Shooting Your Own Video – Common Mistakes

So, you want to create a video for your blog or monthly newsletter? Great idea, online videos are hugely popular and are a great way to increase engagement, click-through rates, and conversions. Since hiring a professional video production company is not in your budget or isn’t practical for your situation, you’ve decided to create your own video content. Besides, the Verizon guy made sure to point out how amazing the video capabilities are on your phone, so it is time to kick the tires on that little baby.

You wrote a great script, you have the camera, the drive, and your inner Seacrest is ready to shine… that is when things go terribly wrong. The following are three common pitfalls that can torpedo even the best video intentions:

  1. Lighting – An under or poorly lit scene is a sure-fire way to kill your video. You don’t need expensive professional light fixtures, but your first step should be to identify the main light source in your scene. Typically this is a large window (if you are shooting inside during the day), but could be the sun itself, overhead lights, or a nearby lamp. Standing in front of the window or light source is the quickest way to sink your video. Instead, position yourself so you are facing the light source and then turn about 45 degrees away from the light. Additional lamps can be used to light your background, or positioned on the other side of you (away from the window) to create a more even light across your face.
  1. Audio – Poor audio is the first giveaway of an amateur video and another very common web video mistake. Generally when people think of creating their own video they consider the script, picture, and delivery, but rarely do they think, “Can my audience actually hear what I am saying?” Using an external microphone is always a good idea and almost always required to get great sound. You don’t need the same mics used to record the Beatles White Album, but you should never rely on a built in, on-board microphone. These types of microphones, like the one on your iPhone, are omnidirectional and pick up any noise around your camera, like your computer fan, the receptionist next door, and even traffic outside. Using an external shotgun or lavalier microphone is the way around this problem. Professional wired and wireless mics for video cameras are relatively affordable (especially if you are going to do this a lot), but there are also options out there for your phone:
  1. Framing/Composition – Your one-minute of video is worth 1.8 million words (no, seriously, Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research counted), so what your audience sees says a lot about you and your business. Creating a visually interesting scene is critical to a successful video and also a common stumbling block. After setting up your lights, you want to place yourself and the camera in a manner that creates interest for the audience. Stage your background (add artwork, plants, brightly colored walls, but no computer screens, light sources, or windows – unless you do the outdoors video, and windows are installed by and then be sure to position yourself a good 5-10 feet in front of that background. Arrange yourself and other foreground objects (furniture, props, the dog) as best you can by following the Rule Of Thirds ( If you are using your phone, resist the common urge to orient it vertically. For starters, nobody needs to see your feet, unless it’s a video about shoes. Secondly, by shooting horizontally you conform to the way online videos are displayed and your video won’t end up on youTube sideways or with big black sidebars. Lastly, make sure you can see the top of your head and just a few inches above it, because unless you are impersonating Lincoln, nobody needs to see all of your invisible top hat.

Of course there are many more tricks and tips that can help make your web videos more awesome, but paying attention to these three common mistakes will get you on the right track. Hopefully, you are now empowered to go try these techniques out and make great video, but if you are feeling overwhelmed, just call Sidecar and we can help ease your video production pain. Happy shooting!

Increasing your company’s Web Market Share through video

Congratulations! You’ve created a video that conveys the perfect message for your company. All that’s left is to upload and post your video for the world to see, but how does this help your bottom line?

They weren’t exaggerating when they named the world wide web, you will literally be able to share your company’s video with anyone who has access to the internet. So, if this is the case then how does one use video to take advantage of the net for promoting purposes? Engage users in your video, distinguish an identity for your company, make it easy for them to find you by increasing your company’s web market share.

Today, there are many major websites that allow you to post and share videos, here are 6 of them:

  1. YouTube
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter
  4. Google+
  5. Vimeo
  6. Your Own Website

Sidecar Fun Fact:
More than 500 years of YouTube videos are watched through Facebook every day.

For an effective increase in your market share follow the 3 easy steps below to interlink your social media sites with one another:

1) Make sure to upload your video to video hosting sites like YouTube and Vimeo so your media is readily available in any form for any device. During the upload process make sure to include a link to your website in the description so you can funnel more viewers to your company’s homepage.

2) Always share your video on your website and create a specially-designed and user friendly page for it.

3) Next, post either the YouTube or Vimeo video to your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ accounts.

By creating an interlinking social media web you have a greater chance of attracting users, potential customers, to your website by capturing viewers from all the media outlets, like YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Plus, all this cross-promotion will help improve your video’s visibility across search engines.

