Creating online videos seems fairly straight-forward nowadays due to the fact that there are so many avenues available to create your content. ‘Video content’ now encompasses vlogging, marketing videos, vines and good old how-to’s. It’s easy to create a basic video – but basic nowadays basic doesn’t cut it. All of these forms of video still require require expert tips and tricks in order to create something with the competitive edge you’re going to need to make it in the online video industry.
Follow our comprehensive guide to get the tools and know-how to start creating killer videos.
A key instrument to simplifying the video making process begins before the filming process has taken place. This involves envisaging the overall production and creating a storyboard that lays out all the key shots and illustrates how you visualise them unfolding. In doing this, you will have a clearer understanding about your film and the filming and editing process will run much smoother, eliminating any potential for time wasted on rough-cuts and re-shoots later.
GETTING YOUR EQUIPMENT SORTED
With modern advancements in filming technology, getting your hands on affordable equipment to film professional quality videos at home has become easy. In order to do this effectively, it’s important to have the right equipment.
On a very basic level, the main pieces of equipment you’re going to need are:
- A filming device: whether that be a professional camcorder, a dslr camera, a webcam or an iphone
- A light source: whether that be natural lighting, an in-built light or an external lighting kit
- An audio recording device: whether that be built into your laptop, a digital recorder or an external mic
- A pair of headphones
- A tripod: If you’re not using a laptop or a webcam tripods are essential for making sure your frame is level and steady.
You may need:
- A backdrop: in case you’re not recording in the most scenic or tidy workplace. It’s always important to check what’s behind you before you start filming
- Lighting stands and clamps: in order to get the light to hit the subject in the best possible position
- A boom mic: to record quality audio in an open setting
Make sure the lighting is plentiful. Dark settings equal poor quality and poor vision which can be extremely distracting and make for an unpleasant recording. 3 point lighting is ideal for shooting subjects, with two sources on either side and one above or behind the subject. Never mix and match lighting. All bulbs are different and cast different colors which can really distort the lighting quality in a recording. If you don’t have enough lighting invest in a lighting kit to ensure that all of your elements are the same. If you decide to use artificial light you must eliminate all natural lighting in the room. Seal all cracks completely, black out curtains and thick towels can be useful for this.
Be aware of how your environment sounds in the recording by testing different settings. If you’re in a large sealed room with hardwood floors or tiles – chances are that you will get an echo in your recording. If this becomes an issue you can move to a ‘denser’ room with carpet to absorb the sound, use a boom mic, switch a higher quality microphone or hang sound blankets and in the room to diffuse the reverb. If your environment is open or not in a set room- check there are no outside noises coming in such as TV’s, Cars, Fans & Lawn Mowers.
Test the levels on your microphone before recording. Try it at different distances as well as different angles. There’s nothing more frustrating than finishing a recording and discovering your mic was too low or too high. Even in the editing process you can lose a lot of quality having to fiddle with these things.
Shot sizes and angles are paramount in ensuring your video editing footage is dynamic, entertaining and engaging. In order to work out what kinds of angles and sizes you will employ, you have to think about your content. For example, if you are filming a tutorial video such as a guitar lesson – you would need mid shots for the introductory and closing scenes as well as close ups for clarity during the different chord progressions. However, if you were doing a counselling session, and just talking straight to the camera, you would seldom need varied shot sizes. However, you could make use of different camera angles by setting up two cameras and jumping between them, providing a sense of movement throughout the video.
BEGINNING THE EDITING PROCESS
The editing process is where you take your video footage and refine it. It’s a practice that involves great skill and often comes with experience. However, there are always a few things you can do to ensure your editing process runs smoothly and you’re satisfied with your final product.
Organizing your clips
After filming, you’ll have a cluster of files – footage, audio and images. It can be hellish trying to sort through different files with irrelevant names. That’s why it’s best to always organise your clips to avoid time wasting later. This means renaming them so you know what they are without having to constantly open and re-watch clips. It means sorting your files into folders, whether that be file types or sequence order, filming dates, or any system that works best for you. Deleting any files that you won’t be able to use (out of focus, outtakes) and trimming down clips is another way to organize your files, so that the clip is ready to be stitched straight into the final cut.
Deciding on Length
If you are making a video for entertainment purposes, keep it short (under 3 minutes) otherwise your audience will likely lose interest. With the immense popularity of Vines and short form videos, it is difficult to engage a viewer for just three minutes, so think about succinct ways of getting your messages across. If your video is educational and your topic complex, allow for a longer length when necessary , but keep in mind – if you want your video to get the maximum amount of views, minimise its length. A better idea would be to break it up into several shorter length videos.
Simple, clean and uniform are the key points to creating a professional video finish. Video effects should always be used sparingly, and in most cases, less is more. Transitions should always be seamless and invisible. Rather than alternating font types, make use of different weights, sizes and cases in order to give a varied but uniform range of fonts. If you have filmed across a number of locations and throughout different times of the day, filters and color grading is recommended to achieve uniformity between shots. However, ensuring that it is just the one filter across the video is important, otherwise the video will look tacky and disjointed.
