them with relevant keywords.
Shooting digital eliminates the costs of processing film, but you might now have several memory cards full of hundreds of shots to assess. On your first look through, start by giving any acceptable photo an initial two stars by simply hitting Ctrl-2. If you wish, you can reduce any image’s rating by hitting Ctrl-< (the key with the comma on it).
Adobe’s Camera Raw (ACR) editor makes it easy to bring out the best in every shot or add a personal style, such as ‘high contrast, low saturation’. You can then apply this setting to any other image without even opening it in ACR: simply right-click on the shot (or multiple shots) in Bridge and select Develop Settings from the menu that pops open (You can also apply the Camera Raw Defaults or your last-used ACR settings).
What’s more, you can adjust any effects at any time by opening the processed image in ACR, or remove them without affecting the original file. The Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) editor is a fantastic option for perfecting the exposure and white balance of your images, and newer versions of the editor also include some superb tools for further adjustments and effects, from removing lens artifacts to split colour toning. Even simpler is the White Balance Tool: click with it on a spot in your image that should be a colour-neutral grey – light greys or diffuse whites work best.
Digital cameras are much more sensitive to highlight information than film was and often capture detail even in areas that seem burnt-out. Make any larger-scale exposure correction with the Exposure slider, then nudge the Recovery slider to the right and watch for any remaining red overlay to disappear. If you’ve not got a graduated ND lens filter with you, one solution is to try ACR’s targeted sliders back in the digital darkroom: Exposure and Recovery to adjust highlights and brighter midtones, then the Blacks and Fill Light sliders for the shadows.


The latter two sliders are relatively blunt instruments, though, and ACR’s Tone Curve (available if you’re running ACR under Photoshop) is a much more precise way of adjusting parts of the tonal range selectively (for more on this technique, see How to fix bleached out skies in Photoshop). Vignetting is very common when using wide-angle lenses, particularly at extreme settings – at the widest angles of view. The digital darkroom gives you much more control, so whether you want to remove the effect or add it, try the sliders under ACR’s Lens Corrections tab – the Post Crop variant gives you extra control over the vignette shape and extent.
Whether you want to adjust colours or tones in your image or convert it to black and white, we’ll show you how to do so with more precision and more flexibility. Click the black and white ‘half-moon’ button in the Layers Palette to view the list of edits you can apply as Adjustment Layers (learn more about mono conversion with The black and white landscape). Many edits or commands applied from the Image>Adjustments sub-menu – will alter the pixel content of your image permanently.
Just as a red Cellophane overlay will make a photo print appear red without actually recolouring it, Adjustment Layers ‘lie on top’ of an image and change its appearance without altering it permanently – which means you can discard the adjustment at any time, hide it temporarily, or even revisit it to tweak its settings.
If you want to try out alternative effects, you can group Adjustment Layers and hide or show whole groups at a time to help you decide between them. The secret to a great mono conversion is to make the most of this tonal richness by mixing the info from the various channels to suit the image or the result you have in mind.
You can use the sliders to add or subtract information from each channel or pairs of channels, apply a selection of presets and then fine-tune them, or click in your image to pinpoint the exact tones you want to adjust, then drag left or right to lighten or darken them.
The Curves dialog within Photoshop is almost identical to the version in Adobe Camera Raw but has one distinct advantage. Once clicked you can drag the cursor over the image and instantly see where the tones in the image relate to the curve – click and drag the mouse up or down those tones will lighten or darken. The problem is, though, if you want to give washed-out reds more punch, it’s hard not to push more intense reds too far, even if you try to restrict the effect by using selections.
This enables you to boost or subdue colours with less risk of clipping or posterisation – and it boasts skin tone protection to prevent you turning portrait subjects ‘sunburnt’ or deathly pale. Retouching is the first thing that leaps to many people’s minds when they hear the word ‘Photoshop’, but as so often, there’s more than one way to re-skin a virtual cat. Your retouching will take place on a Layer of its own, which you can hide, blend or mask as required – use these expert techniques to make them more precise and subtle. The principles of masks are that black areas of a mask conceal corresponding areas of the image content of that Layer, and white areas reveal them.
For more subtle effects, bear in mind that grey areas of the mask partially conceal the image content or adjustment – the darker the grey, the more they conceal it. Alt-click on the mask thumbnail to view the mask itself instead of the image in the main window – great for working on detail or fine-tuning, particularly touching-up grey partially-masked areas. Alternatively, add a Levels adjustment Layer, OK the dialog without touching any settings, and change the Layer Blending mode to Multiply to darken the image, or Screen to lighten it. Adjust opacity to fine-tune – if you’re used to thinking in photographic terms and want to be very precise, an opacity of exactly 38% has the same effect as adjusting exposure by a full f-stop; 19% is equivalent to a half-stop adjustment, about 13% one-third of a stop, 76% two stops (as here), and so on.