Let’s test the “video increases market share” theory: type “Frank Nash Training Systems” into any search engine. The first search result is a set of links that will lead you directly to the Frank Nash Training Systems (FNTS) website, the second result is the company’s Facebook Page, the third navigates to Frank Nash Training Systems on Yelp, and lastly, there are 4 YouTube Videos, all posted by FNTS. All of these search results drive you to a carefully constructed market share created by Sidecar Productions for Frank Nash; promting users to “find out more” by visiting

Checkout the video that started it all:

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Corporate Video Blogging

Remember when a mission statement taught your customers what your company stood for? Today, it’s not only the mission statement that counts, but the way your website looks, interacts, and sounds that shows what your company is all about. In order for your business to reach the largest possible audience, your website content should consist of videos, interactive buttons, sharing tools, descriptive text, etc. which allow the reader to first become interested, and then compelled to share your information with their friends.

It’s not just text that teaches anymore, and let’s face it, people are too lazy to read a bunch of text. If you are a small corporate company and don’t know how to establish your name on the internet, a video blog is a great way to introduce yourself, your company, and what you are all about.

If you are asking, “How do I create a video that represents my company?” below are some questions you will want to answer that can help create the foundation of your video blogging career:

  • What message do you want to convey?
  • What will the voice and tone of your blog be?
  • What type of people do you wish to reach with your video?
  • Who do you want to be involved?
  • What is the strategy behind the content?
  • What is the desirable outcome of each blog post?
  • How will you make your video?
Sidecar Productions is currently helping Regents Bank to convey their stand for personalized service. Once a month, we head to one of the several Regents Bank locations in San Diego. We meet with a few customers who currently bank at Regents, sit them in front of a camera, and ask them a few questions about their business, their business needs, why they chose Regents, and how Regents meets their business needs. We then bring the footage back to Sidecar headquarters and creatively edit it together, producing a professional promotional video that is short and sweet, but lets the public know what a great job Regents does to help their customers succeed. The final video is then posted to the Regents Bank Blog; along with other banking advice as part of their ongoing marketing efforts.

A few months ago we asked Steve Goldberg from the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach why he chose Regents for his banking needs; here is the final video and what he had to say about Regents.

If you’re thinking to yourself, “this is too time consuming and sounds a little difficult,” Sidecar can help. We’ll help you succeed by learning about what your company stands for and creating the video you need to get the public’s attention.

Don’t believe a Video is worth your time? Here are just a few statistics that show how important video is becoming in today’s world:
  • Online video is the fastest growing ad format in 2012 with nearly 55% growth. (eMarketer, January 2012)
  • Visitors who view product videos are 85% more likely to buy than visitors who do not. (Internet Retailer, April 2010)
  • Professionally produced video optimized for eCommerce outperforms user-generated video (UGC video) by 30%, delivering a 24.7% lift as compared with an 18.7% lift for the UGC video. (Comscore, 2012)
  • 93% of smartphone users use their devices in the home, and almost 50% of users watch videos on their smartphones. 90% of smartphone searches result in an action such as a purchase or a visit to a business. (Google Blog, April 2011)
  • Forbes Insight found that 59% of senior executives prefer to watch video instead of reading text, if both are available on the same page. 80% of executives are watching more online video today than they were a year ago. (Forbes Insight, December 2010)


Todd Lucas: SInger/Songwriter – The Movie on Kickstarter!

Sidecar Productions’ first feature-length film needs your help. Todd Lucas: Singer/Songwriter is a narrative comedy set in the mid 1980′s when synthesized riffs, regrettable fashion, big hair, and sexual ambiguity ruled the music scene. The movie blends the comedic flair of Flight of the Conchords with the deadpan humor epitomized by Napoleon Dynamite.

In order to help raise the funds we need to complete the picture, we are running a Kickstarter Campaign. It will cost a minimum of $100,000 to shoot Todd Lucas: Singer/Songwriter and have it be a quality picture that will be marketable. We are actively seeking investors to take on an equity stake in the film, but for those who can’t invest thousands of dollars, you can help us and be part of the process by pledging to our campaign.

Kickstarter is a website where films, art, music, or other creative projects routinely get backers to provide funding. However, projects are on an all-or-nothing basis; if the goal is not met, no money changes hands. Since we already have a big chunk of money invested, we are trying to raise a minimum of $50,000 on Kickstarter and we will need your help to do it! In exchange for your help, there are a bunch of cool rewards you can get (all the details are on the Kickstarter page).

If you would like to support Sidecar Productions and Todd Lucas The Movie, please visit our Kickstarter page (, watch the video on the page, and then share it with your friends, family and colleagues via email, Facebook, Twitter (#TLSS), etc.