Online Video Tips and Techniques

Think Online Video:

Video is about ACTION. If your story doesn’t have action, video may not be the best option.

If you are trying to turn something boring into interesting online video, look for ways to”

  • humanize
  • visualize
  • surprise
  • be useful
  • be short

“In her own words” tends to work better than tradition TV reporter standup and voice-over.

Assume viewer will watch video on her phone.

Online video litmus test: Would you share this your friends on social media?

Shooting Interviews:

Get steady shots. Use a tripod whenever possible.

Avoid swivel chairs.

Make sure you are getting good sound. Check levels. Video is 51 percent audio.

Frame your interview using rule-of-thirds. Subject facing 30 degree angle to camera. Head and nose room. Have light on subjects face.


Get soundbites that describe what is happening (anecdote) and why audience should care (moment of reflection)

Avoid yes/no questions.

“Describe for me.”

Try to evoke feeling and emotions.

Shooting B-Roll

Shoot b-roll in sequences. Make sure you have the five required shots:

  • Wide Shot – shows Where
  • Medium Shot – shows What
  • Close-Up – shows Who
  • Point of View – shows How
  • Reaction Shot – shows Why

Get more b-roll than you think you need. But don’t go overboard.

Avoid pans and zooms. If you use one, you should know exactly why you use it.


Use one computer. One editing program. Back up project on an external hard drive. Save all of your clips.

Log your clips. Transcribe your soundbites. Storyboard before you start editing.

Audio before visuals. Build your story around audio (soundbites, natural sound).

Make sure you have a good opening shot. Often action.

Your story angle should be clear in the first 20 seconds of your video.

Cut on action. Start the cut at the beginning of the action. End the cut at the end of action.

Cut on the rest. Make the cut when the subject stops.

Avoid cutting during pans, zooms and tilts.

Avoid jump cuts.

Use cross dissolve and fade to black transitions sparingly.

Use lower thirds (full names and occupation/role) rather than “My name is…”

Make sure you have a closing shot.

Capture a still image from video for thumbnail or featured image.


About Nick DiUlio

My name is Nick DiUlio, a freelance writer and editor from New Jersey. I have been passionate about the craft of writing since I was old enough to spell, and this love has led to a successful career in journalism and creative nonfiction. As a freelancer, I have covered a wide range of topics and personalities, as my published work has focused on everything from profiles of artists and important political figures to hard-news stories with both national and local appeal; from restaurant and beverage reviews to tips on fashion and finance; from health and wellness pieces to celebrity Q&A’s. My work has appeared in several local, regional and national publications—both in print and online—including Philadelphia Magazine,, Miller-McCune, New Jersey Monthly, Eating Well, and Delaware Today. Additionally, I am the South Jersey Bureau Chief for New Jersey Monthly and an adjunct journalism professor at Rowan University. To be sure, the broadness of my body of work seems only to be matched by my boundless interest in almost every subject imaginable (except Warren Zevon). Check out some of my most recently published work here.
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