By Andrew Angus on January 8, 2013

Thinking of creating your own video? Of course with the amazing supply of affordable tools these days, creating something a little edgy, fun and entertaining is a lot easier. That means it doesn’t have to be daunting. If you’re wondering where to start, this post answers 21 of the most common beginner questions of video creation. We start from the beginning stages and follow you right through to editing, hosting and long-term analytics.

Planning

1. Where do I begin?
Working video into your editorial schedule is a great idea. Remember that creating video content is a larger commitment than text, so you probably won’t be able to do it as often. From there, pick out what topics you should cover with video. A good place to start is complex topics that are better explained verbally. Which topics require any kind of motion graphics or sound? You only want to use video if it’s going to enhance your content.

2. What kind of camera do I need?
If you are doing animation yourself – props to you!  But if creating live action is what you need, then really any camera will do these days. With as little as the webcam on your computer you can begin filming! If you’re looking to get to the next level of DIY video creation, check out these affordable web and digital cameras:
a) Logitech HD 1080p Pro Webcam
b) Nikon D3100 (with a 50mm lens)
c) Microsoft LifeCam Studio 1080p Webcam
d) EOS Rebel T2i DSLR
e) Canon HV20 Camcorder

3. Do I need a videographer?
No. While they are helpful and very talented, they can be expensive for a startup. If you plan on doing fairly regular videos on your blog, it would be a good idea to learn the ropes yourself anyway. So, what does a videographer do? For the most part, they operate the camera, finding the best angles and lighting for the shot. But they can also have some creative direction with the visual design of the production. They tend to work closely with the director.

4. Do I need a microphone?
Yes, we would recommend you invest in a microphone. From experience, the audio quality of built-in computer mics do not produce high-quality audio. Podcasters know better than anyone that a good microphone can make all the difference. And professional studios require top notch mics for production. But you don’t have to break the bank.
Decide whether you need a USB mic or a dynamic mic first, then hit Google to discover what you need. Here are some popular ones that won’t break the bank (approximately $100):
a) Audio Technica AT2020 (USB Microphone)
b) Shure SM57 (LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone)
c) Snowball (USB Microphone)
d) ATR2100-USB (Cardioid Dynamic Microphone)
e) Heil PR 40 (Dynamic Microphone)

5.Should I create a script?
Yes. Planning out, at least roughly, what you’re going to say will save you a lot of time when it comes to actually filming. Find out what system works best for you, whether it’s completely scripting the video or having point form notes to fall back on. Always keep in mind that if other people are in the video, you have to be prepared to go off script, especially if you’re taping an interview or conversation.

6. What are different formats I can use (interview, documentary, story, etc.)?
Depending on what type of content you want to cover, there may be different ways to convey your message. You can also have different formats in the same video. For example, you may have an expert you want to interview for a portion of your video. You may want to open by telling a bit of a story and end with some documentary-style shots.

Make sure that when you mix different formats, you have smooth segues into each new style. You always lead into the next paragraph of your blog post, so don’t forget to do this in your video.

7. Which style is best for my video (animation, whiteboard, etc.)?
Some styles are harder than others for beginner videographers. The easiest one to do yourself is live action (regular filming). For the more adventurous and creative folks, there is animation, stop motion, claymation and whiteboard videos. These other styles, while amazing to watch and perhaps more likely to go viral, are extremely time-consuming. So make sure you want to dedicate time to filming and editing these before making the commitment.

Here are some examples of different video styles.
Animation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6rYDaORe3k
Stop Motion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpWM0FNPZSs
Whiteboard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i68a6M5FFBc

8. What other equipment do I need?
If you don’t have anyone around to help with filming, you may need a tripod (for a DSLR camera, not for your webcam). Also consider your background. Will you need a green screen, lights, props or additional animators? It all depends on what you are trying to create. Oh, and if you are filming on location, make sure you have permission to be there.

9. What’s a storyboard and why do I need one?
A storyboard is a visual layout of your video content, on a scene-by-scene basis. A storyboard will complement your script and add an element of creativity to your video plan. If there are animations, transitions or certain visual elements that you want in your video, they will appear on your storyboard. A storyboard helps the creative team clarify those technical elements of the video to the production team, which saves time and money during filming.

