How to shoot short-form video and get it seen

Short-form video is more popular than ever. In this BBC Academy guide we look at what makes it different, how to create it, and the best way to get it seen.

BBC AcademyBBC Academy

Why shoot short-form video?

Video is predicted to account for more than three-quarters of all internet traffic by 2019 - much of it consumed on social platforms via mobile and tablet.

So how do you make engaging video that works for your audience on these screens, across platforms as diverse as Snapchat, Facebook and Vine?

Equally important, especially when you consider that more than 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute, how do you make sure your video gets seen and shared?

What makes short-form different?

From choice of shot to editing techniques, making video that connects with digital audiences can require content creators to think differently. Here are some practical tips to get you started:

Alex Ayling explores the art of shooting short-form. Alex is head of BBC Worldwide Studios, which looks after the digital content for worldwide brands such Doctor Who, Top Gear, BBC Earth and YouTube channels like Earth Unplugged.

Transcript (PDF 165 Kb)

How do I build my brand online?

If people know who you are and what you're making, there is a fair chance they will come back for more.

Eight tips for boosting your brand

  1. Be authentic - believe in what you're doing and why you're doing it. Be able to talk about it passionately
  2. Be consistent - release regular videos so people get in the habit of watching
  3. Engage with your audience - invite them to participate by requesting comments and feedback
  4. Don't just broadcast - respond to what your audience tell you and consider reflecting this in your content
  5. Be human - not a faceless organisation. People are more likely to share what you make if they can relate to you
  6. Be patient. Finding your audience won’t happen overnight - unless you’re spring-boarding off an existing brand
  7. Concentrate on early fans - build up that core audience and they'll spread the word for you
  8. Keep going. If you regularly deliver something you passionately care about your audience will come to you


Girl using her phone

How do I get my video out there?

With so many different platforms and places to share content, figuring out which will work best for you can be tricky. Focusing on what your video is for can help narrow it down.

With so many different platforms and places to share content, figuring out which will work best for you can be tricky. Focusing on what your video is for can help narrow it down.

Transcript (PDF 164 Kb)

What works best where?

There are a host of different platforms where you can publish short-form video, each with different advantages. Here are a few to get you started:

A few video sharing platforms

  • SnapchatVideo and photo-messaging app where users send 'snaps' to friends. These can be viewed for 10 seconds before being automatically deleted. Users value authenticity. Shoot vertically using a phone rather than create high production value films.
  • YouTubeUbiquitous video-sharing website. Users create profiles and can upload videos for anyone to watch. Choose thumbnails for your videos that are self-explanatory and entice people to click. Good metadata (title, description, tags) is also crucial.
  • FacebookThe UK's most popular social networking platform with a broad range of users. Video uploaded directly to Facebook. Adding text to the video allows people to watch it easily as the video will autoplay in their feed without sound.