VIDEO

5 ways to improve your social media videos

Want to step up your social media? Four content creators share tips for creating high quality footage to help you stand out online.
A Canon EOS R50 on a tripod positioned on top of a table to record a woman in a pink jumpsuit surrounded by crafting tools.

With social media indisputably video-first, just how do you make your content stand out? To start with, you need to use the right tools for the job, and your camera is a key factor in the quality of your output. If you're shooting on a smartphone, upgrading to a camera such as the Canon EOS R50 would be a big step forward.

Built for content creation, the EOS R50 allows you to express yourself in new ways. You can produce higher quality 4K video and audio and use RF and RF-S lenses to shape the look and feel of your content. And you can utilise a range of pro video features such as Canon's groundbreaking Dual Pixel CMOS AF, a dedicated vlogging mode and seamless smartphone connectivity.

From then on, it's all down to your creativity and techniques. To help with that, four social media creators with substantial followings offer their video tips. From the UK, there's food influencer Martyn Odell and art director Zeena Shah; from France, fashion and beauty influencer Fatou N'Diaye; and from Germany, fitness and nutrition influencer Elena Bulkowski. All are at the top of their social game. Here are their five tips for improving your video content.

1. Shoot the best quality footage you can

A Canon EOS R50 on a tripod filming content creator Elena Bulkowski in an orange top performing a yoga pose in a field.

The Canon EOS R50 features the same Dual Pixel CMOS AF II autofocus as professional EOS R System cameras such as the EOS R6 Mark II. "It helps me reach a new level," says Elena. "It's important if you create content that it's good quality, the picture is sharp and nothing is blurred, that the colours are clear and beautiful."

Social media influencer Fatou N'Diaye, wearing a fluffy brown coat and holding an umbrella, stands in a road next to illuminated shopfronts.

The 24.2MP image sensor on the EOS R50 records incredible detail, even when shooting in low light. Taken on a Canon EOS R50 with a Canon RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM lens at 45mm, 1/40 sec, f/6.3 and ISO3200.

"There's so much competition in content creation," says Zeena. "Image quality is everything. I want to show everyone exactly what I'm seeing in real life and inspire them with that vibrant colour, the swirl of the water, the drop of ink."

Cameras such as the Canon EOS R50 have bigger sensors than those inside smartphones, resulting in much cleaner footage, especially in low light. The EOS R50 also features Canon's rapid autofocusing and its decades of research into colour science, resulting in sharp images and natural, beautiful tones. Its vari-angle touchscreen allows shooting at creative angles and viewing yourself while vlogging, while still delivering the benefits of the larger sensor. "It's so useful," continues Zeena. "You can spin it in any direction that you need. It's really useful for shooting top-down tablescapes or tutorials."

Plus, with the Canon EOS R50, you can use Canon's RF and RF-S lenses to tailor the look and feel of your content. "The EOS R50 and RF lenses allow you to be creative and produce a wonderful, shallow depth of field," says Martyn.

2. Know when to shoot vertically

A Canon EOS R50, positioned on a tripod for vertical shooting, filming food influencer Martyn Odell in a kitchen.

The Canon EOS R50's vari-angle touchscreen gives you the option to film from any angle and enables you to view that footage in impressive detail before sharing online. The EOS R50 also features a Movie for close-up demos mode which adapts the focus settings when switching between shots of the product and the presenter.

One of the most important decisions to make when creating video is whether you shoot vertically or horizontally. You've got to get it right, and it depends on which app you're shooting for.

Platforms such as TikTok only operate in vertical orientation, meaning you should be shooting vertically. Otherwise, any horizontal footage would have to be shrunk down to fit the width of the phone screen, or cropped at the sides, and you'd lose some of your frame.

YouTube shorts also work best in vertical orientation. But if you're shooting standard YouTube or Twitch content, you should usually shoot horizontally to match the orientation of people's computer screens and phones in full screen mode, so your content looks professional.

The Canon EOS R50 can automatically identify if you are shooting vertically or horizontally and will record in that format. "One of the great features of the EOS R50 is that it knows the orientation of the camera," explains Martyn. "The camera knows when I'm shooting vertically, so when I import the footage into my phone, I can post it straight to my socials."

If you're shooting a video for multiple platforms, you can also display aspect markers for your chosen ratio on the screen during recording so that you can frame your scene correctly. The whole frame is still visible, but the guides show where it will be cropped so you can ensure the footage shows what it needs to both horizontally and vertically.

3. Transitions are important, but keep them simple

Canon EOS R50 - Slow motion

Every filmmaker needs to know how to transition from one shot to another – and getting these transitions right is important. It's best to keep them consistent and subtle. Transitions should serve a purpose yet blend seamlessly into your footage.

Choose only a couple to use initially. Start with the basics, such as a hard cut transition, where one shot switches to another with no effects applied, or a zoom in and out transition. They might sound simple, but you'd be surprised how professional low-key transitions can look.

