Brightest Bulb: turning our PR and social team into expert video creators

Last month, five members of the Liquid PR and social team attended a two-day virtual course hosted by Brightest Bulb, focusing on how to create professional-looking video on smartphones.

Throughout the course, the Liquid team was taken through the iDEC approach, which stands for Individual, Directing, Editing and Cameraperson. Using equipment that was sent in advance of the course, they were tasked with going out and about (as far as was permitted due to lockdown!) shooting footage on their smartphones, which they then edited using their new-found skills.

Individual

During this stage of the course, the Liquid team was taught about three key stages of creating video content: pre-production, production, and post-production.

Pre-production involves all the steps that need to be taken before video footage is even shot, such as planning and preparation. For example, deciding on a location for filming that is suitable and will have minimal disturbances, what the people in the video content will wear, and whether you need clearances or permission to film in your chosen location.

Production involves actually shooting the film; setting up your camera with the correct settings, attaching microphones to people who will be speaking, and making sure you’ve got all the content you need for your final video.

Finally, post-production is the process of making your shots into a masterpiece. For example, editing them together, adding graphics such as text and subtitles, and layering music over your videos.

Directing

When creating your own video footage, not only do you have to actually shoot the footage, you also have to be responsible for directing the whole operation. When it comes to directing, Brightest Bulb taught the team that there are three important considerations: structure, audience and performance.

When it comes to structure, the director must make sure that the final video tells a story, and that this story has a clear beginning, middle and end. You also need to consider your audience and whether they already have a knowledge of the subject or not. And finally, you need to think about the performance of the speaker – make sure they appear relaxed and confident when speaking, otherwise the final product may be difficult to watch.

Editing  

To help with the editing stage of the video creation process, the Liquid team downloaded an app called KineMaster which has the capability to turn your clips into a professional-looking video.

The app allowed the team to carry out the three most important steps when editing video: timeline, transitions and trimming. Firstly, all video clips were uploaded in the correct order to create a timeline, which told the story with a clear beginning, middle and end. The team could then add in transitions between each clip to make the video flow.

Finally, each clip could also be trimmed down to cut out any parts of the video that weren’t relevant or didn’t look professional.

Cameraperson

Perhaps the most important stage of the process, though, is actually shooting your footage in the first place. In this stage, you are the cameraperson and it’s your responsibility to shoot high-quality video footage using just a tripod and your smartphone.

When doing this, you must consider another three important things and these are framing, focus, and exposure. When framing their shots, the team was given a great piece of advice on using the rule of thirds to position the people and objects in their shots, in order to give balance and symmetry.

In order to make sure their footage was clear and looked as professional as possible, the team also had to consider focus and exposure – some more technological elements of the course. Focus refers to how blurry or sharp an image is, and the team had to decide which part of the shot should be in focus, as well as considering exposure (light levels) to make sure the people and objects in the shot were clearly visible.

What did we learn?

“The training with Brightest Bulb was really informative, there was lots of wisdom shared about the world of filming, including useful tips and tricks. The practical tasks were also a great way to get hands on experience. Overall, I had a fantastic experience and definitely feel more confident with understanding aspects of filming and video editing.” – Yasmin Akhtar, Junior Content Executive

“The Brightest Bulb training has thoroughly enhanced my ability to operate a camera correctly, in order to produce a professional outcome. My favourite part of the course was getting involved with the editing and this is something I am committed to improving upon further. I hope this, along with other skills I learned on the course, will prove useful throughout my professional career.” – Owen Maginnis, Junior Account Executive

“The iDEC training was so much fun and I loved that we got to go out and actually shoot footage ourselves, despite the course being virtual. We learnt so much over the course of two days including how to shoot a piece to camera, how to include general views in our footage to set the scene, and the importance of using different angles such as close ups, wide shots, and tight shots.” – Leah Benthin, Junior Account Executive

“I found the course incredibly useful, who knew a mobile device could be such a powerful tool in professional video development? Smartphones are now the main tool used in regional broadcast, reporting on current events. Capturing HD quality material fit for television is more than what I gave my smartphone credit for, so it was great learning how to make the most of such a powerful device.” – Emma Johansson, Account Manager

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Brightest Bulb training, learning how to create professional social first video content. Despite the course being remote due to the current restrictions, the trainers delivered an engaging and interactive course that allowed us to put into practice what they had taught us – I have learnt lots of tricks for capturing good content that I can use in my social role here at Liquid.” – Stephanie Marshall, Senior Social Media Executive