In this article, I’m going to share with you a simple setup and workflow that will enable you to start producing video content. A simple ‘How To’ guide, to get you on your way to creating video content. Covering basic lighting, framing, sound and editing, so you can make video now!
Broadly speaking, video production is roughly split into three phases, pre-production, production and post-production.
The first phase is pre-production. And for the sake of what we’re looking to achieve here, the pre-production phase is what we covered off in the part one, which is the planning phase.
So, we’re now in the production phase. This is the showbiz bit and also the bit that can make people feel a little bit odd, and not really want to carry on. This is typically where you’ll come up with all sorts of excuses about the fact that you don’t have the right kit, or you don’t know about lighting, or your hair’s not quite right.
Listen, my hair is never right and together, today, we’re going to overcome these barriers and get you well on your way to creating video. As someone much wiser than me once said, every journey starts with a single step.
So, let’s start.
We’re simply communicating a story to our audience about something we know a lot about – our business – so there are no trick questions. You’re on home turf, just sharing your expertise with people. That’s all, right? So, let’s quickly talk about kit for this set up. For this, I’m just using the web cam, that’s in my Mac. That’s it. It’s not 17K, infrared or made of space dust. It’s just the camera that sits there in my Mac. Simple right? There are no lenses to understand about, no confusing manual settings or baffling numbers. Like ISO or T-stop to worry about.
Now let’s talk about lighting. Guess what? There’s no massive $17 million rig, no dry ice, no lasers. There’s just a window – over there.
So, if you can initially try and find a window to film by, have the daylight falling onto your face from one side or the other, or from the front. Don’t film with the camera towards the window. If you do that, you become a silhouette. So, I’ve also here got a fill light, which is coming from that direction to balance the light coming in from the window. If it was bright sunshine outside, I’d need to balance the light.
Now let’s quickly talk about framing the webcam. You want to frame according to the rule of thirds, which means that my eyes are roughly two thirds of the way up the frame. And in terms of distance away from the camera, you want to be a head and shoulders type size – known in the trade as an MCU or medium closeup. You don’t want masses of headroom on top of the frame. It just looks odd. The same as chopping the top of your head off does too.
In terms of the background of the shot, just pay attention to it, make sure it’s not too distracting and there’s no random things coming out the back of your head.
The next critical thing is sound. To be honest, if you’re thinking of creating video even at this low fi, webcam level, I would still invest in a decent mic set up. For this kind of office setup, a decent vlogging mic with a boom arm is ideal. This will set you back a couple of hundred pounds, but a decent desk mounted mic can be purchased from around 80 pounds or so. So, in terms of recording, I’m using QuickTime, which comes with the Mac. You can get a PC version for free too.
So, that’s a super quick whistle stop tour of the basic setup here. It may not be fancy, but it allows you to start producing video content.
The final part of the production process is post-production editing. Again, I don’t want to get hung up on debates, as to which software is best. To be honest, it’s about finding one that you like the usability of.
As a start, iMovie is absolutely fine. For PC users, I’d have a look at something like Open Shot, but a quick scoot around YouTube or Google will uncover lots of free options for you. Other very good paid alternatives are ScreenFlow and Camtasia. Both of these offer brilliant usability and functionality.
Editing options to start with:
- IMovie (Mac)
- Openshot (PC)
- Camtasia (PC) great as a paid intro level product
- Screenflow (Mac) fantastic paid starting point
Ideally, you want to start learning on a platform that doesn’t bamboozle you with too many options for this kind of video content. It’s a case of assembling the clips in order so that they make sense, maybe enhancing them with graphics and perhaps a music bed to keep the interest of the viewer.
In the editing phase you may find you need to produce different versions of the film for different platforms. For example, videos on Facebook and Instagram have a different ratio or a different size to those you’d upload on YouTube for example. Also, the optimum running times would be different for each platform too.
These are all the sorts of details that will come out of the pre-production planning stages in terms of where your audience ‘live’ online, and therefore which platforms would be most suitable to use in order to reach them. This is an example of how the decisions you make earlier on in the video making process, can then have an effect later on in the production and post production process, and is exactly why planning is key when you’re making video.
So that was a rapid gallop through the video creation process. We’ve covered the basic setup you need to create a video. Looking at basic framing, sound and post production. I really hope you got value from it. Please do let me know what you think or if you have any questions, drop me a line below. If you have any ideas for what you’d like to see me cover in future videos, please let me know in the comments.