What are the two most important elements of every video?

There are a few things that are needed to make your piece stand out in the crowded sea of online video. Sure, cameras and the coolest, most up to date gear is fun and can make a big difference — but not if you don’t have the basics down first. I’ve seen plenty of people buy expensive gear, shoot with that gear and then the final piece is … less than great. What went wrong? Lighting and sound. That’s what.

The one main thing that makes the difference between an indie anything and a Hollywood blockbuster, is sound design. Think about it this way: No matter how awesome the film looks, if your audience can’t hear it, or the audio is distracting from the content, then you’ve made junk. Congrats. Welcome to the Internet, where nearly everyone is an amateur.

Two things every video needs

The other thing I see is lighting. People go to college and grad school specifically to learn how to light for film and video. It’s not as simple as throwing up a soft light and bouncing it onto your subject. Lighting takes years of practice and application to understand how to paint that picture in order to properly tell a story. Look at Roger Deakins. The man is a cinematography genius. He uses composition with light to masterfully draw the viewers eye wherever he’d like. You see what he wants you to see.

View this Coen Bros/Roger Deakins mash up. Then tell me lighting is not important.


I’ll leave you on this note. Light for the story, not to just expose the image. If the subject is a talking head, give that image some depth. Light from the side, put a hair light and a splash of color light in the background. Make the scene interesting to look at. Then, once you’re happy with the image, get the sound guy in to finish the job. The overall production value will improve 10x.

Two things every video needs