Video 101: How to Make Compelling Content

As video becomes the dominant form of storytelling, here are some hints on how your chapter can leverage these assets to advance your messaging. 

Video, both in short and long form, is becoming the dominant means of how we engage in storytelling. Whether in short-form means that is most prevalent on platforms such as TikTok or the longer formats released by news outlets, video can tell a story in a way that the written word cannot compete with. 

There are so many ways that your SMACNA Chapter can leverage video, whether highlighting some of the work being done by your members or educating your audience on some of the ways that being a member can directly benefit them; there are so many ways that video can enhance your profile. However, like any media, great ideas are only half the game, and execution is paramount. Thanks to technological advances, especially on mobile devices, it is easier than ever to produce content that looks good and sounds good. However, there are some core ideas that you should keep in mind when looking to make a video, such as: 


  • FRAMING: Unless otherwise requested, use a landscape (horizontal) framing instead of a portrait (vertical).
  • AUDIO: Choose a quiet area. When using an on-camera microphone, the camera should be as close to the action or people talking as possible. One person should speak at a time.
  • VIDEO: Bright light from the sun, a lamp, or a window should come from behind the camera, illuminating the faces or subjects of the shot. Avoid recording with a window in the background because home cameras/phones will adjust for that light, and the person will appear darkened.
  • Ask anybody interviewed to say their name on camera. Also, have them spell it correctly and include their title, property, location, and any other information that would be used to identify them in a graphic.
  • A good tip for someone being interviewed is to repeat or use part of the question in your answer.
  • Always start the camera before the “action” and let it roll for 5 seconds. When the action or scene is complete, let the camera roll for another 5 seconds before stopping.
  • Use a tripod when available. Try to avoid unnecessary zooms, pans, or other unnerving camera movements.
  • Send files as full-size HD (1920x1080)
  • Cutaways and “B-Roll” are extra shots used in editing to help illustrate somebody’s point or show scenes while a narrator talks about them. Examples include a hotel exterior to establish the location, a close-up shot of a vacuum cleaner demonstrating how to use or repair it, and even a shot of a person nodding and listening, which can improve the edit.


  • Neutral colors – Blues, greens, greys, browns.
  • Avoid – All white, all black, all red.
  • Avoid – Herringbone, tight checkered patterns, tiny polka dots – anything that may vibrate in the video.
  • If you’re being asked to do a green screen or blue