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10 Tips for Filming Short-Form Videos

TikTok (and in response to Tiktok, Instagram Reels and Youtube Shorts) has taken the world by storm, with over a billion active users worldwide. Tiktok's popularity has made it an essential platform for brands, influencers, and creators to reach new audiences and showcase their talents. If you're thinking about creating TikTok videos, here are some tips to help you create engaging and visually stunning TikTok videos.

1. Plan your video

Before you start filming, take some time to plan your video. Think about what message you want to convey and how you want to present it. Decide on the type of video you want to make, whether it's a dance: comedy skit, or tutorial. Planning ahead can help you save time and make the filming process smoother.

It doesn't have to be extensive; sometimes, a sound will spark an idea worth running with, but even a couple of minutes spent figuring out what to say can help you speak more confidently.

2. Keep it short and sweet

TikTok videos are known for their short format, and keeping your videos under 60 seconds is crucial. In fact, most TikTok users prefer videos that are around 15-30 seconds long. The app's algorithm also favours shorter videos, so make sure you get your point across quickly.

The exception that makes the rule is longer form educational videos. To make longer form content successful on Tiktok, you need to ensure that you are a charismatic, persuasive speaker who knows their subject matter inside and out, AND the subject matter needs to be deeply interesting. It's not impossible, but it is more challenging than sticking to 15-30 seconds.

3. Use good lighting

Lighting is critical when it comes to filming TikTok videos. Make sure you're filming in a well-lit area (whether that's outdoors or indoors) with plenty of natural light. If you're filming at night or in a dimly lit area, consider investing in a ring light or other lighting equipment to ensure your video is well-lit and visually appealing.

Dim lighting and foggy lenses will have people scrolling by quickly!

4. Choose the right background

Tiktok is an aesthetics-focused app, and the background of your video can make a big difference in how your content is received. Whether it's your living room, work-from-home setup, backyard, or a solid-coloured backdrop, it's important that your surroundings are aesthetically appealing.

5. Use captions and text overlays

TikTok videos - and video content in general - are often watched without sound, so it's important to include captions or text overlays to ensure your message comes across. Use large, easy-to-read text that stands out against your background. The Tiktok editing features can easily accommodate this.

If you prefer a font that Tiktok doesn't supply, the Tiktok-made editing app, Capcut is easy to use and has a wide range of customizable font options to choose from.

6. Use music

Music is a crucial component of TikTok videos, and many users use popular songs or create their own soundtracks. Use music that fits the tone and mood of your video, and make sure it's not too loud or too soft.

Business accounts will have different sounds available to them than non-business accounts, so all sounds may not be available to you.

7. Be authentic

TikTok users appreciate authenticity - in fact, they abhor anything they deem as inauthentic or fake - so don't be afraid to show your personality and be yourself in your videos. Whether you're creating a dance video or sharing a recipe, let your personality shine through and connect with your audience.

8. Edit your video

Once you've filmed your video, take some time to edit it. Use filters, transitions, and other editing tools to enhance your video's visual appeal. Make sure your video flows smoothly and is visually appealing. Remember, you only have a second to catch and hold a viewer's attention in this attention economy.

9. Clean your camera lens

Seriously, I'm not joking. Clean your camera lens. Then clean it again. Unintentionally fuzzy video that lacks clarity is a death knell for a video. If your video is going for a certain aesthetic (early 2000s Youtuber, perhaps) then fuzzy video can be pulled off, but overall, it's to be avoided. This is also why it's recommended to film in front of a light source - it helps the video to look clearer and more professional.

10. Don't take it too seriously

There are corporate accounts on Tiktok using professional ad studios and churning out short-form video that is actually just a commercial. Their engagement shows how little people like that.

When used for marketing, Tiktok is all about content marketing and making genuine connections with viewers. People use the app because they like the no-bullshit culture that has been created by users. They come to be entertained, educated, and inspired, not advertised to.

A couple of brands who have mastered this are Duolingo and Ryanair - both brands have brought a sassy, irreverent, relatable sense of humour to their online presence and have seen massive growth on the platform as a result. They understand that engagement is a byproduct of providing good content and nurturing that relationship with followers.

Go forth and create!


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