I had no idea what I was signing up for when I decided I wanted to make video content.
First things first, you have to actually shoot some footage. Easy, right?
Without going into detail (because I don’t know any detail to go into) it is a lot harder than it sounds. With the little bit of experience from my first time attempting to make a YouTube video, I’ve compiled a little list of things to keep in mind.
Film horizontal – I cannot stress this enough. Nothing is worse than having to squint and press your head up against the screen to see whats going on. Big borders on the top and bottom of the video make it look like it belongs on Worldstar or Liveleak. If you want to be taken the slightest bit seriously, please hold the phone sideways. Its one of those things they probably teach in primary school now.
Hold it steady – This was a glaring problem, I had the camera shaking around constantly and it made the footage really hard to focus on. Most good phones and cameras will have some kind of stabilisation software built in, but it only goes so far. Make it easy on yourself and film from a position where you don’t have to move around much.
You can crop a video, but you can’t add more on – This one caught me out more than I would like to admit. Originally I had loads more footage, but they were all missing a moments of action or dialogue on both ends of the clip.
Turns out the record button has a ~slight~ delay between pressing and when it actually starts recording
You should start filming a few seconds before, and stop a few seconds late. If you’re like me and you have shitty phone/camera, this is especially important because the lag is intensified. Storage is hardly an issue in today’s world, so there’s really no excuse not to.
Leave it rolling – Building on the last, you should keep recording even when you don’t feel like you need to. I found some of the funniest stuff happened when noone expected it. It’s Murphy’s Law in action – if something interesting is going to happen, it’ll be the moment you aren’t filming.
Negate the chances of missing anything by filming everything.
Lighting – I took quite a relaxed approach to lighting (i.e. it didn’t even cross my mind) The only time we could get everyone’s schedules to line up happened to be during late afternoon, so we were filming with the sun lower over the horizon. Surprisingly, the sun blasting directly into the camera ruins the shot.
Shadows are a camera’s worst enemy – similar to the human eye, a shot half in shadow and half in full sun will result in the shadow being extremely dark, see below.
Ignore the fact you probably look like a tool – Walking around filming yourself with the selfie camera made me feel really self conscious. The results were not something I would want to upload. I feel like being comfortable in front of a camera is something that should become easier with experience though. So go out and do it until it doesn’t hurt to watch.
Stop trying to film with wind – Without using any kind of microphone, you will realise that the one built in to your phone is not ideal. Especially when there is even the slightest whisper of wind. The wind blasts into the mic, drowning out whatever you were trying to record, and makes it sound like you’re standing on your local headland. In a cyclone.
Learn from your experience – Shooting my first video revealed a load of things I reckon I could’ve avoided. But that’s the point – you learn so much from doing something badly, and the next time, you try, you can do it a little better