Spin transitions, which rotate a video into the following clip with a fast 180-degree spin, or playing around with hand swipes and finger snaps are also ideal for fun, fast-paced social footage.

You can then add layers of sophistication to your basic transitions, such as a J-cut, where the audio of the next shot starts before the image cuts in.

To break up scenes, add in B-roll footage with audio over the top. The Canon EOS R50's 120fps capture is great for creating beautiful slow-motion B-roll footage for a pro feel to your finished edit. "The slow-motion feature on the EOS R50 allows me to add a dynamic element to my content," says Martyn. "Anything from bubbling oil to pouring shots to slow-motion chopping."

4. Post regularly

Hands holding a Canon EOS R50 as files transfer from the camera to a phone on the table beside it.

You might think regular posting is difficult when shooting 4K footage, but the Canon Camera Connect app and the ability to transfer files automatically from camera to phone makes it easy to upload straight from shoot to social.

Your followers want to see your life and what you do, so it's important to post often to keep them invested. Regular posting is also what social media algorithms like, meaning you're more likely to get noticed.

Aim to post on TikTok up to four times a day and at least once a week to YouTube. This quantity can be challenging, so Fatou advises you to act when inspiration strikes. "I like to share things around current affairs, my fits of rage as well as my fits of fancy," she says.

Elena agrees: "I try to make my content spontaneous, and adapt it to the situation," she says. "I'm totally flexible and can share my entire life."

"The reason that my community has grown massively is because I put the hours in," adds Martyn. "I spend hours every day replying to comments, sending voice notes and video messages. To build a community, you have to put in energy. You can't expect people to just follow you."

While you should post regularly, it's important that you don't post just anything – your content should still be high quality. "What you share should reflect who you are, because the people who follow you are used to seeing you – they know you," says Fatou.

5. Create your own trends

Social media influencer Fatou N'Diaye, wearing a fluffy brown coat and glasses and carrying a Canon EOS R50, walks past pastel-coloured houses.

"We can be inspired by people, but there is a difference between inspiration and copying," says Fatou. "When you copy people, you'll copy something that is not you. Your followers won't know who you really are, because one day you're this, tomorrow you're that. You'll follow trends instead of creating your own."

"When I'm asked what advice I would give new content creators," says Fatou, "I say it's about being yourself. Just because someone else took a photo and it was successful, that doesn't mean you'll have the same effect. You must have your own identity, have something to talk about, but really stay true to who you are. People will often like you because you are different from everyone else."

Zeena agrees: "Stay true to yourself, be unique," she says. "I've got so many ideas and so many projects that I'm desperate to share. There's always going to be another idea that somebody else isn't doing."

"Content creators should do what they enjoy doing," advises Elena. "If you don't enjoy sports, don't become a fitness influencer because people can see right through you. Be who you are, have fun, and then you'll motivate people."

The kit the content creators use for their social videos

A hand holding a Canon Tripod Grip HG-100TBR attached to a Canon EOS R50 with a Canon Stereo Microphone DM-E100.

The Canon Tripod Grip HG-100TBR is an ideal content creation tool, says Martyn. "I'm a messy chef, so it's great that I don't have to worry about touching my camera and getting it all grubby. It's also great for vlogging. It gives you that extension of your arm to allow you to capture wider angles when you're out and about."

Canon EOS R50
A lightweight mirrorless camera to take anywhere and unleash spontaneous creativity. The Canon EOS R50's 24.2MP sensor shoots 4K 30p and Full HD 120fps and features a range of creative pre-sets to tailor the look and feel of your footage, straight out of the camera. You can see some alternative options in our guide to the best Canon cameras for vlogging.

Canon RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM
Start your EOS R System APS-C mirrorless journey with a lens that covers all your video needs. The Canon RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM lens is light and compact, offering a 4-stop optical Image Stabilizer for stable handheld video, plus a useful 18-45mm zoom range for great results every day.

Canon Stereo Microphone DM-E100
Don't let tinny sound spoil your vibe. The Canon Stereo Microphone DM-E100 is perfect for stepping up your audio game. It's small and lightweight to match the Canon EOS R50 and runs off the camera's battery. It picks up unidirectional stereo sound, so is perfect for vlogging to camera.

Canon Tripod Grip HG-100TBR
Film with confidence and harness your creativity with the Canon Tripod Grip HG-100TBR, which features remote control, an adjustable head and superb ergonomics designed for stable shooting.

Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM
The Canon EOS R50's RF mount gives you access to all RF lenses. As your experience grows, tailor your lens choice to your creative aesthetic. Designed for vloggers, the ultra-wide-angle RF 16mm F2.8 STM is perfect for pieces to camera, while its fast f/2.8 aperture delivers smooth, soft bokeh for a cinematic effect.

Canon RF 50mm F1.8 STM
Compact and lightweight, and with near-silent focusing, the RF 50mm F1.8 STM lens is ideal in low light and great for creative depth of field.


So, if you're a content creator who is ready to take your work to the next level, following the advice from our four social media pros is sure to help you stand out from the crowd.

Peter Wolinski

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