There has been a lot of buzz lately about “Web 2.0”, the video driven internet. What a lot of folks do not realize is that we are rapidly moving into Web 2.5, where if you want your video to get views, you need professional or near professional production values. Like it or not, amateur hour on the video web is almost over. There are still people making money on YouTube just by talking in front of the webcam, or uploading a spontaneously made video of some funny or interesting event. However, if you want to get views with something created rather than borne out of opportunity, your video will take careful planning and execution.
Before you start planning your video in detail, make sure you have a camera that is up to the task. There is nothing worse for a YouTube viewer than trying to watch grainy, out of focus footage filmed with someone’s cellphone or webcam. You do not need to film in HD, but your camera should shoot at a minimum resolution of 480p, which is rapidly becoming the minimum standard for YouTube. Next, think about your shoot. Will you need a zoom lens? Will you need additional lighting beyond what is already available?
Now, think about location and background. If you are shooting a post-apocalyptic sci-fi epic, then maybe you will be shooting at an abandoned steel mill — or maybe you will be setting up a green screen in your back bedroom. If you are shooting an internet marketing video, then you will probably want to shoot from an office or a conference room, or maybe from the driveway of a mansion, standing next to an expensive car. If the background is not part of your story, make sure there is nothing in it that will distract the audience from receiving your message, whatever that may be.
Let’s talk about sound. It is best if you have a camera that has an external mic jack. Most in-camera microphones lose their effectiveness if you are more than a few feet away. Good sound quality won’t make people click a video from a search engine, but bad sound quality will certainly make them stop watching.
So do you have your equipment and location all lined up? Now it is finally time to plan out the action. At a minimum you should have an easy to memorize outline of what you (or your actors) are going to say (this is your script) and an outline of where your camera person is going to be, what angles they are going to shoot, and how they are going to move during the video, as well as when they will start and stop for scene edits (this is your shooting script).
Ready to shoot? Not so fast. It is time for wardrobe and makeup. If you are shooting that Sci-Fi Western, then it is time for phase blasters and cowboy boots. If you want to be a web marketing guru, then think about washing your hair, shaving (if you are a guy), and putting on a dress shirt and necktie — or dress like Crockett in Miami Vice if that is your style. For the ladies, dress like you would for a business meeting where you are going to ask the corporate board of directors to award you a million dollar contract. You want to be taken seriously as a business person.
Either way, if you want people to believe you can teach them how to make money, then you had better look like you are making money. Don’t bother renting a Ferrari for the shoot if you are planning on dressing like you were hired to wash it.
Now you get the chance to yell Action! Or maybe not. You need a way to communicate with your camera crew that will not be picked up on the camera’s microphone. The best way is for your camera person to give you hand signals to let you know when the camera has started rolling, and when it is about to stop.
If you are not a YouTube partner and you are constrained by YouTube’s ten minute maximum time limit, it may also be helpful for your camera person to signal you as to how much time is remaining.
So now all the footage is in the can (or on the SD card, or in flash memory, or on a miniDV cassette). Time to transfer it to a computer, edit it and upload it. You can edit your video using Windows Movie Maker, or if you want something with more features, there are lots of other video editor software packages available. Either way you should arrange your scenes in some logical order, insert some scene transitions so that the viewer is not startled by an abrupt cut from one scene to the next, and add titles and credits for a professional look. buy youtube watch hours