Re: Tips For Creating Video Tutorials
I took a video production course in school and learned a LOT of helpful tips for making your videos look more professional. I look at some of the video tutorials on YouTube.com and they make me cringe!
It depends on the kind of camera you have for some of the settings I'll be describing, but it will also be a guideline for things you should think about when shooting your video, or things to look for when you're looking to buy a camera.
Here we go:Location, location, location:
This is one of the most important considerations when shooting your video, you should ask yourself:
Lighting and White Balance
- What are the lighting conditions? Is there a lot of natural light? Is it bright enough? Will I need to use artificial light?
- How will my environment affect video sound? Is there a lot of background noise? Does my location have an echo?
- What is my background? Is it a busy background that might distract my viewer from the subject? How will I position the subject in relation to the background? Are there reflective surfaces in my background that will shine light back into the camera?
- Does my environment have distractions that will disrupt my shooting? Will people or cars be passing by?
Lighting and white balance work together to produce the correct colours and appearance of your video.
- Use natural lighting as much as possible because it will give you the most accurate colours of your makeup.
- If you have to use artificial lighting, make considerations of the "tinge" that it produces. Incandesant light will make your video look orange and fuzzy, and fluroescent lighting tends to be a bit more blue and looks harsh.
- For artificial lighting, position a few different light sources at different angles at your subject (you) to get rid of shadows. Keep the light sources at a far enough distance to avoid over-lighting.
- Look for the White Balance settings, which usually include Indoor, Outdoor, Incandesant Light, Fluorescent Light, and Natural Light, and pick the setting that looks the best.
- Do NOT use the AUTO setting for your White Balance, whenever you move around your camera will keep adjusting and re-adjusting and be distracting to your viewers.
This is my biggest pet-peeve when it comes to videos!
- Use Manual Focus, do NOT use AUTO focus! When you use auto focus, your camera tries to adjust every time you move. You can tell someone is using an AUTO setting when the camera goes blurry then goes back into focus when they move around, wave their hands, or show a product up close to the camera then pull it away.
- If you prefer to use AUTO focus, then you must be still and don't wave your hands around. It's best to sit farther away from the camera so your movements don't make the camera refocus all the time. If you use Manual focus settings, you will not have this problem, but the camera will not focus if you hold something close to the lense.
- Sometimes you want to show a product close up to the camera. When using AUTO focus settings, show the product then place your hand behind and cover the background. Hold the product still for at least 5 seconds so the camera has a chance to focus and the viewer has time to see it. When you're done, pull the product away, wait 2~3 seconds for the camera to refocus, then continue. The better way to show products is to take a picture then edit them into the video later, keeping the audio track on top.
- Instead of moving back and forth, shoot close-ups using Manual focus settings separately from "portrait" shots. Edit your video to alternate between close-ups and normal distance shots.
Here are some audio tips besides being in a good sound environment:
- If possible, use an external mic. This will reduce the background noise as well as increase the quality of your audio.
- Look for the audio recording settings on your camera. My camera has an 8 bit and a 16 bit setting. The 16 Bit setting is higher quality.
- Practice your public speaking skills and avoid using "like" or "um." Be concise in your instructions and discussions, it also helps cut down on your video time. Write a script and shoot multiple shots if needed.
Some tips on positioning yourself in front of a camera:
Edit to your advantage!
- If you tend to move around a lot or use your hands, sit farther away from the camera (think Mona Lisa distance) and be sure to use manual focus setting.
- Position yourself off-centre from the camera instead of sitting in the middle the shot. This looks more professional. Think of news anchors, they always stand or sit to the side!
- Use the grid display if your camera has it. Basically, it pops up a grid that looks like tic-tac-toe, dividing your camera into three sections vertically and horizontally. Position yourself along these grid lines for professional looking shots, one way is to line your eyes and nose along an "intersection" of the horizontal and vertical lines. (Google "grid method" if you're still confused.)
- You can sit as close or as far away from the camera using the grid method, just be sure to use the right focus settings.
Instead of shooting one continuous video, use editing to your advantage!
- Mix normal distance shots with close-ups to avoid having to use the AUTO focus settings.
- You can use the technique of pre-recording your voice giving instructions and edit the audio track over the video of you doing each step. This way you can concentrate on each separately.
- You probably won't get it right the first time, so record multiple shots. Sometimes you might stutter or hesitate, so reshoot that section and edit it in.
- Don't overdo scene transitions, a simple fade-in/fade-out or fade-to-black looks simple and professional. Watch out for snipped audio when transitioning two shots.
- Give enough time for the viewer to read any text you've included in your video. Read it out loud to gauge how much time you should keep the text up on the screen.
I listed a lot of information and tips, but to sum it up:
- Find a good location with lighting and sound considerations.
- Avoid using AUTO settings for focus and white balance.
- Position yourself off-centre and don't move around too much.
- Speak clearly and concisely, don't say "um" or "like."
- Use editing techniques to solve problems.
Hope that helps!