The Spot Healing Brush is usually the fastest option for removing dust spots and similar blemishes from areas of relatively uniform colour and tone such as clear blue skies, but even with this tool, clicking instead of brushing will often help preserve subtle tones and detail. Bear in mind that not only Layers but also brush-based tools can be set to different blending modes, altering their behaviour: set the Clone Stamp to Lighten mode, for example, and it will replace only pixels that are darker than the colours you’ve sampled. This is fantastic for cloning away distractions behind a blonde-haired portrait subject: sample areas darker than the hair and the tool won’t affect it. Photoshop’s Dodge and Burn Tools can be invaluable for those localised contrast tweaks that give an image more punch and depth, but before you get stuck in with either tool, make sure you set the Exposure to no more than 5 per cent – any more and you’ll quickly see a marked loss in image quality. Work carefully – the effects of these tools are cumulative, so avoid going over the same area repeatedly.
Alternatively, try using the Brush Tool set to Soft Light mode and a low Opacity (say 10 per cent): paint with a large, soft brush using any colour lighter than 50 per cent grey to lighten (dodge) areas, and any colour darker than 50 per cent grey to darken (burn). Have you ever taken some time, and possibly quite a bit of trouble, to get a photograph spot-on, only to then face having to adjust another dozen or more from the same shoot?
Photoshop offers automation options to save you time, avoid tedious repetition or ensure consistent adjustments to multiple images: you can record a sequence of edits and commands as an Action.
You can then ‘play’ the Action at any time to apply the edits to any image (but do be wary – don’t record a Save As, for instance, or you’ll save over the same file every time you run the Action). Photo-editing can have a further softening effect, so it’s good practice to apply some sharpening as the final step in the editing process. Smart Sharpen lacks a Threshold control; but conversely, if you click the Advanced button, it does enable you to ‘fade’ or pull back the sharpening effect in Shadow areas, where noise is likely to be lurking, or apply different settings in the Highlights to make them ‘pop’. As well as new tools and features, CS4 introduced some pretty fundamental changes to Photoshop, such as a completely new way of adjusting tone or other characteristics of an image by clicking and dragging left and right (to learn more about the new CS6 package, see Photoshop CS6: 20 things you need to know). Oddly, though, as if to offset these new gains, some of those extras that we’ve been used to for years in Photoshop have now been omitted from the standard install.
This is not only a smart way of getting the most economical use out of a sheet of expensive photo paper; it’s also great if you want to print the same photo in a variety of different sizes – with a family portrait, say, you might want a large print to frame, a small one for your wallet, plus mid-size copies you can send to far-flung relatives. Choose a basic layout for your site from the Styles pop-up menu, and your choice will be previewed at the right of the dialog (though only at thumbnail size). Art Weaver is a prominent digital imaging software that is popular for creative art work like painting, sketching & photo editing. Like all professional painting & sketching software, this free sketch software supports pen tablet support for all the leading brands, that respond to creative art effect filters like sharpen, blur, emboss and mosaic.
Check out some in-house spelling and grammar tips, editing advice, humour, and general commentary from the Stickler below! AboutWhen it comes to editing and proofreading services, no one beats the Stickler—copyeditor extraordinaire!
I haven’t been on an extended road trip (sob), nor have I spent the last eight weeks or so in quiet contemplation in a monastery atop a mountain in the Himalayas (though I could definitely use it). With so much to think about – from camera equipment and editing software to lighting a shot and optimizing audio – the barriers to entry can be high. Storyboarding helps you figure out exactly what shots you need before you start filming, and a shooting script is like a screenplay for your video. You should have a good idea of what the finished product is going to look like long before you arrive at your location, and your presenters should know exactly what they’re doing. If you’re filming an explainer video showcasing your software product, B-roll footage might include shots of satisfied customers using your product, or an external shot of your offices, for example. I’ve used footage from Beachfront B-Roll several times in the past, and the quality and diversity of the footage is excellent. To read more about shot composition, check out this great guide to line, shape, negative space, and other composition techniques. Yes, you can correct image brightness and contrast in post-production to some extent (more on this later), but it’s better to get the shot right on the day of the shoot than relying on “fixing it in post” later on. You’ve chosen an indoor room with good acoustics (more on this later), and you’re ready to start filming.
This kind of conflict can be difficult to compensate for, and it’s a headache you really don’t need.
