We have been doing video reports for our SEO & PPC customers for a couple of years now. We realised other SEO agencies were making out SEO to be some sort of mystery artform as an excuse to hide whatever dodgy work they were doing, so to buck this trend, we had our Account Managers run through the client's monthly report in a video format and demonstrate on-screen exactly what we’ve been up to during the month. The feedback was great!
And as with everything we do, we love refining our process and producing the absolute best possible results. Here is how we upped the quality of our client reporting videos with our new (work in progress) studio.
Here’s our new setup:
- Canon DSLR 550D
- Canon EF 50mm F1.8 STM Lens
- AJA U-TAP HDMI
- Studio lighting with diffuser
- Blue Yeti microphone
- Screenflow recording software
- Ancient tripod
- Brick wall
It took us a while to research this setup and get it just right. We really wanted that 'bokeh' effect where the background is nicely blurred out due to the short depth of field.
We could grab the audio from the camera or laptop microphone, but instead opted to an external microphone. The Yeti microphone is a popular choice for a lot of YouTubers and gamers. It has a hardware selector to only pick up sound in certain directions depending on your room configuration, or if you had multiple people talking.
The AJA U-TAP does a lot of the heavy lifting and allows us to swap out the usual crappy laptop webcam video for the much more powerful video output of a DSLR on-the-fly. The U-TAP should work with most DSLRs, but remember it is literally mirroring the output of your camera display, so you need a "clean" feed which has no overlays on it. We were able to flash our Canon 550D with the Magic Lantern custom firmware, which has a setting to remove them.
Now that we have our new studio in place, we will be able to quickly film these video reports at a much higher quality, and spend less time making ourselves look good in post-production!
So, what's next?
We have a few advancements in place. Firstly, our new 50mm lens is one of the cheaper 50mm lenses available, so we would look at upgrading it to a 1.4 or 1.2 lens. This can give you an even better picture and even shorter depth of field effect.
Also as for the audio quality, the actual room is still a little too ‘echoey’, so we are looking at padding it out a bit more.