fbpx

3 KEY VIDEO-MAKING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS

Some quick tips to help you get started on your video-making journey.

I’ve had a camera in my hand for a long time. Since the age of eight, I’ve played with every type of camera you could think of (from tape to digital). In that time, especially within the last 4 years, I have learned a lot about video making; I’ve learned what it takes to make an image look good and what needs to be done to make a video engaging. Here are my three key tips to instantly improve your videos:

TELL A STORY

Every good story follows a 3 act narrative: setup, conflict and resolution.

Whether it be a short film, commercial, promo video, event video, travel video, vlog – whatever, a video must always have a story. The story may be obvious (i.e. it may be scripted, and it has a clear beginning, middle, and end) or not so obvious (i.e. it follows a sequence of events, or sets to build up to or around something). This may not make much sense at first, but let me explain using a basic nightclub video as an example. 

The job is simple: the client wants a short one and a half minute video to share on social media to show the event. They want to capture everything: attendees arriving, getting wristbands, buying drinks and eventually dancing. 

When it comes to the shoot day, you will shoot everything at random points in the night. You might start with the bar, then the entrance, then the DJs, then the bar again, then the dancing etc. When editing, however, it would be strange to show people arriving to the event after showing people dancing, or to put someone getting a drink in amongst people going crazy to the music. The video, in that sense, has a story. First you show people arriving, then you show the bar, then you show the DJs and things building up before reaching the peak or climax of the video. 

As YouTube vlog star Casey Neistat puts it, every good story follows a 3 act narrative: setup, conflict and resolution. In this example, the setup is people arriving and getting drinks. The conflict is building to the big climax and the resolution is the big climax (in this case, it’ll likely be the “drop”). In this example, the three act narrative is not literal but it is still applicable. This is the same for every video. Find a way to tell a story.

BUILD TO SOMETHING

Once you have worked out your story, make it build to something. Using Casey Neistat again: what is the resolution to the conflict? What is the video working its way to? If the video has no conflict, or if it has no reason to build, how is it interesting? Why would anyone watch a film if it didn’t build to anything? 

When we make videos as a company, we always aim to make them build to something so there is a sense of tension throughout. Once we reach that climax, the tension is released. 

A good example of this is the Kendal Calling video from 2018. The video builds and builds until we reach the final point at night where everyone is dancing and having a great time (around 2:35). This keeps the viewer engaged and aids the 3 act narrative idea.

MUSIC

Music drives ideas and moods, and is therefore integral to any video; it can make or break your project. 

I regard this as one of the most important aspects of videomaking. In most cases (for me anyway), music comes early on in the videomaking process, before the camera has even been turned on. I will sit for hours and find the right song, endlessly scrolling through various royalty free sites searching for the perfect chorus or orchestral track. That process can be draining and frustrating, but it is worth it for the final result. 

Music drives ideas and moods, and is therefore integral to any video; it can make or break your project. You wouldn’t put heavy metal over a video that is intended to be sad or thought-provoking, you’d pick something that fits the mood.

Using the Kendal Calling video as an example again, the music is the element that helps drive the mood and tension within the story, while also bringing the video to its final climax. For this example, we wanted a song that had peaks and troughs but was also upbeat; something that changed in tempo and excitement to reflect the different parts of the festival. 

Similarly, we used music in a project for a gymnastics club to reflect the beauty and elegance of the sport. In this instance, we found the music in the early stages of the project and used it to decide what we wanted to show/what mood we wanted to portray.

Don’t be afraid to take time to find the right song. My favourite sites for royalty free music:

Audio networkEpidemic SoundMusic Bed

Share this:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

    Leave Your Comment Here

    WHO ARE WE?

    We are McGill Productions, a global video production company based in the UK built around the beauty of visual content. Day in, day out, we elevate some of the most innovative and forward-thinking brands to new heights, growing their conversations and building engaged audiences with captivating, cinematic videos. We aren’t a short-term solution, we are a long term partner.​