The white balance of the shot on the right has been set correctly, capturing the true colors of the image.
Intense primary light sources can blow out the brightness and contrast of your shot and cause unflattering reflections on your subject.
This provides you with a safety net in case you notice something wrong with one of the takes, and allows you to edit together your final sequence from several clips of the same sequence rather than relying on just one. This remarkably robust editing program has everything you need to start producing professional-quality marketing videos, and the pricing plans are very reasonable (around $250 per year for an individual license), meaning that the barriers to entry have been lowered considerably, even for small businesses.
Most editing packages allow you to set “in” and “out” points for each clip, reducing their length by trimming out pauses, giggles, and false starts. There’s no point agonizing over precise timing issues until your video has already begun to take shape. The more attention to draw to your transitions and editing, the cheaper and more amateurish your video will look (and yet we still forgive George Lucas for this). For example, you probably wouldn’t expect to hear Norwegian death metal in a promotional video for an animal shelter. Unless you use royalty-free music or compose your own, most music is subject to stringent copyright restrictions that could land you in some seriously hot legal water if you don’t play by the rules. It’s copyright infringement, plain and simple, and it could result in a costly lawsuit, so tread carefully and err on the side of caution. You can read more about public domain music at the Public Domain Information Project, and browse a selection of public domain artists and genres at Public Domain Music. Sometimes, you simply won’t be able to correct the brightness or contrast of a shot as much as you need to, or manage to isolate a single person’s voice in a room crowded with hundreds of people. Many people end up disappointed by their first forays into video, not because their gear isn't decent, but because they slowly realize that there's a lot more to production values than buying a fancy camera.


I agree - many people have no idea how much trouble they can get into by failing to comply with copyright law.
It's interesting because marketing videos are growing in popularity and relevance, but it can be hard to know what you're doing. I think besides beings elf-conscious on camera, I also don't know much about filming or editing.
I hadn't even considered any B-roll footage yet, so I'll need to start coming up with ideas for that right away. We take a look at 20 essential tips that will have you working faster and smarter with Photoshop in no time. You might already be using Bridge, the file-management utility that comes with Photoshop, to preview and organise your photos, but our tips will show you four sure-fire ways to get even more out of it and make your life easier.
All your original images will be filed in your selected back-up location; copies will be converted to DNG files and saved to a folder you specify (or, if you wish, to a new sub-folder labelled with the shoot date, the import date or a custom name of your choice).
Simply click once on an image thumbnail to highlight it (then optionally Ctrl-click on others to highlight them in addition, or Shift-click to highlight a range of adjacent images), go to the Keywords palette, and click the words that apply to the selected image(s). Just right-click in the Keywords palette and select New Keyword or New Sub Keyword to add one.
To save you having to wade through all those images repeatedly, use Bridge’s star rating system in addition to keywords.
Then filter by rating, take a  closer look, and increase the rating of the best shots by simply tapping Ctrl-> (the key with the full stop or period on it). You can now filter by rating at any time in the future to view only the best of your photos.
If you’ve hit upon a particular formula you like, save it as a setting in ACR (in the Palette menu at the top-right of each tab). The presets in the White Balance menu each have the same effect as selecting that setting in-camera, so pick the one that best represents the lighting conditions when you took the shot, then fine-tune with the Temperature slider if necessary.
As a check, use the Colour Sampler Tool to place a few markers in any spots that you think should be a colour-neutral grey: once you’ve corrected the white balance, these spots should have ‘equal’ R, G and B values (such as R120, G120, B120 or R30, G30, B30).
Take it gently – Recovery adjustments can darken other, correctly-exposed highlight tones, dulling the image down and causing it to look flat, so you might just need to live with some highlight clipping. Although vignetting is often regarded as a flaw, it’s also sometimes added as a popular creative effect to ‘frame’ an image and draw attention where it’s wanted in wedding portraits, for example (see our free wedding photography cheat sheet), but can be just as tricky to control in-camera as it is difficult to avoid when you’re out shooting a sweeping landscape. Key to this is using Adjustment Layers, which enable you to apply a wide range of adjustments and effects to an image without irretrievably altering its pixel content, which means you can hide or remove the effect at any time. Each of the colour channels within the photo contains a slightly different version of the image – there might be more contrast in the red channel, for example, or a greater tonal range in the green. Photoshop’s Channel Mixer was the traditional tool for this, but there’s now the option of a Black & White adjustment Layer. In the top left corner of the Curves dialog you will see a small hand and arrow icon, On-Image adjustment tool.
