Guide to Making Videos

Simple Guide to Making Videos

Using a Mobile Device
Have you ever wanted to create your own movie or TV show but thought only a professional using thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment can do it?  Changes in technology have made video production accessible to all of us.  You will still have a lot to learn and a lot of work to do but with a little guidance you can make quality videos using just your cell phone or tablet.

Tips for Shooting Video
If you have had a smartphone for more than about 10 minutes you have likely taken many pictures and shot a number of videos.  Please review the simple tips below for creating quality video.

  • Unless you have an artistic reason for doing it, turn your phone sideways (landscape). You’re doing this so that the video you make fits in a TV sized screen and looks a little less “cellphone-y”
  • When filming try to hold the camera as still as possible.  Nothing is more distracting than watching a video that is jumping around.
  • When moving the camera during filming make sure to move smoothly and slowly. Sudden or jerky movements are even more pronounced and upsetting when viewed on a large screen.
  • The same approach should be used if you zoom in/zoom out while taping.
  • Think about the composition of your shot.
    • Try to make sure that the viewer’s eye will be directed where you want them to go.  For example, if you are taping someone speaking you might want to center them in the frame as they are the primary focus. You can do tests to see what you like best.  See how it looks when you put your speaker to one side or another.  You will get a quick idea of what “feels” best.
    • Think about everything in the shot. Are there things that need to be removed? Is the shot better when I zoom in/out?
    • Watch TV and think about how the shows are made.  You will notice that there is a definite way that shows are shot that just looks right.
  • Remember that when you are shooting video from your phone, that the microphone will be closest to you.  You must remain as quiet as possible to avoid unwanted sound on your video.  
  • Read about video production.  There are tons of books out there that offer tips and techniques. 

Once you’ve shot all your video, you will need to assemble your project.  You might want to eliminate, shorten or rearrange scenes in your video which will be done in the EDIT.  There are many tools available to assist you in this task.
  • If you are working on an Apple computer you would probably use iMovie which is likely already on your computer. 
  • If you will edit your film on a Windows PC there are many more tools out there for editing such as:
    • Prior to Windows 10, Windows Movie Maker was a simple powerful tool for video editing.  If you have an older windows system, you might still have it.
    • There are many programs for purchase that will allow you to create and edit video with very strong capabilities:
      • Filmora Wondershare - very capable program, not overly expensive, pretty easy to use.  
      • Pinnacle Studio
      • Adobe Premier
      • Movavi
      • And many more
  • If you want to edit but don’t want to spend you can try the Open Source VSDC - download and use for free.
  • If you are just going to use a phone or tablet you can still edit right on your device.
    • Smartphones will generally let you trim your videos right in the photo app.
    • VIDEOSHOP is a phone app that will allow you to some pretty complicated editing right on your phone.  You can export your final project when complete.
  • Another option for shooting video is GoPro cameras which also provide phone app for editing.

Planning Your Project
Just like any other project you might work on the key is always the planning.  The better organized you are, the better your project will come out.  The following list might help you produce a better movie.
  • Decide what your movie will be about
  • Think about the video you need to shoot to tell your story.  You might want to create a Storyboard, a set of pictures that roughs out the pictures of your film.
  • If your film requires a script, write it.  
  • Prepare and rehearse your actors, if your project requires them.
  • Think about the locations you might want to use.
  • Shoot all your scenes.
  • If you are shooting a lot of video and your project is ambitious make sure to back up your video if you will not be editing immediately.  (You might use Google Photos or Apple iCloud)
  • When you are done shooting review all video so that you have a good sense of what you have before you start editing.  
  • Review your storyboard and think about how you are going to put it all together.
  • Start your editing.
    • Put shots together in the order that tells your story best
    • Think about additional use of sound effects, music or other audio tracks.
    • Consider use of transitions between scenes.
    • Consider addition of text titles.
  • Save your project and export to a single video file.  (MP4, AVI)
Keep practicing.  The more projects you do, the better you will get at doing them.  Every time you do a project, you will learn something new.  Good luck.