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Practical advice for your own Murphy-Goode video

2009 May 18
by Eric Hwang

So you’re thinking about submitting a video for Murphy-Goode’s Really Goode Job?  Just to show that I’m a good sport about this whole thing, I’m going to offer some advice that may help you stay in the running. After all, I haven’t hinged my entire future on this job, but I like to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.

Keep in mind that I don’t know who is judging these videos nor do I know what exactly they are looking for in the person who will become the Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent. These are just simple things to help improve the quality of your video. As far as the content goes, you’re on your own.

  1. Follow their instructions. If you haven’t bothered reading everything on the Murphy-Goode web site, you’re going to miss a vital piece of information. Information such as, the video should be 4:3 format, not 16:9, not 3:2. Your ability to follow instructions means that you are conscientious and dependable.
  2. Check your sound volume. Encode your video as you would for any other YouTube video you’ve posted. Listen to your video afterward and compare it to one of the Murphy-Goode winemaker videos. Is your volume sufficient to be able to hear it? It’s so simple yet too many of the posted videos have the sound so low, I can’t hear a thing. Also, watch out for wind noise. If you film outdoors, use a good windscreen on your mic. Wind noise will ruin an otherwise great monologue. Don’t miss out by forgetting a sound check.
  3. Use a tripod. Sure your friend is holding it really still and your camera has vibration reduction, but that’s no substitute. It’s very distracting to the audience when your head is bobbing up and down in the video frame. Avoid moving the camera unless you have a fluid pan head on your tripod. Otherwise, the movements usually appear too jerky.
  4. Watch your background! You’ll notice the best videos have simple backgrounds to reduce the distraction. Make sure your face is in the frame and that you don’t have trees sticking out of your hair. A background that contrasts with your hair and clothing is best. (Don’t look like a floating head.) Avoid backlighting that puts your face in the shadows, such as shooting with a bright window behind you.
  5. Avoid shooting in bright sunlight. The contrast is usually too great and it makes you squint.
  6. Don’t shoot from a low angle. It isn’t flattering for most people unless you’re trying to show the world from a kid’s or pet’s perspective. Nobody wants to look up your nose nor do you want to add extra chins by looking down. Have the camera at eye-level or slight above.
  7. Be careful with what you wear, specifically if you are wearing stripes. Fine stripes cause a very distracting moire effect. Make sure your wardrobe matches the requirements for the job.
  8. Most of all, have fun with it. This is your chance to show off to the world. You may not get this job, but your video might outlast it as a self-promotional piece. Make it good and it might help you later.

I hope these few suggestions help. Best of luck to everyone. See you in Sonoma. :-)

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