You can place up to 14 of these control points on the curve, but two or three is usually enough. It applies ‘non-linear’ adjustments, which means less-saturated pixels get more of a boost than already intense ones, and vice-versa when you’re reducing saturation. Hold down Shift and click the mask thumbnail to toggle it off temporarily; Shift-click it again to reactivate it. Here’s a simple but highly controllable alternative to separate exposure and contrast adjustments. Both sets of tools lay down pixels sampled from elsewhere, but the healing tools then additionally blend these pixels into their new surroundings, and this invariably has the effect of blurring or distorting detail, so if preserving detail is important then the Clone Stamp is your best bet. If you’re using Adobe Camera Raw, you can open multiple images in Filmstrip mode and then click Synchronize to copy any or all of the adjustments you’ve made on one image and apply them to the others. Simply click the Create New Action button in the Actions palette, give the Action a name (or double-click it afterwards to do this), hit Record, work through the edits, and click Stop when done. You can assign a keystroke shortcut to play your Action, either when you create it or afterwards by selecting Action Options in the Actions palette menu.
You might not notice this on-screen, though, unless you zoom in to 100 per cent (or more) and check specifically – most images will probably look a little soft. All sharpening risks exacerbating (or even introducing) image noise, but Unsharp Mask’s Threshold control can help offset this, making this filter still a great first option. Some will go unmissed, but others are pretty useful and well worth taking the trouble to restore. To get this back you’ll need to dip into the Goodies folder on your Photoshop install disc or locate the files in the Adobe Downloads website. Select a location for your site files, then work your way through the Options panels one by one; finally, click OK to have Photoshop create your site for you. The Free Creative Painting & Sketching Artweaver Software is available with less features than the plus version.
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Fortunately, the price of decent gear and post-production software has dropped significantly during the past 10 years, making now the ideal time to start producing your own marketing videos. You can use a series of still photographs as a storyboard, or even rough sketches or stick figures – whatever is easiest. The viewer’s eye will naturally gravitate towards the top-left anchor point, and many people will spend longer dwelling on this area than other parts of the shot, making it a logical point at which to position the main area of interest in your shot – in this example, the face of the subject. The room is lit primarily by fluorescent lights, but there’s a problem – a large window that lets in plenty of natural daylight. If this isn’t possible, position your subject sufficiently far from the windows to avoid the daylight interfering with your shot. There are many different lighting techniques, each of which can be used to achieve a certain effect. In my opinion, the ease with which you can seamlessly move between Premiere Pro and other Adobe programs such as After Effects and Photoshop alone makes it the stronger software program. You may not even have to worry about this, but it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re working on a more ambitious video. It won’t look pretty, but it’ll give you a solid idea of which parts of your marketing video need the most work.
Yes, it might be possible given enough time and skill, but post-production should be seen as a process to add polish and finesse to your video, not an opportunity to go back and fix mistakes that could have been easily avoided during a properly planned shoot. Stay tuned in the coming weeks and months for some delicious video goodness from WordStream! Of course, regulatory bodies and industry associations (particularly the MPAA and RIAA) often exploit the law themselves by pursuing frivolous legal action against content producers, which doesn't help (or win any fans to their cause). I am considering getting a small company that can help me make videos and at the same time teach me basics! We’re using Photoshop CS4 on a PC here, but the same techniques will also work in Elements’ Organizer, in other versions of Photoshop, and on a Mac (substitute the Command key for Ctrl). Now you’ll be able to find the shots you want days or months later simply by right-clicking in the Keywords palette and choosing Find. First enable the highlight clipping display by pressing O (for ‘overexposed’): clipped highlights will show up in the image as red, but they might be clipped in only one or two channels, with detail you can rescue in the remaining channel(s).
Duplicate the Background Layer and change the blending mode of the new Layer to Overlay – this adds contrast and boosts the colours.The effect can be a little extreme, though, so reduce the Layer opacity as necessary.
Once installed, Picture Package enables you to arrange multiple images (or a single image repeated) on one sheet of paper.
The free version of the software has a lot of the features that allow creative painting & editing sketches in a professional manner. You can fix a lot of audio problems in post-production, but even a faint echo can be a nightmare to get rid of completely. I know you say it isn't a hard rule, but since we read from left to right is it normally better to have the subject where the lines intersect on the left like in your first image? Whether this is your first foray into photo editing or you need to fine-tune your techniques, this is your essential guide. When you’re ready to import your photos from your camera or memory card, go to Get Photos from Camera in Bridge or Elements’ Organizer. You need an easy, reliable method for labelling your images, and Bridge gives you exactly that in the form of Keywords.



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