Just as with photography and design, composition is crucial to videos as well. The manner in which elements are placed in your video can influence the visual impact they have and the message that they convey.
That is why it is important that you take steps to improve the composition of your social media videos. Admittedly it can be a bit complicated considering there are moving elements in videos – but the following tips should help you out.
Start with the Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds is always a good place to start when you want to improve composition. It can help to place the subject off-center to give it more visual weight, and provide a more balanced overall composition.
To use it when you’re recording you just need to turn on the grid on your camera and use it to position the subject and other elements. If you’re already don’t recording however you can still use it – just with the crop tool in your video editor.
Always Follow the 180-Degree Rule
At first the 180-degree rule may sound complicated, but it actually isn’t. To use it you should map out an imaginary line between the subject and another main element in the shot, and then make sure that you don’t cross that line when you record the video.
Basically this rule will make that imaginary line an axis, and by not crossing it you’ll ensure that the relative orientation of the subject and the element is always the same. That can be very important when you cut and join videos, and will help make it easier to establish continuity.
If you break this rule you may need to take steps to correct it so that your social media videos aren’t too jarring. The most common method is to mirror video by flipping it, and for example you can use the flip video web app to do that.
Make Sure There is Enough Lead Room
Lead room is one area of the composition that is not unique to videos – but does take on a different slant in it. It entails leaving enough room in the direction the subject is moving so that it doesn’t look like they are going to walk into the edge of the frame.
Aside from movement, lead room can also apply to the subject’s gaze – and if it is on something that is out of view there should be some space provided so that it doesn’t appear crowded.
In most cases you will need to compose your shots from the get go while accounting for the amount of lead room. During post-production you will need to pay attention to it if you crop your videos too.
Record Wide and at High Resolutions
As a rule it can help to record a wider view than is necessary, and at a higher resolution than you intend your social media video to be published in. If you do both of these things, you will have a lot more room to improve the composition in post-production.
For example if you intend to publish a 1080p HD video, you should try to record it in 4K. During post-production that will allow you to crop your video more liberally, without worrying about it affecting the video quality too much.
Keep in mind that all of these ‘rules’ are really just recommendations, and you can (and should) break them if you feel your social media video would be better if you do. At the end of the day composition is and always will be entirely subjective, and it is more art than science.
That being said the tips listed above should supply you with an excellent starting point that you can use to immediately improve the composition of your social media videos. All you need to do is apply them, and see for yourself the impact that they have.