Whether you are an avid vlogger on YouTube, streamer on Twitch, a content creator on Instagram or TikTok, or a videographer helping business professionals; what’s in your background can make or break your video. Here are some simple tips to ensure you are set up for success with a professional video background:
1. Eliminate distractions with a professional video backdrop
A solid, seamless background provides the perfect foundation to create a professional quality video anywhere. In a bedroom, garage or conference room; unwanted background elements can be completely hidden and replaced with a sleek, saturated and seamless backdrop sweep.
2. Use a photography light kit
Even lighting across your subject’s face and the entire frame is essential for conveying a professional look. Ring lights are popular for vlogging and beautifully enhance facial features. If you are lighting your subject from the waist up or full length, consider a two-light softbox style kit for your main light setup. Softboxes help diffuse the light across a wider spread and reduce harsh shadows.
Video light heads designed with no fan, or a very quiet fan are preferable when simultaneously capturing audio to keep sound distractions to a minimum.
3. Watch for shadows
People and objects placed close to the backdrop can result in hard, undesirable shadows. Move subjects a few steps away from the background. Distance allows shadows from your main light source to soften or be eliminated, creating more visually appealing depth in the scene.
Subject standing directly against backdrop
Subject standing 2-3 feet from backdrop
4. Add interest and separation from the backdrop with a backlight
Try adding lights in between your subject and the background. A light placed low to the ground behind your subject and directed at the background creates a graduated halo effect that draws interest to the subject. Backlighting your subject from an angle also creates a rim of light that further enhances and helps to separate your subject from the video background.
5. Choose a focal length that fits your format
As with still photographs, the most flattering video focal lengths for a human subject are 50mm or longer. Smartphone cameras are convenient, but their very short focal lengths (roughly equivalent to 24mm) create a very wide angle of view and can distort the appearance of physical proportions. This can often be unflattering to the subject. A wide angle of view also means that a larger background is needed to fill the frame edge to edge.
On the other hand; longer focal lengths, such as 50mm or 85mm lenses, have narrower fields of view and introduce much less distortion. This is more flattering to the subject, and enables you to use a smaller backdrop. In addition, the physical distance between the camera and the subject when using a long lens can help set the subject more at ease.
iPhone shot with 86″ wide backdrop size
50mm lens shot with 86″ wide backdrop size
6. Select the proper orientation for each platform
While the most common video orientation is the traditional landscape mode (YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, most websites); portrait mode is optimal for some platforms (such as Instagram and TikTok). Video orientation is an important consideration when selecting and setting up your backdrop. Collapsible backdrops can be positioned both vertically and horizontally, and paper background can also be secured horizontally to fill your background if needed.
Read more: How to Hang Your Seamless Paper Backdrop
7. Choose a branded color palette
Strengthen your message by choosing background colors or styles that are cohesive with your branding. If you plan to record video in volume, consider alternating between 2-3 brand colored backgrounds to invigorate your channel aesthetic or to break up long video playlists.
What tips can you add to this list?
Share with us in the comments below!