Ten tips on how to get the most out of your online horse sale video.
Today, videos of sale horses are the norm not the exception. Buyers just expect them. You don’t have to be an Oscar-winning videographer or a technogeek to create a successful online sale video. Here are 10 tips to get you started:
No. 1 – Capture the Horse
If possible, it’s best to have the video include the horse in the show pen and working at home. Even a video of the horse running around the pasture works well.
You can also have someone lead the horse straight up to the camera and then straight away from it. Buyers can see the action of the knees and look at how straight the horse’s legs are.
No. 2 – Clean Up
If you’re shooting outside a show environment, it is extremely important to dress yourself and the horse as if going to a show.
The horse should be in top condition and looking its absolute best. Clean him up, groom him, clip him and make him look as good as possible.
No. 3 – Shoot Outside
Shooting video follows the same principles as still photography: You’re better off shooting in the early morning or late afternoon sun. Shooting in the middle of the day will have the sun shining straight down the horse’s back, causing his sides to be in shadow. Plus, the morning or evening sun will cast a nice golden hue, and the shadows won’t be as harsh.
When shooting outside, be aware of what is in the background, and avoid shooting on a white background like the side of the barn, as it will take away from the horse. Find a nice pretty background with trees or fields.
No. 4 – Use a Tripod
The less camera movement the better when shooting a video. Even if you’re just taping conformation shots of your horse, it’s still best to put the camcorder on a tripod. Not only does this make the video smoother and easier to watch, it will also keep the video’s file size smaller if you plan on posting it online.
The file size is smaller because when the camera is perfectly still, the encoder sees the background as a still picture. Anything that moves in the frame has to be re-encoded, but if only the horse is moving, the computer doesn’t have to redraw the background.
No. 5 – Use Zoom Sparingly
The less use of the zoom control the better. Zooming in and out will distract the viewer’s attention away from the horse. Preferably, be zoomed in as close to the horse as possible and stay there.
When a horse is loping circles, you don’t always have to zoom out when the horse approaches the camera – it’s nice to get a close-up shot of the horse loping or jogging. However, if the horse is loping big circles, don’t let him get too small on the screen. Then it’s acceptable to use the zoom.
No. 6 – Don’t Use a Wide Angle
Never shoot using a wide-angle lens because it makes things look farther away than they really are and will stretch and distort your horse.
For instance, if you have the camera on full wide-angle and you’re up close to the horse, with the horse facing the camera, it’s going to make the horse’s head look as long as its back.
No. 7 – Lock Down the Exposure
Before taping, expose the camera for the horse. To do this, fill two-thirds of the frame with the horse’s body in auto exposure, and if it looks halfway decent, lock the exposure.
If you leave the camera on auto exposure, the video will continually shift from light to dark.
No. 8 – Keep the File Size Small
To be able to put as much video as possible online, the file size must remain small. To keep the file size small, don’t include audio on your video. Audio takes up a tremendous amount of data and is generally unnecessary in a sales video.
No. 9 – Create Two Versions
Because you want a shorter video of one to three minutes to put online, it is also a good idea to create a longer version to be burned onto a DVD that can be shipped to prospective buyers.
When you put up your shorter video, you can advertise that there is a longer version available and that will give potential buyers a chance to talk with you over the phone.
No. 10 – Produce Quality
Finally, creating a video that looks professional, is easy to view and shows off the horse to best of his abilities will help speed up your sales.
Keep in mind, the horse’s quality is going to be partly judged by the quality of the video. Potential buyers will think that a high-quality video reflects a high-quality horse.
By putting effort into your videos and making sure they are viewable online, you’ll give the impression that your horse is the one to buy.