Shooting Your How-To Video Properly

09 February 2017 / By Wehows Team
Shooting Your How-To Video Properly
Shooting a how-to video isn’t rocket science – and you don’t need fancy video equipment or post-production software to do it. Let’s go over some of the basics on how you can shoot your how-to video properly.

Background And Lighting-min

Background And Lighting

You don’t need a fancy set for your video. The main draw is the information you’re providing – everything else is just extra.
  • Put a simple backdrop behind your table or wherever you’re working – a simple bedsheet is enough. You can invest in a green screen later.
  • Keep to a neutral shade for your backdrop – a beige or light brown is a good all-purpose color. White tends to get “blown-out” by lighting unless you have an expensive camera/light setup.
  • Invest in at least two moderately bright lamps, and place them opposite of each other, facing the demonstration area at a 45-degree angle. This will provide even lighting, and reduce shadows.

Audio-min

Audio

Audio is also important. Even the most informative video is useless if your voice is crackling or popping, or too quiet to be heard due to a poor microphone. Here are some good rules of thumb for your audio setup.
  • Buy an external microphone. Seriously. Don’t use your on-camera audio. The cheapest $15 wired microphone from your local big-box electronics store will give you audio a hundred times better than an on-camera microphone. So buy one. Seriously.
  • Set your mic near your work-table or other site where the shooting is taking place. You want it to be close enough to pick up your voice, but it shouldn’t be visible in the shot.
  • An external microphone also lets you do voice-over work post-production, if necessary.

shooting-min

Shooting

Your shooting style depends on your resources – if you have two people operating cameras, things will be easier, but you can easily make a great video with just one camera.
  • For two-camera shooting, make sure you’ve designated your cameras correctly, and your operators know what they’re doing. Camera A will take the primary shots and will have the microphone connected, while Camera B will film cutaways and closeups, recording audio to help you sync up the footage with your voice-over later.
  • For one camera shooting, begin by running through the entire video with the camera on a tripod, filming everything that you do throughout the video. Once you’ve done that, you can go back through with a cameraman and film your closeups and cutaways.

Closeups and Cutaways

Almost all how-to videos require close-ups and cutaways. These shots help show required materials, demonstrate important techniques, and give viewers a good idea of what, exactly, is going on in your how-to video.
  • Shoot cutaways after you’ve finished the main footage – you’ll know exactly what shot to for and isolate.
  • Don’t move the main camera while filming, whether using a one-camera or two-camera setup. If you do, editing will make the video look strange – instead of a consistent shot, the main view will jump around after each cutaway or zoom shot.
  • Ensure that the video has continuity – though you’re filming close-ups separately, they’ll still be edited into the video seamlessly. Don’t switch a wrench from your left to right hand in a close-up if it was in your left hand during the main shot, etc.
  • Edit in your close-ups in the appropriate place in the video – and do it right when the action is taking place. If you start attaching a piece of wood to a model rocket in your main video, you should switch to the close-up right when you start to attach it. This allows for a fluid, intuitive viewing experience.

Add Graphics In Post-Production-min

Add Graphics In Post-Production

You don’t need a ton of fancy graphics – but having some basic instructions, examples, and information written out is certainly helpful, and easy enough for anyone with access to a computer and basic filmmaking tools.
  • Start with an opening, and keep it consistent. Every single video you make should have the same basic opening, even if it’s as basic as black type over a white background.
  • Do the same at the end – a closing graphic with information about you and your website helps engage your audience, and keep the feeling of your videos consistent.
  • Don’t get fancy. You don’t need to spin your text around, use fancy animations, or anything like that. A basic fade-in is plenty, and the text should be easily visible – white text with a black border is the best on every background.
  • Leave your text or graphic up long enough that it can be read twice – this will allow quick readers to digest it easily, and give slower readers enough time to understand it.
  • Bullet points are useful for presenting large amounts of information without overloading your viewer. Tool lists, part lists, next steps during a particular process, and so on.
  • Keep it simple. Your viewers are there for information. Don’t use loud backgrounds, hard-to-read text, or fancy animations. They are distracting, and can even be seen as unprofessional.

Engage Your Audience

At the end of your video, make use of voice-overs, graphics, and other informational techniques to promote your videos and your channel further. This will increase audience engagement, and leave them wanting more from your channel.
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Making Money with How-To Videos

Making How-To videos is easy – and can produce quite a bit of income with just a little bit of knowledge and dedication. If you’re interested in acquiring the skills necessary to create great how-to videos, you can work over a variety of niches, using different experts and on-screen talent to do the actual instructing. By simply understanding what makes a good how-to video, having a knowledge of basic video production and editing techniques, and learning about what audiences expect from informational content, you can easily become a top-notch “How-To” video producer in no time at all – and earn some sizeable income while doing so. - Learn More
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