The MacGyver Method for Social Media Video | Part 2: Quality Tips

In Part 2 of the MacGyver Method for Social Media Video, we'll discuss tips and tools to improve video quality. If you missed yesterday's post on platform optimization, check it out.

This series is named for MacGyver, a character of persistence and improvision--of which social media managers are well adept.

To simplify, let's assume there are four basic levels of video production:

  • Level 1: Just the phone
  • Level 2: Advanced phone set-up (phone + lighting and microphone)
  • Level 3: Computer, software, accessories
  • Level 4: Dedicated machine (TV quality production)

This guide will focus on Level 2. By using basic video best practices and a few affordable add-on tools, you can produce great quality video with limited time and budget.

Quality Tips


Lighting is arguably the easiest element to change and makes the biggest impact.

On the left, the multiple competing light sources behind the subject creates shadows on the subject's face and draws attention to the screens behind her.

On the right, the subject is facing a natural light source (better alternative to artificial light), which reduces shadows and keeps the subject's face the focus of the shot, despite the lights behind her.

A simple trick for good lighting: as the photographer or videographer, your back should face the light source so it shines on the subject. It's tempting to put a subject in front of a window for the scenic backdrop, but your audience will notice the darkly lit subject more than the scenery.

Rule of Thirds

Regardless of the orientation of your shot (square, portrait or landscape), divide the shot into thirds (example below) and center your subject on any of the intersecting grid lines. This creates a natural balance to the image.



A simple lighting kit is helpful when lighting factors are hard to adjust, such as in a conference center or hospital building where access to external light sources and natural light are difficult.


An external microphone (pictured below) can be plugged into a phone to improve audio quality. Directional microphones attach to the recording device and pick up sound in front of the microphone, limiting background noise. Lavalier microphones attach to the speaker and pick up sound from the speaker.


There are many rig options that provide video stabilization and mic and lighting attachment options. The Osmo (left) is approximately $140 and provides automatic video stabilization, zoom, and tilt features. The video rig (right) goes for $13 and offers space for the phone, microphone, and light kit to attach.


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The MacGyver Method for Social Media Video Part 2: Quality Tips
The MacGyver Method for Social Media Video | Part 2: Quality Tips
What on earth could McGyver teach us about social media? A lot, actually.

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