This entry is based on the UnternehmerTUM talk from Sept. 11, 2018, available here:
Welcome! You’re probably reading this because you saw our workshop at UnternehmerTUM, or the recording of it above, and want to learn some more details about what we said – or someone told you how great that talk was, and you wanted to see for yourself. Thanks! Glad to hear it. This is a recap of what was presented, with some additional links and infos.
So, you’ve developed a great idea, and now have to make a video about it. Let me start out by having you answer a few questions:
Have you ever seen a 90-plus-minute movie that left you bored and unsatisfied?
On the other hand, have you ever seen ten seconds on YouTube or Facebook that made you literally laugh out loud, and that you proceeded to share with all your friends and family?
That should prove to you it’s never about the length of a video. It’s always about the content.
I can therefore relieve you if you were thinking you needed to make a really long video. One that explains every little detail of your idea. You are probably not an experienced video maker. Maybe you don’t like being in front of cameras. That’s fine.
This post will show you what will really count in your video, and how anybody can make something that informs and entertains at the same time.
Planning Your Video
You’re not a professional video maker, you’re just trying to get your ideas across. So coming up with video style ideas from scratch might not be the best idea. I hope you have enough fun this time to get into filmmaking in the future – but if you’re on a tight deadline, here’s what I recommend you do!
Dive into kickstarter.com and find 2-3 videos that you like and that have already been funded (or are close to reaching their goal). Why Kickstarter? Because you can recognize the success of videos there simply by reading the dollar amounts the projects have attracted. It’s a bit crude, but easy!
Here’s an example I picked up:
“A Better Backpack” – Kickstarter
Take some time and analyze this video for what you can imitate. I would recommend you to look closely on how the team chose to present their product. What are they talking about? How are they addressing you?
Here, you can also get some good insights on visual composition, which . How does their foreground and background look? Can you achieve something similar with what you’ve got at hand (without the international travel, presumably)?
Gather a list of things that you want to adapt – before grabbing a camera.
So, how do you tell a good story? Just remember one thing here: Keep talking about the impact of your product on the people. How does the product make your life more awesome? How do you contribute to a good cause by buying it? Remember that a good cause is not necessarily social, like the backpack. I’m sure the thing you came up with has some great value to people outside of your team. The backpack guys don’t show their process or supply-chain – and you shouldn’t as well… unless its very, very entertaining of course. Much more important is the end outcome – how does it make lives better?
“But, the backpack video had a charismatic guy the whole time…
What if I suck in front of a camera?”
You’re a likeable person in real life, but your emotions just drain out of your face when a lens is pointed at you. No problem. That’s what teams are for. There’s always one person that’s best at presenting. Use them to your advantage.
Contrary to popular belief, not everybody in your team has to say something. You might think, at first glance, that letting everybody say something is the fair and democratic thing to do – but it’s mostly damaging to the video and confusing your audience. Your video is three minutes, not hours, so instead of introducing the entire team, choose one friendly face to represent your content. The viewer can always meet everybody else later, on the web or in additional materials like brochures – once they have become interested through your video! Do it like they did in the above kickstarter: introduce one or two main people, and show the rest of your team sitting somewhere and working, or similar. And if you really think that there’s not one good speaker on your team, check out online resources like this TED-Talk. It’ll help you in minutes!
The Technicalities of Filming
Now, what may have been stressing you out: the technicalities. You probably don’t own an expensive camera, or maybe you don’t feel 100% perfect using it. Let me put your mind at ease by showing you some tricks!
One of the following clips was made with Sony equipment worth 5000€. The other was an iPhone, an app, and a 10€ microphone from Amazon.
Some of you may already suspect: the pretty one was filmed on an iPhone 7. Not a cheap device, granted, but the type of device that almost everybody has it their pocket! This result can be achieved on any smartphone that’s newer than three years. On both Android and iOS, I recommend using the app Filmic Pro to control the settings manually. Otherwise, the automatic settings built into the camera app may cause flickering and give you a too dark or bright look. Check it out here for iOS.
So what was truly the difference in the two clips, if not equipment? The light, the background, how the scene was decorated. Video is for looking at. Ask yourself the question: if the video is not yet playing, and you’re just looking at the scene you’ve made, would you yourself want to look at it if you hadn’t made it? Is there something interesting and/or pretty to look at?
Once you’ve got that, the final difference that makes the biggest impact.
Remember: No matter how bad your image is, if the sound is great, the video will be watchable and most of the times even ok! NOT the other way around.
Get yourself this cheap 10€ clip-on microphone from Amazon. It does a fantastic job for the price! Just plug it into your phone’s headphone jack.
For full disclosure, our team will receive a small commission on your purchase. The price remains the same for you, nonetheless.
If you’re using the same phone to record video and audio, the sound and video will already be synchronized automatically. If not, and your mic is plugged into a different smartphone, record your speaker’s voice with the free SHURE MOTIV app (or similar on Android) on that second phone. If you can’t buy the microphone, you can also just use your phone as a hand microphone and speak into it. As long as the mic is as close as possible to your speaker, you’re good to go. The microphone built into your camera is always closer to the cameraman’s butt than it is to your mouth, and that should tell you everything about what it’s recording. DON’T USE THE BUILT-IN CAMERA MICROPHONE!
So now you’ve got your video and your separately recorded audio. How do you put these two together?
Apple provides the software iMovie completely for free. For your purposes, this program is stellar. You can download it on the Mac App Store, check out some basic tutorials, and you’re off to the races.
If, for any reason, you’re on a Mac and want to get a little bit more manual, or if you’re on Windows, the company FXHome provides a great free version of their professional software Hitfilm, called Hitfilm Express: click here to get it. They ask you to share it on social media, but trust me when I say it’s worth it. I’m not getting paid to say this, I just enjoy Hitfilm’s capability!
The basic part is synchronizing your video with your audio. Simply place your audio track under the video, move it until the voice fits with the speaker’s mouth, and silence/delete the sound recorded by the camera. Most editing softwares have a “grouping” feature which you can then use to combine the external audio with your video clip.
While you’re cutting your clips together, I find it helpful to choose some music before I’m finished, and adjust the video to fit onto some kind of rhythm. For giving your video this musical touch, you can scroll through the vast music collection of the Youtube Audio Library. There, you’ll also find some essential sound effects. All for free. If you don’t want to credit the composer, click “Not attribution required” and pick from those tracks.
I hope these few tips helped you jumpstart your video production. Feel free to leave some questions and comments below!
You want us to talk in your workshop?
That’s great! We’d love to. Every project is different. Let’s talk about yours – contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll develop something for your specific needs!