Now that you have purchased your digital camcorder, video editing software and other equipment, and have practiced using it, it is time to shoot your first video. I will strongly encourage you to follow the suggestions I make as it will save you significant time and effort when you complete the final edit of your video clip.
My first suggestion is to plan your shoot carefully before you actually start taking video clips. I mentioned in the first article to ask yourself "What does my customer want to see in a video about this car of interest?" The answer to this question is what you should plan to shoot in your video. Most car buyers have common questions about the vehicles they intend to purchase, as well as have the desire to see certain items on the car. With that in mind, we try to shoot our video clips to meet these needs.
Here is a simple formula for our approach to creating a video of each vehicle. First, we shoot a complete shot of the front quarter of the car, and introduce ourselves and what vehicle we are shooting for the consumer, as well as share one brief remark about the vehicle. An example would be "Introducing the 2008 Cadillac CTS, voted #1 car of the year by Motor Trend". We will then start to walk around the vehicle, similar to how a prospective customer would view the car if they were at the car dealer lot in person. Our next shot is a direct shot looking at the front of the car. During this shot we will often discuss the car's styling, and talk about safety benefits of the vehicle, such as crash test ratings. Our next shot is of the wheel, where we share what tire and wheel options are available with that model of car. Following that we shoot the rear of the vehicle, and depending on the type of vehicle, we might share the tow capacity (if applicable), or talk about the cargo carrying capacity of the trunk, pickup bed, or the back of an SUV with the seats folded down. From there, if the car has 4 doors, we often shoot the rear seat to show the room available for passengers.
The next shot is often the most popular, and that is from behind the steering wheel. Every car buyer is curious as to how the vehicle appears when they are behind the wheel, and it is up to you to show that with your video camera. To do this well, you will most likely need to shoot from the rear seat. Take some time to show the steering wheel, instrument panel, and then work from left to right to show the center console, with focus on the stereo and climate controls. Many of the most popular features of a vehicle are here - take time to point them out to your viewer.
The last area to address is the motor - pop the hood and show a quick shot of the engine, while sharing the engine options that are available, as well as horsepower and fuel mileage. Take another full car shot for your closing line, and try to finish with a strong statement as to what makes this vehicle a great buy. An example might be "The 2009 Chevrolet Corvette, considered to be the best value sportscar in America!".
Make sure to follow some of these simple tips to optimize your video and audio quality. Use your tripod whenever you can. Jerky and erratic movements while taking your video are not only annoying to your viewer, but also take away from the quality of what you are showing. Remember that when zooming in, any movements are magnified by the camera. Lighting is very important. You will quickly learn after uploading some of your videos that most of what you shoot will appear less bright online. A sunny day or partly cloudy day works best, however, if it is very sunny, be careful of reflection. Pick a vehicle whose color is anything but black or white if you can, as black can often be hard for your camera to focus on, and white can easily show any dirt. Finally, and quite important, use your external microphone for the best audio quality. The built in microphone on the camera does not provide very good audio, especially if you are not close to the camcorder. When using the external microphone, be careful to keep it covered if it is windy outside. This might be as simple as cupping your hand over the microphone, clipping it under your shirt, or just keeping your back to the wind. If you do not protect the microphone from the wind, you will get a lot of irritating white noise on your video clip.
Keep your video short and simple. A ten minute walk-around of the vehicle will most likely not be viewed by your prospect. Save that for when they come to your dealership in person. The goal of this short video (approximately 2 minutes) is to share some key information that is useful to your prospective customer. Do not make this a two minute commercial about your dealership, rather, provide useful information that you would want if you were looking at this car. A good, useful video will be rewarded online with lots of views which will mean great video SEO for you later!
The next part of this series will share how to download your video and edit your content to create a short video segment that will benefit your prospects as well as your online exposure with sound video SEO techniques.