Video Critique Please

  • Author
      • November 19, 2020 at 5:25 pm #3524567

        Hi folks,

        I have produced a short video for the intro to one of our lesson series. Before we go further, I am looking for critique on the video and suggestions how it can be improved. Here is a link:

        From my limited knowledge, these are the things that I have picked up on self critique:

        • I should be to one side (so using rule of thirds). That is easy to fix.
        • The sound seems ok.
        • My delivery is not perfect as there are times when my words get jumbled a bit.
        • The exposure in the video is all wrong. I am not that washed out usually and don’t know how to fix it. I have tried various lighting settings but just can’t nail it.

        I am really keen to hear other people’s feedback though and suggestions as to how to improve it.

        As background information, I am using a Sony a6000 on a desktop tripod, two Neewar LCD panels, a teleprompter (in which the camera is mounted), I have a green screen and a Blue Yeti mic. I am siting at a desk, with a window directly in front of me with the blind down and no direct sunlight on the blind. Production is done in Final Cut Pro X and I have keyed a static blurred background.

        Thanks in advance for your help,


        • November 19, 2020 at 5:25 pm #3524605

          Hi folks, anyone got any critique on this please. I am really keen to get the vid as good as possible. Ta

          • November 19, 2020 at 5:25 pm #3524620

            A few things…

            First, it is pretty obvious you’re reading. If you are using a teleprompter, then it might be good to get further away from the camera (if you have the space). Then, zoom in on editing. This way, your eyes are not moving side-to-side so noticeably.

            You may also want to go with a bullet point approach to your script rather than word-for-word. Helps keep you on point, but without coming off as reading.

            I would consider getting rid of the blurred background. I don’t think it serves much purpose, plus it adds a lot of visual noise that is distracting since you’re not very well lit.

            Crank your LED lights up.

            What lens are you using? I have the Sigma 16mm 1.4 lens for that camera and it does a great on clarity, lighting, focus.

            You get better the more you do it, but one thing that also helps me is that… I just imagine I’m talking to a friend. I don’t think of it like a stuffy, formal thing. I talk on camera like I would talk in real life.

            • November 19, 2020 at 5:25 pm #3524622

              Also, if you can do a nice solid color background behind you, consider putting a soft light behind you, shining on the background. Helps you visually bounce off the background more rather than blurring into it.

              • November 19, 2020 at 5:25 pm #3524625

                Hey David,

                So For lighting I am using a pair of Neewar LCD panels that are about 25x10cm each. They are adjustable on both the output and degrees kelvin. I just did a test of one lamp vs two, white vs yellow light and various power settings and at 5500 degrees at 50% power, I came out looking the best.

                I kinda like the blurred background, but will experiment with a less noisy background. I like the idea of a rear lamp too to add depth.

                The lens is a 3.5-5.6 16-50mm kit lens.

                I can’t really do the long shot option, so will need to stay with the camera being about 60cm from my face, however I really like your idea of having talking points rather than fully written out text for the teleprompter.

                Also, most fo the videos will end up being screen recordings with a picture on picture of me in the corner. The camera I will use for this will be a Logitech 960 on the top of my monitor. Then I will have an screen recording session in one window and the talking points in another – so no teleprompter at all.

                Cheers mate,


                • November 19, 2020 at 5:25 pm #3524637

                  Hey John, for me the background is too blurry. I think what you want is to go for the shallow depth of focus of a high-aperture lens. If that’s right, try a background that is soft-focused but still recognizable, and is soemthing that you might be stood in front of in real life. As David says, lighting is important, but there may also be something you can do in software to blur the edges between you and the background, so that it’s not so obviously you-=n-front-of-a-background 🙂

                  • November 19, 2020 at 5:25 pm #3524639

                    Thanks @MarkNicholson . On my Sony A6000, the lens only goes down to f5.6 at 35mm, so when it is only 60cm from my face, the depth of field is still not very shallow. I’ll do some experimenting today with it and also an alternate background and might try my Nikon D800 with an f2.8 lens too. I’m just a bit dubious on the Nikon cos it is not great for video. Cheers mate, John

                    • November 19, 2020 at 5:25 pm #3524642

                      Righto folks. Thanks for all your feedback. Here is a new video just off the presses. The first half is me to camera, the second half is a screen share.

                      • November 19, 2020 at 5:25 pm #3524673

                        That’s a big improvement John, and you look happier. One piece of advice I got was to smile more than I think I should, and that the effect on the film output would be that I appear to be smiling normally.

                        I’d still prefer the background to be more recognizable, like a soft focus of a room, but that’s just me. If you like it as it is, that’s fine: it won’t cost you any sales 🙂 Great job!

                        – Mark

                        • November 19, 2020 at 5:25 pm #3524675

                          Thanks heaps @MarkNicholson . That’s some great advice about smiling. Cheers! Have a great rest of your weekend. John

                          • November 19, 2020 at 5:25 pm #3524749

                            Visually, much better. Seems like there’s a hiss in the audio, tho.

                            If you’re going to do much “face time” it really helps to get a lens with shallow depth of field. Good ones aren’t cheap. Think I paid like $300 just for my lens, but it does make life easier.

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