ADDING ENGAGEMENT TO YOUR VIDEOS
Every day, millions of videos are uploaded to the internet. What’s going to help your videos stand out from the rest and give them that competitive edge is ensuring that you’ve included all of the right tools and techniques to engage your viewers.
Music & Sound Effects
Music is a vital part of your video, so you need to make sure you’re picking the right stuff. It is essentially what will set the mood of your entire video. For most videos, instrumental music is best, as it is incredibly malleable in terms of editing. Music with lyrics can be incredibly challenging to work with as it often leads to issues of timing and clashing with voice overs and narration, resulting in a lengthy editing process. Avoid using any music that will date too quickly, otherwise you risk dating your video and having to remake it to remain current.
Animation software can be great addition to your online videos when used correctly. Gone are the days where animations were purely for engaging children. In a professional setting, animated videos can be used for explainer videos, animated whiteboard videos or simply to promote your products and services in a fun and appealing way. For educators, they can be used to create educational videos and break down complex topics, as well as making for more visually attractive presentations. Animations are a great way to diversify your online videos and add a truly unique dynamism to your content. They often provide a solution for simplifying complex topics making them well received by general audiences. They’re also very versatile in that some people choose to use animations throughout an entire video, whereas others only use them for small segments. If you’re trying to engage a younger audience, make them plentiful- if you’re simply trying to make an instructional video more easy to follow, considering using basic animations sparingly. See below for some helpful programs!
Humor really goes a long way with online videos. Think about the kinds of things that you could relate back to your content, as well as your target audience and what types of things they are likely to find funny. If are you are relaxed and are having a good time making your videos, chances are other people will feel the same way when watching them.
If humor is not your strong suit – or just not suited to your content, make your video emotive. Emotion is the driving source behind entertainment and so being able to tap into human emotion can be just as effective as humour or any other entertainment tactics. Ultimately, it’s going to be what causes people to watch.
HANDY TOOLS FOR CREATING ONLINE VIDEOS
When it comes to online video creation, the software you are using can either make or break your final product. Choosing one with the right features that suits your needs is key. Do your research about the different programs available to you and decide which features you’ll need to amplify your video.
Moovly is perhaps the most well-known animation software available because they’ve put a lot of effort into tailoring their usability, which makes it appealing for first-timers – and it’s also free! With Moovly, you can create your animations in a Doodle style- where the animations look hand-drawn, Infographics style – where the animations are displayed like moving infographics, Paper Cut-Out Style – which looks like the animations are moving collages, as well as Cartoon style and custom styles which allows you to meet the graphics style of your company and add branding elements such as logos, images, colors and fonts.
GoAnimate is another software with a heavy focus on simplicity and usability. The best part about this software, is that by purchasing the business package, your built-in templates and icons are tailored to a business environment – you can choose from customer service, HR and training templates as well as professional looking characters and office related icons, which is often an issue for other programs. To use the software, you simply use drag and drop tools, and each preset feature can be fully customized to meet your needs, whether that be the avatar, the background or the scene. It’s about $25 a month for a business plan which is extremely affordable when you think about all it can do for your business.
PowToon is a free online software, which is always a bonus. It’s another system that allows you to create an array of different types of animations from infographics to hand drawn to presentation style animations. They too pride themselves on their usability – likening themselves to PowerPoint. An exciting feature other software doesn’t have that they do is the ability to add music. The preset icons and templates are suited to a wide variety of industries; anything from medical to transport so there’s a huge range to choose from.
CrazyTalk is dissimilar to the other types of animation because it focuses purely on 3D talking heads. While it may seem strange at first, CrazyTalk is exceptionally powerful because you can create an online character – animate it as cartoon-y or realistically as you would like, sync it with your audio and get it to present your speech for you. This makes for an all round more engaging experience for your viewers. The software itself has easy learning tools, tutorials and tips to support you along the way. It’s interface is also quite friendly, lets you apply motion, import artwork and convert it to animation. It’s a one-off payment that’s priced depending on what you want, but the standard package is $49.
Adobe’s After Effects is powered by Adobe, so straight away you know you’re going to get a higher quality, more professional kind of animation from it. If you’re looking for more sophisticated kinds of animations, this is where you’ll want to go. This software is commonly used for film and TV production, so the quality of the results are often quite powerful. With this software you can color correct, animate in 3D and create your own individual characters, integrate with various other editing tools – just to name a few. Unfortunately, this downside to this software is that there is a lot to learn and understand before you can get creating and if you’re a beginner you will really struggle to use this software – so it’s best to avoid unless you’re confident in your capabilities.
SoundCloud has a lot going on. While it is primarily being used as a streaming service nowadays, it’s just as popular as a platform for emerging artists to share and distribute their music for free. What’s going to be most useful for you as a video maker is their selection of royalty free/ free to use music that you can simply browse through and download straight from the website.
Free Sound is a hub of free downloadable sound effects. Despite it’s questionable appearance, it’s actually got a great range of content and it’s extremely easy to navigate.