[Image from KISSmetrics]

10.What’s the perfect video length?
The length of your video will depend on what content and format you are using. For web, the general rule of thumb is no longer than three minutes. After that point, you will start to lose viewers. If you can keep it to under 60 seconds, that’s even better.

Filming

11. What if I can’t get through a single take in one shot?
That’s what editing is for. On your storyboard, you should mark points where you can “cut” video clips together. Think of it as paragraph breaks in a blog post. Don’t think that you need to film through three minutes in one take. You will make flubs along the way, but you can take those out in editing and have a fun blooper reel to go with it!

Post-Production

12. How do I edit the video?
There are lots of free software programs that make editing your videos with cuts, text and transitions as easy as formatting a blog post. If you’re using a Mac, you should already have iMovie installed on your computer. If you’re using a PC running Microsoft XP or later, you should have Microsoft Movie Maker installed. Some other free options are:
a) Virtual Dub
b) Avidemux

13. What if I want to play a song in the video?
We recommend looking into stock audio first, where you only pay for what you need to use in your video. iStockPhoto has a wide selection of audio clips for you to use. Some music artists may enlist Creative Commons for their licensing, which clearly outlines what you are allowed to do and not to do with their music. If there appears to be nothing outlined, always ask. You don’t want to have to re-edit your work to remove illegal audio after the fact. Or, even worse, get fined because of it.

14. How do I do voiceovers?
You can easily record audio separately from your video and bring the two together in your editing software. Your storyboard will also come in very handy here in terms of the timing of the audio and video.

15.I want to add a cool little clip of _______? Do I need to tape that myself?
Not necessarily. By visiting sites like iStockPhoto and Shutterstock, you can access the same stock photography and videos that the pros use. You pay for what you need and can easily insert it into your video with your editing software.

16. What do I name my video?
Pick something that will be easily discoverable. Think of what people would type into Google to come across your video. For example, if you’re creating a video on interior design for small apartments, try: “How do I design my small apartment?” With titles, it’s better to have something informative and plain than clever and confusing. Still, never underestimate the power of a catchy title – you’re competing with a lot of other small apartment design tutorials.

Promotion

17. How do I get views?
By making sure people can easily find and share your video, you are opening yourself up to lots of views! Most video hosting services provide a full range of share buttons for every social network. This means that when you make a great impression on the early viewers, they can easily share your video with their networks. That is one of the best ways, along with paid advertising, to unlock lots of views.

18. Where should I host the video?
While YouTube may seem like the obvious choice, there are other platforms out there worth considering. Chances are your audience won’t be browsing YouTube looking for stellar, informative content. Vimeo is great for more creative, high-level videos. Vidyard lets you customize almost everything about your uploaded video and gives you a full range of analytics.

19. How do I make sure people can find it?
Most video hosts let you customize the upload process, right down to the custom tags. Having a clear and relevant name for your video, along with optimized tags, will ensure that search engines can easily find your video. When your viewers share your video with their networks, you will have more and more people discovering your video. insert image of SEO pack for video

20. How can I measure my video’s success?
You determine success. Before you even create your video, figure out your objectives. Is it to hit 100,000 views? To have your video shared on Mashable? Your objectives will help steer the execution of your video, so it’s best to figure these out at the beginning. Be as specific as you can with your objectives, so you have a benchmark to measure your success against. Once you have established what success is, you can decide which analytics tool is best for you. Here are some suggestions:
a) Vidyard
b) YouTube
c) Vimeo

21. How can I help my video go viral?
Be interesting. There is no formula for creating a viral video and there is no way to guarantee it will go viral. However, there are common threads among today’s viral videos. They are often either controversial, funny, amazing or mind-boggling. Being interesting and unique is the best way to achieve this. If you produce something that nobody has seen before, you are stepping in the right direction. Create something shareable and your views will start to multiply.

Creating your own video will save you time and money. Plus, it will give your website or blog an extra element of awesome. You can turn your content from engaging to captivating just by using video. With all the free and inexpensive tools you have at your disposal, you could be creating your own videos right now. So what are you waiting for?

 

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