Shoot Online Video for a Small Sharing Screen

Learn how to shoot for a small video sharing screen, to create better online videos.

Video Transcript

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Before you begin to upload the videos, you have to know how to shoot for the small screen, which is what we’ll be showing you in this edition of tips and tricks.

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One of the more important aspects of online video is the fact that unlike standard shooting for a television, you’re shooting for a much smaller medium. This means that online videos should stray from things like wide, landscaping shots. With videos ending up being so small, wide shots generally lose too much detail to capture the beauty that they’re intended to. The fix here is more descriptive close-up shots to retain the detail on a typical 2 x 3 inch video-sharing screen.

Another aspect that is different from the standard screen practices is the use of long, time-stretching transitions and dissolves in between scenes. Again, on a small screen, compression problems generally occur leaving the nice looking dissolves looking muddy and more like a mix of random pixels or damaged video. The solution is to use straight cuts, avoiding any potential compression issues.

Another concept is that of the length of the online video versus the length of a standard TV show. We only five to ten minutes max on certain video-sharing sites, so it’s best to be brief since there isn’t as much time to drag things along. If you’re not sure if you should leave it or not, that means cut it. Use only what matters. Remember, just because you shot it, doesn’t mean that you have to use it. This is the entire purpose of editing video. You’re editing to improve your clips, not to include all of your shots.

Another concept that requires some attention is the use of titles in your video. Try to avoid them if at all possible because with the small screen, you’ll find yourself straining to read the tiny letters. If you do need to use titles, make sure that they are big and be sure to leave them on the screen long enough so that they can be read. The general rule of thumb is to leave them up long enough so that they can be read. The general rule of thumb is to leave them up long enough so that they can be read three times over. This should give the audience enough time to be able to read the titles.

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Last, but not least, people generally tend to sit through a bad video, but not through bad audio. If you intend to post video online, make sure to use a mic to capture any and all voiceovers, narration tracks and foley. Most consumer camcorders above the $500.00 price range come with an eighth of an inch mic input jack, which can accept any standard mic from karaoke machines to toy instruments.

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Now that we know how we should be making our videos for the small screen, let’s be sure to utilize these techniques next time we shoot a video for uploading.

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Good info, but more and mo

Good info, but more and more internet users are viewing online content on larger and larger displays. 'Smart' tv's, with their built-in browsers, demand DVD type video and sound. Upload anything less than HD and shot for only a 2"x3" for online viewing at your peril. Perhaps the answer is creating two video files and let the user select their display size.

I agree with your views. B

oldnick's picture
I agree with your views. Btu the trouble is that you either have to _shoot_ two video files, if you actually shoot for small screens, with tighter zooms as suggested, or crop heavily in edit. I suppose that's not too bead, because pixels are really wasted on a 3" screen.

Are people shooting from i

oldnick's picture
Are people shooting from iPhones really going to care? 99% of them would be just ad-hoc, for a very low-level, "fun for friends" result, and the idea of having a special mic just does not seem reasonable. I reckon the article is more about serious shooters getting the message to a small screen.

I find it a bit sad and sc

oldnick's picture
I find it a bit sad and scary that there is a need to adapt to a market that watches any film on a 3" screen. I wonder h0ow many of them _care_ about scenery. I think that like most mass-market, low quality stuff, it's best to aim for catchy content to grab an audience. Save you artistic ability in the actual camera work for those who will notice it.